What’s the best way to catch up on all the great games that appeared on the Spectrum a while back. One: go out and buy every single one and spend a fortune? Two: pop around to your mate’s house and nick his copies? Or three: take a trip down to your local software shop and snap up one of the great new compilations? Well, one’s only for the stupid, two’s only for complete basts, so it must be three! NICK ROBERTS gives you the low-down on the current hits in compilation land!


Virgin Games ⯀ £14.99 (cassette only)

Hardly surprising, Fists Of Fury is one for beat-’em-up addicts (violent lot). The games included are Shinobi, The Ninja Warriors, Double Dragon II and Dynamite Dux.

My personal favourite of the bunch has to be Dynamite Dux. The cute graphics used to represent the pair of dynamic ducks and enemies, coupled with the strange weapons to trash them with, makes gameplay real fun. You’re armed (literally) with a normal punch but by holding down the fire button you can increase your power to give a mega-blow. Weapons like fire throwers, water cannons and bombs give an interesting result when picked up. Flippin’ great!

Ninja action ahoy in Shinobi. You’re searching for a bunch of kidnapped kids and there are loads of vicious thugs to be disposed of using your feet, fists and shuriken stars. Shinobi is taken from the Sega arcade machine and, thankfully, hasn’t lost any of its addictive qualities in the conversion.

All those who were addicted to the original Double Dragon will just love Double Dragon II — The Revenge. You can play either Billy or Jimmy in their quest to avenge the death of their chum Marian. Like every other game in this pack, it’s a scrolling trash-everything-in-sight game with a high level of playability.

The Ninja Warriors has you beating once more. This time you have to control one of the warriors and your only objective is to stop the evil master Greek, Bangler, in his tracks. Sadly, it’s the least playable in the pack.

Fists Of Fury — Edition Two is great for beat-’em-uppers. Gamers who want variety will soon get fed up as each game plays more or less the same.


US Gold ⯀ £16.32

This compilation is great because of the variety of game styles on offer, each presenting the player with a new challenge. Two of the games, Myth and Vendetta, were CRASH Smashes, so you’re definitely getting value for money.

Myth is an arcade adventure game with platform overtones featuring superbly detailed graphics and puzzles that’ll have you perplexed for ages. You’re faced with such perils as Medusa, Hydra and Thor, the god of thunder. To destroy each one you need to collect the correct weapons, which change from one time zone (level) to the next. Myth is not easily completed but you’ll have a good time trying.

I just loved Vendetta when it was first released. Most games of its type have great graphics but are short on gameplay; but that isn’t the case here. There’s so much in it, you can play for ages and never get fed up. The game is mainly an arcade adventure with objects to find to get you into new locations but there’s the added bonus of a car racing level. Once you’ve found the keys you can jump into the sports car and off you go!

Tusker tackles the arcade adventure style in a different way to the last two games. Instead of each screen being highly detailed and you being able to roam around freely, many of the screens are largely empty and you have to battle through them one at a time. The game uses elements of beat-’em-ups and mixes them with adventure to produce a thoroughly enjoyable game.

The final game in the pack is IK+, a karate beat-’em-up extravaganza. What makes the game stand out from the rest is that there are three men on screen at the same time. It’s a lethal game!

System 3 Pack is an excellent compilation, packed with a good variety of top-notch games.


Alternative ⯀ £2.99

For those with a limited budget, there are more compilations on a smaller scale wth Alternative Software’s 4 Most packs. Each pack costs only £2.99 and has four action-packed games on it. Here we’ve got 4 Most Action and 4 Most Sport.

The Action pack includes Strike Force Cobra, Combat Zone, Gun Boat and Dead Or Alive. Each game doesn’t have the same theme like most compilations, either. You get great value for money with a 3D game, wild west shooter, war ships and space shoot-’em-up. OVERALL 65%

In 4 Most Sports there’s Run For Gold, Endzone, Rally Driver and Soccer Boss. What more could the arm chair sports enthusiast want? You can try your hand at track running, American Football, rally driving or even manage your own football team. OVERALL 52%


Domark ⯀ £10.99 (cassette only)

Have you ever fancied taking part in a game show alongside some of the world’s elite hosts, Bob Monkhouse, Paul Daniels, Bob Holness, Jim Bowen and Gordon Burns? Well, It’s TV Showtime allows you to do just that with all five games in one pack. The compilation includes Bullseye, The Krypton Factor, Bob’s Full House, Every Second Counts and Blockbusters.

