Reviews by Rebelstar Without a Cause (386)

Lords of Chaos, 17 May 2013 (Rating: 5)

Lords of Chaos is a strategy game in which you play a wizard. In each scenario you must survive until a portal appears whereby you escape through it carrying as much treasure as possible. The more treasure you escape with, the more experience points you'll gain. These are then spent on new spells for your wizard so he's better prepared for the next scenario.
As well as wild creatures to contend with, there is also an enemy wizard trying to do exactly the same as you. He'll send all manor of creatures after you and if you get too close he'll zap you with magic bolts or lightning!
The enemy wizards all put up a decent fight and it's extremely satisfying when you finally destroy them.

Lords of Chaos is an entertaining game, although with only 3 scenarios (5 including the expansion pack) it's a bit on the short side.

Myth: History in the Making, 18 May 2013 (Rating: 5)

Myth has a bizarre control scheme that sees you pressing down to jump straight up while pressing up will make you jump forwards. Until you get used to these controls you'll find yourself hurling yourself into pits of lava with alarming regularity.
It is worth persevering though because Myth is an excellent game and boasts some of the best graphics and animation seen on ZX Spectrum.

Manic Miner, 30 May 2013 (Rating: 2)

Manic Miner is arguably the most iconic of all spectrum games. It's achieved a sort of mythical status amongst it's many legions of fans but remove the rose tinted glasses and what your left with is a rather dull and tedious platformer. It's not terrible, it's just not very good either.

Splat!, 30 May 2013 (Rating: 4)

Guide an X around a moving maze and avoid getting squashed against the walls.
Better than it sounds.

Emlyn Hughes International Soccer, 30 May 2013 (Rating: 5)

Easily the best football game on the spectrum.

Jet Set Willy, 31 May 2013 (Rating: 4)

Jet Set Willy eschews the single screen levels of Manic Miner for a flip screen approach and is all the better for it. It's still insanely difficult though!

XOR, 04 Jun 2013 (Rating: 4)

A fiendishly difficult puzzler that suffers at times from not being able to see enough of your surrounding area.

Football Manager, 25 Jun 2013 (Rating: 5)

When you think of Football Manager you think of the match highlights featuring udg matchstick men lurching around the screen. Despite the crude graphics it was a great feature and made for some tense and exciting games. Another feature I like is the players energy levels which decrease with each game they play. Let it get too low and they risk picking up injuries. This adds a level of strategy as you decide whether to play your best team every game or rest key players against lesser opposition.
Kevin Toms masterpiece created a new genre and there soon followed hundreds of football management games. But none could match the brilliance and fun of this game.

Football Manager 2, 27 Jun 2013 (Rating: 4)

All good things must come to a sequel so it was almost inevitable that Kevin Toms would follow up on his masterpiece.
Everything's a lot more slicker this time around as the whole thing was written in machine code. The match highlights have returned but this time you get to see the whole pitch and not just the goal mouth action. These highlights are also the game's undoing because while some matches are over fairly quickly some drag on for what seems like hours. It's a shame really because in many ways this is a better game than it's predecessor. However, because of the (seemingly) never ending matches playing through a season can be a tough slog. For this reason the original Football Manager will always be preferable.
Football Manager 2 is still one of the better management games on the spectrum and is well worth checking out.

Funky Fungus, 27 Jun 2013 (Rating: 4)

Funky Fungus starts out with some lovely static screens which portray the story. I don't have mushroom to go into details but suffice to say it's a typically daft plot.
The game is played on single screen levels and the idea is I guide our titular hero around the level, jumping on platforms and avoiding the baddies until you reach the star. Upon doing so the tables are turned as you gain the ability to fire on your foes. Eliminate them all and you'll progress to the next level. Simple eh? Well it would be except the enemies are pretty nippy and you'll need expert timing right from the first level.
Funky Fungus is a challenging game but it's also great fun with some outstanding presentation.

Multi-Player Soccer Manager, 27 Jun 2013 (Rating: 1)

By the time Multi Player Soccer Manager came out, Football Manager was 8 years old and the spectrum was innundated with management games.
In order to stand out from the crowd any new game had to be something special. Unfortunately MPSM has nothing new to offer. In fact it has very little to offer full stop. MPSM seems to have been designed to be as uninteresting as possible. Take the match screen for example. Rather than trying to create any kind of excitement with graphical highlights or match commentary all you get is a static screen showing the result of your match. Thrilling eh?
The game can be played with up to 7 other human players but when the game is a dull as this, why would you bother?

Midnight Resistance, 28 Jun 2013 (Rating: 5)

Midnight Resistance is game I never tire of playing. It could be because of the hugely satisfying over the top explosions. Or maybe it's the control system which makes firing in 8 directions a breeze. Perhaps it's the bold colourful graphics or the fantastic 128k soundtrack. Or maybe just the fact that it's one of the best arcade conversations ever to grace the spectrum. Either way, Midnight Resistance is one of spectrum's very finest games and arriving late on in the speccy's life, one that many people may have missed.

The Curse of Sherwood, 29 Jun 2013 (Rating: 4)

The Curse of Sherwood places you in the role of Friar Tuck as you attempt to rid Sherwood Forest of a horrible curse. Along the way you'll battle skeletons, birds, dodgy collision detection and what appears to be a man farting at you. At least that's what a ten year old me thought it was! Special mention must go to the swamp, which you'll learn to hate. Along the way you'll find a map which is supposed to show you a safe passage through the swamp but is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.
Despite a few niggles this is an enjoyable game. At least until you get to that bloody swamp!

Laser Squad, 30 Jun 2013 (Rating: 5)

Julian Gollop was the king of 8 bit strategy games and this is perhaps his crowning achievement. By taking the blueprint from Rebelstar and making it more user friendly, he created a game that even non strategy enthusiasts can enjoy. The controls are simple and all actions can be performed with the joystick and some easy to navigate menus. With 5 scenarios and various difficulty levels for each, the game packs a sizeable challenge. There's also a 2 player mode although as this requires the other player to turn away from the screen when it's your go, it's a bit pointless.

Football Director, 30 Jun 2013 (Rating: 2)

An unfathomably popular football management game. This game is written in BASIC and is extremely slow. You'll spend most of the game staring at a please wait message.
But that's not really the problem. The main gripe I have with the game is how unfairly difficult the game is. As soon as you scrape together a vaguely competitive team, the difficulty level automatically increases giving the opposing teams vastly superior players. Even if you do manage to win a few games and find yourself at the top of the league your club will still manage to haemorrhage money every week. This makes it almost impossible to finish a season without going bankrupt and getting sacked.
Football Director has some nice ideas, scouting, youth teams etc but it's let down by it's unrelenting difficulty.

Dizzy, 30 Jun 2013 (Rating: 5)

The first Dizzy game is an underappreciated arcade adventure. The graphics are great and the puzzles logical. I like being able to destroy those pesky bats and spiders and it's something I wish they'd kept in for the sequels.
Only being able to carry one item at a time can be annoying as well as having to traipse from one end of the playing area to the other. But these are minor niggles in what is a very enjoyable game.

EastEnders, 30 Jun 2013 (Rating: 1)

Eastenders perfectly captures the essence of the show by being utterly crap.

Stamp Quest, 30 Jun 2013 (Rating: 4)

Stamp Quest is a frenetic action game that sees you desperately trying to collect stamps (we've all been there) while being chased by an evil horde of spectrums. The game is freakishly hard (or maybe i'm just crap) but it's also rather polite. When you die you get a message saying "I'm terribly sorry you've died" much like what happens in real life i'd imagine.
Now I can't get past level one but still find it enjoyable. And that's the sign of a good game. Or maybe senility. But for the sake of this review let's pretend it's the first option shall we?

Flippout, 01 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

Like a 2D Rubik's Cube except you can't cheat by taking the stickers off.

Starmaker, 01 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

If this had been a Codemaster's release, no doubt they would've called it Advanced Brian Epstein Simulator. Yes, this game is all about managing a music group and turning them into the next big thing. Although fairly simple this game becomes quite addictive as you attempt to reach the top of the charts whilst keeping your accident prone drummer alive. Good stuff.

Rick Dangerous, 01 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

This is not Indiana Jones. This is just a tribute.

The game starts with our intrepid hero, who is not Indy, being pursued by a giant boulder. Having successfully outrun the boulder you find yourself in what can only be described as a temple of erm... gloom. Mr Dangerous or Dicky to his friends must overcome all manor of nasty traps. The first you'll know of these is when you've landed on a spike or been hit by a poison dart etc. You then need to remember where the trap is so you can avoid it next time. Dicky is equipped with a six shooter and some sticks of dynamite (but sadly no whip). And he'll need these to fend off the natives who have the temerity to protect their treasures. The background graphics can make spotting enemies and traps harder than need be and I wonder why they weren't left blank? If you don't mind the trial and error nature of the gameplay then Rick Dangerous is a lot of fun and easily better than any off the official Indy games.

The Boss, 01 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

It's a funny old game. Never more so than in Soccer Boss where it is not uncommon to win 3-0 and then lose 4-0 to the same team the very next week! Football was a rougher game in the eighties and you can expect to pick up 2-3 injuries a week, more if your opponents are Leeds United. Not to worry cos you can always dabble in the transfer market. Or should that be stock market? A player's form can change quite dramatically in the space of a few weeks so it can be quite profitable to snap up free players and wait for their value to increase before selling them on a few weeks later.
Soccer Boss is a fun game that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Freddie Laker's Airline Capers, 01 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

A very silly collection of mini games. I really enjoyed the first 2 stages but found the last 2 a bit dull.

Buzzsaw+ (Foxton Locks Mix), 02 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

A highly addictive puzzle game with excellent presentation.

Stormlord, 02 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

This game makes me sad because it should've been great. There's no denying that Stormlord looks absolutely fantastic, featuring some of the best graphics seen in a spectrum title. The controls are responsive and for a while everything is good. But then you hit some ridiculous difficulty spikes and it ruins the game. Somebody should've told Raf Cecco that being rushed by hordes of enemies that you can't avoid isn't any fun. It's not a challenge, it's just bad game design. But I guess by then he'd become such a star that his co-workers were too much in awe of him to offer any criticism. It could've been great. It should've been great. But it's just ok.

Sceptre of Bagdad, 03 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

A brilliant arcade adventure with some nice touches of humour. Sceptre of Baghdad is a forgotten classic.

St. Dragon, 03 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

In this horizontally scrolling shoot em up you control a mechanical dragon who has somehow attained sainthood. Only the head of the dragon is vulnerable so you can use the body as a shield to deflect bullets. That's not to say the game is easy, far from it. It's not helped by having a black border surrounding the playing area. Often you'll go to move up to avoid a bullet only to find that you're already at the top of the playing area.
The game features the usual power ups and bosses.
It's not the greatest shooter on the spectrum but it's more than decent and it features a dragon which is always a good thing.

Ricochet, 03 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

What do you call an Irish man that keeps bouncing off the walls?

This is an extremely dull Breakout clone which was rightfully panned by critics at the time.

Shadow of the Beast, 03 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

Shadow of the Beast wowed gamers when it first appeared. With it's jaw dropping graphics it really showcased the capabilities of the Amiga. It was really more of a tech demo than an actual game so it was perhaps surprising that it was ported to the humble spectrum.
Without the Amiga's fancy graphics however, the shallow gameplay is even more apparent. The game has huge areas with not a lot in them or you may come across a load of ants whereby you walk 2 steps crouch and punch then walk 2 steps crouch and punch until you fall into a coma. Making any sort of progress is extremely slow and tedious, made worse by the horrible multiload when you reach a new area.

Arnhem, 04 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

A bridge too far?

Arnhem is a strategy game that follows the events of Operation Market Garden, which the Allies eventually lost.
So the idea is to do a Dr Sam Beckett and go back in time to put right what once went wrong!
It's a tough challenge right from the first mission which involves clearing the main road into Eindhoven.
Controls are simple and easy to get to grips with and it's an enjoyable and playable game.

Deathchase, 04 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

Speed through a forest on a motorbike avoiding the trees whilst shooting the other riders. Simple, yet brilliant. Twitch gaming at it's best.

Gauntlet, 04 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

This one's a bit overrated for me. It's fun a few minutes but soon gets repetitive.

Lode Runner, 04 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

The graphics maybe be extremely basic but don't let that put you off because Lode Runner is a great game that will have you hooked. It's more than just a simple platform game and will require some thought to get through the numerous levels.

Rebelstar, 05 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

Break into the aliens moonbase, duff them up a bit and smash up their computer. Seems a bit harsh to me. Surely both sides could've talked things through over a nice cup of tea? But then that wouldn't have made for a very good computer game. And that's exactly what Rebelstar is.

Chubby Gristle, 06 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

There's no shortage of platform games on the spectrum and this one is nothing special. However I found it to be good fun with a lot of charm.
Probably the best game featuring an overweight traffic warden ever.

