Reviews

Reviews by The Dean of Games (1703)

Frank N Stein, 28 Feb 2010 (Rating: 5)

One of my Speccy favorites. Guiding little Doctor Frank N Stein, thru the platforms, using springs to climb, instead of jump routines, and catching all the pieces to complete the monster in time. There are 50 levels, but the original version was bugged, so it's impossible to complete level 25 in time. Thankfully years later, the author came up with a fix. You can check it in the W.O.S. archive, where there is a file with the Bugfix completely playable.

Fairlight, 28 Feb 2010 (Rating: 5)

1985 The Edge (UK)
by Bo Jangeborg, Jack Wilkes, Niclas Osterlin and Mark Alexander

Truth be told that the plot is great and that surely makes it a great game. It has a universe of it's own and one can immerse in it quite easily. Graphically, it's slighyly different from other similar games, specially Ultimate games, which seem like a variation on themselves. Fairlight as it's own style, not so polished as are the Ultimate games, but still quite good. I'm not a fan of Isometric games, but this was one of my favourites, together with The Great Escape. Both classics of the Spectrum era.

Orc Attack, 01 Mar 2010 (Rating: 5)

1984 Creative Sparks (UK)
by Phil Snell and Dean Lock

Brilliant. One of my most loved games. Neat graphics, good colours, nice sound, great play. I only regret having so few levels.
Defend your castle against the invaders that try to destroy it. Besides the soldiers you have to defeat the Sorceror's and the Demon Trolls. All fun, but the Orc soldiers level is the best, its great fun to throw rocks at the soldiers while they try and climb the ladders. And the hot boiling oil is a nasty but most fun feature.
The booklet mentions a fourth level called Stone Warts, but I never seen it and cant recall anyone who has played it. Judging from Crash Magazines review and my experience with the game, I'm safe to say that it's a bogus level on the Spectrum and you just return to the soldiers attack again. On the Atari and Commodore version, for what I'm aware of, there is in fact this level and another one called Ninja Orcs, that climb the castle walls without the help of ladders. I haven't played any of these two levels on those machines, so I cant tell what they play like, but I can ensure that there isn't any Stone Warts level on the Spectrum. Which is a real pity, for this is a really good game.

4,5 points

SQIJ!, 01 Mar 2010 (Rating: 1)

1987 The Power House (UK)
by Jason Creighton

How can you release a game and not test the controls first?!
Unplayable.
Jason was probably a teen back in the day. That's his excuse, what's The Power House's folks excuse?

Hint: Press Break and then POKE 23658,0 in order to turn Caps lock off, otherwise you wont be able to play the game.


Also check out the review Jason wrote about the game here on Spectrum 2.0, which seems to have been deleted:
http://www.shadowmagic.org.uk/spectrum/sqij.html

Everyone's a Wally, 01 Mar 2010 (Rating: 5)

1985 Mikrogen (UK)
by Chris Hinsley and Neil Struwick.

The third game in the Wally Week series.
Guide Wally's gang thru Wallyville, find the scattered combination numbers to open the safe and pay up the gang!
Seriously, this as to be one of the most emblematic games ever made to the Speccy, at least for me, excellent cartoon graphics, lots of color, a great city to explore, a good plot and an array of characters that everybody could relate to, reminding the TV series 'The Young Ones' (check out their game also).

This sort of game, was kind of a novelty back then, and even if you didn't know what to do, you could enjoy it just by exploring the city! Of course the writers didn't plan a Wally world just so you can wonder around the city, there is a plot, which I consider very compelling and with a nice depth to it. A true classic in my eyes!

Turmoil, 01 Mar 2010 (Rating: 4)

1984 Bug Byte (UK)
by David Turner

What happens when you don't get the deserved payment for your job? You start stealing cars from your filthy rich arab boss, Sheikh Abdul Al Kohol (Alcohol, get it?)!
Well Mic Mechanic, who is the sheiks mechanic man is fed up with it, so he gathers a plan to rob all the Sheikhs cars!
The Sheikh finds out and sends a couple of his personal guards to spoil Mic's plans.

Well, I always both loved and hated this game, just because it was so difficult. Jumping on springs and climb on ropes can be very irritating. I think the game is impossible to complete without infinite lives, specially in the later levels, mainly because of the unpredictable movements of the Arabs or even the height of the jump you get from the springs, which can be very random. In spite this, and although not one of the prettiest games around, it's still quite fun to escape the Arabs and to see if the next car is different.

It has some similarities to Automania or vice-versa (they are both from 1984) but Turmoil is a lot better!

Gameplay: 4.50
Graphics and sound: 3

Highway Encounter, 01 Mar 2010 (Rating: 5)

1985 Vortex Software (UK)
by Costa Panayi

This game always floods me with great memories...
The storyline is simple: Aliens have invaded earth. Your mission is to stop their advance and destroy their alien stronghold at Zone Zero. To do so you must guide the Lasertron detonator (the small squared object in front of the Vortons) to such Zone Zero. This will blow up the mother ship and all the aliens plans.

After all this years I still see this as the best sci-fi game on the Speccy. Simply brilliant!

The Dukes of Hazzard, 01 Mar 2010 (Rating: 4)

1985 Elite (UK)

If this game wasn't so difficult it would have been great. I love the graphics, the colours and the overall fell of the game.
In a way it is accurate with the original 80's TV show, the characters are all there in their cars. But I would have liked to see them outside their machines. Particularly Daisy! But hey, the main theme of the series was about cars, so there isn't much to complaint about that.
It's one of those games that brings me back some very happy memories. For me it is an absolute classic.

Keys:

M =accelerate (hit repeatedly)
Z=fire
X=Jump
;=change lane

Skool Daze, 01 Mar 2010 (Rating: 5)

1984 - Microsphere (UK)
by David Reidy and Keith Warrington

Probably the most original game ever made for the speccy followed by Trashman, in my perspective. Great plot in a very well thought out game. You could either just fool around, teasing teachers and colleagues or actually play the game, both ways provide great fun.
The authors later made the brilliant sequel "Back to Skool" has you all know, and later produced another lesser known gem but equally brilliant, within the same genre, called "Contact Sam Cruise", which is mandatory to any "Skool Daze" fan.

"Skool Daze" is by far one of the most iconic games of the Spectrum era.

Contact Sam Cruise, 01 Mar 2010 (Rating: 5)

From the authors of the excellent Skool Daze and Back to Skool. If you loved those two you will love this! This game continues in the same vein as the previous two, but with a thicker plot and even better graphics. You play the role of private eye detective Sam Cruise and your quest is to help your lovely client, Luscious Lana, in a case called the Bali Budgie. To do that you will need to contact a lot of the game characters for clues, and avoid being hit by the Mafia snipers. There are some details which are simply delicious, such as pieces of paper flying thru the air on streets, which you have to catch by jumping over them. The way characters use their arm to ring a bell, etc. You can even use disguises to obtain your results. The game has the same magic as did Skool Daze and Back to Skool. The only letdown is the fact that you can't see the inside of buildings as you did in the other 2 games (besides when standing by windows or on staircases) this makes the game less appealing and sometimes confusing in my view, although prettier, but less involving, still that doesn't diminish it a single bit of a byte. Simply brilliant!

Movie, 01 Mar 2010 (Rating: 5)

1986 Imagine Software (UK)
by Dusko Dimitrijevic, Dragoljub Andjelkovic, F.D. Thorpe (loading screen)

Just like 'Contact Sam Cruise' released that same year, you play the role of a private eye, who's goal is to recover an incriminating audio tape from the Mafia. To do so you must first contact a girl who has the right information of the whereabouts of the Mafia's base. And so the plot unfolds...

Movie was one of those games that grabbed my attention right from the start, the cool presentation, the atmosphere of the game, the beautiful graphics, all kept me going and exploring, even if I had no idea of what to do.
The nice details such as the TV set turned on (with white noise as the one only show), or the well decorated rooms, all add to go and explore the next room.

Excellent!

Turbo Esprit, 01 Mar 2010 (Rating: 5)

1986 - Durell
by Mike Richardson

You are a special agent riding your Lotus Turbo Esprit, and your goal is to catch an international drugs network.
Catch the criminals before they leave the city.
The origin of Grand Theft Auto? For me it surely is and without the unnecessary violence.
The way the car moved along with the city and the beauty of the 3D perspective was just brilliant back then.
You could love this game just by riding the car thru out the city without actualy playing the game. Great!

Bomb Jack, 01 Mar 2010 (Rating: 4)

1986 Elite (UK)
by Paul Holmes, Andy Williams and Karen Trueman

How do you reinvent Pac-Man? Have you noticed that almost every game has the old dot eating man as their inspiration? From the simple collect objects/avoid baddies routine found in games like Manic Miner to the complex missions of recent games such as 'Medal of Honor', where each mission, or a part of it, could represent a dot, Pac-man is always present (I'm stretching it, I know!).

But isn't life like a Pac-man game? Aren't we always searching for something or trying to solve our daily life problems? Aren't we all eating dots after dots and avoiding life's obstacles ?

Bomb Jack, another reinvented Pac-Man game, is one of the most playable, addictive games ever. It wouldn't be fair to call it original, but who cares! BJ is still a treat to play. If it wasn't so easy it would get a full 5 stars from me.

Jack and the Beanstalk, 01 Mar 2010 (Rating: 2)

1984 Thor Computer (UK)
by Chris and Steve Kerry

The playability is awful, no doubt about it. It takes endless hours of practice to know exactly where you can step on. But when you know where to land your feet, the game moves along. So if you like challenges this could be just perfect for you, but be prepared to be very patient! The graphics are quite nice and cute, full of colour. If the programmer was more careful this could turn out quite different.

Maziacs, 01 Mar 2010 (Rating: 4)

Explore the huge maze collecting treasures and fighting
those meannie Maziacs!!

Another great game from Don Priestley.

Micro Mouse Goes De-bugging, 01 Mar 2010 (Rating: 4)

1983 MC Lothlorien Ltd (UK)
by Steve Hughes

Help Micro Mouse avoid the mean bugs from stealing the letters and numbers from the BASIC program you are de-bugging on screen! When you succeed you will see the program being executed and move to the next program! How about that idea? This was made back in 1983 and I think this is one of the most original games ever made to the spectrum with nice cute colourful graphics. The game is full MACHINE CODE!

Jet Set Gertie, 01 Mar 2010 (Rating: 2)

Now here is a true Manic Miner clone and with a name like Jet Set Gertie! Gee-Wow! Pete Cooke (Tau Ceti, Urban Upstart, Juggernaut, Stunt Car Race) must have been joking, clearly!
But in a strange kind of way the first level is fun to play!
This game only appeared part of a 30 games compilation released by Argus Press back in 1985.
The question: What were you Cooking, hey Pete?!

Chopper Chase, 01 Mar 2010 (Rating: 3)

Funny chopper game! Rescue the little people, avoid ballons, planes, helis and score! 1984

Stunt Car Racer, 01 Mar 2010 (Rating: 4)

1989 Micro Style (UK)
by Geoff Crammond and Pete Cooke


Such a great game! If only it was released a couple years before I would have played it a lot more!
The Vector Graphics technique is used with lots of accuracy and it is one of the best I have ever seen. I only wish the cars were made with normal sprites so they looked a bit more natural. The movement of the wheels when they touch the ground is awesome, why they didn't do the same for the steering wheel while driving, I cant tell. A great racing simulation for 1989 and a great fun racing game.

Formula One, 02 Mar 2010 (Rating: 5)

1985 CRL (UK)
by Munday and Wheelhouse

The best Strategy/Management F1 game ever made on the Speccy. It's incredible how no one has ever come up with a similar game that even scratches the quality of this one.
Me and my pals from my youth loved the racing screen, because it looked so real!
What a great game. If you love this you will also love Endurance, from the same authors and a similar game to F1 but for motorcycle racing!

Endurance, 02 Mar 2010 (Rating: 4)

From the same authors of CRL's Formula One, Endurance puts you behind a motorcicle racing team. With a very similar look and style to F1, but with a few changes that were more than welcome. Not as good as F1, maybe because of the novelty factor, but also a great management game!

Kokotoni Wilf, 02 Mar 2010 (Rating: 4)

The first game I ever played on my Speccy!
I think I lost the original tape, because I cant remember playing it for several years.
Cant think of a better game to play for the first time for a 10 year old.
The graphics are very appealling, lots of colours with little clash, enough sound and simple enough gameplay so you could get into the game quickly.
I think its a memorable game for any kid in 1984. Great!

Molar Maul, 02 Mar 2010 (Rating: 3)

1983 - Imagine (UK)
by John Gibson and Steve Blower

In this nutty game your job is to protect your mouth against all those sugary tasty candy which you insist in devouring! Use your heroic brush and stop the Dentorium Kamikazium spreading on your teeth!
A tipical 1982/83 game, full of funny characters and colour!

Game Over, 02 Mar 2010 (Rating: 3)

1987 Dinamic
by Snatcho


Fight the army of Terminators leaded by the beautiful but evil queen Gremla, guiding her once faithful warrior, Arkos, after he discovered the evil plans of the queen.
The problem with spanish software, curiously, is the same with games of today I think, great graphics but bad gameplay.
Loved the title name, and my reset button did too!

Jumping Jack, 02 Mar 2010 (Rating: 4)

1983 Imagine Software (UK)
by Albert and Stuart Ball

I always remember playing this game for about 2 or 3 plays and them resetting the computer, it was so frustrating it really got on my nerves! So patience is REQUIRED to play this game.
Nonetheless it is a Spectrum classic, helping jack jump up the floors 'til he reached the top, thru all twenty screens.
In each screen Jack regains a rhyme of a poem and has to recite it in the end! Jump, Jack, jump! Aw, shucks! *reset*

3,5 points

Yie Ar Kung-Fu, 02 Mar 2010 (Rating: 4)

1985 Imagine (UK)
by Brian Beuken, F. D. Thorpe and Martin Galway

You play the oriental martial arts champ Oolong trying to become a grandmaster in the ancient art of Kung Fu.
As would be expected, Oolong as to fight and win a variety of opponents, each deadlier than the last.

The game is not as good as Exploding Fist, but still delivers great fighting scenes and plenty of beat 'em up action. I always loved the cartoonish style of the characters, which are kind of weird but fun and original at the same time. One of my most loved games on the spectrum!

World Series Basketball, 02 Mar 2010 (Rating: 5)

1985 Imagine Software (UK)
by Ian Morrison, David Anderson and F. D. Thorpe (loading screen)

The first proper basketball simulator, and still one of the best ever on the ZX.
A bit slow at times, but still very playable and challenging, the graphics are nicely drawn too!
The game has a few bugs, the worst of all is the buffer overflow bug that happens when the ball is thrown outside the court within a specific place and continues on the other side, the game isn't interrupted but its impossible to continue, because the ball keeps coming from the margins of the court into the playing area and again moving outside of the screen until the game simply crashes.
Put this aside and you end up with a great sports game.

World Series Baseball, 02 Mar 2010 (Rating: 4)

1985 Imagine Software (UK)
by Ian Morrison, David Anderson and F. D. Thorpe

This game belongs in the Imagine World Series, together with another game, both were quite good.
I always thought the graphics in 'W.S.Baseball' were a bit childish, but amusing, and entertained me even when i wasn't in the mod for playing.
The screen layout really gave a great atmosphere to the game, especially when the cheerleaders made their appearance.
The game mechanism functioned quite well and was easy to get into. Simple but effective.
It isn't the classic in which 'W.S. Basketball' would turn out, but it was still a worth game having.

L.s.d., 02 Mar 2010 (Rating: 3)

From the authors of Formula One!

A Gambling game. This was their first released game back in 1984, and it showed their potencial.
Written in BASIC it comprised horse racing, stock exchange, dog racing, property, commodities market and mini roullette all-in-one and with personalized screen for each game. The horse and dog racing were quite good routines, having even a turn-left in the dog race.

Worth checking.

The real name is spelt £.s.d. and not 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' :p

Chuckie Egg, 02 Mar 2010 (Rating: 5)

1984 A'n'F Software (UK)
by Nigel Alderton

Even better than Manic Miner.
This was a real fast arcade game where you had to think quickly, specially from level 9 on, when the crazy duck comes out of the cage after you! Brutal! Still a challenge. A classic.

Moonlight Magic, 03 Mar 2010 (Rating: 2)

Nice colours, funny graphics. Becames addictive until you lose your patience with the bad controls.

Footballer of the Year 2, 03 Mar 2010 (Rating: 3)

The goal scoring idea is quite good, but it lacks the graphic, sound (has none) and playability qualities it had in the previous game.

Footballer of the Year, 03 Mar 2010 (Rating: 4)

If it wasnt so easy, it would be a 5 star game!

And why is Benfica misspelled?! Uh! I always hated that!!

European Superleague, 03 Mar 2010 (Rating: 3)

Wow, this could have been such a good football management game if only the match screen wasnt so clumsy.
3 and a half stars shinning!

3D Painter, 03 Mar 2010 (Rating: 2)

A mixture of Painter and Cruising on Broadway both a lot better.
Playable but boring, but hey, this was just 1983.

Cruising on Broadway, 03 Mar 2010 (Rating: 4)

Now here is a fast game!

The graphics are non existing, the sound is nice, but nothing special.

But the game-play .. wow!

Very enerving and very addictive!

Number 96 in the Your Sinclair Best games Ever top 100!

Pheenix, 03 Mar 2010 (Rating: 4)

Everybody played it, everybody loved it!

A classic spectrum conversion from the famous Phoenix coin-up!

A typical 1983 Shoot-em-up and an all-time classic Spectrum game!

Benny Hill's Madcap Chase!, 03 Mar 2010 (Rating: 4)

Don Priestley's Popeye, Flunky, Gregory Loses his Clock and both Trapdoors are some of the very best games made for the Spectrum (ehm, in my humble opinion, that is) and if Benny Hill Madcap Chase wasn't so simple it would be too!

Alien Evolution, 04 Mar 2010 (Rating: 4)

1987 - Gremlin Graphics
by Marco Paulo Carrasco and Rui Manuel Tito from Portugal.

An Ant Attack look-a-like but here you guide a spaceship.

The game objective is also diferent. Also has a better controling method.

Very nice game.

Super League, 08 Mar 2010 (Rating: 4)

"First came 'Football Manager'...
... and then there was 'Super League'."

Before 'Football Director', this 2 were the only ones worth playing.

Who Said That?, 09 Mar 2010 (Rating: 2)

Another rip off by Harry S Price.

Based on 'Micro Mouse Goes De-bugging'

Colin the Cleaner, 09 Mar 2010 (Rating: 2)

Another rip off by Harry S Price.

Based on 'Frank N Stein' from 84 and 'Ralph on Alpha 2' from 85.

Crimebusters inc., 09 Mar 2010 (Rating: 2)

Yet another rip off by Harry S Price.

Based on 'Spellbound'.

Don't Say It, Spray It, 09 Mar 2010 (Rating: 1)

...and yet another rip-off by Harry S Price.

Based on 'One Man and his Droid'.

Dusty Droid and the Garbage Gobblers, 09 Mar 2010 (Rating: 2)

'Dusty Droid and the Garbage Gobblers ' and 'Ghostly Grange' both are rip-off by Harry S Price, based on 'Rocket Man Mike'.

Ghostly Grange, 09 Mar 2010 (Rating: 1)

'Ghostly Grange' and 'Dusty Droid and the Garbage Gobblers' both are rip-off by Harry S Price, based on 'Rocket Man Mike'.

I Aint Got Nobody, 09 Mar 2010 (Rating: 1)

Another rip off by Harry S Price.
(Whats new?)

Based on ' Caves of Doom'.

Knightfall, 09 Mar 2010 (Rating: 1)

Yes you guessed it:

Another rip off by Harry S Price.


This time based on 'Rock 'n' Roll'.

Ku-Ku, 09 Mar 2010 (Rating: 3)

You guessed it again:

Another rip off by Harry S. Price.

This time based on 'Sabre Wulf' and 'Project Future'. Any credit can go for SOME of the colorful graphics which certainly took some work to do.

Gangplank, 09 Mar 2010 (Rating: 1)

'Gangplank' and 'Mind your Head' both are rip-offs by Harry S Price, based on 'Icicle Works', which in turn is a Boulder Dash clone.

Mind Your Head, 09 Mar 2010 (Rating: 1)

'Mind Your Head' and 'Gangplank' both are rip-offs by Harry S Price, based on 'Icicle Works'.

Mutations, 09 Mar 2010 (Rating: 1)

Another Harry S Price rip-off.

Based on 'Spawn of Evil' by Don Priestley.
If you want to play it choose the original.

Odd Job Eddie, 11 Mar 2010 (Rating: 2)

Another Harry S Price rip-off.

Based on 'Pyramania'

Zolyx, 11 Mar 2010 (Rating: 3)

A 'Qix' like game. Very playable.

International Match Day, 28 Mar 2010 (Rating: 4)

Due to only having European teams it should be called "European Match Day".
It has some nice new presentation features, but not more than that, it's just the old Match Day in a new package.
And I still prefer the original.

Bounces, 01 Apr 2010 (Rating: 4)

1986 Beyond Software (UK)
by Steve Cain and Simon Butler

I always loved this game, but I have to agree it look a bit obsolete nowadays.
Basically it is a futuristic mix of Squash and Boxing (yes, play it) with two medieval characters as players, although the cover displays a different set of uniforms.
The graphics are the usual Denton Design standard, which means they are always good and well animated.
It can be quite challenging and fun once you get used to the controls. A feature I always wanted to see in it was the inclusion of a few more different players and a sort of league were to compete.

Missile Defence, 14 Apr 2010 (Rating: 5)

Great game. Great conversion.
Even nowadays its realy fun to play.
Fast and furious.
Love the sound!

Bewarehouse, 03 Oct 2010 (Rating: 4)

A funny little game that becames so addictive after a few plays that you really dont notice the simplicity of it.
Just for that I give it a 4!

Ah Diddums, 08 Oct 2010 (Rating: 2)

1983 - Imagine
by David Lawson

The object here is to guide your teddy bear back to it's nursery along 99 levels.
In each screen you must build a set of steps using playing blocks
and escape to the next level.

The game got voted winner of the C&VG 1983 Golden Joystick Awards in the category of Best Original Game (!?).
It even surpassed Ant Attack (3ºplace) and Pssst! (2ºplace)?! And now gets a very low rate on WOS. Ain't life funny?

Lunar Jetman, 10 Oct 2010 (Rating: 4)

JETMAN has to destroy all of the enemy bases before the imminent destruction of the strange planet he landed on after the malfunction of his spaceship. Using only
his Hyperglide Moon Rover to collect and assemble the needed equipment.

Great graphics, great sound, great keyboard response, hard but possible to complete.
What more can you ask for ?
Well probably more than just five lives.
Would twenty do the trick??

Jetpac, 10 Oct 2010 (Rating: 4)

1983 Ultimate (UK)
by Tim and Chris Stamper

A very nice game, very well programmed and very addictive. I would say it is a bit overrated, but then I remember this was just a 16K game.

The object of the game is to assemble pieces of Rocket Ships, fuel them and travel to a new destination.
I think it lacks variety in the screens, the only changes are in the type of aliens attacking you and the ship you have to build. So after a while it can became repetitive. This put me off the game several times. Something that never happened with games such as Manic Miner.
But after all its only a 16k game.

I for that only I rise my rating to a round 4.

Quebra-Cabecas, 06 Dec 2010 (Rating: 4)

A superb and difficult puzzle game.

Keys are: O,P,Q,A and SPACE

MENU:
1.PLAY (jogar)
2.LOAD (carregar)
3.SAVE (gravar)
4.INSTRUCTIONS (instruções)
5.RESTART GAME (reiniciar)

M-MENU
S-LEAVE (sair)

Wheelie, 15 Dec 2010 (Rating: 5)

1983 by Microsphere (UK)

One of the best games ever released to the Speccy! Hard to imagine this was made in '83.
Smooth game control, great motorcycling action!
Guide your four cylinder fuel-injected turbo-charged Zedexaki 500 thru Nightmare Park where you are trapped. Your only way out is to find the ghostrider and win a race against him on each level until you find your way out.
Just great!!

By the way is the author of this game also a ghost? Does anyone know who wrote the early Microsphere games?

Road Racer, 03 Jan 2011 (Rating: 2)

Was this game the inspiration for Cliff Hanger??

City Patrol, 24 Jan 2011 (Rating: 5)

1982 - Macronics - By Don Priestley

Here you can see the quality on Don's skill as a programmer still in its early days.

Guide your spaceship thru a city and destroy the enemy suicide ships. Beware not to destroy any buildings.

The detail of the city moving in parallax-scrolling behind you is genius.

Thank you Don.

Chain Reaction, 26 Jan 2011 (Rating: 4)

Original use of isometric 3D graphics, distancing itself from the tons of games in the vein of Knight Lore.

The game plot being the only letdown because of its simplicity, but if you prefer action to adventure, this is for you.

Lunar Landing, 26 Jan 2011 (Rating: 1)

A Type in game from Mike A. Richardson(Scuba Dive, Turbo Esprit, Thanatos fame) space docking game. Really should not be present in the authors brilliant catalog.

Cyclone, 01 Feb 2011 (Rating: 5)

1985 Vortex (UK)
by Costa Panayi


Very Similar to the prequel T.L.L. (Tornado Low Level)) but a lot more complex in terms of gameplay.
You operate an Helicopter thru an archipelago of small islands. Some are inhabited and some are not.
Your mission is to find five crates while rescuing people stuck on the islands who are about to be struck by an imminent cyclone. You have to browse every island looking for the crates and this may risk your fuel levels or lead you directly into the eye of the storm. Once this happens you say bye bye to your chopter...

Another superb game by Costa Panayi, one of the heros of the Spectrum age.

Gregory Loses His Clock, 15 Feb 2011 (Rating: 5)

1989 Mastertronic Plus (UK)
by Don Priestley

The story is quite interesting. It goes as follows: An evil ghost breaks down Gregory's clock into five pieces and scatters them around 4 weird dream scape zones.
In order to Gregory wake up in the morning and go to work, he must find the 4 pieces and take them to an old clock mender.

Don Priestley only produced hits and GLHC is no exception! The big colorful animated sprites are Don's trade mark and add so much to his games. But even without them, this game would still be awesome.

Hyperaction, 22 Feb 2011 (Rating: 5)

1984 Silversoft (UK)
By Iain Christopher Hayward and Jay Derrett

Just brilliant. In my opinion one of the best games ever written for the Spectrum.
A Mix between Pac-man and Pengo, with incredible gameplay.
Don't despair if you find the game difficult. There is nothing that a bit of perseverance can't handle.
The game came with a second version on the b-side. Characters are swapped, so you are able to play with a baddie, instead of the hero.

Christmas Cracker, 24 Feb 2011 (Rating: 3)

A great platform game, with everything going for it but the content.
It is too easy and quick to finish. But I guess the author had that planned.

Sarlmoor, 01 Mar 2011 (Rating: 3)

1986 Atlantis Software (UK)
by Colin Jones

An Average shoot-em-up and maze game with different types of levels.
The presentation is awesome, sound is great, graphics are ok.
The gameplay becames boring after a while, speccially level one.
Colin Jones was always unusual, with games such as iD, Rockstar ate my Hamster, etc, and you can see that in here.

1942, 03 Mar 2011 (Rating: 4)

1986 - Elite
by Dominic Wood

One of the best games of the genre.

The Spectrum conversion is great, although gameplay isnt as fluid as Flying Shark for instance. But at least you can see the enemy aproaching as also his fire, something sometimes hard to see in other games.

Flying Shark, 03 Mar 2011 (Rating: 4)

A very similar game to '1942'. Was Taito inspired in cloning the Capcom game or was it a coincidence?
Nevertheless the game pushes the bar higher and ends up being even better. In my view, though, it's spoiled by the background colors. The enemy fire is hard to see in too many parts of the game.
Other than that, the game is pretty good, but I still prefer the Capcom game.

Cyber Rats, 21 Mar 2011 (Rating: 4)

Probably the best centipede version I ever played.
Check out this bomb from the same author: Hyperaction

Killer Knight, 06 May 2011 (Rating: 2)

1984 Phipps Associates (UK)
by Tony Barber

Isn't this a Donkey Kong clone?
Here the giant gorilla is replaced by a giant mounted black Knight who is responsible for kidnapping our hero's beloved princess.
The object of the game? ...well, have you ever played Donkey Kong?
A strange release from the author of Cauldron, Panzadrome and Think.

Trivia: It uses graphics from Football Manager for our hero (!)

iD, 06 May 2011 (Rating: 5)

1986 Nu Wave Software (UK)
by Mel Croucher and Colin Jones

For years and years this game was to me one the most disturbing and misterious games I ever played.
The games object is to find the IDentity of the games entity, who has lost all memory of its own existence.

Along the way you will be asked some strange questions and those will help ID (the entity) to remember his awesome secrets, one by one.
His trust will increase each time your answers satisfies him.

The game obvious appeal is to discover who is this entity, (older than the world itself, he says).
But the greatest appeal to me was always the helpless feelings, his despair, and ID's emotional responses so human-like, and sometimes so disturbing and confusing you just had to help!

A superb Puzzle/Adventure game.

Lombrix, 09 May 2011 (Rating: 4)

A funny little game (a mix between Pac-man and Centipede) with 36 different screens(!) that envolves a bit of strategy and quick reflexes, with a lot of puzzles to solve, some quite tricky.

I think the sound is great, the gameplay excelent although I cant really tell if the author meant the control of your 'Lombrix' to be so eratic but if he did, well it may not please everyone, but it sure adds more chalenging.

I remember a pirate version where you only reached the 3 level and the word "pirate" would appear along with a siren sound making the game stop.

For those who cant read french (the initial menu):

1.Play
2.Redefine Keys
3.Load


Give it a try!

Macadam Bumper, 09 May 2011 (Rating: 2)

1985 ERE Informatique (France)
by Remi Herbulot

Probably the first pinball game I've played.
Personally I never did like to see these type of games converted to the computer, and this one only brings me a couple of good memories, mostly from my childhood mates, because as a game it's fairly primitive, despite the captivating loading screen or the table picture. There are definitely better pinball games around even earlier than 1985.

Blade Alley, 09 May 2011 (Rating: 3)

1983 PSS (UK)

Simple shoot-em-up and avoid enemy aliens game.
Very colourful and cherful. The planes design is very simple but efective. I speacially like the effect given to show movement using blocks of colour alternately changing colours.

Later in 85 inspired 'Buck Rogers' with a very similar game. both games can be seem as a continuation of each other. A good news for fans

Blind Alley, 09 May 2011 (Rating: 3)

1983 Sunshine Books software (UK)
by Simon Lane

Wow! Talk about a difficult game! How I hate this game!!
Luckily it was just a bonus B-side on Pac-man, so no money was spent on it.

But the truth is I always came back to play and try passing the middle levels, which I never did.

Now, after all this years, I can honestly say it is a very challenging game and deserves not to be on YOUR hate list, because it is no longer on mine!

3,5 points

Tribble Trubble, 10 May 2011 (Rating: 4)

1984 Software Projects (UK)
by Jim Scarlett

What an incredible game!
Amazing how I hated this game as a kid and now fell in love with it. So simple yet so tricky to play.
Apparently it's said that the game is based on a Star Trek episode called ‘The Trouble With Tribbles.’
So you guide Brian Skywalker (there you go) and his trouble Tribbles thru the 5 screens, performing all the necessary tasks. Make sure you lead your mini Tribbles way from danger.
Cute graphics, nice colors, good sound, and an excellent gameplay that gradually becomes very addictive.
Just try it!

Flip Flap, 10 May 2011 (Rating: 2)

1984 Supersavers Software (UK)
by Jim Scarlett

Another pinball game that never got far.
Mainly because it becames a bit boring after a while (dont all computer pinball games do??!) also the ball moves almost always in the same velocity and your actions dont affect the ball's trajectory that much.
It had a serious bug: If you pressed the key 4 it would "C: Nonsense in Basic, 1:6"
although it was programmed mainly in code machine.
The good thing is that it has 20 table levels to play with.

Keys:
1 and 2 for left sides
9 and 0 for right sides

Sorcery, 10 May 2011 (Rating: 2)

A poor arcade adventure game.

Guide your Sorcerer thru the lands and find the secrets to defeat the evil Necromancer.


It had some nice graphics but nothing special and for 1984 it was really outdated.

Blade Runner, 10 May 2011 (Rating: 3)

You, a blade runner, have to track down and terminate twenty-four renegade replidroids who hijacked a ship in space.

Guide your futuristic(?) car around the streets in pursuit of this synthetic runaways, when you track them down, you slide into action in the streets with a laser gun.

Watch out, not to blast away any passing pedestrians or get killed by the replidroids.

The more replidroids killed, the more money you make.

Well that's it...

The game lacks variety and thus becames boring really fast.

Derby Day, 10 May 2011 (Rating: 4)

1983 - CRL

A classic gambling game.

A horse racing game written in plain BASIC, very colourful and cheerful.

Let honest Clive lead you to fortune (or misery)!

Later the same year it was re-release with some improvements under the name 'Grand National'. And in 86 came out 'Sport of Kings' which basically had the same features plus a few more and perfected graphics and details.

Commando, 11 May 2011 (Rating: 5)

You play Super Joe, the crack combat soldier equipped with only an M60 machine
gun and six hand grenades.
Your quest is to defeat the enemy rebel forces while penetrating further the enemy lines.

What a game this was in the arcade machines. Me and my buddy walked miles just to get to the nearest arcade.

I still remember our conversations about how cool it would be if this game existed on the spectrum, and then... MAGIC!
A few weeks later there it was on the shelves!!

Still one of the spectrum best games ever.

Emlyn Hughes International Soccer, 11 May 2011 (Rating: 5)

Your Sinclair magazine only rated this game a 5 out of 10 in '89.

A game that combined strategy and action, so very well, specially the action part, should have had more respect people!!

The strategy part is a bit more basic so that may have influenced the review.

I think if this game had been released before Match Day, the Ocean game would simply disappear in the memory of us all, together with all the other action football games.

I still love Match Day but just because it was so new and exciting back them, today if I play an action football game it as to be Emlyn Hughes.

The Custard Kid, 12 May 2011 (Rating: 3)

1985 New Generation (UK)

Atic Atac meets Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory.
Our hero has to find 12 recipes in a giant 600 room maze custard factory. Objects must be used, gadgets utilized.
Nothing new here, except for the bleak and somewhat violent features in some rooms and the fact that up to 4 people can play together. If you like big maze style games this may be for you.

The Lords of Midnight, 12 May 2011 (Rating: 5)

1984 Beyond Software (UK)
by Mike Singleton

Based upon JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Mike Singleton's epic graphic adventure lives up well to its inspiration.
Your quest is to overthrow the evil Witch king Doomdark, who controls the north half of the land of Midnight.
This being said seems to be a simple task. It isn't. You must assume the role of Luxor, the Moonprince who wears the powerful moonring.

You can however control 3 other characters, Morkin (Luxor's Son), Rorthron the Wise and Corleth the Fey.
It may help to read or watch the Lord of the rings saga.
Lords of Midnight is one of the best graphical adventures ever created on our beloved Speccy and quite ahead of it's time.

Football Manager, 13 May 2011 (Rating: 5)

1982 - Addictive games (UK)
written by Keith Toms

For today's standards this game may appear to be very limited (well it is, of course!), but for a long time this was the undisputed king of football managing.
Than came 'Football Director', 'Tracksuit Manager', 'The Double', 'Professional Soccer', etc, all with some novelty to it and Football Manager was left behind.
Nonetheless it maintained a cult status and it's still visited and venerated today by lots of speccy lovers.
It was magical I may add, even though that word may not suit a soccer game. But any kid who played this in 1982/3 will know what I mean.

I still find the action scenes and the championship winner screen very funny today.
A spectrum classic and a genre creator.

Football Director, 13 May 2011 (Rating: 5)

1986 D&H Games (UK)
Written by Tony Huggard and John de Salis


Before this game there were only a few others like 'Football Manager' and clones.
And if 'Football Manager' created a genre of strategy games, 'Football Director' managed to push the genre a little further.
The chance to play against a friend, for instance, is a great feature. But there are a lot more, like youth teams, where you can "grow" your future stars.
The game doesn't have any action scenes, you watch the games highlights on text, such as goals, faults, and injuries. All in "real-time" (in fact 90 minutes will only take about 3 minutes).
All of the game is in text. No graphics whatsoever. And you would except some monotony to install. Wrong!
From beginning to end you have an exciting football management game, that still is fresh and very playable today.

Cavelon, 25 May 2011 (Rating: 4)

1984 Ocean (UK)
by Paul Owens, Christian Urquhart and F. D. Thorpe

Cavelon takes us inside a maze game, old style looking, with plenty of action and thrills.
The storyline is simple. Cavelon, the Knight, with the help of his loyal friend - the mighty Excalibur - has to travel thru six levels (floors) of a castle where a powerful wizard lives and rules the land. On each floor Cavelon has to collect all the pieces of a door to put it together while fighting other Knights and Archers, once the door is built, he must flee thru the exit. When he finally reaches the final floor he must face the evil wizard in a man to man battle. The wizard will use all his magic gimmicks on you, so be aware.
I used to play this endlessly, even with it's high difficulty level. One of my favorite parts was in fact the intro sequence, which I still find delightful.
Quite a nice game, simple in its layout and story but with a nice gameplay and appeal.

Tapper, 25 May 2011 (Rating: 5)

1985 US Gold / Ocean Software (UK)

In the addictive Tapper you play the role of a busy bartender trying to keep his ever thirsty customers attended on time. While you do that the customers leave you valuable tips if you satisfy them.
Between levels you have to play a game of guessing with the Soda Bandit, which is kind of random but fun anyway.
A great conversion from the arcade machines and still worthy of playing this days.

Splitting Images, 25 May 2011 (Rating: 5)

A fantastic puzzle game. Possibly the best for the Spectrum.

The graphics are great, gameplay is brilliant, great sound as well, and if only the themes on each puzzle were a bit less 80's personality influenced, the game would still appeal today to younger audiences.

Cybernoid, 25 May 2011 (Rating: 5)

You, a Federation future soldier, have the mission to retrieve a stolen cargo from the storage depots by enemy raiders.
If you fail to reach the depots within the time limit or if the value of your retrieved cargo is insufficent you lose the game.

A great Shoot-em-up game with a bit of strategy in it.

The graphics are superb and the action is only beaten by it's sequel Cybernoid II the revenge.

Cybernoid II: The Revenge, 25 May 2011 (Rating: 5)

In this sequel the enemy pirates have returned, and seem to have once more plundered the Federation storage depots. Your task is to retrieve the stolen cargo to its right place.
If Cybernoid was great, the sequel is simply superb.
From the quality of the graphics to the excelente and challenging gameplay this game is a Spectrum, sometimes forgotten, classic!

The Rocky Horror Show, 26 May 2011 (Rating: 5)

1985 CRL (UK)
by Jeff Lee, Ian Ellery, Jared and Jay Derrett

Your loved one (either Janet or Brad) has been abducted by the evil Dr. Frank'n'Furter who has activated the diabolical Medusa machine to turn her/him into solid stone.

However, Dr. Frank has also dismantled the De-Medusa, another machine that has been designed to reverse the petrification process, and has scattered the parts around the castle. Your quest is to collect the pieces and assemble the De-Medusa machine in a specific place, and by so saving your beloved from turning into solid stone.

The game was adapted from a movie with the same name. And like the movie you find yourself surrounded by strangeness.
Very playable, nice graphics and with an amazing old movie horror atmosphere.

Glug Glug, 26 May 2011 (Rating: 5)

CRL 1984 (UK)
by Steve Evans

You play a diver who must recover as much treasures at the bottom of the sea he can find.
Fight Piranhas, Giant Squids, Sea Mines, White Sharks, Octopus and Giant crabs.
I played it endless hours, didn't we all? An all time classic .

4,5 points

Split Personalities, 31 May 2011 (Rating: 5)

A fantastic puzzle game. Probably the best of the Spectrum age.

The graphics are great, gameplay is brilliant, great sound as well and if only the themes on each puzzle were a bit less 80's personality influenced, the game would still appeal today to newer audiences.

The Great Escape, 02 Jun 2011 (Rating: 5)

1986 - Ocean

A fantastic game where you play the role of a prisoner of war in a high security P.O.W. Camp. Your duty: well... to escape!
It's quite exciting planning the best escape route while still maintaining "appearances" and playing along with the prison routines.
An unanimous classic and one of the best games for the spectrum.

Headcoach, 02 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1986 Addictive Games (UK)
by Simon Davies

An American football strategy game in the likes of 'Football Manager'.
Pick a team from six divisions in the AFC or NFC east, west or central sections.
Prepare your best squad and go and win the championship.
If you are a 'Football Manager' fan you should enjoy this one.

Software Star, 02 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1985 Addictive Games (UK)
by Kevin Toms

After the brilliant 'Football Manager', Kevin Toms experienced the nightmare of any artist: How to create another masterpiece such as the first?
Very few make it, and Kevin didn't (he came close with Football Manager II).

Your goal in Software Star is to became a ...software star (like Kev is!). Programming, producing and selling your software and trying to top the charts.
Despite simple in some areas the game has its obvious appeal and can became addictive if you love this type of games.
It's not a masterpiece but it sure was another good idea from the FM creator.

President, 02 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1987 Addictive Games
by Kevin Toms

Another strategy game from the author of 'Football Manager'
You play the elected President of a dubious democracy. Your mandate will expire after 2 years. Within that time you have to run your country as best as you can.
Keep your population fed and healthy, fight the neighboring countries and drill for oil to keep the economy running.
Like Football Manager the outcome of your decisions are a bit random, but this was a given for a lot of management games back in the 80's, and people still played them, which may seem stupid for kids of today. I seldom play them now, mostly for nostalgia, but back then things were different and choices few not to mention we were just kids and didn't care much for details.

Needless to say it's not as enjoyable as Don Priestley's 'Dictator' which was release 3 years earlier, making 'President' look dated, and neither as accurate as later games within the genre would be, but still a fun management game for the 80's.

Dictator, 02 Jun 2011 (Rating: 5)

1983 DK'tronics (UK)
by Don Priestley

Dictator was my first war strategy game. The player incarnates the dictator of a small banana republic called Ritimba, somewhere lost in central equatorial america.
Your goal is to rule as long as possible, and still keep everyone pleased. You need to fight the guerrillas and your belligerent neighbor Leftoto, but still maintaining peace and your country status. The dark side of the game is while you do all this you also divert the meager cash balance of your country to a Swiss bank account. If you get caught you either will be killed by the hungry peasants or you manage to escape via helicopter.
For your protection there is even a secret police, which must be dealt carefully, otherwise you'll end up like Kennedy. Hey FBI, I'm only joking eheheh, ahm, eheh, gulp *sweating*
Overall a very entertaining game, and although not the most accurate, it's still lots of fun.

Beach-Head, 02 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1984 US Gold (UK)

Your aim is to penetrate the enemy defensive powers one by one and capture the last standing enemy fortress.
The plot is played in 5 different parts (plus 1 repeated) which gives the game a lot of variety, but not enough. There's battles in sea and in land, making you feel like a super rambo, or just that unlucky soldier who foughts in all fronts.

This was a game I played a lot as a kid but not as much as Raid Over Moscow also by the same authors.
A slightly better sequel made it's appearence sortly after.

3,5 points

Beach-Head II, 02 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1985 - US Gold Ltd

Beach Head II - The Dictator Strikes Back!

The Dictator is known has the Dragon and he has rebuilt his army and is now challenging the Allies force in the Pacific.
You, Stryker, A veteran Allie commander, lead the attack against the dictator's
forces.

This time the game is played only in 5 different screens, all full of action like in the first Beach Head.

The game follows up quite nicely his predecessor.

Striker, 03 Jun 2011 (Rating: 5)

1989 Cult Games (UK)
by Adam Parker, William Parker and Shaun McClure

The game is all about you trying to be a successful footballer as a striker, hence the game's name.
It starts when you are at the age of 18 and ends when you reach the critical age of 34!

The game includes 4 English divisions, and some german, italian, spanish and french divisions.
A good thing about the game is that there are lots of things to be won, such as the championship leagues, best scorer, cup medals and international championships while you progress on your career.

'Striker' is mainly a strategy game with a small, but totally indispensable action element, that turned this into one of the most addictive games of all time for the Spectrum. It's a lot harder than Footballer of the Year, which may explain it's longevity and cult status. If it weren't for the messy graphics I would rate this with a solid 5, nevertheless it still deserves to be called a classic.

4,5 points

Stop the Express, 03 Jun 2011 (Rating: 5)

1983 Sinclair Research
by Hudson Soft

The story is simple: You happen to be on the roof of a train apparently out of control.
Being the hero it's your job to go and stop the train from wrecking.
Of course, like in all games life ain't easy for the hero, and obstacles are necessary. The doors between carriages have all been locked and appears a gang of saboteurs are behind all of this.
Your task is to go thru all the carriages, avoiding the baddies who shoot giant bullets at you, well actually they throw them at you, until you reach the locomotive and stop the uncontrolled Express.

My first glance at this game many years ago was of excitement. I loved everything about it.
And despite finding it hard, it was really fun and incredible to look at.
Now today, after long years, I can firmly claim that this is actually very easy to complete, I finished it in a few plays. So a long loved game became a sort of a disappointment. Mainly because it is too short. The train has 20 carriages, and 3 stages, the first stage happens on top of the first 10 carriages, the second stage inside the rest of the train, then you reach the the key room which is the last stage (not mentioned in the game) and finally the locomotive. When complete the game restarts without resetting the score and the enemies then start appearing also from the front. For such an early game, and intended for the 16K, I can only consider it to be one of the best games ever released for this machine.
Although short its still very playable and fun.

Note: By the time I wrote this review I noticed the authors name wasn't attributed. It only claimed to be made by Hudson Soft. But I have found some clues that may lead to F.Itagaki. He authored a game called 'Itasundorious' also released by Hudson Soft. Now if you notice this game has the first syllable of Itagaki's name. Now returning to 'Stop the Express', can you remember the name of the express in which the action takes place? Exactly it happens aboard the ITA Express.
And what about the 'CongratuRation! You Sucsess!' message in the end?
Coincidence? Written by a japanese? I really don't know, but it sure looks like F.Itagaki was involved in the game.

Galivan - Cosmo Police, 03 Jun 2011 (Rating: 2)

1986 - Imagine
by John Gibson and Karen Davies

You play the role of the last surviving member of The Cosmo Police.
Your job is to neutralize all the defences of the vile Cynep, that has taken control of the galaxy and end his evil reign.
A simple game in plot and gameplay.
The controls are not responsive enough and the scrooling seems to drag making the game quite irritating.

Green Beret, 03 Jun 2011 (Rating: 5)

1986 Imagine (UK)
by Jonathan Smith

Another solitaire-soldier on a-mission-game, you are a Green Beret, a highly trained combat machine.
You have the difficult mission of infiltrating in all enemy defense installations on your own and rescue the 4 captive comrades!
An impossible mission maybe to you and me, but not to a pixelized Rambo type-guy.

This superb game was written by the late Jonathan Smith, remember his signatures, some with the letters backwards others mixed together?
No?
Well, but I bet you remember the countless hours playing his magnificent games, like this one - an all time classic!

Mikie, 03 Jun 2011 (Rating: 5)

1985 Imagine (UK)
by Jonathan Smith, Martin Galway and F.D.Thorpe

In this colourful game, you play the role of a schoolboy called Mikie, he has decided to take a message to his girlfriend (and possibly followed by a massage, I'm just guessing!).
To do so Mikie has to go thru 5 different zones: the classroom,
the locker room, the canteen, the gymnasium and the schoolyard.
He has to collect all the hearts on each screen, which represent a letter for his message, so he can move on to the next.
Mikie is one of my all time favorites. It's a game full of action, colour and fun moments.
Another great conversion from Jonathan M. Smith.

Hyper Sports, 03 Jun 2011 (Rating: 5)

1985 - Imagine
by Jonathan Smith (R.I.P.)

One of the best sports games ever.

Excelent graphics, excelent gameplay, great sound, everything in it even down to its humour is simply brilliant.

Swimming, Skeet shooting, long Horse Jump, Archery, Tripple Jump and WeightLifting.

A Classic.

Pedro, 03 Jun 2011 (Rating: 3)

1984 - Imagine (UK)
by Frank Johnson, Ally Noble, Dawn Jones, Fred Gray, Abdul Hafiz Ibrahim and Steve Cain

Pedro is a mexican gardener, so good he is, the animals around are addicted to his plantations.
So Pedro must stop the animals from eating his veggies and plants, and also keep an eye on his nasty neighbour who steals his seeds.
To do so he must collect bricks to build the walls of a maze and then block the maze exits so the animals cant enter.
Each level has different animals, and after you complete the 7th level the brick mazes changes.

A simple game, that would be better if the game play wasn't so messy. It's still good to revisit it now and then.

Tir Na Nog, 03 Jun 2011 (Rating: 5)

1984 Gargoyle (UK)
by Greg Follis and Roy Carter

Tir Na Nog, meaning Land of Youth in gaelic, the Celtic Other World.
You play Cuchullain, which sounds more Mayan than Celtic, anyway, our hero has left the world of the Living and enter Tir Na Nog, the Other World.
His quest his to collect the fragments of the Seal of Calum to gain youth and return to life.

It's useless to say this is an excellent graphic adventure, anyone can see that. Very well followed up by Dun Darach and later by Heavy on the Magick.

Dun Darach, 03 Jun 2011 (Rating: 5)

1985 Gargoyle (UK)
by Greg Follis and Roy Carter

This was always a mysterious game in my eyes. The quest is to locate and release Loeg, the charioteer, a hero's friend.
While walking the streets of the Secret City, several secondary quests will take place and which will need to be completed before reaching the final action.
A complex game, very well written, even better than its predecessor Tir Na Nog.

A Classic Graphic Adventure.

Ad Astra, 03 Jun 2011 (Rating: 3)

1984 Gargoyle Games (UK)
by Roy Carter and Greg Follis

Again, you pilot a patrol spaceship throughout deep space, searching for pirates and enemy aliens. Nothing new, you may add, and your right, it's just another run of the mill shoot 'em up with the same plot as 100 other similar games. The game on the other hand, is slightly complex and interesting, for a shmup, that is.
The main bit being the nice 3D effects, which are obviously simple but different from the bunch.
The big sprites limit the action a bit but not by much, and the game functions quite well. If you are into shoot-em-ups, this is definetely worth checking out. Not my favorite but nonetheless a memorable game from 1984.

Treasure Island, 06 Jun 2011 (Rating: 3)

1984 Mr. Micro (UK)
by Jim Greg and Issi


Based upon the classic adventure novel by Robert Louis Stevenson.
In level one, our Hero, Jim Hawkins, has to board the ship Hispaniola. To do this he must avoid Blind Pew gang.
Then he has to escape from the boat avoiding the crew, who's about to mutiny. This happens in the second scene with the aforementioned crew trying to throw their arms around you! Once he reaches the island the main game can be played on Treasure Island itself. The island part is a Sabre Wulf lookalike but with a few elements that make it slightly different. This last level would be later repackaged and release with the name Willow Pattern.
The game has average graphics, some with good detail and some not, and the overall gameplay, is just about average.

Disco Dan, 06 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1984 Gem Software
by Darren White and John Line

In this game you play the role of Dan, the Atomizer Man, who has the job to decontaminate the atomic fuel rods. What are atomic fuel rods? Dont ask me, I'm just a reviewer.
He has up against him a gang made of vagrant particles leaded by Up 'n' Atom 'Arry and Ron the Rapacious Robot who makes Dan's life a bit more difficult and a lot slower too.

Sounds nice? Well, it is. A very colourful, nice looking game, with good gameplay, unfortunately it becomes boring after awhile.
Level 2 idea is based on Q*Bert.

Discs of Death, 06 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1985 - Artic Computing
by Ian Rich

Based on the movie from Disney 'Tron'.

You are in the 25th Century. Who will became the Disc Warrior Champion?

You hold the title but have been challenged from a neighbouring planet. As always, it will be a battle to the death. Can you defeat the alien warrior?

Basically a future sports game. And like in 'Bounces', may became repetitive after awhile. But if you are into challenges, this is for you.

Original, good use of colour, nice graphics, the controls are a bit messy and unconfortable but game play is good.

Sport of Kings, 07 Jun 2011 (Rating: 3)

1986 - Mastertronic Added Dimension.
by Jeff Calder

Another gambling game, very similar to 'Derby Day' the first game of the genre.

Mostly written in BASIC, this game is basically a graphic update with a few new features of the game cited above.

If it had been written in machine code it would have turned into a very popular game within the horse gaming genre.

Still worth playing if you like Speccy oldies.

Sports Hero, 07 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1984 Melbourne House (UK)
by Clive Barrett

This sports simulation has some beautiful realistic graphics, despite the simplicity of the background.
It comprised some of the most challenging track and field events:
Long jump, 100 meter sprint, 110 meter hurdles and Pole Vault.

Totally 100% machine code, which is always a good thing, although not the type of game which requires extensive programming skills, it's nonetheless neatly written.
Like all track and field events it as the ability of making your feet, I mean fingers, very sore at the end. I still have a vivid image of mine after a few minutes of playing: Very red (no ketchup involved)!

Boilerhouse, 08 Jun 2011 (Rating: 3)

1984 Novotrade Software (Hungary)
by Andras Fordos, T. Horvath, Donat Kiss, Nagy and Seres)

The game was written by the same guys who wrote 'Caesar the Cat' and 'Impossible Mission II'.
The story is simple, you work in a Boiler's House.
Your job is to maintain all the levels of each boiler leveled and avoid an overheating pressure that will became deadly.

The game has good gameplay, nice enough graphics and it could have been a lot better if it had more content, becomes monotonous and repetitive rapidly.

Caesar's Travels, 08 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1985 - Mirrorsoft Ltd
by Chalksoft Ltd

After the beautiful 'Caesar the Cat' with it's large and colourful sprites, Caesar is back.
This time in a options-based Graphic Adventure target to young children.

There are 38 routes thru this the game and 18 different endings.

The game had a few bugs in it, probably because it wasnt properly tested.
Nonetheless this is a beautiful game for children and I may dare to say quite interesting to all Speccy fans, if not only for it's curious value.

Caesar the Cat, 08 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1984 Novotrade (Hungary)
by Andras Fordos, T. Horvath, Donat Kiss and Janos Szinetar

From the same authors of 'Impossible Mission II'.

Caesar is a young cat, who's job is to keep is owner's grocery clean of mice.
He has to catch as many mice as he can without breaking the grocery's precious items.

'Caesar the Cat' had magnificent graphics with large sprites well animated, something never seen before at this scale (later the trademark for another great programmer, Don Priestley, which used a similar technique).

The gameplay is also very good and the only letdown found is the repetitive objective of the game, so it is only a catch the mouse game.
Nonetheless it remains a classic for a lot of people.

Three Weeks in Paradise, 09 Jun 2011 (Rating: 5)

1986 - Mikro Gen
by David Perry, Nick Jones snd Neil Strudwick

The fifth and final chapter of the Wally Week games.
This time Wally is lost in a tropical island he chose for he and his family to take a vacation.
But Wilma and Herbert got caught by the Can Nibbles tribe who have a predeliction for human flesh.
Wally is all alone in the Jungle looking for his loved ones.
To rescue them from the Can Nibbles tribe Wally must find certain objects he will encounter along the way.
If you have played other Wally games you will understand the mechanics of the game.

Generally the game is a step forward from the previous titles, and maintains the high quality of the collection.

Automania, 09 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1984 - Mikro Gen
by Chris Hinsley

The first game on the Wally Week series.

Wally Week is a mechanic, knowned by some as the manic mechanic.
He has 10 cars to build, each consisting of 6 parts.
Wally has to go to the the store where he gan get the car parts he needs and take them to the assembly
area to put them together.
The objects laying around have a life of their own so becareful not to be hit by any.

A simple game, that had a few interesting parts. I always prefered 'Turmoil', a game presented in the same year of 1984, and one of the reasons is that 'Turmoil' had way better control movements than 'Automania' which sometimes gets on the nerves.

Still, a great game.

Pyjamarama, 09 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1984 Mikrogen (UK)
by Chris Hinsley

This is the second game of the Wally Week series.
This time Wally finds himself stuck in a nightmare. And being Wally a Wally, nightmares tend to get pretty strange. Well, not that strange, but strange enough to get the idea.
Playing Wally you will need to find things like an alarm clock, to wake him up, and other useful gadgets that will help make sense of the weird stuff going around.

I find this way better than 'Automania'. But of course, Pyjamarama is an all together game, with different game mechanics, later common in coming games. It's fair to say this is the real first Wally Week game.

Herbert's Dummy Run, 09 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1985 - Mikrogen

by David Perry

The fourth game in the Wally Week series.

Herbert got lost in a large department store while shopping with Wally and Wilma (Mum and Dad).
Being Herbert a little baby he sees the store as a scary.

Ypur main job is to guide Herbert to the store until he finds the lost children office where Wally and Wilma are waiting for him.

On the way objects can be picked up to help Herbert.
Some rooms are like arcade sub-games and you have to complete them
to finish the game.

Styx, 17 Jun 2011 (Rating: 3)

1983 - Bug-Byte Software Ltd (UK)
by Matthew Smith

The first interesting game from the Manic Miner author.

The object of the game is to kill the Grim Reaper.

The game is played on a single screen divided by 3 parts.

Kill Giant spiders, man eating fish, etc.

The game is quite simple and it becames boring after a short while, after you kill the Grim Reaper you start over again but without reseting your score, so the main obejct of the game is scoring the highest score.

The gameplay is quite good, very fluid and easy to control. But it will not grab your attention for a long time.

Mad Mix Game, 17 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1988 - Topo Soft (Spain)
by Rafael Gomez, ACE and Gominolas

Basicaly another clone of Pac Man. A good one, I might say, specially because it doesn't slow down in some parts, but overall Pac-Mania is better.

Ms. Pac-Man, 17 Jun 2011 (Rating: 5)

1984 - Atarisoft (UK) by David J. Looker

Fantastic conversion of the original coin-op arcade game, specially after the lousy Pac-Man conversion also written by the some folks, that was really just a rework of Z-Man game.

Still plays rather well this days and back then in 84 it was one of my most played games.

All or Nothing, 17 Jun 2011 (Rating: 3)

1984 Abbex Electronics (UK)
by Paul W. Reynolds

A 3D isometric arcade adventure game with some resemblances to Ant Attack and the Great Escape.

You play the part of a secret agent sent into enemy camp to stell some secret files, scatered and locked
at random around the warehouses.
You must find the office safe containing a gun and the key to one of the warehouses and them continue your search.

Rather good game but with poor graphics and sometimes difficult to control.

Elite, 17 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1985 Firebird Software (UK)
by Philip Mochan, Dominic Prior, Ricardo Pinto and Mark Wighton

The story goes as follows, you pilot a Cobra spaceship, flying from planet to planet buying and selling goods. You can use the cash you earn to upgrade your Cobra, trade goods in the black market between countless planets and equip your Cobra with all kinds of weapons while avoiding the local police.
Elite is an awesome Strategy/Management game. A pity my copy was pirated and lacked instructions, so I could never get into the game properly.
A powerful piece of 8-bit programming.

The Happiest Days of Your Life, 17 Jun 2011 (Rating: 3)

1986 by Firebird Software Ltd (UK)
by Martin Sherlock

The game is set in a school and you were accussed of stealing the Headmaster's wallet.
Now it's up to yourself to prove your innocence so dont be pulling any illegal stunt.

If you have played 'Everyone's a Wally' you know what to expect from this game, thou weaker in quality.


Booty, 17 Jun 2011 (Rating: 3)

1984 Firebird Software (UK)
by John F. Cain

By controlling Jim, the Cabin Boy, you have the job of collecting the booty from the pirates ship. You need to catch keys in a particular order which will then open locked doors and reveal the hidden treasures.

Becareful not to be caught in one of the many dangers around, specially the pirates who run the ship.

Nice little game.

Ant Attack, 17 Jun 2011 (Rating: 5)

1983 Quicksilva (UK)
by Sandy White and Angela Sutherland

First Isometric 3D game (or so it seems) also called Softsolid system.
Sandy White was a sculptor by trade so that may explain his obsession in creating a 3D game.

Ant Attack starts in the fictitious walled City of Antescher. A lost city in a long lost age. The city is guarded by giant ants guided just by their biological imperative of survival.

Our hero, He or She, is selected in the beginning of the game and the objective is mainly to find ten persons (one at a time) and guide them outside the walls of Antescher without being killed by any giant ant. If you chose the male, then you only save females, and vice versa (which reminds me I should get another wife, or maybe two). Once you do that a medal is attributed to you for rescuing merits, and the game ends. The position of a prisoner at start ranges from very easy to tricky hard, and sometimes it's even very hard to spot a prisoner, hence a 3D tool (a key) you can use to change the viewing angle, another original feature started in this game, and copied ever since. You have grenades to throw at ants and defend yourself but mind the keys to use, they are a bit tricky.

Ant Attack gathers similar critics from numerous players as an undisputed classic. It's revolutionary maze may not surprise anyone today but back then it was mesmerizing, and although it as not aged all that well, it still hold its appeal quite well.

Sequel: Zombie Zombie

Inside Outing, 20 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1988 - The Edge (UK)
by Michael St Aubyn

You play the role of a thief, lured into a house by the widow of old man Crutcher, who before passing away, hid
his fortune, 12 precious gems, in very particular places that you must find.
She decided a thief was the only one capable of finding her precious gems, so this is where you came in.
Old man Crutcher also did some rather bizarre experiments so be prepared to face some unusual sized pet animals.

A game with very well prepared graphics and an excelent isometric technique.
The best features of the game include some nice hidden passageways.

In general a rather good game.

Champions!, 22 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1983 - Peaksoft

This is basically the game 'The Boss' on it's early stage.

Still quite a nice football management game with some new features from the ever famous 'Football Manager'.

In 1984 this game suffered some transformations and it became, as I already said, 'The Boss'. A much bettered version and probably in it's time the best football strategy game around, until the arrival of 'Football Director' in 1986.

The Boss, 22 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1984 - Peaksoft (UK)
by Harry Whitehouse

Probably the best football strategy game until 'Football Director' came to light.

With lots of new features that 'Football Manager' didnt suport in 1982 or even 'The Boss' first incarnation as 'Champions' in 1983.

Like with 'Football Director' there is no action scenes. And who needs them?
The only letdown the game had in my opinion, was the number of teams in each division, just 5.

Still very worthwhile even after the 'Football Director' explosion who spawned dozens of similar games.

Loony Zoo, 24 Jun 2011 (Rating: 2)

1983 Phipps Associates (UK)
by Tony Barber

Trying to ride the Manic Miner wave this game does little to impress Willy's Fans.
Still it plays good enough for a '83 game and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Ultimate Manic Miner, 24 Jun 2011 (Rating: 5)

What a great game this is.
This combines Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy, Contact Sam Cruise, etc.

The rooms are extremely well decorated and the plot is simply delicious.

Brilliant.

Eugene - Lord of the Bathroom, 24 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1999 - Manic Miner Technologies (Norway)
by Vidar Eriksen

Manic Miner played in the eyes of Eugene.

The game is like any other Manic Miner around but the graphics and animation were taken to a different level and are high quality.

Haunted Hedges, 24 Jun 2011 (Rating: 2)

1983 - Micromega (UK)
by Derek Brewster

A Pac-man clone in 3D. Could be funny if you never played Pac-man before, but that's a long shot, aint it?

Derek Brewster later released some very nice games such as the 'Code Name MAT' series, 'Curse of Sherwood', 'Jasper' and 'Kenny Dalglish Soccer Manager' just to name a few. I think he got away better with those...

Motos, 24 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1987 Mastertronic Added Dimension (UK)
by Matthew Rhodes, Ste Pickford, Jas Brooke and Lyndon Brooke

Your job is to clear all the invading Space Nasties in each screen by manoeuvring your ship around the base and bumping them off the play area into deep space while avoiding sufering a similar fate.

A good coin-up conversion with plenty of addictive action, and with lots of different screens to play.

Diver: Mystery of the Deep, 27 Jun 2011 (Rating: 2)

2004 - Horrorsoft

Another game based on the handheld Nintendo games from the early 80's.
The original Nintendo game was called ' Octopus' and was one of the most popular.


Like in 'Kool Eggz' the other Nintendo based game by the same guys, the game plays well and has a nice presentation, specially in the options menu, but as an emulator it falls far from its objective. It doesnt have the feel of the handheld original, something quite possible to obtain.
It leaves a lot of room for someone's elses shot.

Kool Eggz, 27 Jun 2011 (Rating: 2)

2000 CyberPunks Unity (Russia)
by Xurleson, Davos and Deadie

A game based in the handheld Nintendo game 'Eggs' from the 80's.
I see this as a very limited tribute.
The game plays well and has a nice presentation, specially in the options menu, but as an emulator, and I think the idea is just that, falls far from it's objective. It doesn't have the feel of the handheld original.

And so it leaves a lot of space for someone's elses try.

Fireman, 27 Jun 2011 (Rating: 3)

2005
Author: Miguel Angel Rodriguez Jodar

Based in the handheld Nintendo game 'Fire' from the 80's.

Given that the game was written in BASIC the gameplay is very good, it is true that does not take much to achieve this result but we must give credit to it.
About the colour I'm unaware if there is a colored version of the original but otherwise this was a nice touch and very well used by the author.
The graphics are very close to the original and overall I think the authors objective was well achieved.

Teleport, 27 Jun 2011 (Rating: 2)

2005 - Compiuter Soft (Spain)
by Carlos Monroe Roig

6th place in the Bytemaniacos 2005 BASIC Contest - Pure category.

The game itself is based in the second level of 'Hellfire'.

You have to reach the exit area (@) using the teleport poles in a specific order without being caught by the guards that became more and more each level.

The game is supposed to be as simple as possible when it comes to programming so much more could not be expected.
Somehow it doesnt satisfy so it does deserve the 6th place.

Ikari Warriors, 29 Jun 2011 (Rating: 5)

1988 Elite Systems (UK)
by David Shea and Nick Jones

After the brilliant Commando, any game that simulated a war game, specially one viewed from above, would get the comparison check. This is the case of 'Who Dares Wins II'.
Ikari may suffered comparisons a bit initially, but because it is a beast on its own right, players acknowledge it immediatly after playing, becaming very popular and deserving.
You play the 'Ikari Warrior', a sort of special force sent by US forces to Central America, to try and free General Alexander Bonn from the hands of a band of revolutionaries.
The game, as it's story, is simple and straightforward, but expect lots of action in this addictive game.

4,5 points

Who Dares Wins II, 29 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1986 - Alligata Software Ltd (UK)
by Steve Evans

Armed with an automatic rifle and 5 grenades, your job is to free any prisioners while capturing the enemy outposts.

Another game inspired by the excellent Capcom coin-op game 'Commando'.
Not as good as the spectrum official conversion with the same name of the capcom arcade game, also released the same year by US Gold, but still delivers a great action game, full of nice features.
It has some problems, like the obvious childish graphics, colour clashing and the sudden disappearing of enemy fire that strikes you unexpectedly, but overall its a very addictive game.

180, 29 Jun 2011 (Rating: 5)

1986 Mastertronic M.A.D.(UK)
by Ste Pickford, David Whittaker and Jeremy Nelson

The best darts game I ever played on the ZX Spectrum.
The graphics are superb, great animation, great control, simple to get into but very challenging.
And this is by far one of my most loved speccy games, not so much by its memories but for the game itself.
Who thinks the game is repetitive is totally wrong or is a hell of a player, on the other hand, real dart games are also a tad repetitive, that's the nature of the game, well, at least until someone suffers a punctured eye!

El Misterio del Nilo, 29 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1987 Zigurat Software (Spain)
by Fernando Rada Briega, Camilo Cela Elizagarate and Carlos Granados Martinez (Made in Spain team).

I'm not a big fan of Spanish games but this one is one of their best games around.
Based on the movie 'Jewel of the Nile', the action is divided by three different characters, all with different abilities. You must chose carefully which character to use in order to complete each small task. Once completed you move to next. The action happens in different locations, some very beautiful and quite appealing, there is also a slight shot 'em up element, with each character having it's own weapon of choice, a gun, bombs or an umbrella.
While difficult in some parts (like most Spanish games) it's a matter of getting used to it and finding the way to do something so you can move on.

Very nice game.

Grand Prix Challenge, 30 Jun 2011 (Rating: 2)

1992 - Challenge Software (UK)
by Graham D. Shaw and Vincent Vity

Several games in the likes of CRL's 'Formula One' have seen the light of day, but none have been able to create it's competitive athmosphere.

Was it that hard? Why have mostly all the games since 'F1' been written in basic or similar?
'Grand Prix Challenge' starts up well, with lots of interesting menus and options for the management freaks, but when it cames to the race itself its like all the other BASIC games around: really stupid and dull. To be honest I really liked the options and statistics in the action scenes, but when you look to that small corner where the race is happening it all seems... pathetic.
The naiveness of BASIC games are appealing for its funny side, but after the excellent 'Formula One', you can only expect something better otherwise you will always cameback to it.

Nigel Mansell's World Championship, 30 Jun 2011 (Rating: 5)

1993 - Gremlin Graphics (UK)
by Mike Chilton

After the 88's 'Nigel Mansell's Grand Prix' that never really appealed to me even thou it was a very nice game, the Gremlin folks come up with the last great F1 race game and in my view the best ever produced to the Spectrum.

There is really very little to say against and mainly it resides in the limitations of the spectrum itself, but nitpicking, I can say i would prefer the race track to be in a solid colour so the cars would be more detailed, but this was the author esthetic approach.
Also as the game view is from a low point, as if driving the car, the race track becames confusing at times.
Like I said, this is nitpicking, and overall this is a fabulous game.

Gryzor, 30 Jun 2011 (Rating: 5)

1987 Ocean Software (UK)
by Paul Owens, Mark Jones and David Whittaker


Great conversion from Konami's smash coin-op arcade hit. Also known as Contra in the Commodore 64.
Your job is to destroy the Alien Rebel's headquarters and overcome the fanatical guerrillas as you make your way towards their base.
The game is full of action and is packed with 3 different types of levels and a total of 6 to play, if I'm not mistaken. It starts of with a very good side scrolling level and then evolves to different levels approaches, such as the Op. Wolf scene (sort of).

The gameplay is excellent, it's really enjoyable shooting the nasties out of the way.
There are lots of nice surprises along the game, like the destruction of the enemy base and a few others.
The first level starts up easy, too easy for my taste, but overall the game isn't really that hard, so I think this is its biggest letdown.
A really well polished and very appealing, specially to those who love action shot-em-up's.

Emilio Butragueno Futbol, 30 Jun 2011 (Rating: 2)

1988 Topo Soft (Spain) / Ocean (UK)
by Rafael Gomez, Javier Cano Fuente and Kantxo

Awful football simulation game.
Again a spanish game that bets on looks rather than quality.
The sprites seem to move by square instead of pixel. Control is ackward and once you dominate a goal technique there is no use in playing differently, thus making the game repetitive.
Nice graphics, but that's all. 'Tehkan World Cup' in the arcades was a lot better.

Highlander, 30 Jun 2011 (Rating: 1)

1986 Ocean Software (UK)
by Roy Gibson, Simon Butler, Martin Calvert and Steve Cain

I think the folks from Ocean were relying on the movie licensed name, the big sprites on the back of the cassette inlay or in one or two payed magazine reviews to sell this incredibly lousy beat-em-up.
There is nothing appealing in here, bad graphics, boring, monotonous and badly executed gameplay. One of the worst games ever.

I'm sure Mel Gibson never played this game, otherwise he would no longer be among us.

Omnicopy 2, 30 Jun 2011 (Rating: 5)

1985 - Omnisoft
by ?

By far the best copier around.
Really easy and straight-forward to use and with lots of very useful tools.
It even looked great.

The Key, 30 Jun 2011 (Rating: 3)

1983 - Keysoft (UK)
by Barry Rowlingson

Very basic copier.
After I layed my hands on 'Omnicopy 2' and 'Copia-tudo' this was letf behind in a corner of my memory.

Just Imagine, 30 Jun 2011 (Rating: 4)

1986 Central Solutions (UK)
by David Lester


You control a software house and it's your job as the director to make your games hit the shelves and then chart the tops.
The game mechanics is basically the same as 'Software Star', but with a few extras that spice things up.
In 1986 I began taking interest into strategy games, specialy about football and formula one. Had heard about 'Software Star' but it never reached my hands, until the day I saw a review in a magazine. So I started writing a similar game which turned out o.k.
But I believe it would have been a lot better if my inspiration come from 'Just Imagine' instead.

Hidden City, 01 Jul 2011 (Rating: 2)

1983 - Bytewell (UK)
by Tim Gilberts

A funny little game loosely based on 'Penetrator' and the original arcade game 'Scramble', but with some variety in the levels reminding other types of games, which add some excitement to see what's next and can became addictive.
The programming could have been a lot better, but it does its job.

Fridge Frenzy, 01 Jul 2011 (Rating: 3)

1985 - Bug-Byte (UK)
by Karl Hampson and Andy Fairhurst

By the time this one hit the shelves a lot of similar games had made their appearence by following the footsteps of Mathew Smith's Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy.

The standard was to high so 'Fridge Frenzy' never got noticed or acknowledged by its positive side.
The graphics are the Bug Byte style and are quite funny and cute, colour is very nice and music and sound is also well used, controlling your character is easy and efective.

So overall this is a nice game, the problem is if you played the dozens of other similar games before you wouldnt be at all surprised by it.

Bug-Eyes, 01 Jul 2011 (Rating: 4)

1985 Icon Software (UK)
by Peter Fothergill

You play Agent Starman, your job is to avoid the destruction of civilization and taking over the galaxy by the bug-eyed Xabanneus alien hordes. Then penetrate the ten levels of the Mother ship and destroy the power generator. He carries on its back an oxygen supply (represented by the energy bar on top) and an alien repulsion mechanism that will sometimes activate in times of danger.

Another game following the success of Manic Miner. The game is quite simple, move thru each level until reaching level 10, avoiding all the bug eyed aliens, negotiating bridges and moving platforms. Still it requires some thinking as your timing as to be near perfect in some parts of the game.

This sort of games always appealed to me, specially with the funny looking humorous sprites, and awkwardness of the characters, and still today I find it quite playable and addictive.

The National, 01 Jul 2011 (Rating: 5)

1988 - D&H Games (UK)
by P.K. McManus, Shaun McClure, Tony Huggard and John de Salis.

Like all D&H and Cult games this is a management game. A horse racing management game.
Many other houses have presented their pick, some funny and simple, some a bit more complex, but all had a unique characteristic in common: the same animated race, several horses with their jockeys on their backs all looking exactly the same running towards the finishing line.

I reckon I still find it funny to watch the 'Derby Day' or 'Grand National (1983)' horse race screen, the spectators cheering, the horses galloping, etc, but let's be honest, Clive... it never looks real.
Well 'The National' doesnt use any sort of graphics and the race screen is simple, but it manages to deliver the feel of a real race from beggining to end in a steady pace. And for the first time in management games, the races have obstacules influencing who stays in the race.

My favourite part is when the horses (represented by coloured numbers) start to gather around the track.
The game as lots of options and sub-menus, with trainers league, auctions, scouting, betting, horse training, etc, all with their share part in the racing results without so much of random luck.
The only letdown I see are the calculating parts, which indicates part of the game is written in BASIC, except for the racing itself, but with todays emulator technology thats not a problem.
In my view the best horse racing game ever.

