|J . . O . . Y . . S . . T . . I . . C . . K||JURY|
|Are you ready for a software siege? It's time for our trusty panel of joystick jurors to line up all the latest and greatest games and put them through their paces! Let Ross Holman, Rick Robson and Dougie Bern lead you to the hottest arcade action around!|
Creative Sparks / £2.50
Rick: Creative Sparks has come up with a cheap
and nasty for the sick at heart ... But
then I like 'em cheap and nasty.|
More horrific than Young Doctors, St. Crippens makes St. Elsewhere look like a Swiss Spa. You have to try and escape the worst hospital in the world before getting limbs lopped off by nurses, porters and genetic mutants. The game is wildly inaccurate. For a start you can tell the difference between the genetic mutants and the nurses. To escape you must find bribes of ciggies and beer to swop for clothes to slip by the security guards.
A concept so gruesome as to be brilliant, its tackiness is exceeded only by that of the graphics that have a certain minimalist charm, ie. there's not much of them. The collision detection is so bad that the nurses presumably kill you with airborne germs as I kept getting
miles before actual contact. A couple of
hours of this and you'll want to put the
programmers in casualty, if you're not
already in the mental ward. I gave this to
me Dad - he reckoned it was a cut
above the rest. If you're into squeamish
fun then look no further. 6/10|
Ross: Original idea, unoriginal graphics, but more than a pain to play. The collision detection is awful and means that you get struck down all too frequently. I never did like hospitals. 2/10
Dougie: Nice idea ... shame about the game! I definitely wouldn't want to stay at this hospital, what with all those mutants and 'orrible nurses hanging around. Just keep taking the tablets and you may never have to go near this game. 2/10
|R I C K ' S R A V E O F T H E M O N T H|
|These posts count for bonus points after each ball - get as many as possible before going down the tube.||Yes the game even includes tilt! You can nudge that ball over just a little, but go too far and ... Ooops!|
|You position the bumpers and the like, that you want on the play area by simply pressing their letter label. The arrow on the object marks the point from which they'll be drawn.||. |
|Macadam features all those nice bits you get on the 'real' machines including extra balls, bonus points and something mysteriously tagged 'special'.|
|If you get bored with this layout then you can redesign your own. One of the program's most powerful features, that!||This is the screen that will allow you to design your own Pinball game. If your efforts are judged the best by PSS then you could win a real full-sized machine for your bedroom!|
|This game's got more flippers than a school of dolphins. You see, Macadam will let you have as many flippers as you care to cram into the screen.||The ball's shot out from here and you've total control over the speed it flies out at. It's all done in the press of a button!|
PSS / £9.95
Rick: Well, flip me, what a bumper treat for pinball and programming wizards. This is the pinball game in excelsis!
But not only that, this game has the facility to let you design your own pin ball table. Mind you, there's nothing wrong with the programmed one. And if you come up with a beaut then PSS will build it and give it to you. If you don't win their competition it'll still provide you with endless permutations
of bumpers, bells and ripples.|
Right from the loading screen this game captures all the thrills of those nights maniacally flexing your flipper fingers. But there's no seven foot lurch behind you ready to top yer if yer beat his score.
Like all the best games it's simplicity itself. Six flippers are controlled by two keys. For a little ambience, press C to put your money in. (No bent lOps allowed). Punch up the number of players you want then release the ball at the pace you like to pin those posts or
pot that special. As a simulation its uncanny.
The flippers have the deftness and delicacy
of the best of the real thing. You can jolt -
but gently, or else, of course you tilt. You
can catch and hold the ball for precision
shooting - or flip as frantically as your
You don't have to be a Tommy to enjoy this - nor, indeed, to have played pinball before. But I bet you'll be deaf, dumb and blind to any other Arcades once you're hooked on this! 9/10
|J . . O . . Y . . S . . T . . I . . C . . K||JURY|
BRYAN ROBSON'S SUPERLEAGUE
Paul Lamond / £12.95
Rick: You can tell this is Bryan Robson's football game and not Glenn Hoddle's. The
emphasis is definitely on sweat and
perseverance, not grace and artistry. This
is a manager's game, not a simulation, but
presumably Bryan's name sells better too.
The gimmick of this is to combine the pleasures (and pitfalls) of a dice board with a computer. Of course they could be combined on a T.V. screen but then you wouldn't get the impressive packaging. If you buy this for the skills of the ball rather than the beauty of the box you might be disappointed.
Basically you have to build a team and keep it fit (and more importantly solvent) to win the league as you battle against chance and hazards depicted by weather, bank managers and errant train drivers rather than Barnes or Gary Lineker. Your matches are mapped out on the board and take you to the major cities rather than the major teams.