Each game follows their shows closely but are graphically dull and most have awful multi-loads. The best of the bunch for graphics and presentation is The Krypton Factor. Each section has to load in separately (even on the 128K machine) but feature the graphics from the show. Unfortunately, one of the best sections of the TV show, the video clip bit, isn’t there.

If you are a freaky fan of these game shows and think you can put up with lots of badly digitised graphics and animation, well, this is for you. Normal people look elsewhere.


Domark ⯀ £14.99 ⯀ £19.99

Variety abounds in The Winning Team from Domark. The five games offer different gameplay and graphic styles so it’s pretty unlikely boredom will come knocking at your door. In the pack are Klax, APB, Escape From The Planet Of The Robot Monsters, Cyberball and Vindicators — all coin-op greats!

Klax is for puzzle wizards. You have to catch tiles as they roll towards you and flip the correct colours into the bins at the bottom of the screen. In true puzzle game style, things are simple to begin with but soon hot up as tiles get faster and more frequent.

One of my favourite games from the arcade has to be All Points Bulletin, or APB to its friends. Full of speeding police cars, miles of roads and donut shops, you just can’t help but get addicted. The action’s viewed from above and the landscapes scroll by as you drive the squad car, arresting a quota of criminals to succeed. Great fun.

Escape From The Planet Of The Robot Monsters is an absolute corker of a 3D arcade adventure. Playing a one- or two-player game you have to free the captives and destroy all the robot scum. Nice, eh?

Cyberball is a look into the future of American Football. You may have thought it was a tough game now, but played against giant robots things soon start to hot up even further.

Finally, Vindicators puts you in control of an armoured tank. Battle it out with the enemy for points; a frenzy of shoot-’em-up action.

The Winning Team is a fantastic compilation. Get your hands on five addictive games for only around £3 each! What a complete and utter barg!


US Gold ⯀ £16.32

Save yourself a stack of 10p’s by getting a copy of US Gold’s Coin Op Hits II. The five arcade smashes are Dynasty Wars, Ninja Spirit, Vigilante, Ghouls ’N’ Ghosts and Hammerfist.

The outstanding game in the bunch is Ghouls ’N’ Ghosts, which was a 92% Smash when it was first reviewed! It’s a platform shoot-’em-up with excellent scrolling scenery and graphics. The action is real addictive from the start.

If you like something with a bit more punch, Vigilante may be more up your street. Lots of kicks, punches and general violent behaviour is what it’s all about as you battle your way through the street gangs of New York.

Fed up with modern day action? Fighting in a different time is just a load away with Dynasty Wars. The game is played entirely on horseback with the objective being to battle with eight legions of enemy infantry and cavalry to eventually polish off the evil warlord, Thung Choc!

Hammerfist speaks for itself really, doesn’t it? More violent action, but this time the setting is in 2215 AD. The world is controlled by holograms and when two of these go wrong all hell breaks loose. You have got to stop the destruction.

Last but definitely not least is Ninja Spirit. This is one for all fans of ninja games with plenty of swordsmen, samurais and wolves to be popped off and of course, oodles of weapons to help you.

Coin-Op Hits II is mainly for beat-’em-up fans with each game having a similar style. Ghouls ’N’ Ghosts comes out top of the heap.



Code Masters ⯀ £10.99

Here’s a compilation packed full of eggyness! Many people have played one or two of the Dizzy adventures but in the Dizzy Collection you get five of his best romps in one big box!

What makes the Dizzy games so special? Well, playing each adventure is like stepping into a cartoon. They all have excellent graphics and animation and the puzzles are pretty simple, though you’ll probably be stumped a few times. Four of the games in the collection are arcade adventures and Fast Food is a Pac-man-style arcade romp.

The Dizzy Collection is a must for anyone who hasn’t seen all of the little egg’s games. Full of yolky goodness!


Code Masters ⯀ £2.99

At that sort of price you can’t go wrong, really. All the packs are themed but that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of variety because there’s plenty of different game styles to contend with (you would not believe it, etc etc...).