Yogi's Great Escape, 06 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

Hi-Tec released a load of games based on Hanna Barbera cartoons. Yogi's Great Escape was one of the better ones. Having said that it's still dull, tedious and a complete insult to the cartoon it's based on.

Street Hassle, 06 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

Take to the streets as Underwear Man and battle an assortment of characters from grannies to gorillas in this totally bizarre scrolling beat-em-up. Headbutt a granny today!

Jack the Nipper II: In Coconut Capers, 07 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

Jack the Nipper 2 bears little resemblance to it's predecessor. Whilst the overall goal of creating mischief is still the same, the gameplay has been vastly improved. The game takes place in a jungle and the graphics are suitably bright and colourful. There are platforms and ladders and even vines to swing on. The playing area is huge and there are several starting positions so you never know which part of the jungle you'll start in. The only complaint I have is that it's not easy to tell what some of the objects are. It would have been a good idea to have some text telling you which item you've just picked up. Overall this is a great platformer with some excellent graphics.

Jumping Jack, 08 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

Simple, fun and frustrating. It's a bit too simple to hold my attention for very long and you can spend ages at the bottom of the screen waiting for the first gap to appear.

Jet Set Willy II, 08 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

It's the first game again with a few extra rooms.

The Lords of Midnight, 08 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

Mike Singleton's classic has now been ported to Android and Apple devices which just goes to show it's enduring appeal. It's one of the best ever spectrum games and one that everyone should experience at least once.

Jack the Nipper, 08 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

I know most people prefer this game over it's sequel but I played Coconut Capers first and this game was a huge disappointment. After the colourful graphics of the 2nd game, the drab monochrome graphics were a real let down. I didn't really the gameplay either. I usually enjoy a good arcade adventure but this one just didn't do it for me. Not terrible by any means just a bit disappointing.

Knight Lore, 08 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

Every other game in the eighties seemed to be a dull monochrome isometric game where you wander from room to room waiting for something even remotely interesting to happen. And this is the reason why. The original dull monochrome isometric game where you wander from room to room waiting for something even remotely interesting to happen.
Yes, it was revolutionary, but I'd have preferred fun.

Rainbow Islands, 08 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

This is pretty much a perfect port of Taito's classic coin op. Rainbow Islands looks fantastic with each level overflowing with colour. The game plays as well as it looks and that's a big compliment. The music (a jaunty version of Somewhere over the Rainbow) is excellent but may well drive you mad!
Rainbow Island's is one of the best platform games ever and Craftgold did an amazing job porting it to the spectrum.

Wanted: Monty Mole, 09 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

The start of Wanted Monty Mole is brilliant as you have to steal a bucket off the farmer and then run away as he chases you (and walks on water as he does so). The reason for swiping the bucket is that you need to collect all the coal on your way home. Don't be too hasty though as on one screen doing so will result in your path being blocked and you'll have to restart the game. What you need to do is leave some coal alone, advance one screen, collect all the coal there first before collecting the remaining coal from the previous screen. Simple eh?
It's an annoying bug and one that even a rudimentary play test should've picked up on. This and the crushers are the reason this game doesn't get a 5 from me. The crushers have no set pattern but are completely random. Being killed by a random number generator is a bit much, even for 1984! Still this was a huge leap forward for platform games and with a bit of playtesting and bug fixing would've been a perfect 5. As it is a 4 seems reasonable.

Super Soccer, 09 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

This game's so bad it's almost comical. The players move so slowly it's like they're running through treacle. Even if your player does manage to reach the ball there's no guarantee he'll connect with it. Absolutely abysmal.

Kick Off, 09 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

It's better than Super Soccer. That's the only positive thing I can find to say about this game.

Match Day, 09 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

Match Day was pretty popular in it's time. And whilst it was better than most of the dross around at the time it's still a very poor football game.

Moontorc, 09 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

Not a bad game though you never feel totally in control. Sometimes you'll jump and leap across a gap and other times you'll fall into the water below for no real reason that you can see.
I must mention the title music which is a nice rendition of Scarborough Fair.

MicroProse Soccer, 09 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

Another football game and another stinker. It's almost impossible to tell the two teams apart and that alone renders the game unplayable.
It's hard to believe that the team behind this would go on to produce the best football game ever, Sensible Soccer.

International Tennis, 09 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

A decent tennis game and a real alternative to Match Point.

Stack Up, 10 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

A block falling puzzler. Match 3 or more of the same colour to make them disappear. There's nothing out of the ordinary here but it's very nicely presented and good fun to play.

Puzznic, 10 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

Match the blocks to make them disappear. Yes it's another puzzler, but the real puzzle here is why they went for monochrome graphics? Your eyes really do take a pounding trying to tell the blocks apart. It's a shame really because underneath it's a really good game it's just too hard on the eyes to play for any length of time.

Chopper Drop, 10 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

Pick up the crates and load them onto the lorry against the clock. Crashing into things doesn't kill you, instead it costs you precious time. This is a good example of what can be achieved with Jonathan Cauldwell's Arcade Game Designer.

Boulder Dash, 10 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

I'm not sure what's going on with the scrolling in this game. It gives me a headache as it jerks around trying to keep up with poor Rockford. You'll find yourself stopping to wait for the scrolling to catch up which isn't very good considering you're against the clock. If you're after a decent Boulderdash game you'd be better off with one of the sequels or indeed one of the many clones.

Technician Ted, 11 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

A platformer in the Manic Miner / Jet Set Willy mould i.e. infuriatingly difficult with pixel perfect jumps.
If your idea of fun is spending 15 minutes trying to make a simple jump then you'll love Technician Ted. Anyone else should give it a miss.

Pipe Mania, 11 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

Connect the pipes for the ooze to flow through in this mildly entertaining puzzle game.

Chuckie Egg, 11 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

Collect the eggs, avoid the hens. There's not much more to it than that yet despite it's simplicity, I never seem to tire of it. Along with Rainbow Islands and Auf Wiedersehen Monty, the best platform game on the spectrum.

Match Point, 11 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

A fairly decent effort that falls just short of greatness. The Tim Henman of tennis games.

Silkworm, 11 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

Excellent horizontally scrolling shooter particularly with 2 players. Whoever takes control of the jeep has got the harder job and will need to rely on the helicopter to keep the path clear. The jeep can jump and fire in 2 directions so it's far from useless and is a lot more fun to play as in my opinion.
A great, not too tricky shoot-em-up that never seems to get the recognition it deserves.

Bomb Jack, 11 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

Bomb Jack looks great and plays even better. And it's not often you can say that about an arcade conversion.

Impossamole, 13 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

The premise of this game is that Monty Mole is a super hero. He's armed with a powerful kick and with his cape well, he can't quite fly but he can glide for a bit. Now this would all be very well if Monty wasn't so slow. And that kick? It's not as powerful as all that, taking 3 or 4 kicks to down some of the enemies. Some of whom are invincible with no way of knowing beforehand. This means you'll need to avoid them, but due to Monty's lack of speed this can be tricky and in a lot of cases impossible. You'll find yourself losing a lot of energy through no fault of your own which can be very frustrating. Hiding behind all these flaws is a fun game but you'll need a lot of patience to find it.

Monty on the Run, 14 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

The 2nd (proper) game in the series sees Monty trying to reach his safehouse having escaped from prison. The first thing you have to do is select 5 items from a possible 21 to form your freedom kit. You won't know which items you need until you get to a point in the game where you can't go any further. It should then be obvious which item you should've chosen and you'll need to restart the game with the appropriate item. How anyone ever thought this would be a good idea is baffling. The infamous crushers have returned and the whole game seems to be a lot more difficult than the first one.
Monty has gained a rather nifty somersault jump and seems to be slightly more nimble on his feet which is just as well considering how tricky this game is.
Monty on the Run is another fine game although it's slightly inferior to it's predecessor.

Robozone, 14 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

An interesting idea spoiled by being no fun to play.

Tetris, 14 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

It's Tetris. Need I say more?

Oh, ok. This is an ok version just make sure you turn off those hideous backgrounds. One thing I found annoying is that when dropping a block , it's almost impossible not to drop the next one as well. It's just too darn sensitive!

Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, 15 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

Turtle Power ruled backed in the eighties. Those half shelled heroes even had their own pop single. It was somewhat inevitable therefore that they'd get their own videogame. Somewhat less inevitable was how good it would be. Imageworks did a great job on the graphics resulting in one of the most colourful games on the spectrum. The gameplay flicks between a top down view as you move about on street level and when you enter a building or sewer the action changes to a side on view. Here you'll have platforms to jump on, baddies to whack and pizza to eat which replenishes your health. You can choose which turtle to control although there's no discernible difference between any of them.
Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles is an enjoyable game which is a rarity for a tv or film tie-in.

Auf Wiedersehen Monty, 19 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

Monty's final game (Impossamole doesn't count) sees him travelling around Europe trying to make enough money to retire on a Greek island. There's some great touches like Monty breakdancing or drinking the wine and getting drunk. The 128K music is great or you can choose to turn it off and instead have the national anthem play each time you enter another country! There are plane tickets dotted around and you can use these to fly between airports. Here you're presented with an admittedly dull mini game whereby you have to fly into the back of other planes.
This is a still a difficult game and it's hard to imagine anyone completing it without cheating but it's a lot easier to make progress than in previous Monty Mole games. This is easily the best game in the series. Finally Monty got the game he deserved. What a shame it was to be his last!

Ninja Massacre, 19 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

Code Masters try their hand at a Gauntlet clone. It's not too bad if you like that sort of thing.

Murray Mouse Supercop, 19 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

Help Murray Mouse in his bid to foil
the Mouse Mafia's attempt to steal
the moon. To do this you have to enter the sewers and find out where each of the ten mice are hidden. You'll need to pick up objects and use them where they're needed a la Dizzy, Magic Knight etc.
So it's hardly the most original game you'll ever play but it is good fun with a lot of charm.

The Famous Five 1, 19 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

What ho chaps! The five are on an adventure. So pack the ice creams and ginger beer and prepare for some jolly japes!
This is a well put together text adventure with an excellent parser. You can control any of the 4 human characters individually although sadly not Timmy the dog. You can order other characters around ie "George go north" or "Dick punch Uncle Quentin and steal his wallet" although they won't always do what you tell them. You can even split the team up and have Dick distract Joan the cook while Julian raids the larder for some much needed provisions!
A top notch text adventure with nary an orc insight!

Welltris, 22 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

A puzzle game that takes the Tetris template and tries to do something interesting with it. Unfortunately, it doesn't work and is no fun at all to play.

The Pathetic Pablo Bros, 22 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

No, this isn't a great game. It isn't even a good game. It's a platform game written in BASIC and is predictively rather slow and not actually very good. But to slate the game for that is to miss the point completely. The creation of this game was chronicled over several months in Your Sinclair as part of a guide to programming. The finished game was put on the covertape for those who couldn't be bothered to type in the program themselves.
So to summarise, a crap platform game that was part of a fun programming guide. And an infinitely more fun game than Super Mario Bros.

4/5 for the fun I had typing it in.

Sim City, 22 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

Fitting Sim City into just 48K of memory must surely go down as one of mankind's greatest achievements and makes the construction of the pyramids seem like child's play in comparison.
Technical wizardry aside, Sim City is a great city building sim and unlike it's successors is actually fun to play that doesn't get too bogged down in boring details. I have little doubt that If Boris Johnson had played this growing up than London would be a much nicer city than it is today.

Cavemania, 22 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

This game is from the same people who made Moontorc and it has the same weird jump mechanic which means you never know what your character's going to do. It's really annoying and ruins what could have been a fun game.

The Jetsons, 22 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

The Jetsons was a cartoon about a space age family. It was a bit like a futuristic Flintstones and it was great.
This game is also called The Jetsons. And that's where the similarities end. A horrible, horrible game with no redeeming features and absolutely nothing to do with the cartoon besides some badly drawn characters.

Underwurlde, 22 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

Quite possibly the most frustrating game in existence. The many difficult to avoid creatures do not kill you, instead they bounce you around the rooms. Most of the time you are playing this, you are not in control of Sabreman. Instead you spend the game watching him ricocheting around the screens like a pinball.

Stop the Express, 22 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

Stop the Express sees you running across the top of a train, jumping the gaps between carriages and chucking birds at the bad guys chasing you. If you manage to get to the tenth carriage, you climb down and make your way inside the carriages and from here you need to make it to the engine to stop the express. A bright, colourful, slightly insane game which is loads of fun to play.

Guardian II: Revenge of the Mutants, 22 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

An excellent Defender clone. Fast, furious and extremely tricky.

CJ's Elephant Antics, 22 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

The Code Masters attempt The New Zealand Story and even manage to replicate the horrible scrolling!
Ok, so it's not exactly the same but there's enough similarities to make the comparison. It's a very good game, released at a time when good games were becoming harder to find. I loved it then and I still enjoy playing it now.

Sabre Wulf, 22 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

Now this is very nice looking game. And it's a game that I really want to like because it's such an iconic spectrum game. But the fact is it's just not very fun to play. And that ultimately (no pun intended) is what really matters.