Yer actual fans (and there are some
left!) might think too much emphasis is
put on weather as though this is cricket
not soccer. A player's worth is seen in
monetary, not skill terms but the most
expensive is only £120,000 so we're
really in the second division.|
You can profit by breaking your opponent's legs (without fear of suspension) or cheat by saving goals that the ref hasn't seen go over the line. Not bad as a long playing strategy game. 6/10
Ross: Lovely box - wonderful presentation and all that, but I reckon the software house behind it should have spent a little more cash on the program rather than the promotional gear. 7/10
Dougie: I always did go for the Football Manager type programs. This one ain't up to the original's standards, but it's quite a challenge once you settle in. 8/10
|R O S S ' S R A V E O F T H E M O N T H|
|The idea of each screen is to turn all the shaded platform areas solid. You do this by - you guessed it - walking on them!||Throughout the game you'll come across these doors with the numbers nailed above them. These are the transporters. Climb into one and press 'P' - you'll be beamed up to the next door in sequence.||Collecting these knick-knacks gives you power to get your own back on the meanies. Isn't that like the puck pellets in Pac Man?|
|As long as you don't linger, you'll find that you'll be able to get through the screens quite simply. The objects are laid out so that if you take the right path you'll pick up an object every one or two meanies - enabling you to eat them without having to stop.||Go for a slide down here. On later levels these slides can run from top to bottom of the screen - weaving around every possible object - somewhat like a Butlins funpool!||Bob's long distance jumping abilities aren't as good as those of some other platform heroes. It seems that if you fall a matter of two steps, you're in for the squash routine.|
US Gold / £7.95
Ross: Scrambling around hundreds of screens looking for assorted objects and dodging hordes of nasties - sounds familiar, eh? Yep, it's yet another ladders and platforms game. But wait! Don't try for a getaway in sheer disgust, this one's a cut above yer average, believe me.
So what's it all about? You've got to guide bouncing Bounty Bob around quite a few screens, hording unlikely combinations of clutter like flower pots, gems and cakes. As
you'd expect there's no shortage of nasties
to hamper his progress, but Bounty's got a
handy asset, his own insatiable appetite!
Just like a magpie or an old billy goat, he'll
greedily demolish every object in sight, and
by doing this he transforms the yellow nasties into an appetising snack too! There's a
lot to be said for greed in this game!|
There's plenty of leaping and bounding for Bounty Bob to try, but don't let him fall too far or he's a gonner! With only three lives he can't afford to take too many risks!
If you manage to touch every platform in the Painter game part, you'll then be
promoted to the next screen. And that's
where the fun starts. Bounty Bob can take
lifts, slide down the longest tracks possible,
use the transporters and generally cause
havoc amongst the idyllic lives of the nasty
There's only one thing that you'll lack while playing Bounty Bob - that's time to think. Bob won't have time to hang around because the meanies will be on his tail if he does.
All in all, it's pretty addictive, but don't be fooled into thinking it's a cinch ... you'll see why ... 9/10
|J . . O . . Y . . S . . T . . I . . C . . K||JURY|
MONTY ON THE RUN
Gremlin Graphics / £7.95
Ross: For all the Monty Mole fans out there, this game continues his escapades, only this time, it
all seems a little more
difficult. You're gonna have to help little
Monty escape the forces of Law and
Order and get him on a boat bound for
The scenario of screens behind the tale of this cosmopolitan little rodent are similar to those in the original game. It's all platforms, ladders, ropes, and even those horrible 'crushers'. What's new are the transporters which flash on and off in spectacular multicolours, and you'll have to learn the colour code as quickly as possible if you want to pass through them safely. It's a bit like complicated traffic lights really ...
You can kit Monty out with five assorted objects at the start, to set him up in life. You then have to collect gold coins, and use the objects, just as you did in the first Monty
game. Your timing has
to be pretty hot, and mapping is essential.
