CPC GAME REVIEWS - by
 Nicholas Campbell

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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.

Galactic Tomb

ESP Soft released Galactic Tomb at the RetroMadrid 2018 event last weekend. This platformer/shoot-'em-up was first previewed in a YouTube video back in 2016, and after watching it, we all knew it was looking like quite a spectacular game – and ESP Soft haven't disappointed.

You play an élite commander, and you must travel to the three worlds of Pherenos, Robota and Microbia, to find the three tombs of Siemb and retrieve artefacts from them that will enable the evil emperor Shakar to extend his life – and his reign of terror – further.

Galactic Tomb is a brilliantly presented game with very colourful graphics and excellent music. You can download the game from ESP Soft's site (scroll down to 'Descargas' and click on 'Galactic Tomb [128K] (dsk)'). Currently the game requires at least 128KB of memory, but a cassette version which is compatible with 64KB machines is planned. Don't miss it!

The Shadows of Sergoth

Galactic Tomb wasn't the only game to be released last weekend. CPC-POWER released a role-playing game called The Shadows of Sergoth. If you've ever played Dungeon Master on the Atari ST or Amiga, or Bloodwych on the CPC, The Shadows of Sergoth should look very familiar to you. All is not well in the kingdom of Chrisandia, and you have managed to locate the source of the evil that is threatening the kingdom. You must explore the dungeons of the castle of Sergoth and battle with many nefarious creatures and discover lots of secrets.

To download The Shadows of Sergoth, visit CPC-POWER, where you can download a ZIP file containing the game and instructions in either English, French or Spanish. This game requires 128KB of memory, and it's also brilliantly presented and offers many hours of exploration and combat.

Ghosts'n Goblins

Xifos has developed and released a version of Capcom's classic coin-op game Ghosts'n Goblins for the GX4000 console and Plus machines. I think it's fair to say that Elite's original conversion of the game could have been better, although the music was quite good. This remake obviously has a lot more colour and is more faithful to the original arcade game, with the addition of animated sequences, power-ups, and the loss of your armour if you hit an enemy, causing you to run about in just your underwear!

You can download the remake of Ghosts'n Goblins from the CPCWiki forums, but as it's intended for the GX4000 and Plus machines and not the normal CPC range, you'll need a suitable emulator such as WinAPE in order to play it.

The Dawn of Kernel

Juan J. Martínez has been posting on the CPCWiki forums and his Twitter feed about a Cybernoid-influenced space shoot-'em-up he is developing, called The Dawn of Kernel. Sources suggest it should be out by the end of May, and poly.play will be releasing a physical edition. You can watch a short video of how the game is looking on Juan's twitter feed. I have to say that I think the choice of colours on the title screen is very garish and not to my liking, but that is only my opinion – but the in-game graphics look a lot better!

Sir Ababol: NES-OM Edition

The Mojon Twins have tweeted that a special edition of Sir Ababol on the Amstrad CPC is planned. Another tweet shows an in-game screen in MODE 0 (the original version of the game was in MODE 1), and there may even be a physical release of the game on cassette, containing the special edition and the sequel, Sir Ababol II: The Ice Palace, along with ZX Spectrum versions of the first and second games. If it is released, I hope they will fix Sir Ababol II, which is unfortunately severely bugged on the CPC.

Hibernated 1: This Place is Death

Stefan Vogt has developed a text adventure called Hibernated 1: This Place is Death for the Amstrad CPC. It's already available for the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum from Pond Software as free downloads, and the CPC version should be available soon, according to a tweet from Stefan. It's written using Professional Adventure Writer (PAW), so it's text only and runs on CP/M.

ZEUSDAZ's YouTube channel added

I've added links to videos on ZEUSDAZ's YouTube channel on my site. Zeus' channel features videos of 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit games, nearly all of which use unemulated footage – in other words, the games are all played on the original machines and not an emulator.

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