(Alternative Software, 1987)
Last night’s drinking session at the Duck and Plunger inn resulted in Ralph’s friend Mike being turned into a salamander as a party trick. Not surprisingly, Mike was not amused by this, and he incarcerated Ralph in the dungeons beneath his castle. You’ll have to call on your familiar spirit to help you out – if you can recall his name... This text adventure has been written using GAC, but it lacks atmosphere. The setting of dungeons and a castle to explore is good enough, but the text isn’t very descriptive, the locations are laid out in a very illogical manner, and little thought seems to have been given to the puzzles, which seem to have been inserted into the game at random with no coherence – a bit like Ralph, come to think of it!
Reviewed by Robert Small
Roam a fantasy landscape and enter into magical battle with all manner of beasts and enemy wizards with a variety of spells. The playing window may be small but the graphics are in Mode 0 and scroll at a good pace. A huge disappointment is the sound, or lack thereof. Was the CPC version rushed, perhaps? Lack of depth is the big problem in the gameplay department. It boils down to blasting away, which is OK for a bit, but wears out its welcome after a little while.
(Code Masters, 1989)
Reviewed by John Beckett
Surely a contender for Game With the Most Unintentionally Funny Title, Wizard Willy has you in the role of a young trainee wizard who sets out to rid the land of demons. The game itself is a traditional side-scrolling platformer-cum-shoot-’em-up, and the graphics are great – very detailed and colourful. The sound effects are spot on too (lots of lovely explosions!) but with graphics and sound on such a high level, something’s got to give. And that something is the ridiculous slowdown that occurs when too many bad guys are on screen. Add to that the mind-blowing difficulty of the game (it’s hard even by Amstrad standards!), and the fact that despite its nice visuals, it’s actually really boring, and you have a pretty dire game.
(Bubble Bus, 1985)
Pothole Pete was exploring when he came across the mysterious Wizard’s Lair – but in order to escape, he has to find the four pieces of the Golden Lion and reach the top level of the lair. His task is made harder by the many monsters lurking in all the rooms. The range of objects to be found and collected is almost as enormous as the lair itself, and it’s easy to miss a section which might contain part of the Golden Lion. The graphics are good with some very clever use of colour mixing, and the sound effects are average. There’s so much to discover in this game, though, and that’s what I like so much about it. It’s a game you can really keep coming back to.
The wizard Zark has eliminated all colour from Wizworld and left it grey. As Wizball, you and your faithful sidekick Catelite have come to restore colour to the nine levels of Wizworld. This is done by shooting red, green and blue bubbles and collecting the droplets from them and obtaining enough of each to make the right colours. You also have to collect green pearls and use them to give Wizball more power. There are only three types of alien, and it’s extremely frustrating when you get stuck in the scenery and can’t get out. Despite this problem, it’s an original concept for a game and one which is very enjoyable.
(Alternative Software, 1990)
“Underground, overground, wombling free, the Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we...” The Wombles are a bunch of shy creatures who live in their burrow below Wimbledon Common. Great Uncle Bulgaria has sent young Orinoco and Wellington to fetch some items and collect litter. You control Orinoco and must wander around the common, fetching the items before Wellington does, or you will lose a life. The hard mode adds some further dangers such as avoiding humans and the animals which inhabit the common (those squirrels are nasty, you know). The graphics are colourful and appealing, but there’s hardly any variety in the game at all and it will soon become a bit boring.
Reviewed by Chris Lennard
Rescue your girlfriend from the evil monster that has kidnapped her in this somewhat typical platformer. As Wonder Boy you must navigate the local scenery; running and jumping around avoiding traps, collecting fruit bonuses and nobbling off any passing creatures that get in your way. The special power-ups such as the skateboard and the bonus levels up in the clouds are a nice idea, but this fails to distract from what is quite a dull game. The graphics here are also relatively poor, especially when you compare them to examples such as Rodland or Rainbow Islands. One for platformer fans only.
See also: Super Wonder Boy in Monster Land.
This is a cute puzzle game where you must push three multi-coloured balls around the screen so that they form a straight line – but they’re fragile and will smash if you’re not careful. Instead, you must manoeuvre some blue spheres into position and push the balls towards them – but the spheres are fragile as well, so some thinking is required. There are other hazards to watch out for and avoid while you’re trying to do all of this. The graphics are OK, but there are very few sound effects, and while the gameplay is good, it’s a little on the slow side and it can be frustrating at times.
Wordle is a simple word-based puzzle game that has taken the English-speaking world by storm, with millions of people getting their daily fix of trying to guess a five-letter word in six attempts. With each attempt, the player is informed if each letter is in the correct position, if it is in the word but not in the correct position, or if it is not in the word at all. Such is Wordle’s popularity and simplicity that it was inevitable that someone would convert it to the Amstrad CPC, but this version is disappointing. The English dictionary that is supplied is full of very obscure words that will be utterly unfamiliar to the vast majority of people, and the French and Spanish dictionaries are even worse (I don’t understand German so I can’t comment on its dictionary). It takes away a lot of the joy of playing Wordle.
(Goliath Games, 1990)
Reviewed by Robert Small
Football, rugby and even snooker (yes, snooker!) have received management games on the CPC. Now it’s the turn of boxing. You can manage a stable of fighters, organising the fights, training, medical attention, and even deciding the fight tactics. Navigating the game is relatively speedy from filing cabinets, your office itself, the gym, the physio room and the fights themselves. The graphics are colourful and the game is nicely presented for a management game. Indeed, this may be more accessible to some, especially if they have struggled with other management games in the past. A good effort from this plucky contender.