Football Manager 3, 24 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

"It's better to burn out than to fade away" So sang Neil Young and he could easily have been singing about the Football Manager series, because whilst the first 2 games were great, this is a steaming pile of crap!

World Soccer League, 24 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

As I child I bought countless football management games. Every week there seemed to be a new one released, most of them at a bargain £2.99 price. And like a sucker I would buy them, race home to play them and be bitterly disappointed at how terrible they were. Every now and again there'd be a half decent one, and World Soccer League was one of them. Although written in BASIC there's not too much waiting about. And this helps to keep your interest. The match screen features an asterisk which moves about the screen depicting the position of the ball, and there's also some goal mouth commentary. It's nothing earth shattering but it's a hell of a lot better than what a lot of similar games offered. Like most management games on the spectrum, there's not a huge amount of depth to it, but it's reasonably fun while it lasts.

Football Fever, 24 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

Have you got a fever? A football fever? Then do yourself a favour and load up Football Manager or it's sequel. This game's not terrible and the commentary is a nice touch but it won't keep you entertained for very long.

Plummet, 24 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

Surprisingly (because I never even heard of it until recently) good platformer where you have to collect enough rope to rescue the mayor who's stuck in a lift.

Football Director II, 24 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

Now this is quite a remarkable achievement. They've actually managed to make this game even slower than the first one. There's now a pause of a few seconds between pressing a key and anything happening on screen. I kept thinking the game had crashed and was disappointed when I realised it hadn't!

Treasure Island Dizzy, 24 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

The 2nd Dizzy game cranks up the difficulty by only giving you one life. It introduces traps that you won't know about until they've killed you. Add in a fiddly inventory system that makes it all too easy to drop the snorkel under water (instant game over) when all you were trying to do was pick something up, and you've got a game that's far more frustrating than it need by. This game also introduced a staple of the series, the 30 coins that you need to find which wouldn't be so bad if they weren't hidden behind bits of the background. Talking of backgrounds, there's too many things, trees, huts, fences that make our hero blends in with as he passes in front of them.
A major step back from the first game with some horrible graphics, instant deaths and a fiddly inventory. It's still a decent arcade adventure just not as good as it should've been.

Fantasy World Dizzy, 24 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

This is easily the best game in the Dizzy series. They finally got the inventory system right. It's easy to use and you can carry more than one item. Most of the puzzles are logical and whilst there's some backtracking , it's not excessive like in later games. There's also some memorable moments like kicking Dozy off the end of the docks and discovering what's down the well.

Skool Daze, 24 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

What can I say about this game that hasn't already been said? It's one of the spectrum's most fondly remembered games and with good reason too. And like all true classics, it's still great fun to play.

Roller Coaster, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

Jet Set Willy in a fun fair.

The Double, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

The Double taught me a lot about football management. For example, did you know the most important skill needed is to be able to predict what the attendance will be?
Yes, The Double is not your usual management game. For one thing it's one of only a handful not to be written in BASIC. For a genre that's all about number crunching that's most certainly a good thing. Speaking of numbers there's not a lot to be found here. Player's aren't given a numerical rating. Send a scout to look at a player and he'll present you with a short report. A typical scout's report would be
"Quick on his feet, a good finisher, liable to bite people, a snip at £220k". It's an interesting idea but makes it quite difficult to compare players as you can only hold 2 reports at any one time. Every time you send a scout on a new mission, his old report gets over written.
Unfortunately there's no match commentary or anything thing like that, instead the results from all 3 divisions scroll up the screen.
There's not a lot to do between games besides guessing the attendance of the next home game. Still it's quite absorbing and with a little more thought could've been a real classic.

Horace Goes Skiing, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

Have you ever wondered why Horace is such a strange shaped creature? Is he an alien or some strange animal? My personal view is he's been disfigured in some horrible road accident. You see in order for Horace to go skiing he has to cross an extremely busy road, Frogger stylee to get to the ski shop. Having picked up his skis he then has to cross the road again to get to the ski slope. Having reached the slopes you may wonder why you bothered as the skiing element isn't really much fun.

Ghouls 'n' Ghosts, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

Ghoul's N Ghosts has some fantastic 128K music on the title screen. It's worth taking a moment to enjoy it before being plunged into a frustratingly difficult game. On the first level Grim Reapers will appear, often enough right on top of you or near enough that you do not have time to kill them. There's also the problem of the sprites blending in with the background. There's nothing more annoying than being killed by an enemy you can't see. Despite being so difficult it is a game that you want to persevere with and it is possible to make progress. It's just too hard for me to get any real enjoyment out of.

Stormlord II: Deliverance, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

The original Stormlord was flawed whereas this is just plain crap.

Back to Skool, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

This is very similar to Skool Daze except this time there's a girl's school next door for you to cause havoc in. It's just as enjoyable as Skool Daze and releasing mice in the girl's school is always good fun.

Magicland Dizzy, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

In this the 4th Dizzy game you're tasked with rescuing the rest of the yolkfolk who have fallen under the wizard Zak's evil spell. If you enjoyed previous Dizzy games you'll probably enjoy this one too as it follows the same formula. In fact the whole game feels very formulaic with none of the humour or charm of previous games in the series. So you can expect to be exploring tree houses, jumping on clouds and collecting 30 diamonds all over again.

Daley Thompson's Decathlon, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

Daley Thompson, destroyer of keyboards! I played this game loads as a child. It's easy to pick up and play, requiring only three keys and it's great fun trying to break each others records. One of the spectrum's best multiplayer games.

Spy vs Spy, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

An entertaining game that sees you searching rooms for various objects while laying traps for the other spy who is doing the same thing. Watching one of your mates get hit by one of your carefully placed traps is one of life's greatest pleasures.

Playing a single player game against a computer opponent just isn't the same but as a two player game it's a riot.

The Colditz Story, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

In the Colditz story you have to sneak from room to room avoiding the guards and looking for keys and other useful objects and ultimately a means to escape. If you reach a room with a guard you're treated to a mini game which sees you trying to evade capture None of these are particularly brilliant but they're pretty short and make for a nice change of pace.
A nicely atmospheric game which is good fun to play.

Paperboy, 25 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

"What a jerk I am", those were some of the unforgettable words that would appear at the top of the screen as the titular paperboy crashed his bike for the umpteenth time. Something else that was unforgettable was the jolly tune that would play at the start of the game.
Paperboy is a game that I go back to time and again. It's not perfect but it's a good game and has a lot of charm.

Chaos, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

Chaos is a single screen strategy game for up to 8 players. Each player commands a wizard and take turns to cast spells. These range from summoning creatures to casting thunderbolts and other deadly attacks. Once everyone's cast their spell it's time for the movement phase where you get to move your wizard and creatures to attack the other players. The last wizard standing (or hiding if you've got any sense) is the winner. Simple, brilliant and very very addictive.

R-Type, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

Arcade conversions on the spectrum tended to be a bit hit and miss. Luckily fans of R-Type had very little to complain about.
I've never been a huge fan of the game but this is a very good version of the coin op classic.

Zynaps, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

A decent shoot-em-up with some nice colourful graphics.

Target: Renegade, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

Responsive controls, a decent pace even with multiple sprites on screen and a two player mode. What more do you want from a scrolling beat-em-up? Perhaps a little on the easy side but this is a minor quibble in what is probably the speccy's best brawler.

Maze Mania, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

Run around a maze flipping tiles to the right colour. Fun for A while but soon gets boring.

Head over Heels, 26 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

Head over Heels is one of the few isometric games I actually enjoy. It's not without it's share of problems though. The perspectives makes it hard to judge jumps and some of the platforms you have to jump on are obscured making the game more difficult than it need be. Unlike most games of it's ilk, there's actually something to do on most screens. It's hard not to love the 2 main protagonists and it's a great feeling when you finally get them together. The fact that they each have their own individual strengths lends itself to some great puzzles as you figure out how best to solve each screen. The best game of it's genre.

Daley Thompson's Supertest, 27 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

This is a slightly better game than Decathlon. Both are excellent sports games but this just shades it.

Hero Quest, 27 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

This seems to be quite popular, I found it extremely tedious however. It may be worth giving it a go as I seem to be in the minority.

Quackshot, 28 Jul 2013 (Rating: 1)

Terrible maze game.

Paperboy 2, 28 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

Not as good as the original.

Turbo the Tortoise, 28 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

Proof that Hi-Tec do know how to make a good game. The monochrome graphics are a bit bland and would have benefited with some colour. But the gameplay is enjoyable and it's one of the last decent commercial releases for the spectrum.

Dragon Breed, 28 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

Shoot-em-up that sees you riding on the back of a dragon. Similar to St Dragon in many ways, you can even use the dragon's tail as a shield as only the rider is vulnerable.

Hong Kong Phooey, 28 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

Another of my favourite cartoons given the Hi-Tec treatment.

Hobgoblin, 28 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

A Ghosts 'N' Goblins clone that could've been good if the main character was a bit more responsive. You'll find yourself jumping or shooting in plenty of time but the game won't respond quick enough to your input and you'll end up being killed through no fault of your own.
The 2nd Turtles game is based on the popular coin op. The first thing that strikes you is how horrible the graphics are. Fortunately the gameplay more than makes up for it. It's fast paced with responsive controls and that all important 2 player mode.

Super Robin Hood, 29 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

Unusually for a game with Super in the title, Super Robin Hood is actually rather good. It's a flip screen game that sees you collecting hearts which are needed somehow to help rescue Maid Marian, who's been locked in the sheriff's castle. As well as collecting hearts you also need to collect keys. Each key will start a lift working somewhere in the castle. Being a Robin Hood game you got to fire your bow. Rather bizarrely, the riflemen can be taken out with a few arrows but the rats and spiders are invincible and must be avoided. You may also notice that Robin Hood appears to walk with a limp although the nature of this injury is never explained.

Arcade Game Designer, 29 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

Jonathan Cauldwell's excellent Arcade Game Designer is now up to version 4. With each release it keeps getting better and better. There's been some excellent games authored with this utility and it really is easy to get started even for people with no programming experience.

Exolon, 29 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

My favourite Cecco game. Brilliant graphics combined with a simple yet enjoyable shooter.

Klax, 30 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

Coloured blocks fall down the screen, tempest style. You need to catch them on a paddle thing and either throw them back or drop them below to form shapes.

Booty, 30 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

This was pretty good for a budget game and is still fun for a quick blast. It won't keep you entertained for long though.

Albatrossity, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

Very original golf/puzzle hybrid. Good stuff.

Sir Lancelot, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

Pretty impressive for a 16k game but there's a lot better platformers out there.

Spy Hunter, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

Driving along a road, bashing other vehicles off the road, turning into a boat and cruising along rivers, driving onto the back of a moving lorry to pick up weapons. This game has fun written all over it!

Hyper Sports, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

Another top quality keyboard wrecker. The presentation in this game is excellent. I never really got into this though, I prefer the Daley Thompson games.

Rick Dangerous 2, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 3)

Rick Dangerous is back and he's learnt a new trick, this time he can slide sticks of dynamite along the floor. Other than that minor detail, the game plays exactly the same as the first one only for some reason it's nowhere near as much fun.

Jetpac, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 2)

This game is really boring. It may have been ok in 1983 but since then there have been literally 1000's of better games released for the spectrum.

River Raid, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

There's nothing very spectacular about River Raid. The graphics are very basic as is the gameplay. It's all good fun though, if a bit on the easy side.

Snoopy, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 5)

Snoopy is a graphic adventure game that sees you trying to recover Linus's lost security blanket.
I'm not normally a fan of monochrome graphics but here they capture the look of the comic strip perfectly and really add to the feel of the game.

Astro Marine Corps, 31 Jul 2013 (Rating: 4)

Colourful run and gunner with some fantastic music. The character square movement prevents colour clash but makes for some jerky scrolling. It's a fair compromise and is preferable to monochrome graphics. The actual game is fairly simple but is enjoyable in short bursts.

Robo-City, 01 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

An ok text adventure but shouldn't a game with robots in be better than this?

Chuckie Egg 2, 01 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

A decent platform game that never reaches the heights of it's predecessor.

Rugby Coach, 01 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

I'm not huge fan of rugby but I found this to be a fun management game. The match screen is the usual affair with the time ticking away and details of tries and goals popping up. You can change tactics at any time. Well that's the theory any way. In reality you keep the key pressed down until the game eventually acknowledges what tactic you want to use. If you're awarded penalty you see where it's being taken from and can then decide whether to go for a try or a goal. It's all good fun and better than most of the football management games of the day. It's all written in BASIC unfortunately but then most management games were, so there's some lengthy waits but nothing too serious.

Count Duckula, 01 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

The most interesting thing about this game is the cheat mode which turns you into a bottle of banana milk! It almost makes the game worth playing, but not quite.

City Connection, 01 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

This reminds me of Carvup on the Amiga only without the silly cartoon graphics. It's a shame it didn't get a proper release because it's an excellent game that's unlike anything else on the spectrum.