TT Racer, 04 Jul 2011 (Rating: 4)

1986 -Digital Integration (UK)
by Rod J. Swift

In 86 I adored this game, it was such a fantastic motoracing simulator.
The view of the track was brilliant and the closest to the real deal you will ever come across in a Speccy game.
The race is hard too, making this a very competitive game.
The exhilaration of attempting to make a turn at 110 mph was real indeed, making me dream of owning a 500c. Well, until someone spoiled things by saying a spot of oil on the road was enough to break your neck. O.K. Mom. So I had to content myself with a bike and... TT Racer. Close enough.
Now playing it again it shows its age a lot. The oponents, for instance seem to disappear or simply let you run them over without anything happening, like they arent there, and then appearing between the sky and the track when you slow down a bit, the view of the track is also a bit clumsy with colour clashing happening all over the tracks horizon. Also the game seems a lot easier, so much so that in the first play since my youth days, I flew to first place in top gear after the first turn, and ended the race without slowing the slightest bit.
It still has its great features, lots of options and the racers championship, the wheelie when in top speed, etc.
So for the sake of the 86 spirit I think its fair to grant it a 4.

Grand Prix, 04 Jul 2011 (Rating: 3)

1989 - D&H Games (UK)
by Adam Parker and Shaun G. McClure

My question when I first saw this game was: Would I have loved it if I had own a copy back in the days?
Well, I think so, not as much as 'Formula One', not by any chance, but still would enjoyed it.

The game has a lot of options, a lot more than 'F1', making this a very complete Formula One management game. The racing screen... well, it is rather good, as good as 'F1', in a way even better, more complete, but the feel of a real race, it lacks it a bit, well a lot. The sprites are funny but not real enough, colour gets confusing sometimes, and it seems a bit dated graphicaly speaking.
Another problem is the calculating bits, and with all games from D&H or Cult games, parts of the game they seem to have been written in BASIC, not the racing screen, which is fast enough, but the management parts which tend to repel a lot of players. And I still do not understand the reason why werent the games 100% written in code machine if they had able programmers to do it.
Anyway the game is very playable and very enjoying if you like this type of games like I do.

Marioso, 07 Jul 2011 (Rating: 2)

1989 - MilousSoft (Czech)

You play a miner who's job is to fill the coal tanks, using elevators, electric doors.
After he finishes his job he will be very well rewarded. Only by its end you will understand why this is an Adult orientated game. The main character is an almost exact copy of Manic Miners hero.
Very simple, yet playable. Only for curious minds or Speccy fanatics.

Komando 2, 07 Jul 2011 (Rating: 4)

Komando II - 1992
by Radoslav Marusa

This would have been a great follow up to Commando if it only followed the right procedures and if it had been released earlier.
Very nice graphics and gameplay and overall a very competent game and a must for all 'Commando' fans.

Crazy Bugs!, 18 Jul 2011 (Rating: 3)

1983 AWA Software (UK)
by Steve Hughes

Funny little game inspired by pac-man, not as good,
but with a twist that gives it an interesting change. Different bugs keep appearing while you progress in the game and the bugs I've seen are all cute and well animated.
Worth checking out.

Full Throttle, 18 Jul 2011 (Rating: 5)

1984 - Micromega (UK)
by Mervyn J. Estcourt

I still think this is the best motor racing game ever. Simple superb.
There is no gear changing, but the game is hard enough and very competitive with 39 moto racers to deal with. It only lacks a championship.
Love the sounds, love the graphics, love the race action. Brilliant.

Full Throttle 2, 21 Jul 2011 (Rating: 1)

1990 Zeppelin Games (UK)
by Michael Batty

This is one of the worst sequels I've ever played. What a big disappointment. I absolutely loved the first FT, so I was naturally expecting something at least with the same quality. No. In terms of quality this is thousands of miles away from the original and I'm afraid there is really nothing good to say about this. Avoid.

BMX Racers, 25 Jul 2011 (Rating: 2)

1984 Mastertronic (UK)

This brings me back some nice memories, but that's all.
Mastertronic managed to market this game with the suggestion of a BMX Race, just look at the name and cassette cover. That's called misleading advertising, Mastertronic!!

According to a magazine article, it was easily sold to gullible teenage boys (like me) who liked the word BMX in the title. Really?
A very poor game with no real appeal.
but I still give it a 2 just for the sweet memories and bits of humour.

Moon Cresta, 25 Jul 2011 (Rating: 4)

1985 Incentive Software (UK)
by Timothy Walter, Phil Taglione and Peter Carter

An excellent conversion, even better than the original arcade version in my opinion.
Great gameplay, very addictive, it becomes very hard in the later levels. Love the sounds. A classic.

Ole, Toro, 27 Jul 2011 (Rating: 3)

1986 Dinamic Software (Spain)
by Snatcho and Ignacio Bergareche

Very original game, if not only for the idea it explores (I believe it wasn't very popular within the animal rights community). Being myself an animal lover, I must confess I did played the game a few times, after all it was just a game and who didn't blown up creatures including 'humans' in shot-em-up games?

Moving on. The graphics are superb, but calling this an action game may mislead some players, because you mainly only press a specific key in a specific moment in each level, thus repeating itself over and over. The trick is knowing when and be fast enough. Yes, there is action, but feels more like a reflex testing game.

The idea and atmosphere is highly original but as a game it's rather limited and boring. Works well as a curiosity game. Also features a cute bullfighting themed tune, nice graphics and interesting animated touches along the way, but have a cup of coffee next to you just in case you fall asleep.

Mind you, you should read the instructions if only to know which keys the game uses, otherwise you will be wasting your efforts.

Firebirds, 28 Jul 2011 (Rating: 3)

1983 - Softek (UK)
by Graeme Devine

No doubt a great 'Phoenix' version, very hard and challenging, I rarely played it more than 10 minutes because of it being so damn difficult.
It has some programming faults, the sprites should move in pixels rather than square blocks, but overall it's a good game within its genre.
Like for user 'dandyboy' it also brings me back some fond memories.
The game was later release in 1985 with the name 'Xebec' God knows why.

Joust, 28 Jul 2011 (Rating: 2)

1983 - Softek (UK)
by Andrew Glaister

Converted from the arcade coin op with the same name, and later rebaptized 'Ostron' for copyright reasons.
Joust was never one of my favourite games, quite the opposite, I really hated it, always seemed completely nonsensical.
Mainly because of the lack of instructions my version had and later when I got the hang of it, it look so difficult I had to drop it off, and still today I think it is one of the most difficult games ever on the Speccy.

Psytraxx, 28 Jul 2011 (Rating: 2)

1984 The Edge (UK)
by Andrew Beale and Jack Wilkes

The story goes something like helping Microbot collect parts of a giant microchip to make his escape from the enormous circuit board he feel into.

This was one of my first games and it was really a big disappointment. The game is too big for its own good, it has over 1000 screens and, maybe because of the authors laziness, they all look alike, so it becomes very boring.
There is no mention anywhere but our main character, the robot, looks very similar to 'Microbot', the previous game from this programming duo. 'Microbot' instead was a really appealing game, with interesting features, unfortunately 'Psytraxx' fails the maintain to standard.

Space Raiders, 28 Jul 2011 (Rating: 4)

1982 Sinclair Research (UK)
by the Psion Software folks

A very good conversion from the all time classic arcade coin-op 'Space Invaders'.
It had everything going for it, simple but efective graphics (for '82 that is), great sound, good movements and played fairly well, but (yes, there is a but, a BIG but!;)) it only had one level, one game speed, and it wasnt that difficult!
So If you are into games for the sheer glory of beating your own score, this is built for you.

Treinador de Futebol, 29 Jul 2011 (Rating: 2)

1989 - Softimar (Portugal)
by Tiago Martins

At this time a lot of football strategy games had been made, some quite good, some awful.
'Treinador de Futebol' (not to be confused with the Portuguese version of 'Football Manager') adds nothing new or special to the genre.
It has all the basic elements other games like 'Football Manager' had.
The presentation is simple, the action scenes are also basic (the background colour should have been in green but i guess grey is fine), and the options are only the essential ones, so there isn't anything groundbreaking here. Looks mainly like a Football Manager fan tribute game.
But it is still an enjoyable game to play, but only if you aren't aware of all the other games there are out there.

It's a Knockout, 01 Aug 2011 (Rating: 3)

1986 Ocean Software (UK)
Keith Purkiss, Dawn Drake and Simon Butler

This was meant to be the Spectrum equivalent to the English TV show called 'Its a Knockout', which was in fact the English alternative name to the famous "Games Without Frontiers". As you all know it featured multiple "sport" events. All meant to be funny and goofy.
I must say I was always a fan of weird stuff, so this game came as a good surprise. It's always fun to see what the next level will deliver.
Of course, you can never compare this to the brilliance of 'Hyper Sports' or the 'Daley Thompsons' series. Yes, I'm comparing games. After all the theme is still competing in different events, and the game mechanics are essentially the same. About the overall quality? No. That can't be compared.

The game starts off well, with a fun looking event. But after the first level, downhill comes quite fast.
Also because the events function as part of a competition, and points are calculated only in the end, there is no difficulty required to jump to the next level like you have in 'Hyper Sports'.

Mr. Wong's Loopy Laundry, 16 Sep 2011 (Rating: 3)

1984 Artic (UK)
by John Prince

An average and simple game, with influences from classic games such as Burger Time. Mr. Wong has to catch the dirty laundry scattered around his launderette and toss it into the cleaner.
Not an easy job though, because is working place is infested with possessed appliances that chase him around. His only defense is the use of starch, that will immobilize them for a few moments.

Nothing really new, but it takes quite a bit of practice to pass each level, so the challenging bit is present. I really liked the atmosphere, but only in the beginning. After awhile, being all levels similar in looks and the objective the same, although with a few more nasties thrown in, it tends to get monotonous.

Street Cred, 16 Sep 2011 (Rating: 2)

1988 - Redwood Designs (UK)
by The Shaw Brothers

Following the same game vein as 'Strong Man' I still think it may have served as inspiration for 'Daley Thompson's Olympic Challenge' since it was released a bit earlier.
The game itself is very basic. No fancy programing skills around here.
Thou I may confess I enjoyed playing it.
Still its only a game for the curious and speccy fans.

Stock Car, 19 Sep 2011 (Rating: 3)

1983 - 5D Software

The first car racing management game.
Probably the inspiration for 'Formula One'.
A very worthy game for 1983.

Shao-Lin's Road, 29 Sep 2011 (Rating: 4)

1986 The Edge (UK)
by Mike Leaman, Jack Wilkes and Stephen Cargill

I remember quite distinctively playing this game a lot with my friends.
There's lots of punching and kicking and scoring to do. You can even stop fireballs and other projectiles, although you don't control any supernatural warrior.
The game has a different approach from the usual gang-beat-em-up games, starting with 3 floors on each level, where you move freely, and each of the 5 levels having two rounds to beat (or get beaten).
As a whole it is still fun to play this one, but the slow movements really get into nerves. Thankfully the original coin op version is much player friendly.
Still The Edge folks have done a very decent conversion, could have been a better, but I can't remember complaining much when playing this as a kid, so it must have been pretty good back then.
3,5 stars.

Starbike, 29 Sep 2011 (Rating: 3)

1984 - The Edge (UK)
by Paul Curtis and Jack Wilkes

One of my most hated games in 1984.
If was too difficult for this impatient kid to get into.
Nowadays I still find it hard (it is!) but I finally can see its charm. Nice graphics, excellent movement of characters and an overall nice shoot-em-up.
The problem is it moves to fast, making it quite frustrating. Also the object of the game becomes boring after a while.

The Train Game, 29 Sep 2011 (Rating: 4)

1983 - Microsphere (UK)

A pearl from 1983.
Why do these simple games appeal so much to me? Maybe because they let your your imagination flow .
You work in a major railway as an operations manager your job is to maintain the train circulation flowing without any problems.
Pressing the letters on screen will let you change the trains course, pressing 1,2 or 3, depending on the train colour will stop the train when it arrives to a station. Avoid collisions and full stations.
The game is really challenging and will test your reflexes and your speed response abilities for sure.

R-Type, 03 Oct 2011 (Rating: 4)

1988 - Electric Dreams Software (UK)
by Bob Pape, Mark Jones and Robert Hylands

Fighting the Bydo Empire was never my cup of tea, really cant tell why,
maybe because those days I was giving priority to programming rather than playing,
still a rather good game with brilliant movements and great graphics although a bit too difficult.

Popeye, 20 Oct 2011 (Rating: 5)

1985 - DK'Tronics (UK)
by Don Priestley

One of the best games ever produced for the spectrum. And nothing else could be expected from the great Don Priestley, a most prolific and inovative programmer.
Popeye will always stand as one of the most beautifully designed games, full of colour, action (a bit slow, true) and with great puzzles on each screen.
A true classic.

Apple Jam, 17 Nov 2011 (Rating: 3)

1984 - DK'Tronics (UK)
by Ed Hickman

Funny and original ideas always appealed to me.
And eating as much jam and apples as you can without getting fat doesnt seem by any means the plot to any game. But indeed is the purpose behind the humourous Apple Jam.
In the game if you get too fat you loose one of your diet pills and have to run to the sauna to slim off. While you're competing with Cyndi Crawford, a nasty rat will eat all the jam and apples you miss. It will became large and big and will came after you to bite your fat ass to death!
No problem! You still have the elevator lift, and you can use it to smash the rat as it passes down.
But beware of the giant hornet with its might deadly sting!

The humour in this is what makes it so good.

Sigma 7, 17 Nov 2011 (Rating: 3)

1987 Durell (UK)
by Mike Richardson, Julian Breeze and Jane Richardson

I really liked this game when I was a kid, but today it seems quite pointless.
Each level is composed by 3 parts:
-Part 1 is a Zaxxon type game
-Part 2 is a Pac-man style game.
-Part 3 is very similar to episode 3 in Danger Mouse in Double Trouble

So what is the point in playing it?
For me? Nostalgia.

Moon Alert, 18 Nov 2011 (Rating: 5)

1984 Ocean soft (UK)
by Ken Farmer and Jon Mayers

A conversion of the arcade classic 'Moon Patrol' which myself and my best friend at the time spent hours and mommas hard-earned money over the arcade machines playing. At that time there was another classic game we were both hypnotized with called 'Pole Position', but that's another story. I can still remember the feelings both games gave me. Ah grreat times...

Moon Alert plays very well, the graphics are very nice and the games objective is quite compelling. It's different in looks from the arcade version but it plays similarly and it's fair to say it's a very good unofficial conversion.

Me and my mates never got further than area M, where mines start to appear and the game becomes harder. I must say I haven't played it for a long time now, so maybe it just doesn't seem as hard as it did when I was 12. But the difficulty turns into addiction very quickly, when you love a certain thing, so...

It's a pity that neither of both programmers wrote any other games for the Spectrum other than this marvel, which is a classic in my eyes.

4,5 points

Bruce Lee, 18 Nov 2011 (Rating: 5)

1984 U.S.Gold (UK)
Conversion by Ocean Software

Another arcade classic that turned into a Spectrum classic.
I dare to say this is one of those games that everybody owned and everybody loved, and brings fond memories to everyone who bought the game in the 80's.
The game itself isn't hard. I myself finished it lots of times. In fact it was one of the few games I finished (shame!). Curiously it is one of those games that you don't mind playing again and again even if you have finished it several times, and so few games have this quality.
The two-player mode is also quite nice: The other player controls one of the baddies and tries to get in the way of Bruce.
For me this is an absolute Speccy classic and I love each pixel and beep in it.

Fantastic Voyage, 18 Nov 2011 (Rating: 5)

1984 Quicksilva (UK)
by John Edmonds

One of my favorite games of all times. I loved the idea of traveling inside the human body (well, if you can call this a body). Lots of strange things happened inside this weird body. But hey, that was one the elements of quirkiness of the old Speccy. Something lost along the way. Today's modern games have beautiful graphics, and everything seems in place, but look soulless. And soul had this game, along with a liver, a mouth, a bladder, a left ventricle, a right ventricle... you name it.
Catch all the submarine pieces scattered around the body and join them in the brain to escape. Looks an easy task, doesn't it? Well it isn't...

Note: try out 'Devil Diver' from the same author if you are a fan of this game.

Con-Quest, 21 Nov 2011 (Rating: 4)

1986 Mastertronic A.D.
by Derek Brewster

A game launched too late for its own good.
Resembling 'Atic Atac's' gameplay and with the 3D view of maybe 'Avalon', it was no novelty in 1986. But I think it is still a very playable game with nice graphics (apart from our knight, which I think its too silly), good sound, movement, etc, and will make the delights of any fan of Atic Atac, Underwurlde, Avalon, Spellbound, etc.

The Adventures of Sid Spider, 21 Nov 2011 (Rating: 3)

2002 by David Pegg (game) and Tommy Barreira Pereira (loading screen)

A pity about Sid's control, which doesnt always respond as you want and sometimes "slips" where it shouldnt unnecessarialy becaming quite annoying.
A good game althou a bit rough around the edges but still good.
Be prepared to question your inteligence.

Alcatraz Harry, 23 Nov 2011 (Rating: 1)

1984 Mastertronic
by Brian Jones

For a game written in '84 this is very limited, but you have to agree that as a BASIC written game its not all that bad.
As for playing I, think its value lies only in the possibility of it being the inspiration for the game 'The Great Escape' - 1986,
and that's mainly all.

Alcatraz II, 23 Nov 2011 (Rating: 1)

1984 Scorpio Gamesworld
by Brian Jones

More of the same with a few esthetic enhancements and game improvements.
For instance you now have the possibility to trade with the local inhabitants which adds some variety.
But it is still a BASIC written game, and again very very slow.

Cowboys and Indians, 24 Nov 2011 (Rating: 1)

1983 Usborne Publishing Ltd (UK)
by Daniel Isaaman

BASIC written game published as a Type-in in the book 'Computer Games to Play and Write', a sort of 'High Noon' where you, the cowboy, just have to shoot the 3 indians moving around behind the cactus.
Unfortunately I couldnt play for more than 1 shot, because each time I shoot the game bounces back to the instructions page. If it is a programming error or something else I really cant tell, I havent had the time yet to peek in the coding.
The only thing I liked in this were the graphics which are nice.

Wheelin Wallie, 24 Nov 2011 (Rating: 3)

1985 Interceptor Software (UK)
by Alan Bridgman

A completely unknown game to me.
This was the first time I played it, and really enjoyed it.
It reminds me a bit games like 'Moon Alert' or 'BC's Quest For Tyres' or even, althou quite different, 'Aquaplane' for the 2 objects (Wallie and the Wheel) that you need to control.
But the main object of the game is to eat a line of dots (Pac-Man style) while avoiding the nasties and several types of obstacules.
Differs a bit from what was around 1985.
A simple but quite playable and addictive game.

Friday the 13th, 24 Nov 2011 (Rating: 3)

1986 Domark Ltd (UK)

Based upon the movie with the same name, this was a bit of a disappointment for a lot of people.
I personally really enjoyed the strange athmosphere of the game.
Especially when Jason's character appears and starts to slash everything around very quickly.
The game has a lot of letdowns and known bugs but still managed to deliver a nice eerie experience (for a 1986 Spectrum game that is).

Arena!, 24 Nov 2011 (Rating: 1)

1983 Titan Programs Ltd (UK)
by Stephen N. Curtis

Now here is a weird game and a quite pointless one I may add.
You control a sort of futurist warrior with a shield trapped in an Arena who's job is to deviate a sort of fireball and other strange objects from it's away ala 'Arkanoid' style. While that is happening the spiked walls from the sides are closing on him and the only way to escape is by deflecting the fireballs until reaching 1000 points. When that happens the walls move away a bit, when they reach the border of the screen one more fireball is added to the equation and it becames increasingly harder.
The controls are quite awckard and the game objective is boring, but it could be addictive to some players, so give it a try, but dont except nothing special.

Plummet, 24 Nov 2011 (Rating: 3)

1984 Interceptor Software (UK)
by Stephen Curtis

Fun little game, can became either very addictive or irritating.
The mayor of New York has got stuck between floors in an elevator during the opening of the city's newest skyscraper.
Your job, as the hero, is to rescue the mayor, taking as many ropes as you can to tie up the chain holding the lift that is slowly breaking.
The building is divided in 3 separate screens or levels, the top is where the mayor is stuck and where you have to get the ropes to, this screen is very annoying because of the acid(?) rain falling and the zombies surrounding. Nice game.

Gladiator, 24 Nov 2011 (Rating: 4)

1986 Domark Ltd (UK)
by Mike Green

I remember quite well all the hours spent playing this game. It's funny how it seemed a lot better in 1986, the movements looked a lot quicker and accurate than they actually are, and the game itself is a bit limited.
It has, nonetheless, some charming elements like the weapons choice at the start of each game, that may influence the outcome of the duel in the arena (but very little). My favorite weapon was the net, although it wasn't the best to use. Another interesting feature that all my friends talked about before I played it and which got even more curious, was the Emperor's thumbs up or down in the end of each fight. It now seems rubbish, but was a fun feature at the time.
I give it a 4 for memories sake but the game only deserves a 3.

Every Second Counts, 24 Nov 2011 (Rating: 4)

Based upon an UK TV show that run from 1986 to 1993.
The game's quite playable and still interesting, specially if you are stuck in the 80's...

Danger Mouse in Double Trouble, 24 Nov 2011 (Rating: 4)

1984 Creative Sparks (UK)
by Martin Harris and Nick Burroughs

Like dandyboy said this is a very charming little game, with beautifully designed graphics faithful to the TV show.
It has few levels and it's easy to complete, but for a 10 year old boy in 1984 this was quite captivating.
I still play it once in a while to get into the spirit of those times.

SurfChamp, 24 Nov 2011 (Rating: 3)

1985 New Concepts Ltd (UK)
by Mark Miller, Rokneddin Shariat, Anthony Kelly and Kiernan McEnery


This little pearl appeared to me around 1987 and rarely loaded without crashing.
The rare few times I got it to work I was amazed by the colorful and semi-realistic wave movements.

Initially I had a few problems with it. The data menus with measures in inches and not centimeters confused me, but the gear menu was a real challenge, I still cant say if the game as a bug there or if I was doing something wrong, I usually type the letter X to get out of that menu, because none of the values seem to work.

Then there is the key controls, my copy was pirated so there was no instructions of any type whatsoever, and it was a real headache discovering each key and the right combinations. This was just a game I often played (it crashed) but really made me curious and wanting more.

It seemed very original and something about surf was really a novelty. Funny how I always felt relaxed alone in that digital beach.
The game still maintains a charming appeal and when you get into the controlling, the game turns to be quite interesting.

By the way never got pass the first stage, don't even know if there are more than one or this is just a scoring game.

Match Day, 25 Nov 2011 (Rating: 5)

1984 Ocean
by Jon Ritman and Chris Clarke

Match Day is for me one of the most iconic games of the Spectrum era, not just for it's sentimental value, which its quite big, I played countless times, but also for it's value as a game.
The exquisite presentation, graphics and sound, and specially gameplay, turned this game into one of the best games to scratch the surface of the software world of its time.
The game has it's faults specially when compared to other classics like 'Emlyn Hughes'. Thankfully some were corrected in the sequel, but its still a brilliant game.
For me this together with 'Emlyn Hughes' is the SOCCER game of reference in the ZX Spectrum.

Match Day II, 25 Nov 2011 (Rating: 4)

1987 Ocean Software (UK)
by Jon Ritman, Bernie Drummond, Guy Stevens and Ivan Horn

Some people claim this sequel to be better than its predecessor. They are right. But I simply hate the players graphics, and never got used to them. Sure you now can jump and play with your head, or use a backheel move, or defende with your goalkeeper, which was an essential addiction, but I still prefer the normal looking sprites on the original Match Day, instead of this midgets with no neck that seem to be wearing diapers.
A great game spoiled by the artistic execution.

4,5 points

Alien Syndrome, 25 Nov 2011 (Rating: 5)

1988 ACE Software (UK)
BY Pamela Roberts, Jack Wilkes and Mike Marchant

I think this is one of the best conversions made from an arcade game to the Spectrum.
The game is highly addictive, like in the arcade, the graphics are reasonable and faithful to the original like all the other aspects are.
Also like in the arcade game, there is a two player option, which is great to play with a friend, giving a union feel between players that I never experienced in any other game.

I always found the bosses too disgusting. It may be a good thing to some. Not to me. Not in a ZX Spectrum game. I would prefer them a little more innocent, but as the name implies the syndrome is the obvious culprit.
Highly addictive game.
4,5 stars

Marble Madness: The Construction Set, 25 Nov 2011 (Rating: 5)

1986 Melbourne House (UK)
by John F. Cain

'Gyroscope' was the unofficial Spectrum release of 'Marble Madness', and it was so popular within the critics (2nd place as game of the year 1985) that a year later Melbourne House got the arcade rights and released the 'Marble Madness' conversion.
Both games are very good, highly playable, highly addictive. 'Gyroscope' in my opinion is prettier although a bit messy sometimes, but lacks levels (only 5), and 'Marble Madness' has the construction set which is a great addiction to this sort of games ('Gyroscope II' was made using the 'Marble Madness Construction Set').
Also 'Marble Madness' is less rough around the edges, has more variety and our marble speed is slightly better controlled.
Two brilliant engineered games both inspired by the same excellent arcade original.

Potty Painter, 25 Nov 2011 (Rating: 3)

1983 Rabbit Software Ltd (UK)
by John F. Cain

This is one of those games I hold dear memories. Very funny characters. The game itself is rather limited when compared to it's arcade inspiration 'Amidar'.
But to anyone playing it for the first time in '83 and not knowing the existence of 'Amidar' or 'Painter', I think it would be rather enjoyable.
The graphics are funny and sweet, characters move smoothly. I was surprised with the "artificial inteligence" of the magenta nastie native in the yellow stages. He moves quite inteligently for an 1983 game.
I think it deserves a 3.

Jungle King, 27 Nov 2011 (Rating: 2)

1985 Load 'n' Run (Italy)
by Luca Bordoni

Based upon the classic tarzan arcade game 'Jungle King'. I think its faithfull to the original and completely playable. Luca Bordoni made happy a lot of kids who knew the arcade version and wanted to play on their Spectrum (at least in Italy). Sure it's a BASIC written game, sure it could be a lot better, but at least gives a taste at home of what you were missing in the arcades.

Jungle Jie, 27 Nov 2011 (Rating: 1)

1985 Gadtek Games (UK)
by Graham D. Shaw

Another attempt at the arcade classic 'Jungle King', thankfully this time in code machine.
The game fails to do justice to the original not only graphically, and I know no copyrights were acquired so the game couldn't look the same, but also in its gameplay, which is awful.
The game progress is almost the same as 'Jungle King' with some corrections and modifications. In the second part e.g., you do not need to come to the surface to breathe, but in its whole its the same game. If they weren't sued it was just blind luck. Tarzan lost it's strength without it's bountiful hairdo just like Sansom did...

Barmy Burgers, 28 Nov 2011 (Rating: 4)

1983 Blaby Computer Games (UK)
by Gary Capewell

I think this was the first conversion of the fantastic arcade classic 'Burger Time', one of my all time favourite games.
Could have been better done, but I cant say anything against it, because I loved it.
In someways it is a bit primitive, the movement should be pixel based not character like, but hey, this was 1983.
All the rest I think its great, funny characters, dinamic sounds, overall addictive.
Great fun.

Eddie Kidd Jump Challenge, 28 Nov 2011 (Rating: 3)

1984 Martech Games (UK)
by Ian McArdle

Another bringer of great memories.
This could have been a great game, but it's limited in it's purposes.
You only have to jump over the cars, which keep being added. Keep in mind the gears and speed and try to manage it right.
The graphics and sound are nice. The bike moves smoothly, but at the end of the day the game becames repetitive.
I still revisite this now a then.

The Fury, 28 Nov 2011 (Rating: 5)

1988 Martech (UK)
by Jason Austin and Dave Dew

I bought this in a 4 game package, which included, amongst others an awful Charlie Chaplin game (can't remember it's name now) which I firstly played, never to touch it again. The next in line games were awful too, so I wasn't expecting much from 'The Fury' .
But let me tell you: what a game!
This was one of the few games I played in a phase where I only used the Speccy to programm (I may add I was completely obsessed with programming then).
The game is very addictive, very competitive, fantastic. You probably wont be impressed with the graphics or the playing area, but dont mind that, simply try it out, give yourself some time to get use to it and if you love this sort of games you will undertand what I mean.

Geoff Capes Strong Man, 28 Nov 2011 (Rating: 4)

1985 Martech (UK)
by Ian McArdle, John Wilson and Dave Dew

How I loved this game. At the time the Strong Man competition was showing on TV, and I had never seen a man pull a truck with the power of its bare neck. I loved that show (nowadays I hate wrestling and these sorts of TV shows).
The game has big sprites, well animated in all events. Some events are better than others but all are fun to play. The playing mode is different from usual and basically the same in almost every event and in my view a nice idea. Using the keyboard, you select the flashing square which features the muscle Geoff needs for his next move. Geoff starts moving slowly but gains speed the faster you play. You do this every time a square flashes until the event is over.


I was so impressed with the game I started my own version with new events (someday I will put it online so you can laugh a bit).
A simple idea that with the help of well designed graphics came out right.

3,5 stars

Brian Jacks Superstar Challenge, 28 Nov 2011 (Rating: 2)

1985 Martech (UK)
by Ian McArdle and Malcolm Smith

Why do I have so good memories of this game?
It is so awful! Incredibly boring and badly executed! If the authors wanted to compete with 'Decathlon' or 'Hyper Sports', boy, how they failed!

1,5 points (for memories sake only!)

Shoot-Out, 28 Nov 2011 (Rating: 3)

1989 Martech (UK)
by Last Chance Conversions

Another unknown game to me. Never played it before.
I only got to the second level (lack of time) and really enjoyed it.
Simple western shoot-out(!) with a nice graphic layout and good sound, it plays well. The target movement is smooth. It can be difficult and annoying because of how the target moves but I think that adds exciment and doesnt became boring.

Alternative World Games, 28 Nov 2011 (Rating: 2)

1987 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)

A competition made out of 8 strange events.
Nothing new here besides the events chosen which add only a curious factor.
The graphic implementation is bad.
Playability awaful.
The only think in favour of it are the cute tunes, some humour here and there, and the competing style game, if you like the genre. And the only reason why I give it a score of 2.

Micro Olympics, 28 Nov 2011 (Rating: 3)

1984 Database Publications Software(UK)

I have some nice memories of this game althou I may add it is a bit crappy.
A 'Decathlon' type game, but worse. Very hard. I always laughed about the way the mens head move. Another of those games which are funny because they are or awful or stupid. To be fair, the game is very playable and can be very challenging, and the effort you put on your keys almost equals a real olimpic competition!
In spite having better games within this genre to play I still come peeking it once in a while.

The Way of the Exploding Fist, 28 Nov 2011 (Rating: 5)

1985 Melbourne House (UK)
by Gregg Barnett, Steven Taylor, Greg Holland and William Tang

I can still remember the day I first played this game. I had to turn the computer off after only playing it a couple of times because me and my mom were going to my granny's house. I was so anxious in playing it I spent all afternoon drawing kung fu and karate sketches, a whole notebook of it.

An all time Spectrum classic.

Fist II: The Legend Continues, 29 Nov 2011 (Rating: 4)

1986 Melbourne House (UK)
by Damian Watharow, Bill McIntosh, Frank Oldham, Steven Taylor and Gregg Barnett.

I bet this game sold almost as much as its predecessor, if not more.
Fist was a much loved game, a break thru in martial arts simulators which became an instant classic. So expectations were very high for 'Fist II'.
The programmers had a great idea mixing elements of a beat-em-up and a sort of platform game like 'Bruce Lee'. Unfortunately not every good aspect of the original game was used, with a less than interesting martial arts fighting throughout. The new ideas were more for the eye to see and you were left with a bit of bland adventuring to do. Somehow the game feels boring and too easy, and never did excite me. I was just wowed by the graphics, the scenery, all quite beautifully designed, but the game itself never grabbed me enough so I could keep coming for more.
Even side 2 has a simple beat-em-up game similar to the original 'Fist', but not nearly as good.
A pity, because I think it had the potential to became another classic.

Aquaplane, 30 Nov 2011 (Rating: 4)

1983 Quicksilva (UK)
by John Hollis

One of my oldest games. This sort of games had lots of glamour and appeal. In 1983 the games industry wasn't established as it is nowadays, and games had the programmers personal touch, would it be commercial or not. A lot of games, some a bit unplayable, it's true, but quite original and inventive, and full of unexpected glamour came out because of this.
Aquaplane is a good example on how to add your personal touch, even if you aren't a graphic designer and still came up with a "cute" game.

In it's basis it's a very simple game, even so it is complex enough in the way you control both the skier and the boat, while avoiding any obstacles. Which may be tricky in the beginning.

The play ability I think is excellent and makes the game very addictive and hard in more advanced levels.
It would be a classic if it had more variety. However to me, and I know other share the same feeling, it's still a classic nonetheless.

High Noon, 30 Nov 2011 (Rating: 4)

1983 Work Force (UK)

Sometimes the heart speaks louder than reason.
I know this is an incredibly simple game, but it will never disappear from my mind. If you didn't play it in 1983 you may not understand my words, but for us who played it, and I think I can speak for a lot of gamers, it remains fantastic.
The far west, two cowboys, a duel. Six shots each. Hide in the cactus, use the Stagecoach as a shield. Imagination will do the rest.
The best Boot Hill Spectrum conversion together with 'Cowboy Shootout'.
A CcclassiccC!
3,5 stars

Cowboy Shootout, 30 Nov 2011 (Rating: 3)

1983 Micro Power (UK)
by David Aubrey-Jones

A great unlicensed conversion of the Midway 'Boot Hill' arcade game.
And probably one of the first arcades games to be cloned.

'Cowboy Shootout' had some little changes the other great Boot Hill copy (1983 High Noon) didn't have. For instance, you do not need to worry with the ammo, its unlimited. This may be a good or bad thing, depending on your taste.

The other feature is the scoring of the games you win or lose, turning this into a competitive game, which is great for a 2-player challenge, just like soccer games.


Probably the second best Boot Hill version on the Spectrum.

3,5 stars

Tiro de Pichon, 05 Dec 2011 (Rating: 1)

1985 - Microhobby
by Paco Martin

I'll give it a 1.
The game's not badly written or designed, but this looks more like a hunting simulation than merely a shoot 'em-up. And killing pigeons for me shouldn't be a hobby, even if they are digital pigeons.

La Ballade du Lutin, 05 Dec 2011 (Rating: 1)

1984 Loriciels (France)
by Patrice Wallerich

The french werent much interest in Spectrum games and I bet they were having more fun chasing girls while we nerds were playing computer games.

If you dont believe that than check this utterly disgusting piece of software from one of their best(!)companies.


The keys (in case you're lazy):
A - up (jump)
Z - down (duck)
K - Left
L - Right

Carreras de Caballos, 05 Dec 2011 (Rating: 3)

1991
by Rafael Vico Costa (Spain)

The game is translated 'Horse Racing'.

Its incredible simple, you only have to use a defined key (you can choose that by clicking 3 in the start menu), select the racing distance (click 2 in the same menu) and the number of players (click 1 - up to 5).
Than jump over the obstacules and try winning the race.
It is very well written, smooth moving and graphically appealling if you like cartoonish characters, and it can be very entertaining playing with a bunch of friends and family.
But that's mainly it. If you play it alone it will entertain you about once or twice.

Cliff Hanger, 05 Dec 2011 (Rating: 5)

1986 New Generation Software (UK)
by James Day

This is one of those rares pearls that once I discover it I fall in love immediately.
If you like unusual, original games, with a twist of humour this is for you.

To me this game always looked like a Beep Beep and Willie E. Coyote adventure. And probably is, but in new clothes. Maybe New Generation didn't got hold of the Looney Tunes license and the characters were redesigned, but that's just me saying.

The only letdown at the time of its release was the bugs on the final levels that crashed the game.
Thankfully Mr. Anonymous fixed this so now it is possible to play it entirely on an emulator. And I finally managed to finished the game, after 2 and 1/2 decades!


NATO Assault, 05 Dec 2011 (Rating: 3)

1987 Astros Productions (UK)
by Peter Karboulonis and George Karboulonis

A nice little war strategy game.
Nothing complex or groundbreaking here, but still very playable and enjoyable.

Keys are (the ones I got hold of):
P - rotate right
I - rotate left
O - Move
9 - Fire
Space - Next tank
E - End/pass your move

Ahhh!!, 05 Dec 2011 (Rating: 3)

1984 CRL (UK)
by Adam and Jay Derrett (loading screen)

There is nothing new here that hasn't been made before, but its still quite enjoyable.
It's core is the same as a 'Space Invaders' game, with a few enhancements and improvements here and there, like the docking screen, which was probably inspired by the arcade classic 'Moon Cresta'.
This will not amaze you but will make you spend a few minutes of fun.

Barchou, 05 Dec 2011 (Rating: 3)

1984 Central Solutions (UK)
by Zafarullah Karim

Another fast paced game by Mr. Karim.
Both 'Handy Andy', the other game he wrote, and Barchou, remind me a lot the early Ultimate games.
And despite an year too late is it still welcome to whom enjoys this sort of games.
The game is well written and it is highly playable but very very hard and challenging.
So I cant imagine any kid of 8 to 12 years old enjoying this for more than a few plays unless rapidly resetting the computer and moving to 'Galaxians'.

Handy Andy, 05 Dec 2011 (Rating: 2)

1984 CRL (UK)
by Zafarullah Karim

This game together with 'Barchou' the other creation by Mr.Karim, reminds me a lot of the early Ultimate games (am I crazy? probably!).
The game is simple, grab 10 dolls before they escape the toy store while avoiding the other nasty toys. The objects that keep appearing randomly I can't tell what's their use, if any...
Well, besides not being the prettiest and most interesting game it is also too hard for it's own good. And I think that explains the low rating it gets at WOS.
For a young kid in 1984 with niggardly parents, owning just this game, I bet it would be the fastest way to put aside his Speccy and never to touch it again.

H.E.R.O., 05 Dec 2011 (Rating: 5)

1984 Activision (UK)
by David Aubrey-Jones

One of my oldest and dearest games.
This is truly a great arcade game. The playability is excellent. The graphics are cute and nice and the movements are smooth.
I always loved everything about this. Today I'm older and not so impressive but the only thing I might say could improve it would be a larger variety of backgrounds and different nasties.
If you never tried it before go ahead and I guarantee you a good time.
A somewhat forgotten Speccy classic.

Toy Bizarre, 05 Dec 2011 (Rating: 3)

1985 Activision (UK)
by James Software Ltd

This game brings back some strange mixed feelings. Probably because of the game's athmosphere and even the game's name.
Never spent much time playing it but always came back for more.
It also reminds me a bit 'Mr Wongs Loopy Laundry' athmosphere and graphic style.
Your job as Merton, the Maintenance Man, is to turn off the 4 valves of balloons at the bottom of each level.
The game is a bit confusing, and the programming a bit messy. Jumps are hard to execute and sometimes you get stuck in some levels while time slips away.
A shame because when I hear the name 'Toy Bizarre' it still rings a bell.

The Double, 05 Dec 2011 (Rating: 5)

1987 Scanatron (UK)
by Peter Martin

In the cover Howard Kendall says 'This must be the ultimate of all strategy games' and I must agree it is one of the best soccer managing games.
Appealing screens with excelent taste, 100% machine code and highly detailed options with an excelent accuracy value.
The only letdown was the match result of your coached team appearing instantly and 'destroying' the suspense factor, something I loved e.g. in 'Football Director'. But that diddnt spoiled the game at all. Well, maybe a little.
At the time I played this game I also played one of my all time favourite soccer management games: 'Tracksuit Manager' which I think is very similar to this in almost ever aspect. Me and my friends thought they were both from the same guys and from the same series. One for the Major League and the other for the World Cup. They arent. But I bet Doug Matthews, 'Tracksuit Manager' author, got great inspiration out of 'The Double' for its spectacular game released one year later.
A must have for every Speccy fan speccialy for those who love management games.

Track Suit Manager, 09 Dec 2011 (Rating: 5)

1988 Goliath Games (UK)
by Doug Matthews

Well this by far the best strategy football game ever. I personally have a lot of sentimental conections with 'Football Director' and 'Football Manager' like a lot of you have, but when it cames to quality 'Tracksuit Manager' beats them all.
Dont take me wrong, I think 'Football Director' is one of the best games of the genre ever, but 'T.M' elevated the standard to a higher degree.
Everything is there, formation options, subs, detailed players abilities, game coments, you name it, and with an esthetic quality very appealing to the eye (quite similar to 'The Double'). Also it as the speed of a machine code game, something very few had and in my opinion essential in a strategy game.

The ultimate management game.

Pippo, 24 Dec 2011 (Rating: 5)

1986 Mastertronic
by G.Zanetti and Paolo Malnati

A simple but quite addictive game, with great graphics, great tunes and nice special effects.
Clearly inspired by Q*Bert, the arcade game ('Pogo' on the Speccy).
It provided me lots of fun back in the days.
Highly recommended.

Billy Bong, 25 Dec 2011 (Rating: 2)

1984 Lothlorien (UK)
by J. Stephen Culley

Help Billy Bong, an Aussie from down under, to clear all alien creatures from Outer Space using only his boomerang.
A badly executed game that could have been a lot better, I still find it enjoyable and fun to play.

Milk Race, 25 Dec 2011 (Rating: 4)

1987 Mastertronic (UK)
by Phil Berry, Stuart Ruecroft and Dave Whittaker

Bicycle racing game.
Very challenging and hard.
It becomes very addictive if you're into action racing games, plus the need to catch milk bottles to stay alive in the race and the clock ticking add so much to the fun of racing.
I used to play this one a lot when I first bought it.

Shuttle Shock, 30 Dec 2011 (Rating: 3)

1984 Supersavers Software (UK)
by Rob Povey

The games idea was already explored tons of times, but it has a slightly different approach, you don't jump, you transport yourself. This makes the game very strategic, calculating the exact position where to land.
The graphics are poor but do their job, the controls work fine and it will appeal to everyone you loves this sort of games.

Super Chopper, 30 Dec 2011 (Rating: 3)

1984 Supersavers Software (UK)
by Dan Hartley and Kurt Goodwin

Well this is really a nice surprise.
Lots of other games like this have been made, like Blue Thunder, Krakatoa, etc.
But this one plays very smoothly and features six different levels with three missions each (Blue thunder only had one!!).
It's true the game becames repetitive and with todays game maps in .png files available in the web the incentive of playing to see the next level is almost gone. Still when I rate a game I try to see it with the point of view of my playing early days, and I think I would have played this one a lot.
Very simple but very playable shoot-em-up.

Good Luck!, 31 Dec 2011 (Rating: 4)

1985
by Antonio Carlos Mateus (Portugal)

I've read the author's permission details on WOS and it is incredible how some software company can pull such a stunt. Selling a game they virtually stole. According to the author, Top Ten Software(UK) got hold of this game without the author knowing, changed the author's name in the loading screen and sold it like that, without him ever knowing until years later.
This is another story about how the software houses in the 80's cheated someone's work so easily.

There is a funny thing though, because in 1984, one year earlier, Zarsoft (also from Portugal) released a game called 'Poker' very very similar to this one, leaving room for me to question if Antonio didn't himself plagiarized someone else idea.
But that's just a theory. Because if I so recall myself, the casino games in 80's all looked very similar to both games, so maybe that's where they got their inspiration from.

About the game itself, I think it would be a winner if it had been released by a competent company.
It is very well written, very well presented, great graphics and sound, and the game is quite addictive even if you don't like poker games. It seems based on the original arcade game used in casinos. And if you have been in one, you know how compelling they are.

Poker, 31 Dec 2011 (Rating: 3)

1984 Zarsoft (Portugal)
by Jose Oliveira

A poker game based on the casino games of the 80's.
Nothing special, but for a BASIC written game, I think it is quite good. Nice presentation and plays well even if a bit slowly.
Check out another poker game called 'Good Luck' which is very similar to this game (lot better) and has an interesting story around its release (browse the authors permission details).

WEC Le Mans, 16 Jan 2012 (Rating: 4)

1988 Imagine Software (UK)
by Mike Lamb, John Mullins, Bill Harbison, Alick Morrall, Jonathan Dunn (Music)

For starters, I can't understand why a 128k game as no sound while racing. Even with the upgraded memory, too much things happening just slows the game. The menu music is nice but nothing special, and I've seen/heard better things in 48k oldies.
The graphics are nice but bulky and the proportions are all wrong, just look at the trees.
And about the track, well this is the famous 24 hours Le Mans you are racing, but it gets boring after playing the same track over and over, accuracy here just spoils things a bit.
Finally the strong point of theis game, in my view, is the playability, your car moves smoothly and the speed increases quite dramatically. The difficulty is also a strong point although a bit annoying in the first plays.
All in all I think this is only a slightly above average game.

Nuclear City Bomber, 16 Jan 2012 (Rating: 1)

1984 Scorpion Software (UK)
by Stuart Campbell

A Blitz clone game.
Press B to bomb and blast away 34 cities (33 because the game has a little bug, a missing comma between Stockholm and Manchester).
Whether you bomb the cities or just crash into them, the message will be the same "the city has been annihilated".
This was certainly intended as a joke and while reviewing it I really felt pranked!

Star Farce, 17 Jan 2012 (Rating: 4)

1988 Mastertronic (UK)
by Laurent Noel and LOG (loading screen)

What a great find this budget game is to me.
Similar in looks and play to 'Light Force' it is in fact even better is some ways.
Lots of action, great explosion sounds, great playability and if you are finding harder to play 'Light Force' because your firing thumb is losing its strenght and its not what it used to be them 'Star Farce' is your game.
If you love scrolling shoot-em-up ala 1942, Light Force, Flying Shark you will surely love this one.

Lightforce, 17 Jan 2012 (Rating: 4)

1986 Faster Than Light (UK)
by Greg Follis and Roy Carter

Brilliant shoot-em-up. The first to incorporate colour in both ships and background without color clashing. 4 levels of great action.
The only complain is the lack of smoothness other games have, and lack of power-ups, but it still plays great.
A classic of its kind.
Warm up your thumbs before playing, that's a friends advice!

Zub, 18 Jan 2012 (Rating: 4)

1986 M.A.D. (Mastertronic Added Dimension UK)
by John Pickford (game), Ste Pickford (graphics), David Whittaker (soundtrack)

This could have been an excellent game if only it had more variety in gameplay and in each of the levels.
The presentation is awesome, the tunes by Dave Whittaker are some of the best ever produced, the playability is also great so when you start playing it it can be quite exciting.
The problem is your task in each level being the same: climb the platforms way up and into the next planet.
Between planets you have various different interludes with some options that add some variety but the game overall becames repetitive after a while. A missed classic.

Monster Muncher, 22 Jan 2012 (Rating: 2)

1983 Spectrum Games (UK)
by Adrian Sherwin and Ian Robinson

Well I have been looking for this game for a long time now and I wish I never had found it. My memories were a lot greater than the game actually is.
To be honest the game plays averagely well, the sprites are big and colourful and for 83 it was a good enough rendition of Pac Man. Today it seems quite obsolete.
The difference between levels is the speed, the addiction of an extra ghost and after the 9th level it maintains the nine ghosts.
I think it could have been a better substitute for the coming 1984 Pac Man if only the levels had some other differences, like colours, mazes and fruits. But that would have looked too close to the original and without copyrights wouldn't be wise.

Pac-Man, 22 Jan 2012 (Rating: 2)

1984 Atarisoft (UK)
by David J. Looker

This a very simple Pac-Man version, specially when compared to the arcade game. Doesnt look bad but that is all.
It was originally called Z-Man and was intented as a another clone.
I still remember the feelings I had before and after when I bought the game.
In my ingenuity I was hoping the game was as good as the arcade. Well it wasnt.
Thankfully a few months later Miss Pac Man appeared on the stores and I could finally play Pac-Man at home.
Has with 90% of Speccy Pac-Man clones this is good for memories only.

Trivial Pursuit, 22 Jan 2012 (Rating: 5)

1986 Domark Ltd (UK)
by the Oxford Digital Enterprises

I loved this game so much that I bought the board game, made another one myself and wrote a spectrum version using Achile Talon cartoons as characters.
The atmosphere is great and the game is very well written. This is a must have for any quiz loving fan.

Ping Pong, 23 Jan 2012 (Rating: 4)

1986 Imagine (UK)
by Doug Burns (Bernie Dugggs), Jonathan M. Smith and Martin Galway

This was never my cup of tea, but I have to admit it is a great game.
I always found the key controls a bit awkward and that spoiled things a bit for me. The non addition of a championship is another complaint I have.
But overall this is a great game.
The music and sound effects are awesome and the playability is great. Couldnt expect less from programmers like this guys.

Hyper Active, 23 Jan 2012 (Rating: 3)

1988 Sinclair User (UK)
by Jonathan M. Smith, Charles Davies and Keith Tinman (Music)

I think this is the worst game made by the Special FX team while Joffa integrated the team.
Reminds me a lot of Starbike and Saucer, thou the object of the game is different.
Its still a good game but a bit on the simple side, basically a shoot-em-up with some things to do.
I think this served more has a marketing product for Sinclair User magazine and Special FX Software than anything else.

Kick Box Vigilante, 23 Jan 2012 (Rating: 2)

1991 Zeppelin Games (UK)
BY Jimmy Parr and David Taylor

Doesnt this look like Yie Ar Kung-Fu to you?
Not bad, gameplay is good but hard, graphics are fair. You only have 5 five opponents so it becames dull rapidly. Key controls are a bit awkward and spoil things a bit.
Unfortunately the game adds nothing new.

Subway Vigilante, 23 Jan 2012 (Rating: 2)

1989 Players Premier (UK)
by Brian Cross, Andrew Severn, Ian Sheridan and Colin Swinbourne

Doesn't this look like Renegade to you?

Vigilante, 23 Jan 2012 (Rating: 3)

1989 US Gold (UK)
by Damian Scattergood and Mark Cushen

Doesn't this look like Kung Fu Master to you? Well, it does to me...

F1 Tornado, 24 Jan 2012 (Rating: 3)

1991 Zeppelin Games (UK)
by Ian Richards, John Cassells and Michael Sanderson

The game is a bit dated for '91 but it is quite enjoyable actually, nice graphics, a bit childish, but nice and the playability is very good even is a bit slow. The loading screen has this shoot-em-up as a simulator which is obviouly wrong. It doesnt mention the same on the inlay cover so it was probably an error of the designer who probably never even played the game.
This is one of those games that will please everyone who loves this horizontal scrolling games.

Tank Trax, 24 Jan 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Amoeba Software (UK)
by Steel and Baker

So here is where 'Worms' got its start.
Firstly this game is intended for two players, however there is no such information in the enlay. If you have a friend to play with (not included in the game) then you can have a few laughs of fun. Today it would be a waste of time, since the existing versions of Worms, among other games, would do the trick. But for '83 it is an interesting little game. It is addictive and playable. Has several options before starting the game that affect the behavior of our tank. The graphics are the most basic there is but they do their job. The detail of the cannon is a bit annoying because it flashes and you can not see what you're doing, but since it depends on the angle it makes no difference.
In general it is a fun game for its time and must have entertained a few people.

Speed Zone, 24 Jan 2012 (Rating: 1)

1988 Mastertronic (UK)
by Keith Goodyer, Denis Hickie and Jaine Hickie

This must be one of the worst games I ever played.
Why write a game that runs at the speed of light?
Why create, in a spacegame, aliens with the shape of phones?
Why use a moon on the scenery that clashes with your spaceship and anything that enters it?
And why does Mastertronic insist in launching games of this caliber?
Werent games like 'Alcatraz Harry', 'Voyage Into the Unknown', 'Alien Kill' enough ?
I give a score of 1 for some of the graphics and for the aliens movement though I cant even see most of them or what they look like.

Bomber Bob in Pentagon Capers, 26 Jan 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Bug-Byte Software (UK)
by Timothy Closs

Bomber Bob is an unofficial version of the famous Bomb Jack which would appear one year later already duly legalized.
While not as addictive I find interesting the changes that were made. The game is much more difficult than the original, in fact one of the reasons why many people loved 86's Bomb Jack was its ease. Everyone could play it, from kids to adults alike.
Int the other hand this one takes patience and planning and play a few times to get it right. So for all those who hated Bomb Jack for being so easy, here you have another identical one but much harder

Legend of the Amazon Women, 26 Jan 2012 (Rating: 2)

1986 US Gold (UK)
by Simon Ffinch

I remember me and my classmates being all excited because of the chicks in the cover of the game.
After playing it we all shared the same opinion: Piece of crap.

Kung-Fu Master, 26 Jan 2012 (Rating: 3)

1986 US Gold Ltd (UK)
by David J. Anderson, F. David Thorpe (loading screen)

An average conversion of a very popular arcade game. The game itself becames very boring after a while because you basically use the same method of attack.
It was good for a few plays that nothing to jump about.

Flak, 26 Jan 2012 (Rating: 2)

1984 US Gold (UK)
by Christopher Smith, F. David Thorpe (loading screen)

A poor conversion of a less popular game in the arcades. I had a friend who really enjoyed the game and I can see why, but it looks and feels a bit primitive. What really annoys me is the waiting time between losses. It's too long and painful and just makes me want to hit the reset button. If it wasn't like this I think I would enjoyed it better. Thankfully there are other better conversions of similar games like 'Xevious', to name one.

Saracen, 26 Jan 2012 (Rating: 1)

1987 US Gold (UK)
by Paragon

I spent a lot of money on the arcades playing this game, then I got the Spectrum port, and I decided to go back to the arcade and spend some more money.
I guess that gives an idea of what I think of it.

Super Soccer, 26 Jan 2012 (Rating: 2)

1986 Imagine (UK)
by David Anderson, R.C.D. and Ronny Fowles

Ahah, 'Super Soccer' was just a great piece of crap of a game, but I have very fond memories of it. I loved the players graphics and that's the main reason I was so patient with it.
And it takes lots of patience, believe me!
The playability is simple awful, very slow and messy.
If you want to play a soccer game, choose almost anything else.

Escape-MCP, 26 Jan 2012 (Rating: 1)

1983 Rabbit Software (UK)
by John F. Cain

Talk about a hard game.
And once you get there you start all over again in diferent colours. Yeay!

Jumbly, 26 Jan 2012 (Rating: 4)

1983 DK'Tronics (UK)
by Don Priestley

The best computer slide puzzle after 'Splitting Images' aka 'Split Personalities'. This one even gives you animated squares making things a lot harder!
Don's graphics abilitys were start to refine and it shows here unfortunately his musician skills were way far from good! Jumbly features one of the most terrible tunes I ever heard, thank God there is a tune off option!

Italy 1990, 28 Jan 2012 (Rating: 2)

1990 US Gold (UK)
by Mark Haigh-Hutchinson, Blue Turtle and Mike Davies

The scrooling is awful and makes the playability confusing and messy.
There are lots os other better soccer games out there.

Italia '90 - World Cup Soccer, 28 Jan 2012 (Rating: 3)

1989 Virgin Software (UK)
by Antony R. Lill

Better than Italy 1990 this is still a very average football game. Personally I prefer the lateral view of the field, but that's an acquired taste. The scrooling is very good but somewhat slow. The animation is also good but the graphic technique is fatally awful, and they should know that.

Basket, 28 Jan 2012 (Rating: 2)

1985 MicroHobby (Spain)
by Manuel Freire Magarinos

Funny little basketball game, written in BASIC and for a spanish magazine.
It as a bit of charm in it and its a nice curiosity for anyone who loves BASIC written games.

Muncher, 28 Jan 2012 (Rating: 2)

1983 Cascade Games Ltd (UK)
by author still unknown

Personally I think this is the best game in the Cassette 50 compilation, probably why it comes first.
For a BASIC game I think its quite good, other than that its just another game.

Galactians, 28 Jan 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 DK'Tronics (UK)
by David Turner

'Galaxians' is an absolut classic both in the arcades and on the speccy.
But this version, however, has a big letdown. It turns out that our shots here are like guided missiles, when you move the ship, you move the shot as well, and of course it makes the game too easy. Also the graphics could be cleaner.
A shame because the game had everything to be the next version of choice on the spectrum after the brilliant '82 release.

Galaxians, 28 Jan 2012 (Rating: 4)

1982 Artic Computing (UK)
by William J. Wray

An absolut example of a great conversion of an arcade game.
This is both a classic in the arcades and on the Spectrum.

Mutant Monty, 28 Jan 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Artic Computing (UK)
by Karl Jeffery

Another game featuring the name Monty, and i'm mixing them all up.
This is actually quite interesting but the non stop multi-speed movement of the character is quite annoying and irritating. Despite that everything else is fairly good. I like the music in the background, at least for the first five minutes.

Mutant Monty and the Temple of Doom, 28 Jan 2012 (Rating: 1)

1986 Artic Computing (UK)
by Paul Watson

Sequel to the Mutant Monty game, this time written by a different programmer.
If the first one was bad this is even worse. It has It's like Manic Miner had a bad dinner and is having a terrible nightmare.

Paws, 29 Jan 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Artic Computing (UK)
by Anthony Adam

A simple little game reminding 'Sabre Wulf' a lot. Different heroes, different story, same sort of gameplay.
Help father cat find his ten lost kittens to summon the family strenght and be able to fight the nasty gang of bulldogs.
Nothing special, but worth a look if you like this sort of games.

Big Ben Strikes Again, 29 Jan 2012 (Rating: 2)

1985 Artic Computing (UK)
by John Prince

Another bad platform game, very monotonous with very similar rooms and really not that appealling.
The playability is nice, the graphics are somewhat funny, specialy the celebs, but adds nothing new to the platform Miner/Jet Set scene. The room editor is the positive side.

International Rugby, 29 Jan 2012 (Rating: 2)

1985 Artic Computing (UK)
by Donald J. Campbell

A bad rugby game that brings me back some nice memories and that's all this days.
Always reminds of 'World Cup Football', both bad games with awful graphics and play.

World Cup Football, 29 Jan 2012 (Rating: 2)

1984 Artic Computing (UK)
by Donald J. Campbell and JJC

Probaby one of the worse soccer games ever written for the ZX Spectrum.
Awful gameplay, bad game design, incredibly predictable player movements.

Here's my tip on how to score:
Forget about passing the ball to your team, no need for that, just run, zig-zag a bit and there you are, one on one with the goal keeper, now just move away a bit from him, stay in a straight line to the goal and shoot! GOAL! There you go!
Now repeat this all over again and try to score as many goals as you can within time limit.

I must admit I played it a lot in the early days and It's part of my Spectrum games memories, so I'll rate it with a 2 just for old times sake.

World Cup Carnival, 29 Jan 2012 (Rating: 1)

1986 US Gold (UK)
by Donald J. Campbell and JJC

Same game as 'World Cup Football' but with a different world championship, this time in Mexico and with the training of penalties.
It seems that the first program written was considered crap by US Gold folks so they decided to relaunch 'WCF' with a new package.
If this is true I can't imagine the other program. What was it? 22 dots strolling in a green rectangle?

Super Gran, 29 Jan 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Tynesoft (UK)
by Donald J. Campbell

Based on the TV show Super Gran.
I really liked this as a kid, maybe because it captured the spirit of the show.
Basically this is a shoot-em-up. The sprites are big and colourful, making some characters recognizable. There are quite a few diferent levels but I cant remember what they are. Can be quite adictive due to its dificulty.

Superman - The Man of Steel, 29 Jan 2012 (Rating: 1)

1989 Tynesoft
by Mike Talbot, Tim McCarthy, Sarah Day, Richard Cheek, David Whittaker, Doug Thrower and Paul Drummond

Another Superman shitty game.
With so many people working on it is amazing how bad this is.
Graphics are average for 89, the character movements arent bad but with the slow speed the game moves this is only utter crap.
I rather play the 85 version.

Superman: The Game, 29 Jan 2012 (Rating: 1)

1985 Firebird Software (UK)
by Jim Nangano and Fernando Herrera

One of the most infamous badly executed super hero game conversions.
Nothing good can be said, from start to finish this is nasty.

The Comet Game, 29 Jan 2012 (Rating: 2)

1986 Firebird (UK)
by Andrew Glaister

I remember when this game was released.
Remember people saying that the comet marked the beginning of the end of the world that was later to happen in the year 2000.
Since everyone talked about Halley's Comet, why not make a game?
Unfortunately the game is as boring as it was staring at the sky waiting to see the famous comet, expecting some sort of fireworks or anything.

Action Fighter, 30 Jan 2012 (Rating: 3)

1989 Firebird (UK)
by the Core team

Havent I seen this before? Oh yeah, Spy Hunter. Talk about a classic rip-off. You even have the lorrys to gain extras.
If this was a remake it could be considered a nice one, the cars move smoothly and it plays quite well.
The graphics are crap and I dont fancy the absence of colour, but makes no diference after a while.
All in all a fairly decent sequel to Spy Hunter with a few additions that are welcome.

Back to the Future, 30 Jan 2012 (Rating: 1)

1985 Electric Dreams Software (UK)
by Mark Eyles, Mike Saxby, Herv Jones and Martin Walker.

Why spend money on making a good game if you know its gonna sell?
The movie made millions of fans worldwide so any game with be money in the pocket.

I've to shout out loud that this is one of the worse movie conversions I've ever played. Its pointless, boring, badly executed and irritating and doesn't even pay enough tribute to the movie.

The other two movies both had a respective game of its own. And both were a lot better than this. But the funny thing is that this is the only of the three games that wasn't allowed for free distribution.

Back to the Future Part III, 30 Jan 2012 (Rating: 5)

1991 Image Works (UK)
by Keith Burkhill

After 2 bad games, Amblin and Universal studios weren't that sure if this sequel would sell, so I guess that is why this is by far one of the best movie adaptations made, contrasting completely in quality with the 1st of the series.
Every level is great, very playable and well designed, sure this is a multi load level game, but even if this had only one level it would be a winner.
There's nothing new or groundbreaking here, just a great action game.

Fernandez Must Die, 30 Jan 2012 (Rating: 2)

1988 Image Works (UK)

One of the last games I bought.
I really hated this one, but now seeing it for the first times in decades (decades!!! Wow, I'm old!) it doesn't seem all that bad. At least it's playable.
But it's not good either, taking into account other better games out there, so I still rate it under average. Colour clashing is awful, the sprites are bad, basic sounds, and the game play is the only savior Fernandez gets.

2,25 points

Rampage, 30 Jan 2012 (Rating: 4)

1988 Activision(UK)
by Bob Pape, Mark A. Jones, Colin Tuck and Z

An explosive game when I first heard about it, still explosive when I first played it, but rapidly wears out. It becames boring after awhile. The cities arent all that imaginative and lookalike and our beasts drag around a bit, I find the controls not that responsive.
The game idea is captivating, King Kong meets a Giant Werewolf and a sort of lizard-Black-Lagoon-like monster and mission is to destroy everything and avoid destruction. You are attacked by little soldiers and little tanks and little chopters, eat people around, destroy armies and manage a sort of non-profitable demolition association (that's me saying!), its every misbehaved kids dream... 'till he gets bored.

Jackal, 30 Jan 2012 (Rating: 2)

1987 Konami (UK)
by David Whitehouse, Adrian Carless and Stephen Lockley

This is a game I completely erased from my memories, I have almost no recollection of it. And no wonder why, its crap!
Clumsy graphics, they seem to have been made at a first attempt. Look how the men run!
Almost absolutely no sound, was it so hard to come up with a shot sound? A bleep at least?!
And talk about frustrating playability, specially after dealing with games such as Commando, Rambo, Who Dares Wins II or Green Beret, this was just painful.

Elecciones Generales, 31 Jan 2012 (Rating: 4)

1986 Juegos & Estrategia (Spain)
by Paco Martin, M.A. Hijosa

In 86 for me and my friends this game was something new.
I had played Dictator and other strategy games, but 'Elecciones Generales' only addressed politic issues. It's all in spanish and as lots of references of spanish politics of that year. I'm not a spaniard, but it was easy to relate to this.
The game is comprised in two parts: the political campaign and the election itself.
There are numerous options, but the object of the game ends up repeating itself a bit. What makes it interesting in the beginning is the variety of some of the animated graphical presentations, such as the television news or the Spanish regional music while choosing the seats for your party representation. Starting a newspaper or spy on your political adversaries was kinda funny to.
But then begins to overdo. The news for example are always the same and very time consuming, and what makes it fun in the beginning quickly turns into a yawn.
Despite all this, it is a fun and interesting strategy game.

Day of the Match, 01 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1983 Video Software Ltd (UK)
by Philip Smith

I must say that this one is the most complicated soccer management games I ever played. It seems the instructions were given both in the inlay card, in a separated sheet and voice recorded on cassette, which shows interest from the game producers. But it is a pity that the quality of the game (which matters the most!) doesn't match that of the instructions. Some ideas are interesting but badly executed and time wasting, making this the most boring, confusing and pointless management game I've played.

Carmania, 01 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1984 Video Software (UK)
by Richard Desforges

I love Basic games, their naiveness always brings a smile to my face, its like reading a book with a few illustrations leaving the rest to your imagination.
What I like in this is just that, the simplicity.
As a game is completely uninteresting. The cars are randomly generated and sometimes its impossible not to crash. And the key controls sometimes 'slips' out of control.

Keys: N-left; M-right S-gear

River Raid, 03 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1984 Activision (UK)

One of the first games I played, and what good memories it brings me.
Super simple, both graphically and in terms of gameplay, but highly addictive and one of the best conversions made to the spectrum. It's one of those games that I would definitely play on a mobile phone. So, go Activision, go!

Enduro, 03 Feb 2012 (Rating: 2)

1984 Activision (UK)
by James Software Ltd

Inspired on the Atari 2600 version, could have been better converted, but it's still a fun game. The graphics are rough and there's nothing aesthetically interesting, but it is fun to play from time to time, the speed and passing cars creates some mild excitement.

Little Computer People, 03 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1987 Activision (UK)
by Byron Nilsson and Richard Gold

This is one of the most interesting and inovating games I discovered in WOS.
It a sort of Tamagotchi game, create almost 10 years earlier.
The object of the game is to take care of your little computer people, from feeding to entertaining its all up to you. He will watch TV, play piano and play with you several sub-games such as Anagrams, Poker and other card games. Also you have to pay attention to his emotional needs. The animation and character movements are quite nice. There is a lot here to explore and so far I cant say anything against it.

Mutan Zone, 03 Feb 2012 (Rating: 2)

1989 Opera Soft (Spain)
by Jose Ortega

A cute game destroyed by being extremely difficult and with lack of control response.
It seems that almost all spanish games suffer from the same. Or maybe the same mutations of the plot messed up the game as they did with the name.

Cabal, 06 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1989 Ocean Software(UK)
BY James Bagley, Charles Davies and Keith Tinman

I have to agree that this is an excellent conversion of the original in some aspects even better. I especially dislike the graphics, they seem too bulky and clumsy, and therefore I subtract a point on the rating, apart from that it's a great game.

Blazing Thunder, 06 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1990 Hi-Tec Software (UK)
by Dave Thompson and Richard Morton

This is what I like about Spectrum games, the personal touch of each programmer. It was most common until around 1985, although extended throughout the Spectrum Era. Small companies/programmers didn't care or hadn't the knowledge of the standards of commercial success, which nowadays are used and applied to all most every game. I am referring to some of the details completely absurd seen in this game. For example, the size of our tank, which seems Lilliputian compared to the soldiers.
This kind of details always makes me smile and I think is one of the most captivating features of the Spectrum.
About the game itself, there's nothing much to say, its a Commando type game, it plays well and can be fun.

Professional Go-Kart Simulator, 06 Feb 2012 (Rating: 2)

1990 Zeppelin Games (UK)
by Hugh Mo

Professional?!
It seems that the game was made to annoy the player. Tiny graphics, tiny game screen, the elevations on the ground appear from nowhere and disappear beyond our field of vision, others karts run over each other, in short... a big mess.
Professional??

Saint and Greavsie, 06 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1989 Grandslam Entertainments Ltd (UK)
by CORE Design

Really enjoyed this one. I think its very good. The graphic part is well done, the gameplay develops quickly and addicting, and the quizz as some interesting appropriate soccer questions. A shame its aimed at football fans only.

4 Minute Warning, 07 Feb 2012 (Rating: 2)

1984 Magination Software (UK)
by Alan Dordoy and Tim Pickford-Jones

Quite imaginative the idea for this game.
The base idea is to survive a nuclear holocaust. First gather up the essentials, water, food, a radio, then apparently hiding in a shelter located under the house waiting for the attack. After the nuclear attack you can choose to come to the outside, where we again collect water, food, etc., while being chased by other survivors.
Of course the game is crap, is poorly programmed, the graphics are horrible, and the sound is obnoxious. It's playable for a few rounds, until it becomes boring. But the implied sarcasm concerning the cold war politics and nuclear threat, and in particular Mrs.Thatcher and R. Reagan is worthy of attention. Funny to read the 2 magazine reviews made at the time of the games release, one even states suspicion that level 1 is on purpose unfinishable so that you have to read that infamous phrase about the politicians mentioned above.

International 5-a-Side, 07 Feb 2012 (Rating: 2)

1992 Zeppelin Games (UK)
by John Carlyle, David Taylor and Tink

It's bad, but there are worse. Play is quite smooth, better then some. The main 5-a-side rules are there. Personally I like the graphics, could be better but arent all that bad. What makes the game rough is the difficulty in passing the ball and making some fancy plays.

Leviathan, 07 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1987 English Software
by Gareth J. Briggs, Mark Kelly, Lee Crawley and David Whittaker (music)

The worse Zaxxon-type game I ever played in my life. Its almost impossible to detect your ship while crossing the landscapes. Also when accelerating or decelerating you use the same keys as the up and down controls making the playing experience a mess.
Simple awful.

1984, 08 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1983 Incentive Software (UK)
by Rob Carter

Brilliant government management game.
I was about 12 when I first played this, it was all so strange, all those options, numbers, percentages, and all in English and without instructions.
But don't asked me why, but I somehow insisted on playing it, maybe because of my obsession with BASIC strategy games. And so, I slowly got into the game (more or less) and became good at it, I remember almost reaching the year 2000!
This is not your everyday management game, It has many economy calculations, and all with an influence on the game, but it is simple in play making it quite enjoyable.

Chuckie Egg 2, 08 Feb 2012 (Rating: 5)

1985 A'n'F Software (UK)

Unlike Chuckie Egg, the sequel was not so well received by the fans, perhaps because they were expecting an arcade game as straightforward as the previous one.

I think the game suffered the same evolution that Manic Miner / Jet Set Willy had: the first plays level by level in a straightforward fashion, the second requires patience and planning within its larger size maze.

I personally think its a very good sequel, with greater variety of screens, interesting characters and situations and it plays just as well as the first. I find the scene with the Green Dragon especially delightful. But there are many others, such as the dog at the start, the egg maker or the screens with the gooses from the first Chuckie.

Kong Strikes Back, 08 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1984 Ocean Software (UK)
by Nigel Alderton, Jonathan Smith and F. D. Thorpe (loading screen)

With a team of programmers like this it had to be good.
Much better than the first Kong and with a different layout, I think it is one of the best platform games around that time.
Sure it's a Mr. Do! unofficial conversion, but who gives a crap, it's good and that's what matters.
The player character movement is excellent, may seem hard to make turns at first but after a few plays you get the hang of it. The graphics are quirky and funny. And I just love the gameplay, very addictive, very playable and lots of fun.

Kong, 08 Feb 2012 (Rating: 2)

1983 Ocean Software (UK)
by Paul Owens

I'm not familiar with all versions of Kong in the spectrum but this is one of the most irritanting that I know of.
Getting on the ladders was a real drama.
The game plays fast and furious and once you master all climbing and jumping, it is in fact fun to play, irritating but fun!

Arkanoid, 08 Feb 2012 (Rating: 5)

1987 Imagine Software (UK)
by Mike Lamb, Ronny Fowles and Mark Jones

Breakout games were never my cup of tea, well maybe in the beggining, when they were a novelty, but I must state that Arkanoid is in my opinion the best there is in the spectrum. From graphics to sound, to gameplay, variety in levels, power-ups etc, you get it all with top notch quality. Batty is alright but Arkanoid is the real McCoy.

Arkanoid - Revenge of Doh, 08 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1988 Imagine Software (UK)
by Mike Lamb, Ronny Fowles, Gari Biasillo and Mark Jones

Good but a bit pointless after such great games as Arkanoid and Batty. I must say I dislike the background graphic technique , it gets a bit confusing and eye wearing. Nice 128k sounds.

Super Brat, 09 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1985 Atlantis Software (UK)
by T.J. Adcock

Wimbledon wasn't enough? Two equal games with different names and both share the same thing: they stink.

Wimbledon, 09 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1985 by T.J. Adcock (UK)

Is this the worse tennis game ever?
Well maybe. It is completely written in BASIC so maybe that is the reason why.
The game as some nice features, very colourful, various linesmen like in real games, and I specially like the clapping sound the audience does. Playing is another completely different thing, You toss the ball using key P twice and if you are lucky maybe you get it right, to move left(key 1) or right (key 2) no up's or down keys. You move so slowly you cant catch any balls, and if you do you probably send it off the court. So the experience despite colourful rapidly turns black with despair.

1985 - The Day After, 09 Feb 2012 (Rating: 2)

1985 Mastertronic Ltd (UK)
by the Severn Software

A pretty difficult game. I'm affraid to say that to control the ship you'll need loads of patience and some luck. We are supposed to save the earth by collecting nuclear pods of four different planets. But honestly I think we are too busy controlling our ship to make anything else. The game is colourful, with simple but effective graphics and sounds, but loses 1 point from me because of its difficulty.

3D-Tanx, 09 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1982 DK'Tronics (UK)
by Don Priestley

This was the first real commercial break thru for Don Priestley.
How a simple idea can transform a whole shoot 'em up genre, into something new and exciting.
Very graphic and very real, even the sounds, with the speakers in maximum volume, could simulate a war zone (this was 82!)
The only limitation is that the objective of the game was always the same, the difficulty increases, but the goal remains the same.
Either way it is an indisputable classic.

Advanced Lawnmower Simulator, 09 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1988 Your Sinclair (UK)

An april fools prank nicely done on Your Sinclair readers.
It isnt a proper game, you only have one key to play and it leads nowhere. You simply move forward and mow the lawn, thats it.

The Addams Family, 09 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1992 Ocean Software (UK)
by Andrew Deakin, Ivan Horn and Jonathan Dunn

One of the best loading screens in the history of the Spectrum and one of the best theme songs ever played in a Spectrum.
Graphically the game is very good, very playable with very fluid movements but not easy to perform your job. It takes patience to learn all the traps of the house and not fall into them, which makes the game little spontaneous, in my opinion. Nothing new or original but still nicely done.

Olympiad '86, 10 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1986 Atlantis Software (UK)
by Barry Jones

How I love this crappy games, they always make me laugh. Basicaly this is a caricature of Hyper Sports.

Spy vs Spy, 10 Feb 2012 (Rating: 5)

1985 Beyond Software (UK)
by Tag and The Kid

One of the most original and crazy games of '85, does justice to MAD magazine.
First Star Software claims the game uses 2 revolutionary gaming techniques, 'Simulvision' (split-screen display) and 'Simulplay' which allows both players to play simultaneously. Whether revolutionary or not the fact is they work very well, even if the graphics are a bit bulky and odd.
The object of the game is to get out of the building and reach a plane waiting on the runway, carrying with you 4 objects on a briefcase.
But the most interesting thing in the game are the traps that both spies put in their paths. It's even fun to watch the computer play against itself. But the real fun is really playing against a friend.

Spy vs Spy II: The Island Caper, 10 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1987 Databyte (UK)
by Orpheus Ltd

I remember not caring much about this sequel, really can tell why, maybe the wow factor had gone.
Your goal here is to recover all 3 parts of the top secret XJ4 1/4 missile assemble them and escape using a submarine.
This time First Star Software introduces a new gaming technique called Trapulator which allows the player to
store and use various items, I dont think that it was that new at that time, but OK.
Also this time the game is in colour despite the cartoons always being in black and white, I personally prefer the B&W version, but it adds some change to the sequel. The graphics are a problem, hard to look at, specially the white spy which is poorly defined.
All in all it is a very reasonable sequel but a bit too complicated and graphically messy and not as much fun as the first.

