Reviewed by Robert Small
I really enjoyed the original TV series. The same cannot be said about the game. Licensed games can go either way. This one on the CPC went wrong. Firstly, wouldn’t it be nice to have some music? Well, there isn’t any, and the in-game sound effects are basic. What about the graphics? They’re poor for the most part. The background is OK and the forward diving roll of the player sprite is all right. Everything else is stilted, including the screen transitions. Finally, the gameplay – it isn’t great. Teleporting between floors, entering codes and avoiding enemies should be fun, but it isn’t. One final comment on the graphics – why does the main sprite look so much better on the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 versions? I would like to see Ocean explain that.
Reviewed by Robert Small
This game isn’t about the graphics, for they are as basic and as functional as you can get on the CPC. Nor is it blessed with spectacular audio. It isn’t massively original either as it’s heavily inspired by the text-based Star Trek game from the 1970s. Your ship is the Andromeda, and your enemies are the Vagans. The game features a shortened control system for issuing commands like movement, weapons and other ship features. Hitting the Vagan ships is all about working out the angles. You really do feel like a little Federation ship on a mission to patrol your corner of the galaxy against all odds. There are no official Star Trek games for the CPC, but this action/strategy game fills that niche quite well.
(Dinamic/Code Masters, 1986)
Reviewed by Javier Sáez
The android Phantomas has been entrusted with the dreadful task of killing Dracula. To accomplish such a mission he has to make his way into Dracula’s castle, open five locks, six windows, collect a hammer and a peg and finally get to the upper part of the castle to face Dracula. This game (originally released by Dinamic as Phantomas 2) has no music and the graphics are almost the same as you’d see on the Spectrum version. However, after a short period of training, you’ll discover a very playable game with lots of rooms to explore. This is one of the few games I couldn’t quit playing until I finished it.
See also: Phantomas 2.0.
Watch YouTube videos of this game by: ChinnyVision, Metr81.
(Scorpio Gamesworld, 1984)
Reviewed by Pug
You have finally found Dracula’s secret lair – an old tower block with working lifts! The Prince of Darkness is resting on the 12th floor and there’s only a few minutes left until midnight. Can you make it to the top floor in time and deal with this spectre of evil? To succeed in your mission you will have to collect certain items that the vampire is afraid of. These are found in certain rooms, but be careful, for some rooms are filled with monsters. Such encounters drain your shock meter; if this runs dry you’ll flee the building and fail in your quest. Some of the lifts are hazardous, which can result in your descent to a lower level. Vampire Killer is written entirely in BASIC and it shows, with sluggish movement, drab graphics and simple audio. If you do reach the Count, I doubt you’ll come back for more.
Vectorball is a futuristic sport where two robots – one yellow, one red – try to shoot a puck into their opponent’s goal. The robots can’t actually push the puck around the arena; instead, they have to swivel around and face the direction that they wish to shoot the puck. As far the concept goes, it’s about as simple as you can get; it’s the implementation that is poor. The controls are infuriatingly difficult to get the hang of, while the computer-controlled robot always snatches the puck from you and scores lots of goals. The isometric graphics aren’t impressive, although the tune is good.
You have been transported to an alien spaceship orbiting Earth, and the aliens have given you the task of breaking into its on-board computer called Solomon. You don’t know why they want you to do this, but you will be well rewarded if you succeed... Behind this very surreal background story is a brilliant arcade game that pays homage to the Vectrex games console, which can only display vector graphics. You control a small craft and must manoeuvre it through eight mazes of increasing difficulty, avoiding obstacles and collecting batteries to replenish your constantly diminishing energy. The graphics are drawn entirely using lines instead of sprites, and the game moves incredibly fast as a result. It’s also infuriatingly difficult, yet very addictive, and it has that elusive “one more go” factor; once you start playing it, you’ll be hooked!
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: Xyphoe.
Blue Vectornaut is being held prisoner inside the lair of an evil alien known as Voltek. His companion, Red Vectornaut, must free Blue Vectornaut and destroy both Voltek and his lair. This is a fairly basic platform game that was originally released for the ZX Spectrum in 2018. Playing as Red Vectornaut, you must explore the maze of rooms that is Voltek’s lair and collect microchips and credits so that you can activate lifts and upgrade your phaser gun, enabling you to destroy enemies instead of stun them. Once you have initiated the destruction sequence that will blow up Voltek’s lair, you then engage in combat with Voltek in a final boss battle. It’s fairly short and slightly easy (it can be completed in around ten minutes) and the graphics are nothing special, but the game is nonetheless fun to play, and there are two tunes to listen to.
(System 3, 1990)
You used to be a high-ranking officer in the US army, but you have now been thrown out, and your brother and niece have been kidnapped by terrorists who were once in the army. Your mission is to rescue your relatives and collect evidence along the way. On each level, you must explore all the rooms and search every nook and cranny for clues. Unfortunately, this is an extremely frustrating exercise, as you have to be in exactly the right position to find objects. Ultimately you spend ages just moving randomly and relying on luck to get the object you want. The graphics are in boring monochrome and there’s hardly any sound as well.
Watch a YouTube video of this game by: Xyphoe.
(Dro Soft, 1986)
Johny Comomolo is on board an alien spacecraft that consists of a stack of ten rings, and there are 256 rooms in each ring. As Johny, you start in ring 9 and your aim is to reach ring 0. There are only a small number of elevators to take you to another ring, so you’ll be doing a lot of wandering around. There is almost no variety in the rooms; each one looks much the same as the next. You’ll frequently encounter cyborgs, but trying to shoot them is fiddly and awkward. Sometimes, for no obvious reason, you will be asked a question that relies entirely on guesswork, and getting it wrong costs you one of your seven lives. If you manage to find an elevator, you then have to play a mini-game; fail this, and you again lose a life. Add some bland graphics and terrible sound effects, and you’ve got one of the most awful games it has been my misfortune to play.
The land of Armosin is overshadowed with evil, and Traklan and his Venomite priests stalk the land and bring terror to it. Arrell has been captured, and your objective is to rescue him. This adventure is different from most others in that instead of typing in commands, you select them from a list using the cursor keys or joystick. This takes time, since the cursor moves really slowly, but if you stick with it, it is a nice enough adventure (albeit rather small) with some decent pictures used in a few locations.