CPC GAME REVIEWS - by
 Nicholas Campbell

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Hibernated 1: This Place Is Death

The highly acclaimed text adventure Hibernated 1: This Place Is Death can now be pre-ordered from poly.play. The CPC version can be purchased on cassette or disc, and if you buy the cassette version, you'll also receive the ZX Spectrum version on the other side of the cassette. The package will also include goodies such as a poster, patch and stickers, and you'll also get a bonus game called Hibernated: Eight Feet Under (and the author, Stefan Vogt, has tweeted images of the beautiful title screens, drawn by Railslave).

Hibernated 1: This Place Is Death costs €20 for the cassette and 3½″ disc versions, and €25 for the 3″ disc version (excluding shipping). Sadly it isn't expected to be available until mid-January 2019. If it had been released during December it would have made an excellent Christmas present.

New reviews

Missas has reviewed Black Land.

I have reviewed two games:

Missas has reviewed two games:

I've changed the links to the NVG archive site so that they now use HTTP instead of the older FTP. This should make it quicker to download the ZIP files when you click on a game's title.

Missas has reviewed four games:

The results of the 2018 #CPCRetroDev competition were announced on Friday evening, and here they are:

PRO category

  • 1st place: Operation Alexandra (4MHz) – €300 prize
  • 2nd place: Jarlac (Retrobytes Productions) – €200 prize
  • 3rd place: Legend of Steel (TOD Studios) – €150 prize
  • 4th place: The Adventures of Timothy Gunn (CNGSoft) – €100 prize

UA category (for games developed by students of the University of Alicante)

  • 1st place: 77 Attempts (Unknown Design) – €135 prize
  • 2nd place: The Rookie Thief (CPZenon Games) – €75 prize

Special mentions

  • Best music (awarded by Gominolas): Operation Alexandra – €135
  • Most enjoyable game (awarded by Carlos Abril): Operation Alexandra – €135
  • Best technical development and artificial intelligence (awarded by Pablo Ariza): Jarlac – €135
  • Best global product (awarded by Jon Cortázar): Operation Alexandra – €135

As you can tell, 4MHz dominated the awards with Operation Alexandra, receiving €705 in prize money, and it's a deserving winner. You can download all 41 games from the #CPCRetroDev website.

As with the previous competitions, I offer my congratulations to all the winners!

Entries for the #CPCRetroDev 2018 contest closed on 31st October, and this year saw 41 games (count them!) submitted – a new record! Now we all wait in anticipation of what the final results will be. The results are due to be announced this Friday 9th November at 18:30 CET (17:30 GMT). There is a playlist with short clips of all 41 games on YouTube, and some of the more 'professional' developers, for want of a better term, have their own separate preview videos that you can watch:

Chibi Akuma(s)

Keith Sear released version 1.666 of his bullet hell shoot-'em-up Chibi Akuma(s) a couple of days ago, in time for Hallowe'en. The game received a rating of 10 out of 10 on this site, and further improvements have been made. The game now uses the improved engine that was used in the sequel, Chibi Akuma(s) Episode 2: Confrontation!; a 2-player option has been added; there are additional background graphics, and if you have a Plus machine, the game makes much more use of its enhanced 4,096-colour palette.

You can download Chibi Akuma(s) from the official site, and you can also buy a physical copy from poly.play for €20 for the 3½″ disc version, or €25 for the 3″ disc version (excluding shipping). I've already bought my copy and the packaging and artwork are lovely!

New review

Missas has reviewed Mike the Guitar.

The Trap Door

Some of you may know of the game The Trap Door by Piranha, based on the classic animated children's TV series. It turns out that a bug exists in the Amstrad CPC version of The Trap Door, which makes it impossible to complete the game – and for 32 years, it seems to have gone unnoticed.

One of the tasks you have to complete is to prepare 'boiled slimies'. You do this by putting the slimies in a cauldron, and releasing a green robot-like monster from the depths of the Trap Door. What is supposed to happen (and which can be verified by watching walkthroughs on YouTube of the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 versions) is that the robot can be made to breathe fire on the cauldron and boil the slimies – but on the CPC version, no matter how many times the robot heats the cauldron, the slimies remain uncooked.

I will not bore you with the technical details, but after a lot of digging in the code, I have fixed the bug, so after 32 years, The Trap Door can now finally be completed on the Amstrad CPC! You can download the fixed version of The Trap Door from NVG, and there is also a discussion on the CPCWiki forum which prompted my decision to create a fixed version.

YouTube user NovaBug has wasted little time in creating a walkthrough of the Amstrad CPC version, which you can watch below.

Walkthrough of The Trap Door on YouTube

Missas has reviewed Xifos' 2018 remake of Ghosts'n Goblins.

I have reviewed Behind Closed Doors Seven. This is one of two text adventures that have recently been released by Zenobi Software for the CPC (the other one being Ramsbottom Smith and the Quest for the Yellow Spheroid). Zenobi Software is much better known in the ZX Spectrum community for its huge catalogue of homebrew text adventures, so it's great to finally see a release for the CPC 32 years after the company's first ZX Spectrum release.

I have reviewed three games:

The Dawn of Kernel

Juan José Martínez has released his new game The Dawn of Kernel a day earlier than scheduled. You have received a distress call from the mining base on the planet K3R-NL, and you must explore the base, shooting and dodging a variety of enemies and their weapons.