Chip's Challenge, 01 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

Considering this was released in 1990 by a major software house, the graphics are hideous. It's a shame really because there's a half decent game underneath. The idea is to run around a maze collecting all the computer chips and get to the exit before the time runs out. Some of the chips are hidden behind doors and you'll need the right colour key to unlock it. Red shields protect you from fire and blue ones from water etc. It's not bad but it's so ugly to look at it might well put you off.

Mushroom Man, 01 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

Mushroom man is great little puzzle game and I do mean little because all the action takes place in the top left corner of the screen. This is because the spectrum version was originally written for the crap game competition. This game is far from crap though and deserves a proper remake.

MASK, 01 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

It's not bad it's just not particularly good either.
At least it doesn't feature Jim Carrey.

Beebul, 02 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

Move down the screen collecting objects and avoiding monsters. When you get to the bottom you need to teleport back to the top so you can collect any objects you missed first time round. A simple but surprisingly addictive game.

Double Dragon, 02 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

Oh dear. This is really bad isn't it? Double Dragon fans must have been fuming after paying out for this load of crap. There is some fun to be had here. Perhaps if it hadn't bore the Double Dragon name and was released at a budget price it would've been more palatable.

Shadow Warriors, 02 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

This is a very colourful beat-em-up.Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be very much in the way of moves. Just hold left and right and fire, and hope for the best. It's also extremely tough and I couldn't get very far at all. With some more moves and a less brutal difficulty level, this could've been a classic.

Doomskulle, 02 Aug 2013 (Rating: 1)

Imagine Sabre Wulf but with an arthritic Sabre Man hobbling through the jungle and that's Doomskulle in a nutshell.

Double Dragon II: The Revenge, 02 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

The graphics are better this time around but the gameplay is still as poor.

Ghosts 'n Goblins, 03 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

Do graphics matter? In most cases the answer is no, as long as the game is fun. But when the graphics interfere with the gameplay that's another matter. This is one of those games. The backgrounds blend in with the foreground sprites which makes it hard to spot some of the enemies and thus ruins what could've been an enjoyable game.
Perhaps if I could see what was going on I might enjoy this more.

Moley Christmas, 03 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

This game doesn't come close to the quality of previous Monty games. It's understandable really as this wasn't a proper release.

Rockfall, 03 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

The simple graphics do nothing to spoil the enjoyment of this Boulderdash clone.

Rockfall II, 03 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

More of the same, which is a good thing.

Into the Eagle's Nest, 03 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

A Gauntlet style WW2 shooter that's better than Gauntlet in my opinion.

ATV Simulator, 03 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

ATV Simulator takes a side on view of the action as you attempt to negotiate increasingly trickier obstacle courses against the clock. Judging your speed is crucial, get it wrong and you'll take a spectacular tumble and more importantly lose time. It's good fun as a single player game but really comes into it's own with 2 players.

Mikie, 03 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

Another excellent arcade conversion by Jonathan Smith. It's a bit on the tricky side but it's so much fun you won't even care.

Kwik Snax, 03 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

Fun Pengo style arcade game. As others have said it's a bit on the easy side. There's also a bug that will crash the game if you get too high a score!

Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge, 04 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

Gremlin did an excellent job in porting their Amiga classic to the humble speccy. It's just a shame that the one player game only uses half the screen. This gives the graphics a slightly squashed look which is ok in 2 player mode but completely unnecessary when playing solo. Graphical quibbles aside this is one of the best driving games for the speccy.

Bruce Lee, 04 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

Enter screen, climb ladder, collect lamps, jump platform, collect more lamps, enter ninja and fat man, take down ninja and fat man with a few well timed flying kicks, collect remaining lamps, exit screen, rinse and repeat.

And that's Bruce Lee. Fast and fun but lacking variety.

How to be a Complete Bastard, 04 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

No, not a guide to becoming a Tory but a game based on a book by Adrian Edmondson. The aim of the game is to basically to ruin the party and generally annoy the hell out of the guests. Now if you're David Cameron you can do that by simply turning up at said party. For anyone else you're gonna need a bit more effort. To do this you need to find objects around the house and use them where appropriate. It's all pretty dull though and not worth the effort.

Slightly Magic, 04 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

Help Slightly to rescue the princess from the evil sun burnt dragon. So far so Dizzy, except being slightly magic you get to use spells as long as you can find the corresponding object to combine with the spell. This is great fun as you can turn yourself into a fish and swim under water or even turn yourself invisible! It also has a fantastic 128k soundtrack and best of all it was released for just £2.99. Bargain!

Super Cars, 04 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

Super Cars? Average cars more like. This is a pale shadow of the Amiga version. There's no sense of speed as you crawl round the drab looking tracks. You can buy missiles between races which are activated by pushing up or down depending on where they're mounted. But there's really no need as the other drivers are easily beaten as it is. And with no two player option, there's no real reason to play this.

Lightforce, 04 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

Does this game have the most ugly spaceship or what? It looks more like a toner cartridge than an inter galactic death bringer. The rest of the game's very pretty. It's an average shoot-em-up but at least it looks nice.

A Day in the Life, 04 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

You play as the disembodied head of Sir Clive as he goes about his daily tasks. It's a novel idea but it doesn't quite have the legs to run with it.

Double Dragon III: The Rosetta Stone, 04 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

Third time lucky for Double Dragon fans. After 2 disappointing games, the Rosetta Stone finally delivers a game worthy of the Double Dragon name.

Chase H.Q., 04 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

Perhaps the most overrated game on the spectrum. I just don't find this fun to play.

Driller, 04 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

With it's solid 3D graphics Driller was hugely impressive when first released. It's a bit slow by today's standards but the game still maintains it's foreboding atmosphere and is well worth playing.

Spike in Transylvania, 05 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

I really hate background graphics that obscure the sprites. It usually causes you to walk into enemies you can't see. In this case it's the rats which sap your energy. It's not a major problem but it's still annoying.
What we have here is a fairly standard Dizzy style arcade adventure. The Codemasters released a ton of these and this one doesn't offer anything new or exciting. If you like these sort of games then you'll probably like this one too.

Stunt Car Racer, 05 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

Graphics aside, this is almost identical to the 16 bit versions. The movement of the wheels really makes you feel like your on those rollercoaster tracks. It really is a nice touch. My only complaint is that a single mistake will make it impossible to catch up with the computer controlled driver.

Hard Drivin', 05 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

Hard Drivin' indeed.

Ice Breaker, 08 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

This is essentially Spy Hunter with toboggans. It's not bad but Spy Hunter did it better some five years earlier. And it was a lot more colourful too

Buggy Boy, 08 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

Enduro Racer on four wheels. And with an absolutely huge main sprite that bumps up and down constantly even on flat surfaces! This is a very good driving game, one of the best on the spectrum.

Super Hang-On, 08 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

This is a very good port of the Sega classic. The game plays well with a good sense of speed. There are plenty of other riders on the road although you can't race against them. They're merely there to get in your way and cost you valuable seconds. This is another top quality arcade conversion and a great game in it's own right.

Popeye, 08 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

This game looks absolutely fantastic. Those huge colourful graphics - wow! It still impresses me today. All this would be pointless if the game wasn't very good. And as luck would have it, it is. The aim of the game is to collect hearts for Olive Oyl. This would be simple except In a bizarre twist of fate, Popeye is unable to beat up Bluto or any of the creatures that are intent on doing Popeye harm. This means you need to avoid enemies by moving into or out of the screen or sometimes just running away! It can be rather frustrating at first but after a while you can start to make some progress and the game becomes a lot of fun.

Popeye 2, 08 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

I'm not quite sure how this managed to score 95% in Your Sinclair because it's a very poor platformer. The aim is to get to the top of a construction site, avoiding exploding bombs, springs and other videogame cliches. It's all a bit generic and the collision detection is a bit questionable.

Bouncing Bomb: Redux, 09 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

This is a very well put together puzzle game. I wanted to give this a higher score because it probably deserves it and fans of these sort of games will enjoy it. But I hate it! The frustration level is at maximum right from the start. I never had the patience for games like this and I have even less patience now.
I'm sure some people will love it but I'm afraid I'm not those people!

Eric & the Floaters, 09 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

If it wasn't for the horrendous slow down this would've scored a 5. Think of it as an early Bomberman prototype except here you're trying to blow up balloons! It also has one of the best names for a game ever!

RoboCop, 09 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

I don't normally like monochrome graphics but I'll make an exception in this case because Robocop is such a great game. This was a huge seller for Ocean and it's easy to see why. It's a real joy to play with an excellent soundtrack to boot.

Pang, 12 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

I think I must be only the person who doesn't like this game. It's not that it's a bad game it's just that it's very boring. You pop bubbles and they split into two smaller bubbles. You keep doing this until eventually they disappear. And you do this on every level. Some levels have obstacles in them but it's not enough to keep my interest for very long. Not when there's so many better puzzle games out there.

Invasion of the Zombie Monsters, 12 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

A Ghosts N Goblins clone which is a lot more fun than the original.

Italian Supercar, 12 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

A poor man's Spy Hunter.

Lone Wolf - The Mirror of Death, 13 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

Lone Wolf reminds me of Shadow of the Beast. Both games looked great and both were given favourable reviews in the magazines of the time. And both are an absolute pig to play. There's very little enjoyment to be had here. Tho controls are sluggish and unresponsive. And you'll find yourself getting killed by things you should be able to avoid.

Turrican, 13 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

Forget the dreadful sequel, the first Turrican game was ported brilliantly to the Spectrum. It's fast and colourful with huge levels to explore and lots of things to shoot at. Recommended.

Mega Bucks, 13 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

A budget priced arcade adventure. There's some strange ideas like being able to levitate and having your energy level hidden. Overall it's quite enjoyable and it didn't cost mega bucks when it was released.

Spellbound Dizzy, 13 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

The largest Dizzy game by far boasting over 100 screens. It also features an absurd amount of back tracking. You'll spend a huge amount of time carrying rocks from the quarry. This is one of the worst games in the series and bizarrely one of the most popular. Go figure!

Fiendish Freddy's Big Top o'Fun, 15 Aug 2013 (Rating: 1)

Is there a more intrusive multiload then this one? I seriously doubt it. The title screen comes up, you press a key and load in the next bit. This happens to be a not very interesting intro sequence. After this you have to start the tape again to get to the main menu. Having selected your control method you need to start the tape yet again to load the first event, the high dive.This is incredibly dull and not worth the huge amount of tape loading that preceded it. Before you're given a score by the judges you have to press play on that wretched tape again. At this point if you've got any sense you'll smash the tape to bits with large hammer. And if you think it's any less annoying playing via an emulator, you're wrong.
Utterly, utterly terrible. And of course it scored big in the gaming press back in the day on account of it being a port of a 16bit game.

Mr. Heli, 15 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

A no thrills shooter with hideous graphics.

Ruff and Reddy in the Space Adventure, 15 Aug 2013 (Rating: 1)

I've never heard of this cartoon but it must surely be better than this pile of crap?

Saboteur!, 15 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

You are the Saboteur. Sneak into the enemy complex and steal the plans before escaping from the building in a helicopter. Guards patrol the complex but can be taken out with some handy martial arts skills. The dogs that snap at your heels are more troublesome and are best avoided. The game plays at a decent pace and the controls are responsive although sometimes it can be difficult to aim the weapons unless you want to throw straight ahead. This is only a minor complaint however in an otherwise excellent game.

Saboteur II, 16 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

More of the same only bigger. Actually, that's not quite true. The guards from the original have been replaced by androids and the dogs by pumas. The androids are a lot tougher than the guards were and it's almost never worth fighting them. Perhaps that's the point, you should be sneaking around avoiding all confrontation unless absolutely necessary. It can be extremely frustrating though if you get cornered by an android and a puma. You can easily lose all your energy, particularly if the android's carrying a flame thrower. It's a worthy sequel and it's a lot of fun exploring the huge complex. This time you hang glide in and escape on a motorbike. Excellent stuff!

Dynamite Dan, 16 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

This plays very similar to Jet Set Willy only with better graphics. It's also a lot harder. In fact it's practically impossible and because of this it's just no fun to play.
There's always infinite lives pokes but if you have to cheat to make a game playable then what's the point?

Avenger, 16 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

This is a pretty run of the mill maze game. Run around collecting keys to open doors, dispatching foes along the way. If you run out of throwing stars you resort to kicking which is a nice touch but not enough to elevate this above the many similar games.

Atom Ant, 16 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

Another Hanna Barbera cartoon I've never heard of. For some unknown reason Mr Ant has to collect bombs and deposit them at the top of a building. It's a little bit like Bomb Jack but not as good. But it is a reasonably entertaining Hanna Barbera game and that's something I never thought I'd say.

Turrican II, 16 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

Ugh! What horrible graphics! What happened to those fantastic graphics from the previews? Were they merely mock ups or were the graphics changed late on in development? Either way, the graphics were a far cry from what was shown in the magazines and a million miles away from the fantastic visuals of the first game.
Turrican was a fantastic game and expectations were high for the sequel. But for some reason it just doesn't deliver the same thrills as. It's not as bad as I remembered it to be honest but the first game is better in every way.