Spy vs Spy III: Arctic Antics, 10 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1988 Databyte (UK)
by Orpheus Ltd

Not a real return to form, but closer!
Graphically still confusing, but this time no colour again only B&W, which works fine with the artic theme and adds a touch of mystery to the game.
Your object this time is to launch a subterranean intergalactic rocket.
There are countless hazards besides your trusty Nemesis, the other spy, you have thin ice, blizzards, snow, etc.
The real problems are the speed of the game which tends to slow too much when the 2 spies are in both screens and the 'Trapulator' that is really annoying to use, more even than on the previous game.
Despite all that I must say I really enjoyed playing this game as much as the first, it takes a while getting use to the speed and the graphics (detecting entrances or exits is a pain in the neck) but once you do it's quite enjoyable.

Brum-Brum, 10 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Astor Software (Portugal)
by Pedro Brito Cunha

Funny to see that a similar 'Formula One' strategy game had been made in 84. Completely in BASIC and without graphics at least the version available on WOS. This is really nice to play, despite not having the thrilling of the race screen and without the pitstop, its still a nice strategy game.

Brad Blasts the Galactic Barbarians, 10 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1983 Express Software Ltd (UK)
by Michael Fox

What a sweet little game this is. When it starts it seems written in BASIC then you notice its not, then it seems just another space invaders shoot-em-up but while you progress level by level you see its more than that.
BBTGB has lots of different levels and some very different, all very playable and addictive. Fact is it isn't a great game, graphically too simple and it has a few bugs, but the game progression its quite charming and makes it very addictive and fun.

Wacky Races, 12 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1992 Hi-Tec (UK)
by Fred O'Rourke, Sean Conran, Richard Morton. Developed by Robin Holman and Mick Hanrahan

Another Hanna Barbera game that is really cute and captures the atmosphere of the cartoons. The graphics could look a bit more faithful to the original but work fine. You command both Dick Dastardlys car in some levels and Mutley in others.
With the car you enter races, with Mutley you play a sort of catch-bonus level.
I find the game really hard, it took me a lot of practice to reach level 2.

Cat 'n Mouse, 12 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1983 Video Productions (UK)
by Chris Gandler

Call me harsh, but this is just horrible. Resembles one of those handheld games, but it is worse than any I have seen or played with.
The gameplay is simply stupid, confusing and frustrating. This wasn't my first Spectrum game but if it were I wouldn't buy another.

Psychedelia, 12 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Llamasoft (UK)
by Simon Freeman and Jeff Minter

The idea is quite good, but as John Gilbert from Sinclair User stated on his mag refiew Llamasoft has launched the product into the wrong market it would work better as an advertising instrument.
Interesting for that time, but I doubt anybody spent more than 10 minutes using it and came back for more.

Fahrenheit 3000, 12 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Softstone Ltd (UK)
by Tim Williams and Chris Jones

Despite being a Jet Set Willy clone it is still a decent game although not as playable as the first.
It's also a lot harder to jump and escape some traps and situations. Still it's rather nice, specially from JSW fans.

Crystal Castles, 12 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1986 US Gold (UK)

This is one of those simple games that would have benefited much if the graphics and animation were better designed, although the 3-D technique used here is one of the best I've seen, but the graphics are too plain and simple and as almost without animation. Thankfully you have the arcade version which is much better. But if you can surpass that the game can be incredibly addictive and I totally agree with Marcus Berkmanns review for Your Sinclair mag. You have 18 castles to play with a series of nasties with different abilities to block your path. It is played just like Pac-Man and its really enjoyable. Give it a try.
3,5 stars

European 5-a-Side, 12 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1988 Silverbird Software (UK)
by Timothy Closs

Utter crap.
Bad graphics, annoying sound, and about the game speed, are the players high or what? The less said the better.

Combat School, 12 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1987 Ocean Software (UK)
by Mike Lamb, Andrew Deakin, Ivan Horn, David Whittaker and Jas Brooke

Hyper Sports goes military.
It has some very nice events and it is a very good conversion, but the game brings nothing new, just the theme.
Good for some Joystick smashing. I bet this games were a delight to the Joystick manufacturers.

Piggy, 13 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1988 Bug-Byte (UK)
by Peter Watson

Someone remembered to make a game about one of the three little pigs, the smart one, who built a wolf home-proof.
Unfortunately the game isn't that smart.
For 1988, almost everything in the game is outdated, the UDG graphics format, sound, objective and the Manic Miner meets Atic Atac style game. Also the game is very hard and unfair in places and with a few bugs that turn the difficulty even higher.
Pick up all the items you need to build your home.

Ned's Garden, 13 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 16/48 Tape Magazine (UK)
by Peter Watson

This game was written by the same author of 'Piggy' and in my opinion is much better than the first.
The game was published by Tape Magazine in 1985, and although even at that time it was outdated, it worked fine for the style of game it is suppose to be.
I specially like the swallows flying in the herb garden room. The game is quite harder than it looks and it takes a lot of patience and fast reactions to surpass some nasties, but its completely finishable.
If you started playing games in '82 and you are used to simple games, you may enjoy this one, even if only for nostalgic curiosity.
The tune between kills is a real spoiler.
Poke to silence annoying tune: 33292,0

Bugaboo the Flea, 13 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1983 Quicksilva (UK)
by Paco Garcia and Paco Calero

A classic of the early days.
The loading screen sequence, with its totally cinematic titles, was a delight to watch and put you in the right mood to play.
The game screen layout was another great feature, nice to look at and cleverly designed to make the players life difficult.
It has aged considerably, but otherwise continues to retain that mysterious quality it had in the beginnings of Spectrum gaming.

Androids, 13 Feb 2012 (Rating: 2)

1983 Sunshine Books(UK)
by Peter Aked

A mixture of Berzerk and Maziacs.
I love the maze and all and it plays quite well, but honestly don't have much patience for it nowadays.
The aim of the game is to find the exit in each level.
Beware the aliens (they are all green and look like Pac-man), step into the 'G' squares to gain ammo or the 'S' squares to gain shield power. The cyan doors keep the aliens way.
That's it basically, a game for points.
A bit too fast to be enjoyable enough, at least has the classic Maziacs.

Android One, 13 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Vortex Software (UK)
by Costa Panayi

Costa Panayi showed his potential with Android One, a Berserk clone.
It's not a brilliant game but plays better than some versions available, even later ones.
It has a stronger story line when compared to Frenzy, for instance.
The game is very hard, I never got far in it, mostly because of the weird set of keys, and the unnecessary rotating feature.
Story wise the mutants to be destroyed seem inspired from the 2000 AD comics, they are distributed in classes. You have the Groupies (gathering in groups), the Skaters (slick and hard to hit), the Wanderers (random moves) or the Bouncers (who will jump on you).
The main purpose of the game is the reactor at the end of the array of walls that you will face, it has to be destroyed, then you will have to make your way back again to the start, always fighting your way thru the mutants.

The sequel, released that some year is a better game, much improved, with a 3D maze and by that time glimpses of future offers from Panayi were already visible in this first games.
If you are comfortable with the controls, this can be a fun game to enjoy.

H.A.R.D., 13 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1986 Tynesoft (UK)
by Harry S. Price

This is an Android One rip-off, another one by that famous infamous villain of the Spectrum era, one of my favourite figures of that time (not to be taken serious, this is 2012!).

Gun Law, 13 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1983 Vortex Software (UK)
by Paul Canter

In 1983 it looked OK, now it doenst.
Clean up the town of outlaws for handful of dollars and avoid killing the innocent bystanders.
The target movement is okay but moving around the town is quite a nuisance, slow, moves in blocks and with bad control response. The graphics are also awful.
It can be fun if you gather lots of patience and enjoy this oldies. Use the Caps Shift key to move around the town.

Batty, 13 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1987 Hit-Pak (UK)
by M.C.

After the fabulous Arkanoid, it would take a great game to overshadow it.
Batty was a good try but fell far from the magic given by Arkanoid, which still ranks as the nº1 Breakout game in my book.
Nonetheless Batty is a pretty good game, and deserves the attention given, shame it doesn't have the compact looking backgrounds 'Ark' has, what it has is too much information to the eyes which may tire them a bit.

1943, 13 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1988 Go! (UK)
by MJM

I think everyone expected a better 1942 sequel, but unfortunately that was not what came out of Go!
The game is very good and in some ways even better than the first, the planes are still well designed, love the tunes, and the gameplay remains excellent, but the background becames boring and tiring after a while playing. If only this had been corrected I think it would have been a winner.

Bobby Bearing, 13 Feb 2012 (Rating: 5)

1986 The Edge (UK)
by Robert and Trevor Figgins

The object of the game is to find Bobby's brothers scattered around the Metaplanes and drive them safe out of there.
The game features a new technique called Curvispace 3D which means the balls roll over uneven surfaces.
Its safe to say that Bobby Bearing is one of the best 3D games ever produced on the Speccy. From its graphics, animation, the convincing movements and the general playability, everything is brilliantly well thought out, if only the Spectrum allowed better use of colour.
Also it has one of the most interesting screen loaders around.

Track and Field, 13 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1988 Ocean Software (UK)
by Ali Davidson and P. Knecht

Ugly awful conversion of the arcade coin-op 'Track & Field', maybe one of the worst in the annals of the Spectrum history. Thank God for Hyper Sports. The two games should never be side a side, it's offensive!
The graphics are so ugly it's even hard to look at them. Playing is another ugly thing. And to help you (not!) the game crashes in the last event!! Yayy!! Arghh!!
Glad I got a copy and never bought the original.

Pad Painter, 13 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1984 Green Fish Software (UK)
by Steve Broad

My oh my, this is one strange little game and badly wrytten, shortly after you start you notice a couple of bugs.
Use your Pac-man look-a-like character to catch the falling stuff (something to do with paint) and avoid the Pac-man ghosts look-a-like nasties.
The game has two parts, the second part is simply unplayable, unless you stay at a corner of the screen for the whole game in order to survive.

Attack of the Alien Waters, 13 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1985 Green Fish Software (UK)
by Steve A.J. Broad

Steve Broad must have had an obssession with balls because almost all his games feature balls (I hope he is cured).
Maybe he only lacked artistic skills, after all a ball is the easier shape to draw!
Attack of the Alien Waters is probably his weirdest game, a sort of breakout-pac-man-and-something-to-do-with-catching-things-like-game. And the name is quite funny too.

Alien Rupture, 13 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1984 Green Fish Software (UK)
by SAJ Broad

Alien Rupture starts of with a quite nice 2 channel tune, reminding some 80's post-punk band sountrack to a B-side sci-fi movie but with a bizarre badly drawn skull and bones screen. And then forces you to ear it to end (several minutes).
Not so good.
After the long messages about instructions you are ready to play the game and it dares you to venture into the world of Alien Rupture. Advice: dont dare!
You already wasted your time reading my review, so dont waste your precious time playing this game. Friends advice.

Ok... go on! Dont say I didnt warn you!

Alien 99, 13 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

2005 True Video (Spain)
by Jorge Persiva

A sort of shoot-em-up puzzle type game.
And a great mix of ideas. It's always good to see new games full of originality still making its way on the Spectrum.
Using up and down select the same numbers as the ones approaching you then use fire to shot them. Default keys: Y-up G-Down U-Fire A-Pow

Xebec, 13 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 - Softek (UK)
by Graeme Devine

Like it says on WOS this is basically Firebirds but with a few modifications.
No doubt a great 'Phoenix' version, very hard and challenging, I rarely played it more than 10 minutes because of it being so damn difficult.
It has same programming faults, the sprites should move in pixels rather than square blocks, but overall it's a good game within its genre. For '85 it is completely outdated.

Glider Rider, 14 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1986 Quicksilva (UK)
by John Pickford, Paul Ranson, Ste Pickford, Pete Harrison and Dave Whittaker

The objective of the game is to destroy all ten reactors scattered around the Abraxas fake island using a hang glider disguised as a motor bike.
The game looks better than it actually is.
The ability to turn your motorbike into a hang glider when you drive downhills is rather nice and is one of the best features in the game. But once you master that and learn how to destroy a radio mast, the game becomes a bit dull and repetitive.
Play it in 128k mode, the music is simply superb and you will enjoy the game a lot more.
3,5 stars

Elevator Action, 14 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1987 Quicksilva (UK)
by David Whittaker

Elevator Action is a good platform game, a bit to slow for my taste but still very playable and addictive. The graphics could be a lot better and sound is scarce, although with a great tune.
But the movement going thru the building is rather nicely done without any flicker.
Gaming is straightforward, shoot your way going down the building til you retrieve the secret documents.

Mighty Magus, 14 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Quicksilva Ltd (UK)
by Neil Pawson and Ivan

A platform and ladders game.
As the Mighty Magus, your task is to go down all 30 levels to the depths of the Rising Sun Temple, avoid traps on the way, fight some monsters and kill Faugy The Fierce, your Nemesis.
Not a good year to release such an outdated game, the graphics are poor, our wizard is really badly made and the screen flickers a bit while moving around, still it maintains some sense of adventure to entertain the adventurer ones.

The Snowman, 14 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Quicksilva Ltd (UK)
by David Shea

The object of the game is to build your snowman. You have to collect snow and avoid the nasties which will chase you around. You must drop the snow on the left side of the screen.
Each level is composed of four stages. In the 1rt you must collect the snow, the 2nd put on the features, on the 3rd dress your snowman and the 4th collect some ice cubes so the snowman doesnt melt.
A funny simple game.

Rapscallion, 14 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1984 Bug-Byte (UK)
by Albert Ball

Distinctively different in looks, Rapscallion is in fact a complex and difficult game.
Some may not like the half resolution chunky looking graphics, but in my opinion this makes the game quite original and unique.
You play the part of a king who has had his crown and castle stolen by Rapscallion the rogue, and as been incarcerated in his own dungeon. But a friendly Fairy Princess came on to help and gave him the ability to transform into a bird or a fly, quite useful along the game, as you are able to see.
You also turn into a ghost when you lose a life and can wander unharmed around a section until you find a body.
The game has a save and load option, which helps a lot in completing the game.
For later Spectrum players, the game may be uninteresting at first glance, the chunky graphics or the character inability to move diagonally, which is by itself an honest complaint I'm sure, may detract some, but give it a fair go and you'll see you will be surprised by the imaginative screens you will encounter.
All in all I find Rapscallion very interesting, different from the rest, and very fun to play.

Dyslexia Beater, 14 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Dunitz Software (UK)
by Charles Smith

An array of 3 arcade games (plus 1) all with different dificulty levels, aimed at children who experience reading difficulties, confuse left and right, up and down and suffle some identical letters such as b, d or p.
The games range from minefields, catch falling objects (similar letters), and a Penetrator type game.
All very simple but very playable, and quite useful learning aids together with the book for children back in 84.

Catch 23, 14 Feb 2012 (Rating: 2)

1987 Martech Games (UK)
by Ian McArdle and Malcolm Smith

Highly rated by some magazines at the time. I myself couldnt never get into this game fully. It all moves so slowly and the enemies appear from nowhere and just stand there until someone fires.
Also dont like the wire frame graphics, I think there are better 3D Vektor looking games out there.
It may be fun if you can deal with its slowness otherwise you will be bored rapidly.

Cassette 50, 14 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1983 Cascade Games (UK)

A curious chapter in the Spectrum history was the infamous Cassette 50 with 49 different games (49, 50... ehm, why be picky, right?).
The authors were mostly anonymous kids, paid just £10 for each game and never credited.
The games are chunks of crappy software, funny to look at, if you like simple BASIC games, but otherwise useless, so don't waste your time, if this is not your thing.
For me 'Spectrum Cross' is still the best game of the bunch and better than a lot of Frogger clones out there.
Alien, Muncher, Ski Run, Voyager, Space Mission, Breakout, Crusher, Cargo, The Race, Galaxy Defence and Blitz are all crap but the best games in the pack.
I guess the best thing about the compilation was the included completely free, breakable plastic calculator watch. Niiiice!

Spectrum 50 Games, 14 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1983 U.T.S. (UK)
by annonymous

I dont know what is crappier this or Cassette 50. Some games appear on both compilations.
Most are puzzle games which isnt a bad thing, but the quality is unbearable.
At least U.T.S. didnt cheat anyone like Cascade did.

Knight Rider, 14 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1986 Ocean Software (UK)
by Antony Lill, Gary Knight and F. D. Thorpe (loading screen)

Like Street Hawk this game was delayed for a long period, something to do with the tie-in licence and the bad quality of the first game version. So a new game was written, and even if the game was only average, at least they had the decency of remaking a new, better game.

That didn't happen with Knight Rider, they release this worst than poor game, knowing fans would fall for the name or the cover. So if you loved the TV show dont go ruining your memories playing this game. There is really nothing good you can say about this. The game's lack of playability quickly gets tedious, the characters are poorly defined and it's too easy to give you any drive.

Rygar, 14 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1987 US Gold (UK)
by Antony Lill

This is not the best arcade conversion I've seen,but it's incredibly playable.
The screen scrolling is excellently smooth, graphics are dull but do their job, and if you discount the first three levels, which are too easy to even be included in the game, the rest of the game is an absolute pleasure to play.

Crack Down, 14 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1990 US Gold (UK)
by Arc Developments

The game is really good, but the graphics and background are too small and simple.
Never saw the arcade original but I'm guessing its a lot more appealing (no kidding?!).
The 2 player option is what makes the game stand out from the rest.

Express Raider, 14 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1987 US Gold (UK)
by Pal Zsadanyi, Pal Zsadanyi Jr., Attila Kertesz and Zoltan Farkas

Wow. I totally forgot about this game.
I loved it in the arcade machines and I was anxious to play the Speccy conversion. And yes it ain't good, but it does the job for me, at least for a while.
Now seeing it for the first time almost a million years after, I must say it still holds the same magic it had, despite being only an average conversion...

Final Assault, 14 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1988 US Gold (UK)
by Gerald Weatherup and W. Lynass

Final Assault is a really boring affair.
Once you master the climbing technique on part 3 the game starts to make more sense, but it still has no addictive qualities. The graphics and athmosphere are pleasant and the strategy part is a nice touch but the game really never takes off.
I much prefer a little known Spanish game called 'Free Climbing' released the same year, probably inspired by the Final Assault arcade version.
Much simpler and straightforward in gameplay.

Free Climbing, 14 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1988 Zafiro Software Division (Spain)
by Jorge Garcia and Jose Luis Munoz

Needless to say that the graphics are bad, the sound is monotonus, blah, blah, blah. I love the simplicity of this little game. I find it very addictive. You need to use the right combination of arm/leg otherwise you risk falling. May be frustating at times but once you master the right movements you'll get there. And yes, its random at times, I dont care, I find it addictive. Watch out for the time.
Keys:
Z-left leg
X-right leg
O-left arm
P-right arm
M-climb

Manic Miner, 15 Feb 2012 (Rating: 5)

1983 Bug-Byte Software (UK)
by Matthew Smith

I always found that guiding Willy through the underground caverns was a tough job, but really rewarding.
Whenever I got frustrated with this game I moved to Jet Set Willy which at least allowed me to wander around for a bit of relaxing. Unfortunately I never got very far in both games.
It's true, Manic Miner is an indisputable Speccy classic.
In 1983 no one had seen a game like this, original, super playable, and very well programmed, even a few years later continued new and interesting.
Manic Miner appeared at the right time, written by the right person and it was impossible to fail.
A real case of popularity, just look at the number of remakes available.
Number 1 classic Spectrum game.

If only it wasn't so damn difficult... 4,5 points

BTW: Level of Kong Beast: keys 9831

Match Point, 15 Feb 2012 (Rating: 5)

1984 Sinclair Research (UK)
by Steve Kelly

Another Speccy classic.
At the time of it's released it generated much buzz. Everything seemed perfect in the game. I personally absolutely loved it.
There are many tennis games but none reached the standard of play of Match Point. And it remains the best tennis game on the Speccy, at least I think so.

The players in Match Point moves a bit too slow which is actually a good thing specially comparing with games like Pro Tennis Tour, that 'tries to get realistic and then fails when it comes to playability making the game extremely difficult near impossible to play.

The matchstick graphics are very simple but do the trick quite well. All in all, everything in the game works great, and still to this day it's a fun game to play. I can only consider it a classic.
Despite everything I said I will rate it a 5 (in fact a 4,5 but that ain't possible) just for the graphics, which I love but admittedly are inferior to a lot of games later produced.
So in all (un)fairness here goes a 4,5.

Head over Heels, 15 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1987 Ocean Software (UK)
by Jon Ritman, Bernie Drummond, Guy Stevens and F.D. Thorpe (loading screen)

Like user 'apenao' says I also find this game too similar to most isometric games, and for that alone I would never consider this the best Speccy game, specially when there are other great games outhere that fulfill almost all requirements to be the best game.
Anyway this is ONE (not number one) of the best games ever produced for the spectrum and the best in its style.
I would rate it with a 4,5+ if possible, cant do that so I'll give it a 4.

Metro-Cross, 15 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1987 US Gold (UK)
by Nick Bruty

Nice game and a good conversion but a bit too repetitive. The graphics aren't really all that good either.
It's fast and keeps your adrenaline pumping, first 6 levels are a bit to easy, then it gets tougher.

Coin-Op Connexion, 15 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1987 US Gold(UK)
by various authors

In my view, this package includes some of the worst US Gold arcade conversions of the late 80's.
I really enjoy Crystal Castles, which I find very addictive and Express Raider, which as a theme I like, but they suck a bit, the first because of the graphics and animation the second in playability and general programming.
Metro Cross becames repetitive and could do with graphic make-over, and Breaktrhu which I think is the worse in the pack, is the least playable and lacks a bit of everything else.

Breakthru, 15 Feb 2012 (Rating: 2)

1986 US Gold (UK)
by Paul Houbart, Simon Butler, Dawn Drake and Noel Hines

Never liked this game, its just a badly made avoid-or-get-blown-up kind of game and the Spectrum conversion is a bad one.
Shoddy graphics, unresponsive controls, bad collision detection and that tune in the beginning, just makes either laugh or cry.

Chicago's 30, 15 Feb 2012 (Rating: 2)

1988 Topo Soft (Spain)
by Jose Munoz Perez, Roberto Acebes (graphics) and Gominolas (music)

Never really liked this game.
At the time it was becoming a bit disappointed with the games I purchased, and this was one of them.
The game is not bad nor good, too average for my now 7 years of acquired tastes.
Nothing really stands out unless you are a newcomer to the gaming scene.
The cinema screen and the audience representing your lifes are a nice touch.

Ghostbusters II, 15 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1989 Activision (UK)
by the Oliver Twins and David Whittaker

The really good thing about this game is its graphics. The sprites are nicely animated and big, and capture the look and feel of the movie all so well. Also the presentation is really slick, with lots of digitized pictures from the film along with texts explaining the story.
Now for the playability matters, the game has only 3 levels, and the mere fact of knowing that almost kills the game. They are all neatly presented but lack the needed gameplay action any game should offer and the multiloads are simply frustrating, because each time you lose a life you have to rewind the tape and load the level again!
One of the most faithful film conversions graphically but unfaithful to the spirit of the movie.
3,5 stars

Ghostbusters, 15 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Activision Inc (UK)
by James Software and David Aubrey-Jones (speech)

Both the movie and the game bring back some very nice memories to me.
The tune is excellent in both versions, specialy the 128k with a really good karaoke style text, and you can almost ear the nifty Ray Parker Jr. sing in the background, simply cute.
Ghostbusters combines some strategy elements with a few simple sub arcade games, not too inspiring nor addictive but still playable and cute.

3,5 stars overall.
4 for the nostalgic value.

Fighting Soccer, 15 Feb 2012 (Rating: 2)

1989 Activision (UK)
by Sprytes Ltd

Where's the fighting?? Am I missing something?
I played it for about 15 minutes used all the options, watch the computer play against itself and no beating anywhere!
This is just a plain soccer game and not a good one I may add.
Misleading publicity.

Fighting Warrior, 16 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1985 Melbourne House (UK)
by Stephen Cargill and Russell Comte

Fighting Warrior will be forever in the shadow of Fist. I can understand why, but in a way it seems somewhat unfair.
Despite being both beat-em-ups, they are different in style and play.
The action is taken in ancient Egypt and your opponents are all mythical creatures. Your task is to rescue your
beloved princess Thaya from the claws of an evil Pharoah.
The background scrools forward and backwards, while you take your way to the evil Pharoah's lair, unlike Fist where the fighting is done screen by screen. Other abilities include jumping and ducking from arrows and blasting hourglasses that give or take energy, amongst other things. Graphics and animation are all very well done, and I specialy enjoy the final sequence. The background could be better but its okay. The only letdown are the fewer tricks you can perform, basically three blows. Still a fantastic game with an excelent athmosphere, well worth the effort of playing all the way through.

Terror-Daktil 4D, 16 Feb 2012 (Rating: 2)

1983 Melbourne House (UK)
by Alan Blake

Looks like a mariage between 3D-Tanx and Space Invaders, done with few love and lots of makeup.
There is no 4D anywhere (no kidding?!), just some nice intro scenes, some cute 'terror-daktils', and a lot of bad gameplay bug infested mess. All looks but no substance.
The end sequence can never be reached because the game stops counting the days after the 6th. But Pgyuri and Einar Saukas seems to have fixed the problem.
1,5 stars

Ali Baba, 16 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Suzy Soft (Croatia)
by Arkadne Igre, Mario Mandic and Igor Istriz

Cute little game inspired by the arcade coin-op with the same name.
Help Ali Baba to prevent the thieves from robbing his treasure (money bags) and dont let yourself be captured by their ringleader.
Fast moving arcade action with blocky graphics and pounding music, nothing new, but fun anyway.

Ali-Bebe, 16 Feb 2012 (Rating: 1)

1985 Future Stars (Spain)
by Alejandro Andre, Miguel Viu, Javier Diaz and Snatcho

How I hated this game!!
Firstly my copy did not have the code sheet. I went on the software shop and the old bag shop owner said that the fault was not hers because the game was a cheap pirated copy which she got from the "supplier", "that's what you get from pirated copies" - she claimed! The arrogant b*t#h!
Almost two years later I got the code sheet from a friend.
I was excited as any kid would be, finally I was gonna play that swell looking game.
My copy had a similar inlay card to the one seen on WOS, but no pictures of the game being played. All those nice picts and loading screen are a joke compared to the actual characters in the game. It looks like it belongs to a different game. I call that misleading publicity.
Its also too hard, the nasties move in an erratic way and you cant predicte any moves.
All in all, a completely dissapointing game to me.

Astro Blaster, 16 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1983 Quicksilva (UK)
John Edwards and Glenn Flood (inlay pictures)

Thanks Raphie for reminding me of this long forgotten game!
Like ABU says there is in fact an arcade game called Astroblaster released by Sega in 1981, so the info in WOS mentioning Galaxian as inspiration is not accurate, unless AB is by itsef a clone.
Anyway the Spectrum version is different from both games, it is a mixture of both, with some diferences inbetween.
I always found this vertical shooter extremely difficult. The meteor shower is one of the most hard stages I've seen in any shoot-em-up, but it is completely passable.
Very playable, very addictive, very hard, one of the best shoot-em-ups of the early Speccy days.
3,5 stars

Star Warrior, 17 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Visions Software Factory (UK)
by John Edwards

Another shoot-em-up from J.E. This one was unknown to me (thanks Raphie).
The game looks neater and better well programmed. It may seem easy but it will fool you.
Stage one is the easier, stage two (again a meteor shower) may be tricky but nothing special, stage three is diferent from this kind of Galaxian games, its too simple, although fun to play, I love that crazy ball!
You have more movement keys than on Astroblaster, up and down is now possible, but the choice of controls is not the best. I also found the firing key not too responsive.
Like Astro Blaster the game is furious, specialy stage 3, and its a joy to play if you have the right type of patience.

3D Tunnel, 17 Feb 2012 (Rating: 2)

1983 New Generation Software (UK)
by Malcolm Evans

A bizarre shoot-em-up, different from what you may be used to.
The nasties you have to shoot are quite nicely drawn, I like the spider in particular.
But the game falls short on addictiveness, becoming boring rapidly.

3D Defender, 17 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

2003 Russell Marks (UK)
by Malcolm Evans

Originally a ZX81 game patched to run on a 128k.
Quite complex for its time and age, everything falls right in its place, and despite outdated its still very playable.
A nice piece of history.

Rapedes, 17 Feb 2012 (Rating: 2)

1983 Visions Software Factory (UK)
by Kevin J. Bezant

Rapede - The Centipede's Revenge!
In fact the name is suitable, it is so hard most of the times the Centipede wins.
Not bad for an 83 Centipede game, but the keyboard response is quite limited and delivers a bad gameplay experience, the graphics are the strong point, a bit more detailed than usual but still simple.
There a lot of better Centipede games out there.

Revenge of the Killer Tomatoes, 17 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Visions Software Factory (UK)
by Kevin J. Bezant

The movie 'Return of the Killer Tomatoes' was released in 1988 as the sequel to the B-movie 'Attack of the Killer Tomatoes' in 1978, but it seems that someone remembered to make a Spectrum game sequel four years before the film premiere and two years before the first Speccy film conversion.
Of course it has everything to do with the matter of licenses, changing the name of a game always helps, but it's still a funny coincidence (was it really? Just look at the inlay cover) . Who knows maybe the game inspired the film producers in doing the sequel...
About the game, I cant say it's bad, has some peculiarities, the way the cabbage sets changes while playing is interesting, the graphics are cute and welcoming, but again the objective of this type of games tends to repeat itself and eventually bore after some time, specialy in the beggining where the action isnt too complex like on higher levels.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, 17 Feb 2012 (Rating: 4)

1986 Global Software (UK)
by Fatman, Dobbin and Stuart Ruecroft

The magazine reviews in '86 dont match the WOS user ratings (5,70 - 10 votes when i wrote this). Wonder why?
Personally I'm a bit tired of 3D Isometric games, they all seem like a sequel to Knight Lore.
Anyway AOTKT is quite above average, with large nicely animated characters moving fast, a massive maze and a funny plot full of humour touches, it's great to play. Squashing those nasty bouncing tomatoes into the crusher to make the required puree is my favourite part.
3,5 stars

Pyramania, 17 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 16/48 Tape Magazine (UK)
by N. Murray

Willy's fan: "Look, it's Miner Willy! He's back!!"

Some bloke: "Actually it's not Willy, it's Fred. Not the spanish one, just some character named Fred in a spacesuit doing some exploring on a pyramid a la Miner/Jet Set style."

Willy's fan: "Don't care! Willy's back! And in a new Pyramid adventure game! Wow! Sweet!"

Some bloke: " He is called Fred..."

Castle Quest, 22 Feb 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Wildest Dreams (UK)
by Colin Stewart

Castle Quest is a modest looking little game, but that requires much skill to progress through the game.
Our character is a rather strange figure, half man, half box (possibly a spring), and the villains are geometric figures, some with faces, nothing special. But the game itself is quite playable despite losing a bit of fluidity when you jump, but that's part of the game mechanics.
In any case, can be quite addictive if the player has enough patience.
This game by the same author of Frank N Stein, I think it is worth playing and try to conquer some levels. May appeal especially those who like games with some difficulty.

City Connection, 24 Feb 2012 (Rating: 5)

by Manuel Lemos, Ricardo Pinho and Paulo Gordinho (Portugal)

How is it possible that this game has never been marketed?
Such an excellent game, the animation of our car is brilliant, the gameplay is fabulous and the programming is remarkably good. I simply love the movement of the background.
Didn't the arcade game in which it was inspired had the expected success and no one wanted to venture or the authors simply never sent it out to a software house? The year is unknown, so maybe the game was written way after the spectrum golden years.

Black Swan, 24 Feb 2012 (Rating: 2)

1984 Sinclair User (UK)
by Michelle Presslie and Robert Presslie

This had to come from a girl's mind.
Extremely simple BASIC written game but rather cute to look at. Use the cursors keys and help the swallow eat the gnats as fast as you can. The black swan is just there to add beauty.

Album, 24 Feb 2012 (Rating: 2)

1988 Your Sinclair (UK)
by Chris Joseph and Alan Starck

The first experimental music Speccy program?
i thing this guys listen too much Soft Machine.

Horizons, 10 Mar 2012 (Rating: 3)

1982 Sinclair Research (UK)
by Psion

I have exactly the same feelings about this cassette tape as dandyboy.
The only playable application was indeed 'Thro the Wall', the other programs were all odd to young kids and not that interesting. Still they managed to capture my attention if not for the BASIC programs access, giving me some clues and ideas to my own games.
The learning half of this pack is in fact quite good, with several tutorials useful for begginers.
Since it was one of my first ZX experiences it has a sentimental value.

Toilet Truble, 17 Mar 2012 (Rating: 1)

1985 Automata UK (UK)
by William Mitchell

Automata was never up to the software industry standards. A good example is this dubious game. Its a sort of Manic Miner game, where you play the role of a snail, catching objects and travelling from screen to screen. The snail movement is awful and almost impossible to control. The game has 20 screens by I bet no one got pass level 3, besides the author.

Big Trouble in Little China, 19 Mar 2012 (Rating: 1)

1987 Electric Dreams Software
by Mevlut Dinc

I remember the game's loading screen quite well, but somehow forgot completely 'bout the game. No wonder. Its as bad as it can get. There is nothing memorable about this title, even the loading screen seems to have been made in a hurry. The 3 faces look copy/pasted and Kurt Russell will never look so Asian again.
Big Trouble in Little China probably sold enough to satisfy its authors due to the movie tie-in, but I seriouly doubt it ever satistied a single player.

Scuba Dive, 19 Mar 2012 (Rating: 4)

1983 Durell Software (UK)
by Mike Richardson

Scuba Dive is one heck of a claustrophobic game. When you reach high depths and you see your level of oxygen lowering and you struggle to get back to your boat, you will understand what I mean. The game's atmosphere is priceless with excellently designed sea creatures.
For 1983 its high above average and a Spectrum icon for many of us.
I would rate it with a 5 if only the games objective was more than just collecting pearls and exploring the depths of the ocean.
A classic nonetheless.

Harrier Attack!, 20 Mar 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Durell Software (UK)
by Mike Richardson

An adaptation of an Oric game by Ron Jeffs, converted to the ZX by Mike Richardson as he so well points out.
Another classic of the early days that maintains a legion of followers due to its straightforward playability and simplicity. Clearly has not aged well and even back in, say 1985, it already looked outdated. I find it incredible easy to complete nowadays.

Jungle Trouble, 20 Mar 2012 (Rating: 4)

1983 Durell Software(UK)
by Mike Richardson

Mike produced some of the most memorable games of the early days.
This one screen level platform game is one of the cutest games I ever played.
The simplistic stick figure character is adorable and so are the rest of the characters.
The programming is a bit rigid not allowing natural jump movements making the crocs part very hard to get past, but the rest stands up quite well.
It still manages to retain the magic of my first plays.

3,5 stars

Thanatos, 20 Mar 2012 (Rating: 5)

1986 Durell Software(UK)
by Mike Richardson, Jane Richardson and Julian Breeze

This really caught my attention and imagination back in 86.
There are several points of attraction here: the graphics, the movement smoothness, the music, the medieval fantasy theme and the overall atmosphere. I could go on, but I don't think I need it, if you've played the game you know how great it is. No doubt one of the best works by Mike Richardson, but also one of the best games ever in any platform of the 80's.
A true classic.

Poli Diaz, 22 Mar 2012 (Rating: 4)

1990 Opera Soft (Spain)
by Cande Software

A completely unknown game to me, and a very nice surprise.
Its captures quite nicely the boxing athmosphere. I found it kind of easy to play, and a bit short, but its new to me so I may be missing something.

Rocky, 22 Mar 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Dinamic Software (Spain)
by Alvaro Herrera, Santiago Morga and David Marin

Another bringer of good memories. Played it a lot with my friends.
The graphics are quite nice, big and nicely detailed, and probably the best feature of the game, but the game falls short on playability, becoming repetitive after a while, I wonder how I managed to find it interesting back in the days..

Sgrizam, 22 Mar 2012 (Rating: 2)

1986 Dinamic Software (Spain)
by David Martin, Luis Soler and Santiago Morga

One of my best friends loved this one and I still cant undestand why, maybe for being so challenging. The game is incredible hard and not in a good way. The movements are too sudden and the enemies appear too rapidly making it difficulty to have control over things.
It requires lots of patience and great resistence to frustation to get into this.

Uchi Mata, 22 Mar 2012 (Rating: 2)

1987 Martech Games (UK)
by Chris Fayers

One of the most important things to any player is to understand what a game is all about.
The instructions serve that purpose, but you may still feel stupid after trying to play a game like Uchi Mata.
The idea is good, the execution is...confusing.
The programmer had certainly good intentions in complicating the game, Judo requires more technique than lets say Karate. But this ain't Judo. This is a computer game with sprites looking like judokas and performing stunts resembling Judo. Its not played with arms and legs but with your hands and fingers. 'Geoff Capes Strong Man' ain't a muscle exercising game, it just looks like one! If you replace the graphics with anything else you would had the same gaming experience.
Uchi Mata has to many moves and combinations and its really hard to remember each one and performing it in the right moment. The stylised graphics don't help either.
Judo is a difficult sport to simulate in a computer (like Aikidô which is even harder) and that's the only reason I rate this game with a 2, because I think the programmer was trying something different that unfortunately didn't come out as it should.

Gauntlet, 28 Mar 2012 (Rating: 5)

1987 US Gold (UK)
by Tony Porter, Ben Daglish, Bill Allen and Kevin Bulmer

A great game indeed. One of the most addictive games I've ever played.
And despite graphically not being so compelling (I think due to memory limitations), it compensates with a very long and absorbing game, full of levels.
The two player option is also brilliant and one of the reasons for its popularity.
It deserves all the credit WOS users are giving it.
I give it 4,5 stars only due to the graphic simplicity.

Mercs, 29 Mar 2012 (Rating: 3)

1991 US Gold (UK)
by Chris Shay

After such a good released, this one really falls short as a sequel to Commando.
You can tell the programmer spent a lot of time with the backgrounds, and overall the graphic section is fairly decent, but unfortunately this is another colour clash victim and a really messy one.
Another problem are the movements which seem to happen in block instead of the pixel smoothness.
The game is playable, but far from the quality of other similar releases.

2,5 stars.

E-motion, 29 Mar 2012 (Rating: 3)

1990 US Gold (UK)
by the Code Monkeys

This is in fact a good action puzzle game, but I never fancied it much.
The object of the game is to collide and the destroy pairs of equal atomic particles represented by symbols using a sort of ship and within a time limit.
The game can be quite frustrating. Our ship moves the same way as in meteor-type games, the controls are rotative and I find them quite hard to maneuver.
Very challenging, but not my cup of tea, still good enough to please a lot of gamers out there.

West Bank, 05 Apr 2012 (Rating: 4)

1985 Dinamic Software (Spain)
by Alvaro Mateos Herrera, Snatcho (loading screen)

I used to play this one a lot and really liked it, but never knew the existence of the arcade version, so I went looking for the emulated file, and I must say that the Spectrum version, even with some elements of the original missing, is really quite good, I dare say even better. A simple idea, but very engaging.
Overall a very good conversion.

Draco, 09 Apr 2012 (Rating: 4)

1985 MicroHobby (Spain)
by Jose Luis Villalba

I consider this to be one of the best type in games I ever encountered.
It has a great vampiric athmosphere and I remember diving into the game, even with its slowlyness and playing it for hours.
The rooms are nicely detailed with chairs, tables, pictures and other odd castle objects. It has none other than 125 rooms and 4 floors. You have to deal with several baddies like vampires who defend their masters castle. I specialy like the moment where you come across Dracula at the final scene, and have to slay him using a cross.
Also the presentation special fx and the typing machine effect while the instructions are being presented are nice touches.
A very nice BASIC written game with a short listing and a fine end result.

El Tesoro del Faraon, 09 Apr 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 MicroHobby (Spain)
by Rafael Marquez Parra

Another great type-in game.
This one features 2 different levels with lots of small funny details.
Level 1 sees you riding a jeep thru the desert in search of a magic lamp while avoiding moving giant nails.
Level 2 is played inside a pyramid where you have to perform several tasks given to you by the genie of the lamp.
To do this you must avoid mummies and other guardians each with different moves.
A simple but very rewarding type-in game, at least for me at age 12.

El Mono Saltarin, 09 Apr 2012 (Rating: 2)

1985 MicroHobby (Spain)
by Sebastian Spratz

This was one of the several type-in games I copied from a particular Microhobby magazine I had at the time.
Not the best of the bunch but not all that bad. Basically its an obstacles game, where you control a monkey (el mono) thru a jungle. You have to find a key that opens a treasure chest.
It plays well but unfortunately the games design is simply awful and descourages anyone at first glance.

Destroyer, 09 Apr 2012 (Rating: 2)

1985 MicroHobby (Spain)
by Jose Ballesteros and Antonio Cabrera

Another type-in game I copied from a Microhobby magazine.
This one is rather nice. The graphics and presentation are slick and well thought out.
The game itself is very simple: use you ships target and destroy the cylons that approach you. You have a radar and a message board which helps you to locate the position and movement of the enemy ships. Also you have to control you ships fuel level.
The game was also called 'cilons' as you can check in the listing.

La Flecha Intrepida, 09 Apr 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 MicroHobby (Spain)
by Antonio Garcia Garcia

This was one of the winners of 15,000 pesetas for that specific Microhobby issue.
You control a square that changes the short cuts of a maze allowing a moving arrow to find its way to a fixed target.
A very well programmed BASIC written game.

Caos de Historia, 10 Apr 2012 (Rating: 1)

1986 MicroHobby (Spain)
by Pilar Diaz Gomez

This was one of winners of this magazines issue and a bit unfair in my oppinion.
Basically what it does is mix several different famous history lines giving a ridiculous yet funny result.

Bubble Bobble, 10 Apr 2012 (Rating: 4)

1987 Firebird Software (UK)
by Mike Follin, Andrew Threlfall and Tim Follin

Surely an above average conversion of a great arcade classic.
The Speccy version has it all, the playability, the cuteness, the addictiveness and even good sound, but somehow it fails on capturing the original version magic.
Don't know if its because of the ugly graphics (the game's biggest letdown) or anything else, but it gets a little repetitive after awhile, the levels start to seem all alike.
Of course if you only played the Speccy version I bet you surely had lots of fun with it.

Rainbow Islands, 10 Apr 2012 (Rating: 5)

1990 Ocean Software (UK)
by David O'Connor and John Cumming

I only discovered 'Rainbow Islands' in the last few years. If I had played it as a kid It would certainly be on top of my favorite games.
It's simply one of the best games created for the Spectrum. And possibly the best conversion yet.
Incredible work by the Graftgold folks. Beautifully designed, full of colour, and highly playable.

Lover, 14 Apr 2012 (Rating: 1)

1985 by Paolo Goglio

Funny how some things seem to make sense somewhere along your life.
When you are in love and are too shy to do anything about it, you take any sort of confort from the things around that may help.
Well this game did its job back in the summer of 85.
The idea is simple and based around the games kids did:
Select 2 names, yours and the one you love, for instance, and wait for the totally random result!

Moontorc, 14 Apr 2012 (Rating: 3)

1991 Atlantis Software Ltd (UK)
by Graham D. Shaw

I was expecting a lot more from a 91 game.
The graphics are nice but the gameplay is pre-historic.
Our character seems to move in squares and not accuratly either.
I have not played this game enough so maybe I'm missing something that's appealing so many WOS reviewers.

One Man and His Droid, 19 Apr 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Mastertronic Ltd (UK)
by Clive Brooker and James Wilson

Quite an original game but also very hard and a bit on the complicated side.
You control a sophisticated droid in a future world were shepperd dogs are replaced with droids. Your job is to round up alien sheeps called Ramboids original from the planet Anromadus.
When you start the game you have to lead your droid thru a horde of sheeps to the a start cavern. Once you got there the computer while shuffle the order in which you have to round up your sheeps. Each Ramboid has to be taken into a teleport that will send him into market.
There are four different modes in which the droid can be operated, each with a different approach.
Like I said the game is original but very hard and will for sure test your patient.

Coracle, 21 Apr 2012 (Rating: 4)

2011 Cronosoft (UK)
by Jonathan Cauldwell

I really love this game, its very original, very well presented and very well programmed too. The only thing I would change would be our boat and cannon which looks to simple, other than that this is another hit from Jonathan which already surprised me with 'Utter Tripe'.
Its really nice to see such good games still being made to the Speccy.

Merry Xmas Santa, 21 Apr 2012 (Rating: 2)

1984 Icon Software Ltd

I remember playing this one. It is really a frustrating game. Balls appear out of nowhere, sometimes within a pattern, sometimes not, making the game very irritating. The controls are not the best either.
The graphics are cute and colourful, despite the colour clashing happening everywhere, and despite playable, the game still messes me up.
A bit annoying for Christmas day. You'll probably end up tearing apart all your unwanted gifts!

Sheepwalk, 23 Apr 2012 (Rating: 2)

1983 Virgin Games (UK)
by George Trezise

Although considered by Your Spectrum 1984 edition one of the "Misfires of the Year", I have to agree with Jonathan's review, this is in fact a really interesting idea only spoiled by it being written in BASIC.
It can be a bit annoying trying to lead the sheeps to the pen but with the right amount of patience it can be rather enjoyable especially for a young kid in 1982/83.

Hijack, 26 Apr 2012 (Rating: 4)

1986 Electric Dreams Software (UK)
by David Shea, Mark Eyles and Nigel Brownjohn

Hijack is a very entertaining game.
You control the leader of a government hijack division, and you have to track down the terrorists who hijacked a military vehicle and then negotiate with them.
To help you with this there are several characters, the CIA, the FBI (seen on the top of the screen) with whom you have to work with to finished your job.
The game is full of twists and turns and lots of interesting situations and funny dialogues.
In the beginning while you are exploring the games different aspects it can became a bit tedious, but once you get into the flow you find yourself intrigued.
Not so sure about our character and the employees who populate the building, they all look like women in pants and are all alike. It wouldn't have cost so much to draw, for instance, a different head on just our character.

Break Neck, 28 Apr 2012 (Rating: 4)

1990 Lusitania (Portugal)
by Laurindo Sobrinho, Tony Sobrinho and Lucio Quintal

At first glance this doesnt promise much. The graphics are simple and unatractive and the programmers skills are not the best.
Our ships moves a bit forced and you feel like you have to push your keys harder to make it move.
Negatives put aside, once you start playing you discover that its quite addictive in fact. Each puzzle is filled with tension because of the rainbow barrier that tries to get you and you have to move fast if you want to progress. The game is very hard but once you master it and start advancing to deeper levels you soon get hooked.

Lazy Jones, 02 May 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Terminal Software (UK)
by Simon Cobb

Some games are popular not for their purpose but for their novelty or for appearing with the right idea at the right time. I think LJ is one of those.
You control Jones, a lazy cleaner who works in a hotel, but tries to escape its duties whenever he can.
Each time he enters a room, he finds an arcade game ready to be played. Almost every room has a game, except Jones dormitory, the cleaning room and the WC.

Basically you step from one room to another playing different games, almost all based on classics such as Space Invaders, Frogger or even Chuckie Egg!
When you are not playing y're running the hotel corridors escaping the manager, the cleaning trolley or the last owners ghost...
The overall game's purpose is almost non existent, there are no levels to overcome, and your only goal may be playing every single game in each room and scoring the highest you can, while the speed and time limits get harder each time you complete a circuit of games.

The real appeal is discovering every room and playing every game and trying to complete the skillful ones, and of course struggling not to get killed while in the corridors. Then you have scores and time limits to beat which is a minor appeal. Personally I always loved the game, i t's difficult to remember exactly every game, so you always get a bit of a surprise, but overall I have to admitthis is a mediocre game.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood, 05 May 2012 (Rating: 5)

1985 Ocean Software (UK)
by John Gibson, Roy Gibson and Karen Davies

In my opinion FGTH together with 'The Great Escape' and 'Where Time Stood Still' are the best games produced by Denton Designs and three of the best games ever made to the Speccy.
The object of the game is to develop your personality by experimenting and exploring each task, and thus becaming a 'complete person'. The game is quite complex with intricate puzzles and several mini-games to play, each built to help you achieve each personality factor. You also have to solve a murder mystery which will increase your 'complete person' percentage. Once you complete all tasks, you are given the opportunity to search the door to the heart of the Pleasure Dome, where the secret of self discovery lies.
FGTH is one of the most strange and unusual games out there and it may look a bit complex at first but once you get into it you will relaaaax playing it!

Renegade, 06 May 2012 (Rating: 5)

1987 Imagine Software (UK)
by Mike Lamb, Ronny Fowles and Fred Gray

Fantastic beat-em-up. Almost as good as the arcade version. The action is really fierce and challenging. Unlike some beat-em-ups, 'Renegade' can be unpredictable, you must be careful and use certain moves at the right time if you want to progress in the game. The graphics are inspiring and the sets are really in the 80's gangs style.
A classic.

Target: Renegade, 06 May 2012 (Rating: 5)

1988 Imagine Software (UK)
by Mike Lamb, Dawn Drake, Jon Dunn and Gari Biasillo.

'Target: Renegade' is a step forward to the already magnificent 'Renegade'.
To be honest if you played the prequel enough you wont be so inclined in giving this a fair chance specially with all the beat-em-up's around. The graphics overall are very similar and this feels a lot as simply a sequel and not a novelty. Anyway, it delivers enhanced gameplay and beats the original in my opinion, making this probably the best game in its genre.
A classic.

Renegade III, 06 May 2012 (Rating: 2)

1989 Imagine Software (UK)
by Andrew Deakin, Ivan Horn and Jon Dunn

You cant blame the authors for trying a different thing in this third 'Renegade' incarnation. But frankly, what does this have to do with the original? If you exclude the main character you feel like you are playing anything but a 'Renegade' sequel.
The game is not that bad, the gameplay, graphics and sound are fairly average and for that alone I would rate it with a 3, but since this belongs to the 'Renegade' family and it looks more like a renegaded bastard son, I will lower my rating.
If this game had another name it probably wouldn't be so hated.

Top Gun, 07 May 2012 (Rating: 2)

1987 Ocean Software (UK)
by Mike Lamb and Ronny Fowles

Movie licenced games are generally crap. The industry knows teens want anything related to a popular movie, specially games. So why bother with the quality?
The two-player mode is basicaly the only good thing in the game, otherwise boring and repetitive.
If you have played other fighter pilot simulators, you want need to waste any time on this.

Gobble a Ghost, 07 May 2012 (Rating: 3)

1982 CDS Microsystems (UK)

Two tears before the official Pac-Man licensed game, Gobble a Ghost was the nearest thing you had to the original arcade version. CDS didn't do much to disguise the game, mainly changing the name to something completely different. Of course the gameplay quality is quite low specially compared to the arcade original or even Ms.Pac-Man, but mainly as good as the '84 official speccy version, showing how sure of themselves the guys at Atarisoft were about the sales. Cant blame them, the game was a huge hit in the arcades, why wouldn't it be on home computers?

Knight Lore, 07 May 2012 (Rating: 4)

1984 Ultimate (UK)
by Tim Stamper and Chris Stamper

Knight Lore is one of those mandatory games to review.
Not only for its quality but also for being a landmark in the Speccy universe.
The idea is quite captivating, Ultimate always knew how to capture the players attention, and even being a bit repetitive at times the game is very inspiring and addictive. The graphic quality is superb, the transformation sequence is delicious and one of the most original ever, the games goal is rewarding and well thought out and the isometric look really inspired players. Knight Lore as that mystery edge that makes you came back for more. I myself became a bit fed up with isometric games after 'Alien 8', they all started to look like sequels and not original games. But this two and 'Ant Attack' rate as classics in the speccy universe, and I think to everyone who played them.

Pssst, 07 May 2012 (Rating: 4)

1983 Ultimate Play The Game (UK)
by Stamper brothers

Ultimate rocked 16K games. Every single thing they made was brilliant. Pssst being a simple game, was also a challenging one, good enough to get you addicted. On the other hand, their games were quite hard to play, 'Cookie' being the pinnacle in my opinion (back then I wasn't aware of the simple follow thru routine to get past each level). Pssst on the other hand, was cute, entertaining and not too difficult. And it was a breath of fresh air amongst the bland BASIC games being released on the early ZX incarnation.
Maybe not a classic for everyone but sure is for me. At least for the 16K.

Zynaps, 08 May 2012 (Rating: 4)

1987 Hewson Consultants Ltd (UK)
by John Cumming, Dominic Robinson, Stephen Crow, John Phillips and Steve Turner

Fantastic shoot-em-up. I think its even better than R-Type. The ships movements are very fluid and steady and the two-way initial firing challenges the player to get more accurate. The graphics could have been a bit bigger in my opinion, they look a bit cartoonish and take a bit off drama. The ship's firing sound is also a bit of a letdown, resembling the beeps of BASIC games. Anyway Zynaps is one of the best shooters out there.

Pyracurse, 08 May 2012 (Rating: 4)

1986 Hewson Consultants (UK)
by Mark Goodall and Keith Prosser

Pyracurse is a bit of a forgotten gem.
Graphically it's very appealing, and since 3D games are difficult to include colour the use of yellow/blue really makes Pyracurse stand out from the other isometric games.
The games scenario is impressive and the possibility in dealing with different characters is well thought out and works very well. Overall the game is quite captivating but the size of it makes it a scary task, still I see this has a very rewarding gaming experience similar to the likes of 'Great Escape' and 'Where Time Stood Still'.

Southern Belle, 08 May 2012 (Rating: 5)

1985 Hewson Consultants (UK)
by Bob Hillyer and Mike Male

I always enjoyed the relaxing mood in which I dived playing this.
The game is quite well done, from the vector graphics to everything else.
Any train enthusiast will love this one.
The best train simulator around.

Cityfighter, 09 May 2012 (Rating: 2)

1984 Choice Software (UK)
by Colin Gordon, Stephen McCulough and Dave Bolton

City Fighter is not an easy game. The controls are demanding and it may take time to get use to. Nowadays everyone uses the key arrows on modern keyboards and the mouse to control other functions. What CF offers is the same sort of method but instead of a mouse you have two lines of key arrows, one for the movements and the other for the firing positions. My advice is not to change the original key layout and play the game as it is.
Once you get your hands on the keys I'm sure you'll get use to it.
About the game itself, there is really nothing special going here, its basically a sort of Space Invaders meets Centiopede. The only difference is in the firing controls, each firing position has a key of itself, making more of a challenge.
The game plays fairly well, and can be quite enjoyable but after a while may became repetitive due to the lack of variety in each level.
All in all a fairly decent shooter but a bit outdated for '84.

Evening Star, 10 May 2012 (Rating: 4)

1987 Hewson Consultants Ltd (UK)
by Mike Male and Bob Hillyer

Evening Star continues where Southern Belle left of. Basicaly the same game with different and improved routes. Like in the prequel you can control both driver and fireman's job or choose only one.
If you loved the first game you'll for sure love this too. They are both the best train simulator games around.

Freddy Hardest, 23 May 2012 (Rating: 3)

1987 Dinamic Software (Spain)
by Emilio Torrado, Luis Soler, Javier Cubedo, Manuel Cubedo and Raul Palacios

Not being a huge fan of spanish games (althou I like some), I must admit Freddy Hardest (or Bananaman as I like calling him because he looks just like him without the mask) is a nice playable game. The main problem is the same with almost every spanish game: the playabiliby.
The movements are not precise, mostly due to the use of blocks instead of pixels and the characters dont act in the right moment you press a key, making the games slow, annoying and difficult. Despite all that, the graphics as usual, are very good. FH is a simple game, at least in the first part, being basically an horizontally scrolling shoot-em-up, and becaming a bit more complex in the 2nd part where you have to deal with several computers and stuff. As I said in the begginning, Freddy Hardest is a nice playable game, but spoiled by the method of programming.

Dandy, 19 Jun 2012 (Rating: 4)

1986 Electric Dreams Software (UK)
by Simon Dunstan

Dandy, in my view, is the most playable and graphically appealing Gauntlet clone, although a bit confusing at times due to the complexity of the background floors and other decorative elements, specially when the action gets a little bit frantic.
When the official Gauntlet version was release one year later, I was already familiarized with Dandy and was pleased to see how differently looking both games were, making one a sort of a sequel to the other without being the same thing all over again.
So for any Gauntlet fan out there who hasnt yet played Dandy, I think you will be pleased with it.

Winter Games, 20 Jun 2012 (Rating: 5)

1986 US Gold (UK)
by Geoff Brown, Mark Alexander and F.D.Thorpe (loading screen)

No doubt the best winter sports game I've played and possibly the best sport game in the US Gold series.
Graphically it is a delight to watch, with beautifully designed landscapes and well drawn sprites and animations.
Gameplay is also at its best, from technique to strength events (finger strength!), all very well thought out and challenging.
At the time it was one of my most played game and it still holds well after all this years.

Giant's Revenge, 22 Jun 2012 (Rating: 2)

1984 Thor Computer (UK)
by Chris and Steve Kerry

It costs me to say this but this game really is very weak, specially when it comes to gameplay. I confess that has a kid I loved to load the game and just watch and wonder while staring at the loading screen.
Also the first two levels (never got far than that) were exciting to watch, but painfully hard, frustanting and annoying to play.
Any game in this trilogy suffers from bad colour and collision checking, making the games hard and literaly painful to play.

The House Jack Built, 22 Jun 2012 (Rating: 2)

1984 Thor Computer (UK)
by Chris Kerry

Although a bit better than the previous efforts in the Jack's trilogy, this game is still a painfull experience. Colour checking is still quite bad, so if you suffer from bad eyes, be carefull with it, and you may count with tons of luck when colliding with another object,may it be an enemy or a passage way to the next level, you never know when you get killed. If you've played Monty is Innocent (from the same author), you know what I'm talking about.
Basically it looks cute and that's that.

Orm and Cheep: The Birthday Party, 22 Jun 2012 (Rating: 4)

1985 Macmillan Software (UK)
by the Widgit software team

What a great game for young kids to play and learn, with big colourfull well drawn graphics, I wonder why dont other software houses produced more arcade game using the same techniques. Well ok you could mention Don Priestley, but why arent there more, not every single game needs to be fast.
Anyway, the game starts with a reaction test to determine the ability level you will start on. A memory test follows so to choose the ingredients for Orm's birthday party. After that is done Cheep has to gather his friends to the birthday party, sit them in the right chairs so the party can be started. The game as a reasonable large area, you will move thru Woods, several houses and mole's tunnels and some mapping will be required.
The game is aimed to 8 years old but I think it can also the interesting to older kids or even adults.

Big 4 Vol II, 23 Jun 2012 (Rating: 5)

1986 Durell Software (UK)
by various authors

Part two of an excelent compilation from Durell with some of the best games of 1986/87. Being Sigma 7 the weakest link.

Big 4, 23 Jun 2012 (Rating: 4)

1986 Durell Software (UK)
by various authors

An excelent compilation from Durell. The price was fabulous, 4 excelent titles for the price of one.
One of the best promotions I managed to get my hands on.
Saboteur and Turbo Esprit make it all worhty but so do the other two.

Death Pit, 23 Jun 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Durell Software (UK)
by Clive Townsend

It's a shame that this game never saw the light of day, not being groundbreaking or anything special, it aint so bad either.
I personally find it quite enjoyable.
Its reminescence of games such as Fred, and probably inspired by.
The biggest letdown I noticed were the graphics which are poorly drawn and quite uninspiring.
But overall it deserved a little more awareness of existence, thankfully it was recovered in 2007.

Punchy, 23 Jun 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Mr. Micro Ltd (UK)
by Issi

A cute Hunchback clone from 83, initially called Hunchy, before the name got swapped from legal reasons.
It shows its age quite a lot, The jumping routine is badly written and the graphics look like small blobs on the screen (even with glasses on). The computerized voices are a nice add but I cant figure out what he is saying! Not particurily mesmerizing but yet a funny colourful game from the early days.

Cattell IQ Test, 26 Jun 2012 (Rating: 4)

1983 Sinclair Research (UK)
by Victor Serebriakoff


An excelent 1983 IQ test written in BASIC. You complete the test within an hour and a half or so, and answer several types of intricate questions raging from grammar, maths, space and shape, etc.
The answering is a bit slow but the game is well written and well prepared making it an enjoyable experience.
I would love to have had this as a kid.
By the way I scored 127 IQ which means an 86th percentile, but thats not acurate to todays standards. Still it sounds pretty good!

The Apostrophe, 27 Jun 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Sinclair Research (UK)
by Eve and Paul Gorton

An interesting educational program on how to use the apostrophe.
The program is written in BASIC but it runs fast enough so you can enjoy yourself, it is also very polished and well presented.
It runs several games on how to use the mentioned apostrophe, but also on the use of the keyboard including capital letters and symbols.
You also have an option that allows you to change the sentences used in one the games so you can vary the game if you play it with, for instance your children. This is particularly good because at least one sentenced is originaly misspelled!

Flight Simulation, 27 Jun 2012 (Rating: 4)

1983 Sinclair Research (UK)
by Charles Davies

Its incredible to see such an early game with this kind of quality. Every aspect of the game is well thought out and very well implemented. The gigantic amount of keys may let you down a bit, specially without the instructions sheet, but it wont disencourage you to at least give it a try, it didnt for me in 83/84.

Planetoids, 06 Jul 2012 (Rating: 4)

1982 Sinclair Research (UK)
by Psion Software

Planetoids is an above average game for its day, and the best of the bunch of the 'Asteroids' wannabes, quite faithful to the original, highly playable and addictive. Unfortunately it got 'old' quite rapidly with the increase of new game ideas in the coming years.

Meteor Storm, 06 Jul 2012 (Rating: 1)

1982 Quicksilva (UK)
by John Hollis

Meteor Storm was one of my the most hated games. The inabilaty to stop you ship or, like in the original 'Asteroids' version, to thrust just a bit each time you press the correspondent key, made this game a detestable experience usualy lasting just a play or two before reseting the game and moving on to another more friendly game.
Thankfully there was 'Planetoids' which was a much better version.

Hungry Horace, 06 Jul 2012 (Rating: 4)

1982 Sinclair Research (UK)
by William Tang

Basically a Pac-Man clone but with a different edge. It gained a lot by being one of the earlier games released to the Spectrum. Had it been released a bit later probably Horace never would enter the Speccy wall of fame. The game is a bit rough, the colours are not well chosen(although I like them) and clash a little and its not that difficult to play, but it was lots of fun playing it and in 1982 it was a marvellous experience to us kids. So it deserves its name in the game history.
3,5 stars

Horace Goes Skiing, 06 Jul 2012 (Rating: 4)

1982 Sinclair Research (UK)
by William Tang

This time around Horace got the role of 'Frogger' and his reign as a game star was on the move.
The skying part was quite wonderful and magic back then and the road bit was also very well made and very chalenging.
I remember still playing this in 1990 once in a while just for the fun of it.

Horace & the Spiders, 06 Jul 2012 (Rating: 4)

1983 Sinclair Research
by William Tang

Here is where the trilogy comes to an end (until someone digs up the Melbourne House game). It couldnt have been a better end to Horace's adventures.
The game is set in 3 stages, each different from the other. First stage Horace must run towards a cavern while avoiding the spiders, stage two he has to swing above the spiders until reaching a safe area and the third stage sees Horace in a sort of 'Panic' game where he must kill the spiders by opening a hole in the web, wait until a spider falls in and then jump into the kill.
Probably the most rewarding game of the series.

Doctor?, 14 Jul 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Load N' Run
by Luis Enrique Juan

Now, here is a little spanish gem who wanst proper published as it deserved.
The game claims to be a psiquiatric simulation, but is in fact an adventure text game, a rather cool idea still.
The computerized voices are superb.
It reminds me a lot of 'ID', because of the anguish feel it has. I havent dig enough in Doctor, Doctor yet but where I was able to reach it surprised me a great deal.

Prince of Persia, 23 Jul 2012 (Rating: 4)

Very faithful to the original indeed.
The animations are top notch and the gameplay is also faithful and quite good despite being a bit frustating at times.
I would have liked a bit more colour in the spectrum version, and in the original more enemies to deal with.

Doctor What?, 25 Jul 2012 (Rating: 2)

1988
by Mega-Soft and Screen Soft

Every lover of Manic Miner gets delighted when he comes across a similar game.
Doctor What is not the best MM clone around that's for sure, it was distributed freely and it shows on the quality of the programming. For an 1988 game this surely feels outdated, but that's not a problem if you are a retro gamer like me and indeed may be a positive thing. On the other hand the programming skills are beyond outdated and the play ability resulting is sometimes excruciating. The jumping routine is quite awful although it seems to work, the levels design (got to level 3 once) all seem the same, only changing the colours, the enemies look and number. But the main real problem is that the game keeps blocking when you least expect it. I have experimented the game in different PC's and it happens in all of them, so it must be a really bad bug in the game itself. Overall it is a nice MM clone but only for die hard fans of the genre and only if you are lucky to surpass the games frequent blocking.
Can't rate this game higher without feeling dishonest with better games and better programmers that exist out there.
1,5 stars

PS Answer: Thanks dandyboy ;)

Death Wish 3, 25 Jul 2012 (Rating: 3)

1987 Gremlin Graphics (UK)
by Shaun Hollingworth, Ben Daglish, Chris Kerry and Peter Harrap

I bought a copy of this after reading the Your Sinclair review. They gave it a 9 and the away the photos looked I though I was beeting on a winner.
Was I wrong. The game is very boring. The main purpose of the game is to cleanup the streets of human garbage by any means, and that means shooting anything that looks suspicious.
Now it may sound nice if you were about to play 'Commando', but here you have to go and find the punks you need to erase and that means running around the city with the aid of a map and infos. The city is side viewed which turns very confusing at times meaning you will waste most of your playing time visiting and revisiting the same-looking rooms and streets.
Overall the game is well presented, with slick graphics and animations, but it gets very dull after a short while. I wish I had read Crash's reviews instead.

Panama Joe, 26 Jul 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Parker Software/Sinclair Research
by David

I'm surprised I missed this game in my younger years and had never heard about it. It seems quite popular between the Spectrum community.
Panama Joe is definitely playable but I cant consider it as addictive as some of the best platform/maze games around. It's not as well written as say Chuckie Egg, you can't jump on ladders and started climbing them, you have to position yourself bellow. Picking up objects also requires specific positioning. This takes the fluidity and consequent addictiveness other games have. Graphics and sound may be appealing to retro gamers but to the general public they are not so, but obviously that's subjective. Also I noticed the maze isn't that big and the traps aren't that difficult so I'm guessing it's fairly easy to complete.
The high point of the game is its straightforward playability. Basically you have to collect keys to open doors that lead you to your final destination: Montezuma's Treasure Room.
Jump around and avoid enemies. All in all an in-your-face easy to get into game.

Penguin, 26 Jul 2012 (Rating: 2)

1984 Sinclair Programs (UK)
by David Reid

For a BASIC written game its not that bad. The graphics are adequately cute and its even quite playable if you can say so.
The levels are randomly generated although the difficulty rises from level to level, but you cant go too far because the characters move in squares not pixels meaning the polar bear will eventually catch up on the fish before you and probably you will never play more than 5 minutes each game.
Has a BASIC game I will give it 3 points, for the general ratings 1,5 points.

Note to dandyboy: maybe your Aquarium has icy water eheh. Oh and Aquarius is born in the winter, so...

Los Angeles SWAT, 28 Jul 2012 (Rating: 2)

1987 Entertainment USA (US)
by Chris Fayers

There is not much appeal about this game, except maybe the genre, if you appreciate it. It slightly resembles 'Who Dares Wins II', mainly because of the colours, graphics and theme. Once you start playing you realize it has nothing to do with it.

The graphics are awkwardly strange. The only character I can truly appreciate is the old lady on the side walk, the rest seem to have been severely beaten in a mixer and then put together. Sound is mediocre and serves its purpose barely.

Now about the game itself, its so slow it really gets unnerving, specially at the start of each game or when approaching the next level. The enemies movement is very predictable making the game dull after a few plays. Also you cant fire in diagonal up-right. Why does this happen I don't know, maybe programmers laziness?

There are lots of other problems with the game, but it's not all that bad and I even enjoyed it for a while. Yes, I admit it!

2,5 points

Monty Python's Flying Circus, 28 Jul 2012 (Rating: 3)

1990 Virgin Games (UK)
by the CORE Design team

This is in fact quite enjoyable.
I was excepting a little bit more madness and wackiness and... well, I didn't know what to except, only madness and wackiness.
I thought the game was a sort of strategy type game like 'Stifflip & Co' or 'Kwah!' or even an text adventure, and I was very surprised to see a shoot 'em up game played in the person of Mr.Gumby.
The weird Terry Gillian cartoons works quite well, but I would like to see more of a 'Dan Dare' type coloured game, but I guess that's asking for too much.
All in all it's a fun game, very playable, although I found some errors with the collision checking. It only gets tedious because of the monochrome coloring and the games size.

Now, where's Fawlty Towers??!

Dance Fantasy, 29 Jul 2012 (Rating: 2)

1984 Fisher-Price Learning Software (USA)

An interesting idea for kids.
Basically what you have to do is program a few steps using the white figures on the bottom and make some moves around the dancefloor, then clic on the green icon and see the result while listening to a cute beeped song.
The problem with it is that it is badly executed, any kid can see that it isnt possible to walk on walls or over the spectator/judge(?) when he appears to be in a first floor. The graphics and sound are poor, except for the tune, I think, but do their job.
For young kids, specially girls, it would have been fairly cute to give it a try now and then, but for educational purposes I think its a bit useless, any other game with end up with better results and be a lot more fun.

Copia-Tudo, 31 Jul 2012 (Rating: 4)

1986

My second prefered backup utility after the great 'OmniCopy 2'.
Simple, fast and very useful.

Cosa Nostra, 31 Jul 2012 (Rating: 3)

1986 Opera Soft (Spain)

Another cute game I have discovered and that I was completely unaware of existence.
The game is set in Chicago, during the gangster years.
You play Mike Bronco, a super detective, set out to destroy crime in the city.
You must search within the 92 screens that built up the city, the five Chicago barons and annihilate them.
Their names are suggestive, from Ruddy Bulldog, Jonhny Fandango, Tony Spaguetty, Franky Frondasio and of course the Godfather himself, they all sound like they can only belong in an 80's computer game or a funny cartoon.
Anyway, Cosa Nostra is in fact a straightforward shoot 'em up, with a city maze to go thru. And it plays rather well, I must say, despite being simple and relatively easy.
Sure there are lots of better games out there, but 'Cosa Nostra' has that funny feel that made games like 'Jack the Nipper' really enjoyable.

Chuckman, 31 Jul 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 C.C.I. (UK)
by Kevin Baker

Chuckman is a fast furious game not suitable for anyone with short fuse nerves, like myself :D.
Your job is to deactivate bombs scattered around a large maze, to do so you must find a toolkit first so you can complete your quest. Several problems will occur to stop you from doing so (it wouldn't be a game otherwise!). For instance you will need faster roller skates to escape the giant pairs of boots or sand to cover up holes in the ground. So it mixes a bit of strategy together with fast reflexes.

A great little game from '83 that only falls short for only allowing one life each play, something quite frustrating in the beginning when you don't know exactly what to do and keep dying. The giant letters in the end of each play really makes me wanna reset the game. A cute but annoying idea.

It resembles a lot the old classic 'Maziacs' and the author says the game is inspired in a popular arcade game, so it must be it.

3,5 stars

Coal Collector, 01 Aug 2012 (Rating: 2)

1984 Sinclair Programs (UK) - type in magazine game
by Craig Cole

Written completely in BASIC 'Coal Collector' manages to deliver a very competent 'Frank N Stein' clone.
The similarities are obvious, our character, the spring platforms, and some nasties.
Nonetheless it plays very well and can be quite chalenging, requiring pratice and some strategy.

Last Ninja 2, 01 Aug 2012 (Rating: 4)

1988 System 3 Software (UK)
by Mevlut Dinc, Gary Thornton and Brian Marshall

No doubt one of the prettiest games ever created for the Spectrum.
The graphics are astonishing. They remind me the Italian fumetti of the 70' and 80's.
The problem lies in the gameplay. The controls are hard to master, you cant walk in diagonal, meaning you walk in sequences of 'L' shaped moves. Another problem is the way you fight your adversaries. Its always the same procedure, like in a very basic beat 'em up, you press the same keys over and over again, on top of that there's too many baddies slowing down your progress. If only there was more variety in killing them, besides weapons, or a faster way, maybe it wouldn't be so boring at times.
The high point, besides the beautifully design backgrounds and characters I mentioned before, is the problem solving. Every situation requires strategy and planning and some are quite well thought out. This really adds value to the game, and makes it worthwhile
4,5 stars

Super Hang-On, 01 Aug 2012 (Rating: 4)

1987 Electric Dreams Software (UK)
by Mevlut Dinc, Chris Wood and ZZKJ

After the excelent 'Full Throttle' its really hard for me to appreaciate any racing game.
The graphics are quite good, and the use of colour is well used on our bike, on the rest it is OK. The speed is great, with a convincing racing feel and the controls are easy to use. Still when you compare the smoothness of 'Full Throttle' with 'Super Hang On' or any other game of the genre for that matter, they always fall short. Even the animations arent as smooth as the old 1984 game. Yes its more challenging than 'Full Throttle' but the jerky feel when you make turns or the jerky way the road moves is no comparison to 'F.T.' qualities. The crashing sequence is also quite bad. Overall as much as I try I cant really enjoy this game that much.
Not a bad conversion, mind you, in fact a very competent one, also the game plays very well and I bet I would love this has much as anyone if only I had never played 'F.T.'

Enduro Racer, 01 Aug 2012 (Rating: 5)

1987 Activision (UK)
by Alan Laird and Ian Morrison

I remember playing this countless times. Its probably my all time favourite motoracing game or racing of any kind. I still find 'Full Throttle' to be the most accurate in simulating a real race or at least a coin-op game. And even 'Enduro Racer' cant beat 'F.T.' in smoothness, but it can sure beat it when it comes to challenge. Graphics and sound are great, backgrounds and lanes are very well crafted, the sound keeps you pumped despite its simplicity. The jumping mode is a superb touch that makes the game more addictive.
The game offers a variety of stages, 5 alltogether, and all with different difficulties.
All in all an incredible racing game.

Penetrator, 01 Aug 2012 (Rating: 4)

1983 Melbourne House (UK)
by Philip Mitchell and Veronika Megler

This game is a real bomb, and it starts magnificently with fireworks, at the time one of the most impressive fx's anyone had seen.
And who cares if the graphics are simple and outdated, who needs fancy graphics when what makes you play a game it's is playability?
Superb action, great sound, the years go by and it's still addictive. You just cant go wrong with this shoot 'em up.
Who needs 'R-Type'?

A Day at the Races, 01 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Sinclair User (UK)
by Andrew Bird

This is the sort of game that makes you wanna smile. And not only for the right reasons. The horses look like giant dogs and there is no jockey! A bug I discovered soon after my first play was the repeated horse names in the same race. No big deal, it doesn't spoil anything.
I really like this type of games. They are simple, colourful, humorous. I remember writing a 'Derby Day/Grand National' clone which I eventually transformed completely into a strategy game similar to 'Football Manager'.
Anyway if you like horse betting games you would be better of with 'First Past the Post' or the absolutely brilliant 'The National' both from 1988. But if you wanna have a fun, relaxed time with your kids why not try this.

Rod-Land, 02 Aug 2012 (Rating: 5)

1991 Storm Software (UK)
by Jason McGann and Shaun McClure

Rod-land is a beautifully designed game with incredible gameplay and very very addictive and the conversion is absolutely brilliant.
I personally prefer games written before 1987, mainly because those were the golden years of the Spectrum and my best playing years.
But its impossible not to be touched by gems such as this one.
Everything here is wonderful, from the main tune to the most discret platform brick. The only complaint I have is with the limited use of colour and the poor level variety. But those are minor complaints compared to the quality of everything else. Glad to have Rod-Land has my 500 review.