I'd say that this game has a higher fun factor than its predecessor especially since Monty has become more dynamic and has taken to leaps and somersaults rather than straight walking! This adds to the visual sparkle and keeps the adrenalin flowing. It's a goodie, try it! 9/10
Dougie: He flies through the air with the greatest of ease ... Just another boring platform game? Rubbish! Give me that joystick back ... 9/10
Rick: Not a bad rework on an old adventure. Monty seems to have developed a few more athletic tendencies though, so I won't be surprised if I end up with a headache after playing this one. 9/10
Atlantis / £1.99
Rick: Atlantis they say disappeared below the
waves without trace. Not unlike
McEnroe at Wimbledon! And really this
tennis simulation that promises so much,
ends up a loser too. Play a few rallies on
the opposition simulations before making
your mind up.|
Mind you, it does have some aces up its sleeve. All the basic facilities of singles tennis are on offer. Matches are of 3 or 5 sets and follow the score patterns of the real McCoy. You can actually toss the ball to serve - until you've mastered the art, its underarm - no wonder superbrat is so often the winner! - but an ace or two is still possible. Direction, curiously, depends on the speed you hit the ball - fast to the left, slow to the right. Combined with lateral movement, angles and cross courts can be created - a step up from the old pit-pat over the net.
Master these movements and then
progress through the three layers of
difficulty - the British tournament (for
beginners of course!), then European and
World. Though would it've been so hard
to actually name tournaments?|
Unfortunately, you can't programme yourself or the omnipresent superbrat for different skills or variations in temperament or style so it can take on the monotony of the base-line basher. But it could while away the months until the strawberries and cream are fresh again.
Ross: Tennis? You cannot be serious, man ... 5/10
Dougie: An unoriginal idea with an unchallenging game. This one scores no aces with me. 5/10
THE EVIL CROWN
Mind Games / £9.95
Dougie: The Evil Crown is an Icon driven
trading simulation of the middle ages,
where you take the part of lord and
master over the peasants. But that's not
enough to satisfy your lust for power, so
you're going for the big one, The Evil Crown, Top Dog, The BOSS!
As Top Baddy, your job's to make sure the peasants don't get too big for their boots, sort out the other Barons who've got designs on the throne, look after your loyal troops and expand your lands as well! Not only that, you've got to thrash the chainmail off your opponents' knights at the annual jousting tournament. Nothing too difficult, in fact, it's all in a knight's work for an apprentice tyrant like yourself. Be careful at the jousting though, as some of the knights are a bit knatty with ye olde lance, they like to lance-a-lot (groan Ed.).
The game itself is well written and the graphics
are fairly good, not brilliant, but
they'll do. The icon driver is one of the
smoothest and easiest I've ever used.|
Although I enjoyed playing The Evil Crown, I have to say that they'd have a hard job separating me from a tenner for it! Perhaps Mind Games should concentrate more on the software and less on the megasized boxes! 5/10
Ross: Mind Games have made the move from menu to icon and pointer driven games quite smoothly, and seem to find games that suit this new environment. The graphics are great and the game's pretty enjoyable. 9/10
Rick: It's the only game of Kingdoms that I reckon's worth playing. The icons are a bit tricky at first, but you'll soon get used to them. 8/10
Budgie / £2.50
Dougie: Zis iz a very interezting simulation
game. Lizten, you wargaming fanaticz out
zere. Ze scenario is WW II, ze location,
the North Atlantic. You and your partner
play ze parts of ze commanders in the
British and German Naval forces. Your
mission? to destroy ze enemy convoy and
sink their flagship - zats all.|
Ze fleet under your command haz ze full complement of Aircraft carriers, Battleships, Cruisers, Destroyers and Submarines. Occasionally, you have ze benefit of ze air reconaissanze too.
Ze game starts with ze British Player being given ze option to review his fleet's status or begin moving it around. He iz allowed to set the speed and course of each vessel
independently, so he haz full
control over zair movements. Power, huh!|
Convoy iz a very interezting game if you like ze wars, but it's written in ze Basic vhich makes it very slow and difficult to play. At two and a half poundz, it's not a winner, but itz very good practice for vinning ze wars and ruling ze vurld ... Ha, Ha, Ha!! 6/10
Rick: For a budget game it ain't bad, but it's not for the uncommitted wargamer or non-strategist. Shame you have to reload after each game. 7/10
Ross: A well-produced version of battleships with extra graphics and better computer control. There's nothing wonderful to make saying "Get yourself a Convoy" worthwhile. 4/10
|J . . O . . Y . . S . . T . . I . . C . . K||JURY|
CODENAME MAT II
Domark / £8.95
Ross: As I suspected, this game is a near
clone of Codename Mat I. It's time to get
your spacesuit out and join the Star Trek
league of alien-zappers again.|
The scenario is a few ions different from the original - you'll be protecting the 24 satellites that are circling the Mines of Vesta. (So that's where they get the curries from? Ed.) Maintaining your satellites is a bit like painting the Forth Bridge as the nasty little Myons keep trying to destroy at least one satellite out of each group of four, so you must keep repairing them without letting the links between groups break down. Circles of boredom, perhaps?