Quattro Combat features Death Stalker, an okay-ish platform game, SAS Combat Sim, a beat-and-blow-’em-up, Ninja Massacre, a bit like Gauntlet with ninjas, and Arcade Flight Sim is what it sounds like, viewed from overhead. OVERALL 66%

Quattro Power features Moto X, a horizontally-viewed motorbike scrambling game, Twin Turbo V8 — yer average racing car game — Pro Powerboat is basically speed on water, and the brilliant ATV Sim, a two-player scrambling game in, erm, ATVs. OVERALL 80%

Quattro Firepower has 3D Star Fighter a space blaster, MiG 29, a flying-into-the-screen blaster, Operation Gunship a great, if a little tricky, fly and bomb affair. and the Terra Cognita scrolly shoot-’em-up. OVERALL 72%

Quattro Adventure offers a great selection of platform games, each different enough to provide long-term playability. The titles are: Vampire, Ghost Hunters, Super Robin Hood and Dizzy. OVERALL 85%

Quattro Super Hits gives four action-packed games, including Super Stuntman, an entertaining driving game viewed from above, Super Tank gives you a tank to blast through jungle with, Super Hero is an 3D isometric arcade adventure and KGB Super Spy has you flying around scenery picking up lost scientists! OVERALL 79%

Quattro Sports is probably one of the best packs on offer with: Grand Prix Sim, a well-playable overhead Super Sprint effort, Pro Ski Sim, an addictive ski game, Pro Snooker Sim is one of the best snooker sims around, and BMX Sim you’ve already played, ’cos it’s on the Code Masters tape this issue! Hurrah! OVERALL 86%

Quattro Racers is the latest pack around and features BMX 2, Championship Jet Ski, ATV Sim, and BMX Freestyle. Plenty of fast-paced arcade action here and all of them good titles! OVERALL 89%


Ubi Soft ⯀ £14.99 ⯀ £22.99

Take up the challenge from Ubi Soft and add six fab games to your software collection with the Challengers compilation. For your hard earned dosh you get P47 Thunderbolt, Fighter Bomber, Pro Tennis Tour, Rick Dangerous, Carrier Command and Kick Off. A little something for all tastes!

The two games that really stand out have to be Rick Dangerous and Carrier Command. The man with the hat’s first adventure was a smash hit the first time it was reviewed, earning 81%. The cartoon style graphics and sound effects were an instant hit with everyone in the CRASH offices and I couldn’t rest until I’d completed the game.

Carrier Command is aimed more at the serious games player. You take control of a futuristic aircraft carrier and all the problems that come with it. The mixture of excellent 3D graphics, strategy and shoot-’em-up action will have you playing this game for a long time to come.

Two types of flight simulation are also in the pack. P47 is an arcade shoot-’em-up game. The backgrounds scroll horizontally by as you blast the enemy out of the sky. Fighter Bomber puts you into the cockpit of a real plane and lets you take on a battle from the pilot’s viewpoint in total 3D.

Sports fans won’t be disappointed with Challengers, either. There’s Pro Tennis Tour and Kick Off to keep them busy. Kick Off is, of course, the football game that caused a storm on the 16-bit machines. Unfortunately the conversion to 8-bit wasn’t so successful. Pro Tennis is an average simulation of that well known sport (pity there are no strawberries and cream!).

Challengers is excellent value for money on cassette. But with the disk version costing a staggering £22.99 I would be inclined to stick to cassette. (Erm, Nick, dividing the overall percentage by six games is a bit odd here. isn’t it? — Ed) Erm, yeah...



Ocean ⯀ £15.99

There’s some scorching hot software on this compilation, and plenty of variety, too — boredom’s definitely not a word in Power Up’s dictionary. On offer are Altered Beast, Chase HQ, Rainbow Islands, X-Out and Turrican.

I just love playing Rainbow Islands, I could play it until the cows come home (and then, perhaps, a bit more). The cute characters and gameplay is addictive from the start. Taken from the colourful Taito coin-op. the Spectrum version is surprisingly good, capturing all the excitement of the arcade and keeping the excellent graphics and sound too. A corker!

Turrican is another colourful game, and a real good blast. The multitude of weaponry add-ons and variation in the aliens makes it a shoot-’em-up fan’s heaven!

Chase HQ is probably the ultimate driving game on the Speccy. You have to chase (no, really?) the criminals in your souped-up sports car and bash them off the road to arrest them. Personally, if I could afford a fast car I wouldn’t want to bash it up!

Altered Beast gets right away from laser guns and cars. You are now a dead hero. The daughter of a god has been kidnapped and in an attempt to get her back you have been resurrected. Lots of supernatural action with punches and kicks galore.

X-Out finishes off the compilation with a blast. Lots of space ships, lots of firepower and plenty of joystick wrecking action. Power Up is an excellent pack, you’ll be stuck to your screen for ages!