Rapid Fire, 03 Aug 2012 (Rating: 1)

1987 Mastertronic (UK)
by Roger Womack and Ed Knight

It's really hard to like this title.
Every bit of it seems to be made to irritate you and make you pull the plug the fastest you can. Maybe that was the goal of the programmers: to make the most obnoxious game ever. They were very, very close...
The game moves very slowly, specially your character, and the controls also take time to respond. So 'RAPID Fire' is not the best chosen name.
When an enemy gets a hold of you it starts to suck your blood. Are they vampires, zombies? What are they? I cant tell, they sure don't look like any of that.
Also you can't move or fire while they are at you, and you have to wait until they finish and a life is lost.
They also tend to shake if you stop at any time.
Why is that?
There's lots of unanswered questions about this title but I'm not gonna stick around for the answers.

Zone Trooper, 04 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1989 Gamebusters (UK)
by Russell Kay, Keith Wilson, George Wright and Nigel Pritchard

Well this one sure looks different from the rest of the pack. At least in the way it looks and sounds. I really like the way the background stands out and all sound and music. Cant say the same about our sort of breakfast cereal bowl type flying machine. I also like the programming style reminding me of games such as 'Covenant' or even 'Doomsday Castle'. Unfortunately it also looks very dated and dull. Nevertheless its worthwhile for retro gamers who want to feel the magic of the old days or maze explorers ala Jet Set Willy.

Penalty Soccer, 04 Aug 2012 (Rating: 1)

1990 Gamebusters (UK)
by Keith Goodyer

Wow! Talk about a bad game.
Did the Gamebusters people thought they could get away with this?
I don't know, they probably did. I bet they cashed in more money than better well reputed games.
Looks like it was made in an afternoon while lazing around some beers and TV.
Its almost impossible to defend balls that aren't directly shot at your figure. And look at those weird movements of the ball. Even Maradona wouldn't be capable of such.
Even the name isn't spelled correctly on screen.
Avoid.

The Plot, 04 Aug 2012 (Rating: 4)

1988 Firebird Software (UK)
by Paul Salmon and Keith Tinman

Guy Fawkes first appeareance in a Spectrum game (correct me if I'm wrong).
The game's plot is to blow up the houses of parliament by collecting dynamite sticks and them blow them up at the right moment. The fireworks scattered around help you fight your enemies.
The game is very well designed with attention to detail, and the gameplay is straightforward and easy to understand what's going on, like with every JSW follower. So if you like hard challenges this is for you.

Gremlins, 06 Aug 2012 (Rating: 2)

1984 Thor Computer Software (UK)
By Chris Kerry

How to inflict pain in an enemy:

Step 1 - Seize him in a room with a Spectrum machine.
Step 2 - Lock all exits.
Step 3 - Load "Gremlins".
Step 4 - Force him to play the game endless hours while keeping his eyes wide open.

Gremlins, 06 Aug 2012 (Rating: 5)

1985 Adventure International (UK)
by Brian Howarth and Teoman Irmak

If not the best adventure game ever written to the speccy, its by far one of the best.
Beautifully designed graphics with a few animations, not often seen in this sort of games, good game structure with great puzzles to solve almost against the clock.
The text window is my only complaint, because its too bland and a bit cluttered, and I wished the game was a bit more exciting towards the end, but this doesnt spoil the game in any way.

G.I. Hero, 07 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1988 Firebird Software (UK)
by Nigel Brown and Dave Rogers

Very boring maze game.
The graphic presentation is good but it doesnt compensate the lack of action.
When you walk from one screen to the other it seems like you didnt move at all, and in this jungle type scenery this becames quite monotonous after a short while also the slow movement of our character doenst help either.
This game could have been a lot better with a little bit more passion from the authors.
2,5 stars

Skateball, 08 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1988 Ubi Soft Ltd (UK)
by Jonathan Medhurst, Roger Taylor, Nigel Kenward and JAM

This could have been a lot better with finer programming skills. Besides that the first levels should be a lot easier, because the speed of the game doesnt allow for any thought out moves, making almost impossible to do anything, even with lots of pratice. Of course after awhile you discover a key move and thats all you do in the begginer levels, like with beat 'em up games. But once you get to the advanced ones things start to fall and becames virtually impossible for any normal player to enjoy the game.
The idea is good but badly implemmented.

Aquarius, 08 Aug 2012 (Rating: 2)

1983 Bug Byte Software (UK)
by Keith Owens

This was only 1983, so you couldnt ask for fancy high tech games.
And Aquarius got away discretely without much criticism from me. This is now 2012 and the game looks absolutely outdated.
The graphics are cute and I still enjoy them. They are well coloured and work quite well in giving the right athmosphere. I specially like the shark.
One of the problems is the programming. The game seems to have been written in Basic and them speeded up in machine code. The scrooling is awkward and bouncy and the blocky movement spoils things a lot.
The other big problem is that the game is incredibly short, I finish it in less than 5 minutes. The game has 3 parts, the second being placed inside a cavern ala Penetrator style and the third being an electrified wall with blocks of colour. You have to destroy this blocks following the mission code colour order.
Problems aside the game is very playable. The mission code at the beggining is a nice touch.

Cavern Fighter, 08 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Bug Byte Software (UK)
by John Jameson

Cant remember which game I played first, if Penetrator or Cavern Fighter.
Got both games from around the same date and I got excited with both. Both games played fast and shooting had never been this much fun. But I also remember playing countless times Penetrator and leaving CF aside.
The problem is that the game is too hard to enjoy. Everything happens at a fast pace so fast it leaves no room for say, celebrate the fact that you entered a new, never seen level. Also after a few plays your eyes start to sore with the screen scrooling. And to me this were enough reasons to reset and move to a more friendly game.

Dogsbody, 08 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Bug Byte Software (UK)
by Steven Monks

Despite being inspired in two of the most popular games ever written, Pac-Man and Boulder Dash, this wasn't an easy game to like.
The graphics are pleasant with some nice nasties but I really dislike our main character, which is too blocky for my taste.
Now the major problem with the game is that if you get stuck between boulders or plants you have the restart the game all over again. That would be fine if the game was divided in levels, but it is not! You only get one big maze, and if you make the wrong move... restart.
This doesn't mean the game isn't playable or unfinishable, it only means you have to be incredibly patient and careful if you want to get anywhere in it.

Loop de Loop, 08 Aug 2012 (Rating: 2)

1984 C&VG Magazine (UK)
By Nigel Campbell

Now here is a BASIC written game with a very original idea and very well implemented.
The game is simple, guide the line thru the holes until you reach the end.
Besides the usual left, right, up, down keys you have a brake key also.
This means you completely control your falling line.
For a Basic game this was a surprise, no cute, funny graphics this time, only lines, but very challenging.

Mermaid Madness, 09 Aug 2012 (Rating: 4)

1986 Electric Dreams (UK)
by Steve Howard, Wayne Blake and Paul Smith

I was in love with Mermaid Madness the first time I saw the opening scene, but quickly lost the flare of passion when I started diving into the game.
Immediately after losing the first few plays I thought to myself: unplayable ...next!
Some time after I decided to give it another go. I gathered around some patience I was saving to play 'Sentinel' and dived in the game once more.

I battled a bit, banged the keys a lot, but once I got the hang of it... it felt good! Like a day at the beach in a quiet summer day.
I know the game is fairly simple to solve but I was never much of the patience type, especialy because here where I live most games were sold as copies, a photocopied cover was a lucky strike, and instructions was like finding a pearl in my toilet. So I didnt know what to do in these sort of games. Mermaid Madness demands not only strategy and puzzle solving but also quick reflexes, its not like cruising around 'Everyones a Wally' town, instruction clueless, just enjoying the scenery. No, you need to keep moving.

Maybe the almost absence of sound is a reason why this title is so little known or the way how fast and easy is to die is another or surely because of the bugs that crash the game. Or maybe because it isnt as complex as other games are, but that's a good thing for begginers like me at that time.
Anyway, the game is well made and very playable, with nice big coloured graphics, also the backgrounds are very nice, making exploring it a joy and not only for sea enthusiasts. The plot is very funny and very captivating. When you came across the unlucky diver you feel the rush to go and help him. Beware, its not that easy! And I like the tune at the beggining, althought it is a bit annoying.
I advise you not to look at the map at WOS before playing or it will spoil the magic in discovering.

By the way, be sure not to drop any item before its corresponding area or else you'll risk crashing the game. For example, dropping the chest in the second ray screen will surely crash the game. This doesnt happen with all objects just some. Also dont drop the dynamite before because it will explode, making you lose the game. Another tip is not to drop the salt bag anywhere before, or it will lose its power.

Andre's Night Off, 09 Aug 2012 (Rating: 1)

1984 C&VG Magazine (UK)
by Matthew Smith

Andre's Night Off is a true disappointment.
After creating two of the most influential games ever, Matt delivers a game worthy of the Cassette 50 compilation. Mind you the game isn't badly written, it even has a nice presentation, but its totally pointless, and I dare to say it is one of the most uninteresting BASIC written games I've encountered in a magazine. Its like a U2 concert without Bono. Matt was asked to write a game for the magazine as a special bonus to it's fans. So he came up with Andre... Well, Matt or C&VG magazine cant complaint if people thought it was crap, even back then.
But its understandable, he was in those carefree years, probably chasing girls, so why would he bother with a magazine game.

Countries of the World, 09 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1982 Hewson Consultants (UK)
by John Fitzgerald

(The first part of this review is for the first version of this program which has the blue Atlas)

In the 80's I was completely obssessed with geography. I knew every flag, every country, every capital, every location, and I would probably have loved this program. I even wrote an Educational like this one, complete with flags, capitals, size, population, main mountains and rivers, etc, which I thought was actually quite good, modesty aside. It was even showed in my school in that particular year. A feat in those times! If I wasn't such a carefree kid, I probably would have manage to sell it (nah!). Well, I wrote it in 1988, and 'C.o.t.W.' is from the early Spectrum days, so it wasn't anything new. The problem with 'C.o.t.W.' is its too slow, too painful to use.
The author wanted to keep the loading screen of the atlas and used a small window for everything else, so you only see three countries at a time. If you want a location you have to type the country number, but first you have to check all of them and memorize the number you want. The only merit I can give it is the accurate location of the countries you choose and the Atlas map.
1,5 stars

(Part two - review for the coloured Atlas version)
This version is much better. Everything seems to fall into place. It also looks better with a coloured Atlas. Easy access to information which is a lot more complete. Including languages spoken, local currencies, and statistics of the most/least populated countries. Like the one I wrote! Densities are also shown which is a very nice touch but not accurate, missing the correct correlation between country size and population.
Still a lot better than the other version.
And also better than the program I wrote, eheh.
3,5 stars

Championship Baseball, 09 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1987 Gamestar (UK)
by Scott Orr and Mark Madland

This is not a bad game, but isn't good either. The bigger graphics on the right are well drawn the other half is awful and the same incoherence happens thru out the game in various ways.
The gameplay is a bit confusing but once you get the hang of it its very addictive.
The keys could be a little bit more responsive, but my worse complaint is the difficulty in catching the ball way on the field, it's too hard, making the game unfair for the human player. You also get a blind opponent when throwing the ball. I mean blind because the computer manages to fail almost every hit, thus making the game dull.
With a bit of luck you can surpass all of this and enjoy it, like I used to had back in 1985 with 'World Series Baseball' from Imagine Software which I think is much better.

Hurdles, 11 Aug 2012 (Rating: 2)

1984 Newtech Publishing (UK)
by P. Fox

Overall this is just a simple hurdles game for two players written in BASIC.
The graphics are cute with nice coloring. But the best thing about this is the good example on way to use combined keys in a BASIC written game. And however simple it may be to write, few people used it in their games.

Caves of Doom, 14 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Mastertronic (UK)
by Robert Sansom

If it werent for the clumsy graphics I think this game could have gone farther.
The moving/flying routine makes the game very addictive, at least for me. And hard too. In fact this game is not for the weak hearted. The action happens very fast and some aliens/nasties although quite annoyingly drawn, are very efficient in killing you.
The game goal is very simple, collect five keys, one of which is scattered in three pieces, making an overall of seven object to collect and then escape planet Doom. Also remember to collect the fuel bottles.
A nice touch is the screen editor, but only to remove unwanted characters, for example the nasties. Something good specially because the game is incredible hard.
If you like this sort of games and have leopard fast reflexes you will enjoy this one.

Speed King 2, 14 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1987 Mastertronic (UK)
by Derek Brewster


Full Throttle is my favourite motorcycle racing game so a friend indicated Speed King 2 to me saying it was just like FT, so I was quite excited with it. What a dissapointment. It looks like the author decided to make a sequel to the great Full Throttle, but renamed it with a completely different name and added a 2 at the end. The same race routine, the same sounds and a very similar look. Unfortunately this is a bad version of that game, just look at the graphics and you'll be disencourage to play it. Also if this was the real sequel even with better graphics, it would only add the 2 player option, which is nice but a little dissapointing because there arent any other bikers besides us.
But not all is lost, because the game can be quite challenging, and if you havent played FT before or are looking for a 2 player mode, this is could be interesting, if you can pass the bad looking graphics.

Starclash, 16 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Micromega (UK)
by Derek Brewster

Never played Astro Fighter so I cant say if this is a close version of the arcade coin-op or not.
What I can say is this is not that bad, in fact is as good as any other similar game from 1983. Clean simple graphics, reasonable use of colour and the sound is effective enough, although I would like to hear a different sound when the enemy ships are blown away, because that bleep is not very motivating. Gameplay starts hard and ends hard, making the game demanding.
The only think I dont really fancy is the next enemy ship wave being depicted at the top, early from the start, making you aware of what comes next and spoiling the surprise.
The game is a bit outdated but it is still very playable and worthy of a little more recognition.

Atic Atac, 18 Aug 2012 (Rating: 4)

1983 Ultimate (UK)
by Tim and Chris Stamper

Its no surprise to anyone that today Atic Atac is considered one of the Spectrum icons. Fortunately there are many iconic games on our beloved machine, all deserving of a place in the sun.
But if you asked me about my top 10 gamelist, Atic Atac wouldn't be on it. I am not in any way reducing the qualities of the game.

Atic Atac deserves all respect, like all Ultimate games do. But honestly I think all their games are overly overrated.
The game is incredible addictive, it's true, it looks nice, sounds nice and it even smelled nice back when I got my copy in Christmas of '84, wrapped next to my first Old Spice (I was hoping to get some girls with it, but didn't get me any).

The plot is simple and straightforward and even with no instructions its fairly easy to understand what is happening.
Personally I had problems with the keys. Never understood why Ultimate had that awkward keyboard configuration, exactly the same as the Sinclair keys, but located in a different keyboard position. That really spoiled things. Another thingy is the pick/drop system, which is very annoying to use, specially when you have a gap between two objects in your scroll.

Another minor complaint I have is with the rooms, they are pretty simple and look much alike and after awhile it gets boring, even with those magic-looking wells and stairs. It's also incredible easy to get lost or even plan a route. Ultimate later redeemed themselves by making a more diverse and exciting game called Underwurlde, although not so fun to play. But hey, this was just 1983, and it was hard to imagine a similar game so good as Atic Atac was.

Kung-Fu, 20 Aug 2012 (Rating: 4)

1984 Bug Byte Software (UK)
by Duke, Muraja and Dragoljub

I think Kung-Fu has the best vector graphics I have ever seen. Not only they look good, apart from the strange noses, they also move very accurately and are very well animated and without slowing down the game too much.
It's true this technique is not the best to use in this sort of games, but the authors did a great job with it.
The presentation is also very nice, the backgrounds are pretty and depict fairly well the traditional Japan.
About the action itself, its highly playable, but you only get 4 types of attack and no combos. And that cools down the game a bit. Progression in the game comes in the form of belts, you start at the bottom with the white belt and your goal is to became master. That was the incentive and it worked fine. Also you get the 2 player mode. You play in a different background with a different set of colors (to break down the monotony). Here you had the chance to discover the "achilles heel" of all beat 'em ups: using continuously the same type of attack to rapidly defeat your opponent. Remember this was one of the first Martial Arts game. Later games like 'Way of the Exploding Fist' would explore newer and better territories (although the "achilles heel" would never cured) but 'Kung-Fu' stands as the a pioneer and surely deserves a place in the Hall of Fame.

3,5 stars

Sbugetti Junction, 21 Aug 2012 (Rating: 2)

1986 Bug Byte (UK)
by Calac, Zec and Muraja

I was seriously hoping this game had more than what initially promises. It doesnt. Basicaly you control an italian traffic cop trainee called Louigi Pepperoni (cute!). He has come over from Macaroni (thats what the instructions inlay writer calls Italy, cute again!) to learn the British way of traffic control. Nice! Maybe he wanted to upgrade professionaly or maybe he just got fed up with his wife Fettucinee (name from the inlay card again) and flew all the way over from Macaroni to your majesty's land.
OK, so you control this poor discriminated italian cop with a funny name.
Now about the game, we all have seen at least once, a traffic cop on the roads, and if im not mistaken a lot of kids back in the 80's loved the idea of becaming one. Well if they played 'Sbugetti Junction' they surely changed their minds. Because if the real streets are as dull as the game, I personaly rather be a fashion designer.
If only 'Sbugetti' had more junctions with different layouts and difficulties, maybe it would be a little more addictive. But it doesnt, so the different hand signals (where the whole challenge lies) once you reasonably mastered them, aren't enough to keep you awake.

Cannon Ball, 22 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Hudson Soft (Japan)
by Tanaka and Sasagawa

I cant remember if I ever had this game when I was a kid, but it sure looks familiar, maybe because the game as been reworked so many times along this last decades its stuck on my head.
The game is not a great programming achievement, it even looks like it was written in Basic and then acelerated with the machine code.
Everything moves in characters rather than pixels so it doesnt feel or looks smooth.
But it is very addictive, even if you feel like you are not going far in it because of its difficulty and programming simplicity. But in 1983 due to the limited range of existing games this was highly playable and I bet it made the delights of a lot of children.
If you are into simple, fast action, reflexes demanding games, then this is for you.

Bubble Buster, 22 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Sinclair Research (UK)
by Hudson Soft

Bubble Buster is a re-release of Cannon Ball but with a few slightly changes, that make the game more dynamic.
I cant remember if I ever had this game when I was a kid, but it sure looks familiar, maybe because the game as been reworked so many times along this last decades its stuck on my head.
The game is not a great programming achievement, it even looks like it was written in Basic and then acelerated with the machine code.
Everything moves in characters rather than pixels so it doesnt feel or looks smooth.
But it is very addictive, even if you feel like you are not going far in it because of its difficulty and programming simplicity. But in 1983/4 due to the limited range of existing games this was highly playable and I bet it made the delights of a lot of children.
If you are into simple, fast action, reflexes demanding games, then this is for you.

Bomberman, 22 Aug 2012 (Rating: 4)

1983 Hudson Soft (Japan)
by Tanaka and Sasagawa

Another great little game from the Japonese software house who also brought us Cannon Ball (aka Bubble Buster), Itasundorious (aka Driller Tanks) or the great 'Stop the Express' all from the same year.
Bomberman (later to be called 'Eric and The Floaters') is highly additive even with such simple programming. Its not as smooth or fast as later games would be but what counts here is the addictiveness of the gameplay. I think everyone has played this game at least once, because like almost all Hudson Soft games they have all been cloned along the last decades. I have spent hours playing 'Eric and the Floaters' and I never got tired of the explosions or cruising around the mazes looking for the exit.
This is one of those simple looking games wiht far from good programming skills that still manages to keep a gamer hooked for hours.

3,75 points

Eric & the Floaters, 22 Aug 2012 (Rating: 4)

1984 Sinclair Research Ltd (UK)
by Tanaka and Sasagawa

Eric and the Floaters was originaly released as 'Bomberman' a year before. This newer better known version includes a few changes which I think dont add up much to the game. I prefer the original with the balloon smile characters, but 'Eric' version seems slightly faster.
Anyway, this is another great little game from the Japonese software house who also brought us Cannon Ball (aka Bubble Buster), Itasundorious (aka Driller Tanks) or the great 'Stop the Express' all from the same year.
'Eric and The Floaters' is highly addictive even with such simple programming. It's not as smooth or fast as later games would be but what counts here is the addictiveness of the gameplay. I think everyone has played this game at least once, because like almost all Hudson Software games they have all been cloned along the last decades. I myself have spent hours playing it and I never got tired of the explosions or cruising around the mazes looking for the exit.
This is one of those simple looking games with far from good programming skills that still manages to keep a gamer hooked for long.
I would definitely rate this higher if only the game was better polished. For instance the speed delay whenever a bomb blows up or some of the simple graphics, also the game with gain greatly if later levels had different enemies or background tiles.

3,75 points

Itasundorious, 22 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Hudson Soft (Japan)
by F. Itagaki

This is the hardest game Hudson Soft released. Its also not the best produced either. Nevertheless the game can became very addictive if you are patiente enough to discover the little trick in destroying the Hectolien monsters. There are 2 steps to get rid of each monster. The first is to fire your laser beam followed by a second move where you must drill into the monster so he gets reduced to dust. Your job is to destroy each Hectolien monster and avoid them getting into the palace or you lose the game, you must also avoid the Ikedanien crabs if you dont wanna lose a life. Its a shame the game doesnt play faster or smoother but I think the people behing Hudson Soft were still exploring simple programming skills.
For 1983 I think this was decent enough. But once you discovered other goodies like Manic Miner or Chuckie Egg and how fast and fun a Spectrum game could be, 'Itasundorious' would rapidly be forgotton.

2,5 stars

Note: By the time I wrote this review I noticed the authors name in 'Stop the Express' wasn't atributed. I think I have some clues that maybe lead to F.Itagaki. Notice the first syllable in both Itagaki's name and Itasundorious (game). And as you all remember in 'Stop the Express' you were aboard the Ita Express.
Coincidence? Was there just a colaboration between programmers? I dont know, but it sure looks like F.Itagaki was involved in the game.

Driller Tanks, 22 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Sinclair Research Ltd (UK)
by F. Itagaki (from Hudson Soft)

Driller Tanks is a reworked version of Itasundorious. I didnt notice much changes besides the colours and the names. This is the hardest game Hudson Soft released. It's also not the best produced either. Nevertheless the game can became very addictive if you are patiente enough to discover the little trick in destroying the Mammut monsters. There are 2 steps to get rid of each monster. The first is to fire your laser beam followed by a second move where you must drill into the monster so he gets reduced to dust. Your job is to destroy each Mammut monster and avoid them getting into the palace or you lose the game, you must also avoid or kill the Skork crabs if you dont wanna lose a life. Its a shame the game doesnt play faster or smoother but I think the people behing Hudson Soft were still exploring simple programming skills.
For 1983 I think this was good enough. But once you discovered other goodies like Manic Miner or Chuckie Egg and how fast and fun a Spectrum game could be, Driller Tanks would rapidly be forgotton.

Dangerous Kiss, 24 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1988 CIHC (Uruguay)
by Carlos Irigaray and Horacio Cassinelli

This game was a nice surprise to me tho I really dont have the required patience to play this sort of games, specialy as hard as this. The game as several bugs, namely being killed between screens (like JSW) until you lose all your 50 lifes (yes, 50! and not enough, believe me!). But its still enjoyable and smoothly playable. The game is inspired by the likes of JSW or Monty Mole and your goal is basically the same. If Dangerous Kiss had been more polished and bug free and a little easier it could have earned Uruguay a shinier place in the gaming scene.

Sir Fred, 24 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1986 Made in Spain (Spain)
by Carlos Martinez, Paco Menendez, Fernando Briega and Camilo Elizagarate

Sir Fred is one of the best games nuestros hermanos from Spain have offered us.
Graphically it is a delight with its coloured cartoonish looks reminiscent of Francisco Ibanez work.
The problem with it is its so frustratingly hard it disencourages even the most persevere player. I never got far in it. In fact I would congratulate myself each time I moved a screen, that's how hard it is. However I must admit it always made me curious in knowing what happens next, more than the majority of games. This addictive quality relies not only on the games looks and theme but also in its puzzles.

At first glance the game may look as an adventure/exploring game, a bit like Fred, the previous game, but it isn't, it's more a puzzle solving game with a few platforms to negotiate.
Technically speaking it is a bit double-edged, because if the innovating variety of movements is welcome, you can go from walking, climbing, swimming, etc, on the other hand some of this moves are hard to execute and make the game slow and frustrating, and should have been better tested by the authors.
And even if you master this movements, the arcade part of the game is lost, unlike the Wally Series, or even the simpler Zorro , which blend styles so well.

Race Fun, 24 Aug 2012 (Rating: 2)

1983 Rabbit Software Ltd (UK)
by John F. Cain

I remember playing this game a lot as a boy.
Was it the sound of the motor raging with power that fueled my fire ?
Well, back in those days, people were used to playing games in order to beat scores. Games with levels were scarse and Pinball machines ruled.
Race Fun was no exception to the rule.
Your only goal here is to beat your own score. And it could be fun if you played with a friend or had nothing better to play or do with yourself.
The game is still playable if you have no problems with the tricky controls. Also the idea behind score breaking is still compeling this days so this may appeal to you. And you cant deny the speed of the game isnt attractive. Unfortunately there are better games out there and Race Fun is only a good memory I like to revisit now and then.

Grand National, 27 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 - CRL
by Peter Curtis

This game is the same as 'Derby Day' but with a few improvements namely Honest Clive's face, the race track layout and the horses jumping ability which is in fact a very nice feature and well animated.
I still prefer the original 'Derby Day' because it plays a little faster and the race screen looks better to me, but they are both great pieces of retro gaming.

C5 Sprint, 29 Aug 2012 (Rating: 2)

1985 Infinite Software (UK)

This game was included in a compilation of Microsoftware magazine. And it is a game for two players based around the motorized invention of Sir Clive Sinclair.
Unfortunately this three wheeled machine was not designed for racing. Well, at least exciting racing. And although this spectrum game is not a perfect simulation, at least illustrates what C5 wasnt meant for: racing.

C5 Clive, 29 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Scorpio Gamesworld Ltd (UK)
by Barry Jones

Around this time the C5 had become popular, at least in the news.
And I think it got the English folks excited for a while. Long enough to try the device and realize it would be more reliable to buy a bike instead of only traveling 24km per hour at the high cost of it.
In the other hand you have to congratulate Sir Clive for trying to introduce such a non poluting device on our roads at a time when oil was king.
The game itself is as obsolete as the real C5. Repetitive, sleep-at-wheel-boring, badly designed and a bit annoying but despite all that still addictive enough if you're in the mood for this sort of game. And If you liked it why not try the sequel 'Clive in Exile'.
I think its a nice piece of C5 merchandise history and a nice reference to the overall work of the Spectrum creator, altho 'Day in the Life' wins the cup.

Clive in Exile, 29 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1986 Illusion Software (UK)
by Barry Jones

This is the third game in the to C5 series by Barry Jones. Its basically the same as the first game but with a different level structure.
You play 5 stages, starting in England, passing the Channel Tunnel to France, then Spain and then right into an arena where a bull fight awaits you.
The difference between this and C5 Clive lies in the plot which is a bit more exciting and playable, specially after level 1, but still there is nothing new under the sun here, and if you didnt like the first game you wont like this one too.

Revenge of the C5, 29 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Atlantis Software (UK)
by Barry Jones

This is the sequel to C5 Clive. Its the same game but viewed from a different angle. And this time the action is seen from above.
I think it is more addictive than the previous effort. It even reminds me of 'River Raid' without the fire option.
The sprites like with all 3 games, have too much flickering and no animation, but its very playable even if primitive.
If you have read the instructions in the game you understand this was meant as a joke, like what happened with the real C5 in 1985 which was very criticized and ridiculed by the media in general.

The Greatest Show on Earth, 29 Aug 2012 (Rating: 2)

1985 Central Solutions (UK)
by Barry Jones

Its hard for me to wipe out the smile off my face after playing this game.
This is a great example on how kids those days used the programming abilities of this little machine. Our imagination was the limit. And many of the nonsense we had in our minds ended up in games like this. Back in those days I remember getting crazy when I bought unplayable games like this one, because they weren't cheap. Thank God for emulators.
Everything here is corny and cheesy and cheap. Its almost impossible to understand the mechanics behind the strong man level for instance, but it looks so cool!
The annoying sounds, the stupid names of each character, its all great. Annoying and stupid, but fun and laughable.
Don't waste your time playing this game, it will drive you insane, just enjoy the naiveness of our youth days thru it, if you still remember it.

Armageddon, 29 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Fashionsoft (UK)
by David W. Harper
Also known as Armageddon - The Last Defense

Not a bad Centipede/Space Invaders based game. And it plays well enough to get you addicted.
Also the graphics are coloured in an unusual way for 1983 giving it an interesting appeal.
Not bad.

Happy Hour, 30 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Scorpio Gamesworld Ltd (UK)
by Barry Jones

Barry Jones worked almost with as many software houses as he did games. And as you can see in WOS his games arent the highest rated, in fact he falls almost below average. Probably because of his lack of programming skills and crazed weird ideas.
Personally I enjoy browsing thru his game collection, maybe because it reminds me my early programming days in which I did similar games, using only BASIC language and some code machine routines. Nothing special, but I must say those were very colourful, funny days.
Now, for Happy Hour, I mean the game (I'm not a masseur, you know), I must admit it reminds me some of my loony games. Your fabulous goal in HH is to visit as much pubs as you can, drink as much beer as you can (or is it water?! I don't think so) and collect coins as much as you can before being arrested by the law or battered by a punk (who happens to look just like me when I wake up in the morning! Dread!).
You can travel by bus, but be prepared to be kick out like a bag of peanuts and thrown in the middle of nowhere land if you ain't carrying any money.
Yes kids, there is no adult rated sticker in the box!! Oh, those innocent 80's... how sweet they were! (Its only beer dude!)
Overall, just like 'Pi-Eyed', I bet this game had its beginnings as a joke not to be taken serious, but in the end it ended up in the shelves. And I bet it cashed in some beer money to its copyright owners.

Chopper Mission, 31 Aug 2012 (Rating: 3)

1986 Your Sinclair (UK)
by Manjinder and H. Rai

Had this game been proper released on tape a couple of years earlier, and it surely would have had more success than say 'Blue Thunder', for instance. I think its even more addictive than 'Airwolf'.

The graphics are clean and averagely done, it as all sort of sounds and it plays very well.
With an enhancing here and there and less harder, I think this game had conquered lots of fans.

3,5 points

Robber, 01 Sep 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Virgin Games Ltd (UK)
by Keith Mitchell

I had forgotten all about this little title from 1983.
There is nothing much to discover here, frankly, but there are some nice touches, like the guards flashlight which reminds me an old handheld game, I think manufactured by Bandai, and a few other details. This is obviously a curiosity nowadays, nothing to get excited about or probe into, but it is still completely playable and fun if you like this sort of BASIC games.
One thing you cant complaint about this BASIC written games is how they toy around with our imagination, I bet a kid today would take time finding the 'flashlight' representation.

- What flashlight?
- There, the torch, cant you see the torch?
- Torch? What torch?!
- On the right, the purple... thingy.
- Oh! Wow Dad, you played really crappy games.

Thrust, 02 Sep 2012 (Rating: 3)

1986 Firebird Software Ltd (UK)
by David Lowe and Simon Clarke

Talk about an incredible hard game... this is nearly impossible to complete.
In my opinion the Spectrum machine has some of the most difficult games ever made, and this is one of them, unlike the original Gravitar, which was a lot player friendly.
Well after struggling with the controls and lots of practice its possible to progress in the game. But I bet most players by this time had given up, after all this isn't a pretty game to look at.
In fact the colour use is extremely basic and of bad taste and the graphics look like they were taken from an 1982 Asteroids/Meteoroids game.
The scrolling is also very jerky, specialy side scrolling. And the speed when falling makes the ship control almost entirely random and at gravity's mercy. But if you take all this aside and the crash bug when too many keys are pressed, 'Thrust' can be lots of fun, enerving fun, but fun nonetheless. The level progression is similar to 'Hero' at least to some point, starting from a very simple level 1 to an almost impossible to beat level 15, offering addictivess to the game.

3,5 stars

Guardian II: Revenge of the Mutants, 03 Sep 2012 (Rating: 3)

1990 Hi-Tec Software (UK)
by Steve Evans

Despite the smooth engaging gameplay, I think it would be unfair for me to rate 'Guardian II' too high.
The game was release in 1990, after several classics like 'R-type' or 'Zynaps' have been considered the best within the genre. If this was meant has a tribute to the original arcade 'Defender' it served its purpose very well, but someone else already done it in 82 with 'Orbiter'. And altho the Steve Evans version is way better, it just looks like an update of that old game.
My main problem is there are other better shoot 'em-ups around, starting from the '83 classic 'Penetrator' to the then modern 'R-type'.
And besides the engaging 128k sounds everything here looks outdated, not to mention the weird key controls chosen, a real pain in the ass (curiosly exactly the same keys as Orbiter). In fact I'm having a really hard time understanding why would Hi-Tec produce such a low-tech looking game. Specially after being selected by Hanna-Barbera and other big names of the cartoon industry to represent them on tape. That surely meant something.
It may be one of the best Defender type games around, but had this been released 6 years earlier and it would have been a blast, now it just looks like firecracker.

Perils of Bear George, 06 Sep 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Cheetah soft (UK)
by Kevin Williams

A cheerful colourful game, maybe aimed to young kids due to its looks.
The action is a bit of a mixture because some levels are not well executed and can confuse some younger kids. Specialy level 2 when you try to approach the cave entrance and have to perform some strange key movements.
It reminds me a bit the Horace games probably because of the skying and the spiders, but also because of the level structure.
Overall its an enjoyable well presented game. And the spiders level difficulty helps to maintain interest until you get thru.

Pogo, 06 Sep 2012 (Rating: 5)

1983 Ocean Software (UK)
by Ronald Rhodes, F.D. Thorpe (loading screen)

After all this years I still find it hard to believe this was released in 1983!
Its almost impossible to make a better version of Q*bert than this one. Everything works great. Gameplay is awesome and absolutely engaging. The graphics are funny and well presented. And just listen to the sound fx's, they couldn't be better chosen to keep you pumping.
This game for me is an absolute classic in every way, even better than the original arcade game.

Tutankhamun, 07 Sep 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Micromania (UK)
by Dominic Wood


A simple but very addictive game, with a difficulty level good enough even for hard-to-knock players.
Sure the graphics could be a lot better, and the maze colours could differ from level to level to add some variety, but overall it plays well enough to keep me interested still to this days, and this title is with me since my very early Spectrum days..

Maze Death Race, 08 Sep 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 PSS (UK)
by Chris Cullen

Funny how things look different when you are a kid. I remember playing this game and thinking how fancy and sophisticated this was. Well, time isnt gentle and if Maze Death Race were a lady she sure would have lots of wrinkles now.
The game is very simple, no need for me to explain the mechanics. It plays sort of like Pac-Man but with cars and with a bigger maze.
The arcade version is way better, with smoke bombs and smoother and better controlling movements.
It brings me some nice memories but it doesnt excite me anymore.


6/10

Donkey Kong, 08 Sep 2012 (Rating: 4)

1986 Ocean Software (UK)
by John Mullins, Clive Paul and Sheik

This seems to be a pretty good conversion from the timeless arcade game at least compared to the 1983 unoficial version also from Ocean.
I havent played it enough but so far all seems quite accurate and very playable.
The graphics, sound and even the game mechanics all work quite well.
I already forgotton how hard this game was for me in the arcades and how I hated it. And it looks the same in the Spectrum version. Ah schuks!

7/10

Tube Train Terror, 08 Sep 2012 (Rating: 1)

1983 JRS Software (UK)
by Douglas Elliot

What a sugestive name for such an inglorious little game.
The only thing resembling the subway is the map, the rest could be anything. Well to be honest the game happens in the various tubestations and not only inside the subway.
The humor here and there is the best thing, I specially like the amount of people who attend your funeral when you lose the game, that's a nice touch.

Cosme y los Alienigenas, 14 Sep 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 MicroHobby (Spain)
by Paco Martin

This game seems to be a sequel to 'Don Cosme' also from the same author. Paco Martin was the brain behind such games as 'Fernando Martin Basket Master' or 'Elecciones Generales'.
It's a very simple game with a cute colourful look. Our character looks remarkably like Jet Set Willy (like dozens of other little games do).
The game is so simple it only has two levels, and in both you have almost the same job. In the first part you must keep the sand pump working while avoiding the alien ships. Each time you are hit you lose precious time and that may cost you the game. Once the polvo=powder/sand (on the right) as reach the top you pass onto the second and final level.
Here you must colect individualy each box on the right and bring it back to the escape baloon. Again avoiding the alien ships. If you succeed in doing this you win the game. It's that simple.
The game has some charm to it and I completely understand a kids fascination with it in 1985, but has a game its too basic to appeal to a wider audience.

2,5 stars

Le Millionnaire, 15 Sep 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 ERE Informatique (France)
By M. de Guilhermier

A nice strategy management game.
If you understand French minimally you will be able to enjoy this little game.
It plays similar to almost every game of its genre, with numerical decisions and some options to choose from. It seems to have been written by someone with experience in the businees, judging by the overall structure. And it is well written, I havent played enough times to say if there are any bugs of random results, which is always anoying in this sort of games and unfortunately, very frequently, but so far It has been very enjoyable. The presentation is nice with a well chosen font and coloured in a non boring way and it as the occasional sounds and music which add more colour to the game.
Had this been written in english and probably it would go further.

3,5 stars

Space Zombies, 15 Sep 2012 (Rating: 2)

1983 Mikro-Gen Ltd (UK)
by Stephen Townsend

A very basic shoot'em up for 16K. The difference between levels lies in the number of aliens/zombies which increase as you progress. In fact the first time you play you only notice any difference after level 4. The author could have made each level with only a single type of alien or by colour so it wouldnt repeat itself so much.
The graphics not only are dull, but also ripped off from other games, namely 'Galactians'.
On the other hand if you like beating scores or see how far you can go it may appeal to you.

3D Pacman, 15 Sep 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983
by Freddy Kristiansen (Denmark)

Not a bad game, no siree! And quite a good idea for 1983. mixing elementes of Pac-Man and the first person maze games.
You start to mingle with the ghosts after level 1, one at a time. As a labyrinth game its one of the best I've seen. The walls are nicely drawn and the radar is crucial so can you finish each level. Nice.

Xeno II, 17 Sep 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Anirog Software (UK)
by Michael Fox

This little game from 1983 has one of the most difficult first levels I've played yet. Its incredibly hard to avoid the asteroid belt with those tricky controls.
Once you manage to dock the spaceship you enter level 2 and into a sort of 'Frenzy' type game, that looks quite cool, even better than most 'Frenzy' games out there. Level 3 is a bit of a disapointment, its a 'Space Invaders' look-alike and has nothing new in it.
Couldnt reach level 4, if there is any, the adds say there is, so...
For such an early game this is very chalenging and addictive, and if only level one was a bit less harder or changing the levels order, maybe (only maybe) it would have gathered more fans.

2,5 stars

Ground Attack, 17 Sep 2012 (Rating: 2)

1982 Silversoft Ltd (UK)
by Iain Christopher Hayward

Of course this is not a great game. This is a very basic version of Scramble. Everything is small, simple and jerky. But I remember coming back to this game from time to time back then, and it still has the same effect on me to this days.
Dont know if its because of the athmosphere or for not knowing how narrower will the next zone be. But it still lures me. Dont look at the map! It will spoil the game!

2,5 stars

Wizard's Lair, 27 Sep 2012 (Rating: 1)

1984 Yodasoft (Germany)
by Werner Spahl

An array of nicely designed and colourful graphics totaly spoiled by a bad BASIC written game.
You have to stand exactly at a specific place and press a key in the right moment in order to achieve a movement, if you are not fast enough... you lose a life.
The key response is incredibly awful and depends totaly on your timing, making it impossible for spontaneous moves or any sort of strategy.
There is no instructions anywhere so I've looked into the program listing and the keys I found were this: 9-left; 0-Right; J-fire/use sword

1,5 stars

Harry Hare's Lair, 27 Sep 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Artic Computing UK)
by Norman White

This is a fairly good action game. Following the Pac-man tradition, you dwell on a maze infested with garden creatures and while avoiding them you must collect all the turnips (or carrots, I cant tell).
The graphics are cute, and the animation is quite good, specialy Harry. It as some nice sound fxs and a cute tune typical in games between 1983-85.
I only got to level 3, where you return to the garden (level 1) but with more and different creatures. The cave (level 2) in the other hand is a bit of a change with creatures falling from the cave's ceiling. Its also a lot easier than what expects you next.
I think this is a pretty good game, once you master the up and down movements. And the best thing to do this is pressing those keys while moving left and right.

Escape, 28 Sep 2012 (Rating: 3)

1982 New Generation Software (UK)
by Malcolm Evans

This little game shows how clever your mind can be in altering reality. With just a few dinosaurs, a simple randomly generated maze and a stick figure, you could transport yourself to the pre-historic times.

'Escape' shows how games looked like in the dawn of times, and how cute and wonderful they could be without the use of explicit violence and complex graphics.
Just take a look at Pac-man, people still play it to this day and it continuous to be release in almost all systems!

For me, 1983 to 1985 were the golden years of the Speccy era, with a few exceptions here and there, like 1982's 'Escape'. And those were genuinely good times.

It's a pity that you can choose the level in which to start, which diminishes the games interest, but besides that, this is a delightful little game.

Pitfall II: Lost Caverns, 29 Sep 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Activision (UK)
by the Software Conversions team

This conversion starts off promising, with it's simple but cool atmosphere somewhat faithful to the original but rather simplified.
Once I start playing it I soon met with its faults. The jumping routine is bad, not the worst I've seen but not good either. Going up and down ladders can be a nuisance and it's hard to get out them when you most need, which may cause you losing the game. There are several other examples of bad programming. But it's the whole lot that really gets on my nerves. A pity really, because I remember trying to load this game back then, and 95% of the times it crashed, so coming across it again in an emulator was my change of finally playing it. There are a few details that save the game from being a wash out. For instance, the "looks" of the game, which were already outdated for 1984, but work fine for me. And the exploration part which is probably the best part. But in all honesty, I've dug deep into the game and I can say that it's also a bit of a disappointment. Except for the waters, maybe. If only the game had a better jumping and movement routines this could have been way better.

Jet Set Willy, 30 Sep 2012 (Rating: 5)

1984 Software Projects (UK)
by Matthew Smith

I used to like JSW more than Manic Miner, just because it was easier. Well no exactly easier, because the engine is basicaly the same, but exploring the rooms was now a possibility, so this made me keep coming back, even despite the numerous bugs the early versions had. There is not much more I can say that hasnt been said before. JSW is undoubtedly a Speccy classic and even if you didnt like the game in your younger years, I bet it left a dent somewhere. Together with its predecessor it was responsible for a huge increase of new game ideas and, of course, the usual clones. The unleashing of these 2 monsters would revolutionize the game industry and boost sales dramatical. I hope the Software houses thanked Matthew Smith for it.

Sam Spade, 30 Sep 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Silversoft Ltd (UK)
by Dave Chapman

I consider this the best 'Panic' clone I encountered so far. But its also one of the hardest games I've come across! The first two levels are easy enough, but after that its go and get killed!
If you have a bit of time to spare give this a try and put your nerves to the test!

Strip-Dice, 06 Oct 2012 (Rating: 3)

1986 Load 'n' Run Software (Italy)
by Maurizio Salis and Giovanni Stefani

A (in)decent gambling game, similar to the likes and looks of Samantha Fox's Strip Poker, this time around in full colour and with dices instead of poker cards.
The message language is in italian but its fairly easy to undertand the games mechanics. Its not exactly as good as the poker game mentioned above, or any other well known game within the theme, but is plays (in)decently enough to keep you excited. At least thats what my pants tell me.

2,5 stars

Ghosts 'n Goblins, 06 Oct 2012 (Rating: 4)

1986 Elite soft (UK)
by Keith Burkhill and Nigel Alderton

G.'n G. is one of the most furious side scrolling action games I've come across.
Faster than this I can only think of Green Beret. I remember the huge sensation it was when it came out. Everybody wanted a copy. And being me one of the first kids in my block to own a copy I had to share it with everyone else, so it got worn out quickly (I still have that copy!).
This is indeed fun all around. It moves fast and it looks crazy. How awesome was it in 1986 to play against zombies and goblins?
It's true, the Spectrum version is way inferior to the arcade game, but it still packs a punch.
A classic.

Lode Runner, 07 Oct 2012 (Rating: 4)

1984 Software Projects (UK)
by David Anderson and Ian Morrison

'Lode Runner' has some of the most smooth movements I've have come across in a long time. The sticks figures, despite simple work wonderfully, and instead of cartoonish characters this prototyped men merge into the background and add a futuristic ala 'Blade Runner' strange athmosphere. It's true the maze could benefit with a little more variety in colour or details, but the purpose of the game is to keep running avoiding the purple me while collecting the yellow boxes, and I asure you wont have much time to enjoy the views.
Remember: after collecting the yellow boxes run to the top of the highest ladder you can find in order to step to the next level.
A very well programmed fast and frantic game, which requires quick decisions mixed with well thought out strategies.

Jumper, 07 Oct 2012 (Rating: 3)

1987 Load 'n' Run (Italy)
by Maurizio Salis

This indeed interesting. The game collects elements from early games such as 'Bugaboo' or 'Frank the Flea' and adds some freshness with the jumping routine. This last feature is the complex part of the game. You must set you jump level to each obstacule ahead and still keep clear of the birds eggs flying around. Its not as easy as it may seem. The colourful funny looking graphics are also a must for any early spectrum owner.
Jumper is no masterpiece by any means, but this curious game makes a stand of its own (well, a jump, in fact!)

Frank the Flea, 07 Oct 2012 (Rating: 3)

1986 Megasoft (UK)
by Richard Welsh

At first glance its hard to believe this game is written in Basic, actually if I hadnt read the Crash magazine review it would never crossed my mind. But dont let that put you off.
Its clearly a simple game, but entertaining enough, if you decide to give it a chance.
Basically your job as Frank the Flea, is to move from room to room, in a deserted house, without dying from overbumping the furniture. Think of this as the younger tiny little brother of 'Bugaboo the Flea'.

The Magic Roundabout, 09 Oct 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 CRL soft (UK)
by Paul Stoddart and Jay Derrett

What can I say about this game? Well, for starters it brings me some nice memories, thats a fact, and that will for sure influence my rating. Another thingy is that I never had any instructions for it and I didnt know exactly what to do, even though the task is quite simple really (ok, ok, I admit, I was a dumb kid).
Also after long years (decades, ouch!) I finally finished this kids game, meaning I didnt get smarter over time (some things never change...).
Overall I cant help smiling each time I load this game up. Every character has tons of personality not only in the TV show but also here where they are all well represented. Lots of colour all around, some nice sites and a sweet job to do: catch all the sugar cubes and place them together to form a house.
Cant complain much about the game, besides the simplicity of its goal. But all in all, its an entertaining "sweet" game for kids and grown-ups who still feel like kids.

3,5 points

Odyssey 1, 09 Oct 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Perfection Software (UK)
by Tim Williams and Chris Jones

The game is mixture of different games each representing a level with a few alterations from the original titles.
The game plays incredibly fast, in fact, as a lot of games from this time did, and I get the impression that kids around this age were super kids not normal ones!
The first level looks very similar to 'Frenzy' but with some welcoming changes. Its a bit confusing at first because of the controls and not knowing exactly to where your man is facing. Once you get over those initial stumbles it gets enjoyable blasting the one-eyed robots and flashing balls.
The second level reminds me of games such as 'Space Invaders' but with a radical approach and tremendously hard to defeat! I thought I was going to lose an eye playing it.
Cant say if there are any third or fourth level or any more levels because Im just a normal kid (well, not that either, A kid, I mean!). And as a result my normal powers havent allow me yet to get past the second level.
On a whole this is a good game but too fast and hard to enjoy, at least for us, normal kids.

Crazy Crane, 16 Oct 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Voyager Software (UK)
by A. Dunn

A simple little game in the vein of the handheld games of the time.
Its colourful and nice looking but a bit outdated for 1984. Gets a bit boring after awhile because there is nothing much to do.

2,5 points

Cred Breaks Out, 16 Oct 2012 (Rating: 3)

1986 TSB (UK)
by Joe Austin and J.E. Cosby

Its always nice to discover new (old) games. When I loaded this one up I felt somewhat encouraged to continue. The menus are all nice and smooth so I was imagining the same about the game. Well to be perfectly honest, its fast and smooth but only when you are about to finish a level. The rest of the time it can be painfully slow, specially at the begining. There are too many elements moving around and even if it gets gradualy faster its not too encouraging at the start of each level.
The game itself reveals a nice idea, explored before by others, but still interesting and addictive. The problem is, besides the slowness, the outdated look and the general bad graphics and maze layouts.
Two to three years earlier and this could have put a smile on my face, but looks old and ugly for 1986.

Daley Thompson's Olympic Challenge, 25 Oct 2012 (Rating: 4)

1988 Ocean (UK)
by Dave Thompson, Bill Harbison and Jonathan Dunn

The original Daley Thompsons Decathlon, is not a perfect game and sure has its flaws, but it also has lots of charm, something I cant find in D.T's Olympic Challenge.
Of course DTOC is a good game, its even better than the first challenge, but it brings nothing new to the gaming world.
For those who experience Decathlon in first hand, its hard to forget its importance. It was the first proper athletics game, and just for that alone it will always be remembered.
D.T's Olympic Challenge is an improvement, specially in playability, but differs too much in aesthetics to appeal to every Decathlon/Supertest or Hyper Sports fan.
Its fair to say it missed the golden age of Olympic games by ...a nose.

Double Dare, 27 Oct 2012 (Rating: 4)

1991 Alternative Software (UK)
by Richard Stevenson, Mike Lister and Paul Bellamy

I would have definitely played this game if I had a copy back then. I remember how addicted I was to Trivial Pursuit, both the boardgame and the computer version, so addicted, I wrote my own computer version and crafted a boardgame of my own!
Double Dare fits in the same category of games. Its not so mindblowing as Trivial Pursuit but its highly playable. The questions range from intelectual knowledge to everyday pop culture. I particularly liked the music questions, its kind of funny to revisited such old songs in the form of questions.
The game also features several puzzle/arcade games when you decide to embark on a challenge with your opponent. Some are in fact pretty good and very playable and enrich the game considerably.
I'm rather pleased I found this game even if a bit too late.

Monsters in Hell, 27 Oct 2012 (Rating: 2)

1983 Softek (UK)
by Martin Lewis

I would love to rate this game higher, but its difficult. It just seems pointless. All you do is dig holes to finish off the vampires and try to hold as long as you can alive. No levels, no interludes, no nothing more. Initially looks good, the flames are a nice touch, but that alone wont hold a player for long. Movement is also another big letdown.
There are lots of other better 'Panic' clones around.

1,5 points

Siege, 28 Oct 2012 (Rating: 1)

1984 Wye Valley Software (UK)
by Martin Lewis

From the same author of 'Monsters in Hell', this game features some of the same problems. Firstly it all happens in one screen. That wouldnt be much of a problem if your goal was interesting. It isnt. Basicaly you move your secret agent around, using an elevator, if needed, just shooting the baddies and avoiding being killed by them. You also need to avoid killing the hostages (dressed in cyan blue) and being killed by THEM. Yes! The hostages carry guns and shot at anything, even his saviour.
And how do you save them? by KILLING them! Oh yes! Is there any other way, duh?!
This is a game of scoring. You have a certain ammount of ammo, and injurie counting and if you manage that wisely you can last long enough to beat your own record.
The game features a few options in the opening menu to suport the 'simulator' tag, like the use of hostages, limited ammo or pratice mode. Try not to use this last option or you will end up playing it until you reset the game, because the author forgot the aborting key!

1,5 points (for trying)

Siege, 28 Oct 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Postern soft (UK)
by Mike Singleton

This games idea bears so much resemblance with 'Orc Attack' that I must point it as its inspiration. This of course, is much more simplistic. Mike Singleton (Lords of Midnight fame) was
presumably just toying around to gather ideas and came up with it. Its highly playable despite simple, and as a scoring game its very entertaining.

Special Delivery, 28 Oct 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Creative Sparks (UK)
by Dalali Software

Creative Sparks released a few original games. Stage Coach, Orc Attack or Snodgits are among some of these.
Special Delivery doenst come too far. Its a simple game, divided in three or four parts (cant remember exactly) but you can't deny it's a charmer.
Simple graphic layout but quite effective, specially in the holiday season and the gaming is reasonably good although this is basicaly a score beating game.
Im not aware if Creative Sparks sold much but it surely was a nice try for the company.

Bomb Jack II, 28 Oct 2012 (Rating: 3)

1987 Elite Systems Ltd (UK)
by Paul Holmes, Andy Williams and Rory Green

People were expecting an upgrade of the excelent prequel and got only an average game.
Its still a fine game, highly playable and addictive, but the comparison with the first game is unavoidable making it almost impossible to rate it higher than an average score.

Fall Guy, 28 Oct 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Elite Systems Ltd (UK)
by Andy Williams and Rory Green

This game always fascinated me for the way it looked. Its obvious lots of work was put into the characters and backgrounds.
The problem is the difficult level, which is too high! I think it desencourages even the most daring player! This is one of those games you need to keep coming back or else you will forget the jumping sequence of each of the 30 levels (yes 30!) and then its back to square one.

Every level as a different jumping approach, sometimes the train storms from the left, sometimes from the right, there are fixed obstacles and moving ones, and all of this as to be taken in consideration along with fast reflexes.
Its very addictive until you get frustrated enough not to touch it again for a long while. Still every time I load it, it still appeals to me greatly.
By the way, if you look carefully you will spot Jet Set Willy riding the first train.

3,5 points

The Oracle's Cave, 28 Oct 2012 (Rating: 4)

1984 Doric Computer Services (UK)
by Chris Dorrell

This is quite good in fact. I'm not used to this sort of games because I usually didnt have any instructions for them (more than half of my game collection was bought via mail, copies of course!).
But Oracle's Cave is not complicated, its user friendly and simple enough to get you started. Im not too fond of the graphics or the colour scheme but its always a pleasure to come across some weird monsters, like the hairy spider or a giant serpent. And they all look good! The game seems written in Basic, but that doesnt spoil anything. Its completely playable and fast enough.
I havent dive far into the game so I cant tell you much. What I can tell you is that I would have loved a copy of this back in 1984! And I would have certainly wrote a version of my own!

Pang, 28 Oct 2012 (Rating: 4)

1990 Ocean Software (UK)
by the Arc Developments team

Pang is a hell of a fun game. its very addictive and very hard in later levels. I cant remember the name of the first spectrum version I played, but I know it was miles away from this.
The monochrome setting is always a problem and it is not the best I've seen, but its the possible due to the machines limitations.

But what really matters is the gameplaying, and that's pretty smooth. A joy. And the game gets contagious right from the start, specially when playing with a partner. I noticed the fire key, when in normal fire, doesn't respond immediately, but maybe I'm wrong.
I would rate it higher if the presentation was neater. But overall its a fun game, only slightly spoiled by the spectrum's own limitations.

4,5 points

Havoc, 28 Oct 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Dynavision (UK)
by Terry Mayhew

I was expecting a much slower and jerkier game. Instead, despite its limitations, Havoc is fairly playable.
There is enough action and firing power to keep you entertained for awhile, specialy if you are a Zaxxon lover and want to play different speccy versions.
The monochrome scheme is understandable in a game like this, but a bit annoying sometimes, particularly because when an enemy ships cames close to a wall it becames almost invisible.
Its not a work of art by any means, the graphics are ugly, and so much could be improved, but its not as bad as I was expecting. I cant remember a better version before the proper conversion one year later, so I think it deserves an average rating.

2,5 points

The Runes of Zendos, 29 Oct 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Dorcas Software (UK)
by Chris Dorrell

This is a similar game to Oracle's Cave. It looks a bit more polished graphically speaking, but the text entries are a bit more complex and annoying, demanding whole sentences to be written at times. That makes things slower and tedious. Which is a shame really, because the author upgraded his previous effort, Oracle's Cave, mainly in looks and forget the friendly usage of the game.
There are monsters with names such as the Featureless Metamorphe, and when you want, for example, to attack him, you need to write "attack metamorphe", this may be repeated up to 4 times! Imagine doing this for hours...

Lord Harry, 29 Oct 2012 (Rating: 2)

1983 Lotus Soft (UK)
by Derek Jones

Its getting rarer for me to discover little games like this is one. And its always a delight! I bet dandyboy will feel the same!
The colourful maze and naive look of the characters really takes me back to Hungry Horace and similar games.
Its all very simple, like in Horace or Pac-man, we need to run about a maze avoiding nasties, in this case guard dogs, and eat the red mushrooms to keep Harry's strength. Once you find a magic mushroom(?) you need to rush to the flashing exit.
Not the best game around, but fun and hard enough to keep you entertained for awhile.
The game is comprised in two equals parts, one in each side of the cassette, only different in the character you play, that is, Lord Harry or Lady Harriet.

Dingo, 29 Oct 2012 (Rating: 3)

2011 by Tardis Remakes (Denmark)
by Soren Borgquist and Mark Jones

I'm not sure how fair it is to compare games written 30 years ago and others with only 1 year old.
Anyway, Dingo is a fairly good arcade game, at first glance it reminds me some oldies like Hyperaction or Revenge of the Killer Tomatoes amongst lots of others.
It has some pretty graphics and colouring, but the maze layout is a bit simplistic. I've only got to level 5, so I cant say much about that. But there is one thing that really annoys me here. Turning corners. The key response is good, but sometimes, very often in fact, our koala gets stuck while turning a corner, and of course that could mean its death.
A games movement should be as fluid as possible, like in Pac-Man, Atic Atac, or even Hungry Horace, just to name a few. Failing that the game gets more frustating than fun.

Pengy, 29 Oct 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Micromania (UK)
By Dominic Wood

If you want to play this game using an emulator you should change the key options from kempston joystick to keyboard or cursor.

I cant be certain if Pengy is the first 'Pengo' spectrum conversion. What I'm certain about is that Pengy is not the best there is. I was expecting something a little more playable like Tuthankamun, the other advertized game in the loading screen. Unfortunately Pengy can be very frustrating to play, the slow movement of our character and the slow key response really spoils things up. Also the flickering sprites are not a big help. The game has its appeals though, it looks fairly good, for an 1983 game, and there are several different bonus to catch. Once you get used to the awkwardness of the slow movements you might even enjoy it... or not. But it's miles away from the addictiveness of the arcades.

2,5 points

Milky Way, 31 Oct 2012 (Rating: 3)

A nice and useful star fx's routine.

Tornado ECR, 31 Oct 2012 (Rating: 3)

1991 Code Masters Ltd (UK)
by Arno van der Hulst

Dont know if I hate this one or love it. Its atractive when you first try it. Big planes, with splashes of colours everywhere and its smooth enough to enjoy. But soon becames desencouraging. You die really fast. There are lots of things happening at once. Bullets and bombs flying everywhere, enourmous planes coming when you least except them, big clouds that spoil your moves, etc. and dying seems unavoidable.
But all of this also makes the game really chalenging once you get the hang of it. In each level you have a certain amount of enemy planes to destroy and at in end of each, you must face the "boss". A bigger and powerful plane. The levels are small enough to keep you interesting and rewarded, thus making the game continue compelling, that is, of course, if you are patient enough to keep practicing it.
You can always think of this as the '1942' side view version plus the giant planes.

Nosferatu the Vampyre, 31 Oct 2012 (Rating: 5)

1986 Piranha (UK)
by Graham Stafford

Nosferatu is a very well thought out game. The dark atmosphere of the movie is nicely portrait here and even with the cartoonish feel of the characters it still manages to unsettle you, specially after the long 5 minutes of loading the game and looking at that strange but beautiful loading screen.

Before I read the instructions and started playing it properly I used to just wander around the rooms exploring trap doors or secret passages. My winter nights became filled with uncanny and eerie entertainment!
Then my first girlfriend came along, and my nights changed dramatically, but that's a different story!

Back to the game, by this time I was fed up with all the isometric games, still this game was different, it captured my imagination and really compelled me. It looked and felt different.
The game is played in three parts each with the same design but with different tasks to do, some easy, some not. The ending is nice but a bit sudden.
I still consider this as one of the best games ever made to the Speccy, even better than Fairlight, which seems to gather more fans, but doesn't have that 'je ne sais quoi' thing I love from Nosferatu.

Cosmic Guerilla, 31 Oct 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Crystal Computing (UK)
by Graham Stafford

I thought I played all the 'Space Invaders' inspired games around. At least the good ones. I was wrong.
This is probably the most original and different I've encountered so far.
Cosmic Guerrila is one hell of a chalenging game! It starts gently and becames infuriating really really fast.
The plot is a little different. You dont just blast the alien ships while they hover and shoot at you, you have to carefully choose the ones who steal your cocoons(?) and blast them to smithereens, or else you'll risk losing a stationary ship. There are different set of aliens in each level and different game options which is always a nice touch. I think this is one of the best space shoot-em-ups from the early days.

3,5 points

Bug Blaster, 31 Oct 2012 (Rating: 2)

1983 Crystal Computing (UK)
by Raymond Fowkes

I never likely Centipede before, but this version almost got me hooked.
I mean, the graphics are small, but very detailed and well animated, and the explosions are fab for such an early game. The pounding sounds keep the adrenalin high and the smoothness of the movements really makes you enjoy it more. But why doesn't this get me hooked? Well if you played it before you'll understand. It just seems a non stop 1 level game. And playing for high scores against myself isn't really my thing...

Dr. Franky and the Monster, 31 Oct 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Virgin Games Ltd (UK)
by Martin Wheeler

Clearly inspired by Manic Miner, and with three of Pac-man ghosts as your oponnents, Dr.Franky would never win any originality contest. It's also not the best programmed game ever, and I bet it was written in compiled Basic.
Nonetheless Dr.Franky is an amusing game. Demanding fast actions and good timing.

Godzilla and the Martians, 31 Oct 2012 (Rating: 2)

1984 Temptation Software (UK)
by Neil Streeter

What's this? Has Donkey Kong retired himself and has been replaced by Godzilla? Poor Godzilla, wasn't destroying citys enough? Maybe that's why he looks so thin! Too much work! A manster can take so much..
Anyway, this clone was written in Basic and looks basic. But it's colourful and simple looking, in a good way. It's super slow but playable all the way thru and hard enough to keep you occupied for awhile.

1,5 points

Hectic, 02 Nov 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Bug-Byte (UK)
by R. Amy

Another Jet Set Willy inspired game. It's decent enough, only a bit too hard and, of course, outdated even for 1985. The graphics are fairly decent, as well as the animations, but a bit too small and weird to please everyone. I think the character movement and overall gameplay is quite good, smooth and collision detection accurate. There is a bit of humour here and there, which is always a nice touch in games like these. The author seems to have re-release the game with another name to a different publisher, and even altered is own name to Trik, but I'm just speculating. If he did it wasn't much of a Trick, because both games are not that different, but feels enhancedm which is always a nice thing.

2018 update: Trik (the author) wrote a review about his own game here in Spectrum20, not sure if it was a reply to my review, but its very welcome and quite informative. Unfortunately, Trik is another example on how authors those days were explored and ripped off without any sort of compensation, and having in mind a lot were teens, its quite upsetting.

Kidnap, 02 Nov 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Sparklers (UK)
by Trik

This could be called 'Hectic 2'. Because it's very similar to 'Hectic' and even shares the same loading screen. It's a bit better in gameplay, but overall there aren't any major chances that affect differently the end result. Your job is to save/catch frozen babies suspended in thin air and return them to the Magic Pram. With all fairness this is simply another game keeping the JSW spirit alive.

Quackshot, 03 Nov 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Sparklers (UK)
by Clement Pryke

Judging by the title I was expecting something different from a 'Tuthankamun' clone. It's not a big disappointment, because the game has it's appeals. It looks better than the 1983 Micromania release, and has a few additions (like the end of each level which is always different, at least to a point) and an array of different nasties with different abilities.
But it misses the playability and addictiveness of the earlier release, which was a lot more energetic.
Nevertheless it's still a very entertaining game.

St. Crippens, 03 Nov 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Sparklers (UK)
by D. Bowler

This is one of those games that excites everyone with its initial unusualness.
The graphical style, humour and overall plot is one of a kind. And you certainly can't deny a smile to it.
But it's not as playable as other novelties like Trashman or Skool Daze. The bad collision detection and general awkwardness in moving around makes it a bit painful to play.
Good for a few laughs, not the best to play seriously.
I checked the internet for a real St. Crippens hospital and thankfully it doesn't exist any (of course!!).

Plum Duff, 03 Nov 2012 (Rating: 2)

1985 Bug Byte (UK)
by Jas and Lyndon Brooke

This looks like two different games put together. The first scene is how 'Special Delivery' should look like, the rest of the game shows the 'dont's' of any game.
Althought moving too fast the sleigh scene is actually quite good, with colourful averagely detailed graphics. The second part (inside the houses) seems the opposite, has if been written by another programmer. It's slow, with badly drawn graphics and the movements, specially the jumping routine is hideously frustrating. Even so, I've tried to play the game, but I can't find any of the presents the kids are asking!

3 points for the first part
2 points for the rest of the game

The King and the Castle, 04 Nov 2012 (Rating: 2)

1985 Load 'n' Run (Italy)
by Jack Cassa

By '85 standards this was obviously an outdated and weird game. The major software houses were already competing between themselves in order to release the next big thing, or at least a sellabe game.
But small publishers or games magazines like Italian 'Load 'n' Run' couldn't afford such or were inexperienced so they continued to release this obtuse little games.

I've been browsing Load 'n' Run's catalog and found a few interesting games. Nothing over the top, but interesting enough for a few tries. There is one in particular called 'Wormywave' which I thing is quite challenging. When an entry is added here on Spectrum 2.0 I will make my review about that game.

But now let's focus on' The King and the Castle'. To be honest I kinda like this one. It's very simple and weird looking (which is ok with me!). But it's engaging enough to get me hooked. I must say, in a very naive way, that I felt like a kid in the last half an hour just pleased to see what the next level hides!

Graphics are stupid looking but that just makes it more cute. In some ways it reminds me of 'Jungle Fever' or 'Hunchback' despite its inumerous differences.

I know this is one of those easy to hate games, specially with that screeching sound along the game, but the simplicity and unusualness of it just makes me relax and smirk a smile while playing. Isn't that what games are for?

I think I'll end this review now before I change my mind!

Keys: Z-Left X-Right C-Jump

Red Cap, 06 Nov 2012 (Rating: 3)

1986 Load 'n' Run (Italy)
by Alberto Broggi

I must say I was nicely surprised when I came across this little game. It has all the ingredients I enjoy in a game. It takes me straight back to the Monty Mole series or games like Jack the Nipper, Supersleuth or even the Wally Week series. They all have in common cartoon graphics, lots of colours and a fun environment.
Of course, this game can't be compared in quality to any of the above mentioned. Load 'n' Run didn't produce any major quality games. But having that in mind, I think this is pretty good for such an average game.
The main object of the game is very simple, just guide Red Cap until you find his home. Pay attention to you energy levels, because they will wear off very rapidly. You can cross the river by using a small boat or swimming.

2,5 points

Bristles, 10 Nov 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 State Soft (UK)
by Richard Huddy aka Fatman

Bristles is not a bad game, only a little bit confusing. Everything moves too fast, so any slight distraction could mean the end of the game. Of course if you like 100% code machine games without any 'speed limits' this is for you.

Wrath of the Killer Pigs, 10 Nov 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Krypton Force (UK)
by Richard Huddy aka Fatman

I think the crazy title gets everyone excited, but just for awhile.
It's just another shoot em up with a different look and a few features. It's kinda a fun, but the problem is the game plays too fast, our enemies are too small, and our fire is hard to see and also moves too damn fast, making the reflex feature with almost no use at all. It's still a nice game to play, additive and not hard, but with a little more temper it would be greater.

Batman, 14 Nov 2012 (Rating: 4)

Never fancied this game much, mainly because it was just another isometric game. Kids like me you had already played Alien 8, Knight Lore, Head Over Heels, etc were fed up with this sort of games.
But to be fair this Batman version is possibly one of the top 3 isometric games around. It's has all the elements needed for a great game, and plays wonderfully.

4,5 points

Marauder, 14 Nov 2012 (Rating: 4)

1988 Hewson Consultants (UK)
by Casey Bee Games, Rory Green and J.D. Rogers

Such an addictive game...
The graphic layout looks simple but the action, although not very fast, is very captivating and enjoyable.
Mind you this is a very hard game, it requires lots of practice and trial and fail. But its very rewarding once you get past that special annoying stage.

The Muncher, 18 Nov 2012 (Rating: 3)

1988 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)
by Dave Moore and Rob Howard

It's impossible not to think of 'Rampage' while playing the 'The Muncher'. You get the same game but with a few differences. The most obvious one is the graphics, which are bigger and more colorful. Then you start moving and realize this is a side scrolling game. Like in Rampage, you play the role of a Godzilla like creature, you eat people and destroy buildings and stuff while being attacked in a way which dates to good old King Kong.

At first glance the game seems an obvious winner, with a particularly appealing idea, you play the bad guy which is also a monster. Godzilla fans rejoice! But the final product is somewhat uninteresting.
The scrolling is too slow to make the game enjoyable and this happens because of the obvious excess of moving characters and vehicles. The graphics which are such an important feature for a game like this, are also a bit disappointing, being sometimes too messy and unimaginative.

Still, although I think 'Rampage' looks better and plays slightly smoother, 'The Muncher' can be more entertaining because of the different sets in which the action takes place.
It's easy to blame good old ZX Spectrum limitations for slowish games likes these, but then you play 'Exolon' or 'R-Type' and you think twice.

BC's Quest for Tires, 18 Nov 2012 (Rating: 4)

1985 Software Projects (UK)
by Michael Davies

A pretty good conversion of a fun arcade game. It's all here, only sounds are mostly left behind for obvious reasons. If you've played this before you know how straightforward the game is. The character movements are well executed and are very smooth keeping up with the original. All in all a fun game in the arcades and a fun game on the Spectrum. If only it had more stages I could easily give it the highest rating in my book.

Bounty Bob Strikes Back, 21 Nov 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 US Gold (UK)
by Bill Hogue, Tim Miller and F.D. Thorpe (loading screen)

I must say I never fancied Bounty Bob based on it's looks alone, but that's not completely true. The game as some annoying control problems. While Manic Miner is straight-in-your-face easy, Bounty Bob may require a few instructions for starters.

It took me a while to discover that I could climb ladders up and down. And this because when you jump in to a ladder in most games, you get enabled to use them up and down. But not with Bob, no. In the first screen when you see the downright ladder, your first instinct is to try to use it, but you cant because it's over the floor and the jumping function doesn't allow you to mount on it.

Well this may seem a small thing, but as I kid I always thought there was no up/down keys. So it's was awkwardly frustrating. I now blame it on the instructions free copy I owned and on my I eager in wanting to start playing immediately each game.

Once I got over that, I really enjoyed bountying with Bob. The game is smooth and addictive, even if it looks a bit clumsy and messy, and its fairly easy to finish each level, unlike other classics like Turmoil, where luck was required and could determined the end abruptly.
Overall a nice game that could have been nicer with a plastic surgery here and there.

3,5 points

Dundee's European Challenge, 29 Nov 2012 (Rating: 3)

1986 Season Soft (UK)
by Wayne Easson

Take away the nice action scenes and you end up with a betting game.

Rockfall II, 29 Nov 2012 (Rating: 3)

1991 Crash (UK)
by Ian M. Collier and Andrew Collier

Basically the same as the prequel, which was already a very average Boulder Dash clone. Both games feature several interesting nasties that add bits of colour here and there, but as a whole it's just an average game.

The Sport of Kings Challenge, 30 Nov 2012 (Rating: 3)

1985 Season Soft (UK)
by Wayne Easson

A two pack betting horse racing game with a nice presentation but with nothing new to add to this sort of games. It still remains a nice entertaining game, specially part 2, I think.

The In Crowd, 30 Nov 2012 (Rating: 4)

1988 Ocean Software (UK)

A great action compilation tape.

Games I recommend: Platoon; Target:Renegade; Barbarian and Gryzor

4,5 points

Moonsweeper, 02 Dec 2012 (Rating: 3)

1983 Cheetahsoft Ltd (UK)
by Raymond Fowkes

This is quite a nice surprise. When I thought I'd played all the early shoot-em-ups, I come across this one.
To be honest I haven't explore the game enough to make a fair judgement, but so far it looks very well written. The ships movement is one of the best I have seen so far, firing is a pleasure and some of the animations are also very interesting, especially the Sun animation.
It looks like an early version of 'Buck Rogers' or even 'Death Star Interceptor'. Overall this is a welcome entry to my game list.

3,5 points

Phantis, 04 Dec 2012 (Rating: 4)

1987 Dinamic Software (Spain)
by Carlos Abril and Javier Cubedo

I think 'Phantis' plays a little better than the prequel 'Game Over'. It's evident that the programmers took notice of some of the errors in the prequel and tried to correct them. The game plays smoother, the graphics are less confusing with less colour clashing and the action is a bit more player friendly.
I still prefer 'Game Over' over 'Phantis' just because it was a game I used to play in the 80's, although I never fancied it much, but it's clear to me that 'Phantis' despite not original, is better.

Denizen, 05 Dec 2012 (Rating: 3)

1988 Players Software (UK)
by Paul Griffiths, Mike Brown, Andrew Severn and Martin Severn

I was expecting a little more action and fun of a game like 'Denizen'. I think from the start I raised my eye brow with suspicion at the quality of this title. But because you cant judge a book by it's cover I gave it a chance. Well, what I can say is that there are lots of other games similar to this I would rather play. The action is too slow and unresponsive. Shooting the aliens gets boring rapidly, and not as fun, by any means, as say, 'Gauntlet' for example. And there isn't much to do either, besides the usual collect, shot and escape routine. Mind you, this is not a bad game, but it's not good either, especially after playing the classics that inspired 'Denizen'.

Dracman, 07 Dec 2012 (Rating: 3)

Nice game Marc. Well Done. By the way, 4500 GBP in euros is approximately 5600€ this days. In 1984 was a lot more, are you sure about this values? If programmers were getting payed this high, I really regret not having jumped on the bandwagon ;)

F.I.R.E., 10 Dec 2012 (Rating: 4)

1988 Fuxoft (Czech)
by Frantisek Fuka


F.I.R.E. may not look as pretty as 'Zynaps' but it plays extremely well. And I think it's a lot more addictive.
I've been browsing the game map and at first glance the levels don't look very compelling. There is no background scenery and the aliens are all average looking. In fact some of the choices for the aliens bosses are a bit too weird. But once you start playing it you get hooked. The game plays extremely smooth, and it's not too hard or too easy. Also the 128k sound and music is very good with fine tunes and special fx's.
If this author had worked with a big software house he could have gone to higher places.

3,5 points

Victory Road, 13 Dec 2012 (Rating: 4)

1989 Imagine Software Ltd (UK)
by David Shea, Gavin Wade and Chris Edwards

A very worthy follow up to the fantastic action game that is 'Ikari Warriors'.
The game code seems the same, which is a relief, and if you liked the action of the prequel you will also like the sequel. A pity 'Commando' never had a follow up.

4,5 points

Legend of Kage, 13 Dec 2012 (Rating: 3)

1987 Imagine Software (UK)
by Gary Knight and Simon Butler

I remember enjoying this game in the year of it's release because it had a similar feel to 'Ghost n' Goblins' or 'Rygar', and I loved both games. But it looks to have been made in a hurry. Keys are unresponsive, graphics are sometimes stupid (for example,when climbing), and the game itself feels short of appeal. I finished it in 3 plays, so its one of the easiest games I've played so far. Never saw the arcade version but I bet it was a lot better. In spite all that it's still very playable, only not as good as other similar games.

