Excellent City! It’s the All Time Encyclopedia
The Countdown continues! Last month the Top 100 began with the rundown from 100 to 76 and now we edge a bit closer to the hot shots with numbers 75 to 51. Don’t forget, the entries you sent in from last issue will all be collated and analysed to give the definitive list of Speccy games!
The first of the Rockford games appeared in Issue 12 and
received a whopping 93%, greatly impressing the reviewing team. The task is
simple: just dig your way around the screen collecting diamonds. Of course,
every self-respecting game contains baddies and those in Boulder Dash
are very nasty, but dropping the boulders on their bonces soon slows them
BEST BIT: The brain bending puzzles; just how do you reach some of those diamonds?
WORST BIT: The boulders that fall on your head.
Issue Two saw the first game starring our resident loveable
loony, Jet Man. Here his task is to build a spaceship, fuel it and escape to
another world. Well, there’s a bit more to it: the screen is filled with
hordes of nasty but cute creatures who want nothing more than to kill him. Who
said a hero’s life is easy? Incredibly playable and immense fun!
BEST BIT: Its high addiction factor.
WORST BIT: Getting killed just as you’re about to complete a screen!
This was the first of three all-kicking, all-punching action
games where our hero has to rescue Lucy, his girlfriend, from the vicious gangs
who roam the streets. The gangs are after Renegade’s hide in a big way, but our
lad didn’t earn his black belt in No Can Do for nowt. So smack ’em round the
ear ’ole and kick ’em where it hurts (eye watering time, ahoy!), the rotten
swines deserve it.
BEST BIT: The violence (in a fun sort of way).
WORST BIT: It’s just a bit sluggish.
This violent little tale has you as a droid called Vorton
delivering an explosive device to an enemy base situated at the end of a long
road. Not that the enemy hordes are going to sit and wait to be bombed: a
variety of vicious creatures are waiting to punch your lights out and stop your
delivery. Diagonally-scrolling playfield, with some of the most detailed
BEST BIT: The astounding graphics.
WORST BIT: It’s very, very hard.
The Shadowfire of the title is a revolutionary new starship whose
plans are on the person of one Ambassador Kryxix. But he has been kidnapped and
it’s as Zark Montor, Syylk, Sevrina Marts, Torik, Maul and Manto (collectively
known as Enigma) that you must find the Ambassador and retrieve the plans.
Claimed to be the first game to make use of an icon-based control system
— intriguing strategy game.
BEST BIT: The easy-to-use icon system.
WORST BIT: Even though you’re allowed 100 minutes, it’s still tough to complete.
Each level, set in different locations around the world, is
played on a single screen and has heroic Bombjack (a sproingy little fellow)
leaping around on the many platforms collecting the 23 bombs scattered about
the screen. He also must avoid the many different opponents who try to pop his
clogs — contact with them is fatal.
BEST BIT: High playability factor, very addictive too.
WORST BIT: As you get really good at it, the game can become repetitive.
Sabreman was a popular character for Ultimate and Underwurlde
sees our hero searching the pits of hell for old Nick himself (the Devil, that
is, not DJ Nicko). In his path are a variety of demonic little helpers who try
their best to stop Sabreman from reaching their boss. Hundreds of screens, with
colourful graphics and very fast platform action.
BEST BITS: The speed and chaos of the action.
WORST BIT: The ‘boing’ effect which sends you bouncing around the screens uncontrollably.
Cowabunga dudes! It’s those heroes in a half shell who spend 50%
of their time thwarting the latest dastardly plan dreamed up by Shredder and
the other 50% making up silly surfing slang to confuse people with. So this is
basically a game where you control all four turtles (but not at at the same
time) over large side-viewed areas. Graphically special and simple to play.
BEST BIT: The large, fast moving, colourful sprites.
WORST BIT: ideal for younger players, experienced players will find it too easy.