Your craft is well equipped to feed you with info about your status, etc. As for fighting back, you've got a choice of lasers or energy
bolts to attack with. The
lasers are faster but deprive you of more
energy into the bargain. You must control
the temperature of the lasers, speed,
shields and all - which leads to not only
a complex game but a wonderful tangle
of fingers too! And I thought computers
had done away with such mundane tasks ...|
If you've played Codename Mat I then there's no real surprises for you. If not, then take a look. 7/10
Dougie: Better than Codename Mat I it may be, but it ain't as hot as Starion, Elite and games of that ilk. 6/10
Rick: I never played Codename Mat I, and I'm not sure whether I should have bothered with the sequel. 3D space wars are a bit dead unless you can do them well. 5/10
Firebird / £2.50
Ross: I was hoping that this would be
some kind of crazy maze game ... but to
say that would be misleading. There's not
so much as a measly minotaur to stumble
across in this limp labyrinth.
Talking of myths, I was certainly myth- lead by the claim that this game's graphics were up to Alien 8 standard - which would be impressive at £2.50! But no, they're not that good at all. It is a 3D style game, which although pretty, doesn't help you manoeuvre. The 3D bit means that the corridors between blocks are on the diagonals, and as your robot friend moves a character block at a time, staying on course is pretty difficult.
Big problem number two, is finding fuel cells to replenish your supply as you busily consume away on your convoluted travels. You can
only carry five things
around, so don't tank yourself up too
Access to hidden parts of the maze is gained by using keys to activate any of the nine teleport terminals. But even there, you won't be in for any great surprises. As a bargain priced game it's reasonable, but it's not what you'd call 'amazing'. 5/10
Rick: You're either going to love or hate this game. I hate it. The weird 3D effect confuses me beyond wanting to play, and as my fuel runs out before I get a chance to get into it, I ain't going to bother trying. 5/10
Dougie: If I had time to get into this I'm sure I'd enjoy it. As it is I just can't understand what makes it tick. 7/10
Ocean / £6.95
Dougie: Street Hawk's another one of those TV
tie-ups of which we all expect
great things. I'm sure you're as
disappointed as me to learn that once
again, the computer game bears no
relation to the TV show. I just wish for a
change that someone would actually do a
good TV or movie game. Anyway, back
to the game, if like me you're a fan of the
original Defender, this game's for you.|
First, you have to charge up your Street Hawk by gaining points through the accuracy of your laser firing. Once you've got the juice then you're off, your mission? ... to blast the enemy helicopters to bits and rescue the survivors - simple innit!! You've also got to pick up the pieces of some of the enemy helicopters to get you on to the next level. Keep a keen eye on the twin scanners to make
sure you know where the next attack is
All in all, if you're a Defender fan, then this game's got some of the fastest, flicker-free, hi-res sprites that I've ever seen on the Speccy. And it's full of hi- speed Defender style action, though I'm not sure that my software collection really needs another Defender style program. 6/10
Rick: The ultimate for Arcade Hell's Angels. Fast, furious and full throttle for battling bikers chasing choppers with choppers. Not one for the meek and mild. 7/10
Ross: Defender with motorbikes - didn't Activision do something similar on the Atari two years ago? Points for pretty graphics, but nothing for originality. 7/10
Leisure Genius / £9.95
Ross: Was it Mrs. Peacock, in the Conservatory,
with the revolver ... or Reverend
Green in the Library? For those of you
who've never played this classic board
game, the thought of solving mysterious
murders in a huge mansion setting must
sound pretty intriguing. But the thing is,
after you've learnt all the names of the
characters, and the rooms, the novelty
wears well and truly off!|
As the Spectrum version follows the original Waddington's traditions, there's nothing to distinguish the two. You'll see the same board, throw the same dice and make the same old moves from room to room. You'll also make the same old accusations about who did what, and where? What's more, you'll miss out on the miniature weapons that you can place on the board in the original.
Another let down is the pictorial versions of
the rooms. They convert the
palatial, spacious residence of your imagination into a vision of next-door's pokey
semi ... shame.