Galactic Mechanic, 13 Dec 2012 (Rating: 2)

1986 K'Soft Ltd (UK)
by Ron Heathfield

A very simple game where you play a flying saucer and have to catch parts of an automobile ala 'Turmoil' or 'Automania', and then beam up the green toolbox to assemble the parts, while staying clear of meteors, birds, etc. Of course by 1986 this game was incredible outdated, but if you don't take that into account and like the simplicity of the early games, you may enjoy this for a couple of plays.

Keys: O,P,Q,A, Space

Stelar, 14 Dec 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Ventamatic (Spain)

Another 'Galaxians' inspired game, with nothing new in it, but with a few interesting and fast levels. The keys are a bit unresponsive, but overall it's a fun game to play.

2,5 points

Wind Surfer, 14 Dec 2012 (Rating: 1)

1986 K'Soft Ltd (UK)

This is the only wind surfing game I know of and not a good one either. It suffers from several problems, bad collision detection being one of them.
It's also a little confusing, especially the sail position. Overall may be fun to die hard Surf fans, and maybe to some spectrum loonies who are curious about any spectrum game, like myself.

Keys:1,2,0,O,L

1,5 points

Mag Max, 14 Dec 2012 (Rating: 4)

1987 Imagine Software (UK)
by Gary Knight and Mark Jones

Very nice shoot 'em up, where you play the role of a sort of transformer robot, starting with a spaceship and progressing into a robot. It's very addictive and very playable, everything moves perfectly well and firing is lots of fun. The game could benefit with a bit more color, each level in completely monochromatic, and some levels are really hard on the eyes.
Although not perfect in looks, it's still a very good conversion from Imagine software. It's one of those games that retains that quality of making you want to see just one more screen.
Try it before any judgement and you will be surprised on how addictive it is.

Ano Gaia, 27 Dec 2012 (Rating: 3)

Not a bad game, in fact its quite playable and enjoyable. The movements are smooth but rather stuck on one speed only which diminishes the action seen in other similar games. Overall I think its slightly above average.

3,5 points

Demonslair, 29 Dec 2012 (Rating: 3)

1987 Gadtek Games (UK)
by Graham D. Shaw

After loading this game the first thing that came into my mind was 1984's 'Sorcery'. Maybe the Shaw brother got its inspiration from that game, which I always found nasty awful.
Demonslair is basically another Manic Miner clone, with a few different features, like the order in which you must collect each object, or the flying routine, so reminiscent of 'Sorcery'.
After taking a peek at the game map, I must say I got excited with it. Its all very colourful and the sprites seem quite good. But once I started playing it, it felt very amateurish.
Its not a bad playing experience, I enjoyed playing it and hope to come back for a few more rounds, It just looks and feels a bit amateur.

Robotron: 2084, 30 Dec 2012 (Rating: 3)

1984 Atarisoft (UK)
by Paul Holmes

Talk about a hard game... 'Robotron 2084' is a demented fast shoot 'em up.

When I got started I really was excited, level 1 is easy enough, but rapidly frustration showed its ugly face from the start of level 2. There are too many things happening at once, too many enemies early on and the game gets confusing.

Programmers at this stage didn't understand that players need to emerse themselves in the game first by playing some easy levels and then moving on to the almost impossible ones, not the other way around. Of course, in the arcade classic, there is a reason for being so fast: money money!!
But for the spectrum version, I think they should have slowed things down a notch.

Still a great game, specially for the fast action fanatics, but not the best for stress relieving. Ouch!

Mission Jupiter, 01 Jan 2013 (Rating: 3)

1987 Code Masters (UK)
by Derek Brewster and James Wilson

Well, there is nothing new or grandiose here, only a fun and mild entertaining game with enough action to keep you playing for awhile. It would have been a lot better if only the programmer had chosen a better color scheme to the lower half of the playing area. Instead it becomes a messy experience sometimes.

Duet, 01 Jan 2013 (Rating: 3)

1987 Elite Systems (UK)
by Dan Hartley, Tony Samuels, Stevie Beverly and Ste Pickford

Aka 'Commando 87'.
I not sure if this game was meant as a sequel to 'Commando' but thankfully it got a different name because I would have bought it and would have hated it.
It's not by any means a bad game, but how could this compete with the Glauntet we played in the arcades or the speccy version? Hardly any kid would settle for second best. There is a lack of variety in the game. Meaning the enemies all look alike, the background color is always the same, and every levels mission is basically the same. Not to mention the war theme chosen for this Gauntlet clone which doesn't work as does 'Into the eagles Nest', for example. For this and more the original Gauntlet will always be more appealing.

Barbarian II: The Dungeon of Drax, 01 Jan 2013 (Rating: 5)

1988 Palace Software (UK)
by Paul Atkinson

I loved the first Barbarian, I always found it very beautiful and original within the beat em up genre, but I was absolutely astonished with the sequel.
It's again another beat em-up, you basically make the same moves and blows you did in the first game, but only this time it is possible to move from screen to screen, like in 'Fist II' which makes it a more immersing game. But what stands out here is quality of the graphics and the backgrounds, which I think are some the best in this sort of games. Level 1 is average but once you get to level 2 you will know what I mean. Just look at some of the monsters you get: dinosaurs, giant demons, big felines and lots of weird middle age fantastic creatures. The great animated sequence when entering a dark tunnel/cave is also very goog. Also the humour scattered around in the mix is a must, just take a look at the final scene and tell me I'm wrong.
Highly recommend for anyone who (still) enjoys Spectrum beat em-ups games or any fan of middle age themes.

4,5 points

Antteroo, 01 Jan 2013 (Rating: 2)

It looks like it has been written in compiled Basic, lol, not sure...
It's not bad, but there are lots of better similar games around in 100% code machine.

Laser Lord, 02 Jan 2013 (Rating: 2)

This Basic games always bring smile to my face. Maybe because they remind me of my first attempts at programming, I dont know...
Whatever the cause is, I love discovering this homebrew games. This is actually not that bad, yes it's simple, basic and boring after awhile, and incredibly outdated (if only people knew what they were buying...) but there are lots and lots of other worse games around (some even written in code machine!).
I've only played two stages of the game, the ship attack stage and the meteor attack (I wouldn't be surprised if there aren't any other stages!) but I quite enjoyed it. I will probably forget it and never play it again, but its worthwhile discovering

Zoot, 02 Jan 2013 (Rating: 3)

1985 Bug-Byte Software (UK)
by Zip

Zoot is a different type of platform game, and what distinguishes it from the bunch is also what makes it annoying or frustrating. If you've played the game you know there are several different screens each with a purpose of its own. Later in higher levels you need to perform combinations found in the previous "primary" levels. Well this seems more complicated than it actually is, but it's still a pain in the back bottom(!).
You need to study the instructions before playing, otherwise you will reach for the reset button veeery quickly.
Once you've done that you discover in Zoot a very nice platform game. One of it's faults is the size of the graphics which are too big slowing down the game a lot. Overall with a different approach to the plot and simpler graphics I think Zoot could have been high above average.

3,5 points

Star Firebirds, 02 Jan 2013 (Rating: 3)

1985 Insight Software (UK)
by Mike Follin, Tim Follin, Mark Wilson, and Peter Gough

'Star Firebirds' is, as the name implies, another space shoot em-up with firebirds.
The game starts off well. I was very impressive with the movement of the enemy ships and the way they appear from afar giving a sense of perspective, something I only saw in 'Death Star Interceptor'.

But the novelty wears off rapidly because the waves are all the same (correct me if I'm wrong) and they only move faster and faster as you progress. So in the end this turns out to be just a scoring game, which doesn't excite me much.

Fire power is also too feeble for me, I would prefer continues fire and preferably with a more exciting sound.
However this is a very nice 'shmup', so try it out.

Check out the quotes on the Hi-Score table from Star Wars. A very fun touch.

Alien Insects, 03 Jan 2013 (Rating: 2)

1983 Macronics Systems (UK)
by Nigel Stuart

This early 'homemade' Spectrum games, probably written by kids, are one of the main reasons that keep me coming back for more. The game is obviously playable, but don't expect accuracy to be it's strongest point. Killing an alien insect is ridiculously random, and I feel they only die when they want too!
If I had to sum up in words what I feel for this curious little game it would just be: LOL!

Anteater, 03 Jan 2013 (Rating: 3)

1986 Paradise Software (UK)
By Nigel Stuart

When I first started playing this game I was completely unaware of the arcade version. So I was pleasantly surprised with it's originality and overall idea.
Then I checked in WOS that there was an original arcade version, and started making comparisons with both versions, which spoiled the game a bit. So I decided not to go that way.

Speccy's Anteater is a very compelling and addictive game. It does look dated and it may turn off lots of players just for the way it looked in 1986.

Honestly the only thing about it that turns me off, is knowing there aren't any other nasties, besides the ants. Other than that I loved every minute of playing it!

3,5 points

Pusher, 03 Jan 2013 (Rating: 2)

1983 Am-Tec Software(UK)
by Nigel Stuart

Another interesting and simple game from Nigel Stuart.
Sometimes the simplest is the best. Wasn't Jet Pac one of the simplest games ever written? Well, like in Jet Pac the idea is basic, all you have to do is assemble 2 parts of a space rocket while avoiding a nasty called Boing.

I can't call this a well written game. The movements are too stiff and blocky and hard on the fingers. But the game's concept is appealing to me, and the idea behind pushing things instead of 'grab and drop' is a nice touch that I think improves the game.

I disagree with the negative review given by Pete Shaw in Your Sinclair in 1986, although I understand his frustration. First of, because the game was written in 1983 and his review is from 1986, and I think the game stands out reasonably well, taking into account the year in question, the other thing is that Boing (the nasty) moves in a pre-programmed fashion, or, I'm not certain, there is some sort of A.I.(!) routine for his movements. It's true, once you go for part 2 of the rocket, the creature positions itself up in the top left hand corner of the screen, making things harder. It's part of the game. But it's completely possible to complete. Why would I want a game if it doesn't challenge me?

The main problem with this game, as far as I see it, and like some of Nigel Stuart's games, is that there is only one level which only gets faster every time you complete the assignment. Making me lose interest generally after level 3.

So for those reasons alone I'm not giving it a full 3!

Days of Thunder, 04 Jan 2013 (Rating: 1)

Thanks Raphie, playing this game helped me a lot last time! I'm still sleepy... Zzzz

BMX Ninja, 04 Jan 2013 (Rating: 1)

1988 Alternative Software (UK)
by Richard Stevenson, Paul Bellamy and Nigel Speight

BMX ninjas?! What else will they think next? Well, since 1988 a lot of weird games have been made, but for that time this was unusual to say the least.

Frankly there is nothing more to say about this game, good things, that is... because as a game this is total rubbish. With a name like that, I bet it sold reasonably well. But boy, I'm betting it made lots of kids angry to the bone too, even being just a budget game!

Simply dreadful!

Thro' the Wall, 07 Jan 2013 (Rating: 3)

1982 Sinclair Research (UK)
by Psion Software

The first game played by many kids around the globe. Not bad at all for an '82 game, specially because it's written in BASIC , but still pretty limited technically. I think it functioned more like a showcase of the capabilities of the recently released 48K than a proper game. Still a game to be remembered.

Hammerfist, 07 Jan 2013 (Rating: 4)

1990 Activision Inc (UK)
by Steven A. Dunn, Gary Thornton, Hugh Riley, Mevlut Dinc, and Shaun McClure

A great game by some of the same authors of 'Last Ninja 2'. Some levels are quite amazing, level 3 for instance wowed me as soon as I saw it. The blobs and bits hanging around are quite different from anything I've yet seen on the speccy. The game requires lots of practice, the keys have a few combinations that will need some getting used to. For instance, the fire key when pressed 3 times in a row, places you in a position that allows you to move up/down or perform head butts, this is critical to be able to progress in the game. Or you can also just press SPACE.
It has its faults like the total lack of sound (none of the versions I've played had any sound, including my old copy) or the slow movement of our characters and especially the slow key response, but overall it's a fun action game filled with puzzles and a bit of strategy.

4,5 points

Astro Marine Corps, 07 Jan 2013 (Rating: 3)

1989 Dinamic Software (Spain)
by Pablo Molina and Jose Antonio Tello

I really tried to like this game, but it just seems too amateurish. It looks alright, but it feels a bit messy. Just look at the bullets, fire or laser or whatever they are. The movement in blocks rather than pixels is also something I can't get used to. No game written in code machine should play like this. One of the advantages of machine code is the speed and smoothness in playing, so why lose such a strong playing aid? It looks like a BASIC game on speed! Can't understand that.
I admit the game is addictive and highly playable, but I prefer other cups of tea.

3,5 points

Cookie, 07 Jan 2013 (Rating: 4)

I really had a love/hate relationship with 'Cookie'. I loved every single thing about the game, but boy was it hard!! A couple of years ago I discovered somewhere a simple follow thru routine that gets you past each level easily without the aid of infinite lives. I tried it and it worked.

I completed the game in minutes. At the end I was so happy and at the same time infuriated for 2 decades of repressed frustration, that I shouted my lungs out with the phrase: In your face MF!!
It took away years of therapy from me. Thank you Cookie.

Moving on...

Cookie is a very simple game, very straightforward. Everything happens fast and it gets you hooked quickly. The cute looking characters set the style for almost all Ultimate games with the eyes of the main character being almost a trademark for every game made by this company. It's hard, very frustrating. I bashed my keyboard several times on account of this little game. But it's also lots of fun.

Decidedly not the best game from Ultimate games, but it's nonetheless a great game and classic of the early days.

Cage Match, 09 Jan 2013 (Rating: 1)

1988 Entertainment USA (UK)
by Paul Atkinson and John Brennan

As a beat-em-up, 'Intergalactic Cage Match' is dreadful. The movements are awkward and not accurate, with no diagonal movements available, and the blows all look the same and fell the same, with no apparent distinction in the way they affect the opponent, except for the "grab and drop" wrestling move (there's a name for it but I don't know squat about wrestling!). Oh and some of the homo-erotic positions are a laugh!

It's true it's unfair to judge this as the worst game in spectrum history or even in the top 5 of worst code machine games. But it's miles away from almost any beat 'em up around, so it really doesn't deserve much credit.

What holds the game together, in my opinion is the theme. Playing against intergalactic monsters, as the giant fly, for instance, is a great and fun idea. But overall, unless you like wasting time repeating the same moves over and over again, this is simply avoidable.

1,5 points

Space Harrier, 09 Jan 2013 (Rating: 4)

1986 Elite Systems (UK)
by Keith Burkhill and Jon Harrison

This is one of those games that wowed me as a kid. I even thought it was better than the original arcade game.
It's full of action, with plenty to please everyone. It's true the look of the game may annoy some. Some color schemes are a bit strange and the fast screen action can disorientate some. But it is a great action game. Very faithful to the arcade version and very well written.

4,5 points

Space Harrier II, 09 Jan 2013 (Rating: 3)

1990 Grandslam Entertainments (UK)
by Nicholas Kimberley, Jason Wilson and Matt Furniss

Since there was no sequel in the arcades, at least that I'm aware of, this is basically a redone version of SH supposedly with better looking graphics, sound and gameplay. I may agree with the sound and some of the sprites, but I was disappointed with the game itself.

Some parts are too difficult and not well executed by the authors. Some of the aliens are difficult to spot against the background and appear out of nowhere, and the general confusion you meet at each level, where a lot of things happen at once, is a bit upsetting. This and more may have discouraged a lot of players. It had that effect on me.

Also it's less smoother than the prequel, the screen is smaller and it doesn't fell the same while playing. There are a few changes in the enemies and missions, and that's very welcome, but overall I still prefer the first by a mile.

Ninja Scooter Simulator, 09 Jan 2013 (Rating: 3)

1988 Silverbird Software Ltd (UK)
by Sysoft and JPW

A Metro-Cross clone. The name may imply something to do with ninjas but it's only related with a scooter model named that way.

Anyway, this didn't do much for me, it's too average, the movement is smooth but a bit uncontrollable, either too fast or too slow. Speed in a game like this shouldn't be taken literally. Moderation is always preferable.
If you play too fast it's hard to anticipate some obstacles even if you know the tracks by heart, then again too slow will make you lose precious time. Trying to manage both fast and slow without a mid speed is really stressing and annoying.

On the other hand, the game looks quite cute. With simple but decent graphics. Some quite funny, like the skeleton riding a skate on the second part of the game.
I have to say I thought the game was too easy, I've completed it several times within the first few plays, which can be a good thing, just like it is with Bruce Lee or Bomb Jack, but both those games are classics, well written and highly playable not to mention addictive, something I can never associate Ninja Scooter Simulator with.

Kosmic Kanga, 09 Jan 2013 (Rating: 3)

1984 Micromania (UK)
by Dominic Wood and JPW

Kosmic Kanga is a side scrolling game with a fun look, involving bouncing around while avoiding the usual bunch of nasties.
There's not much violence in here, thankfully, in fact if you discount the bombs and your eventual disastrous playing, this may be considered a peaceful game.
Well, not exactly. You see, KK can be a very nerve wrecking game, even after you had enough practice with jumping. I almost needed to take a course on how to land on the clouds!!
If only we could move while on the air, well, that would help a lot.
But hey, that's part of the challenge of the game...
On a whole it is an average game, but stil very cute and enjoyable.

3,5 points

International Kickboxing, 11 Jan 2013 (Rating: 4)

1993 Your Sinclair (UK)
by Brian Cross

Very good indeed. Very well designed and well written with smooth and accurate key response. If this had been written and released, say before 1987, it would have been a big hit.

Solomon's Key, 11 Jan 2013 (Rating: 4)

1987 US Gold Ltd (UK)
by Raffaele Cecco and JPW

A good arcade port from a popular game often seen is a lot of arcade houses and bars where I used to live, but only for a short period.
I'm not madly in love with this game as some people are, only because I don't fancy the game mechanics. But also because I think is could be a lot smoother, like Bubble Bobble or Rainbow Islands, just to name a few.
Also it lacks variety in the color scheme, which is always the same, making the game nowadays a bit boring, especially when compared with the games above.
But for 1987 this was pretty good.

Halls of the Things, 11 Jan 2013 (Rating: 2)

1983 Crystal Computing (UK)
by Neil Mottershead, Simon Brattel, and Martin Horsley

If you have been reading my reviews, you know by now that I'm a fan of the early days of the spectrum, circa 1982-84. It was the simplicity of the games of those years that distinguished them from the rest of what was around, or from the super productions that started appearing in the nineties.

HOFT was never a favorite of mine and it still isn't, and probably will never be. It is a primitive early game from 1983, with which I can relate, but unfortunately I can hardly play it.

The keys are too complicated. Too many. And that alone spoils almost everything. But there are a few other problems with the game, like the movement which is awful. If you haven't played it yet , take a look for yourself...

It reminds me an expanded version of Frenzy. Where you no longer just kill and run but also catch things and plan ahead.
On a whole it's not all that bad, once you get away with the controls and ignore the ugly looking graphics, but it's not for me.

Return of the Things, 11 Jan 2013 (Rating: 2)

1984 Design Design Software (UK)
by Neil Mottershead, Simon Brattel and Martin Horsley

The sequel to Hall of the Things, if you can call it that. I prefer to just call it Hall of the Things part 2. After all a sequel should improve considerably the previous game and not only a thingy here and there or just change the overall maze. Oh and the speed here is a huge letdown making the character almost uncontrollable sometimes.
However, it is better that the first, and already hinting to Gauntlet.

Telly Wise, 11 Jan 2013 (Rating: 4)

1990 Fastback (UK)
by Jonathan Bolton

I'm quite pleased with this one. It's a management game based around TV audiences. The main idea is to control a TV station, with all the respective programs worthy of a general broadcasting channel (no naked ladies!).

Of course what motivates a player is the challenge of competing against other TV stations and their shows and in the end you will see the top audience programs chart. There is also a chance of creating your own TV shows and compete for a place in the charts.

Another interesting feature is the possibility of watching your own channel, after you set the time for each program (remember not to put the morning show late at night, like I did!). This becomes a bit repetitive after awhile, but it's quite amusing at first, with a lot of funny commercials being presented in text and other stuff.

The game is written in Basic, keeping up with the tradition of good old 'Football Manager', but it's very well presented and well written and even though a bit slow at times, it could easily fool me by passing as a machine code game.

If you like this sort of games, give it a try, I think you will enjoy it.

911 TS, 12 Jan 2013 (Rating: 2)

1985 Elite Systems (UK)

I got excited when I first loaded this in 1985. It is well presented with a few publicity remarks here and there to add color to the party but the game itself is nothing much.
The first big letdown is the obvious lack of speed. Every time I play this I'm always anxious to get the speed going and when it does it's below satisfactory. The other big complaint I have is about the static obstacles. They are well placed and the game it's hard on account of that, but becomes a tedious job after a few goes.
In all it's not entirely bad. It's challenging enough to keep you occupied for awhile. You need to keep track of each obstacle and that requires memory and planning ahead.
Feels relaxing enough, even hypnotizing once you now your way thru. At least I think it beats watching paint dry.

2,5 points

Roller Coaster, 12 Jan 2013 (Rating: 5)

1986 Elite Systems (UK)
by S. Brockelhurst


This is one of my favorite games of all time. It as some adorable details in it and it's a great platformer.
It's impossible not to relate to Jet Set Willy, after all Mr. Smith's games spawned a lot of bastard child's.
But what sets Roller Coaster apart from the rest of the bunch is the quality and originality of the platforms.

Graphically may not be remarkable, but the platforms are simply amazing.
Every roller coaster is superb and with a realistic feel to every single one of them. It's a joy just to watch some. And even more when you get to ride them! Great stuff!
Oh, and there is also the trains which are another fun part of the game!

Your main job is fairly simple and the same as in Willy's games: Catch every bag of money and avoid being killed or killing yourself up.
But the main attraction are in the platform action and exploring the amusement park. And even if you don't want to complete the game or even bother with any of the bags, you can just chill out by cruising around the fair.

A classic in my eyes!

4,5 points (on account of the graphic simplicity)

Jack the Nipper, 12 Jan 2013 (Rating: 4)

1986 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)
by Greg Holmes, John Holmes, Peter Harrap and Nick Laa.

This game is a real treat for any comics fan. Together with the Monty series, the Wally Week and a few others, Jack the Nipper delivers a fest to the eyes and a grand dose of good disposition. Every character is very well portrayed, even better than the pictures in the booklet which I find a bit too nasty. And then there is the city where everything happens, thats keeps up the ambience quite well, even with monochromatic color.

The games purpose is to be as naughty as possible "doing the things you always wanted to do but dare not (YOU WIMP!!)" - can be read in the instructions.

If you are thinking of nasty things to do, well think again. You will find a good source of nasty behaviour on 'How to be a Complete Bastard', but Jack is a baby after all, and all he wants to do is to play innocent pranks on the passing folks. ...Is it really? NO! He will push everyone's buttons and put you to the test! Not even the police station is safe!

There is lots to do here, from the innocent fun of just using the pea-shooter to annoy people and pets, to blowing up a whole row of computers with the battery stolen from the police station. Oh yes, Jack's no saint!! He will do anything to spoil everyone's daily routine.

JtN is one of the cutest and funniest games I've ever played. It is well written, well presented and deserves to be called a classic every single day of the week.

Dark Fusion, 25 Jan 2013 (Rating: 3)

1988 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)
by John O'Brien, Berni and Ben Daglish

Starts off with a great tune, filled with drumming and synthesized instruments never before heard in a Spectrum game. But once you press the start key what shows up is a replica of other games such as Exolon or Zynaps merged into one, but with worse graphics, worse game play and overall sound. It's not by any means a bad game, but not particularly astonishing either. If only the collision detection was a bit better I would certainly give it a higher score.

3,5 points

Realm of Impossibility, 09 Feb 2013 (Rating: 3)

1985 Ariolasoft (UK)
by Mike Edwards

This is one of those games that always brings a smile into my face. At first glance may look like one of those crap competition games. The quirky and funny looking graphics and overall bad gameplay sure leaves room for criticism and may be confused as a joke.
Thankfully the C64 version plays a lot better and is really fun, albeit a bit uglier than the speccy one.

2,5 points

Sceptical, 09 Feb 2013 (Rating: 2)

1986 Delta 4 Software (UK)

This came as a b-side program for 'Bored of the Rings' and it's used just like a teletext index.
It's intended as a joke on computer magazines such as Crash, PCW, etc, and where the subject of review, in light parody style, are the magazines themselves. It also features wacky news about trivia subjects such as Doctor Watson's, the famous Sherlock Holmes sidekick, sexual orientation!

Daffy Cafe, 15 Feb 2013 (Rating: 3)

1984 Big K (UK)
by Adam Bull

The first thing that sprang into my mind after loading this game was how similar it is to the modern Diner Dash games. And I wouldn't be surprised if this little game was indeed their inspiration. The basics are all here, simplified, but present.

Now for Adam Bull's inspiration, probably 1983's Tapper had a big influence, it was a huge arcade success and very original. But after reading the 'A la Carte' box in the .pdf instructions it's clearly that Fawlty Towers Manuel was the real main trigger. It's written in black and ...yellow, and presented in a very cool 80's comic drawing.

Anyway, today this sort of time management games are very popular, within all it's different variants, and I must say it is a real treat discovering that they started young in the spectrum and inspired by one of my all time favorite TV shows.

British Lowland, 24 Feb 2013 (Rating: 4)

1983 CCS (UK)
by Keith Wells

If only economics were as popular as football, maybe this game would be as popular as Football Manager was.
The design is very simple, no graphics, but the strategy element of the game is very good, not perfect but good. The union demands being my favorite part of game.
While playing, DK' Tronics Dictator sprang into my mind a couple of times, although different both games share similar aspects, which is good, for fans like me of this more well known title.

Surf, 14 Mar 2013 (Rating: 3)

1986 Load 'n' Run (IT)
by Mark Miller, Rokneddin Shariat, Anthony Kelly and Kiernan McEnery

This is the same game as Surf Champ but translated to Italian and released by Load 'n' Run.
I found this little pearl around 1987 and I was rarely able to load it without crashing.
The rare few times I got it to work I was amazed by the colorful and semi-realistic wave movements.
The problem were the data menus in the beginning of the game with measures in inches not centimeters which confused me, and next the gear menu was a real challenge, I still cant say if the game as a bug there or if I was doing something wrong, I usually type the letter X to get out of that menu, because none of the numbers seem to work.

Then there was the key controls, my copy was pirated so there was no instructions of any type whatsoever, and it was a real headache discovering each key and the right combinations. This was just a game I often played (because it crashed) but really made me curious and wanting more.
It seemed very original and something about surf and beach was really a novelty. Funny how I always felt relaxed alone in that digital beach.

Today the game still maintains a charming appeal and when you get into the controlling, the game turns to be quite interesting.
By the way never got pass the first stage, don't even know if there are more than one or this is just a scoring game.

100 Kilometri, 14 Mar 2013 (Rating: 1)

1986 Load 'n' Run [IT]
by Francesco and Federico Fantazzini

A weird idea around bike racing, using 'Trashman' graphics on the first and last part.
The keys are:
Q-speed up
A-speed down
P-change leader

If you keep the speed around 30 and keep the P key pressed all the way thru the game, you reach the end with no problems. I advise you to use the emulators full speed option. Or be prepared to fall asleep at the wheel... I mean handlebar! I mean keyboard!

13 Rue del Percebe, 21 Mar 2013 (Rating: 2)

1992 Pepsi Soft (Spain)
By Ivan Jorda and Agatangelo Montellano

It doesn't look as cool as the Franscico Ibanez comics, but it retains some of the humor of his work, although it has almost nothing to do with the Ibanez comics, besides some characters. It could be called anything. Still some of the situations are really nice and wacky, like the comics are, .
It's kinda cool and fun to play in a Spectrum such a weird and unusual comic (for it's time, that is).

Paratroopers, 22 Mar 2013 (Rating: 2)

1983 Rabbit Software (UK)
by John Cain

The loading screen really gets me in the spirit of playing this every time, being so colorful and funny looking. But after a few minutes zapping helicopters and paratroopers and noticing that there isn't more to the game besides scoring points, I feel like my mission as an anti-aircraft gunner is done.

The Birds, 22 Mar 2013 (Rating: 2)

1983 Rabbit Software (UK)

Not bad for an 1983 shooter, but still a bit unplayable at times, with the ships movements not smooth enough so you can get under each attacking bird and destroy it.
Still it manages to deliver a bit of fun.

Exodus, 22 Mar 2013 (Rating: 3)

1984 Firebird Software (UK)
by John Cain

A shoot 'em up with a few different approaches. Being the most interesting one, the different treatment you must give to each of the attacking/escaping characters from the pit, each with a specific behavior and score. The view of the pit is only adequate but for a simple game like Exodus (originally called The Pit) you can't complaint much.

Thunderbirds, 22 Mar 2013 (Rating: 4)

1985 Firebird Software (UK)
by John Cain, Kevin Moughtin and Mark Alexander

I'm surprised I never heard of this game before. Thunderbirds was a very popular series backs in the 60/70's and even back in 80's with the occasional rerun or appearance in music videos and other stuff.
Naturally a game would soon or later be made, and here it is, hidden from me all this years. I must admit I not the biggest fan of puzzle games, but the idea behind Thunderbirds, which could have borrowed it's name from a lot of series, is in fact very good.

You alternately control the green ship and the cyan blue rocket (?) and must use each to clear the obstacles of the same colors, while progressing thru the mazes until reaching your trapped colleagues thus freeing them. The game requires the obvious strategy any puzzle of this sort demands but keeps the spirit of the good old maze games alive and the two combined is great fun.

Triplex, 24 Mar 2013 (Rating: 2)

Interesting game for 1983, with several unusual fx's and decent programming skills.
I have to dig further into it so I can make a fair review. Level one so far got me well impressed.
Level two doesn't look so good, but it ain't bad either, it's a bit confusing but then I discovered that we have to cross a "Tunnel" made by these moving ships, without touching them neither the debris (the star dots). You have to cross this tunnel 4 times.
The final level, I didn't finish it, but I though it was the worse, explosions seem to get "stuck" on screen, messing the general aesthetic, the goal is to destroy every enemy ship while being fired at by guided missiles. The problem is it never seems to end.

Note: Remember to press R (restart) when you lose all lives, otherwise the game will look like it as blocked on you.

Do Not Pass Go, 25 Mar 2013 (Rating: 3)

1982 Work Force (UK)
by C.C. Wilton-Davies

The first Monopoly computer game I've played.
I was always fond of this one. I loved the board game and I was quite pleased with the computerized version.

Everything is in here, every feature of the original is included and you easily get into the spirit of the board game. It even includes some dice rolling to add a little more realism, not too much unfortunately, just enough.
Mind you, you don't have computer players, so you must play with at least one friend. But that's OK, the same goes with the board game...

Can't complaint much about the speed either, but I must warn you that it's completely written in BASIC. But don't worry, it's fast enough.

It's also not a graphic paradise, you only get a few graphics and animations, like in those books where in each 50 pages you have an illustration, giving you only an idea of what's happening in the story. That's why simple looking games have so much charm, because they let you use your imagination.

Overall, a simple game that captures the board version competently and gives you a few good moments, even hours, with your family and friends.

Moon Patrol, 25 Mar 2013 (Rating: 4)

1984 Atarisoft (UK)

This was one hell of a game in the arcades. One of the best I've played .
When I heard Moon Alert was released in the Speccy I begged mom and dad for some money to buy it.

Moon Alert wasn't as pretty looking as the arcade version, it had a different layout and different looking aliens and overall graphics but it was still the same game, and gameplay was quite competent so it rapidly became one of my most played games.

A few years later I got a copy of the Spectrum licenced Moon Patrol version (don't ask me how, I can't remember). What I can say is that I was blown away when the game started. It looked so similar to the original I've played in the arcades.

Nonetheless, a minute later... I felt something was wrong. Like I was being cheated. Then the clouds moved from my head... and I noticed:
Why is the game so slow??

Well, it felt nothing like the original. Moon Alert wasn't fast either, but at least moved in a normal pace.
I even though of buying an interface which could speed up the computer (cant remember the name of the gadget) so I could play it, but I never got past the idea, and so I stored the game and can't recall the last time I've played it...

Later someone told the game never got released, it was shelved. Copies were flying around, maybe due to the popularity of the arcades fans.

Still to this day I feel it is one of the biggest let downs in Spectrum history, a real shame, both the lack of speed of the game, and it never being released, because even slow as it is, it's still very playable and worthwhile, not to mention, faithful to the original.

Cricket Captain, 01 Apr 2013 (Rating: 4)

1990 Hi-Tec Software (UK)
by Richard Stevenson and Paul Bellamy

A very elegant looking strategy game and the best Cricket game I've played so far with good realistic action scenes, even if only schematic.

Pac-Mania, 02 Apr 2013 (Rating: 4)

1988 Grandslam Entertainments (UK)
by Shaun Hollingworth, Peter Harrap, Jason Wilson and Ben Daglish

Although I think Pac-Mania is a nice maze action game and well converted to spectrum, just seems a bit pointless because the game itself is just the same Pac-Man all over again only this time in 3D. Whereas Pac-Land moved a step forward, even if into a well explored territory and without the quality of it's counterparts, Pac-Mania is just an enhancement of the original classic without any really interesting novelties.

Pac-Land, 02 Apr 2013 (Rating: 3)

1989 Grandslam Entertainments (UK)
by Steve Marsden, Mick Donnelly and Jas Brooke

As a conversion it's pretty good. As a game it's nothing special. A bit on the bland side.

The idea of breathing life into the main characters in a more worldly familiar set is nice and well implemented, but the action itself brings nothing that hasn't been seen before. Well maybe besides the powerpills.

It's just another side scrolling platform game to add to my gamelist.
At least we all now know how Pac-man looks with a hat on: ridiculous! :p

Peter Shilton's Handball Maradona, 04 Apr 2013 (Rating: 2)

1986 Grandslam Entertainments (UK)
by Roger Womack

It's kinda hard to be nice with a game like this even when linked with good memories of my youth.
I fully understand the nostalgic value that the game may have to some, but as a game is completely devoid of virtues.

The graphics are more or less good, and funny looking which is good for me. The overall game play is good enough although not perfect.

But what's with not having a championship? What's the point of playing matches if you cant progress? If only the game had more features which compelled the played to do more than just kick a ball, maybe I could understand why you would play it, but the whole idea it's just pointless.

I also accepted the idea behind Maradona's infamous goal. And if the game was just a form of british humor or a form of protest against that unforgettable football moment, then it worked fine, but if it was meant as a game, then it failed disastrously.

Has a gag it's fine but as a game it's pointless.

Pool, 06 Apr 2013 (Rating: 4)

1983 CDS Microsystems (UK)
by Mike Lamb

This was the first Pool game I've played and I think it's the only one I really needed to play on the Spectrum. It's brilliant.

Mike Lamb later released an improved tie-in snooker simulation called 'Steve Davis Snooker'.
Which in fact the same game but with the obvious difference of being about snooker and with a few modifications on old features. Both games are brilliant within the cue sports simulations. Specially for such early years. Remember, this was 1983!

The controls for 'Pool' are very simple to use and straightforward. Move the arrow left/right to where you want the ball to hit, select the speed and shot.

You have only a few opportunities you can miss, when playing against the computer, after that you lose the game. You can also play against a friend which is a must in this sort of games.

A few more realistic Pool games were later released, but frankly I think you have all you need here for a good billiards match.

4,5 points

Planet 10, 10 Apr 2013 (Rating: 3)

1989 Mastertronic Ltd (UK)
by Davor Magdic

Technically a good 3D Pac-Man clone, but has a game is utterly uninteresting to play, at least for myself. This sort of 3D maze games have been around since the birth of this little machine and none have add more than just mild success.

Unlike the 1980 Pac-Man, controlling your hungry yellow man can be a bit awkward due to the changes within the maze and your perspective. And since you have 2 radars to keep an eye on, each for dots and ghosts, together with the main screen, it soon becomes too confusing.

A pretty game to look at but nothing more. For me the original Pac-Man will never have a better rival than Ms.Pac-Man, and that's that.

Goblin Dungeon, 10 Apr 2013 (Rating: 1)

1986 ZX Computing (UK)
by Peter Watson

I remember written this straight from a magazine called "Jogos Sortidos" which had a supplement dedicated to Spectrum games, some in BASIC and some in Assembler.
I still have those magazines, together with some Micro7 supplements.

About the game, nothing special, the typical BASIC platform pick-up objects, avoid baddies, type of game. It had some nice features, like the use of dynamite. But it's too slow to be enjoyable.

Still, great memories came out of it to me.

Tintin on the Moon, 11 Apr 2013 (Rating: 3)

1989 Infogrames (UK)
by David Perry and Nick Brut

There is nothing to get over excited here. If you are fan of Tintin you might enjoy it more than anyone else, and even so, I doubt for much long. The game is pretty to look at, with nice graphics and colors, the platform level even resembles 'Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future' in my eyes, but that isn't enough to get me hooked for long. So, sorry fans, Tintin crashed on the moon this time.

2,5 points

B.C. Bill, 15 Apr 2013 (Rating: 3)

1984 Imagine Software (UK)
by Eric the Bear, Steve Cain and Abdul Ibrahim

The object of the game is to get as many wives as you can and at the same time collect enough food to satisfy your growing family while, of course, avoiding the nasties, like Dinosaurs, reptiles, etc.

Loved the graphics hated the confusion! Arrgh!

Balloon Hopper, 03 May 2013 (Rating: 2)

1983 Your Computer (UK)
by Andrew Foord

I vividly remember playing this game, although I don't think I've played it that much. It's elegantly presented and the idea is fun altogether. If only the speed of our ship could equal the balloons (which seems machine code, and probably is) it would be a lot more playable and even addictive. But the playing routines are in BASIC, right? So there isn't much complaining.

Jon the Jany, 03 May 2013 (Rating: 2)

1985 Your Computer (UK)
by N. Billiland

A simple but fun little game. At first it may recall 'Panic', due to it's looks, but it's a different game. Your goal is to switch off every light bulb and then move on to the next level.
The programming is mixed, so besides the monsters, which are in machine code, everything else is in BASIC.

Quackers, 03 May 2013 (Rating: 3)

1983 Rabbit Software (UK)
by John F. Cain

Not a bad 'Carnival' version. It plays reasonably well. The bad collision checking this time functions in the players advantage which is a nice thing due to the hardness of the game. That same difficulty makes the game compelling and addictive, but at the end you will fell you are playing the same levels over and over, even if there are tweaks and tricks to discover. The addition of the turtle screen is a nice touch and I can't remember seeing it in the arcade coin-op, so there's a touch of originality in it also.

Frogger, 03 May 2013 (Rating: 3)

1983 Rabbit Software (UK)
by John F. Cain

Another 'Frogger' clone with the same features as dozens of others. Well, to be honest this kind of looks a bit different. The yellow path, for instance, is not common to most other clones. Overall, not a bad version, but not the best either.

Lancer Lords, 03 May 2013 (Rating: 1)

1983 Rabbit Software (UK)
by John F. Cain

I never liked 'Joust' games, but this clone is simply unplayable. Probably the worst game in John F. Cain's catalog even if the prettiest.

Myth: History in the Making, 18 May 2013 (Rating: 5)

This is without any shadow of a doubt, one of the best games ever written for the Spectrum. Graphics and animation, character movements and in-game action is superb. Had it been released earlier, and it would have reached a higher cult status.

Twister, 18 May 2013 (Rating: 4)

1986 System 3 Software (UK)
by the Sensible Software team

Twister was for awhile one of my most played games of 1986. It's in fact a different kind of platform game, with an unusual view. All the elements of platforming are present: jumping, collecting objects and power pils and avoiding and shooting enemies.
It's all great fun, once you get into the main action. And as the levels pass, tension and addictiveness start to build up.
Also the weird and strange plot just add more to the crazyness and addictiveness of the game.

Deathchase, 19 May 2013 (Rating: 4)

1983 Micromega (UK)
by Mervyn Estcourt and R.B.

The year: 2501, 100 years after the Great War.
The American continent is ruled by Warlords in constant fighting for every inch of territory.
You belong to the elite mercenaries, knowed as the Riders of the Big Bikes.

The storyline is great, but the game is in fact a little simpler, not that it makes it any worst, by any means, no, Deathchase is a classic in it's own right.

You basically patrol a wide territory, both by night and day, chasing enemy riders and destroying them with a guided lazer beam installed on your bike.

Again, Deathchase is a classic, an all-time classic Spectrum game, with simple but incredible game play that only fails on variety, but never lets you down on fun.

ATV Simulator, 19 May 2013 (Rating: 5)

1987 Code Masters (UK)
by Tim Miller, James Wilson and David Whittaker

A brilliant well written game with beautifully drawn graphics.
It's not exactly a simulator because you don't have the view of the sitting pilot, but it sure gives you a fell of ridding a stunt four wheel motorcycle.
It can became very hard in later levels, but I think that adds some addictiveness to the game.
I loved it when it first came out and still do.

By Fair Means...or Foul, 19 May 2013 (Rating: 2)

1989 Superior Software (UK)
by Charles Goodwin

All this years later, this game really makes laugh now.
There is so many ludicrous and even bizarre things go on, that I really can't take it seriously. Some of the fighters moves are hilarious. And the cheating and low shots you are "allowed" to perform, when the referee isn't looking, is an unusual feature, to say the least, on a so called professional boxing simulator. But let's be honest, professional boxers also do their cheating...
The game is a bit sloppy, but as a few fun moments.

Danger, 20 May 2013 (Rating: 2)

Not bad for a Basic written game.
It may have some code somewhere because it's not the usual slowness of basic games.

Repton, 21 May 2013 (Rating: 3)

1989 Alligata Software (UK)
by Gil Jaysmith and Mike Hutchison

An average Boulder Dash clone. The narrow view of the screen makes the game less enjoyable to me. And the despite the pretty coloring, and a graphic touch here and there, I still rather return to the original version instead of Repton.

Repton 2, 21 May 2013 (Rating: 3)

1989 Alligata Software (UK)
by Gil Jaysmith and Mike Hutchison

A few enhancements over the first game, but basically the same. More of a continuation than a proper sequel.

Arcadia, 21 May 2013 (Rating: 3)

1982 Imagine Software (UK)
by David Lawson

A sort of Space Invaders/Phoenix clone with a slight twist, that almost turned into a classic.
The movement is quite smooth, but the action is sometimes too fast for it's own good. Not the most player friendly game around.
It's looks and sounds good for such an early game, but somehow it failed to capture my imagination.

Arachno Joe, 21 May 2013 (Rating: 2)

2003 by Dinu Mircea (Romania)

A variant of the classic arcade Crazy Climber. I was expecting a worst game overall, which generally happens with the participant games in this sort of competitions. But the game is ok, a bit repetitive after a few levels, but ok.

Doomdark's Revenge, 22 May 2013 (Rating: 5)

The sequel to Lords of Midnight.
If you liked the first game, you will for sure love this one too. It's as brilliant as the first, if not better.

Viz - The Computer Game, 23 May 2013 (Rating: 4)

1991 Virgin Games (UK)
by Dominic Wood, Simon Butler and Drew Northcott

Ah ah, I never knew about this game.
Well, it manages to capture the toilet humour of the comics quite well.
The game includes at least 4 games featuring each of the comics three main characters (Johnny Fartpants, Buster Gonad and Biffa Bacon) all very freaky and very funny with lots of joystick wiggling! But none are particularly good to play, just fun to look at.

Then comes the best part, the racing games, which take place in the Viz universe and feature a variety of places, all very well designed and faithful to the strips. I really enjoyed this game which is always accompanied by an amusing background tune giving it even more of the comics feel!

Icicle Works, 28 May 2013 (Rating: 3)

1985 State Soft (UK)
by Richard Parratt

A pretty Boulder Dash clone with a few catching objects to do. Sadly it drags a bit too slow to be fully enjoyable.

2,5 points

The Dungeon Builder, 28 May 2013 (Rating: 4)

1984 Dream Software (UK)
by Richard Parratt

This is a really good Graphic Text Adventure creator, shame it didn't turn out more popular. Very complete and with extensive instructions and a free demo game included. I guess those days The Quill did beat all competition.

Snooker, 28 May 2013 (Rating: 1)

1983 Artic (UK)
by N.V. Davies

The worst snooker/pool game I played.
Despite being playable, it's really annoying, and it's really painful to watch your ball cruise carefree aside the one's it should hit. It feels like your playing with rocks instead of perfectly rounded balls like it should be.

Go instead for 'Pool' aka 'Spectrum Pool' 1983.

Sabre, 29 May 2013 (Rating: 2)

1984 Dream Software (UK)
by Chris Newcombe

A simple looking 'Surround' type game but with an injection of sounds that makes adrenalin start to pump. It plays fast even in level 0, but tends to get boring after awhile because you only move up in speed instead of enemies or something else, a good example of a surround game is 'Blind Alley'.
It's great though to play against one friend or even compete in matches against the computer.

2,5 points

The Best of Beyond, 30 May 2013 (Rating: 5)

1986 Beyond Software (UK)

For a strategy lover you can't go wrong with this compilation.

Splat!, 31 May 2013 (Rating: 3)

1983 Incentive Software (UK)
by Ian Morgan and Ian Andrew

This game goes to show everyone how a simple game can became popular and addictive.

3,5 pts

Driller, 31 May 2013 (Rating: 4)

1987 Incentive Software (UK)
by Chris and Ian Andrew, Stephen Northcott and Paul Gregory

A superb solid 3D game with magnificent landscapes and a great story behind it. Big for it's day, but a bit obsolete and dated now, compared to the recently released games.

Bully's Sporting Darts, 31 May 2013 (Rating: 2)

1993 Alternative Software (UK)
by Paul Griffiths


After becoming completely hooked on '180' I never seemed to care much for any other darts game and 'Bully's Sporting Darts' just seems like a poor clone of the mentioned game.

Trans-Europe Rally, 31 May 2013 (Rating: 2)

1984 ABC Soft (Spain)
by Pedro Campos

Nothing much to say, except that the cars look cool.

Antarctic Diamonds, 31 May 2013 (Rating: 1)

1985 Tweety Soft (Germany)
by Mirko Monninghoff

Maybe with a different set of keys this wouldn't be so painful to play. Even so, I think not, because the game crashes without any sort of warning.

Kamakazi, 31 May 2013 (Rating: 2)

1983 A'n'F Software (UK)

Another shoot-em-up for the shmup's lover.
Simple but addictive, I even enjoyed myself along the five minutes of playing the initial waves. It looks written in compiled basic which explains the higher speed but still looks really basic.

Maze Chase, 03 Jun 2013 (Rating: 2)

1983 Hewson Consultants (UK)
by John Hardman

If only the game looked as cool as the cover, it would be a killer. Instead it's just another pac-man clone.

Avenger, 07 Jun 2013 (Rating: 4)

1986 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)
by Shaun Hollingworth, Steve Kerry, Ben Daglish, Peter Harrap, Chris Kerry, Greg Holmes, Colin Dooley

Avenger (or Way of the Tiger II) as little or none similarities to the prequel, besides the name.
In fact it reminds me a lot games like Gauntlet, Druid or Into the Eagle's Nest.
The characters could have been wearing any cloth, playing any role and any theme could have been used, but the feeling of deja vu remains...

Anyway, the theme chosen was Martial Arts and with the help of Gauntlet's popularity and the prequel, the game achieved a comfortable position in a lot of Martial arts themed game lists.

The object of the game is a bit more complex than the straightforward action of Way of the Tiger, but nothing any player hasn't yet experienced.

Again you collect keys and treasures, and avoid nasties while replenishing your energies when needed.
I've enjoyed playing Avenger, but felt I was just playing a sequel from the games above mentioned and not a proper WOTT sequel.

Toi Acid Game, 08 Jun 2013 (Rating: 3)

1989 Iber Software (Spain)
by Angel Delgado, Jesus Aranda, Miguel Quesada and Julio Rodriguez

Starts of with one of the sexiest, well drawn loading screens I've seen in a spectrum game of that age.
Graphically it's alright, with a few very well designed backgrounds and a few humorous notes scattered around the game, which are by themselves worth a look. But the game play, on the other hand, leaves a bit to be desired. It's not bad, but a bit too slow and repetitive.

Sabrina, 08 Jun 2013 (Rating: 2)

1989 Iber Software (Spain)
by Andres Garcia, Alfonso Chico and Miguel Quesada

Obviously what attracted kids to this game, was Sabrina's well known attributes, almost revealed in her brief but famous 'Boys Boys Boys' video clip.
And has did the video, this game only attracted attention because of those attributes, although there aren't any naked ladies waiting for you anywhere in the game. But the idea of seeing naked boobs, even within the spectrum's graphic limitations, was quite an incentive.
There is nothing much happening here, you control Sabrina in a side-scrooling action game, and use her boobs as weapons. It sounds nice, doesn't it? We all thought so...

Druid, 08 Jun 2013 (Rating: 5)

1986 Firebird Software (UK)
by Dene Carter and Andrew Bailey

The best Gauntlet clone I've played so far. It has rich backgrounds and a variety of nasties and obstacles that turn the game into a more addictive and fun experience than the original.
Recommended.

Blue Max, 11 Jun 2013 (Rating: 3)

1984 US Gold (UK)
by Bob Polin and F.D. Thorpe

Blue Max is mainly Zaxxon in new clothing. Like somehow your ship returned back in time and landed in a WWI war theater. The attribute problems are immense and make the screen scrolling a bit painful. Not the best Zaxxon variant around but not completely bad either.

Starring Charlie Chaplin, 11 Jun 2013 (Rating: 1)

1987 US Gold (UK)

Thankfully Charlie Chaplin's movies were never as boring as this.
If producing/directing/or acting in movies means doing any of the actions found in this game, then I pity those professionals. The idea is good, but boy, is this boring...
This is not more than a bad beat 'em up, disguised as a movie making simulator.

Monkey Biznes, 11 Jun 2013 (Rating: 3)

1983 Artic Computing (UK)
by Nigel Johnstone

Not a bad Donkey Kong clone, particularly for such an early year.

On the Oche, 11 Jun 2013 (Rating: 1)

1984 Artic Computing (UK)
by Robin Harris

Uninteresting and unaccurate darts game written in Basic.
There are lots of better pub games out there. Try "180", for instance.

Rugby Manager, 11 Jun 2013 (Rating: 3)

1986 Artic Computing (UK)
by J. Wilson

A good attempt of resurrecting Football Manager in the form of Rugby.
The big novelty here is the select arrow in the options menu, which for use with the Spectrum rubber keys is not the best option, but functions quite well. The game is a bit outdated for 1986, but it's still a good strategy game with the main features this sort of games has, mostly available.The match highlights are fun and reminicent of the ones in Football Manager (obviously inspired by).

Motor Massacre, 14 Jun 2013 (Rating: 2)

1989 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)
by Andrew Postlewhite and Robert Moneagle

At first this game didn't look all that bad, despite being too simplistic. And because I have had practice with games like this in the past, such as 'Give My Regards to Broad Street' or 'View to a Kill' which were a lot harder to control than this, I wasn't too disappointed.
Well, at least until I lost a life in the game and had to reload a whole section. Multiloading levels was one of the most annoying things in the Spectrum. Thankfully not all games shared multiloading or else the Spectrum wouldn't have reach a fraction of the cult status it has today.
Anyway, like I said at the beginning this game is too simple. Not to mention the gameplay or the way it looks. The Atari version was a lot smoother and playable and the graphics looked a lot better.
If this game hadn't multiloading I would have rated it with a 2,5, because it has I rate it with a 2. And I fell I'm being generous.

Games Crazy!, 14 Jun 2013 (Rating: 3)

1989 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)

Weird alternative games compilation. Good for humans and worms...

Tour de Force, 14 Jun 2013 (Rating: 3)

1988 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)
by Tim Miller, Ben Daglish, Jon Harrison and Kevin Bulmer

Not as good looking or smooth as Milk Race, but more challenging and diverse, due to the quantity of obstacles in the race.
The bicycle movements looks to me more like a motorcycle than an actual bicycle.
On the overall, I still prefer Milk Race over this, but I admit it has it's charms.

Blue Thunder, 14 Jun 2013 (Rating: 3)

1984 Richard Wilcox Software (UK)
by Richard Wilcox

I have some fond memories of this little game, but I admit it's nothing special.
It's too short of a game to keep the players coming back. I'm still very fond of this type of graphics. Harrier Attack, Blue Thunder, Krakatoa or even Cyclone or Tornado (on a higher level) always captured my imagination even with such simple looking graphics.

The Duel: Test Drive II, 14 Jun 2013 (Rating: 3)

1989 Accolade Inc (UK)
by Alan Jardine

I really wanted to like this game, because it looks really good. With tunnels, cliffs, etc. At least that was what I first expected from it. But it turned out really boring, with the same road trips over and again. Controls are also too hard to control, and turn the game less enjoyable than what it could be. Maybe I was excepting a sort of 'Turbo Esprit' ride along the city with the smoothness and speed of 'Full Throttle'. Maybe my expectations were too high... so I rated just a bit above low.

Kaboom!, 16 Jun 2013 (Rating: 2)

If only the robber would move slower...

Gerry the Germ, 16 Jun 2013 (Rating: 2)

1985 Firebird Software (UK)
by Mevlut Dinc

Besides the fun looking cartoon characters, the general weirdness of this game spoils things a bit.
And why should the game reset to level 1 whenever you lose a life? That is really frustrating.

2,5 points

Don't Panic, 16 Jun 2013 (Rating: 3)

1985 Firebird Software Ltd (UK)
by Andrew Rogers and Martin Craig

This turned out cooler than I first expected but it also turned out harder than I wished.
The required job here is to load objects into the rocket using your laser in the process. Of course there is always "something" to spoil things for you. And 'Don't Panic' is in fact a well chosen name when you have to deal with the indestructible green aliens. Avoid getting too close to them because they move quicker than the droid.
I found each level a bit too long to play, and after awhile it gets a bit repetitive, but this is still a very worthy and addictive title.

3,5 points

Wonder Boy, 21 Jun 2013 (Rating: 3)

1987 Activision (UK)

The addictiveness is still present, but the rest of the game can hardly be compared with the arcade version, except maybe for the graphics.
It's easier to enjoy the game if you make no comparisons, but boy is it difficult...

The Light Corridor, 24 Jun 2013 (Rating: 4)

1991 Infogrames (UK)
by Zydro, Robin, Fustor and McAlby

Ever wanted to see how a 'Breakout' game would look in 3D with corridors? Well, for a spectrum game, this is the closest I've seen so far.
At first glance this is one of those games that doesn't appeal much to me, but after playing it for awhile, I see why it is so high rated in WOS.
A well worth game checking out.

4,5 points

Factory Breakout, 24 Jun 2013 (Rating: 4)

1984 Poppy Soft (UK)
by Stephen Crow

This is one of my most cherished games.
I played it hundreds of times, and still come back to it now and then.
Each level is different and demands a different kind of players attention.
Good details, superb smoothness and a fair difficult level makes the game really addictive. I only wish it was a bit longer.

Spindizzy, 25 Jun 2013 (Rating: 4)

1986 Electric Dreams Software (UK)
by Paul Shirley and Phil Churchyard

I much prefer Gyroscope or Marble Madness which are both more straightforward and player friendly.
But I admit Spindizzy is also a great game.

Gyroscope, 25 Jun 2013 (Rating: 4)

1985 Melbourne House (UK)
by Steve Lamb, Tony Mack, Dave Dew and Mark Alexander

If you played Marble Madness or Spindizzy on a Spectrum machine, you started from the end, because Gyroscope was the first game of it's kind to appear on our little 48K machine.
Gyroscope is in fact the unofficial Spectrum release of the arcade game 'Marble Madness', and it got so popular with the critics (2nd place as game of the year 1985) that a year later Melbourne House got the arcade rights and released the official 'Marble Madness' conversion.

It's not as good as Marble Madness or Spindizzy, both games are bigger in levels and are smoother playing. But it's a lot straightforward and easier to play than Spindizzy and better looking than both games are.
So, a very worthwhile game to play if you love any of the others games.

Gyroscope II, 25 Jun 2013 (Rating: 3)

1987 Color Magic
by Mac and Sla

Created using the Marble Madness construction kit. It's called Gyroscope II (and not Marble Madness II), for legal rights, because Gyroscope was the unofficial Marble Madness arcade version.
There is not much to say about the game, it's simply Marble Madness with new levels.

Humphrey, 25 Jun 2013 (Rating: 2)

1988 Zigurat Software (Spain)
by Jorge Martinez

The harder I try I simply can't enjoy this game. It's too slow, a bit messy and the movements are too rough. And I don't even like the presentation or backgrounds, although some sprites are somewhat cute.

Boulder Dash, 25 Jun 2013 (Rating: 4)

1984 Front Runner (UK)
by Peter Liepa and Chris Gray

Not a game I personally enjoy, maybe because of the crude looking sprites, the jerky scrolling system and overall presentation of the game.
However Boulder Dash is indisputably one of the most addictive games ever.

Krakout, 25 Jun 2013 (Rating: 4)

1987 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)
by Bob Toone, Greg Holmes, Ben Daglish, Andy Green, Marco Duroe and Terry Lloyd

Not my favorite Breakout clone but a very good one indeed. The graphics and color schemes don't appeal much to me, but I fancy the humor in the game, with it's inclusion of classic characters like Jack the Nipper.
The side view functions perfectly, however I still prefer the "traditional" horizontal play area.

Firelord, 25 Jun 2013 (Rating: 5)

1986 Hewson Consultants Ltd (UK)
by Stephen Crow

If you thought Sabre Wulf couldn't get any better, Firelord showed you wrong.

Paris-Dakar, 26 Jun 2013 (Rating: 2)

1988 Zigurat Software (Spain)
by Fernando Briega, Carlos Martinez and Jorge Martinez

As much as I try to like this game, it always backfires on me.
Graphically it's ugly and uninteresting.
And the lack of smoothness in the control of the car just lets me down every time.
The upside of the game is the possibility of navigation. Trying to find the best route to the finish line, may not be for everyone, but it's a different approach to racing games and a most welcome one.

Boulder Dash II: Rockford's Riot, 26 Jun 2013 (Rating: 4)

1985 Prism Leisure Corporation (UK)
by Peter Liepa and Chris Gray

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is just Boulder Dash with new levels. I haven't notice much difference in any other features. Still very worthy to any player.

Donkey Kong Jr., 26 Jun 2013 (Rating: 4)

1984 Thomas Busse (Germany)
by Thomas Busse and R. Busse

This is a really good rendition of the classic arcade game. It could, of course be a lot better, maybe if it passed thru the quality control of a major software, it could have been way better.
Still I think it's quite faithful to the original and it's highly playable.

OTWOC, 26 Jun 2013 (Rating: 2)

By Thomas Busse (Germany)


This shoot em up starts of promising, with a nice stellar sky, featuring some well known planets of our solar system (I think). The meteor shower is well made and with nice effects. But everything starts come tumbling down when you meet face to face (or ship to ship) with the alien enemies. Their ships are hard to destroy and once you hit one, it divides itself into 2 smaller ones, which are even harder to hit. Mind you, not because they move fast, simply because the collision detection is badly written. Sadly that spoils what could have been a very interesting shmup game.



Fighter Pilot, 28 Jun 2013 (Rating: 4)

1983 Digital Integration (UK)
by David Marshall

I used to be amazed with the realism this game had. Of course nowadays it seems more of a joke compared to the high-tec games around. Nonetheless it as aged quite well and it's a very good game to start if you are new to this sort of simulators and are into retro gaming.

Tomahawk, 28 Jun 2013 (Rating: 4)

1985 Digital Integration (UK)
by David Marshall and Rod Swift

This is a step further from the previous work done by David Marshall on Fighter Pilot.
But this time you control a AH-64A Apache heli. A must for any flight simulator fan.

4,5 points

F-16 Combat Pilot, 28 Jun 2013 (Rating: 5)

1991 Digital Integration (UK)
by Les Doughty and Lee Burns

Brilliant flight simulator, possibly the best on the Speccy.
It has all the great features other games like Fighter Pilot, Tomahawk, etc, have but takes them to a higher level.
The integrated missions make the game really engaging and wanting for more.
It's also a bit too complicated, so reading the instructions is crucial, otherwise you will end up just wishing you've loaded Pac-Man instead!

Alien Highway, 29 Jun 2013 (Rating: 5)

1986 Vortex Software (UK)
by Mark Haigh-Hutchinson

By continuing the work of Costa Panayi I was expecting that Mark Hutchinson would put is own personal touch and ended up with at least a slightly different game. But if you have played Highway Encounter you notice there isn't much difference between both games. They look the same, play the same and sound the same. Of course there are a few improvements and the story line is slightly different. For instance, this time you don't have to guide a train of extra lives, only the Terratron.
But overall it's almost a copy of the prequel. Which isn't a bad thing, taking into account the quality of the game. Both games are excellent, I only wished they weren't so alike.

4,5 points

Pooyan, 30 Jun 2013 (Rating: 2)

By M. Marx (UK)

A nice rendition of the arcade coin-op.
Not bad for a basic written game.

EastEnders, 01 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

1987 Macsen Software (UK)
by the Towers Associates

I suppose EastEnders was released as a "normal" game and not as a joke on the TV show, well, it ended up flabbergasting players and critics who expected something more serious. And no wonder, after all there isn't much sense to the game. I must admit I never bought the cassette, I only played it thru emulators, so I'm not as angry as some users who spent their money on it.
Probably because of that, I can sit with some distance and laugh a bit at games such as this one.
After all they also have a place in Spectrum history, if not only to make you laugh a bit.

Football Director II, 01 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

1987 D&H Games (UK)
by Tony Huggard and John de Salis

This is even better than the prequel, although I still prefer the first game.
Funny enough, Football Director got so popular around this time, that a support group started appearing and gathering fans around the UK in order to play Championships together. Quite a feat those days.

Freddie Laker's Airline Capers, 02 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

2012 Rutlemore Games (UK)

This is a great example of the love some users have for this little machine. You can see that right from the beginning of the game, with a first level mixing iconic elements from classics such as Atic Atac, Trashman, the shouting from Mikie or the sounds of Hyper Sports, this is truly a delight for any retro lover. I urge the programmer to develop a game around level 1. I would play it for sure!

Levels 2 and 3, which are different, are nothing special, but are enjoyable enough and well written. I personally didn't recognize any old game elements in them, if there are any. Level 4 could again be a game itself. Although I don't think it is that original. After all, it's mainly a tribute to Turmoil, as another user already stated, and to that giant classic we all know of: Manic Miner.

4,5 points

Alter Ego, 02 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

2011 RetroSouls (Russia)
by Denis Grachev and Shiru

A great example of mixing an only idea with fresh new one's. If you like action platform games that make you think, than this is for you.
Not an easy game however, and you can experience that right from level 2.
The only letdown I spotted which annoyed me, is the kind of boring backgrounds which start fine but get repetitive.

Phantomas, 03 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

1986 Dinamic Software (Spain)
by Enrique Cervera Mateu

Another game belonging to the Pantheon of Spanish software.
Playing around with the ideas left by Manic Miner/Jet Set Willy, it expands them a little further. Of course there is nothing new here, games such as Monty Mole already explore it before. But it's a pretty good game with nice puzzles to solve. Keys are responsive and plays a lot smoother than most Spanish games.

4,5 points

Sceptre of Bagdad, 03 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

Hey look, Wally is wearing a turban!!

Tarzan, 04 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1983 Wicosoft (Germany)
by Ralf Heinze

Ah, this Basic old little games. How I love them...
This jungle themed game is a German homemade production, featuring Cheetah's pal, Tarzan.
As you can see right from the start, it's a Basic written game, and what can someone except from this sort of games? Nothing much.
Tarzan has to jump over the plots of land (or stepping stones) using keys 1-9, each key makes him jump a bit longer. When he reaches the other side he will collect a piece of tree or a vine, I'm not sure what it is, I just know it's pink and then return back the same way he did. He has to make this journey several times until all the pieces are collected. Meanwhile monkeys throw him bananas and crocs are waiting for him to fall. The stepping stones change positions from time to time, adding some difficulty.
Well, this review is not intended to point out how brilliant the game is, or how well written or how beautiful it looks (look's really cute to me!).
I just want to state out my admiration for this simple fun games ala early 80's handheld games. They look and feel so adorable and fun. And it's always with great pleasure that I play them.
They are like a balsam to my imagination...

Keys:
Z - Left
M - Right
1 to 9 - Jumping distance
H - Get man out of water (you have to move it close to a plot of land)

Matchsticks, 05 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

1982 ZX Computing (UK)

Avoid picking up the last matchstick and you will get an endless looping winning screen!! Yeay!!

Ack Ack Attack, 05 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

1984 ZX Computing (UK)
by C.C. Stock

A Basic River Raid clone with a few interesting but useless features and hardly any fun playing.

Narco Police, 05 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

1990 Dinamic Software (Spain)
by Juan, Ramiro y Ricardo Arias, Roberto Eimer, Carlos Galucci, Juan Gaspar, Fernando Vieira and Snatcho

Initially I felt amazed at some technical features, but soon got equally disappointed. It's one of those games that look good but play bad.
The tunnel effect is excellent, and so is the police animations. But it plays too slow and rigid and gets repetitive right from the beginning.

Yie Ar Kung-Fu 2, 05 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

1986 Imagine Software (UK)
by Julian Horn

One of the greatest disillusions I got on the Speccy. Come on people, never release a bad sequel no matter what game it is. If it is worse, why release it?
I bet any software house representative would reply to my question with: Money, money, money!!
But in the end I guess it's the players fault, after all we ONLY look at the COVER!!

Solar Empire, 05 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1990 Players Premier (UK)
by Charles Goodwin

I could easily see this game getting a lot of attention had it been written before 1987. But the new decade wasn't for boys...
The game is quite unusual is the way everything happens, and even with a less smoother gameplay than I usually go for, I can see myself getting lost in it.


3,5 points

Chubby Gristle, 07 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

1988 Grandslam Entertainments (UK)
by Bill Caunt, Peter Hickinson, Mark Edwards and Ben Daglish

A very cute game in the same vein of Jet Set Willy. There is nothing new here, but the game compensates itself by being very well written and with interesting and well placed platforms. I also liked the quirky humour and some peculiar characters. And the tunes are awesome. Chubby Gristle
does resemble Monty Mole, a cousin maybe?

Capitan Trueno, 10 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

1990 Dinamic Software (Spain)
by Francisco Palacios, Raul Palacios, Ruben Rubio, Raul Lopez, Luis Soler, Pablo Molina

A fantastic platform game based on a comic's book hero, where you control 3 different characters. It sort of reminds me of Ghost n' Goblins, although nor as good or addictive. Still, this is a great good looking addictive game, full of action and nicely written. The scrolling is the main letdown. It's the usual found in Spanish games, a bit jerky. But despite being miles away from the smoothness of any Jonathan Smith's games, for instance, it's still good enough to play. A very addictive game.

4,5 points

Toofy in Fan Land, 10 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

2012 Paul Jenkinson (UK)
by Paul Jenkinson

This sort of ideas is what we need in games created in the new millennium. After all, contrary to what most thought, the Spectrum isn't dead, but sometimes I feel ideas for games are.
Recreating Mathew Smith's masterpieces over and over again is just plain tribute to the past. And the Spectrum community deserves a bit more.
Thankfully Toofy in Fan Land is not the only original idea come to life is the past 13 years. There have been quite a few amazing ideas, and I applaud them all.
But Toofy is not only original it's also a clever use of the AGD resources. What goes to show how wonderful this tool is.
Toofy is highly playable and very addictive, despite having a simple premise ala Pac-Man: catch all nuts. But there is plenty of action and mind work, in the correct amounts, to entertain all types of players. Of course, the game isn't perfect, far from that. I could be a nag and complain how some sprites are a bit flavorless and uninspiring, etc. But this are minor petty details that doesn't spoil the game. Also the author got around that, and embellish Toofy's world in the sequel, so he is excused.
Worth trying.

Soldier of Fortune, 12 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

1988 Firebird Software Ltd (UK)
by David O'Connor

For a 1988 game and from a major software house I was expecting a lot more from this game. Graphically it's nothing special and even a bit outdated, I think. There are very few different enemies and the backgrounds are boring and uninteresting. Audio is very basic, with a few beeps here and there, but very basic, although it has a nice tune at the start. It looks like Ghost n' Goblins but with a little of exploring to do. With that said, however, the game is pleasant to play and quite compelling. The goal is straight forward, and there aren't many dull moments. But again I was expecting a little more from this.

Zythum, 12 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1986 Mirrorsoft (UK)
by David O'Conner and Michael Blanke

Zythum is just another average side scrolling shoot-em-up, with monochromatic-hard-to-see graphics that plays fairly well and can become addictive, if your into this sort of games.
The main character reminds me of Friar Tuck of The Curse of Sherwood, but the way he jumps is more like the buggy from Moon Alert.

The Guardian, 16 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

1983 PSS (UK)

An early Tempest clone, and one of the few written for the Speccy. And although simplified it plays fairly well. Of course it's not hi-tec even for it's day.

Tempest, 16 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1987 Electric Dreams Software (UK)
by David Pridmore

Finally a proper Tempest game. Well, maybe not that proper, but at least a bit better than every other versions made before.

Tempest, 16 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1983 EMM Software (Germany)
by Boris Baginski

Allegedly inspired by the coin-op Tempest, this version plays much closer to any Space Invaders game. And let's face it, without the vortex, you can't call Tempest to any shmup.
As for a variant of Space Invaders this is pretty interesting, if not only visually. But it's pretty playable and addictive too. The keys however, are a real letdown, well at least until you get use to them.

Double Dragon, 17 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

If a game is successful in the arcades it will sell in home computers, so why bother with the quality? A way of thinking very common still to this day...

The Pathetic Pablo Bros, 22 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

Thanks 'Rebelstar Without a Cause' for written on your review my exact thoughts! ;)

Robin the Outlaw, 23 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

1986 Gadtek Games (UK)
by Graham Shaw

One of the earliest games from the Shaw Brothers and one of the cheesiest and lame they wrote. There is nothing new in it and not very fun to play. Keys are not very responsive, which spoils things a bit. They would later release better quality material.

Painter, 23 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

1983 A'n'F Software (UK)
by ZX Incorporated

Definitely the best Amidar clone I've played so far on the Speccy. It even includes a few sound fx's which add much to the game. The big letdown is the sometimes unresponsive keyboard, which tends to get stuck in corners.

Frogger, 23 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

1983 A'n'F Software (UK)
by ZX Incorporated

I think this was my first Frogger game, I'm not too sure 'cause they all look much a like. It's not the best, although it looks quite good. It seems to be written in Basic and if so it may explain the slowness of it all. Nonetheless it's still playable and accurate to the arcade, just too slow.

Cagara, 23 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

1986 Players Software (UK)
by Ste Cork, Sam Garforth and ROB

Cagara was one of the most infamous games in my youth. Basically for all the wrong reasons. First of all, Cagará means in portuguese "will shit" (past tense of the verb 'cagar'= to shit), so you must imagine how many uncontrolled laughs that brings to 12 year old kids.
Second, the game looks stupid and plays stupid. Why control a ball in a "human" looking environment, what's up with that? Oh, he is a man cursed and transformed into a crystal sphere, good excuse for being lazy. And what's with our side kick, the hamster? He is just another object you pick up and use. Come on...
And why just one life in such a big maze with such unfair enemies which move twice the speed?? Why? Why? Why??

Just one more question:

Where's the reset button!!!?

Electro Bingo, 23 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1989 Sinclair User (UK)

This is 'Painter' put together in different clothes by the folks at Sinclair User for a prize winning compo.

Canyon Warrior, 23 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

1989 Mastertronic Plus (UK)
by Ste Cork and Tiny Williams

Canyon Warrior is more of the same old formula of shoot 'em up's with vertical scrolling, but it plays better than most, and makes it a really nice surprise to me.

Heavy Metal, 23 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

1990 US Gold (UK)
by Jim Gardner, Jas Brooke, Alan Tomkins, Jason Green and Stephen Crow

Not rubbish, but it ain't my cup of tea. I find it boring and outdated, including the arcade version. Give me 3D-Tanx anytime of the day.

T-Bird, 23 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1989 Mastertronic Plus (UK)
by Mongee Boswell

Had this been release before 1987 and it could have been properly appreciated. It looks close to a perfected Buck Rogers and plays similar to Space Harrier. But it feels kind of shallow. Maybe it could have benefited with 128k sound fx's or a few modern (1989) enhancements.

Computer Maniac's 1989 Diary, 23 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1989 Domark Ltd (UK)

This program is not a game, although it includes 3 little games, like hangman, wordsquare and trivia quiz. It's like stated in the name, a diary. I personally felt attracted to the whole idea and soon got compelled in playing a few trivia questions. Also some info, besides being completely outdated (like the weather report) was a good idea at the time, despite a bit odd in terms of longevity. The horoscope is also a must in this sort of diaries, and the one featured, may well be used 'til to this day, according to what Astrologers say (can it?). You also get the always interesting facts menu, a conversion table, and a few useful data. I think this is in fact a great idea and nicely implemented. But to be honest, I have a hard time believing many people would waste 3 to 5 minutes of loading time, each day, just to check the weather or look into the fact of the day. Not practical for an 80's home computer.

Soundtracker, 23 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

1992 Pentagram (Poland)
by BZYK

Brilliant utility to make music. It allows 3 channels plus samples and chip sounds. It may seem complicated (it is) but it's not Einstein material, so don't worry. A pity I didn't had this to incorporate music into my games instead of 'Wham! the Music Box', which worked fine, but not as good as Soundtracker.

W*H*B, 24 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

2009 by Bob Smith, Kev Thacker, Jumping Stack, Karl Gillott, Mulder, ZnorXman and Mister Beep on audio

Although I agree this is more than just a decent everyday puzzle, some levels just seem too hard, almost impossible to complete. Of course, that adds credit and longevity to the whole experience, but scares away some less patient players, not prone to puzzles.

Battle of the Toothpaste Tubes, 24 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

1983 K-Tel Productions (UK)
by Stephen Curtis

Is it just me or can't anyone see the humour in this game? Starting from the name and going thru the game play, this has to be a joke.

Jackle & Wide, 24 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

1987 Bulldog Software (UK)
by Stephen Curtis and RUB

Wow! I never thought I would say this, but this game is almost as bad as SQIJ!
There are so many wrong things happening at once, that it's hard to even point out one of them, without referring the rest.
It's supposed to be a mix of platform/maze game but it just looks like something my stomach would reject after eating it. Sorry...

Football Manager 3, 24 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1991 Addictive Games (UK)
by Brian Rogers

I haven't played this game enough yet so I can judge it properly. But for now, my thoughts go for the somewhat delirious ambition of the programmer. Which, with the best intentions I'm sure, and with the responsibility in making a sequel to such an important game, went too far with some features without having the necessary skills to do it (or time).
There are some great ideas, some still used to this day in modern versions. I'm referring to the "real time" match, which, unfortunately, maybe due to bad decisions, lack of time or lack of skills, don't work out the best. There is an absurd amount of color clash for instance, the players blend with each other to the point of invisibility and the matchstick figures are too small to make out some otherwise well thought tackle animations. Overall, it's an average strategy game, with great ideas thrown in the mix, that could have worked better with a little more work.

Sabre Wulf, 24 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1984 Ultimate (UK)
by Tim and Chris Stamper

I never fancied much any Ultimate game. They were all too hard (Underwurlde) or too simple (Jet Pac, Cookie or Pssst).
They looked good though, and played fast with fluid movements. And the story behind each one was also very captivating. But somehow I never got into any that much. Give me anytime a straightforward shooter like Commando or an action platformer like Bruce Lee or for that matter, any war, formula one or football strategy game, and I will be happy.