Hailed as the platform game to beat Jet Set Willy,
Dynamite Dan stars (predictably) Dan who’s lost his girlfriend to a
bunch of rotten villains who’ve locked her in a safe. Time is of the essence
because advanced asphyxiation is all she’s to look forward to if Dan doesn’t
collect enough dynamite to blow the safe open. The graphics are the star of the
game, with heaps of colour on the platforms, scenery and many deadly creatures
that roam the play area.
BEST BIT: Gorgeous to look at...
WORST BIT: ...a bit tough to complete.
Sporty games have been popular over the years and Hyper
Sports is no exception. Based on the popular Konami coin-op, the game takes
you out to the sports field to take part in many gruelling events such as
weight lifting, swimming and archery etc. So prepare to bust both your wrists
and your joystick on one of the best sports sims the Speccy has seen in many
BEST BITS: The variety of events and the small but wonderfully detailed sprites.
WORST BIT: The amount of busted joysticks.
A policeman’s lot is not a happy one, especially when it comes
to Officer Bob. A daily arrest list must be completed within the time limit or
the Commissioner will sling you out on your ear. Litterbugs, honkers and dopers
etc, plus several nasty individual criminals, must be chased and arrested by
Bob in his police car. Basically, a viewed from overhead racing game, but the
speedy gameplay and comedy elements make it a star.
BEST BIT: Even though the graphics are monochrome they’re well detailed.
WORST BIT: Accidently driving the wrong way up a one-way street.
The first of the Batman games was a 3D isometric puzzler where
The Joker, up to his usual tricks, has kidnapped Robin and broken the Batmobile
into seven pieces and hidden them around the Batcave. Batman has also to find
various parts of his attire — Batboots, Batbelt and Batbag — to help his quest.
The humorous graphics and variety of puzzle packed screens make it a real joy
to explore the maze of locations.
BEST BIT: The variety of puzzles, graphics and gameplay.
WORST BIT: Batman looks a mite tubby.
Our high-kicking pal is back in the sequel to the very
successful Renegade and this time he’s out to avenge his brother’s
murder. Mr Big is the leader of the gang who planted brother Matt six feet
under, so Renegade has to fight his way through the hordes of gang members and
finally battle and kill him. Gameplay is very much like the original but the
speed’s better, making it more playable.
BEST BIT: The rip, mangle and maim content.
WORST BIT: Some of the adversaries are very tough to beat.
This 3D scrollarama tunnel game was raved on its original
release not only for the excellent graphics routines by ace programmer Pete
Cooke but the size of the massive play area. Mutated fly-like predators,
Scrim, live in the tunnels of a biocomputer. As member of the Guild Of
Equalisers it’s your job to clear each level of Scrim and thus make the
biocomputer ‘bug’ free.
BEST BIT: The speed of the graphics as you race down the tunnels.
WORST BIT: Tough to complete as the Scrim continually reproduce.
There were a lot of ‘Frankie says...’ T-shirts around a few
years ago and the game appeared in Issue 19. It’s a bit difficult to describe
in full but basically you play a dull, drab person who must ultimately make
their way to the Pleasuredome. This is achieved by collecting pleasure points
by completing screen after screen of strange puzzles, accessed from wandering
around houses and rooms and discovering entry points. A strange game (but a
BEST BIT: Enormous fun in an abstract kinda way.
WORST BIT: Had little to do with the band itself!
The Special Weapons Interdiction Vehicles (SWIVs) are out in
force. The game is split into four levels, each containing several sections.
SWIV is a two-player affair where a tank and a jeep work together to
blast the stuffing out of a range of enemy hardware (before the enemy can reply
in kind). Err... and that’s basically it, shoot first and ask questions of the
smoking wreckage later (that’s our kind of game).
BEST BIT: The fast paced and violent action.
WORST BIT: Almost impossible as a one-player game.
