(Rainbow Production, 1986)
Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard
- Knowledge of French is required in order to play this game properly.
You’ve entered a haunted castle, hoping to find some treasure. To gain access to the upper floors, you must explore every room to find keys and, by the way, fight monsters. This is an adventure game which uses a third-person view, with rather dull Mode 1 graphics. The ‘plus’ in the title doesn’t mean anything, for the previous version was better in my opinion. Here, every encounter starts a kind of ‘game within a game’ where you must shoot a monster, which is amazingly bad and completely shatters the atmosphere of the game.
(Melbourne House, 1985)
Reviewed by Chris Lennard
The father of all fighting games. Simply put, this is the game that the better known and more humorous IK+ is based on. You control a single character in a karate tournament that consists of a series of one-on-one bouts against computer- or human-controlled opponents, so that you may reach the rank of 10th Dan. At your command are a range of 18 lethal moves that you dispense with your hands, head (!) and feet, with extra points being awarded for the more tricky ones performed. What we now take for granted – learning your special moves and appropriate responses to your opponent’s attacks – was first defined here. It has nice sound effects when you make contact, cute graphics, a fun two-player mode, and genre-defining gameplay – a classic. There’s also another version of the game – The Way of the Exploding Fist+ – with some extra backgrounds.
(Gremlin Graphics, 1986)
Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard
This great arcade adaptation of a role-playing gamebook is one of the best fighting games ever for the CPC. The originality of the game is that it is split into three parts – unarmed combat, pole fighting and sword fighting. You must complete a stage in order to go to the next, but you can practice each level separately. During your progress, you’ll have to fight other ninjas, rhino-headed men, dwarves or skeletons. You’ll be helped by Kwon, God of the ninjas, who can give you extra health. Technically, it is brilliant; the graphics are gorgeous and very detailed. Your ninja really looks like a ninja and each move seems real. There are several backgrounds, all of which are wonderful, and the use of parallax scrolling makes the game visually impressive. It’s a must for kung-fu addicts!
See also: Avenger.
The Le Mans 24-hour race is the most famous test of the endurance of both man and machine. Thankfully, you don’t have to race around the circuit for 24 hours; you only have to complete four laps. Your car only has two gears, but it’s fast, and you’ll need to be in order to reach each of the checkpoints before your time runs out. As you progress, you’ll encounter more traffic, and you’ll need to be more careful, or you may crash rather spectacularly, with your car flying through the air! The graphics are well drawn, but the colours are rather dull, and although the engine noises aren’t realistic, the screeching of your tyres as you take a corner flat out is a nice touch. The music on the menu is also wonderful.
You won’t need to have eaten your Weetabix this morning to beat this ridiculously easy Space Invaders clone. Dunk and his friends must shoot wave after wave of 14 Titchies – an inferior type of cereal. If Dunk is hit by bullets from the Titchies, his shield is automatically activated and he loses some of his Neet Weet energy. However, there is more than enough energy to see you through each wave with ease, and that’s the major failing of this game. It’s meant to be played by kids, though, and you could only obtain it by collecting tokens from boxes of Weetabix cereal. The graphics and sound effects are fairly good considering the time it was released, but the gameplay is far too easy and monotonous.
(Topo Soft, 1988)
Reviewed by Javier Sáez
Wells and Fargo has established a new stagecoach service that involves crossing hostile territories. And guess what, your job in this game is precisely to cope with all the hazards that lay between each end of the route. There are two characters in the game, the rider of the stagecoach and a rifleman that goes on the stagecoach roof, and unless you play with a friend, you’ll have to control both. Although this game had very good reviews in Spain when it was released, I don’t think it’s that good. The graphics are quite good, and so is the scrolling, but I find the gameplay somewhat dull, repetitive and also quite difficult in single-player mode.
Tetris is, of course, an all-time classic, so what could be done by its creator to improve on it? The answer is to make it 3D, and the result is this. Pieces fall down a well and on to the bottom, which consists of an 8×8 square grid. Points are scored by making a row or column of eight lines. Unlike Tetris, the pieces can be made up from two to five blocks, depending on the difficulty level. To make the game appealing, there are pictures of everyday Russian life to accompany the game – although if you’re playing the cassette version, you’ll only get to see a single picture. It’s certainly an interesting twist, but it is confusing, and a decidedly awkward control method doesn’t help.
(D&H Games, 1989)
Reviewed by Robert Small
Well, it had to happen eventually. CPC gaming has gone to the dogs, but perhaps it isn’t as bad as we think, because this is all intentional. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s time for a trip to Wembley for the FA Cu... er, no. Actually, we’re going to see – greyhound racing?! Yes, Wembley used to be the home of greyhound racing for a time. There are so many pursuits simulated on the CPC that we might as well have this, I suppose. Unsurprisingly it’s a betting game, and of course no real money is on the line. There is at least more than one venue to race at, the game features sampled speech, and what little graphics that are on display are cute. It’s the only greyhound racing game on the format, so it gets points for originality, but it isn’t fun being forced to watch after you’ve gone through your stake.
(Viz Design, 1987)
Reviewed by John Beckett
The aim of this game is to search London’s streets, parks, rooftops and subways and find the eight evil yuppies who turned you into a werewolf. When this is done (a cross flashes on the screen when one is close) the curse is broken. However, this isn’t easy, because there are many policemen on the streets, hunting for you! The game is split into two halves – day (as a normal man, seeking out items and the yuppies) and night (as a werewolf, using the information you obtained during the day to go on a killing spree). The graphics are great, the music is suitably eerie, and the difficulty is just right; the fewer yuppies left, the harder they are to find. The only problem I found is the unholy degree of slowdown that occurs when lots of people are on the same screen. Despite this, it’s an instant classic!
Werner is a German cartoon character who has a big nose, likes beer and has a lot of fun, and he’s very popular in Germany. This is a selection of five games which you can play individually or together. One of them is a car ride where Werner is attacked by flying screwdrivers and melons (!). The game after it is also a car ride, but you must collect the right objects to win. Werner really wants a motorbike, though, and another game lets you assemble a motorbike by choosing various components. It’s possibly the most interesting of the games, but working out what parts to use requires a lot of patience. Then there’s a dice game called ‘diddling’ which is supposed to be played by three players. I suppose that the game is designed to be enjoyed with some friends, but as a one-player game it’s not much fun.