However, in 1984, a game like Sabre Wulf would always raise eyebrows and make kids emit strange sounds of excitement. The plot itself is engaging enough to make you submerse yourself into the game. Some characters really made kids dream of them. The main reason I played this game was to at least, take a glance at the dreaded Wolf, everybody talked about.
Well, if you haven't seen it yet, I advise you to stay that way, because I'm certain the image you have on your imagination is 100 times better than the real one.

The same goes for the devil in Underwurld or Dracula, Frankenstein, Quasimodo or the Mummy in Atic Atac.
Nonetheless, Sabre Wulf is a good Arcade adventure maze game, with plenty of action and pretty scenarios to look at. Isn't it what modern games offer?

Sam Stoat Safebreaker, 24 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

1985 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)
by Peter Harrap

Pete Harrap made some of the cutest characters on the Speccy, Monty Mole was one of them, and Sam Stoat could have been as famous if only the gameplay matched it's looks. There is nothing very compelling in it, and the game gets rapidly repetitive after a few minutes, because all the 4 houses are in fact the same and the goal is also the same, they only differ from a few different baddies in them. The plot is fairly simple, but requires instructions to get into it, not rocket scientist material, mind you, unless you are a 5 year old kid. And then there's the difficulty level which was designed I think, for Super-Man himself!

Little Puff, 24 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

1990 Cartoon Time (UK)
by Chris Urquhart, Glenn Benson, Paul Johnson and Dave Kelly

The only problem I have with this is with the backgrounds which seem a bit repetitive, with you visiting the same room too many times and with the lack of perspective some have, otherwise this is one hell of a good game.

World Soccer League, 24 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1989 E&J Software (UK)
by Scott Gardner and Alan Clayton

Not bad at all, but a bit outdated for 1989. Could have been a serious competitor to Football Director if it had been released at the same time.

3,5 points

Xarax, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1988 Firebird Software (UK)
by Robert Spahl and Thomas Gittelbauer

An above average Xevious clone. It as all the necessary elements for any shmup lover to enjoy, although it doesn't appeal much to me.

Dr. Jekyl und die Geheimformel, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

1985 Potz Blitz (Germany)
by Thomas Gittelbauer

The name translated means 'Dr. Jekyll and the secret formula', and I bet you will need a secret formula to move around the game and do something.
Does anyone have instructions?

Back to Skool, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

1985 Microsphere (UK)
by David Reidy and Keith Warrington

If Skool Daze left everybody wowed, Back to Skool left some players in the same state of euphoria some girls had when the Beatles came on stage.
At first it may seem more of the same, and it's a sequel alright, but by no means an "Yesterday's" game (didn't like the pun? Oh, well).

Eric has moved on to the bigger school (You kids study and stay away from drugs, I mean it!). He has now access to the girls next door school (See? Studying pays off!). Responsibilities are now bigger, Eric has more on his hands than ever before, which means there's more funny moments than ever, and some very well thought out and imaginative. He interacts with the same known characters and a new cast, including girls, girls, girls.
If Skool Daze was a fave, than BTS seems a gift from the Gods to fans.
Possibly the best game ever for the Speccy.

Alien Attack, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

1983 A.C.E. (UK)
by Ray Jones

A very primitive form of Space Invaders.

Alien Attack, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

1984 ZX Computing (UK)
by Paul Hayward

Another primitive version of Space Invaders this time with a slightly different protective shield.
It's too slow to be playable.

Night Bomber, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

1984 King Software (UK)
by Ray Jones

The best Basic 'Blitz' clone I've played on the Speccy. There are hundred other equal clones, but this one plays better, looks better and sounds better. Not by much, though, it's still a crappy game.

Asterix and the Magic Cauldron, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1986 Melbourne House (UK)
by William Tang, Andrew Pierson and Frank Oldham

Never got much into this one. The characters are well detailed and nicely animated and the playing area is colourful and full of detail. Punching your away thru is also cute for a while.
But the gameplay is the big letdown. You must find the cauldron pieces, keep Obelix well nourished with wild boar(!) and fight or avoid romans and boars. It is easy to get stuck somewhere, a tree, a house, etc, and sometimes that means aborting and starting all over again!
The pauses between screens also spoils the games dinamic, but if you are used to text adventures you will be fine with that.
May be interesting to fans of the books, and to those who apreacciate the humor touches, but I'm guessing not for long.

Daley Thompson's Decathlon, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

1984 Ocean Software (UK)
by Paul Owens, Christian Urquhart and F. D. Thorpe

Decathlon is indisputably a classic to anyone who grew up massacring the keyboard keys. It was specially exciting to me, being myself an athletics fan, and with the 1984 Los Angeles Olympiads still fresh, the game was a great way to fantasize with that event. It pales a bit when comparing with Hyper Sports or Super Test, both released in the next year, mainly because of the stiffness of the character and the its 2D look and the slowness in most events, but it its still an absolute pleasure although but hard on the finger (no pain, no gain)!

Street Hawk, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1986 Ocean Software (UK)
by Paul Owens and F.D. Thorpe

This was a bit of a letdown. At first glance it's alright and plays alright, but the hooks are all missing, and the game gets boring rapidly. Street Hawk isn't a bad game, it's simple not very compelling or addictive.

Street Hawk - Catalogue Edition, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

1985 Ocean (UK)
by Nigel Alderton, Mike Webb and Jonathan Smith

Street Hawk took longer to finish then expected, so this version was release in it's place. Both games are letdowns. But this version is almost an insult to anyone who was expecting a proper game from a major label with a TV tie-in license. The game plays similar to Starbike and probably was inspired by it, but looks unfinished, messy and very outdated. The game is fast and furious, but so are my fingers: Reset! End.

Paperboy, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

1986 Elite Systems (UK)
by Steve Lamb, Tony Mack, Rory Green and J.A.F.

The closest to this game I know is Trashman, at least in relation to the plot. But unlike the garbageman, I always felt a bit cheated by this. It's hard to steer the bike accurately, 'cause the crash collision routine is badly implemented. And if the monochrome graphics don't bother me much, some characters are hard to figure out what they are. In fact, only after playing the arcade, I then realized that the weird spaceship-like object with an antenna on it's back was actually a three wheeled bike. I think the inlay cover and the loading screen steered my imagination much better than the actual game. Even so, it's a good arcade game, but I was expecting much more.

Paperboy 2, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

1992 Mindscape International software (UK)
by David Perry and Nick Bruty

I find this sequel basically more of the same, but with brighter colors, different baddies and obstacles, but also with the same mistakes all over again. Crash collision detection is again not the best, although a bit better than in the previous title. There is lots of color, which is always a good thing, but when dealing with a Spectrum, you must be extra careful, and a few bad decisions in the color attributes and placement, like the fences for example, spoils the game looks a bit. Overall, although Paperboy is a dear game of my youth, I think the sequel is slightly better.

Trantor: The Last Stormtrooper, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1987 Go! (UK)
by Dave Quinn, Nick Bruty, Alan Tomkins and Dave Whittaker

The game looks awesome, with big detailed sprites. And even if a bit slow on response, due to the enormous sprites, it plays smooth enough. Like Nick Bruty stated on an interview to the Retro Brothers in 2010: "Trantor was designed as a very simple game just so I could blow all the memory on giant sprites and try to make something a little more cinematic. Technically there was nothing very advanced going on, just a big old sprite dumped to the screen. " - end of quote.
I couldn't agree more...

Mantronix, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1986 Probe Software (UK)
by Dominic Wood

I bought this because at the time I was into a band with the same name. Today both recordings sound and feel horribly outdated and quite cheesy.
The game itself is just another free ride on the isometric 3D train. There is absolutely nothing new in it. The graphics are average, game play is average, everything in it is average.
Guess what my rating is...

Terminus, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

1986 Mastertronic Added Dimension (UK)
by Paul Hargreaves

Terminus is the sequel to Tantulus and I think both games are excellent action maze games.
Technically speaking both games are very well written, very smooth, fluid and fast. The plot is also very straight forward and easy to get into, however, this time, Paul got less carried away, making the game a bit shorter (512 screens against the 1000 from the previous game). The sprites are average but do their job very competently. The use of colour is great and all over the screen without any colour clashing. As adventure shooters games go, Terminus and Tantalus are both excellent, addictive and very playable.

Borzak, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

1984 Channel 8 Software (UK)
by Paul Hargreaves

This game reminds me of Moon Alert, Grizam or even BC's Quest for Tyres with the way it plays. The huge sprites are not pretty but not bad either. The controls are simply a pain in the neck, Kempston option (arrows) is way better, and the pixel-accurate collision jumping detection should the looser, otherwise, with the speed of the game, it's almost impossible to not fall in a pit. Thankfully Paul would grow up and think of better things to do with is Speccy.

Keys:
Q-left
W-right
Y-normal jump
U-assisted Jump
N-duck

1,75 points

Albatrossity, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

2008 Jonathan Cauldwell (UK)
by Jonathan Cauldwell and Matthew Westcott

Another great idea from Jon Cauldwell and co. This time the graphics were put apart and simplified (so no high rating from me!) but the gameplay makes it all worthy. This is the kind of puzzle (with an action element) that really stands out from the crowd and makes non puzzle lovers like myself, fall in love with it.

1999, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1987 Summit Software (UK)
by Chris Pile, Balor Knight and Stephen Corry (the Ice Cool Coders)

Let me tell you, this is a piece of really really unnerving software. It's good but very, very hard. If the Ice Cool Coders are that cool why didn't they write a cooler game, I don't know, maybe inspired by Prince, the King of Cool, while singing is song "1999"?

I got inspired: "The game is good, smooth, and fast like it should. But hey, I felt astray with such hard gameplay, that dude, I lost my mood and started hitting what I shouldn't: The reset button. Sorry..."
Ain't I cool? :)

Football Club, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

1989 Frozen Ice (UK)
by Stephen Corry and Chris Pile

Too basic and featureless for 1989.

Poker Dice Simulator, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

1989 Frozen Ice (UK)
by Stephen Corry

Load1
This is by far the worst poker game I've played. First of all, why is dice mentioned in the name? This is just a poker game! Or am I missing something?
And the screen on the right? Is it just for decor? I was expecting a bit of action, with dices moving or something. But maybe I'm being picky... So I'm going to load the game again...

Load2
Five queens? Five deuces? Seriously?? Am I really being picky???

Astro, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

1985 MicroHobby (Spain)
by Manuel Orcera Valero

Astro is one of the best games is the Microhobby cassette tape 05.
Initially it's not very appealing, with some bad decisions in the interludes, which spoil the continuity of the game. Nonetheless it plays very well, and if you are patient enough, you will get a few nice surprises.

MicroHobby Cassette 05, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

If I'm not a fan of spanish coded machine games, I must admit I really love their Basic written games.
They are usually very ambitious and packed with amazing graphics and play fairly well, with enough addictive gameplay (for Basic games, that is).
For example, the version of Pitfall II found here (S.O.S.) looks better than the official version.

MicroHobby Cassette 05 is a good example of what I'm talking about.

Chaos, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

Couldn't agree more with other users.
A brilliantly addictive game, that even with simple looking graphics and a one screen display, turns almost every player into a fan.

4,5 points

Saturno 2, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1986 MicroHobby (Spain)
by David Calandra Reula

I think this is the prettiest, best designed Basic language game I ever played and it also plays pretty good. It reminds of Nodes of Yesod, probably where it got it's inspiration. Nuestros Hermanos, the Spanish, really go for looks. I hope their women are equally astonish (which I know they are). ;)

Neighbours, 28 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1992 Impulze (UK)

How do you attract soap opera fans, which are mainly women, and kids who hate the same soap operas, to buy and play the same game? Well, just write a racing game, including all the goodies, like skates, bike, etc and call it... "Neighbours".

Supposedly, the game is about the kids cast. So that may explain the racing theme. It's not a bad idea, simply it has nothing to do with soap operas.

Nonetheless, despite the obvious naggings about how the game is outdated, how unstable the gameplay is or what's up with the theme, the game is quite amusing and addictive. For a short while, sure, it looks more like an 1985 game and plays as such. But it still delivered a few good playing moments to me.

Alien, 28 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

1986 Your Sinclair (UK)
by Stewart Green

Published as a type-in in YS, this is actually a quite nice, although primitive, shoot-em-up, with a few fun sound fx's and unusual energy pills.
Later the author with enhance the game up a bit with the name Space Fright.

Space Fright, 28 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

1986 Data Design Systems (UK)
by Stewart Green

This is basically the same as Alien, by the same author, but with a few enhancements in the game play and with a loss in the overall atmosphere, which I find much cuter in Alien.

D.N.A. Warrior, 28 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

1989 Cascade Games Ltd (UK)
by Stewart Green, S.W. Scott, Nigel Pritchard and Alan Jones

This is by far the worst horizontal shoot 'em-up I've played. It looks pretty, but plays amazingly awful. It's painfully slow and hitting any enemies is a frustrating business. Why would you even think of releasing this is beyond me... well, the answer may be it would sell reasonably well, one glance at the pictures in the inlay and you would feel inclined in trying it. Don't!

Helter Skelter, 29 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1991 Audiogenic Software Ltd (UK)
by David Leitch & David Whittaker

Not bad, but the ball is too hard to control, it seems to have a life of it's own, unlike other games including balls. I'm not sure if it's for my lack of skills (probably is!) or just bad programming.

Turrican II, 30 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

At first, I really disliked this game, colour clashing is everywhere and firing does not accurately hit opponents as it should. But after submerging myself into the game, it started to became more addictive. There are a few mazes and platforms to get around, which are kind of nice. But the main problems still persist, although not entirely along the game, with a few areas not being so affected by color "explosions". However, like with the prequel, it's too jerky, confusing and inaccurate to my likings.

Turrican, 30 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1990 Rainbow Arts (UK)
by Daren White and Jason Green

Somehow I always felt that this game was written in Basic and then speeded up in code. Well, it ain't Basic and you can surely play it, alright. But frankly, there are literally dozens of other games I would prefer. Movement is too jerky and crude to my likings.

I admit it's addictive and enjoyable enough, just not for me. I was hoping that by 1990, the programming techniques would be better. It's impossible not to compare this with Exolon, for instance, and not raise an eyebrow with discontent.

Eskimo Eddie, 30 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1984 Ocean Software Ltd (UK)
by Christian Urquhart, Nick Pierpoint and F. D. Thorpe

This was my second Pengo game on the Speccy. And again I felt cheated. You see, I was a fanatic of the arcade game and although I wasn't expecting an exact port of the original, at least I was expecting the same addictiveness. But no, It hasn't. Unfortunately Pengo never got the deserved conversion it should, which is a pity, really. On the other hand, Eskimo Eddie is still a fairly good clone, better than Pengy from 1983, but spoiled by the Frogger level at the beginning, which is useless (this is Pengo, not Frogger) and too long, although cute, I must say.

Predator, 30 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

1987 Activision Inc (UK)
by James Fisher

A major disappointment to everyone I know who played it. This time I think it's very fair to say the game is all looks but no gameplay. Starts with a loading sequence completely annoying and every time you lose a life and want to go back and play, you have to rewind the tape somewhere to the middle of it and wait about 15 seconds to finished that "awesome" intro... again. If only the game was any good...

The game by itself, is too confusing. You go around like a blind bat trying to figure out what to do. Then when you find out, you have to deal with the slowness of everything, bad key response (or maybe just slow) and with an unfair difficulty level.
Backgrounds and overall sprites are very nice, bla, bla, bla, let's face it, this was just Activision milking on a successful tie-in license.

Predator 2, 30 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1991 Image Works (UK)
by John Wildsmith and Alan Tomkins

I'm not sure what to think about this game. I hate targeting games a la Operation Wolf, I find them boring and repetitive. But, hey, no one is forcing me to play them, right? Well, to be impartial, I can only say this is another cheap, slightly above average, clone of Operation Wolf (so much for impartiality). It doesn't look particularly good and adds nothing new to the genre.

Sir Lancelot, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

1984 Melbourne House (UK)
by Stephen Cargill, Ian Piumarta and Arnie

Not the prettiest platform game around, but one of the most addictive, that's for sure.
I wonder what it would have looked like if this was written for the 48K.

Space Jack, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

1988 The Power House (UK)
by Simon Morris

The infamous Power House, of SQIJ fame, released some of the worst games you could release. Some are not so bad, only too outdated for the year of release.
Space Jack is like many, a mistake. It looks like an 1983 game, but plays like someone is stepping on the gas pedal hurrying looking for a toilet.
If only it played slower it could have been a bit better, and still I not too sure, 'cause I couldn't complete more than one minute of the game!

1,5 points

Oblivion, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

1986 Alpha-Omega Software (UK)
by Simon Morris

Not a badly written side scrolling shooter, technically speaking, but too outdated for 1986 and very very repetitive.

Hercules, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1986 Alpha-Omega Software (UK)
by John White and Ayyaz Mahmood

Hercules looks like an 16K game, and despite not being a pretty looking game, I kind of like the unusual of it all.
As a game it may unnerve several players, because when you run out of time, hit an enemy or a fire platform the levels end abruptly, and rapidly start the next Herculean task without any warning. Don't despair, this is part of the game, and adds longevity to it, making it hard to memorize sequences and on the long run, making the game always a challenge.
I completely recommend this to any one who loves platform games, if you have the patience, it's very addictive, believe me.

Note: In some versions, to start the game, press Caps Shift and P at the same time.

Seahawk, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1990 Atlantis Software (UK)
by Graham Shaw, David Shaw and Adrian Shaw

The game started promising, with cute war actions (war shouldn't be cute, but that's the advantage of gamez), but I soon gave up on account of the weird control of the plane. I rather be playing Harrier Attack all over again.

Jolly Roger, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1986 Video Vault Ltd (UK)
by Barry Jones

I'm not sure if this game was written in Basic, but it looks like so. And along with Alcatraz I and II by Barry Jones, well, like with all Barry Jones games, good ideas turn into boring, sleepy moments. I really wanted to like almost all his games, because they all look cute, with nice ideas, but unfortunately they are are painfully slow, and that, of course, kills the mood most of the times. Jolly Roger ain't different. But it is still a nice entertaining piece of software with a cute pirate atmosphere to it, worthy of checking out.

Cannibal Island, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1986 Live Wire Software (UK)
by Barry Jones

Another game from the author of Alcatraz. It reminds a bit Jolly Roger by the same author and it plays in a similar way. I'm not sure if this game was written in Basic, but it looks like so. And along with Alcatraz I and II by Barry Jones, well, like with all Barry Jones games, good ideas turn into boring, sleepy moments. I really wanted to like almost all his games, because they all look cute, with nice ideas, but unfortunately they are are painfully slow, and that, of course, kills the mood most of the times. Cannibal Island ain't different. But it is still a nice entertaining piece of software with a cute Robinson Crusoe theme, worthy of checking out.

Hypertron, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1987 Scorpio Gamesworld (UK)
by Barry Jones

Hypertron is a re-release and updated version, which I prefer best, of Valley of the Dead, by the same author. It's one of the few action games by Barry Jones and a real test on the nerves.

Valley of the Dead, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1985 Pocket Money Software (UK)
by Barry Jones

One of the few action games by Barry Jones and a real test on the nerves.

Electro, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

1984 5D Software (UK)
by S. McKenzie

One screen maze game made complicated by a sequence of moves needed to perform, before heading for the goal. It has a gigantic retro feel to it, but not a good one.
1984 5D Software (UK)
R. Massey (Paintcraze) and Clifford Brookes

Three funny games, all written in Basic, except for Paintcraze. Paintcraze is a simplified clone of Painter.
Battle of Broken Bridge is Blitz all over again, but with a twist, very worth of checking out. And Icarus Igginbotham (nice name, yuk!) is and avoid hitting obstacules game, where you play Iggy and try to avoid the sun, birds, etc while heading for a safe land.

1,5 points for each

Icarus Igginbotham, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

1984 5D Software (UK)
by Clifford Brookes

Icarus Igginbotham is an avoid hitting obstacles game, where you play Iggy and try to avoid the sun, birds, etc, while heading for a safe land. The idea is quite original and to be fair, very playable. But after a fair amount of landings the game loses interest.tc while heading for a safe land.

The Battle of Broken Bridge, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

1984 5D Software (UK)
by Clifford Brookes

Battle of Broken Bridge is Blitz all over again, but with a twist, very worth of checking out.

1,5 points

Paintcraze!, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

1984 5D Software (UK)
by R. Massey

A very basic Painter clone. Not bad, but not good either, only for die hard fans.

Castle Quest, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1984 Scorpio Gamesworld (UK)
by Barry Jones

One of the first efforts from Barry Jones, the author of Alcatraz. He made several games like this one and although this is not the most original, it's the one I most like to play, together with the looney Happy Hour. I'm not sure if this game was written in Basic, but it looks like so. And along with Alcatraz I and II by Barry Jones, well, like with all Barry Jones games, good ideas turn into boring, sleepy moments. I really wanted to like almost all his games, because they all look cute, with nice ideas, but unfortunately they are are painfully slow, and that, of course, kills the mood most of the times. Castle Quest ain't different. But it is still a nice entertaining piece of software, worthy of checking out.

The Colditz Story, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

1987 Atlantis Software (UK)
by Barry Jones

Technically The Colditz Story is a bad example of programming, but manages to be an entertaining fun game. The idea is simple and easy. Escaping Colditz Castle. If it seems easy, think twice, 'cause it ain't. There are several strategic moves to perform and some mini action games interluding. The action mini-games are quite cute, and some are fun to play, others are a bit annoying.
But overall this is an all together fun game.

2003, 01 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

1984 DK'Tronics (UK)
by Chris Fayers

The weakest release by DK'Tronics. Already outdated in 1984, even releasing it earlier would have had poor playing appeal. The menu driven options are not the best for text adventures, even those inspired by board games.

Mini-Putt, 01 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

1988 Accolade Inc (UK)
by Chris Fayers

Mini Putt was written by the author of the unloved Uchi Mata. Unfortunately Chris is not the most well credited programmer around. Well, maybe he doesn't deserve much credit, looking at his games. Maybe, besides Uchi Mata, which is in fact a good game, just not understood, every other game he wrote are painful experiences both to the wallet and to the player himself. Mini Putt is no different. A bland game, hard to play, hard to finalize and hard to look at. It's redeemed only by the two player option.
Thankfully, Chris is now much better at writting games: www.fayersbespoke.com

End Zone, 01 Aug 2013 (Rating: 1)

1987 Alternative Software (UK)
by Richard Stevenson and Paul Bellamy

Very basic Rubgy management game. It plays similar to any Football strategy game, but with a few changes so to match the sport. This could be about any team sports that uses a scorer, really. Very few options available and the one's there are too basic.

1,5 points

Gunboat, 01 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

1987 Piranha (UK)
by Five Ways Software

I really tried to like this game, I like the looks of it, I like the idea behind it and the firing seems fun, but with just one life and with such a hard boat to control is hardly any joy, at all.

Viaje al Centro de la Tierra, 01 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

1989 Topo Soft (Spain)
by Carlos Arias, Rafael Rodriguez, Alfonso Borro, ACE, T.P.M. and Antonio Moya

One of the best Spanish games around, very pretty looking and with a fairly good gameplay.
Our player still moves in squares rather than pixels (so common in Spanish games), so to maintain the colors in place, thankfully this doesn't affect much the overall gameplay, as with so many Spanish games. The game is comprised in at least 5 different levels, all very different. In some, the rough movement might pose as a problem.

The best part of the game for me is the underground maze. Very pretty looking, with nice coloring and a great atmosphere. The other levels are OK too, even the annoying first level, which in my view, should never be placed as a first level. I bet a lot of players never passed it because of it's difficulty and never got to see the wonderful following levels. Like the delightful dinosaurs scenes, for instance. Great to look at, and fun to play.

4,5 points

Soldier of Light, 02 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

1988 ACE Software (UK)
by Christian Urquhart and Doc

I've seen worst side scrolling shoot 'em up's and I've seen way better. So this game falls below the average category to me. There are a few simple tweaks here and there that would have turned this into a proper conversion, like less monochromatic coloring and the saturated backgrounds which blends into the characters, or the slow and somewhat jerky movements. But it's still fun enough for a few plays

2,5 points

Advanced Soccer Simulator, 02 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

1989 Mastertronic Plus (UK)
by Steven Hannah

ASS plays averagely well, it's fast and doesn't waste time in 'please wait' messages, it takes you straight into action! Uh...
ASS delivers some nice action scenes and scores lots and lots of goals!! Mmmh...
ASS has some nice good looking forms and shapes, full of options to entertain you fingers with! Wow!

ASS is in fact a nice football strategy game.
Were you thinking of something else? Oh, you dirty mind...


3,5 points

Chip's Challenge, 02 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

1990 US Gold (UK)
by Tony Mack, Adam Clarke and Dave Whittaker

Well, here is a great chance to use the idiom 'Don't judge a book by its cover'.
Chip's Challenge is an ugly game to look at, but it's lots of fun to play.
Try it for yourself.

Speedboat Assassins, 02 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

1989 Mastertronic Plus (UK)
by Danny Whelan and Ben Jackson

I'm quite happy with this game. It as plenty of action placed in a different environment from usual, plays very well, looks good and is very engaging.
The initial level reminds me of the bay area where I live, without the London buildings, of course.

4,5 points

3D Pinball, 02 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

There is nothing wrong with a pinball game, but I always thought a bit absurd to play it in a computer game.
3D Pinball is an above average pinball game, with everything in place and a nice 3D feel to the table, but somehow a bit uninspiring.

3,5 points

Buran, 02 Aug 2013 (Rating: 1)

Awful outdated game, even the controls are awkward.

City Slicker, 02 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

1986 Hewson Consultants (UK)
by Steve Marsden and David Cooke

At this point in '86 people were feed up with adventure platform games and JSW clones. So City Slicker was doomed from the beginning. I like to rate games as if I still was 13 and back in the 80's. So glancing at CS my first impressions are OK. The presentation is nice, graphics are cartoonish and unusual and averagely done and I like the animations. Colour is well used throughout the game with no clashing problems. The story (some Abru Cadabbra bomber who wants to blow up parts of London) is well integrated in the gameplay, although this sort of games gets mostly the same treatment time after time, no matter what the story may be. If you played one you played them all. But the overall result is kind of nice. So for anyone who enjoys this sort of games it will for sure entertain you.
But be prepared for a hard game which I thing would have detract me from playing it back then as I'm sure did with a lot of potential players.

Abu Simbel Profanation, 02 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

1985 Dinamic Software (Spain)
by Victor Tejedor, Florentino Pertejo, Santiago Morga and Snatcho

Perhaps the best Spanish game ever written on the Speccy, at least I think so.
It's as hard as any game by our Spaniard friends, but a lot smoother and playable.
The main character is kind of funny and the animation quite good, but he looks completely different from his previous adventures.
If the game was a little easier I would rate it higher, instead I think a 4 is better suitable.

Rockfall, 03 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

Boulder Dash in slightly different clothes. Good for lovers of the original game, featuring lots of new levels, but useless of haters.

3,5 points

Countdown to the Death, 03 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

1990 Crash (UK)
by Mario de Paula Leite Gouvea

Brazilian Mario Gouvea made a very good rendition of Hangman, packed with several other classic puzzle games and a version of Breakout. All games are very playable, but nothing much technically. However I just love this version of Hangman, even if a bit on the easy side.

Bite the Dust, 03 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

1988 Crash (UK)
by John Armstrong

Another clone for Boulder Dash and a very uninteresting one. The character is alright with a fun look, but the game itself is a bit on the slow side and falls short compared to others.

A Whole New Ball Game, 03 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

1989 Crash (UK)
by Pete Cooke

This is in fact A Whole New Ball Game indeed and a brilliant idea. It resembles Costa Panayi's Deflektor but with a few differences and with the use of a ball. If the game was proper released by a major software house with brand new and redesigned graphics and good sound fx's I think it would have gone a lot further, even so it's very well rated on WOS. Highly recommended.

Bumpy, 03 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

1989 Loriciels (France)
by Luis Jorge Garcia and J250

Very nice idea. Jump around while collect objects that allow you to pass certain paths and deal with some nasties, platforms or environments. Sounds like an all seen before game, but it isn't. Beware not to get stuck in some areas, and if so, wait a few moments, before resetting.

Chinese Juggler, 04 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

Has an event in some weird sports competition, this would have been quite good. But as a whole single game it's obviously weak and lacks longevity, unless, of course, you like to repeat the same task over and over again, if so, maybe a job in some assembly line is something to consider.

Sum Scruncher, 05 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

1983 Longman Software (UK)
by Tony Poulter

A nice maths action game for kids. The arcade part is very simple but adds a bit of excitement for an otherwise boring school activity.

Robot Runner, 05 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

1984 Longman Software (UK)
by Tony Poulter

Another numbers game for kids by the same author of Braxx Bluff. The idea is quite original and fun and a great way for kids to learn the multiplication tables.

10th Frame, 06 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

1987 US Gold (UK)
by John Prince and Donald Campbell

I have a copy of this game somewhere. It was one of the last games I've played in my golden Spectrum years.
The game looks quite good, the few animations in the game are quite nice and realistic. But the gameplay fails on that same realism, because the physics of the pins after being knocked out, aren't accurate, so don't expect a good bowling simulation. Instead you get a good virtual bowling game which gets a bit boring in the slower parts (when the pins are reset, for instance) but fun in the few action moments.

Alien Storm, 06 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

1991 US Gold (UK)
by Doug Anderson

An average conversion done apparently by just one bloke. It's pretty nice, with some awesome sprites, but somehow it doesn't make me tick. The black/white monochromatic colors which are always a complaint and never fun, do their job quite efficiently, but do not brighten my day.

3,5 points

Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom, 07 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

1985 US Gold (UK)
by F. David Thorpe

Buck Rogers is not by any means a bad game, it's a bit outdated for 1985 and lacks longevity by the simplicity of the whole game. It's fun for a few plays, specially for younger audiences, but not for everyone. As a conversion it looks very similar to the original, within of course the Spectrum limitations, but as a playing game it lacks the adrenaline provided on the arcades. Feels a bit amateurish and without much depth.
This seems to be the only game written by the author who got famous mostly for designing loading screens. I wonder if he would became better at it if he persisted. Maybe F.D.THorpe got aware of what he was best at and stuck with it.

Killed Until Dead, 07 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

1987 US Gold (UK)

A very good conversion of a brilliant detective game. It's completely different from the rest I've seen before and very captivating. The object of the game is to prevent a murder to happen, to do so you must use your detective brain together with high surveillance technology such as monitors, tapes, etc. There are other options such as the break-in room option which happens successful after you answer a trivia question about murder series and movies.
The game is very deep and requires dedication, but it's also very addictive, and a lot of fun, with a good sense of humor and other engaging details.

Buggy Boy, 08 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

I'm not sure if I like the colored sprite representing the buggy, it looks a bit messy. The game on the other hand plays very well, it's a bit confusing at first, but turns into some enjoyable driving after a few plays.

Joe Blade II, 08 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

1988 Players Software (UK)
by Colin Swinbourne, Mike Brown, Andrew Severn, Kevin Parker and Simon Daniels


I think Joe Blade II is a bit better programmed than the previous effort. It's noticeable in the way Joe jumps, which is much more natural.
The game play's the same as in every Joe Blade, but with a few differences. There is no shooting at the start, you can only kill opponents while jumping and there are a series of mini games every time you come into contact with the man dressed with the greatcoat (which looks like Gargamel from the Smurfs). My advise is not to touch this man often, unless you perfectly control the sub games, because they are very hard to play and once you lose against the clock, you lose the game.
The game always reminds of Death Wish 3, but a little bit more straight forward. It can became very addictive if you like this sort of games, where mapping, shooting, collecting and making puzzles (I'm not sure if the prequel had any), is all around.

Oh, and by the way, what a great loading screen... the best I've seen.

Joe Blade, 08 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

1987 Players Software (UK)
by Colin Swinbourne, Martin Severn and Gari Biasillo

There are a few games like Joe Blade around, so nothing new comes out of it. However this still manages to stand out from the crowd for me. The "invisible" shooting, for instance is a great idea, and very easy to implemented (for the joy of the programmers, of course).
There is nothing tremendously special about this title or any Joe Blade title for that matter, but they are still very engaging and addictive, even if a bit repetitive at times. This reminds me a lot of Death Wish 3, by the way, even the shooting is similar.

Lop Ears, 08 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

1991 Players Software (UK)
by Paul Griffiths, Mike, Russell Newman and Sonic Graffiti

I found Lop Ears a really interesting title. Graphically it's quite good, the characters are all well designed and animated. Of course, games like this have already been written many times, from the Wally series to Spellbound, you change the clothes but the idea remains the same. It's still quite a nice game to play if you're into this sort of adventures were objects play a major role.

The Duct, 08 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

1988 Gremlin Graphics Software Ltd (UK)
by David Pridmore

Not a bad vector game, but I felt I was shooting at random and getting points by luck. I wish the programmer came up with clearer enemies and fire.

Assault Course, 08 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

1990 Players Premier (UK)
by Brian Cross, Sonic Graffiti, Andrew Severn and Michael Sanderson

The game looks worst than what actually plays. It's not a bad Combat School clone, but the monochromatic yellow graphics and the ugly blending background really spoil things a bit for me.

2,75 points

Ice Breaker, 08 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

1990 Topo Soft (Spain)
by Gabriel Ortas, Rafael Cabrera, Antonio Moya and Alfonso Borro

There is nothing wrong with this game if you like racing games and/or shoot 'em-ups. Take your bobsleigh and go make a mess of that track!

3,5 points

Buriabeast, 08 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

1984 Kerian UK Ltd (UK)
by Matthew Dowell

A weak version of Panic, with a hero wearing Miner Willy's body but head switched.

Meltdown, 08 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

1984 Kerian UK Ltd (UK)
by Matthew Dowell

A sort of Jet Set Willy on jet pack, catch objects type of game. It's not bad, simply a bit boring and outdated even for 1984 standards and a bit on the slow side. But it's a fun game if you like this sort of pastime.

Popeye 3: Wrestle Crazy, 09 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

1992 Alternative Software (UK)
by Richard Stevenson and Paul Bellamy

A low way to milk some money from Popeye fans with a poor wrestling game which as absolutely nothing to do with the comic books. Thankfully the prequels are way better.

The Bounty Hunter, 09 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

1989 Code Masters (UK)
by Jason Falcus, Adrian Ludley and Lyndon Sharp

The Bounty Hunter is a nice Gun Smoke clone. Nothing new or special, but not bad either. It includes three types of levels that repeat each with a different background/color layout for each different criminal to be caught. Part two sees you mounted on a horse shooting bad guys out of the windows of a moving train. Part three is a clone of the classic Boot Hill, but even more basic and without the wagon in the middle.
If you like Desperado, Who Dares Wins 2 or Commando, you will enjoy this for sure, although I prefer the other games much more.

3,5 points

Bouncing Bomb: Redux, 10 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

2012 Retroleum (UK)
by Phil Ruston

It's always nice to read other peoples reviews and see how similar they feel to a game like I do.
It's consensual how this sort of games get's so incredibly frustrating, specially at a point (I only got to level 9, after that I had no more nails to bite). Manic Miner was the first game to which I felt like this, and still is, I'm afraid, but it's a game where you can also feel incredibly proud of yourself once you finally past that dreadful impossible level, (sometimes after decades of playing!). BB Redux is no different. Personally I think the game is less harder than, for instance, Mathew Smiths games. It's very well programmed, plays smoothly and it's a step further from the 1986 version. It gets very addictive after a few plays if taken, of course, with a slice of patience. It's a rule. Decathlon required strong fingers (and a bit of cash to substitute malfunction keyboards), Pheenix required speed and good reflexes, well Manic Miner and all it's variants, like BB Redux, requires nerves of steel, patience and a good book from the beloved Dalai Lama about the benefits of Meditation.

4,5 points

RoboCop, 10 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

1988 Ocean Software (UK)
by Mike Lamb, Dawn Drake, Jonathan Dunn and Bill Harbison

After Green Beret I was unable to enjoy properly any other shoot 'em up. They all looked inferior in gameplay. Of course Robo Cop is an excellent side shmup, but there are so many other similar games that would be unfair to give it a high rate just based on that.
However, what makes this game stand out from the rest of the side scrolling shot 'em up's, is the different levels which come with game. Once you get to explore the game properly you soon discover this is not just another shot 'em up. For example, you get to play a puzzle sort of level called 'photo ID', which really uplifts the game, because it's such a great idea and an unusual one in a game like this, and breaks the routine of pressing fire most of the time. The hostage scene is also great ,and there are other great bits and bobs to the game. Summing up, Robo Cop gains more points from me as a whole, rather than for the most popular level , which I think is good, but nothing too special.

4,5 points

Galaxy Defence, 12 Aug 2013 (Rating: 1)

1983 Cascade Games (UK)
by Matthew Lewis and Ernest Lewis

Claimed by the author as the best game in the Cassette 50 compilation.Well, I must say I almost agree with him. The game itself has a funny and interesting story about a boy and his father and their adventures in the games industry world (where sharks have always swimmed).

Read it here:

http://pixelatron.com/blog/cassette-50-the-interview/

Invasion of the Zombie Monsters, 12 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

2010 Relevo (Spain)
by Jon & Kepa Abraido, Sergio Martinez, Eduardo Petrus, Francisco Pena, Jose Maso and Gominolas.

As a Ghost 'N Goblins clone IotZM is quite nice, but it doesn't play as near as good. Well, maybe I'm exaggerating, but I'm not the biggest supporter of square movement, even if that leads to the use of monochromatic tones to avoid color clash. That usually means jerky movements, which aren't fun in a game. But I must admit it's a lot smoother than the Spanish games of the time. The graphics aren't also my cup of tea, only average, even with all the fancy coloring around. Of course, this is just my opinion. Overall it's an enjoyable, fairly easy to play game.

Bodorrio Real, 13 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

2004 Beyker Soft (Spain)
by Sergio Vaquer Montes

I'm having a hard time playing the game, the keys up, down and fire don't seem to work, nonetheless the game's idea seems quite nice, even if written in BASIC.

Artist 2K4, 13 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

2004 by Mauricio Munoz Lucero (Spain)

Weird idea based on a paint tool.
The judgement part is the best. Totally appropriate for the Boda Real compo.

S.A.M. Simulator Boda Revenge, 13 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

2004 by Miguel Angel Garcia Prada (Spain)

Not original at all, at least regarding the contest, but it's a fine Space Invaders/Blitz BASIC game.

Bomber, 13 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

1985 Global Games (UK)
by Derek and Catriona Glen

Wow, this fine Blitz clone (I'm serious!) even comes with a virtual 4 page instructions. I'm dazzled!

Bomber, 13 Aug 2013 (Rating: 1)

1984 by Grisewood & Dempsey Ltd (UK)

An example game for beginners on how to program.
Well at least the plane doesn't just wrap around the screen, instead it moves back and forth. It's unusual and nice for a change.

PS: About my 1 point rating: not awful just too basic

Dynamite Dan, 13 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

1985 Mirrorsoft (UK)
by Rod Bowkett

You could call Dynamite Dan a Jet Set Willy clone, after all, most of the original elements are here, but that would be a tad unfair. Dynamite Dan is probably the best use of the JSW idea there is, true, but there is more to the game than what meets the eye. In fact it's filled with much more content than the assumed inspiration.

Instead of just collecting items, for example, DD forces you to run around screens, while collecting sticks of dynamite to blow up the safe where your girlfriend is trapped (the main goal). You can also catch weapons to destroy some evildoers on your way or food to help you in your quest. There are lots of features like teleports, trampolines, elevators, tightropes and even a river where you can navigate using a raft.

It's not an easy game, au contraire, I think it's even harder than JSW (maybe good news for die hard JSW fans), and there is always the infinite lives pokes option available. Difficult or not, original or not, in the end it's a highly playable and great fun game. One of the best I've seen and played on the Speccy.

Lone Wolf - The Mirror of Death, 13 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

1991 Audiogenic Software (UK)
by Gary Patchen, David Whittaker, Jeremy Nelson and Ian Upton

This is the third game of the series. And this time Five Ways software had no saying in the making of this game, and thus explaining why the game spins in such a different record. Nonetheless Lone Wolf 3 continues the saga of Joe Dever and Gary Chalk's books, but with a lot more action.

The game is slow, maybe due to the large sprites and overall happenings, which isn't much of an excuse 'cause I've seen games like Exolon or Cybernoid play faster and with large sprites too. Maybe removing the frame around the playing area, which has animations and other relatively useless stuff, would pump up the speed of the game.
Anyway, Lone Wolf 3 plays very well, and the game's goal, which is fairly straight forward, really makes the game very addictive and worthwhile.

I couldn't stop feeling I was playing Bruce Lee all over again, even if the two don't match well. Maybe due to the action itself, like jumping to avoid sharp things or to cross to another side or because of the fighting sequences, I guess.

What I can say is that the game is much more than what initially looks and feels. It's heavy, it's slow but it's also quite entertaining once you start moving around.

Exterminator, 13 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

1991 Audiogenic Software (UK)
by Keith Burkhill, Herman Serrano and David Whittaker

Exterminator places you inside the body of a pest control man, and like any good simulator you get a view of the action from the users perspective. This way you get to live the life of such professional (Yes! Just what I always dreamed of!).

The simulator is limited to the use of your hands only, (yup, you're alive, but no kicking allowed!). You can smash things up, shoot to kill, slap, etc, but no kicking or headbutting, shame...
There isn't also no 'classic' exterminator goodies to use, like pesticide guns or rat traps, instead you only shoot some kind of laser from your index finger, like when playing Space Invaders.

The arcade version was very good, with clear well defined and realistic graphics, maybe the reason I never fancied it much, it missed the cartoonish feel I so much like in games.
The Speccy version is very faithful to the original and very playable with good presentation, jamming sounds and with lots of action to keep you pumping adrenalin.

Mega Bucks, 14 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

1986 Firebird Software (UK)
by Ivan Horn, Andrew Deakin and M.B.D.

It's pretty obvious were the Mega Bucks author got his inspirations from. I really think the merging of the Wally Week series with the Magic Knight games really paid off. But at a budget price it wasn't mega bucks for sure. Instead, for any lucky player who got a copy and is a fan of the genre, the game really pays off.

Colour is all around, which is a good thing, but there is also much color clashing present. The graphics are only average, a little below the Magic Knight's games, which I never fancied much, but not as good as the brilliant funny characters in Everyone' a Wally, for instance.

Now, about the game itself, if you played any of the above mentioned games, you know what you are getting into. Probably not so evident for the Wally Week gamers, which is much more of an action game. There is no jumping option, for instance. Instead you pretty much collect/swap/negotiate objects like in Spellbound or Knight Tyme. The puzzles are all well thought out and are very entertaining to mess with, with a few surprises here and there. For a budget price title under 2 Bucks this is a Mega game.

Knight Driver, 14 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

1984 Hewson Consultants (UK)
by Clive Brooker

Yes, Knight Driver is a real pain in the neck.. .
It's very, very hard to keep the car straight without continuously crashing into something. It's not a fun game for the impatience player. I'm even inclined in rating the game with a 1, but I know there is something more to the game once you dominate the driving.

D-Day, 16 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

1984 Games Workshop (UK)
by Demented Den, The Major, Macabre Mick and Einstein

I still remember vividly trying to play this game and never succeed. Well, the reason why is because this game is only for two players! I knew it could be played by two, but I always thought it had a computer-against option.

Anyway, as a strategy war game in 1984 this was very good. There weren't many like this, besides the classic Stonkers and a few others. And they were all a bit too amateurish or simple in play. Sort of speaking, D-Day polished what Stonkers had initially pioneered. It's not the prettiest game, graphics are only symbolic, but let's be frank, what more do you need to play a game like this? Of course, with a bit more glitter here and there, this would have been bigger. That happened later, eventually, with Rebelstar and others.

The game as a few very useful functions, like the option of auto-deployment of forces, which is always irksome but turns out to be a great help. Of course, this is mostly good for a quick play, and not so for serious challenges. The cursor selection system is also very functional.

By 1984 there wasn't any better games for fans or experts of military strategy, D-Day comprises the essential features, and 4 great scenarios on WWII history. Terrain is filled with natural and man-made obstacles and pushes your thought to come up with solutions never before seen this complex.

For example, in Stonkers, the battle mainly happened in the surroundings of the bridge, which is a natural choke point in real military, but the lack of variety besides that, made the game's long term appeal short.

If D-Day allowed challenges against the computer, I think it would be much more remembered nowadays and maybe even a classic. Just for that omission and the long fastidious loading routine, I will rate it with just a 4.

Pit-Fighter, 16 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

1991 Domark Ltd (UK)
by Jonathan Broggy and Matt Furniss

Due to the Spectrum limitations this is quite a good conversion. Yes, the movement is jerky, but so is the arcade original. If the objective was to be faithful to it, then they succeeded. But by no means turned it into a pleasant experience.

The blue colour on our fighter is a color clashing torment, which doesn't help either. But there are a few technical features which I find really nice, like the way you interact with the audience and the perspective views. And again, this is accurate to the arcade, but not enough to make it pleasant.

It's not all bad, as a beat 'em up it's entirely playable, but frankly there are dozens of better games.

The Trap Door, 16 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

1986 Piranha (UK)
by Don Priestley

For me Popeye is Don's Masterpiece, but The Trap Door comes right in second place. The game is just another genius work by one of the best programmers on the Spectrum. It's not just pretty and graphically accurate, it's also very faithful to the weirdness of the TV Show.

The tasks Berk has to perform are delightfully funny and freakish at the same time. And are always a surprise to my eyes, even after all these years.
There are few games so whimsical and quaint for this machine.

I'm sure a lot of 'grown up's' and adolescents let this game pass by because of the idea that it was a child's game. Boy, were they wrong! If you belonged to this group, please give the game a try and tell me (and other reviewers), if I'm wrong. Believe me, you won't regret it.

Hard to believe this game was written by just one man.

Through the Trap Door, 16 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

1987 Piranha (UK)
by Don Priestley

Through the Trap Door is the fantastic sequel to the also genius piece of software named after the TV series.
If you're familiar with the first game, you won't need much preparation of explanations, it plays the same as the first and only with a few welcome upgrades.
Of course, the challenge is different, so be prepared for more odd humour and bizarre scenarios.

This time you must free Boni, who was kidnapped, and sent 'Down Below'. With so many nasties to dodge from and to kick away, it's no surprise the game feels a bit more arcade action than the prequel. But the puzzles are still the core of the game and will not disappoint fans.
No need for more introductions, just play the game.

Atom Ant, 16 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

1990 Hi-Tec Software (UK)
by Andrew Swann, Peter Tattersall and Sean Conran

Pretty entertaining rendition of HB's Atom Ant cartoons. I think the series of games based on HB classics were released a bit too late. The Spectrum gold era had already passed and this cartoons were already a bit too dated. Nonetheless they were still popular and the idea proved good. Atom Ant plays quite nice and it's very enjoyable. I know I would have liked it if it was released around 1985. It's impossible, of course, not to compare the game to Bomb Jack, although the two in the end don't match well.

Chevy Chase, 17 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

1991 Hi-Tec Software (UK)
by Nigel Speight and Pete Frith

Excellent racing game. It has been a long time since I enjoyed a racing game on the Spectrum this much. It reminds me a lot of Out Run, not as pretty, but pretty good, and even better, I think. The car moves very smoothly, speed is very realistic and the difficulty level is reasonably so to keep the game addictive. If only the tracks had more variety this would be a full 5 for me.

Captain Planet, 17 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

1991 Mindscape International (UK)
by David Perry and Nick Bruty

It's impossible not to notice the pretty looking graphics and the glittering colors flying everywhere, while you perform another tedious job of getting the Universe rid of a megalomaniac tyrant. But in the end I just feel like I've been there, done that. There is nothing specially remarkable about the game. It's just another colourful side scrolling shoot 'em up with only 3 levels of play and no special obstacles to surpass. It's like talking to a naked picture of Pamella Anderson. Pretty but shallow.

Captain Slog, 17 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

1986 Alpha-Omega Software (UK)
by David Walton

I would have rated this game with a 3 if it had been released until 1984.
It's similar to Project Future or Psytraxx. Even the objective is similar.
I fancy the simplistic Atic Atac-like graphics, but let's face it, they are pretty crappy for 1986. Mind you, it's not at all a bad game, it's enjoyable enough, but again, had it been released earlier I think it can had been more welcomed.
But after all, at low budget price you couldn't expect much.

PS: I discovered a testing flaw in the game, which basically blocks the passage of our hero, making him stand between walls, without being able to get out. You have to wait until the energy levels wears out, which can take quite a long while.

Captain Pytron, 17 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

1990 Sinclair User (UK)
by New Breed Developments team

I wasn't much impressed with Captain Pytron after my first couple of plays. The sprites are big and colorful but a bit ugly, sounds are basic and the gameplay besides hard is a bit jerky.

But once I got to use objects (space key) and move forward into the core of the game, it started to make more sense. As you've noticed its a side scrolling shot 'em up with a pick-up-and-use-object kind of game, there are a few games like this, but not as many as I would have liked.

A bit of use of the old grey matter may be required, not much, in fact some operations are obvious, but others require a bit more attention to detail. The main problem with the game, besides the apparent mayhem and the bit ugly graphics , is that there is too many enemies appearing at once and that makes it hard to focus on the objects and their purpose, so you end up losing a lot, and restarting all over again, to the point where you lost too many times, unneeded. This makes the game less rewarding and fun than it actually should.

Vampire's Empire, 18 Aug 2013 (Rating: 1)

1988 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)
by Holger Ahrens and Udo Graf

What was wrong with the Gremlin Graphics folks? Was this game worth £8.99 (£12.99 for disk version)?
Not only the game is incredible outdated in almost every aspect, but also badly programmed.
The only thing I like in it is when our character comes falling down the stairs. Someone should have done the same to the original cassette from a 10 storey building flight of stairs.

Rolling Thunder, 19 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

1988 US Gold (UK)
by John Prince, Donald Campbell and Leigh Christian

Although I never liked the arcade version, I really enjoy the Spectrum port.
The movement is a bit jerky, the monochrome scheme is not the best and the graphics could be a little bit more refined, if that makes any sense. But the gameplay is really good and as a platform shoot 'em up it's really exciting. The biggest letdown, however is getting to the start of each level, each time you get killed. That's a big no no.

Galaxy Warlords, 19 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

1983 R&R Software (UK)
by John Prince

It's amazing how many Space Invaders/Galaxian clones exist. When I think I've seen them all, here comes another. This is not the best one I've come across, it looks a bit more fetching than others because of the colorful sized sprites, but as a playing game it's not good fun.

The 'non pixelized' movement makes the action too jerky and too randomly hard. The only redeeming feature is that you can shoot diagonally, but it's kind of hard to get the hang of it, and again a bit too random.

Spinads, 19 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

1983 Dixie Software (UK)
by John Prince

Just guide up and down your Heli while destroying everything that comes your way. Levels seem to be the same from start to finish, but correct me if I'm wrong. Too simple to be enjoyable even for 1983.

Chopper X-1, 19 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

1983 R&R Software Ltd (UK)

This is the same game as Spinads but with a few slightly improvements which are welcome.
But there is not much to the game despite shooting everything that comes your way repetitively.

How to be a Hero, 19 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

1987 Mastertronic Added Dimension (UK)
by Stuart Middleton, Dave Stevenson, Lee Stevenson and Robert Burden

As you can see this is another Gauntlet clone. Comparisons are unavoidable, but I feel this one manages to escape the obvious similarities. On one hand the sprites, which are big(!) and another more importantly is the quest, it's not just about finding keys (or passes) to reach the exit, but also to collect 24 pieces of 'something' (differs depending on the level you play) before you can call it a day (or be a Hero). Of course, there ain't enough to be called original, there isn't anything original about this game, but at least it gives the Gauntlet idea a new dimension.

Tetris 2, 20 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

1990 Fuxoft (Czech)
by Frantisek Fuka

I was never a big fan of Tetris, but after reading other reviewers praise about this version, I decided to give it a shot. And what a game it is...
This is not just the classic Tetris, it includes an optional variant with different obstacles and situations, like brick walls or speeded up levels, among others.
I turned into another Tetris freak and just cant stop playing it! Help!

Tetris, 20 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

1987 Mirrorsoft Ltd (UK)
by Peter Jones and David Whittaker

A very good conversion of the classic game, but somehow didn't convince Tetris fans. The ultra sensitive keys are not a big help, neither are the backgrounds, which although pretty, tend to interfere with the playing area. After playing the multi levels on Tetris 2 I finally convinced myself why the original Tetris game alone would never be good enough for the spectrum, besides as scoring points game. You see, the authors tried to make the game more addictive by making different backgrounds, which act like levels, but then again you can skip each and play whichever you want. So where's the motivation?

3,5 points

Big Baps, 27 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

2007 by Jonathan Cauldwell (UK)

I almost prefer this version to Burger Time, which is one of my favorite games. Jonathan Cauldwell as a natural innate talent for programming. I wish he was around active in the 80's making magic out of bytes. I can only dream of the amazing games he would have wrote.

PAC-TXT, 28 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

2010 Hooy Program and ArSoft Corporation (Poland)
by Factor 6, Mister Beep and Yerzmyey

Who would have thought of a Pac-Man adventure text game where you do exactly the same as in the arcade version, but using words? Not me...
Actually the game is very boring (the third line in the congratulations end screen, states exactly that, no wander), and I'm not seeing many people getting into the game, unless they are die-hard fanatics of adventure texts games or Pac-Maniacs. It's a clever interesting joke on the classic Atari character, but not much more than that.

Jack the Nipper II: In Coconut Capers, 29 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

1987 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)
by Greg Holmes, David Pridmore, Andy Green, Chris Shrigley, Bob Toone, Terry Lloyd and Ben Daglish

No doubt one of the best games ever. It follows the recipe left by Jet Set Willy and perfected in Dynamite Dan, but taken to a step higher. There is the need to swop objects to complete tasks and puzzles like in the Wally series, or pick objects that can help get rid of some baddies, like throwing coconuts.

The humour is still present, but not as naughty as baby Jack had previously accustomed us to. Graphically the game is a true delight, and so is the sounds, tunes and overall atmosphere of the game.

I'm still surprised there weren't any sequels after this, with such an adorable and versatile character, and such good game examples, it would certainly be expected the guys at Gremlin would continue to invest in the whole idea. Go figure...

It's the Wooluf!, 31 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

1984 Crystal Computing (UK)
by Martin Bullar

There are quite a few sheep herding games around, mostly released before 1985. I not quite sure why they became so popular, 'cause they were mainly written in Basic and quite limited in variety. It's a Wooluf brings nothing new to virtual herding, but at least looks prettier and plays a lot better than any I've seen so far, mainly because it's written in machine code. Also the sprites are very cute and I find the presentation quite original and fun.
A pity the Interface 2 type keys, up/down, are swapped.

It's Raining Bombs, 31 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

2005 by Jaime Tejedor Gomez (Spain)

Ok, so I was expecting to see a different Blitz, but that actually never happens. Not a bad clone, though.

Jock and the Time Rings, 04 Sep 2013 (Rating: 2)

1985 Atlantis Software (UK)
by Tim Oldham

A colourful maze game with square looking graphics and a basic plot. Catch every ring scattered around the maze and move forward to the next level.
Despite having a speed key, the game tends to be too slow and thus boring.

Master and Servant, 04 Sep 2013 (Rating: 4)

1985 Atlantis Software Ltd (UK)
by Tim Oldham

Master and Servant is the unreleased sequel to Jock and the Time Rings. It's based around the simon says idea and plays similar to Trapdoor. The master will ask you for a task, which you must accomplish within a time limit.

For what I have been able to see, the tasks are very simple, and basically resumes to getting a particular object issued by the master and get it back to him. But there is also some object swapping to do, door opening and lever pulling.
Although not particularly complex it's a lot more interesting and fun than the prequel and I must admit to have enjoyed it greatly.

Jonah Barrington's Squash, 08 Sep 2013 (Rating: 4)

1985 New Generation Software (UK)
by Malcolm Evans

This is the only squash game I know of. I remember quite distinctively the day I bought it. I asked the store owner what was the game about, and he "duh-ed" me and said "it's a squash game, of course!" Well, I knew nothing about that squashy thing, so I asked him again and he pointed out to a copy of Match Point - "it's like indoor tennis, obviously, don't you know?!" - he said. Well, I was a 10 year old kid and he was about 35, so I shouldn't have felt so ashamed after I gave him this unconvincing response: - Oh yeah, I know what it is, I play it monthly at the gym with a pal... - then payed the game and left.

Moving on, JB's Squash it's not the easiest tennis game, it's harder than Match Point, even in the easiest level, and takes a lot of practice just to keep in the game. After a week or so of continuous play, the hang settles in and the game gets a lot more challenging and fun. I not a fan of the graphics, they look a bit rough on the edges and not very realistic, but work fine. The voice on the scores is a great touch and everyone I knew back then was wowed by it!

Overall, Squash is a really nice game, but very demanding if you wanna win any games, so be prepared to practice a lot.

St. Dragon, 09 Sep 2013 (Rating: 5)

This is quite an impressive shooter. Very challenging and difficult. The long dragon is a good idea, and although I think it could have been improved, it still freshens up the side scrolling shoot-em-up genre. An above average conversion from a Spectrum rookie software house.

4,5 points

1990 Storm Software (UK)
by Andrew Taylor and Shaun McClure
1991 Krisalis Software (UK)
by Shaun Hollingworth, Andy Ware, Neil Adamson and Matt Furniss

I thought Jonah Barrington's Squash was a hard game, but after a quick inspection on JKWCS, I redefined my notion of difficulty straight way. Of course it takes practice to get the hang of it, which I have none at the present moment. And if I not mistaken it's easier than what initially looks and than JB's Squash.
The court angle doesn't help much, despite looking better, it's not the best for this type of game.
But overall, this is a pretty good squash game.

SWIV, 12 Sep 2013 (Rating: 5)

1991 Storm Software (UK)
by Ken Murfitt, Tahir Rashid and Steve Snake

Vertical Silkworm is a high quality shoot-em-up. Very smooth with well defined graphics. Very hard also, but very rewarding after an area is completed. One of the best vertical shmup's I've played so far, although a bit short with only four levels.

River Rescue, 18 Sep 2013 (Rating: 3)

1984 Thorn EMI Video (UK)
by Phil Snell

Never had this game as a kid, but if I had I would probably liked it. It reminds me of an horizontal River Raid, although it plays differently. The speed can be quite furious and hard on the boat's control but adds a bit of adrenalin that River Raid never had.

3,5 points

Road Racer, 18 Sep 2013 (Rating: 2)

1983 Thorn EMI Video (UK)
by Graham Wisdom

I would like to be kind with this '83 release, after all it's just a 16K game, but the game is so clumsy that would be in fact unfair to other better games. Crashing is almost random if you are on the wrong side of the lane and a car comes your way without any warning. And when finishing a race the game restarts again, with the same background and apparently with no changes at all, which really spoils the longevity of the game. Maybe fun in '83 and even so I doubt for much long.

Keys:
6,7 left, right
8,9 speed down,up
2 gear change

Volcanic Planet, 18 Sep 2013 (Rating: 3)

1983 Thorn EMI Video (UK)
by Nick Burroughs

This is a sort of early Gauntlet maze shoot-em-up game. The goal is to place a plasma bomb and destroy the entire race of Zerans. That's the resumed story, the game play is basically running around a maze, destroying everything that moves, catching lifts and energy objects while finding the volcanic plug where to leave the plasma bomb. The action happens quite fast, a bit too fast for the sprites sake, which flicker like mad sometimes. Overall Volcanic Planet is a very good 16k shoot em up maze game with plenty of action.

Gold Rush, 18 Sep 2013 (Rating: 3)

1983 Thorn EMI Video (UK)
by Martin Harris

Quite an original idea, and very challenging, 'cause it gets quite hard and tricky to place the grips without getting smashed or killed in higher levels. It tends to get repetitive after a while, but not by much. It's a very entertaining and unnusual 1983 16K game.

Retrobsesion, 20 Sep 2013 (Rating: 3)

2011 J.B.G.V. (Spain)
by Jose B.

In my eyes this game is intended both as a joke and as a retro journey into the old Spectrum games.
Several well knows characters like Knight Lore's werewolf or Cookie, amongst others, are present.
Initially I didn't thought much about the game. It was just a pleasant reminder of some of my youth years, but after strolling around the map a bit, I soon discover there was a bit more fun to it than what initially looked.

The idea is quite simply and the game guides the player intuitively with a few hints here and there thru out the phases, which makes the tasks really easy to complete. But taken into account that the authors idea was just play around with his (and ours) spectrum heroes, I think he accomplished it quite well.
The game features a few mini-games which are quite fun and turn the whole idea much more interesting and exploring worthy.

As a game I would rate it with a 2, but for the whole idea and making me enjoy myself for a while I rate it with a deserved 3.

Retrobsesion II, 20 Sep 2013 (Rating: 3)

2012 J.B.G.V. (Spain)
by José B.

More of the same game, now with a bigger map, bigger graphics, and with a lot more well known characters as enemies that will surprise some.
I didn't find this game as enjoyable as the first, maybe because it's not a novelty anymore. Also this time the author wanted to do a more serious game (only slightly!) and that takes away some of the humour found in the first game. However, it is bigger, more playable and challenging than the prequel, not by much, because it is still very easy to complete.

VADE RETRO, 20 Sep 2013 (Rating: 3)

2012 J.B.G.V. (Spain)
by José B.


The gameplay is fairly simple: run around a big area catching keys which open doors until you discover an exit that leads you get back to planet Earth to finish the soccer game you were playing.
Yes, you heard it right! And if you haven't played the game, take a closer look to the main character (or just look at the biiig one in the loading screen). Yes, it's one the little Football Manager players!

So you play a soccer player who was captured by aliens while on a soccer field shooting balls. Now you landed on an unknown planet and want to go back.

The plot is quite funny. And there are a few interesting features, like cruising on a sort of space train to get from one area to another. A nice way of merging such an old icon into a maze shoot 'em-up game. It's very playable too, although not that hard, and if this was written in Basic like the author claims, I'm really amazed! With all his games. Wow!

El Hobbit, 20 Sep 2013 (Rating: 3)

2012 J.B.G.V. (Spain)
by José B.

A nice 2012 platform game, with a not so common white colour scheme, which plays in favour of whom knows how to use it right and that as scared so many programmers in the past.
Supposedly written in Basic, which is by itself a feat, this simple game is in fact very addictive and enjoyable despite not adding nothing new to the Spec scene.

Stela, 20 Sep 2013 (Rating: 3)

2012 J.B.G.V. (Spain)
by José B.

No doubt about Stela's originality. But what makes a game interesting is the right dosage of challenging, not too difficult nor too easy, but none of José's games are hard enough to engage the player after the game is complete. I can even say I finished all but two. Don't take me wrong, I like the game, simple graphics but good for it's purposes, nice sounds, cute fx's and another great intro (plus the keys screen which is also very nice). But before level 9 it's so easy, you can even play it while paying more attention to Television. And then again after level 12 it only gets slightly harder and so on. I finished the game in 3 goes. The author even eased things a bit with an array of unnecessary lives to complete the game.
Half of the game almost feels like a scene demo walk thru.

Just for that I will rate it with a 2,5 points.

3 Reyes Magos, 20 Sep 2013 (Rating: 3)

2012 J.B.G.V. (Spain)
by José B.

Graphically this must be the best game made by José. There are some very cute animations, and even the camel riding matchstick kind of figures in the initial level are very amusing and well done.

The game is comprised in two parts. Part 1 is self explanatory: an horizontal shoot 'em-up like many others. It features some graphics from harrier attack which is always a nice touch in retro games.

Part 2 is more of an Atic Atac type game, although there is no shooting to do. Instead you use key N to switch from one of the Three Wise Man (the English translation of the game's name) to another. The rest I leave it to you to discover.

Moon Buggy, 01 Oct 2013 (Rating: 3)

1983 Visions Software Factory (UK)
by Nick and Jon Dyte

For an 1983 game this is quite decent. like user Stack already stated, the obvious comparisons with games like Moon Patrol or any Space Invaders are inevitable. It's a fun and addictive game, and the main letdown is the collision detection and the cars own movements limitation. It's hard to move from side to side with so many enemies firing at us, and the player, and I speak for myself, gets limited to a small area of comfort and avoids jumping as much as possible.

Infernal Combustion, 02 Oct 2013 (Rating: 4)

1984 Strange Loop software (UK)
by C.Goodwin

Also known as Piromania, this is a surprisingly good early platform game, very addictive and with a few fun original details. Your job is to put out all fires that arise in each of the Automata Towers. There are people running around the corridors, they wont harm you, but they can worsen things, like leave dynamite scattered around ready to explode, or get burned and intensify the flames.

You can use a bucket and refill it under a tap of water or use the fire extinguishers to put out the fires.
Pi-man, who is the real culprit, is always lurking around and setting fire to any flammable stuff. If you throw a bucket of water at him he will fall down and die, but beware not to get burned by the trail of fire he lefts on the floor.

There are other fun elements, like a magenta elephant that runs around putting out fire and helping you out.
It's not easy to control Walter, our little fireman, his movements remind the way Mario moves, sliding before stopping, unusual at the time.

Although simple this is a very addictive and entertaining game. There are a few letdowns like with all Pi-Man games, and even bugs to the game, but by no means spoil the fun of it.

Super Crap Invaders, 03 Oct 2013 (Rating: 2)

2004
by Mark Woodmass

A funny and original idea combining two classic games in one.
It plays just like 'Space Invaders', while you control Miner Willy (with his fancy Sunday cloths on) in place of the usual defense ship. Willy can shoot up as well as jump, in order to avoid the arrows coming his way. The jumping routine is exactly the same as in the Willy games.

I played it to the 5th level and didn't notice any changes at all, so I guess this game is only built as both a joke and a tribute. It's a pity though, because the game is highly playable and it would be very addictive with a few changes in each level.
But if you think of it, Space Invaders was also a one level game, so, I guess it's accurate.

Still, I urge the author to get inspired in writing a sequel but with different levels. How about using the Willy games characters and paraphernalia?

Boom Bot, 07 Oct 2013 (Rating: 4)

2007 Mark Woodmass (UK)

A very nice and playable rendition of the classic Ant Attack. The games purpose is to catch every hydrogen bomb within time, and get it out of the complex, without getting drained by the other bots. You can catch power objects which enhance your time limit. Although I love Ant Attack, I'm having more fun playing Boom Bot instead.

Spy Hunter, 23 Oct 2013 (Rating: 4)

1985 US Gold (UK)
by the Denton Designs team

Spy Hunter retains a quality that few games do, in that it makes the player come back for more, even after several decades of gaming and after unveiling all its secrets. It's actually still one of my most played games.
It's also one of the best conversions ever on the Spectrum, and managing to be better than the original is quite a feat.
There isn't much explaining to do about how it plays, just drive your car/boat as far as you can, gathering points and avoid being killed. I would certainly rated it with a 5 if only there was more to the game than just the levels we all know.

Invaders, 25 Oct 2013 (Rating: 4)

1982 Artic Computing (UK)
by William Wray

Invaders is probably the best Space Invaders clone I've seen in the Spectrum.
It plays very well and it has 4 game variations which make the game less repetitive than it's counterpart clones, although I would prefer to see them as levels and not by options in a menu.
The hardest variation, with fire being shot diagonally, is particularly though.

Travel with Trashman, 29 Oct 2013 (Rating: 5)

1984 New Generation Software (UK)
by Malcolm Evans

The follow up to the inspiring Trashman. I think it got a bit less popular maybe due to the main character graphics, which is way ugly. And, of course, one of the early levels difficulty (the Madrid scene is nerve wrecking). Nonetheless, with a bit of patience and persistence, this is a very addictive game, although I have to admit, the cleaning actions become a bit repetitive after awhile. And talk about the messages in-between plays, so annoying. Why cant we just skip them? But in spite all that it's still one of my favorite games.

Thankfully the 13 locations (and not just 7 as the magazines of the time announced) are all good and original which helps to keep the attention span wide awake and the adrenaline pumping.
It has a simple strategy element to it, because you need to choose your next cleaning destiny wisely so you don't get stuck somewhere penniless. If that happens, it's... game over.

The game's idea is quite good, simple, but good, not so original as the first I think, but still good and cute all the same. And the quirky graphics (although a bit messy) add some fun to the game. It's a nice high above average game that with a little more care (Trashman itself looks like a homeless bum) would have been even better!

Knot in 3D, 30 Oct 2013 (Rating: 2)

1983 New Generation Software (UK)
by Malcolm Evans

I suppose the logic of this game is the same as the Surround games (e.g.Blind Alley) but in 3D. If so, the idea is good, but doesn't feel functional. Surround games are usually hard and tend to get impossible in later levels. In 3D seems almost unplayable right from the start. At least It felt like it to me. I persisted in playing the game to get hold of... well something, but it all seems random. Malcolm Evans is the author of the brilliant Trashman series, so due to his talent, I suppose there is nothing wrong with this game, it's me, I simply can't get the hang of it.

Tai Chi Tortoise, 31 Oct 2013 (Rating: 4)

1991 Zeppelin Games (UK)
by Michael Batty

This is indeed a great game. Michael Batty outdid himself since the awful Full Throttle 2.
Besides the cute colourful characters, with great animations, the game is also very pleasant to play. It's true the idea ain't new or original, but doesn't stay far behind, in terms of quality, with earlier releases such as Dynamite Dan, which I find similar in many ways.

Trashman, 02 Nov 2013 (Rating: 5)

1984 New Generation Software (UK)
by Malcolm Evans

Personally I think that next to Skool Daze, Trashman was, and still is, one of the most original games ever made to the Speccy. Probably inspired Paperboy a couple years later! A landmark game of the Spectrum era!

Necks Please..., 02 Nov 2013 (Rating: 2)

1985 Automata UK (UK)
by Paul and Jon

Completely outdated for a major software in 1985, Necks Please although charming, is a bit of a messy game, with little content and unappealing gameplay.

Bear Island, 05 Nov 2013 (Rating: 2)

1982 Gilsoft International (UK)
by Tim Gilberts

A fun little 16K game, completely written in Basic, but good enough to keep me entertained at least until I passed level 1. In the end there is a surprise from above, worth checking out for any 1982 kid who got this as a first game. Beware the last bear, he moves fast!

Bimbo, 06 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

1983 Joe the Lion (UK)
by Jonathan Easter

Although this game was clearly inspired by Rally X, like the other user stated, (even some sounds are present), the slower speed makes it feel slightly different in the way it plays. It even made me think of Pac-Man, although, it's clearly a Rally X clone but with different characters. A decent clone nonetheless.

Keys:
0/9 - left/right
2/W - Up/Down
M - fire

Stupid, 06 Nov 2013 (Rating: 1)

A badly colored Manic Miner clone, with a few shady characters, and with nothing really interesting to captivate today's players. Fun for curious people like myself.

Aerial Atak, 07 Nov 2013 (Rating: 2)

1993 Monea Software (Romania)
by Eduard Monea

The loading screen looks really promising, but once the game is loaded, you easily realize it's a Basic written game. As so it's fairly good, although the only real difference between "levels" is in the background, because you do the same every single time. Later you get a few special fx's and the pilots Romanian chit chat, which is useless to anyone who does not know the language.

Motor Force, 07 Nov 2013 (Rating: 2)

You couldn't expect much more from a Basic program one car race game, and personally I think this one, even with it's limitations, it's still quite nice. The road is colourful and varied, with plenty of different obstacles to avoid. You can make your quest as to see how far you get or how high can you score. Of course, the difficulty level is based much more on how you memorize the obstacles than on your driving skills.

Accelerator, 08 Nov 2013 (Rating: 2)

1984 Century City Software (UK)
by Stephen Curtis and Mark Jacobs

Yes, this is a surprising shoot 'em up . The 2 ways firing is at the least, unusual. But honestly, although I fancied playing it, for a 48K game, I think it should have been perfected and specially given more variety in levels. It looks too much like any 16K Space Invaders game, simply viewed from a different angle and with the firing novelty.

2,5 points

Beach Attack, 08 Nov 2013 (Rating: 1)

1985 ZX Computing (UK)
by Mark Jacobs

A one screen multi-level game. There are several things happening at once, and after reading the instructions the game looks promising. Unfortunately this is no Beach Head and it tends to get boring quite rapidly. Nice try, though.

BAUBLE BLAST!, 08 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

2012 Stonechat Productions (UK)
by Dave Hughes

The same as Shuttlebug but with a Xmas theme and a lot less variety in levels.

SHUTTLEBUG, 08 Nov 2013 (Rating: 4)

2012 Stonechat Productions (UK)
by Dave Hughes

Incredibly addictive game. Despite it's simplicity, the game is very well written and is highly engaging. Also features a great variety of levels, which is always a good thing in this sort of games.
I only got to level 10 after more than an hour playing it. It's freeware but it would be worth the purchase if it was on sale.

Wunderchar$, 08 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

2011 Stonechat Productions (UK)
by Dave Hughes

Interesting idea, featuring a recurring hero on Dave's games.
Basically you have to catch 3 UDG's them drop them in both rainbow areas, then start all over again until you catch all 96 UDG's in order to move onto the next level. 96 UDG's are too much for just one level and that's what I dislike in this game.

Mole Rat!, 08 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

2012 Stonechat Productions (UK)
by Dave Hughes and Shiru

The same as Shuttlebug but with a Mole Rat as the hero and a lot less variety in levels.

Crossfire, 08 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

1989 Atlantis Software (UK)
by Chris Edwards

Another target shooting game, this time with nice colourful backgrounds to sooth the eye. All in all the game is quite pleasing, keys are really responsive and collision detection is very good.

The game starts off easy, but around level 7 it gets really really tough. The characters you shoot at do make the game a little boring after a few plays. Besides the mafia lieutenant looking guy and the terrorist, I didn't get any other baddies. And the same applies to the 2 civilians.

3,5 points

Pi There!, 08 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

1985 Automata UK (UK)
by Chris Edwards and Gavin Wade

None of the Pi man games are actually good. Heck, none of Automata games are any good. But regardless some are really cute and funny. "Pi There" falls in-between the funny and addictive type. It's not a well programmed game, you can feel that by Pi's jerky movement, but it's still very playable.

The game is self explanatory, although it may confuse players at the start due to it's unusual ideas. I admit I first fell in love with the game over the first level, which is quite unusual and the hardest. But after that it all started wearing off. Maybe the authors could have given more colour variation to the backgrounds to make the game more appealing or something else.

Pi There is a below average platform game, like most Automata games, with one or two fun ideas in the mix, but not much lasting appeal. A pity that one of the earliest character icons of the Spectrum, which so many "kids" remember, didn't get more quality in the games in which he starred.

Really Knight, 11 Nov 2013 (Rating: 2)

This is an unfinished game from 1991, so it's not easy to understand what's going on. It's written in BASIC and has a few similarities with the JSW world. I would like to see it finished, but even if it won't it already provided me with a few laughs. Just take a look at some of the grammar and you'll now what I mean.

W.O.S remark: Type RUN for executing the game.

Al Toro!, 11 Nov 2013 (Rating: 2)

1992 LOKOsoft (Spain)
by Jose Luis Castano Gonzalez

Well, this is obviously inspired on Olé Toro and may well be called it's BASIC version. It's nothing special, just a cutesie curiosity.

Spectrum Cross, 12 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

Indeed, a wonderful BASIC rendition of the classic Frogger.

Nebulus, 12 Nov 2013 (Rating: 4)

1987 Hewson Consultants (UK)
by John Phillips

Called Tower Toppler on the PC version, this is a beautifully designed game, with excellent programming skills by one the best programmers on the Spectrum, although not the most prolific.
It's not an easy game. And dare I say, if you cant handle pressure, stay away from this little pearl at all costs!

Thus I have to agree with Rebelstar Without a Cause, not so much because of the time limit, but more about the game's demanding skills. It's no fun to lose hours on just one game, in order to get past the first level! And then again come face to face to an array of even harder levels... It discourages maybe around 80% of all gamers, I venture to say.

Thankfully there are great skilled gamers out there who can handle this nasty beast without any fear. I'm not one of them. So here goes 4,5 points.