These off-road racing games are pretty popular and so is
Enduro Racer. Here the player’s seen on an off-road bike as they zoom
around a grass/muddy track attempting to leap the numerous obstacles in their
path. There’s a time limit and it’s pretty tough.
BEST BIT: The speed the bikes belt around the course.
WORST BIT: Crashing on an obstacle!
Dizzy is a real cool dude and in Kwik Snax faces one of
his toughest challenges yet. The evil Wizard Zak has spirited away Dizzy’s pals
to different locations so it’s up to him to rescue them. The action takes place
on Pengo-style levels with Dizzy pushing blocks around the screen in an
attempt to crush his attackers.
BEST BITS: The excellent intro screen and the detailed in-game sprites.
WORST BIT: Easy to master; players who want a challenge may find it too simple and repetitive.
After the excellent Exolon and Cybernoid, Raf
Cecco came up trumps again with the colourful platform blaster,
Stormlord. Even though there are no fairies in this world, there’s a
mythological land where they still survive. Not for long, if the evil Queen has
her way. She’s fairynapped all the little people so it’s up to the player, as
Stormlord, to rescue them before the land falls into darkness (spook!).
BEST BITS: A very playable game — great to look at.
WORST BIT: The very tough opponents.
It’s time to visit the land of the rising Yen as we enter a
martial arts contest against either a pal or the increasingly vicious computer
players. There are many moves to master and most of them would put yer average
punter in hospital if tried in real life. One of the earliest karate games but
still one of the best for speed, and accuracy when making contact with your
BEST BIT: Incredible fun as you twirl around kicking the living daylights out of the other player!
WORST BIT: Learning all the moves.
Unlikely, yes, but an elephant is the star and you must control
his action. A simultaneous second player can join in the platform fun.
Escaping from a a zoo, CJ has to travel through different countries (levels) to
arrive home safe and sound in Africa. Colourful and hectic, very much in the
New Zealand Story vein, with a high addiction factor.
BEST BIT: The addictive gameplay.
WORST BIT: The jolly but annoying tune.
A jolly strange name for a game, there’s no sight of a big top
anywhere. Continental Circus is in fact a racing game taken from the
brilliant Taito 3D coin-op. Despite the lack of 3D, the conversion is very
playable. The idea is to complete each race within a set position limit and
against the weather conditions. In the first race you have to finish in the
top 80 to qualify. As the game goes on this finishing limit decreases until the
last race where you must come first.
BEST BITS: The fast-moving sprites and addictive gameplay.
WORST BIT: The frustration when you fail to qualify.
A band of nasty galactic terrorists are systematically
eradicating the peaceful races of the universe. But a champion for the meek and
downtrodden has been found: a dragon that’s part animal and part machine has
taken up the challenge of wiping out the vicious scum. With laser bolt breath
and an armoured tail that can be used as a shield, Saint Dragon takes on the
villainous hordes over a horizontally-scrolling landscape and wins
BEST BITS: The continue-play option and the ace graphics.
WORST BIT: The tough opponents.
This game is a plumber’s nightmare! The main idea is to connect
a network of piping together to catch the liquid flooz that flows out of the
starting point. This isn’t easy because the piping is randomly shaped so the
right piece has to be found pronto if you want to avoid a flooz leak. One of
the most addictive (and infuriating) puzzle games ever created!
BEST BIT: The brain-bending puzzle element.
WORST BIT: The fast-flowing flooz.
As a result of your grandad’s top secret experiments, your
family has been kidnapped by a vile alien entity. So with large and very
lethal gun in hand, you yomp across the nine levels that make up the game,
blasting the stuffing out of the enemy troops that attack without mercy. Some
are human, others defy description. All are after your hide so stop reading
this and start blasting!
BEST BITS: The mindless blasting and the excellent graphics.
WORST BIT: Control system between gun and hero takes a bit of getting used to.
More chart placers next issue, pop-pickers (Not ’arf! etc, etc, waffle, waffle)!