You can download The Dawn of Kernel from usebox.net, and if you want to add a physical copy of the game to your collection of Amstrad CPC software, you can buy it from poly.play.

New reviews

For the first time in eight months, I have reviewed some games! Here are my opinions of three Spanish games:

Mike the Guitar

Just a matter of days after releasing Pink Pills: Manic Moritz and the Meds, Sebastian Braunert released another platform game for the Amstrad CPC using Arcade Game Designer. This one is called Mike the Guitar, and in this game, you control Mike the guitar and you must collect all eight plectrums and then plug yourself into the loudspeaker to complete the game. It's rather short – there are only nine screens – but it's certainly not easy. You can download Mike the Guitar from the CPCWiki forum.

The Dawn of Kernel

Juan José Martínez's new game The Dawn of Kernel is due to be released on 21st August 2018, so there's not long to wait now! Juan has uploaded a teaser video, which you can watch on YouTube.

The World War Simulator: Part II

Retrobytes Productions has just released a new game for the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC called The World War Simulator: Part II. You must infiltrate Adolf Hitler's bunker and kill him before he commits suicide himself. You have to explore the labyrinth of rooms, shoot Nazi soldiers, avoid stepping on mines, and search for keys and ammunition to help you progress in your quest. The style of gameplay is similar to Into the Eagle's Nest, and you can download the game from Retrobytes Productions' site; scroll down and look for a paragraph entitled 'DESCARGAS' to find the links.

Pink Pills: Manic Moritz and the Meds

Sebastian Braunert has developed a platform game using Jonathan Cauldwell's Arcade Game Designer called Pink Pills: Manic Moritz and the Meds. Arcade Game Designer is better known on the ZX Spectrum, but it is gradually seeing more use within the Amstrad CPC community. You are a dog called Moritz who has taken a few too many pills, and in your dreams, you are hunting for bones in a variety of strange worlds. The graphics are very colourful, which fits the background story of the game rather well, and there is also a soundtrack of chiptune versions of well known tunes which has been compiled by Shining. You can download it from Vintage is the New Old.

The Classic Adventurer

Something that recently caught my eye is The Classic Adventurer – a magazine that is dedicated to the golden era of text adventures. I like to think of it as a version of Retro Gamer magazine that is devoted to text adventures. The magazine is produced by Mark James Hardisty, and the amount of effort that he puts in to it is outstanding. The artwork is particularly impressive, and much of it has been carefully restored from the original versions. I like the 'Desert Island Dungeons' pages, where interviewees are given a choice of five games to take with them to a desert island – and yes, I am fully aware that the concept was borrowed from Retro Gamer's 'Desert Island Disks'!

So far, three issues of the magazine have been released. PDF versions are available to download for free, and you can also buy physical copies, although it'll hit your wallet, as these are print-on-demand copies, and shipping is quite expensive. Here's a taster of what's in the first three issues:

Issue 1

  • In-depth interviews with Mike and Pete Austin of Level 9 Computing and Veronika Megler (one of the authors of The Hobbit)
  • The making of Doomsday Lost Echoes (which should be of particular interest to Amstrad CPC fans)

Issue 2

  • Interview with Stefan Vogt about the recently released Hibernated 1: This Place Is Death
  • In-depth interviews with Fergus McNeill of Delta 4 and Tim Gilberts of Gilsoft (who developed The Quill, a program for creating text adventure games)

Issue 3

  • Interviews with Brian Howarth of Adventure International UK, Anita Sinclair of Magnetic Scrolls and Vicky Carne of Mosaic Software
  • A gallery of artwork by Terry Greer (who contributed graphics to Interceptor Micros' range of adventures)

#CPCRetroDev 2018

The 2018 edition of the #CPCRetroDev Game Creation Contest has been announced, and there are prizes worth a total of €1,500 to be won, including €300 for the best game. The deadline for submitting entries is 31st October 2018, and this year's contest offers bonus points for tributes to Topo Soft's 1988 game Chicago's 30.

Last year's contest saw some pretty impressive games such as Baba's Palace, Cris. Odd Prelude, Bitume and Laser Boy. Let's hope that this year will also see lots of great new CPC games being released.

Athanor: The Legend of the Birdmen

Éric Safar announced the release of an English edition of Athanor: The Legend of the Birdmen last weekend. This is the second release in what Éric has intended to be a trilogy of adventures. The first game, Athanor, was a text adventure with rudimentary black and white graphics, which was a deliberate choice on the author's part, as the trilogy is intended to show the evolution of adventure games over the years.

The second part of the trilogy is also a text adventure, but with improved graphics that are loaded from disc, like Sram or many of Lankhor's adventures such as La Secte Noire. The photo on the right shows you what the packaging looks like. Those of you who are familiar with the 'feelies' that were included with Infocom's range of text adventures will notice that Athanor: The Legend of the Birdmen also includes several objects which act as clues to help you solve the game.

To order a copy, visit Safar Games and follow the instructions there to e-mail Éric.

Hibernated 1: This Place Is Death

Stefan Vogt's text adventure Hibernated 1: This Place is Death has also been released and can be downloaded from Pond Software.

E-mail: nich <AT> durge <DOT> org