The Trap Door, 16 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

Help Berk prepare meals for I'm upstairs in this bonkers adaptation of an equally bonkers tv show. Being a Don Priestley game we've got some large colourful graphics which really suit the game. It's maybe a bit too tough for the target audience at the time but kids back then were made me sterner stuff.

Renegade, 16 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

Renegade is okay but is a bit overrated in my opinion.

Renegade III, 16 Aug 2013 (Rating: 1)

How do you follow up Target Renegade? With dinosaurs of course! I don't even know why you're fighting dinosaurs. It's such a stupid idea I'm not going to read the instructions to find out.

Fernandez Must Die, 16 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

Commando clone with a plodding pace. Things improve once you take control of one of the many vehicles dotted around as the pace improves considerably. Be careful not to run over a mine as you'll be back on foot again and this time you'll really notice the slow pace. It's also possible to get stuck on the scenery and all you can do is wait to be killed, except in the game I'm still playing, I've been stuck for 10 minutes whilst the enemies mill about taking no notice of me!

Vampire's Empire, 17 Aug 2013 (Rating: 1)

You'd have to be batty to like this game.

Gregory Loses His Clock, 17 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

Another surreal masterpiece from Don Priestley.

Through the Trap Door, 17 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

The follow up to Trapdoor sees you alternating control between two characters. Unfortunately controlling Drutt is really awkward and makes for some really frustrating moments as you try to make a simple jump.

Batman: The Movie, 17 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

Above average movie tie-in.

Atic Atac, 17 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

Most Ultimate games are vastly overrated. Here's one that's actually deserving of some of the praise heaped upon it. It's a maze game with fast, colourful graphics. Easily, their finest hour.

Benny Hill's Madcap Chase!, 18 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

Well it certainly looks like a Don Priestley game but it doesn't play anything like his more famous games like Flunky or Trapdoor. It's a simple action game that's fun to play in short bursts.
It's not bad if you can put up with the graphics that keep changing colour. One minute the road's pink and the next moment it's changed to blue or green.

Invasion of the Body Snatchas!, 19 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

Extremely tricky defender clone. Is there any other type?

Terramex, 19 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

It's surprising how many of these "use object a at location x" type of games there are. And here's another one. What I like about this game is that the puzzles are not too obscure and you can make a fair bit of progress without getting stuck for too long. You can also fly on a vacuum cleaner, which is always a good thing.
The graphics would have benefited from a bit more colour but overall they're pretty decent.
This is another excellent arcade adventure.

Horace in the Mystic Woods, 19 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

Horace in the Mystic Woods was converted to the Spectrum by Bob Smith. It's good to see Horace back where he belongs (the Spectrum, not the woods).
It has that classic Spectrum feel to it. Collect all the stars and then head for the exit. It's a concept that's as old as the hills but the addition of inertia to the controls really freshens things up.
This is probably the Horace's best game.

Tetris 2, 19 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

If you want to play Tetris on the Spectrum this is the version to go for. There's 2 game modes to choose from, the classic endless mode and a mission mode.
This is a lot better than the official version of Tetris the Spectrum received. It's not perfect but it's close enough.

Factory Breakout, 19 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

Factory Breakout takes place over 3 screens. Each screen plays differently but none of them are much fun.

Wizard's Lair, 19 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

About as blatant a rip off as you could get. I don't think it plays quite as well as Atic Atac though.

Toobin', 20 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

Float down a river on an inflatable ring chucking cans at anything that gets in your way. It's a decent conversion of an average game.

Demon from the Darkside, 20 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

At the start of the game you can either go North-East or South. If you go south you won't be able to complete the game as you'll have missed an important item and will have no way of going back to get it. It's a problem that occurs time and again. If you find yourself stuck, it's very likely that you missed an item and will need to restart the game.
If it wasn't for this quirk/bug/feature (delete as applicable), I would recommend this game. It's very atmospheric and the puzzles are not too difficult (aside from the above mentioned problems of course).

Anarchy, 20 Aug 2013 (Rating: 2)

The English Oxford dictionary defines anarchy as "a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority or other controlling systems".

Quite what this has to do with the game I don't know. Anarchy puts you in control of a tank and tasks you with destroying all the blocks in the level within a time limit. There are also enemies who blend into the background making them difficult to see. And that's about all there is to it. Thrilling eh?
Nothing about this game is anarchic unless you count the scrolling which is positively headache inducing.

The Wild Bunch, 20 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

Whilst walking home you discover a man lying in the road dying. After uttering the words " The Wild Bunch" and giving a brief description of his attacker the man dies. At that moment the sheriff arrives and seeing you with the dead body and a gun in your hand decides to arrest you. You manage to escape but are now a wanted man. So you set off to find the real killer and clear your name.
The game starts with you fleeing to one of five towns. In each of these towns there are a few things you can do including playing poker in the saloon to try and win some money, buying provisions from the store and checking the location of the Pinkerton agent who's on your trail. If he catches up with you it's game over.
The game plays like a cross between an adventure game and a choose your own adventure book, with you choosing what to do from a menu. The Wild Bunch is quite basic but all the elements come together to make for a really fun experience. The poker mini game in particular is very addictive.

Mugsy, 21 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

Mugsy looks fantastic, is very atmospheric but where is the gameplay?

SQIJ!, 21 Aug 2013 (Rating: 1)

In order to play this game you'll need to press break then POKE 23658,0 to turn capslock off. Sqij is infamous but you won't believe just how bad it is until you play it.

Kokotoni Wilf, 21 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

This is a very nice flip screen collect em up. The graphics are nice and colourful and flying around the levels is good fun although it does seem a little slow at times.

Ant Attack, 21 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

The rotate and move controls make this game trickier than it need be. There's also about 100 other keys you'll need during the game. Luckily the game is worth all the hassle.But really, it could have been so much better.

Rebelstar 2, 22 Aug 2013 (Rating: 5)

Rebelstar 2 takes place on a hostile
alien planet. You start off on the left of
the map and have to make your way to
the aliens fortress on the right of the
map, destroy the queen and make off
with as many eggs as you can. The
game is a lot more of a challenge than
the first game. You start off being
attacked by vicious marsh rats. Having
fended off their attack you have to
make your way across the alien
landscape, taking cover behind trees
and bushes. You'll need to ensure
you're well hidden as the aliens take
pot shots from miles away, often with
deadly accuracy. The game has a real
sense of urgency. You'll need to keep
moving forward as alien
reinforcements will start to arrive from
the left from about turn 12 onwards. If
you do manage to reach the fortress
you'll find the queen to be a
formidable foe spitting lethal acid at
anyone who gets too close. Once the
queen is taken care off you need to
gather up her eggs and make for your
ship before it takes off. And if you
manage to do this you've done very
well indeed.
Rebelstar 2 is one of the finest games I
have ever played and helped cement
my love of turn based strategy games.

The Way of the Exploding Fist, 22 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

Despite the misleading title, there are no exploding body parts to be found in this game. Once this bombshell has sunk in, you'll find a solid one on one fighter.

Super Wonder Boy, 22 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

A decent version of the Sega classic. Some of the colour schemes are horrific though, particularly the yellow and red on level two. And why is it if I'm using a joystick I still have to use the keyboard to buy items from shops?

3D Starstrike, 22 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

Essentially a clone of Star Wars, it appeared 3 years before the official licenced game hit the Spectrum. It's also slightly more playable than Star Wars in my opinion.

Star Wars, 22 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

In space no one can hear you scream. Why not? because there's no bloomin sound in this game! That's right, a major release in 1987 and there's no sound! Anyway, this is a decent, if somewhat belated, port of the arcade game. The trouble is 3D Starstrike got there first and did it better.

The Rats, 23 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

What's this, a survival horror game on the Spectrum? Well not quite. Based on a book that I haven't read, The Rats sees you trying to defend London from an outbreak of the killer rodents. You're in charge of deploying forces across the city in an attempt to contain the outbreak.
When someone is attacked you take control of that person in an attempt to guide them to safety. Although it's more likely that they'll suffer a grisly death. But hopefully you'll have gained some info that will help you in the long run.
Part strategy, part adventure, The Rats is quite unlike anything else I've played on the Spectrum.
Beware the strange loader that decides at random which sections to load in and seemed to confuse my emulator!

Firelord, 23 Aug 2013 (Rating: 4)

Sabre Wulf done right.

Cliff Hanger, 23 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

An interesting idea but ultimately not very fun to play. There's not a lot to the gameplay, firing a cannon or pushing a boulder over a cliff for example, and repeating these tasks until you get the timing just right can be a bit of a chore.

It's the Wooluf!, 31 Aug 2013 (Rating: 3)

Guide the sheep into the pen without them getting eaten by the wolf or falling in the river. I can say quite honestly say that this is the best sheep herding game I have ever played.

Arkanoid, 02 Sep 2013 (Rating: 2)

How exactly do you annoy an ark? But I digress.
So then Arkanoid is a Breakout clone and not a very good one at that. If you really must play Breakout, give Batty or Krakout a try instead.

Arkanoid - Revenge of Doh, 02 Sep 2013 (Rating: 3)

Arkanoid was a pretty poor Breakout clone. What it really needed was horrendous backdrops that hurt your eyes. And as luck would have it, the sequel does exactly that. It does control better than Arkanoid even if it will make you blind.

E-motion, 03 Sep 2013 (Rating: 2)

Thrust with balls is essentially what this game is. You have to manoeuvre your ship around and try to make balls of the same kind collide at which point they'll disappear. It's an interesting idea but it just doesn't work for me. It get's far too frustrating far too early.
Nice music though.

Brian Bloodaxe, 03 Sep 2013 (Rating: 3)

Overrated platformer that could have been so much better. The main character is slow and doesn't control very well. The game does have a lot of charm though and if you persevere with the unwieldy controls you'll find a lot to enjoy here.

Armageddon, 07 Nov 2013 (Rating: 2)

Space Invaders / Centipede hybrid that doesn't feature Bruce Willis. And for that, we should all be grateful.

SHUTTLEBUG, 07 Nov 2013 (Rating: 5)

Old school maze game which is more fun than it has any right to be.

The Addams Family, 07 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

I hate the controls in this game. One minute you're walking like an arthritic old man and the next you're acrobatically leaping 10 feet into the air! I haven't much else to say about this game, it's platforming by numbers really. It's not bad but you'd expect better from a major software house in 1991.

Duet, 07 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

So duet, could this be the precursor to those awful sing star games that were popular a few years back?
Well no actually, as it turns out this is a Gauntlet clone and a pretty average one at that.

E-SWAT, 07 Nov 2013 (Rating: 1)

What is this crap?!

Navy SEALs, 08 Nov 2013 (Rating: 4)

Why can't these guys climb ladders very well? Oh well, it doesn't matter I suppose. This is a very tricky shooter from Ocean which is actually pretty decent. There's some good ideas like the way the guards bodies remain on the floor after you've killed them. No respawning enemies here! That was pretty novel at the time. The graphics are nice and there's an assortment of weapons. All in all a very decent effort.

The Light Corridor, 09 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

I never really liked all those bat and ball games. I found them all a bit boring. There was also very little difference between games like Thro' the Wall and Arkanoid other than the price.

Putting the games into 3D doesn't do anything to change my mind. But a lot of people do enjoy these sort of games and if you're one of them you could do worse than to check out the Light Corridor. It has some impressive music and a rather funky level editor.

Mole Rat!, 09 Nov 2013 (Rating: 4)

Mole Rat is the forerunner to Shuttlebug. As such it suffers from too much cheese, not enough Cauliflower. It's still fun, but you'd be better off with the aforementioned Shuttlebug.

Rastan, 09 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

The controls in Rastan are great. The main character responds well and movements are fast and fluid. The music is also very good. So why have I only given it a 3? It's the backdrops, they're hideous and gave me a headache after only about 5 minutes. Not only that, they also obscure the enemies. A simple black background would have solved both these problems but alas programmers back then wanted to test our eyesight to the limits!

The Rocky Horror Show, 09 Nov 2013 (Rating: 5)

The Rocky Horror Show is a real pleasure to play. The attention to detail is briliiant. It's totally bonkers of course but then so are all the best things in life!

Revolver, 09 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

Not the Beatles album sadly, but an isometric western. I was expecting the worst but it's not too bad. I don't know what you're supposed to be doing because I didn't bother to read the instructions but it appears you wander around shooting people.
In a nice touch, killing a bad guy sees them turn into a devil and sink into the ground whereas killing innocents turns them into an angel who floats up to the sky.

Rex, 10 Nov 2013 (Rating: 4)

In many ways Rex is a bit like Cybernoid. Both are flip screen shooters, tough flip screen shooters!
They both feature white sprites against a black background with colourful scenery. In Rex however, you control a Rhino who leaps from platforms rather than a spaceship, so not really like Cybernoid at all. Side two contains a demo which explains how the weapons systems work and is worth watching before playing for the first time.