Invaders from Planet X, 18 Nov 2013 (Rating: 4)

I wish all adventure text games were like this. Full of special fx's and sounds, a lot more appealing than the average text game is. Also shooting aliens on text command, is something you don't find everyday on the Speccy gameslist.

The storyline has nothing particularly special, and you can guess the basis of the plot just from the name. Still, it is well arranged and structured which makes it very enjoyable to play.

A good start to anyone wanting to get into text adventures.

Pan-Galactic Cocktail Mixer, 22 Nov 2013 (Rating: 2)

I hate alcoholic beverage but I wonder if any of this drinks are any good? Anyone?

Soft & Cuddly, 22 Nov 2013 (Rating: 1)

1987 The Power House (UK)
by John George Jones

I bet that if The Power House didn't release this game it would be the sequel to the infamous 'Go to Hell' game by the same author.

Mainly famous for it's sick filled humour, the game in itself is rather unplayable. It looks crappy and plays bad. It's also full of bugs that make the game very annoying.

Go to Hell, 22 Nov 2013 (Rating: 1)

1985 Triple Six (UK)
by John George Jones

This game was always mysterious to me.
First of all because of it's sinister name and secondly because it always crashed right at the end, so I never got the chance of playing it. Now thanks to emulators I finally was able to see why this is one of the most infamous games ever released. Even the label name is of terrible bad taste.
The name and the green fellow at the beginning (supposedly Beelzebub, with whom you chat at the end) is inspired by Alice Cooper Goes To Hell album.

The game is filled with horror scenes, torture chambers and visions from hell.
Not the most recommended game for a young kid in 1985. Nowadays it doesn't look that sick to me, some sprites are even funny and not that horrific. That's probably because of the authors lack of artistic talent. However, for 1985, this was of very bad taste. Specially without any age restrictions printed anywhere, besides the white, clean cover. I wonder how I would feel if I had played it in the 80's. ..

As a game it's not more than average. And besides the sick humour there isn't more to it. It's not the easiest game either, in fact every time you die you go back to the start, which is really annoying. And with such a big map I don't think you ever gonna finish it. But taking into account your meeting with Beelzebub at the end, I suppose it's better that way. Vade Retro!

Cabman, 29 Nov 2013 (Rating: 2)

1983 Micro Power (UK)
by Alan Butcher

This is probably the third or forth cabgame I've played so far on the Speccy, and they all look alike, playable, even enjoyable, but very simple and soon boring, so I agree with user Boom Boom. There is a gap.

The same happened with train games, for awhile all looked alike and were pretty basic. But soon started to appear new ideas, more and more sophisticated, ending up with the wonderful Southern Belle and later Evening Star which is a heck of a good train simulator. Cab's and Taxis on the other hand didn't get that lucky. So why wont someone take the hint and give us a decent cab game?

Crazy Cars, 30 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

Not a bad Joust clone but too hard to be enjoyable. At least the cars look cool.

Terrormolinos, 30 Nov 2013 (Rating: 5)

1985 Melbourne House (UK)
by Trevor Lever and Peter Jones

By the time I wrote this review ratings for this game were on an average of 3,77 by W.O.S. users. So I ask, what's wrong with you people? Is this game being smashed by haters or am I the only one to see it deserves much more?

I think not, at least according to Crash magazine were the game was awarded with the much desired Crash Smash review. I have to agree with the reviewer with a few exceptions. It's true, the game is hard, you keep being arrested by the Spanish police or getting killed for unsuspected reasons, and the words "game over" will pop up a lot which is quite annoying. But hey, if games were all easy what would be the point in playing them?

Terrormolinos requires a lot of patience and practice, which are not my best fields of action, but somehow I managed to work them with this game. So thank you Trevor and Peter.
It's not as good as Hampstead, but the plot is as funny and compelling, if not more, and full of surprises. And the screens (or pics taken) are even better looking.

All in all a cheerful, challenging text adventure, very well presented and full of brain teasers.

4,5 points

Terror at Walcote Canyon, 30 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

1997 Luncheon Club Software (UK)
by Carl Clayton

It's always with great pleasure that I rediscover this BASIC written games. TaWC is not particularly fun to play due to it's slowness and repetitive actions, but it's quite an interesting piece of software, different from anything I've seen so far on BASIC.
Plot: Catch the bombs scattered around the play area and drop them in the ocean within the time limit.

Paul and the Lost Chalice, 30 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

1988 CRC Software (UK)
by Carl Clayton

Another brilliantly BASIC written game by Carl. Where everything seems to work perfectly without any crashes or errors.
Of course you couldn't except a fast playing game with such a slow language, and if so, move on to the next game, because this ain't for you.
However, I think this game will appeal to any game lovers, whether into BASIC or not. It has a great atmosphere and a few traps/puzzles to keep it interesting.
It brings to my mind games such as JSW, Fred, Pitfall II or even the Monty series.
Mind you the game was designed to be played in 3 parts but only the first 2 saw the light of day.

3,5 points

GazRoids, 01 Dec 2013 (Rating: 3)

1989 Carl Clayton (UK)

I'm most inclined in calling Carl Clayton the best BASIC programmer I've come across. His games are well presented, interesting and full of great ideas so to get away from the limitations of BASIC language. Just take a look at this meteoRoids version that he wrote...
3,5 points

Deadly Evil, 02 Dec 2013 (Rating: 3)

1990 Players Premier (UK)
by Simon Hobbs, Michael Sanderson and Andrew Severn

Unlike the sound of the name this is quite a pleasant experience. The game's atmosphere is compelling and the action happens smoothly with responsive keys. It's has a few interesting details such as the away the characters move behind trees and obstacles and a few inspiring baddies such as the Druid spirit. Nothing else it's particularly new or original, simply a straightforward game. And besides having just two levels, it's enjoyable enough to keep me coming back.

Mutant Fortress, 02 Dec 2013 (Rating: 2)

1989 Players Premier (UK)
by Simon Hobbs, Ian Sheridan, Martin Severn, Andrew Severna and "Sonic Graffiti"

With an alternative name such as 'The Muties Stole My Truck' you either know your getting into some very wild and nasty stuff or otherwise good and original. Unfortunately this is not the case. This is just a boring monochromatic side scrolling shoot 'em up, made just to fill up the empty racks of budgets stores.

Piranha, 03 Dec 2013 (Rating: 2)

1984 16/48 Tape Magazine (UK)
by Ben Lewis

Another BASIC cutie. This time reminiscent of Glug Glug and to some extent Frogger.
Are those giant piranhas or is it the diver a lilliputian?

Keys: I,P,Q,A

Para Academy, 03 Dec 2013 (Rating: 3)

1990 Zeppelin Games Ltd (UK)
by Ian Richards and John Cassells

By the name I was expecting to see a game dedicated to Paratroopers training, instead I got an average already seen, sports game based upon the Hyper Sports events. I suppose 'Para Academy' was the first name that sprang into the authors/editors mind. If It was me, I would named it.. mmh... 'Cheating Academy'. Aint it nice?

Keop's Revenge, 03 Dec 2013 (Rating: 3)

1985 MicroHobby (Spain)
by G. Villareal

Based on Fred or Profanation, this game is another great example on how to make good use of BASIC language.

El Duende Perdido, 04 Dec 2013 (Rating: 2)

1985 MicroHobby (Spain)
by F. Garcia

Yet another BASIC cutie for the go. This time you play the role of an elf, who mostly resembles one of the smurfs, and using keys 0=jump and 9=walk you must go thru 4 or 5 screens placed along pits, castles and dungeons, filled with nasty but cute baddies, like dragons, giant spiders and snakes.

Edd the Duck, 04 Dec 2013 (Rating: 3)

1990 Impulze (UK)
by Brian Beuken, David Taylor and Tink

Edd the Duck in reality is no more than a Rainbow Islands clone. And despite looking pretty enough, it hardly competes with the quality of RI. The scrolling is the biggest problem here, it drags the player on, until he feels the need to turn off the game. And that's the reason why I'm playing good old player friendly Bruce Lee again...

Round the Bend!, 04 Dec 2013 (Rating: 3)

1991 Impulze (UK)
by John Carlyle, David Sanders, David Sowerby and Gareth Briggs

Due to the children's TV shows theme, I was hoping Round the Bend looked similar to Roland's Rat Race, which I loved both the series and the game.
It's quite different from my expectations, and not at all my cup of tea when it comes to the graphics style, and while the monochromatic schemes don't help either, I must confess I did had a good time playing the game.

It's very easy to get into, with good collision detection and smooth scrolling and a few mini-games in between, and although there's a plot to discover, It's nothing too complicated, kids!

3,5 points

Frontline, 04 Dec 2013 (Rating: 3)

1988 Zeppelin Games Ltd (UK)
by Spike and Michael Owens

After a quick glance at the in-game screen I was excited with the Commando resemblances. I was hoping to having finally discover a proper sequel, official or not.
As you probably guessed by my generous rating, I was totally disappointed.

It looks similar, because of the colour scheme and war theme, but not only are the graphics mediocre (and Commando's wasn't all that good either), but the rest of the game is also inferior in most all aspects.

The keys are awfully chosen, and I rather have my fingers stumble on each other using the Sinclair keys, than with the pre-defined ones.

But what really gets into my nerves, is the way the play area is surrounded by an 'invisible' barrier, completely undetected by the human eye. Well, at least mine, because the enemy can move freely thru trees and other stuff.
Oh, and try to circle around enemy machine guns where there is, for instance a wall, even with enough space to get thru. You can't, can you?
Aiming the enemy is another trick business. Some key combinations just block fire and you get stuck with only using grenades, which aren't always effective.

So in the end you are left with the catching to do, which doesn't make this a proper shoot 'em up. Either this game was written by teenage newbies, without quality control from the editors, or the programming was left undone, just by mere laziness or because of budget price.
A shame, making an average game when with a bit more work it could have been way better.


Draconus, 04 Dec 2013 (Rating: 4)

1988 Zeppelin Games (UK)
by Spike and Michael Owens

One of the best budget games I've come across. It looks and feels great, and despite having played dozens of identical games, this is clearly above the waterline. Usually I'm dont have the enough patience to venture into big maps like the one you get here. But Draconus starts off easy and once I noticed I had browsed a third of the game area. So making a game easy at first is always a clever way in immersing the player into the game, before testing him to the full. I lost count of games which start of impossible and are hated by players.

MicroHobby Semanal 041-044, 05 Dec 2013 (Rating: 1)

Besides Trifidos, Descender (Helicoptero en New York) and Kung Fu, this is, I think, one of the worst MicroHobby compilations.

Froggy 2, 06 Dec 2013 (Rating: 2)

1985 ZX Computing (UK)
by Thomas Baker

A reasonable Frogger clone and one of my favourites. The action is fast because the two stages work separately thus making the game much more enjoyable.

Hopper Copper, 09 Dec 2013 (Rating: 2)

1988 Silverbird Software (UK)
by Prune Software team

If I was to base my ratings on other WOS users I would murder this game with "1" shot (pun intended). But after a few plays I found myself reasonably enjoying it. It's surely an unpolished game, the graphics are not good and our "cop" really looks more with a moron on a bouncing ball than an officer of the law.

The game looks based upon Death Wish III, because the plot is basically the same, but with the hopping as the twist. Not the smartest option, at least for a serious game, but on the other hand, looks funny and looney.
The levels do look all equal, but aren't really, in level three, for instance you have to be careful with nails spread on floor. Overall it is a below average poorly developed game, which could be way better with a bit more effort.

2,5 points

RoboCop 3, 10 Dec 2013 (Rating: 4)

The worst game in the Robocop trilogy but a great game, nevertheless. It comprises a wider variety of levels, starting with the Operation Wolf target level and then returning to the classic side scrolling scenery later on, intercalated with DIY repair scenes.

Adidas Championship Tie-Break, 11 Dec 2013 (Rating: 1)

1990 Ocean Software (UK)
by Antony Lill

I wasn't totally disappointed with the jerky screen scrolling and the average looking graphics, I've seen a lot worse than that. But the fact that you can't actually move at all and can only press fire to hit the ball, really makes the game a bit pointless. The computer looks after all, so I'll let him entertain himself. Now, where did I leave my Match Point copy?

1,5 points

Adidas Championship Football, 11 Dec 2013 (Rating: 2)

1990 Ocean Software (UK)
by David Spicer, Jason Brashill and Matt Cannon

Starts of with a slick presentation, backed with a wonderful tune, again by Mathew Cannon, and a few match options which really set the game mood high.
The problem is down to the game. It's hardly controllable, at least to be any fun.

20 Tons, 11 Dec 2013 (Rating: 4)

1985 Spectrum Computing (UK)
by Pete Cooke

I may shock people by saying I rather play this game than the original Boulder Dash. But it's absolutely true. I love the fact that there aren't any screen scrolling bits, specially the awful ones found in the original B.D. This makes the game more arcade than ever. In fact this game seems like a miniature version of the original, because it plays and works very similar, but without the scrolling bit.

The game is only partially written in BASIC, the presentation, instructions and designing bits, the rest is in code, but graphically it's in fact very BASIC-ish. That doesn't spoil the game a bit, which is, by the way, great fun.

La Bodega, 11 Dec 2013 (Rating: 2)

1985 MicroHobby (Spain)
by Jose Fidel Santos

Very unusual BASIC game. The game uses a car racing similar routine but with a man running down stairs catching stuff in a 3D perspective.

El Idolo de Oro, 11 Dec 2013 (Rating: 3)

1985 MicroHobby (Spain)
by Juan Jose Sanchez Plaza

One of the best BASIC games I've come across so far. It's elegantly presented, with an array of different levels, some challenging (like the final one), some not so much.
All levels are intelligently planned and executed, without any flaws that I've found. The last one is particularly surprising, and shows the potential of BASIC for action games, when there is a proper mind behind them.

3,5 points

Two-Gun Turtle, 13 Dec 2013 (Rating: 3)

1984 MC Lothlorien (UK)
by Steve Hughes

A charming title for a less charming game, due to the fast pace. The game engine resembles the earlier Ultimate titles, which may be a good thing to some Ultimate fans, but may look too plagiarized for others.
Despite all that, and if you are able to control your turtle accurately (good luck), you may for sure get a kick out of it.
I did.

Vegetable Crash, 13 Dec 2013 (Rating: 3)

Galaxians got tired of eating meat and become Vegan.

Willow Pattern, 13 Dec 2013 (Rating: 2)

1985 Firebird Software (UK)
by the Mr. Micro team

Well, this is actually level 3 of Treasure Island repacked and renamed, with a few differences, some welcome, some not.
The idea is obviously inspired by Sabre Wulf but completely shadowed by it. Unfortuantely although the key response is quite good, nothing else is really worthy of praise. The main challenge is to get thru the Samurais using wisely the swords found scattered around the maze area, rescue the Princess and get back to a getaway boat. Other than that there is little to be found in the game.

Superkid, 13 Dec 2013 (Rating: 4)

1989 Atlantis Software (UK)
by Graham Shaw, David Shaw, Adrian Shaw and John Hay

Easily the best game by the Shaw Brothers in the 80's. It's highly addictive and although with a bit more work here and there, namely the speed, this game launched years ago, circa 1985/6, would easily be paired with the classics of that age.

Quadrax, 14 Dec 2013 (Rating: 5)

Without a shadow of a doubt this is a game worthy of praise.
It consists in solving puzzles inside a cave world and freeing the two inhabitants stuck there. There is plenty brainstorming to do along the 50 levels.

Attack of the Empire, 16 Dec 2013 (Rating: 2)

A.O.T.E. is inspired by an old Atari 2600 game called 'Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back'. The original version wasn't particularly special. And the Speccy clone, although may initially make some players raise an eyebrow of surprise, mainly due to the well drawn mechanical elephants, the Walkers, or even the radar, soon gets incredibly boring because there is not much to do.

Foxx Fights Back, 20 Dec 2013 (Rating: 4)

1988 Image Works (UK)
by John Heap

The idea of killing anything seems pointless to me, specially animals, humans are so usual in games you get used to it, but the animals in this game, I dont know why they bother me a bit.
Since it's a fox doing all the killing I'll let it pass this time. Meaning also I can do a carnage rampage without any guilt!!

But blood and guts aside, FFB is a cute playable side scrolling shoot 'em-up. It was written by the some guy who wrote such great titles as The Great Escape, Enigma Force or Where Time Stood Still. So expectations were high. The game plays quite well, even with the clumsy idea of having to stop any time you want to shoot, which is rather annoying, but I guess you get used to it. Btt the overall game is rather good, with nice cute cartoonish animated graphics. You can jump all the way thru of most of level one, which makes the game seem too easy, well it's not the hardest ever, but it's not also all that easy, in fact the difficulty level for this game is quite friendly and makes the game welcome to anyone of any age and gaming experience.
Not the greatest piece of software John Heap put together but still a very worthy game to add to any list.

Christmas Time, 23 Dec 2013 (Rating: 1)

I was trying to choose a Christmas game to review, so I could as well leave a message wishing a merry Xmas to my fellow Spectrumaniacs, and I ended up with this strange and unfunctional type-in Adventure game. My rating speaks for itself.

Merry Christmas to you all!

World Class Rugby, 26 Dec 2013 (Rating: 4)

1991 Audiogenic Software (UK)
by Antony McCabe, Ally Noble and David Whittaker

This looks like an awesome rugby game.
Being the only letdown the flickering scrolling. If only I could understand the mechanics of the sport I think I would love it.

Bangers & Mash, 30 Dec 2013 (Rating: 4)

Based upon a TV Show with the same name. The game is faithful enough to the original characters to make younger kids happy and addictive enough to keep the older ones (like myself) entertained. It has a lot of colour clashing happening, but other than that it's a fun game which plays amazingly well.

Battery's Not Precluded, 02 Jan 2014 (Rating: 4)

Another very original idea from Jonathan Cauldwell. Well executed, highly addictive, but a bit too hard sometimes. Specially after a few laps, when our actions tend to become more random than accurate, which spoils the strategy element and increases the difficulty level to a non controllable height.

Byte Me, 03 Jan 2014 (Rating: 4)

2011 by Jonathan Cauldwell, Craig Stevenson and Yerzmyey

An above average arcade game, closely inspired by Cookie in so many ways. I didn't find it so much fun as I did with other late Jon Cauldwell games, mainly because it's lacks variety in the backgrounds. But it's still highly addictive and very well programmed, as usual. You cant go wrong with this kind of games. Jon is creating a serious quality catalog for himself, pity we arent in 1984 anymore, but hey, gamers are still around!

Noah, 07 Jan 2014 (Rating: 2)

1984 ESP software (UK)
by Microfayre and the Lotus Soft

The game starts of nicely, showing big and well crafted graphics and looks promising right from the beginning. But once you start playing and noticing the huge task of guiding every animal to the ark, the initial pep begins to quickly run off. It's not only because of the 256 screens ahead, but more because of the random erratic away animals follow you.

If you place the tip of your cane 1 character down an animal you can guide him in front of you. But that isn't always possible due to the obstacles surrounding. Also, why do you need to always eat food every time you get to a screen in order to move unto the next one, even if you've just done that seconds ago? There are a few great ideas here, but obviously not well implemented, which is actually a shame and a waste of good sprites.

Raider of the Forgotten Ark, 07 Jan 2014 (Rating: 2)

1984 Spectrasoft (UK)
by D.A. Cooper

This is actually a nice BASIC rendition of the movie with ALMOST the same name.
Several movie scenes are present and are quite fun. I've managed to skip a few stages, thanks to the unprotected listing, and played every step, and didn't stumble on any errors or bad programming. So I think this could keep happy any BASIC written games fan, or even a kid back in '84, until Xmas time and money on a sock for a proper game.

Bull Run, 07 Jan 2014 (Rating: 2)

1984 Phipps Associates (UK)
by Barry Cornhill

A game full of character and charm, but due to being written in BASIC it obviously lacks speed and accurate key response, which is always a letdown in this sort of games. The cute town with the swan lake, is almost worth checking just for itself.

Astronut, 08 Jan 2014 (Rating: 4)

1984 Software Projects (UK)
by Patrick Richmond

One of the first games I've ever played. Somehow I lost the code sheet and was unable to play it for a long period.
When I finally got back to the game, I felt the exact same wonderful feelings I first experienced.
As a platformer the game is unusual and different, there is no jumping option which may wean of some players used to the likes of Manic Miner, but that's the point: trying something different.
Basically you have to push 3 boxes to the bottom of each level, while still keeping every limb of yours stuck to the body! Sounds easy but it ain't! There a route to be planned and strategy is of the essence.

Levels range from A to O (15 levels) and they are all filled with strange but detailed and colourful creatures.
Astronut is still one of my favorite games of all time, plays well, it's slightly different from the Willy wannabes and has the 80's video games look all over it.

Keys: Z-left ; X-right ; Q-music on/off ; 1-pause on ; S-pause off

TIP: when the password numbers appear just type 1121 (Q15 in the code sheet)

ATF, 10 Jan 2014 (Rating: 4)

1988 Digital Integration (UK)
by Ian Beynon and Kevin Bezant

This is a different more realistic shoot 'em up, although it actually resembles a flight simulator. But after close inspection you can clearly tell this is meant to be a fast action game instead of a simulator. There is also a bit of strategy to master which adds a longer lasting appeal, but nothing too complicated. D.I. has come up with a different approach to the graphics so to make the game faster than, for instance, F-16 Combat Pilot or Tomahawk, and although they don't look as realistic, they are in fact more suitable and effective for a shooter.

Chambers of Horrors, 12 Jan 2014 (Rating: 1)

With an Iron Maiden album cover inspired loading screen (Piece of Mind, 1983) and such a suggestive title, I was expecting a more gruesome game.
Well maybe if I play it in some low light grisly basement accompanied with some Iron Maiden background music at high volume it would get slightly scarier. Or maybe (just maybe) not.
It's just a BASIC game with uninspiring gameplay that has few to do with the title.

Jonny Quest, 13 Jan 2014 (Rating: 4)

I'm quite surprise on how low W.O.S. users rated this game (5,42 at the time I wrote this review), contrary to Magazine reviewers back in 1991.
I'm also quite surprised with the quality of it. The animations are great and the pixel scrolling is simply superb, one of the best I've come across. It's a delight just walking and jumping around. The coder has done a great job. As for the gameplay, I haven't played enough so far, so I can't talk much, what I can say is that the platform variation is superb and the collecting-and-using objects, together with the selection menu, functions quite well too. There is a wide map to discover and a lot of exploring to do. Although not particularly original, as I see a few similarities with Saboteur, It's highly playable and very well coded.

4,5 points

Quick Draw McGraw, 13 Jan 2014 (Rating: 4)

Quick Draw McGraw is a great straightforward side scrolling shooter. Nowhere near innovative, but that's beside the point. This is just a well executed fun action game, very easy to get into and highly addictive. Characters are also faithful to the original, which is not always an easy task, so I think Twilight has done a great job and deserves my congratulations.

Millionaire, 21 Jan 2014 (Rating: 4)

1984 Incentive Software (UK)
by John Hunt

For my 1000 review I have chosen... Millionaire. I was saving that game for my millionth review but there aren't so many games to review, so here it goes.
My one thousand review:

I'll start by saying that this wasn't a game I played as a young boy back in the 80's. I would have loved it, though, like I do love a lot of this strategy games, but I didn't played back then. It's not new to me either, since the Spectrum retro scene as been around for more than the actual commercial period of this little machine, and so I'm acquainted with the game for a few years now thru emulators.
Strangely until 1987 most strategy games were written in BASIC. Why no one used a faster freer language, still bugs me to this days. Nevertheless, Football Manager, The Biz, Dictator, amongst others, are some of my favorites games ever. The possibility of breaking into the programs and scour its secrets has always fascinated me.

Millionaire is based around the idea of owning a home brew software label and marketing your own programs and getting rich out of it. Yep, we all dreamed of it. Even if only thru computer games like Millionaire.
The game contains all the "cute" elements from other similar games, including Honest Harry, who is probably the refined brother of Derby Day's Honest Clive, and some quirky humour found subtly scattered around the many texts. But also pushes you to think a bit beyond the fast action of the so common shoot 'em ups of that time. There are decisions to make and actions to take, which will influence the course of the game, and determine your final score.
Graphically is very appealing, the mansions, which get bigger and fancier while you get richer, are very well drawn and fun to look at.
The only letdown is it does tend to get a bit repetitive after a while, unlike Soccer management games which have the competitive side making them more appealing and addictive. Still, this is with no doubt a great game, and very original and well made for 1984.


4,5 points

Good Shepherd, 05 Feb 2014 (Rating: 2)

1984 Newtech Publishing Ltd (UK)
by S. Springett

I thought I was heading for another shepherding game, but it turned out quite different. Well, different from shepherding that is, because there's nothing very original in here, besides the plot itself which is kinda charming.

You, the shepherd, have to guide your sheep's and feed them the green UDG's while trying to escape or kill the big bad wolf, which seems to be lacking a head, maybe fell off due to hunger, poor thing, life ain't been easy since red riding hood's grandmama moved away to the city.

After you've fed your sheep's in time you go back to the fold and one more sheep is added to the flock. I kinda enjoyed it.

SuperTed, 05 Feb 2014 (Rating: 1)

Was this game written in BASIC? Because it feels like it. And if not, what kinda of weird bad programming is this?
I'm gonna assume it's BASIC so not to waste any more time.
SuperTed is aimed to 7-11 age group kids. Well, let me tell you, I started playing Pac-Man, Space Invaders, etc, at that age, and so did almost all my friends. That's no excuse to make it so slow and simple. Unless the 7-11 year old kids mentioned are mentally challenged. This goes to show how bad (if any) quality control those days was.

Springy Jim, 05 Feb 2014 (Rating: 1)

Another BASIC game with nice big fat graphics but with very limited gameplay lacking variety. All you do is move left to right (keys z,x) and jump (space key) over the coming walls or moving thru the gates.

Worse Things Happen at Sea, 05 Feb 2014 (Rating: 5)

1984 Silversoft Ltd (UK)
by Mind's Eye team

You play a C-Droid robot who's job is to keep an old ship functioning. Every time a leak appears in the hull their you go applying patches and pumping out the water. From level two further you also have to steer the ship's course and deliver the cargo in order to pay for the necessary repairs.
You also need to keep recharging the robots own batteries and fix other malfunctions that keep coming up in the ensuing levels.

There is a point where the action is so frenzy you wouldn't believe me if I told you. I remember one of my best friends saying that this was one of most original game he'd come across, and although I was much more into shoot-em-ups and racing games, I couldn't but agree with him. Nevertheless, I rarely played it. Until a few years later, when I became obsessed with it.

Very original frantic multi-task action game, ahead of it's time and still fresh.

Amazin', 06 Feb 2014 (Rating: 2)

Maze game where you try to get to the upper side in order to escape within a specific time.
Not very amazin'.

The Wedding, 06 Feb 2014 (Rating: 1)

1984 Newtech Publishing Ltd (UK)
by G.A. Topping

Funny plot for an otherwise dull, slow, and unattractive game. More than 2 drinks and you almost cant control your man. Too random to be any fun.

The Transformers, 07 Feb 2014 (Rating: 3)

I forgotten all about this game. No wonder, it's really nothing special.
Shooting things and collecting stuff, that's mainly it.
It has it's ups though. Plays fairly well, there is a lot of shooting to do, if you like that sort of stuff, and the graphics are a bit on the small side but do their job nicely, although the way the cars go up and down always made me feel a bit dissatisfied.

Paranoid Pete, 10 Feb 2014 (Rating: 1)

This could have been so much more if only a bit of reasoning was applied to it. Why make a game so repetitive and boring? There are a few nice ideas lying around, but they don't seem to merge together. Remember the plant blossoming in Ultimate's Pssst? You'll see another here. The problem is, if you place yourself in a certain position (the only one I've found to move on to the next level) you will be in front of the plant (color clashing and all) and you can hardly see the plant growing. Not to mention that this move is always the same, so you end up repeating yourself all over level one.

Level 2... couldn't figure out anything. It looking nice, though, I guess. I only played it once, so in the future I may change my review.

Unfortunately this game makes me not to want to touch a single piece of cereal again. So the guys at Weetabix did well in not wanting this game associated with their cereal brand. It's not all that bad, though, the graphics are kind of cute, I guess.
1987 US Gold (UK)
by Mike Woodroffe, Stefan Ufnowski, Graham Lilley, Teoman Irmak and Ben Daglish

Movie licensed games aren't usually good games, because producers know they will sell regardless of the content, provided that the cover includes clearly visible the name and images of said movie.
A good example can the seen in the awful gut-punching Masters of the Universe - The Arcade ahem... Game.

You start off with badly drawn characters, which could be fine in 1983/4 but not in 1987, they remind me a bit of the awful looking players in World Cup Football, and that's not just because of the graphics, but also because of the movement which is abrupt and sluggish, and again fine for 83 not for 87. And once you start moving up and down you notice there is something very wrong with this game. Still... you haven't seen nothing yet.

He-man can do very high jumps (he looks like a frog leaping) and for that you have 2 keys, one to jump left and another to jump right. Right! And he lands on wherever comes handy even if it's on top of a bush far from the angle from where he first jumped. He can also use his sword to slaughter enemy adversaries, but it's not good advice to do so, because you waste more energy that way than by actually running from them.

Colour clashing is not a problem! It was cleverly addressed by placing a square of the same color as the background behind He-Man, that way you only get an annoying square eating up the background (which is by the way, the best feature in the game).

Inside the castle there are so many bugs and unintended "traps" that I always felt I was testing this game for the programmers for free.
Then there's the sound issues. You may ask: what sound? Exactly.


Kwik Snax, 20 Feb 2014 (Rating: 4)

Yes, this is the best Pengo clone available on the Spectrum. Looks cute, plays nice and has a few brief interludes between some levels which raises the curiosity level makin' it more compelling. Dizzy done it all.

Super Mario Bros., 20 Feb 2014 (Rating: 3)

Demo released for the Your Game 2002 Competition. This is in fact an accurate unofficial conversion of SMB. Although not meant to be completely faithful to the original, due to the nature of the contest, it's still better than a lot of official conversions we've been playing along the years, and I'm not talking about Mario Bros games.

Treachery, 20 Feb 2014 (Rating: 3)

1984 C&VG (UK)

Very interesting 2 players strategy spying game. The action happens in the intelligencer prolific cold war theatre and between the two main world powers. Visually the game is very neat and appealing. A bit confusing I admit, but still compelling. I wish I add the instructions, it would help a lot.

Beebul, 25 Feb 2014 (Rating: 3)

1984 Scorpio Gamesworld (UK)
by Richard Wright

Surprisingly addictive platform game. It's nothing really special but the straightforwardness of it all makes the game very compelling.

Hotline Quiz, 26 Feb 2014 (Rating: 2)

1984 Chalksoft (UK)
by Chris Somerville

In this quiz game the player has to repair a hotline telephone link between the world's leaders by answering up to 20 questions, if not peace will be threatened. There are few questions and the same keep being repeated, also they aren't that hard, but obviously that depends on your knowledge skills. There's also a trap question that will always end up incorrectly no matter the choice you make.

The great thing about the game is that you can come up with your own questions and save them on tape, but that means playing against (or with) someone. Unfortunately 20 questions for the computer to sort a quiz is way too few, so you end up making news ones each time you play.

Toobin', 04 Mar 2014 (Rating: 4)

I think the game is awesome and the conversion is great too. Lovely sprites, sound and overall action. The controls spoil things a bit, but with a bit of pratice you'll get there.

Stuart Henry's Pop Quiz, 05 Mar 2014 (Rating: 3)

1984 Bellflower Software (UK)
by David Gordon

A fun music quiz game written in Basic, with a tune to discover mixed in with the questions, that will make you feel both proud of your musical knowledge and also terribly OLD!!

Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo, 05 Mar 2014 (Rating: 3)

1991 Hi-Tec Software (UK)
by Dave Thompson and Richard Morton

Not a bad game by any means, it has a bit more depth than the average arcade Hi Tec games. Obviously it's just another platform game, like so many others written since 1983, and adds nothing new to the genre.
But it plays rather well and it's pleasant enough for an average rating.

Snooker Manager, 06 Mar 2014 (Rating: 2)

1989 Image Software (UK)
by Jonathan Bolton

Like 'Snooker Management' this is a game that may look good on paper but never works out right. Technically it's well executed, but game-wise it's simply forgettable.

Snooker Management, 06 Mar 2014 (Rating: 2)

1989 D&H Games (UK)
by Mark Harding, Shaun McClure, John de Salis and Tony Huggard

Sometimes things dont turn out like we expected.
I remember being quite good in developing graphics and animations for the games I wrote, I've always payed a lot of attention to the aesthetic detail, so someone who first saw one of my games would exhale a wow. Well, before playing it...

The guys at D&H like me also payed attention to detail, especially in the strategy department. But sometimes things just don't work out right.
I remember writing a stock exchange game, where you would buy stocks and then sell them and earn money to buy and sell more stocks, the game had lots of menus and special options (mostly useless) and looked very nice, but that was it, buy and sell stocks.
Well 'Snooker Management' was their stock exchange game.

The game looks very good, with a pleasant presentation, lots of options and very well executed routines, but no one wants to 'read' the snooker action scenes. And if you choose the final score option, then you would be better playing a football strategy game.
Basically a bad idea, well executed technically, but not particularly appealing.

Nifty Lifty, 20 Mar 2014 (Rating: 3)

1984 Visions Software Factory (UK)
by Kevin Bezant

Although there isn't a name for the series in which this game could be included, it's hard not to recognize the player character and the game mechanics from both 'Nifty Lifty', '1994 - Ten Years After' and 'Revenge of the Killer Tomatoes'. And probably the main character as it's own name like user WhenIWasCruel suggested.

The game itself is quite addictive, simple but fun, like any good old arcade game. But I find too annoying to be fully enjoyable. You have to constantly keep track of the character movement because he only stops after collision with something and the lifts changing of direction is too random sometimes. Still, a worthy straightforward action game.

Battleship Galastica, 20 Mar 2014 (Rating: 3)

1984 Sinclair User (UK)
by Anthony Silas

After browsing for this game, I was hoping for a better rendition of the TV series, even if not official. Even a joker with be nice, but the least playable or interesting. Then I re-read the games name, and starting to throw my hopes away. Resuming, it's a very basic BASIC game.

Rifle Range, 27 Mar 2014 (Rating: 3)

1984 Mastertronic (UK)
by Andrew Foord and Peter Foord

I never could quite get into Carnival (and clones) games because they always seems to me like a cheap twisted version of Space Invaders.
Rifle Range is an OK game though, with a nice presentation and adequate game speed. The bonus screens are OK too.
But it's too easy and a tad boring, unlike the less atractive Quackers. More than half of the time I just stand in the same position and shoot bullets intervaled by the coming targets. And if those pesty red squirels didn't drop their nuts onto me (excuse me?!), I would just stand quietly without tinkering using the fire key.

The biggest challenge of the game is to wisely use your ammo stock and try not to destroy the prizes at the top of the shelfs, which if you do it will discounted score and end the game.

Lemmings, 27 Mar 2014 (Rating: 4)

Although I never got to play the Spectrum version or the original arcade game when they came out, I can't consider this game a bad conversion.
I don't know why the programmers choose this graphical approach, maybe they thought it wouldn't slow down the game too much, but it's definitely not the best feature.
The controls are a get-use-to thing. If it was me I would have sticked to a simpler key control method, but they thought otherwise.
The rest of the game I think, is accurately emulating the original game, and quite well I must add.
I even preferred to play the old Speccy version than the modern Java versions on the internet (although they are a lot better). So not much to complain here.

Darkman, 27 Mar 2014 (Rating: 3)

1991 Ocean Software (UK)
by David Box, Jason McGann, Jonathan Dunn and Noel Hines

A score of 5.68 from 24 votes in W.O.S. is not very flattering to any game released by a major company in 1991.
This is my first experience with this game, so when getting myself into unknown gaming territory my judgement may be influenced by those rates. I'll try to remember that.

When starting the game I felt like I was playing a sequel to Joffa's games, Cobra to be more specific. The type of graphics and even the opening menu are very reminiscent of said programmer.

The Darkman character looks very slick and cool, but looks more like a detective in the vein of Sam Cruise than the actual Darkman character himself. The sets are nice but a bit repetitive aswell as the enemies, which all look alike.

The games starts off as a side scrolling beat 'em up. You must pass every set of enemies before moving on. Then evolves into an Untouchables sort of first level and then to a Spy Hunter theme. Overall there are 6 levels to conquer, all well rendered and backing up the movie story competently, but somehow I feel it misses something.
I am sure influenced by a lot of other games I've played so far, and to be quite honest I kinda liked to where the game was going, but in the end it fails to provide real gaming entertainment, at least to me.
Looks Ok, plays Ok, and in the end it's only Ok.

Gutz, 27 Mar 2014 (Rating: 3)

1988 Ocean Software (UK)
by James Bagley, Charles Davies and Keith Tinman

Special FX's team did great games, Gutz in no exception, but not their best achievement either.
You start the game in a maze, supposedly in some aliens guts. So you should enjoy the ride, 'cause it wont come to often. But au contraire to Fantastic Voyage, not only you travel monochromatic, but also the sights are not that good.
Well, maybe Aliens only look good from the outside (I wonder if Angelina Jolie isn't an alien. Mmmh, a tought to consider). To me the game got rapidly boring just because of that.
You are not alone, you have to deal with a lot of nasties, which seem to have come out of 1983's Tutankhamun's just to play catch with you.
The games objective is to find three pieces of a powerful weapon in order to destroy the alien's insides and save the day.
There is a nice side scrolling sub level that connects the different areas of the maze. It's build up of ribs or something and it's hidden somewhere on the fleshy walls.
Entertaining but not for long. It's not one of those games I feel the urge to complete. Good fun though, for the mapping addicts.

O.K. Yah!, 27 Mar 2014 (Rating: 2)

1988 Pirate Software (UK)
by Mark Rivers

Maybe with a more friendly player difficulty this game could earn a few followers. It's basically a side scrolling shot 'em up, with a guy on a something board, shooting enemies and avoiding any solid, liquid or gaseous objects. Don't go hitting any clouds or even the far horizon sun, and specially the enemies explosions, or you'll end up with a big headache. Unless of course, you want to be called the Silver Sufferer. A strange planet indeed.

Super Cars, 04 Apr 2014 (Rating: 4)

1990 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)
by the Spidersoft team

This game is probably the best scrolling Super Sprint clone around. Not that is particularly mind blowing, but it's a fairly above average racing game, with good collision detection, pixel movement, and a fair amount of competitiveness, although more on the easy side.
The graphics, cars especially should be a bit more interesting, instead they look like moving boxes.

Mugsy, 15 Apr 2014 (Rating: 4)

1984 Melbourne House (UK)
by Philip Mitchell, Clive Barrett and Russell Comte

Mugsy is a strategic management gang wars game, set in Chicago's 1920's.
The main purpose of the game is to make money (the perfect portrait of any mob). And smuggling booze seems to be the main activity Mugsy's gang go by. If the operations run smoothly, money will start oiling the gang machine, your hoods will get payed, unless you want to get murdered by a mob "Brutus", you will keep your "customers" happy and even have enough income to bribe the police.
The dialogue scenes are set just like any text adventure game, and are designed very rapidly, which makes the game flow easily, and the graphics are high quality, but not so much as the sequel two years later. Graphically the game is quite good, although the dialogue balloons always annoyed me, but as for the gameplay I always found it a tad boring, play a few turns and you've seen all the screens, and the same goes for the decisions you make. The game lacks a bit more action and emotion, after all this is a gang wars game, not just a trading game.

Mugsy's Revenge, 15 Apr 2014 (Rating: 4)

1986 Melbourne House (UK)
by William Tang, Neil Brennan, Russell Comte, David O'Callaghan and Mike Robinson

Mugsy's Revenge is a step forward on the also good prequel released a couple years earlier. But mainly for it's presentation, because the gameplay remains almost untouched. Graphically it's even better, with brilliant animated sequences and a few quite welcome enhancements. But the same can't be said about the plot, yes it's slightly different, a bit more exciting and fun, but in the end you're still playing the same game. To be honest, Mugsy plays better than the sequel, it's faster (no waiting for animated scenes to end), and the options are more straight forward, but since both games play similar, I usually end up choosing this over the first, mainly for it's looks.
Both games are good, decisions have to be well planned in order for you to survive, and there are some interesting twists to the game, but somewhat I always felt it should have more content than looks.

Freeway Frog (Assembly version), 15 Apr 2014 (Rating: 2)

1982 Melbourne House (UK)
by Beam Software

A pity this frogger clone plays so slowly (BASIC) because I really fancied the graphics.

Pictionary, 15 Apr 2014 (Rating: 3)

1989 Domark Ltd (UK)
by Oxford Mobius

I was in love with Trivial Pursuit when it came out, both board and computer games (I made clones myself, board and computer), so when I got my hands on Pictionary I was very excited.
Boy was I disappointed. The game is not bad, but the drawing option is so clumsy and slow it really ruined the game for me. Choosing this game to spent an afternoon with friends or family was the quickest away to hear the eldest whining and protesting to turn the TV on and watch a movie instead.
Playing against the computer it's even worse, because it's impossible not to cheat (if you've played it you know what I mean).
Pictionary is not the easiest game to render on a computer, specially on a Spectrum, and it's definitely tons of times better as a board game.
Came with each ZX Spectrum 128K and served as a demonstration of the new features, namely the sound capabilities, upgraded memory, etc, of this new machine. The featured demo tune is really annoying.

The Real Stunt Experts, 21 Apr 2014 (Rating: 1)

1989 Alternative Software (UK)
by Jason McGann, Richard Naylor, Shaun McClure and Robin Holman

Was The Real Stunt Experts written by real programming experts? I'm guessing yes, but it sure doesn't look like it.
A quick glance at the graphics and you feel like you've stepped into 1983 thru the door of an invisible time machine. Concerning the audio, in the main menu there is an OK tune, but the in-game sound, wow, I can only think of curse words to describe it, so I'll pass that one for the sake of you, dear reader.

The gameplay can either be described as just hard near impossible or bad ideas gone terribly wrong. Some enemies can only be killed if you are at the same height level as they are, that's why you have am indicator at the left of the screen displaying how high you are, but in reality it's impossible to know how high your enemies are because they do NOT possess any SHADOW whatsoever, making the indicator totally pointless.

Besides uninspiring, the game is repetitive and already seen a million times before, and with such old fashioned ugly sprites and a beep as the only accompanying sound, this game struggles to please any player.
There are other problems with the game that I could point out, but I rather not, I rather think the programmers weren't inspired at the time they wrote this.

Shaken But Not Stirred, 02 May 2014 (Rating: 2)

1983 Richard Shepherd Software (UK)

You play 007 on a mission to find and stop Dr.Death evil doings. You start by packing 3 defense items, which may include a digital watch with a concealed strangling wire, a secret cyanide gun, or a pocket bomb, amongst other gadgets. Then you select a city to travel to. Once you get there, several different situations occur.

You may be unexpectedly offered with a basket of fruit or given a mysterious taxi drive, or be attacked by a gang or a mugger. In every situation you decide what to do. You can use you weapons. If you manage not to get killed, you may received a letter, which is part of an anagram of where you should go next or even Dr.Death's location. Once you are done with that, and if you survived, you go back to selecting a new destination and expect new situations to take place. In the end you end up mainly collecting letters and staying alive on a circular basis.
It's a fairly simple game written in Basic, and although repetitive, it's still a fun game, at least for 1983 standards.

Note: Unlike what's stated in W.O.S.(on May 2014) this game is not an action arcade game but a puzzle adventure text game.

Juggernaut, 05 May 2014 (Rating: 4)

1985 CRL (UK)
by Pete Cooke, Ian Ellery and Jay Derrett

Juggernaut is a wonderful truck simulator. It was perhaps the first of a generation of simulators, that is still going strong and popular around the gaming world. My favorite is still the realistic Euro Truck Simulator. But Juggernaut dates back to the Dinosaurs age, 1985!
And how wonderfully it played. Very realistic movement and speed (remember you are driving a truck within city limits, you don't need no speeding tickets!).

Due to using Vector Graphics, the games looks were never it's strongest point. Personally I don't like games which use V.G. but Juggernaut is an exception, because the playability is superb. And the city is competently designed and works just fine.
Is the game slow? Well, have you ever steered a truck within a city? I never thought it would be so hard...
If you've played any recent truck simulators you will get a hint of what the feel of speed is in a truck and the difficulty of steering it. So Juggernaut is very accurate for such an old caveman's game.

Then there's the strategy element. You are driving a merchandise truck, so you have to deliver your orders in time and safely. There is also refueling and maintenance to do which means a few visits to the garage, and you even have a helpline phone number you can use when in distress.
The steering is obviously the most difficult and frustrating part of the game, maybe why the programmers included a practice option, and practice leads to perfection. So jump on that leather seat and try to deliver your fruits and vegetables intact (or at least in juice form)!

Galactic Gunners, 15 May 2014 (Rating: 4)

1987 Cybexlab Software (Czechoslovakia)
by Miroslav Fidler

A really enjoyable shoot 'em up that doesn't fall far behind the classics of yesterday or later release games such as R-Type. It's obviously inspired by Penetrator (or it's coin op counterpart Scramble), uses similar sound gimmicks found in Moon Cresta, but still manages to be slightly different, and the start menu tune is awesome.

My major complaint would be the weird "compactness" of our so called ship and the bosses ships which look very similar in terms of style. They look anything but space ships, but original, though. Overall, despite nothing particularly innovative, it's still a highly playable and enjoyable game.

Piggy, 18 May 2014 (Rating: 3)

1985 Spectrum Computing (UK)
by Steven Monks

A nice attempt at cloning Mr.Do, but ultimately leaves a lot of room for improvement.

Funky Punky, 19 May 2014 (Rating: 3)

1987 Grupo Editorial SYGRAN (Spain)
BY Angel Delgado, Miguel Quesada and Alfonso Chico

For what I've gathered from the Spanish instructions, Funky Punky has to clean his messed up house from a party the gave last night, then jump on his 50cc motorcycle and head to University/school where he has to take an important exam.

There are several stages to the game. The cleaning, the traffic and finding the right class room and take the exam. Cleaning basically means catching all the white items scattered around the not so messy house (a goody two shoes party maybe), including the keys to you motorcycle, besides other objects. The traffic scene, is particularly cute, but too easy. It sees you riding your motorbike, on a horizontal perspective (side scrolling), thru busy traffic. Once you get to campus you have to find the right exam room, but before some objects have to be found, for instance, you'll need a pen and a scientific calculator in order to take the exam, otherwise forget it.

Finally once head to head to the examiner, you'll have to answer a few multiple choice questions. The questions are in Spanish and most aren't that easy! A real challenge for kids and teens in the 80's no-Google-era. If you manage to pass the exam successfully, you win the game and get your name on top of the score table. That's it.

There is nothing particularly innovative or exciting about this game (think of the Wally series), but it's a still a nice game for fans of the sort.

Cowboy, 19 May 2014 (Rating: 3)

1984 Spectrum Computing (UK)
by Bert Vierstra

The good old Speccy keeps surprising me. I thought I knew all Boot Hill versions and clones, and then I stumble onto this little gem.
It's the same routine all over again, but this time in full color! And with increasing difficulty levels (less trees while you progress).
Sadly this is a two-player game only, so I guess until I meet another freak like me I'll be playing with myself.
Oops. Should I rephrase that?

Marcas, 20 May 2014 (Rating: 1)

1992 Pepsi Soft (Spain)
by Ivan Sanchez Jorda

An annoying picture quiz game about brands, including cars, basketball teams, etc.
The program doesn't tell you if you got the answers right or not, instead it displays the correct answer and tells you to write down on a piece of paper your score as you and a second player go on. Also there are only 14 questions, all in the same order.
A very basic program, I suppose it's either unfinished or done by a very young kid.

PS to Dandyboy: We, the Spectrum freaks, are the best freaks, freaks can be ;)

Shoot Redux, 01 Jun 2014 (Rating: 2)

2008 Computer Emuzone (Spain)
By Nathan, Anjuel and Kendroock

This is a poor, yet colorful, shot 'em up, based on an old Dutch game from 1984.
Objective: You, Marifrisky space warrior, must destroy all the red rocks, avoiding the missiles, in order to reach the other side of the Universe and sip on a cup of coffee. In the end you'll watch an animated final sequence. If you shoot the missiles, they'll disintegrate and form more red rocks.
It's part of the CEZ minigames, which explains it's simplicity.
Looks pretty but it's a wee bit boring and repetitive. But I'll give it points for being hard challenging and a addictive.

Judge Morry vs. Baldo Midget, 01 Jun 2014 (Rating: 3)

2008 Computer Emuzone (Spain)
by Anjuel, Nathan and Kendroock

Well, this is probably the most original Boot Hill version I've encountered so far.
Yes, it doesn't look like Boot Hill, it even plays slightly different. Here you have the ability to jump and move around platforms, instead of just up and down, and the cowboys moved forward in the time (although they look younger), but the whole premise of Boot Hill it's still here: a duel.
It's a highly addictive game, and although simple, it's great fun for two players, a shame it can be played solo.

Beach Volley, 02 Jun 2014 (Rating: 3)

1989 Ocean Software France (UK)
by Choice Software

I remember being quite impressed with this game when it came out. The sprites are big and well drawn, the background sets are nice and fun, sound and tunes are well put, and you even get to see girls in bathing suits further in the game. So at first glance it all looked very appealing. After a few plays, the make-up started to rinse off, I found the gameplay unexciting, and the average label suited this game quite perfectly, as it does now.

Hooper, 05 Jun 2014 (Rating: 2)

1989 MicroHobby (Spain)
by David Calandra

A simple, but fun addictive arcade game, reminiscent of the early Ultimate games. The graphics in general are cute and the game is as simple as it can be. You play the role of a tile mason setter, employed by the owner of a large, 30 rooms mansion. Your job is to change every tile in each room within the given time. For that just touch each of the tile rectangles and run to the exit when you are finished.

There are a few objects you can use. For example, the broom cleans every nasty around for a few seconds, and in the center of the door different letters appear, meaning different uses, for instance, T means more time, just walk to the door and press fire, and time will be added, the M means a secret two-door passageway will be revealed, letting you go across the rooms underground without being harmed. More nasties, objects and letters will appear while you progress, making the game full of surprises (I only played to level 5).

The big problem is with the keys which are not very responsive at all and only one can be pressed at once, that definitely spoils the game a lot and for 1989 I can't give it more than a 2.

Translation of menu and keys:
Menu:
1-Play
2-Redefine keys
3-Music On/Off
4-Quit game

Default keys:
O-Left
P-Right
Q-Up
A-Down
M-Catch/Open Door/Fire
H-Pause
R-Abort

Fizzy Wizzy, 10 Jun 2014 (Rating: 2)

1984 ESP (software for the Future) (UK)
by David Whyte

Well, I somehow managed to get further into the game than Stack did and actually got to level 3! (A feat, considering the key sensibility).
No, there aren't naked ladies waiting for you nor the secrets of invisibility displayed in bold letters.
BUT, you get to play a new harder level, still with the same nasties, but with a different layout.
Obviously this ain't no Manic Miner, Mario Bros or Bruce Lee, it's not even written in full machine code, BUT it's Fizzy Wizzy a simple, yet challenging and addictive game! (I must have taken a happy pill)

Q/W - Left/Right
0 - Jump
Keys 1, 2 - Music On/Off:

Copper Hopper, 10 Jun 2014 (Rating: 2)

1985 ESP (Software for the Future) (UK)
by David Whyte

Who would have said than eating a moldy blue sausage would make police officers with no arms or legs, disappear?
Isn't real life boring?
Well, this is why I'm a sucker for old retro games and their nonsensical ideas.

Copper Hopper wont make you goggle your eyes in surprise nor will you emit some weird victory noise after completing a level (although frankly you should in case you complete the game!). Copper Hopper is challenging indeed, not only because of bad key response, but also for the obstacles you must go thru.
David Whyte wasn't a gifted programmer at this age, but delivered two hard challenging games, which remain equally charming and frustrating as they can be.

Alien Maze, 22 Jun 2014 (Rating: 3)

1983 CRL (UK)
by V. Ward

It's hard to believe this is written in Basic. For an 1983 maze game written in such a slow language it's very good. It's not fast but it ain't painfully slow as some games are.
Our goal is to deactivate a plasma bomb left in a secondary maze by aliens. For that you will need a code. There are a few clues in the first maze, in the form of arrows, that give you access to the second maze where the bomb is. Once you get there the plasma bomb will trigger a countdown mechanism and you have limited time to deactivate it. It's very easy to access the maze where the bomb is, but not so easy to get to the code and to the bomb in time.

2,5 points

Pole Position, 26 Jun 2014 (Rating: 4)

1984 Atarisoft (UK)
by Graeme Devine

This is a game hard to forget, not that I try to, it simple makes part of my childhood.

It was one of the first games I played in the arcades, an awesome one, and one of my first games on the Spectrum. The day I got this game I couldn't sleep all night thinking of it. Wasn't it great to be a kid?

It's true it doesn't hold up as well as I'd liked. The car moves in a weird way when making a turn, and passing over other cars becomes boring after awhile, not to mention, the lack of levels and a variety of different tracks and backgrounds. But it still looks great. Big colourful cars, pretty landscape, pub signs, and a nice explosion sequence.

It's still a classic in my book.

By the way, I remember owning a copy of the sequel to this game, simply called Pole Position II, certainly unofficial, which was basically the same game, but with a few enhancements.

Sai Combat, 30 Jun 2014 (Rating: 4)

1986 Mirrorsoft (UK)
by David Clark

Although Sai Combat is not unknown by the general public, it remains a fairly fameless title. It doesn't have the novelty factor of The Exploding Fist nor it's charm, but it is definitely a superb Martial Arts game. For me, the only big letdown the game has, is the rigid look of the fighters. It could also benefit with a little bit more fighting space.

Mean Streak, 30 Jun 2014 (Rating: 3)

1987 Mirrorsoft (UK)
by Byron Nilsson, David Bishop and Jeremy Nelson

A pretty good example of an average game in the form of a race-and-chase-shoot-'em-up. The graphics are OK, not particularly well drawn but do their job, the gameplay tends to become more boring than actually fun, specially after awhile, but I guess it's mildly entertaining. Frankly, what I really found out astonishing is the total lack of sound, even in the 128k version.

Hysteria, 11 Jul 2014 (Rating: 4)

1987 Software Projects (UK)
by Jonathan Smith, Karen Davies, Tony Pomfret and Stephen Wahid

Most Joffa games are beautiful pieces of software, examples are Green Beret, Hyper Sports or Mikie, and Hysteria is no different. But somehow it got left behind, forgotten with the passing of years.
I think it's probably one the least remembered games written by him.
The game was a collaboration with other names of the game's industry, the FX team, but both sound, graphics, gameplay and even the opening menu, have all Joffa's trade marks.
So It's not clear to me what the other members of the FX team did in this game.

Hysteria plays as any side scrolling game. It resembles Cobra but without the platform action, although you can fly using a special power once collected. Like in this sort of games, you must go thru til the end of each level killing every nasty and collecting objects that enhance your powers, R-Type style. You start out with a sort of telekinetic power which fries your enemies, and move to bigger weapons as you move along picking up lemons or worms (yap!). You also have to pick up pieces of a face puzzle along the way, once the face is formed, a Primeval Entity (a sort of boss) will appear and you will have to destroy him using your fire power. So be sure to have collect enough goodies.

The game is short with only 3 levels, always with the same bosses, and a few changes in the baddies army. It's also a tad easy, the authors even blocked movement when in the air (after jumping) to make it harder to turn around and shoot your enemies, but it's still an easy game to finish. This obviously spoils the longevity of the game and is probably the reason why it isn't better remembered. But it's still a great game.

Quondam, 11 Jul 2014 (Rating: 2)

1989 Ocean Software (UK)
by John Gibson and Karen Davies

I was impressed with the beginning of the game, the ship movement is awesome and unusual. But then I tried getting into the game, and boy is this confusing. The controls are a pain and it's hard to master your ship. The puzzle part (reminiscent of other Denton Design games) is probably the easiest part, but the pieces all look the same an it's really not that interesting. A poor game by Denton Designs, with great ideas but very undeveloped.

Magic Johnson's Basketball, 29 Jul 2014 (Rating: 2)

1990 Dro Soft (Spain)
by Daniel Diaz, Dabyd, Fustor and McAlby

A game relying on looks rather than gameplay. Graphically it's accurate and very similar to the original, but it's painfully annoying to play. Definitely no worthy carrying Magic Johnson's name.

Road Race, 29 Jul 2014 (Rating: 3)

1987 Your Sinclair (UK)
by Mark Jones and Sheik

Even if a bit outdated for a year like 1987, it plays rather well. It carries the quality from the Ocean folks, with the obvious limitations, of course, but after all it was just a gift.
Like Raphie said, this is Enduro with a few enhancements. It's more compelling due to the time limits and goals to reach. It doesn't have the, let's call it "stylized" look of Enduro, and tries to look more realistic, which is fine but a tad boring. Still, had this been released a few years earlier and I honestly think it would have sold, but unfortunately for 1987 it's outdated. Still a rather welcome gift.

Spectrum Micro Chess, 02 Oct 2014 (Rating: 3)

1983 Artic Computing Ltd

Chess was one of the most cloned games in the Spectrum.
This version, includes a centered on screen board, which provides a better enjoyable view of the game.
It's basically the same as "Chess Tutor".

Espia, 02 Oct 2014 (Rating: 2)

1984 Investronica S.A. (Spain)

Part of a two-game compilation, this game written in BASIC, features a Hangman clone, but with a completely different layout. There is no man to hang, instead you get a bomb with P.S.T. (Palabra sin traducir=untranslated word). The hints can be both in english or spanish or both, your choice. If you fail to discover the word in question, an arm will "extend" until he reaches the wick and then... "Boum! Toc! Plec! Boom! Trac! Clac! Plep!" - real game sound effects (for deaf people only).

Platero, 02 Oct 2014 (Rating: 2)

1984 Investronica S.A. (Spain)

Part of a two-game compilation which features two Hangman clones. The layout of both games is completely different from the traditional. Clues are given in English or Spanish, or both if you choose so. Instead of a man to hang, you get a donkey, which will be forming while you fail. In the end you get the not so subliminal message that you are as clever as a... donkey!

Caverns of Kontonia, 19 Nov 2014 (Rating: 1)

1986 Atlantis Software (UK)
by John Shepherd

The game doesn't look good and doesn't play well, but it would be relatively fun if only not so damn impossibly hard, specially when aimed for younger audiences.
I doubt if anyone played this game for more than 5 minutes straight.
Why make a game this hard? Where's the fun in playing?

Cowboy Kidz, 23 Nov 2014 (Rating: 3)

1989 Byte Back (UK)
by Davor Magdic

This game looks very similar to an 1982 arcade game called 'Wild Western'.
I'm not sure if this is a conversion, but if it is it's probably not official.

Nonetheless, it's quite good, not exactly faithful to the game mentioned above but very close.
Graphically it reminds me the style of 'Who Dares Wins 2', with simple looking characters but enough detail to be recognizable. It also has a few good tunes in it, well written and adequate for a western theme.

The big letdown is the way you fire. You have to direct yourself to where you want to shoot, which is not always easy. The 1982 game I mentioned had 9 keys (yes!) 4 for moving and 4 for positioning the cowboys rifle and another for firing. Yet none of the games has the firing made simple, which is a shame.

A Trick of the Tale, 24 Nov 2014 (Rating: 3)

1986 Central Solutions (UK)
by Greg Holmes and John Holmes

This is not a bad platform game, but is essentially a Manic Miner clone. It plays well enough, although I found a few, not over the top, bad collision detections, still the movements are smooth, and the overall graphics are kind of nice. I specially like the main character butler/vampire costume. Maybe Miner Willy got bit by the same bat as Dracula, who knows...

Gold Rush, 26 Nov 2014 (Rating: 2)

1985 Your Spectrum (UK)
by Manjinder Rai

Fun platform game with math problems included. It's written in BASIC so don't expect much, still neatly written and addictive enough for a few rounds.

Mega-Apocalypse, 27 Nov 2014 (Rating: 3)

1988 Martech (UK)
by John Wilson and Jas Brooke

A bit confusing. Sometimes looks rushed and unfinished. Levels come and go without any warning, which is a bit annoying. The background although original, gets tiresome after awhile and our ship is depicted in one of the most uninteresting ways I've seen since Ad Astra. Despite functional and moderate fun, this game is IMO, a missed opportunity to do a different shooter from the rest of the bunch. Kudos only for trying.

Shockway Rider, 01 Dec 2014 (Rating: 4)

1987 Faster Than Light (UK)
by Greg Follis and Roy Carter

A fun action game, which requires fast reflexes and a lot of attention, but above all, patience. Yes, the action happens slowly and the key response seems delayed a few milisecs, but what can you do with so many large graphics moving around on an oldie 48K? Not much. Graphically the characters aren't pretty, the backgrounds are monotonous and even the start menu is way too simple. The positive note, is that the gameplay is quite good, you have a few interlinked arcade genres in one game, well, mainly shooting and racing. But there is an addictive quality behind the game that sticks with you and is common in popular arcade games. I'm not sure if this was ever released as a coin 'op, but if it was I sure would have played it.

Rocket Sid, 10 Dec 2014 (Rating: 2)

1986 Magnum Computing (UK)
by Stephen Nichols

Well, it seems someone was a fan of Jet Pac. And if you are too, then why not try this clone written in Basic with a 1 level loop and a speed suitable for old invalid snails?

The Yellow Submarine, 10 Dec 2014 (Rating: 2)

1986 Magnum Computing (UK)
by Stephen Nichols

A tribute to The Beatles, which is only a tribute because it features a song and a yellow sub. You get to repeat the same task over and over again, and... that's it.

Gremlins, 11 Dec 2014 (Rating: 2)

1986 Magnum Computing (UK)
by Stephen Nichols

There is nothing wrong with Stephen Nichols games, they only too short with one level.
This is another simple BASIC game, inspired on the Gremlins motion Picure, it is in fact a Frogger clone, I call it a grogger.
You guide Gizmo, the red gremlin riding a car, thru a series of chainsaws and when you reach bottom you have to lift up the curtains in order to let light in and kill the evil Gremlins. It's a nice variation on the Frogger idea, but again, with only one level, even with a speed selection, it's obviously terribly boring.

The Life of Harry, 23 Dec 2014 (Rating: 3)

1985 Cascade Games (UK)
by John Hopper

I really liked this one.
It's simple, fun and addictive.
I also like the very distinct stylish look of the characters, especially Harry.
It's nice to see something different for a change, even if the overall game is mediocre to average.

Jet Set Willy II, 29 Dec 2014 (Rating: 4)

1985 Software Projects (UK)
by Derrick Rowson

The sequel to Jet Set Willy got it's break after Software Projects saw the Amstrad conversion, which had a lot more rooms and thought it was a good idea to re-convert it back to the Spectrum as part 2.
In my opinion, Derrick Rowson did a great job with the sequel, which is not just an "extra room" enhancement over Smith's original.
You get about more 40 rooms, which, as the plot goes, relates to the green-skin builders which instead of just fixing some bad staircases from where Willy had a severe accident, also added several more rooms, including a rocket room, without even charging Willy for it!
Who were these builders? What are they after? Well, it's up to us players to find out.

Some of us may be annoyed because how similar the game is to part I, and I felt the same when I started playing it in 1985. But over the years the plot got under my skin, while discovering the game surprises, like the moon sequences which I didn't expect at all, or even the simple secret passage screen. Yes, it's true, Derrick could have changed the characters look a bit, but remember this was meant as an Amstrad conversion of the original, and not a sequel.
Maybe the blame should fall on Software Projects greed, for not putting a little more work, but overall it's still a great game. Nothing to put a shame Matthew Smith. Nowadays it would be called an "expansion pack". So maybe this was the first example of such software stunt.

Grumpy Gumphrey Supersleuth, 30 Dec 2014 (Rating: 4)

1985 Gremlin Graphics (UK)
by Shaun Hollingworth and Marco Duroe (loading screen)


It's been a awhile since I last played this game.
If I so remember it, the main object of the game is to guide our geriatric store vigilante to perform several tasks, some dignifying the profession, others not so much.
From shooting ducks, to trapping gorillas or bringing the boss a mere cup of tea, the aging, near sighted Grumphrey, has his hands full.
Gremlin Graphics had some of the most beautifully colored and fun looking games around. Supersleuth was one of them. Everything looks fun and wacky, and it's a real treat to play.
It's not as addictive as say, Monty Mole, because this game takes some planning to do, exploring and experimenting is required, and some rooms get repetitive after awhile, but in the end is all worthy.

If the instructions keys don't work in the emulator, try the following:

6/7 - left/right
8/9 - down/up
0 - fire
S - select object
D - pick/drop object
T - read message

New Year's Special, 01 Jan 2015 (Rating: 3)

To all my Spectrum chums, a Happy New Year 2015!! Keep banging those rubber keys!!

Bubble Trouble, 03 Jan 2015 (Rating: 3)

1982 Arcade Software (UK)
by Bruce Rutherford

You play a burglar who has to steal a few items in each city he stays in. After you "clean" all the goods you can find, you are able to pass onto the next level, but first you can collect bonus points until the time count reaches zero, if you manage to catch the question mark (after the 1000 points), you move to the next screen before the end of the timer, earning you a bit more time for the next robbing.
It's an adaptation of Pac-Man, not particularly original, but at least doesn't clone entirely the coin-op game, as so many authors did.
The graphics are very cute and colorful, and ahead of 1982, and somewhat reminiscent of the Horace games.
The 3 levels of difficulty mean you either have 1,2 or 3 bubbles chasing you.
Playability is good and fun, but it's a shame the possibility to select on which level to start on. That spoils a lot the addictiveness of the game. You can always ignore that and start from the beginning, but we know, no one does that.
For a 1982 this could qualify as a four star rating, but the screen selecting takes from me a star, so a three it gets.

Mrs Mopp, 03 Jan 2015 (Rating: 3)

1984 Computasolve (UK)
by Tina Billett


Clothes, dish-wash, and general rubbish gets accumulated like magic. For Mrs. Mopp it's just another busy day of housewife. Her job is to collect each item with the corresponding colour basket, and when her hands are full she will start flashing, then she has to take it to the appropriate appliance. In each level the mess seems to accumulate. So to help her out when things get near impossible, she has spells she can use to destroy any nearby items. She also has a bottle of wine she can drink when getting stressed out.
This is a completely new game to me, never played it before, and it was a nice surprise.
It looks a bit old even for 1984 (not by much, though), but plays very well, and it's amazingly addictive.
I liked the cartonny looking Mrs.Mopp and the graphics in general. I don't thing this game was meant to win any prizes, but at least won the prize of time, because it's still as addictive as I guess it was in 1984.

Raider of the Cursed Mine, 04 Jan 2015 (Rating: 2)

1983 Arcade Software (UK)

Wow, this really looks so retro!
I know I've played an arcade coin-op game similar to this one, but cant remember its name.
You basically control a guy who has to catch diamonds from a cursed mine, filled with ghosts and other weird stuff.
You move left/right and control the motion of three elevators (probably more), this allows you to move around the mine without tripping on dangerous spider webs and other dangers.
It's fairly cute and playable, and nice for 1983, but I see a lot of things that could be better, like when you catch a diamond, should have a sound of something.
Still it's a great retro looking game and I've enjoyed the few minutes I've played so far.

Thunderhawk, 06 Jan 2015 (Rating: 2)

1984 Lyversoft (UK)
by David McGee and Neil Jones

This is a poor but playable Phoenix clone, although our ship resembles the ship from Galaxian, but everything else is inspired on Phoenix.
The graphics are bigger are more detailed but nothing outstanding. The playability suffers from bad key response and slowness when the screen is too busy with alien ships.
I've managed to reach level 2, and enjoyed seeing the mother ship, which is very similar to the most famous Spectrum version, the popular Pheenix. It's not the same, nor prettier or playable, but its similar and functional, and if you are tired of playing the same old Phoenix games and never tried this one before, give it a shot, it's harder, so may come as a challenge.
Had this been released in 1983 and I would give it a 3.

Space Professor, 06 Jan 2015 (Rating: 3)

1984 Front Runner (UK)
by Pinksoft

Math meets Space Invaders!
You can set the speed and difficult level which makes the game also a challenge for adults.

Lunar Rescue, 06 Jan 2015 (Rating: 2)

1983 Lyversoft (UK)
by Phil Lloyd and John Robinson

This is a really cool coin-op conversion of Lunar Rescue. But it isn't faithful to the original and gets really repetitive after a few plays. Once you rescue all the scientists onto the main ship, the cycle is repeated again, only faster and with more meteors.

Tobor, 06 Jan 2015 (Rating: 1)

1983 Elfin Software (UK)

The game starts off with a nice introduction which left me intrigued.
But the displaying of our hero and the enemy robots in the maze every time you lose a life, takes so much time it makes me just wanna forget it and move on to another.
Still, I managed to gather a few bits of patient to get thru to level 2. And I'm afraid to say, it's more of the same, only this time the maze is displayed differently. You control a blue man with a gun which seems to fire up red missiles. Your job? To clear the maze of nasty robots. It reminds me a bit of Android, but a lot more primitive. Overall, for 1983, it's not all that bad, the graphics and sound are adequate and even interesting, but playability is too slow and with bad key response, and the time wasted organizing the maze every time you lose a life is just plain irritating. Maybe in later levels, more development as been made, but I doubt a lot of players ever had enough patience to get there.

Desert Burner, 22 Jan 2015 (Rating: 2)

1985 Sparklers (UK)
by Roy Poole and Terry Murray

Desert Burner is obviously inspired by the classic arcade game Moon Patrol. With a different theme, more Earthly and no sci-fi involved. It as a sightly different approach since you can't shot up and you have to accelerate before jumping.
Personally I enjoyed playing it. Yes, it's full of bugs, including crashes, but it's also challenging, even very hard, at least initially, until you get the hang of jumping or firing. The cartoony graphics work fine with me, and it would be a very cheerful game if only not so difficult.

Devil's Crown, 22 Jan 2015 (Rating: 3)

Not bad by any means.
It follows the structure of other arcade adventures, with the usual pick up/use object routine and with a few submarine nasties to devoid you from your goal.
Yes, the game happens under water, while on a small blue submarine and between the wrecks of a pirate ship.
Graphically the game as a style of it's own, which I'm sure detracted a lot of players, but it's always nice to see something different from the bunch.

The Drinker, 27 Jan 2015 (Rating: 3)

A fun but unusual idea. It's basically as Stack described, Tapper meets Travel with Trashman.

Mica Spremacica, 27 Jan 2015 (Rating: 2)

Written by Aleksandar Radovanovic in 1984 and released a year later for a Yugoslavian contest, this one screen maze puts you in the shoes of a tidy housekeeper.
Collect keys, open doors, clean the rooms of scattered objects and drop them in the white furniture (first level is a trunk) and of course, avoid the nasties. From the second level on, the screens become too crowded, and you have to relay more on luck than skills.

Knockout, 27 Jan 2015 (Rating: 1)

Graphically I kind of like it, it's colourful and cartoony, but as a game it's too hard to be any fun.

Trap, 27 Jan 2015 (Rating: 3)

1987 Alligata Software (UK)
by Richard Stevenson, David Wright and Nigel Speight

Never heard about this one before. It looks good, but after a few plays you understand why it is so unknown and unloved. First, the way you control the ship it's different from your average scrolling shot 'em up. You can control the speed and even halt the ship movement.
Secondly, the firing is a bit slow and monotonous, a shot per time.
Now, after you destroy a required number of alien ships, the screen border will flash red, you will be able to land your ship, and then move to foot action. In that mode you are required to collect the Orb (the planet's currency), and only then move to the next level.

All would be well if only the color scheme wasn't so confusing. The slow firing doesn't help either, but it's the indistinguishable enemies that sum up the game as a flop.
Why didn't anyone in Alligata notice this is beyond me.

Devil's Descent, 27 Jan 2015 (Rating: 3)

1985 Pocket Money Software (UK)
by Barry Jones

I kind of liked this little game. Little in the sense it's not complex in any way.
Barry Jones also wrote Valley of the Dead which is similar, but harder and trickier.
You basically guide down a spaceship down an enormous pit and avoid colliding with anything. You use two keys (1/0= left/right) and two other keys (2/9) to move faster. Check the start menu for other keys uses.
It's cute looking and plays well. The one thing I don't like in any game is the option to choose the level in which to start or a demo of all levels. What's the use in playing, then?

2,5 points

Dotty, 28 Jan 2015 (Rating: 2)

1984 Dollarsoft (UK)
by Richard Stevenson and Philip Durbidge

Another poor Pac-man clone. The games is full of bugs and crashes often.

Super Sam, 28 Jan 2015 (Rating: 2)

1985 Budgie Budget Software (UK)
by Richard Stevenson, Philip Durbidge, Marco Duroe and Paul Brittain (music)

So it seems Sam Short, which btw, looks exactly like a character from an Ultimate game, is lost in a fortress, and he must collect 18 pieces of a cage in order to trap the elusive Boris (the vilain?).
There are hidden passages, doors and corridors, so you must be aware of that in order to help Sam Short fulfill is purpose.
But with such a poor gameplay, I rather leave Sam to his own devices.

Nonterraqueous, 30 Jan 2015 (Rating: 3)

1985 Mastertronic (UK)
by Stephen Curtis and Mark Jacobs

I have this game in my collection since it was released, but never played it much. I had other favorites, I guess, and never dug into it much.
After reading a couple of reviews from my fellow Spectrum chums, I decided to dig a little further into the game.
First of all, I couldn't remember anything about the game (or it's sequel), which goes to show how much I played it, and secondly I felt very relaxed playing it. The sparse sound effects as reviewer 'When I was Cruel' says makes the game either boring or relaxing and mysterious.
Graphically it doesn't appeal to me, but on the other hand I like it's cold metal feel.

After playing the game for about ten minutes and having had no progression at all, besides swapping robots and placing a bomb, I decided to browse the available game map on WOS. 1000 screens to explore? Oh my, oh my! This isn't the right game for me, I guess. However a lot of the screens are totally useless and unneeded to complete the game. So I played it a few more times, expecting any interesting rewards from the game.
After another 10 minutes I was capable to set off the rocket against the upper section and destroy it (Tipshop: thank you). It's one of the best sequences in the game, but it could have been done better, supposedly you board the rocket and after the explosion you get out (ouch!) but you don't see any boarding happening, and the first time that happened left me wandering what the heck was going on. Another 10 minutes into the game and I started yawning, the same routines of firing, picking up bombs and filling the Psyche level, was starting to affect me, so I call it a day.
Well, not exactly, Tipshop came in handy again and I watched the video of the game being finished.

I must say, the whole game didn't impressed me, but the end sequence left me cold as an ice cube. So the infamous computer was an evil ZX81? That's it? And in the end you only get a phrase in white letters against a black background, congratulating you for your achievement while marketing the next sequel (which come to be 'Soul of a Robot' and not 'Terraincognita').
That's it? No fireworks? No fanfare? Not even a simple animated sequence?
I suppose I would have loved it better in the 80's and judging from the ratings, this is a well appreciate game, but to me the game plot is mediocre and boring, although well written and fully playable.



Luna Rover, 05 Feb 2015 (Rating: 3)

1985 Data Design Systems (UK)
by Stewart Green

A cute Moon Patrol clone. It's simpler in ever respect, but very playable and faster than Moon Alert or the unreleased official Spectrum version. The biggest letdown I found was having to begin for stage A every time we lose a lunar rover.

Krypton Raiders, 05 Feb 2015 (Rating: 3)

1985 Future Stars (Spain)
by Snatcho

Wow! I had completely forgotten about this game. Thanks for refreshing my memories, dandyboy!