It has to be said that the graphics are clear, and the speed of play is pretty nifty, so you'll be kept on the move. If you fancy yourself as a good- ol'-fashioned detective, then you'll find everything you need in this one. 6/10
Rick: Same old solid replication of the board game. Ivor Notion Miss Scarlett did it with the lead-piping, but that's another story. If you're a Cluedo fan, you could be playing it for hours, in the kitchen, the lounge or wherever! 7/10
Dougie: The graphics are nice and the program's well written - but who could think of playing Cluedo on anything but the lounge floor? 7/10
|J . . O . . Y . . S . . T . . I . . C . . K||JURY|
Leisure Genius / £9.95
Rick: Does following the traumas of Uncle Clive in the market place put too much strain on the
old ticker? Why not relax
and put your greenbacks into where the
real bunce is - simple low down, land
and property. Leisure Genius's adaption
of Waddington's classic board game
Monopoly could be just the start you
need - gazump your girlfriend, bankrupt
your brother and mortgage your mother
in this fun family game!|
As Monopoly imitates life, so Leisure Genius has unerringly simulated it for the computer. Technically, nothing would appear to be missing from the original. And there are added bonuses - your snotty brother can't kick the board over 'cos he's 'the boot' again or 'cos he's landed on your Regent Street with 4 hotels for the eighth time (tee hee!). More importantly, there's a facility for playing by yourself for all you lonely hearts Monopoly fans. Trading with other players seems slower than in the
version - and not so much fun - it's
hard to haggle and shout abuse on a TV
screen (for some at least).|
I also missed the crackle of new £50 toy-town notes between my fingers - and piling up my placcy houses and hotels. Otherwise it's a worthy if hardly imaginative translation, staying loyal to the original but you probably expect a little more from your computer games. 6/10
Ross: An excellent conversion from the original, albeit slightly harder to have an enjoyable game. This one gets my vote! 8/10
Dougie: As with most computer games based on a board game, this lacks something on the TV Screen. I still prefer to get out the board and sit in the middle of the room with the family. 7/10
|D O U G I E ' S R A V E O F T H E M O N T H|
|Each event has its own 'quality' mark, You don't necessarily need to achieve this point to get into the next event, but if you do, it does mean you'll go with your full line up of athletes.||
DALEY THOMPSON'S SUPERTEST|
Ocean / £6.95
Dougie: You'll be really knackered when you get to grips with D.T.'s Supertest, it's a real test of skill and endurance not to mention the damage it does to your digits!
First off, comes the Pistol Shooting, where you'll need a quick eye and a fast hand to score enough points to qualify.
Next up is the Cycle Racing, where you compete against the clock. Actually, it's more of a test to see what gives in first, you, your fingers, or your poor ol' speccy!
When you've fully recovered from the cycling, you get the chance to go for a nice relaxing dip in the pool. Ha-ha, that'll be the day - you didn't think you'd get in there for nothing did you? No, you have to turn somersaults and dive into the water without the slightest ripple.
You'd better dig out your thermal underwear for the next event as it gets pretty chilly on the Giant Slalom. Although you get 2 chances you'll probably spend more time on your backside than you will winging your way down the slopes!
Day 2 sees you starting four new events. The rowing is another finger numbing exercise in stamina, and you'll have to beat the clock to qualify. You're also up against a computer opponent who's hard to beat.
Beat the Goalie, next. Well, you don't actually get to beat the goalie, you have to beat him at penalties. You can build up the power of your shot on the run up and at the last minute kick the ball at an angle to fool the goalie. (Tee-hee!)
Now you're for the high jump. Well actually, the Ski Jump, but they want you to jump high anyway! To get the best flight, build up your speed on the ramp, then just before the end, press the fire button to jump off into the clear blue yonder.
If you've any stamina left after all that, it's time to put your bulging biceps to the test in the tug-of-war. Once again your fingers bear the brunt of the bashing as you struggle to pull your way to victory. It's all pretty exhilarating stuff. 9/10
|You can move out and up, but you can't move back in to hit your target, that means you've got to be accurate first time! There ain't no second chances in this event.|
|One advantage this has over Hypersports is the fact you start off with three men, This means that if you fail in one event, you can always get into the next event providing you have a man left.||You've only got two directional controls, so how does Daley work that one out? Well, it ain't too easy - the left button is used for moving left and right while the right-hand is used to move you up. It takes a lot of getting used to!|
|To do well in the Ski Jump, build up plenty of speed before launching yourself off into the cold air to gain the maximum jump possible. You'll need to go like fury on power buttons, and then take off as close to the edge as you dare.||
|Down here, at the bottom of most screens, you'll find this little power meter. This tells you just exactly how much effort you're putting into each event, which is quite important since this is directly related to the score you're going to get at the end.|
|Take care when landing - if you press the button too early then you'll take a tumble in the snow. Too low and you'll break those expensive skis on hire from Ocean.||These views show you the plan and side views of your jump. Use the top one to judge when you've got to prepare your landing, and the bottom one to estimate how far you are flying. Whoopee!|