Really Knight, 10 Nov 2013 (Rating: 1)

Imagine if Jet Set Willy was written in BASIC. Now imagine that instead of jumping, you simply disappeared and reappeared somewhere else on the screen. Imagine that sometimes when you move you leave trails of random scenery behind. Now imagine no longer because this is that game!

Odd Job Eddie, 11 Nov 2013 (Rating: 2)

Odd Job Eddie's quite unlike anything you've ever played before. Unless you've played Pyramania in which case it's exactly like something you've played before!

Pyramania, 11 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

Jet Set Willy in a pyramid.

Penalty Soccer, 11 Nov 2013 (Rating: 1)

In this game you play a goalkeeper who's bombarded with cannon balls. Quite why this should be is anybody's guess. I managed to dodge a few cannon balls before realising the object of the game was to catch them. This is pretty straight forward despite the strange trajectory these missiles take.

Al Toro!, 11 Nov 2013 (Rating: 1)

Load of bull!

Run Baby Run, 11 Nov 2013 (Rating: 2)

Run baby run, preferably in the opposite direction of this game!

Nebulus, 11 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

Quite a novel game this as you try to make it to the top of a tower. The tower rotates as you move and makes my eyes go a bit funny. The game features one of my pet peeves - a time limit. This makes a tough game even harder and makes me less inclined to return for another attempt.
Without the timer I would have given this a 4 but the strict time limit sucks most of the fun out of the game.

Dynamite Dan II, 12 Nov 2013 (Rating: 4)

The original Dynamite Dan wasn't very good but fortunately the sequel is miles better.There are numerous items to find and use and their locations are different each time you play so you are forced to explore the whole level each time. The difficulty level has been toned down from the first game which makes exploring the islands a lot less frustrating.

Spectrum Cross, 12 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

Nothing to do with angry spectrums, this is a Frogger clone written in BASIC. As such, you might expect it to be a bit crap. But you'd be wrong! Spectrum Cross is surprisingly entertaining.
You can go left, right or forwards and with no way of retreating, it's very tricky. The controls are also a bit sensitive, sometimes sending you forward 2 spaces when you only wanted to advance by one. Minor quibbles aside, this is very impressive for a BASIC game and a decent game in it's own right.

The Hobbit, 16 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

One of the first adventure games to appear on the Speccy. It's a reasonable game but nothing amazing.

Soft & Cuddly, 17 Nov 2013 (Rating: 2)

Sub par platformer which is only offensive due to it's crapness.

Journey's End, 26 Nov 2013 (Rating: 3)

Quite an interesting RPG although it can be a bit of a slog at times. The dungeons in the first part are randomly generated which is a nice idea although there's a lengthy wait whilst the dungeon is generated. This part of the game can be frustrating as you can lose a lot of energy and the potions dotted around will either kill or cure you with no way of knowing beforehand.
The second part of the game sees you amassing a party of warriors and trying to find your way to the castle. I never made it to the final part as the slow pace of the game finally got on my nerves. The battles which occur frequently take too long and made progress very very slow.

Hampstead, 27 Nov 2013 (Rating: 5)

Hampstead is a text adventure that Is set on the mean streets of London. The aim is to leave your squalid council flat behind and eventually buy a nice respectable semi in Hampstead. You start off out of work and penniless without too many prospects. You also start off completely starkers in the living room for some reason!
It's an excellent game and it's not too difficult to make progress early on.

World Cup, 28 Nov 2013 (Rating: 1)

This isn't even a game. You cannot improve your team in any way. You have a squad of players from which you pick the eleven best to play and then just hope for the best.

Cabman, 29 Nov 2013 (Rating: 1)

Wasn't Crazy Taxi a great game? Wouldn't it be great if their was a spectrum equivalent? Well as far as I'm aware there isn't. What we have here is an uninspiring maze game with some very basic graphics.

Mined-Out, 01 Dec 2013 (Rating: 3)

Frustratingly addictive.

Lords of Chaos - Expansion Kit 1, 20 Dec 2013 (Rating: 5)

2 new scenarios for Lords of Chaos.
Anything that extends the lifespan of this great game is okay by me!

Foxx Fights Back, 20 Dec 2013 (Rating: 5)

Fantastic Mr Foxx!
It's not the most involved game you'll ever play but it's perfect for short gaming sessions.

Venturama, 30 Dec 2013 (Rating: 4)

Playing this on a real Spectrum without the use of save states can be very frustrating due to the fatal pitfalls. Combine these with less than perfect controls and you have a game that shouldn't be fun at all, but somehow still is. I love the graphical style and the game has a charm to it that I can't really explain.

Rod-Land, 31 Dec 2013 (Rating: 4)

A decent port but why is it in monochrome? The lack of colour is particularly noticeable as this came a year after Rainbow Islands showed just how good an arcade conversion could be in the right hands.

Lemmings, 31 Dec 2013 (Rating: 1)

I was never a fan of the original Amiga game, so this port is going to have to be something pretty special to win me over. Let's begin.
When you start the game you might think the game has crashed causing the graphics to corrupt. Do not reload the game, they're supposed to look that way! Yes these graphics were deemed acceptable in 1991! So a pretty inauspicious start. Let's see if the gameplay can save things shall we?
The mouse control of the original doesn't translate well to keyboard or joystick. And if you're using a joystick you'll still need to use the keyboard to switch between icons. Even if you know exactly how to tackle a level, the fiddly controls will conspire to thwart you.

A truly dire game that retailed at £12.99. A few months later the Spectrum was effectively dead. Coincidence?

Bangers & Mash, 31 Dec 2013 (Rating: 4)

I've never heard of Bangers and Mash but after doing some research (ie reading Dean's review), it appears this was a children's tv show.
Now tv licences are usually poor but this one's surprisingly good. It seems you need to collect a set amount of fruit from the level. What happens then is anyone's guess cos I never got that far! The graphics are colourful and suitably cartoony and the controls are responsive.
All in all this is a very enjoyable game and I'm going back for another go!

Helter Skelter, 31 Dec 2013 (Rating: 1)

It's impossible to control the ball in this game.
Where's the fun in that?

Mr. Freeze, 14 Jan 2014 (Rating: 1)

There are many great platformers on the spectrum. This isn't one of them. The gameplay is awkward and not helped by unresponsive controls. There is a level of consistency running through this game as the graphics and sound are also crap.

Bug-Eyes, 14 Jan 2014 (Rating: 3)

A very simple game of precision timing which I found a bit boring.

Bonanza Bros., 14 Jan 2014 (Rating: 1)

The Sega Master System version of this is fantastic. There's something wrong with the Spectrum version though. The controls don't always do what you want them too and even getting past the first guard will lose you numerous lives.

Sonar Salvage, 14 Jan 2014 (Rating: 2)

Upon loading the game and choosing a difficulty level*, you're presented with a please wait message and a suitably lengthy wait. That's never a good sign and so it proves. Despite the interesting premise, the game was just too slow to hold my attention for long.

*Despite opting for the easiest difficulty level and hiring the best boat and crew I could afford, I ran into trouble with the oxygen equipment about 10 seconds after leaving port and was forced to return!

Tribble Trubble, 15 Jan 2014 (Rating: 3)

You play a magenta coloured blob and have to shepherd a smaller little blob around otherwise he'll run off and get himself killed. You also have to dig up rocks and push them into the river or use them to kill the red spikey things. That's level one. I don't know what the other levels are like cos I didn't get that far.

Beach-Head, 15 Jan 2014 (Rating: 4)

Essentially just a series of mini games, some better than others. None of which are that great on their own but work well together to create an enjoyable game.

Software House, 15 Jan 2014 (Rating: 3)

A reasonable management game but why is it so slow? Selecting an option from the menu is a case of holding the corresponding key down until the game finally acknowledges the keypress.

Cassette 50, 17 Jan 2014 (Rating: 5)

50 Great games on one cassette.
What more could you ask for?

Smash TV, 17 Jan 2014 (Rating: 3)

Despite getting rave reviews from the magazines of the time, Smash TV is a very average game. One of the problems is that your character moves in fits and starts meaning you never feel totally in control. The jerky movement extends to the enemy sprites making them hard to avoid. The best option is to stand in one of the corners and fire into the centre of the room. Using this strategy you'll eliminate most of the enemy without having to move.
It's not all bad. It's very colourful and is reasonably fun, just not the masterpiece it was made out to be.

Vixen, 17 Jan 2014 (Rating: 3)

The gameplay gets repetitive very quickly. It's not bad for a quick gaming session but there's very little game here.

Flying Shark, 17 Jan 2014 (Rating: 3)

The graphics hurt my eyes. They also obscure incoming bullets. Two pretty major flaws for a supposed classic. A simple black background would've solved both these problems if only they'd bothered to playtest it.

Treble Champions, 20 Jan 2014 (Rating: 2)

Yet another management game where you wait an age for anything to happen and then wonder why you bothered.

Plotting, 22 Jan 2014 (Rating: 4)

I like Plotting. I like it a lot. It's very addictive, although I'm not sure how much skill is involved. Success seems to be as much about luck than judgement. However, maybe I'm just not very good at it?

Robin of the Wood, 22 Jan 2014 (Rating: 4)

This is not quite a 5 for me. Finding your way around the forest is almost impossible making it very difficult to make any progress. It's still a very good game, it's just that you may feel you're running around aimlessly a lot of the time.

Split Personalities, 23 Jan 2014 (Rating: 3)

I've never understood the appeal of this game. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with it, everything works as it should.
It's just the whole concept of sliding tiles around to form a picture doesn't interest me.

Elite, 26 Jan 2014 (Rating: 3)

Elite. One of the most famous and influential games of the 8bit era. It's also a game I never got to grips with and get no pleasure out of. It's hard not to be impressed by the game's sheer scope and innovation. And yet it remains a game I do not like.
So how to score Elite?
Well for it's huge scope, general epicness and historical importance I rate it 5/5.
For personal enjoyment, 1/5.
Now if I crunch the figures, add on Vat and allow for inflation we end up with a final score of 3/5.

Mountains of Ket, 26 Jan 2014 (Rating: 4)

Despite being written (mostly) in Basic, Mountains of Ket is a surprisingly good text adventure.
The game features a simple, yet entertaining combat system. You can pretty much attack anyone you come into contact with. Attacking the friendly shop keeper is not advised as the local inhabitants don't take too kindly to this and you'll soon be faced with angry villagers spoiling for a fight.
Having found a more peaceable method of obtaining some essential supplies, you'll be ready to embark on your journey to the titular mountains. The game's not without it's share of problems. It's very easy to miss an important clue early on and the vocabulary is less than perfect. All things considered I give this game 4/5.

Heartbroken, 26 Jan 2014 (Rating: 5)

This game screams "budget" from the barely animated sprites to the godawful sound effects.
Luckily, the gameplay more than makes up for it. Controls are quick and responsive and the game is a lot of fun to play.

Rapscallion, 30 Jan 2014 (Rating: 4)

Chunky but funky with a side order of strange.

Grid Word, 30 Jan 2014 (Rating: 3)

If you enjoy word searches, I'm sure this will provide hours of fun. I don't however. The game is nicely put together and the ability to enter your own rude words to search for is most welcome. Or at least it would be if I was the kind of immature person who laughs at the word bum. Which I assure you I'm not!

Pac-Land, 30 Jan 2014 (Rating: 2)

A horrible game that looks as bad as it plays.

Alien Syndrome, 30 Jan 2014 (Rating: 4)

It can be very tough, especially with the starting weapon but once you get your hands on some decent weaponry you can show those oversized wheat crunchies whose boss!

Loopz, 01 Feb 2014 (Rating: 3)

The object of the game is to place shapes on the screen to create a loop. The bigger the loop the more points you get. You can rotate the shapes before you place them and that's about all there is to it. The graphics are pretty dreary and the game lacks any real spark. It's all a bit uninteresting.

Batty, 01 Feb 2014 (Rating: 3)

I'm a bit Arkanoid about all these Breakout clones. If I have to play another one, I'm gonna throw it thro the wall. If you do have the urge to play one this ain't a bad one to Krackout.

Pac-Mania, 01 Feb 2014 (Rating: 4)

A decent conversion and a fun variation but you're still better off sticking to the original Pacman.

Waxworks, 07 Feb 2014 (Rating: 3)

Waxworks was the first text adventure I ever played. I must have spent hours typing instructions in only to have them misunderstood. I did make progress very slowly and got a lot of enjoyment from it but on hindsight it's not a very good game. I'm only giving it 3/5 due to nostalgia.

Willow Pattern, 08 Feb 2014 (Rating: 4)

I thought Willow Pattern was a fun little game with some nice colourful graphics. I don't understand people calling it a Sabre Wulf variant. Graphics aside, it's nothing like Sabre Wulf.

Pyjamarama, 09 Feb 2014 (Rating: 4)

A huge improvement over Automania. The graphics are bold and colourful with some amazing use of colour clash. I know lots of people hate colour clash but I prefer it to drab monochrome graphics. The puzzles are impossible and I can't seem make any progress. Its good fun trying though.