Krypton Raiders is one of the earliest games by renowned Spanish programmer Snatcho, and also one of the most playable indeed. It's simple and straight to the point: catch all the 4 diamonds and get back to the Heli base to escape from planet Krypton.
The graphics are very basic but cute, and reminiscent of the Ultimate games. The action is fast, with full firing opportunities and plenty of nasties to choose from, a bit like Atic Atac, with weird looking aliens appearing everywhere.
A bit more variety with the maze walls would have been nice, and less aliens too (sometimes there are swarms of them!), but it's still fun.

Helichopper, 05 Feb 2015 (Rating: 2)

1985 Firebird Software (UK)
by Tony Beckwith

This game had so much potential, it looks like one of those games currently being written by Spectrum freaks (like me), all pretty looking and incredibly addictive. Unfortunately it's too hard to be enjoyable. Screen One starts with the premise "This will be easy!". Joke not Mr. Tony! It's one of the hardest first levels I've ever played!
There is too much happening, the Helicopter is too big and the clone landing (the white flashing areas) either moves too fast or the collision detection with the Heli is not sensitive enough. Either way, this makes for a frustrating play in what could have been such a good game.

Drug Watch, 08 Feb 2015 (Rating: 1)

1985 Nottinghamshire Constabulary (UK)
by Jeff Brammer

A very badly written shoot 'em up with a twist, in which the usual spaceships are substitute by junkies and yourself. I'm not sure if this was in any way helpful in the eighties or if even stimulated more curiosity for drugs in the kids who played it.

MODERATE RETRIBUTION, 05 Mar 2015 (Rating: 3)

2013 Stonechat Productions (UK)
by Dave Hughes and Dr Thomas

A fun tribute to shoot 'em up's. You get the usual nasties and a final boss for each level. No power up's, though. The game was authored by S.E.U.D. (which goes to show how good it is) with a few enhancements authorized by Jon Cauldwell himself.

Beverly Hills Cop, 06 Apr 2015 (Rating: 3)

I've seen better movie tie-ins, BHC isn't one of the best but far from the worst. It's sticks shy in the middle without much notice.
It's hard to reproduce Eddie Murphy's humour on a computer game, I know, but the movie is filled with potential for at least a good action game. Specially in a era where levels were loaded separately, leaving room for great ideas and much improvement. Just look at the Untouchables.
Instead you get a rushed game, mildly fun with 4 uninspired levels already seen and played by everyone elsewhere. The good thing is that the main movie script can actually be played thru the levels presented, although almost random. Starts with the warehouse scene and ends up in Mr.Big's mansion.
Worth checking if you're fan of Eddie Murphy or his movies or simply if you're a Spectrumaniac like me.

Gay Shot, 15 Jul 2015 (Rating: 1)

I've known this game for awhile now. And although my sense of humour has changed and got a bit more refined with age, this sort of toilet humour was in the 80's a treat to any normal kid, including myself.
There were a lot of games like this underground and passed by by the older kids. I remember they were a lot sought after.

Personally I can't take this game too seriously, it's just a tasteless stupid little joke, probably written by an adolescent.
I don't think this should be taken out of the WOS, specially because of the adult filter the website provides, although I understand it may offend some people.

BMX Jungle Bike, 22 Aug 2015 (Rating: 1)

Was this a really bad attempt at a BMX Biking game or was it on purpose in order to be as weird a game as possible? Maybe the word 'Jungle' in the name is a clue.
It has ideas from other games already mentioned by another reviewer, games such as Hunchback, Eddie's Kid's or Wheelie, but instead being an ultra cool game like Wheelie was, it turned out to be a rather boring, hard to play, even idiotic game, with lots of programming flaws, such as the collision detection.
Well I think it's justifiable if it was programmed by a kid.

Henry's Hoard, 28 Aug 2015 (Rating: 3)

Made using a Jet Set Willy engine.
So it's basically JSW but modified.
It features some elements from other games such as Chuckie Egg.
It obviously plays similar to JSW and could stand out if it had more variety and a more original plot, which it doesn't.
It's interesting for 1985 and graphically it's fine, but only average.

Willy's Hoard, 28 Aug 2015 (Rating: 3)

So this is a remake of Henry's Hoard (1985) which was originally written using a Jet Set Willy engine.
There are a few enhancements but nothing particularly noticeable.
Again features some elements from other games such as Chuckie Egg.
It obviously plays similar to JSW and could stand out if it had more variety and a more original plot, which it doesn't. Just another name to add to the pile of JSW clones out there.

Granja, 15 Sep 2015 (Rating: 3)

Cute game.
You can do fun things in BASIC as well.

Bounder, 26 Nov 2015 (Rating: 3)

1986 Gremlin Graphics (UK)
by Chris Kerry, Shaun Hollingworth, Peter Harrap and Marco Duroe

Bouncing balls games like Bounder were very popular during a period. Lots of ideas were popping up and new games were hitting the shelfs.
Some quite good, some not. Bounder falls into the average category.
There's nothing actually new about the game, the playing is average and looks average. But it's fun and challenging notheless.

Mickey Mouse, 26 Nov 2015 (Rating: 4)

1988 Gremlin Graphics (UK)
by Gary Priest, Kevin Bulmer, Jon Harrison and Ben Daglish

Gremlin did a good job converting the classic cartoon hero into our Speccy. The characters (live and dead) and backgrounds are well detailed and well animated. Some colour was added to the presentation so the look of the game doesn't feel too monochrome. The tune at the beginning is also quite nice.

Maybe the best part of the game are the sub-games including in the main game. The familiar ones are Space Invaders or Pac-Man, too not mention all (surprise, surprise). The main game is also interesting unlike Lazy Jones, which was the first game I played that used sub-games and lacked a real objective.

Overall it feels somewhat dated to 1988, but on the other hand it is very enjoyable, both to play and look at.

Think!, 02 Dec 2015 (Rating: 5)

1985 Ariolasoft (UK)
by Tony Barber, Simon Dunstan, Don Hughes, David Bishop and Chris Palmer

Think! is one of the best puzzle games I've ever played on a Speccy.
The idea is simple, the first player to line up 4 tiles, vertically, horizontally or diagonally wins the round. You can either play against the computer or against another human player.
Options include 3 modes of play: Normal, Speed or Blitz THINKing. This modes basically revolve around clock timing, making each move more challenging.
Then there is the Problem Solving option. This means you will be able to select one of the 6 preset problems available and try to solve them. Or you can create your own problems, and apply them both to the computer or another player.
The game is easy to get into but if any difficulty arises, you can use the Tutorial included which will help clear any doubts on how to play.
Definitely one of the best puzzle games around and still up to date after decades.

Professional Soccer, 15 Mar 2016 (Rating: 4)

1989 CRL (UK)
Written by David Leitch, Ben Jackson and Kevin Brice

Back in '89 I was already a bit fed up with soccer management games. I had played some of the best, from the early Football Manager to Football Director, to The Double or Tracksuit Manager. These are still my favorite management games of the world of soccer. They all had something new, original and excellent gameplay.
Professional Soccer came while browsing a software rack, never heard of it, but looked ok, so in a whim I ended up buying it.
It was one of the few games I played in '89 and one of the last games I played on the Speccy until emulators came and dethrone the original machines.

The game itself has nothing new and still it is sort of different from the bunch.
It has all of the important features: Team selection, formations, substitutions, buy/sell market etc and features nice action scenes.
The action scenes tend to get repetitive and long, and the graphics are not pretty, they actually remind me the baby-looking players from Match Day II. Still this scenes, which can be switched off any time, give more diversity to the game. So they are very welcome.
Has you can guess, the results aren't accurate, but still seem slightly calculated by all the data involved, which gives the player motive to makes the necessary changes in the team. Of course it's way far from the perfection of The Double.
The presentation is rather nice with a good selection console and very user friendly, the downside is the slowness of the key response, partially because of the two-beeps it emits when a key is pressed. This really spoils things to me nowadays, not back then when my patience was higher and the absence of fast computers or fast games made things bearable.
Overall I think this is one the best soccer management games of the Spectrum Era, and perhaps good enough to feature in a top 5.

4,5 points

Robin of the Wood, 17 Mar 2016 (Rating: 5)

1985 Odin Computer Graphics (UK)
by Steve Wetherill, Paul Salmon and Andy Walker

Robin of the Wood is a beautiful game, featuring great backgrounds, nicely designed characters, well animated action, a nice start menu tune and a good plot.
The use of the legendary Robin was surely a bonus, specially because in those days the classics were still fashionable.
The end result is a captivating, imaginable, very playable, pretty game.
Still I can't get around on how many similar games were made before. Some good, some bad. Robin of the Wood is not original in any particular way, but enhanced old ideas, and is surely among the best of it's genre, I only wish it was different from all the cartoony Sabre Wulf's made before.

4,5 points

T.L.L., 24 Mar 2016 (Rating: 5)

1984 Vortex Software (UK)
written by Costa Panayi

Wow, this was such an amazingly looking game. Technically superb, graphically beautiful and very original.
It may look simple for today's kids, but the 3D landscape was the best in those days.
Costa had already exceeded expectations with Android 2, which by the way has a few landscapes elements repeated in this game (the colorful trees, for instance), but no one was expecting such a step forward in quality. In fact, Costa outdid himself again later, with Cyclone, Highway Encounter and Deflektor.

I did find the game very hard back in the day, but nowadays it looks very easy to finish (heck, I touched the five targets in 5 minutes and landed safely right after, just before writing this review).
Oh, and yes, that is the games goal: You are a test pilot flying around searching for 5 targets using a radar and a map as help, and picking them up by flying your plane very low over them, and then return to the base. The games restarts but now with less time to finish the task.
This is the downside, after you complete the first row, the game turns into a scoring game.
Still it was great just flying around the game area, making stunts, like crossing below electricity wire poles or between buildings or even below the bridge (the hardest stunt me and friends discovered).
Thankfully, Costa returned with Cyclone, which was sort of a sequel and a superb game.

V, 20 Jul 2016 (Rating: 2)

I was hoping the game would be as good as the TV show (which wasn't all that good either), and after a few minutes of playing I felt really disappointed.
There isn't much to do, you spent much of your time running around similar corridors, and after that there's more corridors. It reminds me of 'Aliens' from Electric Dreams, which also includes running horizontally thru a maze of corridors (the ship corridors), but without the excellent plot.

Chickin Chase, 31 Aug 2016 (Rating: 5)

1985 Firebird Software (UK)

One of the funniest games I've ever played.
The object of the game is to help the cockerel grow his chicken family.
He must first breed the eggs along with his wife in a "private" place within the hennery and then protect his them against enemies like snakes, hedgehogs, stoats, foxes and rats until they hatch and return to their mother.
You have to keep at least one egg in the hen house otherwise your chicken wife will be very crossed with you for not performing your "manly duties".
And so you must keep them coming (no pun intended) so the family keeps growing.
This obviously takes energy and if you work too hard your stamina will run dry, and you will slow down until you drop dead.
So it is crucial to catch every worm available whenever they pop their heads out.

The object of the game is to score as many points as you can and keep them eggs coming (again no pun intended).
Personally I don't like games just for scoring, but Chikin Chase is an exception and after all this years I still find myself spending hours (yes, hours) playing it. A simple yet beautiful, funny and highly addictive game.

Out Run, 11 Nov 2016 (Rating: 4)

1987 US Gold (UK)
by Ian Morrison, Alan Laird, Jas Brooke, Nick Bruty

After the grandeur of the coin-op arcade, expectations on 8-bit machines were very high.
This only led to disappointments, of course, not only the Spectrum limitations were immediately noticed on the game design, but speed issues left many players wondering if this was really THE Out Run they had seen in the arcades.
Well, Out Run is a racing game and one of the many letdowns of the Speccy is: Speed (you guessed it).

Any of us could survive a monochromatic city, with weird almost unrecognizable landscapes, we all seen that before, but speed is crucial to a racing game, specially one that requires beating time limits.

Still for many of us lucky ones who never saw the arcade version, this was a great game, not the best, but great.


Moon Buggy, 22 Dec 2016 (Rating: 2)

1983 Anirog Software (UK)
by Michael Fox

Yes, another Moon Patrol unofficial game (or clone) to quench the thirst of all the gamers dazzled by the arcade game until a conversion was made. Unfortunately the converted game was never released, and only a few lucky ones got a hold of the game back then.
This version is repetitive, but playable. And it looks cool for a 1983 Spectrum game, so I think a lot of kids were appeased until Moon Alert come along.

Galactic Abductors, 22 Dec 2016 (Rating: 3)

1983 Anirog Software (UK)
by Michael Fox

I played this game a lot as a ween and it was already old back then in 1985(!)
But this old(!) games were always funny as they were primitive.
It was hard compared with other shoot 'm ups of the age, but I kept going at it because it had a few differences which kind interested me, like the men on the side.

I always thought that G.A. was inspired by Space Invaders but instead it was inspired by Stratovox a game I have never heard about in the arcades.
I still like to revisit it so a 3 point rating is suitable to me.

Frenzy, 25 Dec 2016 (Rating: 2)

1982 Quicksilva (UK)
by David Shea

I think this was the first version of 'Berserk' I played in the Spectrum. It was never my cup of tea. At the time I was busy playing Manic Miner, Ant Attack, Aquaplane, H.E.R.O., etc and this game was already very old (a year or two old!) for any kid to fully enjoy.
Anyway I still played it many times and always found the simple but strange atmosphere very interesting, in fact all these simple early games, with matchstick figures or almost without any graphics, had this effect on my imagination.
Strangely I still play Berzerk, the emulated arcade original and I find it extremely addictive even if the reward is only the change of color on the enemies and of course, the increase on their fire power and speed.
Frenzy is a poor conversion, probably written in BASIC, the keys do not respond properly and it's too primitive even for the day.
But features a few interesting novelties not found on the arcade, like another robot spreading mines around the maze, or a squared like character moving around the maze, and it's fairly addictive for the time.

Frenzy, 25 Dec 2016 (Rating: 1)

1983 Spectrum Games Ltd (UK)
by Adrian Sherwin

The second conversion of Berzerk for the Spectrum, most likely not official.
It was later re-packaged and released by Ocean Software as 'Robotics'.

Looks less primitive than the 1982 version but it's worse. You can only destroy robots when firing at their heads, the robots don't seem to change colour or increase their firepower or speed, and Evil Otto (the smiling freak) moves way too fast.
Of course the arcade original was also primitive, so for accuracy purposes, the Speccy versions could not be a lot better, but this version is simple unplayable and uninteresting.
The arcade game is still extremely addictive at least to me, and the '82 version as a certain charm too it, unlike this version.

Airwolf, 24 Jul 2017 (Rating: 4)

1984 Elite (UK)
by Richard Wilcox

Airwolf became famous for it's infamous difficulty level of play. If you could master this game, then you would be king of the keyboard.
It had everything to be a winner and a classic, cool colourful graphics, adequate sound, smooth movement. But it was too hard for us 80's kids, even harder than some of the era coin-ops (designed to make you lose fast and spent as much money as possible). It really felt like an impossible mission.
I have only completed the game this year, with a score of 2111 points and only because I set my mind in finishing it, after all this was and still is a classic in my eyes, but man, it took quite a lot of playing.


I decided to give it a 4 just because it has a small bug, which consists of remaining pixels left after your Helicopter is blown and a life is lost, then when you continue if you clash into those pixels (sometimes just one) you lose a life. This just happens from time to time and I only noticed it in a particular screen which I find the hardest one, but I'm certain it happen along the game. This doesn't spoil the game much, because it seldom happens.

Now if you wanna finished the game be prepared for giant amounts of patience and concentration, and the game can became quite addictive!

Airwolf II, 28 Jul 2017 (Rating: 4)

1987 Hit-Pak (UK)
by Neil Latarche

The sequel to the infamous Airwolf, plays a lot easier and is quite enjoyable, but feels just like a clone of a range of scrolling shoot 'em up games.
Whereas the original felt a lot more, well, original, with it's only sin being the difficulty level.
Nonetheless this was the 80's, so Airwolf was way too challenging.

The sequel is more of a search and destroy type of game, there less strategic timing and planning, but it's a an enjoyable game.

Ramparts, 02 Aug 2017 (Rating: 3)

1988 Go! (UK)
by Sean Speacer, Jas Brooke, Mark Cooksey and Rory Green

Remember Rampage? Well, if you liked that game and want to play a similar one, welcome to Ramparts, a medieval Rampage clone.
Classic Cinema monsters are substituted by blood thirsty Knights and the buildings by medieval Castles. Enemies include archers, foot soldiers, gunpowder artillery and even flying witches among others.

It's not as fun as Rampage, mainly because its not a novelty anymore, but specially because it's harder to play than the original. Climbing and then punching the castle wall gets confusing sometimes when you fall at the press of the wrong key and the monochrome color within the castle walls doesn't help either.
It's still fun to play but not as good as Rampage. Had this game been released before Rampage and I would have liked it better.

Hard Drivin', 25 Oct 2017 (Rating: 2)

A very poor conversion of an Atari game. Spoiled by the difficulty in steering the car. it's not called Hard Drivin' for no reason.

How to be a Complete Bastard, 26 Oct 2017 (Rating: 3)

198 Virgin Games (UK)
by Elliot Gay and Allistair Watt

I loved both the "Young Ones" series and the less known show "Bottom", both featuring Adrian Edmondson, the bloke who wrote the book which inspired this game.

The game goes something like this: your invited to a party and decide to be as bastard as you can by playing tricks on people or doing disgusting things to yourself such as drinking detergent, eat whole packages of curry, etc. The screen features 4 meters (Drunkometer, Weeeometer, Fartometer and Smellometer) I think they are self explanatory, so no need dwelling on that. Each time you do a nasty task including to yourself, the meters rise. Keep them active. All you have to do is make all the invited guests leave and you can have the place to yourself. Each time a guest leaves a letter of the phrase COMPLETE-BASTARD will light up, if your deeds are not sick enough a letters will only light for a short period of time.
So you will need to perform really nasty actions sixteen times to win the game.

The idea is extremely original, if you exclude Jack the Nipper which debuted (to my knowledge) a somewhat amoral and mischievous character , but the execution this time fall short from good. Several features could have been added to make the atmosphere much more enjoyable such as visual and sound effects whenever you break stuff up and things like the sort. The double screens don't help either specially at the beginning.

The toilet humour is fun to a teenager but soon gets secondary if the game hasn't more to give.

If I had played this game as a kid or a teenager in the 80's I'm sure I would had loved a lot more than today.

Frankenstein 2000, 28 Nov 2017 (Rating: 3)

1985 Icon Software Ltd (UK)
by Peter Fothergill

The first thing that comes to my mind when I play this game is the 1984 game Fantastic Voyage, and probably was inspired in it. But instead of being in a human body you are inside Frankenstein!
Also you aren't looking for anything in particular like in Fantastic Voyage, no Sub pieces to collect, just trying to surpass each level. There's a bit of management to do in order to keep your levels of oxygen enough and the spaceship damage low so you can survive, the rest is just pure arcade action.
I think the graphics are cute and the situations too. True, the levels are very basic and without great difficulty, but if you like this sort of cartoonish Bug Eyes type of games give it a try. I'll rate it higher because it was a fun game in my youth days.

Wells & Fargo, 29 Nov 2017 (Rating: 1)

1988 Topo Soft (Spain)
by Emilio Martinez, Gominolas and Jose Lazo

I had forgotten this game, maybe because I played it very little.
Has with most Spanish games this is a very hard game to play, pretty as Spanish games usually are, but very hard to play indeed, in fact I find it almost unplayable, it's difficult to see bullets coming or where exactly to shoot, the bullets move too slow, although they are big (they are basically black circles) and with the movement of the coach, the background and everything else, they appear to move randomly (although they don't). This makes the game very confusing. And that's the reason I played it so little.

1 point for the graphics and music

Motorcycle 500, 13 Dec 2017 (Rating: 3)

1990 Cult Games (UK)
by Graham D. Shaw, David Bland and Vincent Vity

This is the Cult version of the excellent Endurance game. Like I said in my review of the Grand Prix Challenge, also by Shaw and friends, this game lacks the feel of a race, something very well done by the authors of both Formula One and Endurance. True, there is vaster menu options, and some quite useful, but still I cant get into this game and not compare it to both games mentioned above, and not feel like I'm playing a sub par game. It's still an enjoyable game.

Rogue Trooper, 13 Dec 2017 (Rating: 3)

Great looking game, with nice animated characters and easy movement, but the game quest is a bit too simple. Also, if anyone told me this game was called something else, I never would associate it with 2000AD Rogue Trooper.

Attack on New York, 26 Dec 2017 (Rating: 2)

A 1991 Blitz clone, written I guess for the Outlet electronic magazine, not bad, but too dated for the year in question.

Falcon Patrol 2, 27 Dec 2017 (Rating: 3)

An 1985 game identical to older games such as Harrier Attack as another user states, but limited for it's day and age. It's nostalgic for me and fun from time to time, but there are other games I rather use my time with.

Mr. Wimpy, 12 Jan 2018 (Rating: 3)

1984 Ocean Software
by Paul Owens

This game was written as a promotional tie with the Wimpy restaurants, so if you have visited this place you will recognize their logos, their company mascots, etc.
Practically speaking this is none other than Burger Time, with a first part which I guess is unique to itself, although clearly inspired by other games, but
I guess this would have been fun in 1984, I sure would have played it, specially because I love Burger Time, and I cant say this is a bad clone.

Breakaway, 09 Feb 2018 (Rating: 2)

1983 Procom Software (UK)
by John Campbell

Nice game, especially for the time and age. It sure gets repetitive after the first successful play, so the play value for this time and day is very low, the only motivation being the score.

Type-Rope, 09 Feb 2018 (Rating: 3)

1985 Mastertronic (UK)
by David Jones and Ray Owen

Yes, this sure looks like a Break Away clone, and almost certain it is. It's still an enhanced version, because you have at least 6 levels of play, all with a different character background. So that's obviously a big plus for a game that originally became repetitive very rapidly, where every level was the same, besides the scoring.

A View to a Kill - The Computer Game, 26 Mar 2018 (Rating: 2)

1985 Domark Ltd (UK)
written by: a lot of people, apparently!

The 007 movie licensed game. By this time I was completely hooked on the theme song written by Duran Duran. I remember loading this game just to listen to that song. Now I can't find the song in any of the emulated versions!! Bollocks!
Anyway what can I say about this game?
For starters, I had no instructions, so I never could have guessed that the cloud-looking-object hanging around the maze was in fact Mayday hanging in a parachute (the spy you had to catch, and played by Grace Jones in the movie).
That said, the only good thing I had to say about this game until now, was it had a nice loading screen, nice presentation, nice covered song and... well, that's it!

Nowadays thanks to emulation and the variety of sources about every game ever released, I was finally able to explore this game a bit deeper.
The only section of the game I played was the Paris Chase, the first one, which is undoubtedly the worst. Looks bad, plays awful. You have to catch Mayday using a cab, while she hangs on a Parachute and tries to land on the outskirts of Paris.

The other two sections look a lot better, not amazing but better, but still play awful.
Part two, which is called City Hall, sees Bond trying to pull himself and Stacey out of a burning building.
Using the menu system, you can move Bond from room to room, take action, such as searching, use or drop an object or give commands to Stacey which is trapped inside an elevator.

And finally part 3, which is called The Mine and is set in the caverns of Silicon Valley.
Like in the previous level you have to make use of objects you find in your way. There is a bomb about to explode somewhere in the mines that will cause a major earthquake in San Francisco. Bond has to defuse it before it's too late, and he will count with the help of Mayday, which turns against Zorins (the movie villain) insane plan.
There are lifts to use, ropes to climb and jumping routines to get you thru the mines different levels.
This is probably the most action level of the bunch but not that interesting.
The game itself is not the least interesting, and is still on my list of worst movie licensed games ever.

Draughts Genius, 06 Apr 2018 (Rating: 4)

1987 Rack-It (UK)
by Raffaele Cecco, Paolo Malnati and Giovanni Zanetti

Possibly the best draughts game I've played on the Spectrum. There arent many, and most are a bit primitive looking, unlike this beautifully drawn and animated version.
Yes, you play against Einstein and it takes another genius to beat him up, it's that difficult. So the 2-player mode is advised, this is in fact the downside of the game, it's way too hard.

Krack Through, 06 Apr 2018 (Rating: 1)

A Breakout clone, incomplete (3 levels) and nothing out of the blue. It's been done way better.

Ugh!, 06 Apr 2018 (Rating: 3)

1986 Load 'n' Run [IT]
by Marco and Cristian

A Sound/Speech program based on the 1984 game of the same name.

UGH!, 06 Apr 2018 (Rating: 3)

1984 Softek International (UK)
by Tony Samuels and Stevie Beverly

UGH is a big 'time capsule' of my youth, a big bank of memories from my childhood years. It looked adorable back then has it still does today.

Some parents may want to show this game to their younger children, but kids today are so advanced in the gaming department that they will more likely show a hurtful sarcastic grin then the expected wow with a smile, followed by the discouraging "looks crappy, Dad..."

Yes, the truth hurts. Duran Duran best songs are decades old and Samantha Fox is probably now buying her first incontinence diapers. But can you blame any parent for trying? Look at the cute graphics, the dinosaur theme, it's really a cute game.

But if a game is admired by how it looks, it's the fingers who do the hard job. And if this is a treat to the eyes it isn't for the fingers. Not in a Decathlon sort of way mind you, more in a frustrating programmer-gives-a-sh*t-written type game. Take the corners of the roads as an example, it's incredibly hard to make a turn without getting stuck, because although they look rounded, they aren't actually programmed that way, so you get stuck!

It makes it very hard to escape the Tyrannosaurus mother or the Pterodactyl (are they a couple?). It's hardly a fair experience to be in the shoes of this caveman, specially to a young kid.
It's still enjoyable to some degree, but I wonder what memories I would have collected if this was properly written and with a bit more levels thrown in.

The Rat, 11 Jun 2018 (Rating: 2)

198? Scorpion Software (UK)
by Stuart Campbell and Simon Reid

A strategy management game where you play the suitable role of a rat in the software industry.

Although better similar games were made, the Rat features some nice humour touches, making me feel that it's more of a parody than an actual game.
The game also has many bugs, for instance, when you type any game's name in the 'specific game search', it gives you the message '2 variable not found 2653:1'. It's an easy go around issue, but still annoying.

Nevertheless the idea is there and for a BASIC program both graphics and sound do their job nicely, although I feel the execution is quite amateurish and lazy which spoils what could have been an interesting game.

Note: It's mentions games such Tantulus , Sweevos World and Quazatron all from 1986, so this game can't be from 1984.

The Inheritance: Panic in Las Vegas, 11 Jun 2018 (Rating: 5)

1987 Infogrames (UK)


This seems a nice adventure, I didn't got far, but I enjoyed the minutes of play I got from it.
It's all about an inheritance given to an unemployed wally by his late aunt. To receive it he has to repeat something his aunt did back in 30's in Vegas.
It's what I call a "modern" type adventure game from the past. Just because you have a cursor with which you move around the screen clicking objects and learning from them. But it has also has other very interesting features, like the way you move from room to room, without writing any words, or your interaction with other animated characters and objects, including elevators, casino machines, etc.
A very promising game, which I will gladly further explore.

Wild West Shoot-Out, 12 Jun 2018 (Rating: 2)

1983 ZX Computing (UK)
by R. Page

I remember typing this game from some magazine (can't remember the name) and being nicely surprised.
Never I had heard about Boot Hill, but I had played the spectrum version, the best known at least (High Noon), which is a lot better (and faster) than this type-in version. Still I got a kick out of typing it, mainly because I was expecting a lot worse, it plays in fact quite well and looks alright, very tidy and elegant.
Yes, it's a very basic game, not only because it's written in that programming language that also because it's well... basic.

Disposable Heroes, 12 Jun 2018 (Rating: 1)

1987 The Power House (UK)
by Grant Jaquest

Why did Power House release such dire games? Wasn't SQIJ enough?
I can even ignore the snotty graphics but the gameplay is simple obnoxious. Disposable is the only thing that makes any sense in the whole game.

Double Dragon III: The Rosetta Stone, 12 Jun 2018 (Rating: 3)

1991 Alternative Software (UK)

I noticed reviewers are a bit divided about this one, I feel at ease to say that this is not all that bad, an average game, unoriginal, seen dozens of times, but not bad. Comparison with previous versions always arises and the actual games gets to be a little ignored.
There not much to say new about DDIII, maybe the inclusion of the shop, where you can upgrade, some like it some don't, I myself think is unnecessary filler, but doesn't hurt the game. All in all: average.

Roy of the Rovers, 12 Jun 2018 (Rating: 3)

1988 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)
by System Applied Technology team

I completely forgot about this one, until a few days ago when I purchased a copy of an annual Roy of the Rovers comic book, sudently I remembered there was also a game.
I browsed it, and there it was: the Spectrum game.

I had to played it for a while to remember things, and rapidly understood why I had forgotten about the game. Firstly this is an arcade adventure game, full of options, similar to Tai-pan, so it takes a while to get into, secondly the instructions are not good enough to guide you thru the game, and finally there aren't many tips available to help you out so you get a bit lost.

Roy has to rescue is football teammates in order to play a crucial fund-raising match to save their ground threatened by the city property developers.
So he gets around Melchester City streets a lot, talking to some shady figures and moving from place to place, but progressing is slow and the game gets boring really fast.
There is also a chance to just play an action soccer match, meaning the game is actually two games in one. But I was never able to play the soccer game, couldn't find anywhere in the cassette!
To my knowledge you can also play the action part at the end of the adventure after reuniting your team and finally playing the fund raising match.
I'm sure there is a good game hidden in here, but for the reasons I mentioned it has escaped me completely.

For Your Thighs Only, 13 Jun 2018 (Rating: 3)

A text adventure featuring a James Bond spoof, called James Smith. The games name is a pun to the Roger Moore's 007 movie, For your eyes only, making the game an obvious spoof.
It's funny, nothing special, but plays well. The graphics window is uninteresting and small, which makes the game less captivating.

Zeon, 13 Jun 2018 (Rating: 1)

1986 Jorge Perez Barreiro (Spain)

What went in this guy's head to write a game such as this?
To be honest I didn't even play the game. I mean, I tried too! But at this speed it's simply impossible to get anywhere. It's easier to win the loto, believe me.

To cut a long story short: Unplayable.

Grand Prix Driver, 13 Jun 2018 (Rating: 1)

1983 Britannia Software (UK)
by Chris Weber


Did anyone EVER overtake a car in this game?
Because I tried, I really tried. Can it be done?
If this was an effort to clone Pole Position, it was a complete failure!

Rally Driver, 13 Jun 2018 (Rating: 4)

1984 Hill MacGibbons (UK)
by the Five Ways Software team

A great Rally simulation game. In fact most simulators by Five Ways are really good, not perfect, but honest good, most were release between 1984 and 1986, and some ahead of their time.
The game takes place in 3 stages over 3 days and nights against other competitors. To win the cup you have to finish in the top 3 in the final stage.
Graphics are great, the simulation awesome.
The speed makes me subtract a point, other than that, well done for a 1984 simulator.

Run for Gold, 13 Jun 2018 (Rating: 5)

1985 Hill MacGibbon (UK)
by Tim Miller

One of the most original simulators around. I'm talking about Athletics here (short to long distances). You can call this an arcade game, but I see it as a simulator. Lots of strategy planning is required if you wanna finish first and win gold. Every race as to be viewed from a different perspective just like in real life, run too fast and you lose stamina, too slow and you get behind, may seem simple, but it isn't.
Then there is the winning tables, every medal is scored and ranks applied, and after a season you get to see your final ranking, to me this was such a stimulating feature. Awesome racing game.

Road Blasters, 13 Jun 2018 (Rating: 3)

1988 US Gold (UK)
by David J. Looker

A great conversion of an nice racing ala MAD MAX shoot 'em up.
I dont fancy the graphics particularly and specially hate the green monochromatic scheme levels, and the sound can be a tad annoying, also the speed is a bit artificial, other than that this is arcade fun all over.

Galaxian, 14 Jun 2018 (Rating: 4)

1984 Atarisoft (UK)
by David Aubrey-Jones

David wrote one of my favorite games, H.E.R.O. and Death Star Interceptor, also wrote Ghostbusters, which is not the best game but brings back some sweet memories, and then Galaxian, an Atari port which I played extensively and is deserving of recognition, because it's a very good conversion.

Bonkers, 29 Jun 2018 (Rating: 3)

1983 Procom Software (UK)
by David Jones and Ray Owen

I had almost forgotten about this game, and thanks to YOR I "rebooted" an old memory.
Yes, this game is old, 1983 was a long time ago, but the game holds well. It always reminds me of Jumping Jack, which is actually from the same year and plays similar and then Frogger, which is in fact quite similar to Bonkers, and was probably the inspiration for it, with a new set of clothes, of course. It's a bit too fast specially moving your character left and right, but the overall game is quite entertaining. The main problem is it gets extremely difficult after a short time of playing, but that can be a good thing if you like challenging games.

Frank N Stein Re-booted, 01 Aug 2018 (Rating: 4)

How nice! A re-boot of an 1984 classic, done by the original author.
Several features were included/altered, like a jump button, which is in fact the same as for the springs, and to use in-between levels(the paired levels) which were also changed and look similar to Donkey Kong. Several animations were also includes, and new sounds. Also new levels, mixed with the old are included in this new version. I rather preferred that all levels were different, instead of half, but taking into account that you have in total 65 different levels together with the in-between ones, which I guess are almost the same number, probably less, I can't complaint. The original has 50 levels including the in-between ones.
This is a very welcome addiction to the games list, not only for fans but also for anyone who enjoys platform games.



2011 by Colin Stewart (Written and published)

Moley Christmas, 10 Aug 2018 (Rating: 4)

This was a free game included in a magazine and is one of the best I have ever played, and possibly one of the best games in the Monty series.

All comes together quite nicely, from the graphics, to the sound, to the great play ability and down to the plot. Contrary to other Monty games, who follow the maze-collect-objects Jet Set Willy game play, Moley Christmas goes for the Manic Miner one screen at a time style. Which, for me, is way more compelling and addictive.

A great game, not only for fans of the series but for every lover of platforms.

4,5 points

1987 Your Sinclair magazine (UK)
by Shaun Hollingworth, Peter Harrap and Chris Kerry

Monty is Innocent, 10 Aug 2018 (Rating: 3)

1985 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)
by Chris Kerry

I really love Chris Kerry's early graphics, both Jack's trilogy and this Monty's episode are quite cute and colourful. But boy, they are reeeally frustrating to play. Chris never got around resolving the collision detection and color clash of his games, and they turned out to be some of the most annoying games to play on the Speccy.

This makes it an awful experience and spoils what could have been such a wonderful game. Graphically this is my favorite game of the Monty series, but as a playing game it's simply annoying and frustrating, and the worse of the series by far.
Still this is a fun game to play if you have the patient of a saint or infinite lives. Yup, no other choice, I'm afraid.

World Cup, 03 Sep 2018 (Rating: 2)

Eight years after the innovative Football Manager, and people still wrote clones even worst than the 1982 classic.
Graphically I think the players are a bad choice, they look too similar to the players in Football Manager. which makes them terribly outdated for 1990 or any year, for that matter.

Also, there isn't almost anything to do, besides editing squads using the same players over and over, which by the way, doesn't affect in any way the teams performance. And then you are left with watching the match highlights like in Football Manager, but viewed in a different angle. Some say these are a bit useless, repetitive and time wasting, and when they are too simple I must agree, after all the next big soccer management game (Football Director) didn't have any action scenes and revolutionized the genre, with the many new features it had.
To be honest, in it's basic simplicity World Cup is not all that bad, it just feels an unfinished product or a demo game.

Written by Stephen Corry in 1990

Steve Davis Snooker, 05 Sep 2018 (Rating: 5)

Not sure if this is the best snooker game on the Spectrum, I haven't played them all, but it deserves a place near the top. I remember being impressed with it's realism, it was 1984 after all, and it looked so professional. An early example of good programming, if only all games were written like this.

Written by Mike Lamb
1984 CDS Microsystems (UK)

720 Degrees, 05 Sep 2018 (Rating: 3)

720° is another Atari coin-op conversion. As you may guess it's a skateboarding simulator. You start in a skateboarding complex where there is a whole range of radical sport addicts, either riding bike, or doing various stunts, even break dancing. You must ride your stake while avoiding being hit by any of this kids and reach one of 4 skate parks named Downhill, Jump, Ramp & Slalom. Each won event wins you a medal (gold, silver or bronze) and a prize in cash allowing you to buy tickets for the remaining parks and new equipment for enhancing you performance. There is a sale stand scattered around the park where you can buy your stuff. If the player doesn't enter a park within the time limit he is chased by a cloud of killer bees.
Personally I don't like neither the Atari or Spectrum versions, but if I had to choose one I'd go with the Spectrum version. I'm used to seeing more options and variety in the Atari games, and this one is a bit flat on both.

Written by John Prince and Donald Campbell
in 1987 for US Gold (UK)

Bomber + Fruit Machine, 29 Nov 2018 (Rating: 2)

A 2-game compilation featuring City Bomber (A BLitz clone) and Fruit Machine.
Both very simple and not addictive.

City Bomber, 29 Nov 2018 (Rating: 1)

A very basic cloning of Blitz.
It's fun to look at these early and simple basic games, but no that fun to play.

The Fantastic Mister Fruity, 29 Nov 2018 (Rating: 4)

I'm becoming a Jonathan Cauldwell fan. This 2005 game is another gem of a game he's written. Although not as good as other titles by him, it's still very fun and addictive.
It's great to see good games written this far from the golden age of the Spectrum.

Fruitmachine, 29 Nov 2018 (Rating: 2)

Good colorful Fruit Machine simulator, but falls short on addictiveness because of the slowness of BASIC language. Still I recommend it to any one interested in games coded in this language. Remember this was 1983.

Banger Racer, 29 Nov 2018 (Rating: 2)

Another Cult game trying to capture the essence of a racing management game based on CRL's Formula One or Endurance, and again failing.

Alien Research Centre, 29 Nov 2018 (Rating: 3)

Cute Sci-fi text adventure game. Features an interesting story ala 2000 AD magazine style, but on the soft side. Basically a Robinson Crusoe lost in space. The main character has to repair its ship in order to return to Earth while fighting a few hideous monsters. Graphics are good enough, but nothing special overall.

Hit, 29 Nov 2018 (Rating: 3)

Gangster text adventure game, situated in the Prohibition Era, you play the role of Ricky Swift, a sort of bodyguard for the female mayor of Chicago, which has her head on a contract by mob leader Buggs Macdowell. Graphics are neat but nothing special, likewise the story.

Basket, 29 Nov 2018 (Rating: 1)

Oh dear...

Battlecars, 30 Nov 2018 (Rating: 3)

Battlecars was a 1984 port of a board game created by Slug and published by Games Workshop, known for publishing table games.
The idea is of a duel between customized cars heavy on weaponry. Two players can either confront themselves or play against the computer. This means the screen will be divided in two and the position of both cars is visible for both players. A sort of Mad Max meets Demolition Derby.
The problem arises because of the outdated and sloopy programming, the game is sometimes slow and not that responsive, and the choice of keys is not by any means appropriate. That said it's still a fun game, if you can manage the outdated feel.

Air Traffic Control, 03 Dec 2018 (Rating: 3)

ATC is an air traffic simulator. Your job is to control air traffic over a large section of southern England, London and the south coast airports.

By todays standards this looks and plays primitive, but in 1984 it was somewhat innovative and rather accurate of air traffic controlling, the problem is it was too slow and dull. Obviously not everyone's cup of tea, but even for simulator fans I think this was too "clinical" and not that fun.

Cop-Out, 03 Dec 2018 (Rating: 4)

A copper shoot-out, nicely presented, but a bit on the hard side. You move your officer from side to side like in Kane and also move a target in all directions to specify where to shoot. This obviously takes a bit of pratice to begin with and get the hang of it, but still it's not the best method of target praticing.
You must avoid enemy fire while dispatching a number of law transgressors to move along the 10 different screens. This can be quite challenging because enemies use multiple shoots. Still it's totally possible to reach the end of the game.
Personally I prefer Mastertronic's Kane released in 1986, which has a Far West theme to it and also features horse riding and other things, but Cop-Out is also a nice title.

Kane, 03 Dec 2018 (Rating: 4)

Kane is a fast paced game which happens in four episodes, where you take the
role of sheriff in a race to make peace with the local Indians, clean the town of outlaws and stop a speeding train. The game is very well presented with clean medium large sprites. Is also plays rather well.

First part sees the local sheriff shooting down birds in order to trade with the Indians for the coming peace token.
Then you see yourself mounted on your horse riding across the desert plane heading to town, you must avoid bushes and cacti.
In town you find yourself ambushed by a band of outlaws, shoot them down. This level is similar to the first.
Finally once you clean up the town mount your horse again and like in stage 2 avoid cacti and bushes and try to
get to the front of a speeding train to in order to stop it.
A bugdet game really worth getting in 1986 and after.

Shadow of the Unicorn, 03 Dec 2018 (Rating: 3)

1985 Mikro Gen (UK)
by Dale and Shelley McLoughlin

Considered the first (and only) game to feature the Mikro-Plus interface, with an additional 16K, this was excepted to rival Lords of Midnight, although released a year and half later. It's not near as good. Not graphically and not in any other regard. The real feel Lords of Midnight and Doomdark's Revenge had is absent here, you know you are playing a digital game and its hard to get fully absorbed by the pixilezed atmosphere, unlike those other mentioned games. The story is possible the best bit of it and still isn't groundbreaking. Nonetheless remains enjoyable specially for fans of the genre, but with the plug-in it was too expensive. I myself prefer Lords of the Midnight Saga or Runestone.

Jogger, 04 Dec 2018 (Rating: 3)

Another Frogger clone, this time from 1984, a bit late to join the bandwagon I think. It's playable, just like any other average Frogger game.

Crazy Caverns, 04 Dec 2018 (Rating: 3)

1984 Firebird Software (UK)
by Jasdan Joerges

Not sure about a 4 star rating, but this was 1984, so nothing special can be expected. It's an enjoyable game, like other reviewers pointed out, simple but effective, and that's the main thing you should expect from any game.

Kamikaze, 04 Dec 2018 (Rating: 3)

1982 J.K. Greye Enterprises (UK)
by Jaal

An early Scramble clone, released an year before the best of it's kind: Penetrator.
Its too simple and slow to be fully enjoyable, but that's the good thing about Scramble, it's always fun no matter how good the version is.

Spectrum Speaks, 04 Dec 2018 (Rating: 2)

I remember this utility, it was basic but rather useful for a young kid getting started on programming. It served to wow a few friends backs then, when I first implemmented it on a game of my own.

Fearless Frank, 04 Dec 2018 (Rating: 2)

This looks like a fun game on paper, until you start playing it. How painful!

Fearless Frank performs stunts on it's motorbike through various landscapes, but the jumping routine is so slow and awkward that you might feel yourself riding under zero gravity, like lost in a planet resembling Earth.
Too flickery, too slow, too basic.

Show Jumping, 04 Dec 2018 (Rating: 5)

1986 Alligata Software (UK)
by Elliot Gay and F. D. Thorpe (loading screen)

Lovely game. It looks wonderful and plays wonderful, maybe a bit too easy, but still a great game. You have six courses to negociate through, initially the way to control your horse may confuse you, particularly it's speed, but once past that, it's full on. Paying close attention to the time limit, you should follow the letters next to each obstacle by order otherwise be penalized, also if your horse refuses to jump 3 times you will be disqualified. Not a real simulator in the full sense of the word, but gives you an idea of Show Jumping and a great way to spend a couple of hours on a rainy afternoon.

By the way, check 1985 Grand National for another similar game.

Son of Blagger, 04 Dec 2018 (Rating: 3)

1984 Alligata Software (UK)
by Elliot Gay

Not the best Jet Set Willy clone, but still a worth mentioning Alligata effort of milking a few sales. This was 1984, a year where you were already expecting games to look a little more sophisticated, so Son of Blagger which already looked old and clumsy didn't win any awards there. There's a few improved touches like the scrolling between screens or some of the obstacles, like elevators or moving bridges, nothing special but worth noticing. Its a challenging game even more so than JSW, which makes it interesting.

A Question of Scruples, 04 Dec 2018 (Rating: 3)

1987 Leisure Genius (UK)
by John Mullins, Allistair Watt, Clive Paul and Elliot Gay

A bit of a disapointment. It looks good, plays good and has an incredible well crafted tune in the opening, but its a bit too confusing and not that interesting.
Mind you this is inspired by the Hasbro board game with the same name. That's probably the problem, maybe it would be more fun would it be played with organic materials rather than a video game. To be frankly I didnt played it that much, I usually like this sort of games, but so far I find it a bit boring.

Blood 'n' Guts, 04 Dec 2018 (Rating: 3)

This is the initial version of one of my all time favorites: Fantastic Voyage.

There are a few differences, like the graphic ones, coloring, the head of the body on the right and then the deadly obstacles, which you might notice are not present at all, making the game way too easy and not that fun. It almost looks like a prototype or an early unfinished version, but it was actually released commercially under the name Blood & Guts.

Kick Off, 04 Dec 2018 (Rating: 2)

A bellow average soccer game with no redeeming qualities, over hyped when released and thankfully forgotton over time.

Lunar Lander, 04 Dec 2018 (Rating: 2)

A cute Lunar Lander clone from 1983, if sure wasnt planned to break any sales record, but yet despite simple it's quite playable.

Sub Hunt, 04 Dec 2018 (Rating: 2)

Sub Hunt, the name almost speaks for itself. It's a very basic, but colorful submarine vs ship battle. Even in 1983 this already looked and played primitive, reminding handheld games fairly popular in the 70's and 80's, which were very basic compared to computer games. It's has it's own charm, though.

BMX Simulator, 05 Dec 2018 (Rating: 3)

Tim Miller wrote an awesome array of simulator-arcade games. Games such as ATV Simulator or Run For Gold, are amonsgt my favorites games ever.
Sadly the same can't be said about BMX Simulator. It's not that it is a bad game, by any means, in fact it plays rather well and looks good, but maybe the one screen nature of the game and being viewed from above makes the game less addictive over time. Also movement tends to be a little erratic (just a little compared to other games), and that happens because of the need to emulated real tracks feel, but in such a small one-screen it causes some annoyance playing it. It is still one of the best in this sort of one screen bike simulators.

Gilligan's Gold, 05 Dec 2018 (Rating: 3)

A conversion from the arcade game entitled Bagman, although I have the slight remembrance of an arcade game with the same name, or maybe it's my memory playing tricks. It's a fair straight forward platform game happening across 3 screens.
The looks of the game are not it's best quality, in fact the game looks a bit ugly, with rather blocky sprites. Sound is good, though. And there are some nice touches here and there like lifts and rail cars you can jump on to.
But overall than doesnt save the game from being just average, it's nothing special, really , neither as a conversion or a playing game.

Battle Ships, 05 Dec 2018 (Rating: 3)

I remember advertisements for this game, they looked pretty good, I didn't even guess it was just a Battle Ships game, I though this was a sort of Beach Head war game.
Well to be fair this a special version of the classic paper game, because it's inspired in the electronic versions. You basically get exactly the same as in the traditional game, each player has a fleet of six ships, all in varying sizes, placed at ease in a 20x20 map.
Then it's up to each player to guess by trial and error the position of enemy ships.
The game is very well decorated, with a nice presentation and good sound. Every time you fire a shot the screen is switched to a graphical representation of a battle scene, this is what I first saw in the advertising posters and looks really good. Not necessary but great to look at.
You can play against the computer or against a friend, the computer is really easy to beat, it feels like a 5 year old playing, and without any skill levels it will became too easy to be addictive. So call a friend first. A nice family game conversion.

Ready Steady Go, 05 Dec 2018 (Rating: 1)

1988 Alternative Software (UK)

One of the worst games ever, hard to believe it was released in 1988. What were you thinking, guys?

Its a track and field game, including track hurdling (more like track hurting), canoeing, 3D cycling (yes, 3D!) and penalty saving.
Sound nice doesnt it? Well it is not as you may guess just by looking at the game screen. That will give a hint of the actual game overall.
Not only it's an ugly game to look at it also plays bad. And I mean bad! Some events are worse than others, but none is redeeming, so if you are like me a curious retro gaming kind of guy, you will like it while you are exploring it, otherwise just move along and dont bother with it.

The Drive-In, 05 Dec 2018 (Rating: 3)

Another maze game from 1984. The object of this game is to help the hero Dezzy to escape, by reassembling
an old spaceship, parts of which are scattered around the maze (like in Fantastic Voyage). The spaceship must be assembled in the correct order in room 189.
While moving around rooms you will need to replenish energy reserves, to do so dock on a garage and wait until the deposit is full. You will also find time machines, banks and trade shops. You must take advantage of these. A large array of different objects are at the hero's disposal, all of which have their use. Use keys 1 to 4 to pick up and drop objects.
You also must obey traffic rules, namely traffic lights positined on the doors.
A fun average maze, shoot-em-up game.

Air Attack, 07 Dec 2018 (Rating: 2)

It's always a joy for me to discover this little basic games, they obviously very simple and not intended for long term fun, most are type-in for magazine or first time games, but they look cute in their own way. Air Attack because you control ground weaponry, your sole job is to destroy the enemy air craft fying up in the skies, it's not a simple job at it may first appear, which makes it mildly challenging.

Kenny Dalglish Soccer Match, 07 Dec 2018 (Rating: 1)

After the hilariously corrosive yet true criticism done by fellow reviewer YOR, I have not much to add to this marketing exploitation of carrier peaked Liverpool soccer player which name was borrowed in order to milk a few more sales, following the also very profitable 1990 Italy World Cup (note sure it the game was released before of after the competition). Like with many tie-in's this game was solely written thinking about ca$$$h!

The Adventures of St. Bernard, 21 Dec 2018 (Rating: 3)

1983 Carnell Software (UK)
by Stephen Kirk

Wow, I had almost forgotton about this cute old game. You play a Saint Bernard called Brandy running to rescue his Mistress from the clutches of the
abominable snowman, in order to reach the crying victim you have to tackle a few obstacles. The game is played scrolling horizontally, in the first sequence you encounter big black wolves, which you either scare away by turning in their direction or kill them with a bite in the neck, the second set sees Brandy jump over holes on the ice and avoiding big gigantic worms (which are in fact walruses), although they do look like those big worms from the 80's sci-fi movie Dune. Nice touch.
In the third set Brandy has to jump over big snowballs and again scare away wolves. This level is similar to Donkey Kong and you basically move thru it without dying, so it's a nul level to me. The fourth set Brandy crosses his away again with the walruses and the ice holes but with the addiction of big skating penguins. I haven't reach the following levels so I can't talk about it, but I guess there are a few more, at least I hope so, because the game is quite cute with big colorful sprites and a different altogether theme. True it's simple and doesn't play well, just enough so you can move your way thru, but it's a quite a cute game from the primordial days of the Spectrum and a big memory bringer.

Note: Use the cursor keys to play

After Shock, 04 Jan 2019 (Rating: 4)

A text adventure game themed by post-apocalyptic settings, where survival is your quest. It's a good game within the genre with nice pieces of texts and nicely presented. The theme is quite inviting although gripping, a massive earthquake shocks a city, the main nuclear power plant is intact but threatened, our hero who helped design the cooling system of the power plant has to make his way out of the city, reach the power plant and repair the cooling system. The game tells the story in a much cooler way. If you love this kind of games you will surely like After Shock.

Frog Shooter, 07 Jan 2019 (Rating: 2)

A fast shoot 'em up, too fast to be playable. Looks cute, has the same graphical appeal as other games from the same programmers, big graphics with colorful sections (Stop the Express comes to mind). But it's a painful game to play.
I'm not sure if there are any more levels besides the corridor ones, but if there are it won't be me who will discover them, at least for now.

Championship 6-a-side Soccer, 08 Jan 2019 (Rating: 1)

Review prologue:
--------------------
After reading user YOR review, I decided to have a look at this game.
So my review is as follows:

Review part 1:
-----------------
After the initial menu, which by the way is nicely presented, and after having selected my team, a screen mentioning the team groups is being drawn. A message with the words "Please Wait!" is visible. 10 minutes have passed, and I'm still waiting for the Group Draw screen to move forward, I see the letters "Please Wait!" changing colors so the game has not blocked.
(11 minutes now)...

As I can't continue this review, I'll be back whenever the game decides to move along, meanwhile 12 minutes and counting.

Review part 2:
-----------------
Here I am again after waiting for more than 15 minutes for the Group Draw screen to move forward (I lost count so probably more).
This alone is more than a reason for a game to be rejected by a publisher, but hey my browser is slow so maybe it's my software fault.
After this a new screen appears with 3 options "Next, Back, Continue", I pressed the option "Next", nothing happened, pressed it again, nothing, and again, nothing, then I pressed Back and Continue... nothing. I enabled the Caps Lock, pressed the "Next" option again and... ok, here we go. Not enabling the capital and lowercase letters to be both used is usually a programming rookie mistake and although annoying is forgivable. So, moving along...
After a couple of screens, the option to watch the game appeared. At that moment I looked at my watch, it marked 5pm exactly and I pressed Yes to watch the match.
Match Begins, and I may say the screen is dissapointing, not that it matters much in a managenment game, it matters but it's secondary. I started reading the game comments which although basic provide an idea of what is happening, passing , shooting, defence, etc, it's all commented and you get a small basic map of the field to give you an idea of where the ball is at. Now I look at the time again and it's 5:05pm, and the total match playing time is now in 8 minutes! 8 minutes! Which means I'll have to wait approx. 30 minutes for the end of the game. And judging by the slowness of this game, it may take a lot more...
Edit: my watch now marks 5:10pm and total match play is 11 minutes. Oh my.
(In my head I'm listening to the Clash's song "Should I Stay or Should I Go?").

Review part 3:
-----------------
(will it ever be written?)

Alien Destroyer, 09 Jan 2019 (Rating: 1)

Awful Galaxians clone with flickery graphics, basic sounds and bad sprite detection making fire power almost useless. There are a lot better Galaxians clones to try.

Map of the UK, 09 Jan 2019 (Rating: 3)

An 1983 Kuma educational program. As the title implies it's the UK geographical map. Presentation is simple, a lot of white background and lines depicting frontiers, but it had its utility back in the 80's. It's almost obsolete this days for anyone with a web connection.

Explorer XXXI, 12 Jan 2019 (Rating: 1)

In one word: Crap.

Pieces of Eight, 14 Jan 2019 (Rating: 1)

1992 Sinclair User (UK)
by Mike Westlake

Well, unfortunately this is one of the many software Pieces I HATE (bad pun, I know).
Pictures of the actual game looked quite good, but it's actually awful, color clashing, bad collision detection, etc, in fact this is the same game as Merlin and S.A.S. Combat Assault dressed with different graphics and a different theme.
Mike Westlake should have dedicated himself just to graphics, instead of coding games, maybe he would have a name for himself on the Speccy.

4K Race, 15 Jan 2019 (Rating: 2)

A cute little racing game which entered the the 2004 Minigame Competition.
It's simple, looks basic, but has it's own charm with it's small racing bolids and plays surprisingly well taking in to account the label "mini" game.

4K Race Refueled, 15 Jan 2019 (Rating: 3)

An enhanced version of the 4K Race game (participant in the 2004 Mini game Competition), this time for the 2005 competition.
It's a lot better, and surprisingly good, the sound is quite impressive has is the speed and the car movements. Still looks a bit basic, but maintaining it's charm. This mini games are in fact quite good and way better than some commercialized ones.

Monster Race, 15 Jan 2019 (Rating: 1)

Not sure what to make of this, it has an impressive loading screen certainly based upon a picture (Dracula?) but it does not match the actual game, which as basic looking graphics, they look alright to me, but cant be compared to the more realistic nature of the loading screen. The game itself, which is in fact a gambling game, based on a race, it very basic and not at all interesting. A one time curiosity.

Mountain Bike Racer, 15 Jan 2019 (Rating: 2)

I'm not sure why I liked this game back in the days, but I sure did, which puzzles me, because today I found it obnoxious and quite annoying. The bike is not easy to spot, it melts down into the yellow background, and it's hard to accurately control. Overall it hasn't aged well and lost it's appeal to me.

Mountain Bike Racer, 15 Jan 2019 (Rating: 2)

Another Mountain Bike racing game, a bit better than it's Spanish counterpart and both released in 1990.
When I say better, well it should be interpret in a relative way, because it's equally mediocre. It has it's appeal but just for a very short period.

Nigel Mansell's Grand Prix, 17 Jan 2019 (Rating: 5)

1988 Martech Games (UK)
by David J. Looker and John Looker

Excellent F1 simulator by the same guy who converted Ms. Pac-Man and wrote The Fury to the spectrum, which are two of my favorite spectrum games. He also converted the offical Pac-Man, which isa lot inferior to Ms. Pac-Man.
N.M.G.P. is a very realistic and accurate simulator, although not the prettiest, I particularly don't like the way the screen is divided in half, the racing screen should be bigger and the driving wheel should immerse itself with the race instead of looking like a joystick of an arcade machine. I specially like the rearview mirror effect, which is by itself a usefull add but also very well done and realistic. The car is not easy to control initially but once you get the hang of it, it is a pleasure, a bit like Full Throttle.
This is one of the best Formula One racing simulators around. Nigel Mansell never reached the status of Hamilton but was a bloody good driver, well deserving of naming this game.

Artura, 01 Feb 2019 (Rating: 3)

1989 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)
by Ben Daglish

I dont know why but initially this game reminded me of Saboteur set in a medieval theme (maybe because of how it looks), but unlike the previous it's too average and different. To be honest it's alright, it has it's strong holds but nothing special. I particulartly dont like the game presentation, the yellow background mixes badly with the characters and the game quest is not that alluring, just enought to provides a few game plays.

Snakes and Hazards, 01 Feb 2019 (Rating: 3)

1987 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)
by Steve Marsden

This is obviously a snakes and ladders computer version game, based upon the board game classic. It's enough to keep anyone who likes the original entertained, although didn't do much for me. Honestly I can't see the appeal of computer board games, they are meant to be played on a board, hence the name, and although the computer version can be fun, it's not the same.

Metabolis, 01 Feb 2019 (Rating: 3)

1985 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)
by Chris Kerry

Metabolis is one those games that lives up to the Gremlin Graphics brand. It has all, the cute looking graphics, the maze map, good character movement ...and Atic Atac as inspiration. Yes, this is somewhat very similar to the one above, it even feels like you're playing a sequel, if only the theme was different. It has it merit, though, it's very playable, looks good and cute and its very easy to control your character, also very challenging, even a bit difficult specially in the beggining. All the fauna around you makes the game hard, just like Atic Atac, so if you like this sort of games, go play it.

The Muncher Compo, 01 Feb 2019 (Rating: 2)

Well, this is just a Pac-Man clone, and an average one. I was expecting something in the likes of the Muncher, but no siree.

Supersports, 01 Feb 2019 (Rating: 3)

1988 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)
by Chris Kerry, Mark Rogers, Steve Kerry, and Ben Daglish

I'm not sure what to say about this one, save it's a Hyper Sports inspired game.
It's incredibly average, none of the sports included are original or specially fun, maybe the under water assault course, and maybe because it's longer, but not particularly interesting or fun. You would expect newer games to be better than older ones, but that's not always the case.

Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge, 01 Feb 2019 (Rating: 3)

1990 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)
by Ali Davidson and Berni

Lotus Esprit is a great racing game, fast and well written, but the narrow screen makes it just too awkward to be fully enjoyable, also the way the screen scrolls when you get to the hills is just annoying. Half of the screen is used for the pit stops making the view a bit boring after awhile, just looking at the same image time an time again. It's nonetheless a great conversion from the Amiga, and it would be a 5 star game if none of the above was as it is.

X-Mas Ludo, 01 Feb 2019 (Rating: 2)

1987 Gremlin Graphics Software (UK)
by Steve Marsden

Another board inspired game from the same author, this time it's Ludo with a Christmas theme and it's not that interesting, although graphically fun.

Technician Ted, 01 Feb 2019 (Rating: 5)

1984 Hewson Consultants Ltd (UK)
by Steve Marsden and David Cooke

A criminally forgotton game, it's Jet Set Willy all over again, and better.
The game is insanely hard, even harder than Willy's games. Ted has to perform a few tasks consisting of turning off switchs in each room (the flashing objects), generally this count 2 in each room, but I haven't completed the game, so maybe this changes.
Not all rooms are available from the start, only after you complete some tasks you can reach them.
The game is very well designed and very well written, movement is incredibly fluid and the only let down is it's too close similarity to JSW. This makes it look like a clone, which it isnt although it's somewhat a relative thing.
Nonetheless this game deserves to be know by any JSW fanatic, because it's even better.

Technician Ted: The Megamix, 01 Feb 2019 (Rating: 5)

1986 Hewson Consultants Ltd (UK)
by Steve Marsden and David Cooke

Basically the same game, but with a different set of rooms, again the quest is to complete tasks, this time in a specific order and find the final room.
Again, a classic.

Costa Capers, 01 Feb 2019 (Rating: 4)

1985 Firebird Software Ltd (UK)
by Steve Marsden and David Cooke

The third and final game from the Ted Saga. This time you have a pickup key which is used to add an item to the inventory and remove it from the screen.
This allows Ted to perform tasks in a more complex way than on previous games, because objects have different
effects on the rest of the game.
It's not as fun as previous games were but it sure deserves the respect it seems to have lost.

Eliminator, 01 Feb 2019 (Rating: 3)

1988 Hewson Consultants (UK)
by John Wildsmith, Stephen Crow, Nick Jones and John Phillips

This is actually a crossover of genres, you get half a shoot 'em up, and half a bit of a racing game, well not exactly, it's basically a 3D shoot 'em up. It's quite good but it gets boring quickly, the progression is not that varied and you get stuck with this yellow/blue and green/blue color scheme most of the time. The enemy waves are well done and varied but a bit confusing, mixing with the background. Overall there is a good game inside but could have been way better is more polished.

Spectral Panic, 01 Feb 2019 (Rating: 1)

1983 Hewson Consultants (UK)
by John Hardman

A very simple and not that fun clone of the arcade classic Space Panic.

Super Cup Football, 01 Feb 2019 (Rating: 1)

If the Monty Python's made a sketch about soccer, this is what it would look like. Utter nonsense.

Specvaders, 01 Feb 2019 (Rating: 1)

1983 Hewson Consultants (UK)

This looks like a version of Space Invaders made for one of those old haldheld games. Small sprites, flickery and basic as basic can get.

Gulpman, 01 Feb 2019 (Rating: 2)

An old rather crude Pac-man clone made by Campbell Systems firstly released for the ZX80 in 1982 , that actually plays better than it looks. Probably one of the most enjoyable games in the ZX80 era.

Spectral Invaders, 04 Feb 2019 (Rating: 3)

1982 Bug Byte Software (UK)
by David Lawson

A very competent Space Invaders clone, not my favorite but very close to the original. Larger than usual sprites, nice sound and overall very effective gameplay makes it good fun if you're a fan. The delay in the destruction of an enemy after being hit is a low in the game, but in a way gives it a distintive feel, so much so that I instantly recognize it after all these years.

4 stars as a Sp.Inv. clone
3 stars for the game as a whole

Antics, 04 Feb 2019 (Rating: 4)

1984 Bug Byte Software (UK)
by Adrian Sherwin, Andrew Peckham and Tim Lewis

Antics is the sequel to the Birds and the Bees. This time you play Barnabee who as to rescue his cousin from an ants nest. The game features a vast colorful maze where you can roam around even just for fun. The quest itself requires Barnabee to collect pollen from flowers scattered underground (?) this way opening secret entrances which allow new areas of the maze to be accessed and subsequently reach his cousin. The game got good reviews at the time, but it a bit forgotten, undeserving, because it's a colorful, fluid and very playable maze game.

Moonwalker, 07 Feb 2019 (Rating: 1)

Because I'm AWFUL, I'm AWFUL come on
You know I'm AWFUL, I'm AWFUL come on, you know
You know I'm AWFUL, I'm AWFUL come on, you know
And the whole world has to
Answer right now
Just to tell you once again
Who's AWFUL?

This game...

Challenge of the Gobots, 09 Feb 2019 (Rating: 2)

1987 Reaktor (UK)
by Tony Cooper and Ben Daglish

Based upon the Hanna Barbera animation TV show with the same name, Gobots is a mediocre, been seen many times before, shoot 'em up. Both presentation and gameplay is ordinary, playable but mediocre.

Hong Kong Phooey, 09 Feb 2019 (Rating: 3)

1990 Hi-Tec Software (UK)
by Dave Thompson and Richard Morton

Another Hanna-Barbera cartoon turned into a game. This time it's Hong Kong Phooey in a maze beat-em-up sort of game. The game itself is playable and averagely fun, characters retain their cartoonish looks, at least our hero, but the rest is bland as bland can be. Our task is to find the Baron and bring him to justice. Our martial arts janitor moves from the top of a warehouse, downwards exploring every corner, dealing with broken platforms, shady elevators and beating any opposer who gets in is way. Progression becomes boring with little variety along the game, maybe different background coloring could have enhance the presentation.

Ruff and Reddy in the Space Adventure, 09 Feb 2019 (Rating: 3)

1990 Hi-Tec Software (UK)
by Jason McGann and Sean Conran

Another Hi-Tec released game based upon Hanna-Barbera characters.
This time is Ruff and Reddy who venture themselves into space.
The game looks pretty nifty, characters are well rendered and although coloring is basic, presentation is overall quite good.
Playability is also very accurately done, although not perfect, it's very easy to strool along the landscapes. The object of the game is to find 20 Lilli Punies (aliens), who blackmail Ruff and Reddy into helping them and complete the given puzzles in each of the four planetary areas.

Potsworth & Co., 09 Feb 2019 (Rating: 4)

1992 Hi-Tec Software (UK)
by Dave Thompson, Mark Wallace, Richard Morton and Mark Cooksey

Never heard of this Hanna Barbera TV Show, it looks quite childish, which is OK, minding the target audience. The game itself is quite good, very fluid and playable. I don't fancy much the graphics and overall presentation, although I must admit some levels are quite good. Which of the 5 levels is playable by a different character and with a different background color. One of the best Hi-Tec games.

Top Cat in Beverly Hills Cats, 09 Feb 2019 (Rating: 4)

1991 Hi-Tec Software (UK)
by Dave Thompson and Richard Morton

One of my favorite Hanna Barbera characters, and one of my favorite Hi-Tec games. It's not their best, in fact not at all, but it did it for me back in 1991.
Graphically is very accurate, minding the Spectrum limitations, and the gameplay serves it's purpose quite well.
Unlike other Hanna Barbera based games, Top Cat is a more object negociating game, not like Spellbound, for instance, it's a lot simplier, which makes it much more effective to me (Spellbound is better though).

Soccer Challenge, 11 Feb 2019 (Rating: 2)

1990 Alternative Software (UK)
by David Bland

This game is about soccer training. You basically select one of 4 disciplines, which include dribbling, tackling, passing and penalty scoring and negotiate each and one the best you can. The game is a bit pointless, because the object of every game is to reach the end of a level and move to the next one, hence having an option for choosing what level and when to play it makes it pointless. The assault course, which you can select in the opening menu, and which includes all of the 4 stages, could have been the structure of the game, which each of the 4 stages a level themselves. Graphically it's competent with a few humour along the dribbling course, but the writing is a bit sloppy, for instance you don't need to move the ball around the cones to progress, you just need to pass the ball over the arrows and continue. A mediocre game.

Australian Rules Football, 11 Feb 2019 (Rating: 1)

1989 Again Again (UK)
by Dean Hickingbottom

Like the name implies this is an Australian Rules Football simulator. I start by saying it's bad. I couldn't find a reediming quality anywhere the game. The action happens so fast it's hard to keep up with anything. Presentation is mediocre (at best) and sometimes colors make it hard to find our players if you happen to be on the yellow team, for instance. The idea for this sport is original, but very badly executed.

Ninja Grannies, 11 Feb 2019 (Rating: 2)

by Dean Hickingbottom and David Bradley

An unpublished game, which I think would have sold reasonably well if it had been released. The game pics are quite appealing and magazines could have explored it commercially had it been more polished.
It's basically a beat-em-up played by old pensionners, not martial arts as you can guess, yet features some traditional punches and kicks. Sound is quite good and the cartoonish feel of it is the most reediming quality of the game, and very well explored. As for the gameplay, well it's basic, even mediocre. It features several "enemies" in a variety of different places, our last oponent is the best by far. Fun for a few plays but not all that engaging.

MacGyver - La Aventura, 12 Feb 2019 (Rating: 2)

1987 Mister Chip (Spain)
by Javier Fafula

A mediocre text adventure game based on the popular 80's TV Show MacGyver.
It's written in spanish, so it's good to know the language, otherwise no tranlation available. The story is probably based upon an episode, which I honestly can't remember (I can't remember any episode for that matter, I just recall the gadgets MacGyver came up with). The plot seems fairly interesting but I didn't go very far, and don't intend to. It's just feels like another run-of-the-mill text adventure featuring basic graphics and a boring storyline.

The Untouchables, 12 Feb 2019 (Rating: 5)

1989 Ocean Software (UK)
by James Higgins, Martin McDonald and Jonathan Dunn

The Untouchables was one of the later Spectrum games I bought and played, before turning myself towards other interests. It turns out to be one of the best games I've played so far. Each level is loaded separately and is a chapter of the main events of the Paramount movie in which is inspired. It's beautifully rendered with very appealing graphics, great sound and a lot of action. Some scenes are a true delight. This game was a step up in terms of quality and can't be properly compared with fairness to games released in 1982, 1985 or even 1987 because multi loading levels, which are in fact games themselves, make this sort of games a lot more varied and complete. It's probably the best movie tie-in licensed game I've played so far.

The Running Man, 12 Feb 2019 (Rating: 1)

1989 Grandslam Entertainments (UK)
by Fran Heeran, Bobby Healy, Jonathan Broggy and Mark Cushen

Ouch! This IS bad!
Based upon Arnold Schwarzenegger movie with the same, the Running Man, makes me wanna just run away from it!
From the opening scenes which are awful, (expect the fall), to the game itself, the game is badly executed in almost every aspect. Graphically it's mediocre, if not just bad, no color added whatsoever, the characters look clumsy and the gameplay which could be at least ordinary like so many side scrolling games out there, is just awkward and finally boring. Sorry if I'm being harsh, but I would be lying if I said otherwise.

Area 51, 12 Feb 2019 (Rating: 3)

A great little mini game from the 2004 minigame competition, in the 4KB category written by the great Jonathan Cauldwell. It's obviously not the best he has written but it's not supposed to be, it's just a basic Manic Miner clone with a few novelties in it (like the snow, which is an awesome idea) and it's great fun. Recommend for any JSW or Manic Miner fan.
One of the best compilations ever made. Just two games featuring hollywood Paramount movie tie-in's, but not just any two games, they are among the best games ever relesed in the late 80's on the Spectrum.

Batman: The Movie, 13 Feb 2019 (Rating: 4)

1989 Ocean Software (UK)
by Mike Lamb, Dawn Drake and Matthew Cannon

This is a great movie tie-in, although some of the 5 levels are just average, but the first and last, which happen to have the same game motor, are excellent. Very similar to RoboCop although not as slow.
Each level features different key events appearing on Tim Burton film, I'm not gonna comment on the each level, because other reviewers have already done that very competently.
I know this is not the best Speccy game ever, but sometimes some of it's qualities real push me into thinking just that, sound and music are just perfect, creating a great ambience, graphics which are not the best feature of this game, are quite good, although a bit stocky. Movement is also very fluid and make the gameplay a real pleasure. Overall a very good game, which could have been excelent with a set of levels with the same equal quality and the first and last.

Xeno, 22 Feb 2019 (Rating: 4)

1986 A'n'F Software (UK)
by Matthew Rhodes, Pete Harrison and Ste Pickford

This was 1986 and A'n'F Software tried a different approach to the games being release. Far away (3 years!) are games like Chuckie Egg, Jungle Fever or Painter.
Xeno is another category, a very different game both in looks as in play.
It's basically a future sports game, similar to Ballblazer but viewed using different camera approaches. All the action is very smooth, but quite hard to get used to at first, but after a few goes the game becomes easier. Every move in the game has to be planned in advance but quickly, otherwise will give your opponent valuable seconds. All in all, Xeno is a very addictive game.

The New Zealand Story, 25 Feb 2019 (Rating: 4)

1989 Ocean Software (UK)
by Gerald Weatherup and Jonathan Dunn

A fun port by Ocean Software of the popular Taito's platformer with the same name.
The obvious monochromatic yellow scenery in-your-face kind of thing, didn't do it for me. It made me wonder, why on earth in 1989 wouldn't someone exploit the new Spectrum techniques, thus including in the game some color, which I thing would be a plus for a game like this, specially with squared looking characters which makes it easier to apply color. Still the sprites are all accurate and faithful to the original. As so is the gameplay, simple and easy enough to get into. Overall a good port for a fun game.

Battle Command, 25 Feb 2019 (Rating: 4)

1990 Ocean Software (UK)
by Stephen Hey, Bryan Redman and Jonathan Dunn

Games which include Vector graphics are not among my favorites, I dont think the machines from the 80's were prepared to games which tried to look realistic. In the other hand the gameplay, which was far from the simulators of the current days, were actually quite good, although a bit boring.
Battle Command is one of those games. Here you play one of the sides of a ten year long conflict on board of a high technology tank, called the Mauler. You play ten missions, each include Hostage Rescue, River Raid, among many other specialized missions. Strategy skills are required to move along the game, but fire power is also required, which makes Battle Command a great action game, in fact sometimes a straightforward shoot 'em up.
Playability is also excellent, like I said, I'm not the biggest fun of Vector games, but Battle Command inspires a lot more than your average tank driving simulator.
All in all a very competent shoot 'em up.

Guerrilla War, 25 Feb 2019 (Rating: 2)

1988 Imagine Software (UK)
by Andrew Postlewhite, Clive Paul, and Jonathan Dunn

This is another arcade conversion which does not do justice to the original. To be fair the arcade game is nothing special, it follows an idea popularized by Commando, with a few additions here and there already seen on other games of the sort. It was an O.K. game, graphically cool, but just OK. The conversion at first glance doesn't even look similar to the arcade, at least graphically were it falls quite short, and the game itself looks more a clone than an actual conversion. So why would you convert to another system an already average game an not make it at least equally average, why take it down a notch like this? It has a Clark Gable look alike in the loading screen, is that enough to hook players? I dont think so. It's playable but below average, and something I wouldn't wish to any of my games: forgettable.

Centi-Bug, 25 Feb 2019 (Rating: 3)

1983 DK'Tronics (UK)
by Paul Johnson

One of the best Centipede clones I've played so far, even if not very known. Playability is quite good and varied from a certain point on. Even the graphics are a bit more clever than usual.

Hard Cheese, 25 Feb 2019 (Rating: 2)

1983 DK'Tronics (UK)
by Paul Johnson and Eugene Farrell

One of the worst games from Don Priestley label.
It's a clone of the arcade classic Mr.Do!
The action has such a weird pace it makes it painful to play, and even if you can get pass the bad looking graphics, that spoils things on a whole.

Golf, 25 Feb 2019 (Rating: 3)

1983 DK'Tronics (UK)
by David G. Johnson

I was completely unware of the existence of this game, didn't even know there was a golf simulator from 1983.
It's not good, but neither bad taking into account the early release. At first I got a bit confused but it's quite simple to play, primitive but simple. Also it looks nafty but competent, it has a certain retro charm to it, if you like this sort of games.

Gold Mine, 25 Feb 2019 (Rating: 2)

1983 DK'Tronics (UK)
by Simon N. Goodwin

I know I've seen this game elsewhere and not so old, cant remember if it was on another system or on the Speccy, but I know I played a similar game before.
This is a shaft mining game were you basically control a miner descending into the depts of a mine, finding materials, and bringing them to the surface, it's primitive but fun for a few plays. The other version I've played is a lot better and interesting.

Munch Man, 25 Feb 2019 (Rating: 2)