Finders Keepers, 09 Feb 2014 (Rating: 4)

With David Jones working on an updated version, I thought now would be a good time to return to the original. I haven't played this game much as I never knew what I was supposed to be doing and I still don't. There's objects to collect, mazes to explore and platforms to jump on. There's also a trader(s?) to trade with although I never got the hang of that either. A puzzling game in more ways than one and I can't help feeling I'd enjoy it even more if I had half a clue as to what I was doing!

Hammerfist, 09 Feb 2014 (Rating: 4)

Hammerfist could of been a classic if it wasn't for the controls. You'll get fed up of switching characters when you're trying to jump to a high platform or break a computer screen. The game's great fun when the controls actually work but it will frustrate you when they don't.

Nifty Lifty, 11 Feb 2014 (Rating: 4)

An incredibly simple game that utilises just 2 keys.The idea is to get to the top of the screen, avoiding the lifts in the middle. Nifty Lifty indeed.

Glider Rider, 11 Feb 2014 (Rating: 3)

Controlling the glider is fun but you'll spend most of the time on the bike which quickly gets dull. A nice idea but maybe one that would've worked better in 2D?

Bubble Bobble, 11 Feb 2014 (Rating: 4)

Ugh! What ugly graphics!
Luckily the game plays well it's just a shame about the terrible graphics and sound. There's supposed to be 128K music but if there was, I couldn't find it.

Golden Axe, 12 Feb 2014 (Rating: 3)

Well it's fast and colourful but it's not very good is it?
It's a decent conversion of a hugely over-rated game.
Is it just me or is the collision detection a bit off?

Biff, 14 Feb 2014 (Rating: 4)

Beyond Belief's attempt at a Dizzy style Arcade Adventure is actually pretty decent.

Doomdark's Revenge, 18 Feb 2014 (Rating: 4)

Doomdark's Revenge has recently been released for Android and ios devices. And it's these versions that I'd recommend playing, as they're the ultimate version of this great game.
It's essentially the same as the Spectrum version but without the lengthy waits between night and day.
But back to the Spectrum version, and yes those waits between turns are very noticable. But being a long game, it's the perfect opportunity to make a cup of tea and review your strategy. Alternatively crank up the speed on your emulator.
This is of course the follow up to Lords of Midnight. And like a true sequel, the game is bigger. But not quite as enjoyable as the first game.

Terrormolinos, 18 Feb 2014 (Rating: 3)

Not as good as Hampstead.
One of the problems is it seems to delight in sending you back to the beginning of the game for innocous things.
Examine the coal scuttle? Game over.
Pick up the shaving foam? Game over.
Take too many turns getting to the taxi? Game over.
Picking up the shaving foam is the worst one because you won't know it's game over until you land in Spain.
There's definitely a fun game to be had if you've got the patience. I just found it too frustrating.

Miles Mad Mission!, 19 Feb 2014 (Rating: 4)

Miles Mad Mission is a surreal journey through the disturbed mind of Wos forumite DM Boozefreak. It's a Jet Set Willy mod that is more entertaining than the original game. By effortlessly out surrealing Matthew Smith, Mr Boozefreak has created a game where you're driven by a desire to see what bizare situation you'll find yourself in next.

Mindshadow, 19 Feb 2014 (Rating: 5)

You wake on a desert island with no memory of how you got there. The parser is excellent and the puzzles logical and it won't take too much time to get off the island and start unravelling the mystery. Each location is illustrated with nicely drawn pictures although you can turn them off if you want to. The text throughout is excellent, you can examine most things in the game and get a useful response.

6 in 1, 26 Feb 2014 (Rating: 4)

A collection of 6 adventure games aimed at novices. The first game is very easy, with each subsequent game getting progressively more tricky.

Colossal Adventure, 26 Feb 2014 (Rating: 4)

The original Crowther and Woods game took up a massive 300K! Level 9 managed to squeeze their version into 48K.
I'm not sure why but the black text on a white background is really annoying. More annoying still is not being able to carry more than four items resulting in lots of back-tracking to pick up items you didn't have room to carry earlier. And for some reason the "examine" command doesn't seem to do anything.

The updated version on the Jewels of Darkness compilation fixes the above problems so I'm upgrading my mark to 4/5.

Sorcerer Lord, 01 Mar 2014 (Rating: 3)

Imagine Lords of Midnight played from a top down perspective. It's an intriguing concept but it doesn't quite live up to it's premise. The main problem is that despite being bombarded with text, the information doesn't stay on screen long enough for you to read it all. So you're never really sure what's going on or who's winning etc.

An Everyday Tale of a Seeker of Gold, 01 Mar 2014 (Rating: 4)

If it wasn't for Tolkien, there'd be far fewer adventure games as every other game seems to be a parody of either The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings. When they're as good as this one though, I don't really mind. It's genuinely funny in places and I enjoyed it a lot.

Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo, 05 Mar 2014 (Rating: 3)

I thought this was one of the better Hanna Barbera games. It's not just a tedious avoid-em-up with terrible graphics. This time you get to fight back, making it marginally less tedious than Hi-Tec's other games. It would be nice if your attack range was a bit longer. And the graphics are still crap.

Panic Dizzy, 05 Mar 2014 (Rating: 4)

One of the better spin-off Dizzy games. This an original and enjoyable puzzle game.

Seymour Goes to Hollywood, 06 Mar 2014 (Rating: 4)

By this time, the Dizzy series had got a bit stale. Seymour Goes to Hollywood is essentially another Dizzy but this time set in an urban(ish) setting which had the desired effect of freshening things up.

Super Seymour Saves the Planet, 07 Mar 2014 (Rating: 3)

A poor man's Bombjack.

Gary Lineker's Superstar Soccer, 09 Mar 2014 (Rating: 3)

Lurking beneath a bizarre and unwieldy control system lies an enjoyable game. Unfortunately there's just no getting around the controls. A bar slides left to right and back again. To shoot upwards you have to wait until the bar is on the left (or is it right?) and vice versa. Pressing shoot when the bar is in the middle will shoot straight ahead. This means that once you get into a scoring position you have to wait until the bar is in the right place for your desired shot. By which time you'll most likely have lost the ball.
I bet Gary Lineker never had this much trouble!

SWIV, 09 Mar 2014 (Rating: 4)

Silkworm IV, Special Weapons Investigation Vehicles, South Wales Icecream Vans. Whatever you call it, it's a fine example of the vertical shooter. It's not perfect. As with most monochrome games, the bullets can be hard to spot against the backgrounds. It's not a major issue and happens far less than in Flying Shark. The levels are multi-load which wasn't a problem as I never got off the first level! Yep, it's a tough game or maybe I'm just rubbish. Who knows eh?

Fearless Frank, 09 Mar 2014 (Rating: 3)

Despite the game's obvious crapness, I found it quite addictive! You play the role of a stuntman either on a bike, jet ski or snowbike thingy. At first jumping over the objects can seem tricky until you realise your vehicles can hover! So getting past the first house is a simple case of riding slowly up to it and coming to a complete stop. Now press fire and you'll start to rise! Once you're hovering above the height of the house just press right and continue on your merry way!

Soft Aid, 09 Mar 2014 (Rating: 4)

10 games for less than a fiver. What a bargain! Even if most of the games weren't much good. Still you got 2 great games (Kokotoni Wilf and Ant Attack). The rest are fair to middling but what do you want for that price?

Fahrenheit 3000, 11 Mar 2014 (Rating: 2)

A Jet Set Willy clone, with crap graphics and gameplay.

Defenders of the Earth, 14 Mar 2014 (Rating: 3)

This could've been quite good if the enemies weren't so fast. As it is, it's a bit unfair as they move a damn sight faster than you. A missed opportunity.

One of our Wombats is Missing, 27 Mar 2014 (Rating: 2)

A wombat's escaped from its cage in the zoo and it's up to you to find it. This was written by Mike Gerrard who wrote the adventure column for Your Sinclair and who should know a thing or two about adventure games. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to have applied his knowledge here as this game is really boring.

The Blood of Bogmole, 29 Mar 2014 (Rating: 3)

Tough as nails adventure game.

Cloud 99, 31 Mar 2014 (Rating: 4)

Jack Frost's mucked up the weather and it's up to you to fix it. Silly premise aside, this is quite a fun game. One thing I didn't like was Jack Frost turning up and stealing items from you. I have no idea if you can recover them or if it means you have to start again if he nicks an important item.

Knight Rider, 31 Mar 2014 (Rating: 1)

The loading screen depicts David Hasslehoff with a decidedly red face.
Yes, even he's embarrassed to be associated with this pile of crap!

Quest for the Holy Joystick, 02 Apr 2014 (Rating: 1)

It's not really a game. It purports to be funny but fails miserably. So what you're left with is a short "game" where you wander around "laughing" at "funny" names like Poland Prat and Helbourne House software house.

Castle Master, 02 Apr 2014 (Rating: 3)

As impressive as the freescape games are, they are painfully slow. One of the other problems is that due to the monochrome graphics, it can be hard to see what's shooting at you until it's too late. Because of this, I never really got into Castle Master but instead admired it from afar.

Treasure Island, 04 Apr 2014 (Rating: 2)

A potentially decent adventure. However the illogical maze near the beginning (going north then south will take you somewhere else) made me not want to bother with it.

Mugsy's Revenge, 06 Apr 2014 (Rating: 3)

Almost exactly the same as the first game.

Sinbad and the Golden Ship, 06 Apr 2014 (Rating: 4)

Sea monsters, dragons, skeletons and evil wizard's castles. What more could you ask for? Well you could ask why the graphics stay the same as you move around the ship. But seeing as this was £1.99 when released i'll overlook that. The game is a 2 parter that requires you to save your progress at the end of part 1 and load it at the start of part 2. This isn't always easy in the emulator age and is a bit short sighted of Mastertronic!

Quest Adventure, 06 Apr 2014 (Rating: 2)

Are you ready for a quest? An adventure quest? Then maybe you should try Adventure Quest. Or maybe this game cunningly entitled Quest Adventure.
It's got a high rating from those good people at Wos and who am I to argue with them? I'll tell you who I am, I'm the person writing this review so there! And I say this game is average at best. Was it good in 1983? I don't know. It's certainly a bit clunky now. The graphics take a while to draw. Not too long, but long enough, particularly when they're not very good! If you go west from the start, you're told "there's something solid here". Very useful, eh? Examining does no good here. Despite not being mentioned in the text what you have to do is take the lamp and turn it on. Then you can see what's in the hut! Intuitive is not the word. Really it's not. I tried to pay the dwarf by the bridge as instructed but when I tried to "give coin" I was told it did not understand the word "give"! I then typed "pay dwarf" which worked but was then told "I don't know why you typed dwarf"! I was also attacked and killed by an ogre that wasn't even mentioned in the text. "Do you want me to ressurect you?" I was asked.
No thanks, I think I'm better off dead.

Elevator Action, 06 Apr 2014 (Rating: 3)

The gameplay is a bit slow and the controls slightly unresponsive. Not bad, but could've been a lot better.

Urban Upstart, 23 Apr 2014 (Rating: 3)

Welcome to Scarthorpe where even the dogs carry flick knives. Rather sensibly you decide to leave town. It may take a while as there's a lengthy pause between screens as it draws the rather crap graphics. Written by Pete Cooke (presumably with a little help from Dudley Moore), it's not bad but rather slow paced unfortunately.

Laser Snaker, 02 Jun 2014 (Rating: 2)

Unlike Raphie I can't forgive the unresponsive controls. And while the graphics are colourful, they're not very interesting.
Not Stephen Crow's finest hour.

Samurai, 04 Jun 2014 (Rating: 3)

Quite a simplistic strategy game. It's easy to play, although you'll need a bucket load of patience as the computer takes ages to move. It doesn't look like he has much of an army until he moves them all! If you can put up with that, it's not too shabby I suppose.

APB, 26 Jun 2014 (Rating: 3)

Drive around a horrible green landscape arresting traffic cones and litterbugs etc. If that sounds like fun, you might enjoy it. You won't enjoy the multiload though.

Shinobi, 26 Jun 2014 (Rating: 4)

This is a surprisingly good version of the arcade classic. It's plays at a decent pace and controls reasonably well. It's also very colorful although the sprites sometimes get lost in the background graphics.

Elven Warrior, 27 Jun 2014 (Rating: 4)

This is a very unassuming game. At first glance it looks like your average budget game. It's got a weird jump mechanic meaning you can only jump straight up and although you have a health bar, falling into water results in a game over. But it's actually good fun to play once you get passed these niggles.
You play an elf and you run around shooting with your bow and arrows. You need to collect things but I don't know why cos I didn't read the instructions. Pressing down will let you enter doors. You also collect keys, but I didn't come across any locked doors.
While far from being a classic, it's good enough to earn 4/5 from this reviewer.

W*H*B, 28 Jun 2014 (Rating: 3)

Technically this is very good. I found it a bit boring though.

Cookie, 29 Jun 2014 (Rating: 3)

This early offering from Ultimate is simplicity itself as you try to get the ingredients into the mixing bowl. Not the greatest game in the world, but a pleasant enough distraction.

Star Raiders II, 29 Jun 2014 (Rating: 4)

Not sure what happened to the first game but this sequel is an enjoyable space shooter. The graphics are functional but there's some nice colourful explosions.

Little Puff, 29 Jun 2014 (Rating: 4)

A Dizzy style arcade adventure from the masters of code. You only get one life and there are a some unavoidable traps. For example there are several pits, some you need to jump into while others contain spikes. Once you've learnt the layout, this isn't a problem but it's annoying at first. It's a fun game though with some nice graphics but perhaps a bit on the short side. Certainly shorter than most Dizzy games.

Dynasty Wars, 29 Jun 2014 (Rating: 2)

Could've been good if only I could see what was going on!

Beamrider, 30 Jun 2014 (Rating: 4)

This was converted from the Atari 2600 and Activision didn't bother to upgrade the graphics. Still, who needs great graphics when you've got an enjoyable blaster like this?

Power Drift, 30 Jun 2014 (Rating: 3)

Power Drift's not bad it just drifts the wrong side of boring for me. And the least said about the collision detection the better!

Antiquity Jones, 30 Jun 2014 (Rating: 5)

Antiquity Jones by Paul Jenkinson was created using Jonathan Cauldwell's excellent Arcade Game Designer. It's a great advert for AGD and shows what can be achieved with a bit of imagination.
The action takes place in the jungle and there are vines to climb and rivers to cross not to mention jungle critters to avoid. These are not hard to avoid, your main enemy being your constantly depleting energy. This can be topped up by bottles that you find lying about. It also means you need to keep moving to stay alive. Dawdle for too long and you won't have time to reach the next energy bottle.
This brings me to my only real criticism of the game. Climbing the vines is harder than need be and you can waste valuable time trying to line yourself up correctly. But this is a minor quible in an otherwise enjoyable game.
Paul Jenkinson has proved his expertise with AGD and this is his best game to date.

H.E.R.O., 01 Jul 2014 (Rating: 5)

Another game brilliantly converted from the Atari 2600. With a jet pack, laser and some sticks of dynamite your aim is to rescue the trapped miners on each level. It may not be much to look at but this game is very very addictive.

Scuba Dive, 01 Jul 2014 (Rating: 5)

Despite having no real objective besides exploring and collecting pearls, Scuba Dive is strangely compelling. It's also a very relaxing game as you swim amongst the fish and sharks slowly edging deeper into the depths of the ocean and towards unknown treasures. Well until you get killed anyway, at which point you'll find it difficult to resist the urge to dive straight back in.

Gun Law, 01 Jul 2014 (Rating: 4)

The James Gang has taken over the town!
Somebody must clean up the town, someone with gall, grit and guts.
That person, rather predictably, turns out to be you.
Ok, so the first thing you notice is the graphics. They look like they were drawn by erm... well by me! You could call them charmingly simple but really they're just crap. They're not that bad actually, you can see what's happening and that's the most important thing.
You move around the town, using capshift which switches to a different view. When you see a bad guy, you move the cross hair over them and shoot them.
And that's about all there is to it but for some reason I find it hugely addictive!

Bomb Jack II, 01 Jul 2014 (Rating: 3)

The original Bomb Jack was brilliant, this sequel isn't.
I don't mind the changes to the gameplay, it's the pixel perfect timing that infuriatess. Success should be determined by skill, not luck.

Mermaid Madness, 02 Jul 2014 (Rating: 3)

There's a good game in here somewhere. If it wasn't so hard I might be able to find it!

The New Zealand Story, 02 Jul 2014 (Rating: 4)

Decent conversion of the tricky arcade game.

Gauntlet III: The Final Quest, 02 Jul 2014 (Rating: 4)

Gauntlet in isometric 3D. And guess what? It works!

Tetroid, 04 Jul 2014 (Rating: 5)

Yes, it's a Tetris clone. And yes it's much better than the official version. It only has one mode of play, unlike Tetris 2. But if you just want the classic mode, this version is as good as any.

Peter Pack Rat, 06 Jul 2014 (Rating: 4)

A simple but fun platforms and ladders game.

Boulder Dash Construction Kit, 08 Jul 2014 (Rating: 5)

Finally a well programmed Boulder Dash game!
The main attraction here though is the excellent level designer.

Black Lamp, 08 Jul 2014 (Rating: 3)

Too slow and unresponsive. Otherwise it would be a decent game.

Moon Patrol, 08 Jul 2014 (Rating: 3)

I've never played the arcade game so I don't know how this game compares to it. But as a Spectrum game, it's pretty average. There's not a lot wrong with it, although the red missiles against a backdrop of red mountains is a bit of a design flaw. It's not very exciting though.

Alter Ego, 08 Jul 2014 (Rating: 4)

A very clever (and very tricky) puzzler. The premise is simple enough, collect all the objects while avoiding the nasties. Pressing fire lets you swap places with your invincible alter ego, although you can only do this a limited number of times per level.

Hunchback, 08 Jul 2014 (Rating: 2)

Not a terrible game, but not far off!

Jungle Fever, 08 Jul 2014 (Rating: 4)

Frustrating and rewarding in equal measures. The game has a charm that keeps pulling you back in.

Milk Race, 09 Jul 2014 (Rating: 4)

I wasn't sure wether to give this a 3 or a 4. It's definitely above average. It does have a few flaws though. Firstly the collision detection is poor. Secondly changing gears is a bit fiddly. And thirdly the placement of milk bottles at the side of the road is a little odd. It also means you'll spend most of the race hogging one or other of the kerbs so as not too miss them. Cycling is a tricky sport to replicate, but I reckon Milk Race does a pretty good job of it.
Damn you rotate and move controls! With proper controls this would be a great game. As it is it's just too fiddly.

Soldier of Fortune, 09 Jul 2014 (Rating: 5)

I wonder if I can get through this review without mentioning Ghosts N Goblins...

Ok so it plays a bit like Ghosts N Goblins only with better graphics and exploration. Good stuff!

Pogo, 14 Jul 2014 (Rating: 4)

It's Q*Bert. On the Spectrum.

Skull & Crossbones, 14 Jul 2014 (Rating: 4)

This may well he the best pirate game I've played on the spectrum. It may well be the only one I've played!
I still haven't figured out the combat properly. Presumably, you're meant to parry your assailant's attacks but just jabbing wildly seems as effective a tactic as any. I'd love to know if there's any depth to the combat but my inner cynic suspects not. Oh well it's a decent effort none the less.

Hunchback II, 14 Jul 2014 (Rating: 3)

A big improvement over the first game. Above average. Just.

Frank N Stein, 14 Jul 2014 (Rating: 4)

A platform game with no jump button? It takes a bit of getting used to. In fact it's more of a puzzle game and it's very rewarding when you work out a correct route through the level. Maybe a bit too difficult though?

Gift from the Gods, 18 Jul 2014 (Rating: 2)

This feels unfinished to me. Mostly empty rooms and very little to actually do. I find it hard to believe, this was how the game was originally designed.

Bear Bovver, 15 Sep 2014 (Rating: 4)

One of Jon Ritman's earliest games. It's a decent platform and ladders game let down by slightly clunky controls.

Fred, 28 Sep 2014 (Rating: 4)

Fred is a bit of an odd sort really. Finding himself lost in a pyramid he decides to escape, collecting treasures along the way. There are various nasties to avoid or shoot, but ammo is limited so running away is a good option. The critters that lurk in the pyramid could be anything at all, they certainly don't resemble anything I've ever seen.
Having found the exit, instead of heading for home, Fred decides to plunge blindly into the next pyramid where he promptly gets lost again.
See I told you he was a bit odd!

Robot Messiah, 14 Nov 2014 (Rating: 2)

Not the Messiah, just a below average game.

Frankie Goes to Hollywood, 15 Nov 2014 (Rating: 3)

Oddball game that tries to do something different and interesting but doesn't quite achieve it.

Wriggler, 15 Nov 2014 (Rating: 5)

Any game that can make maggots seem cute must be doing something right. But it's the giant spider that's the star here and still manages to terrify nearly 30 years on.

Glug Glug, 18 May 2015 (Rating: 4)

Underwater Jet Pac.
I liked this a lot more than Jet Pac though.

Earth Shaker, 17 Aug 2016 (Rating: 4)

A decent Boulderdash clone that hurts my eyes!

Tusker, 17 Aug 2016 (Rating: 3)

Tusker is a really frustrating game because hiding behind a hideous control scheme there's an decent game. You start off in the desert and are immediately set upon by a sword wielding arab. Now you can try to fight but victory seems to be quite random. Sometimes you can land a hit and other times you'll just be watching your energy bar deplete. Kicks seems to be more effective than punches but this involves pressing fire and down at the same time. However this also causes your character to walk down screen and away from the enemy! Another problem I had was picking up objects. The manual says to position yourself in front of the object and press space. It also says that with practice this manouvre will become easy to accomplish. This is a lie! I never managed to pick up a single object.

Survivors, 18 Aug 2016 (Rating: 3)

An interesting Boulder Dash clone with a few twists. Instead of diamonds to collect you have survivors to be rescued. And instead of Rockford you have 3 robots which you can switch between at will. One robot cuts through the earth, One can move boulders and the other one can teleport the surviors to safety. One major gripe I have with the game is that when you lose a life, all your progress is lost which can mean a good 15 minutes work down the drain.

Tujad, 18 Aug 2016 (Rating: 4)

A maze game that's not brutally difficult. And that's a good thing in my book.

Boulder Dash II: Rockford's Riot, 19 Aug 2016 (Rating: 2)

This is just the first game with different levels so all the problems from the first game are here.

Striker, 24 Aug 2016 (Rating: 2)

On paper this may have seemed like a good idea but it doesn't really work. It plays a bit like Footballer of the Year but without the action scenes, unless you count pressing s every now and then as action.

Amaurote, 27 Aug 2016 (Rating: 5)

A tricky but enjoyable game.

Sweevo's World, 27 Aug 2016 (Rating: 2)

Bloody Knight Lore's got a lot to answer for! All these isometric 3D games are all the same aren't they?
I'm not sure what I was expecting from this one. I expected more than this though. Yawn.

Tapper, 27 Aug 2016 (Rating: 3)

This is a bit too simplistic for me and it soon gets boring.

Bumpy, 28 Aug 2016 (Rating: 4)

Suprisingly addictive puzzle/platformer.

Sergeant Seymour Robot Cop, 28 Aug 2016 (Rating: 4)

The horrible backgrounds really stop this game getting a 5 from me. You'll spend a good 10 seconds at the start of each level just trying to locate your character! It's a fun game but it'd be more fun if I could see what I was doing!

Cybernoid, 29 Aug 2016 (Rating: 3)

Too damn hard!

Software Star, 29 Aug 2016 (Rating: 2)

Where's the game?
For a game all about managing a software house it's almost ironic that Kevin Toms has forgotten to put any gameplay into this!
There really is nothing to do other than to choose which region to concentrate sales on and how much hype to give your titles.
It's a great idea though and one that's been done alot better elsewhere.

Kenny Dalglish Soccer Manager, 29 Aug 2016 (Rating: 4)

A decent alternative to Football Manager.
It's a bit too easy though.

The Biz, 03 Sep 2016 (Rating: 5)

Start a band and aim for the top of the charts. Watching your single climbing up the charts is genuinely exciting and there's some nice moments of humour.
Top stuff.

Ranarama, 03 Sep 2016 (Rating: 4)

Playing a little like a flip screen Gauntlet abeit with a frog as the protagonist. Thankfully the game's a lot better than Gauntlet and a lot more varied. Ok maybe not a lot more but a little more at least. When you encounter a warlock, by jumping on them you trigger a simple mini game where you swap around 2 letters at a time to spell out the word Ranarama. It's a bit crap but does break up the gameplay slightly. Talking of gameplay, it can be a bit frustrating when there's so many enemies you can't help but take damage. And it does seem to slow down just a little bit when there's a lot going on. Overall it's a good game and only just misses out on a 5 from me.

Manchester United, 03 Sep 2016 (Rating: 1)

I haven't actually played this but anything to do with Manchester United has got to be crap!

Cruising on Broadway, 03 Sep 2016 (Rating: 2)

Stuart Campbell rates this as one of the 100 greatest spectrum games of all time.

He is wrong!

Match Day II, 04 Sep 2016 (Rating: 2)

The Match Day series has always been a bit of an enigma to me. They're extremely popular games but I don't know why.
I love football and I love the spectrum so I should love Match Day, shouldn't I?
The thing is Match Day and Match Day 2 control like pigs and are no fun to play. However I seem to be the only person who thinks that!

It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, 04 Sep 2016 (Rating: 3)

Similar to Star Maker and The Biz but not as good.