CPC GAME REVIEWS - by
 Nicholas Campbell

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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 prevent the evil emperor Shakar from extending his reign of terror.

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.

Missas is back with reviews of three recently released games:

The first Amstrad CPC game of 2018 has already been released! It's a version of the ZX Spectrum game Pssst!, which was one of the earlier releases by the legendary software house Ultimate Play the Game. Pssst! starred Robbie, a robot who had to spray insects in order to prevent them from eating a growing flower. However, there are three different types of spray, and only one type will work on each type of insect, so you have to constantly move from one side of the screen to the other, avoiding the insects while trying to pick up the correct spray to use.

Robbie Strikes Back may play a bit more slowly than Pssst!, but it features colourful MODE 0 graphics and it plays music throughout the game. You can download it from Play on Retro.

Over the Christmas holidays, CNGSoft (César Nicolás González) uploaded two new releases to his web site – one new game (on the CPC, at least) and an updated version of a previous release.

Duck Out

Duck Out is a Spanish game that was originally released under the Dro Soft label in 1989 for the ZX Spectrum and MSX. It's a fairly strange game; you play a duck who is in a kitchen and has decided to make a bid for freedom to avoid ending up as someone's dinner! Armed with a frying pan, you must bash various humans, animals and flying hazards, and avoid contact with them. CNGSoft has made some improvements to the controls to make it more playable, as well as adding sound effects and music (provided by Daniel Canales).

You can visit CNGSoft's web site to find more details about the conversion, and download Duck Out; go to the bottom of the page to find the link to download the game.

Basket Cases

CNGSoft has also released an updated version of Basket Cases – his entry for the 2017 #CPCRetroDev Game Creation Contest, which was ranked in third place out of 29 entries. This update fixes some bugs and features some improvements in the graphics – including some very strange-looking opponents, if you are skilled enough to reach level 6!

You can visit CNGSoft's web site to download the new version, as well as the original version which also includes source code; go to the bottom of the page to find the link to download the game.

BEARS!

Issue 176 of Retro Gamer came through my letterbox this morning, just in time for Christmas. As well as an article about the history of Amstrad which includes interviews with Lord Sugar and Roland Perry, there is also a review of a new game called BEARS!, which came as quite a surprise, as I had heard nothing at all about this game previously, or its developers, the SOHDE Team.

BEARS! is a cartridge-only game for GX4000 and Plus machines, in which you control a young bear who has to locate Lady Grumpleton of Grizzly Manor, who has been missing for several days. Along the way, you meet many different characters, and you must also engage in combat with various enemies, which involves you and your opponent taking it in turns to select a method of attack and depleting each other's hit points. If you succeed, you either gain hit points or receive new skills, and you may also get an item to add to your inventory.

BEARS! can be downloaded from The SOHDE Team's web site, and you can use it on a real GX4000 or Plus machine in conjunction with the C4CPC device.

Pinball Dreams

Batman Group has tweeted screenshots of all four tables that will feature on their Amstrad CPC conversion of the classic Amiga game Pinball Dreams. There is still no confirmation of when it will be ready for release, but all the tables look gorgeous!

If you still haven't played the preview version of Pinball Dreams, then I urge you to download it and try it for yourself. If it is released, it will definitely be the best pinball game on the CPC by far.

I have reviewed six games that were submitted to the 2017 #CPCRetroDev Game Creation Contest:

La Abadía del Crimen is regarded – some might say revered – in Spain as one of the best 8-bit games of all time. It's based on the novel The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. The game sees you playing William of Baskerville, accompanied by his apprentice Adso, and you must investigate a series of murders that take place throughout your seven-day stay at a monastery. While you're doing this, you must also participate in the daily routines of the monks in the monastery. Failure to do so will incur the displeasure of the abbot and you will be expelled from the monastery. It can be compared to Ocean's 1986 release The Great Escape.

Sadly La Abadía del Crimen was never officially translated into English, and English-speaking CPC users have long complained of not being able to play it. Well, they don't need to complain any more, because thanks to the work of khaz, myself (Nicholas Campbell) and others on the CPCWiki forum, an English translation (renamed to The Abbey of Crime) now exists!

You can download The Abbey of Crime from the CPCWiki forum, and I would urge you to do so. It really is a fascinating and engrossing game which is full of mystery and adventure, and having played and tested it thoroughly as part of the translation process, I feel its legendary status is fully deserved.

4Mhz are now accepting pre-orders for their latest release Profanation 2: Escape from Abu Simbel, which was awarded second place out of 29 entries in the recent #CPCRetroDev 2017 competition. The game is packaged in a small plastic clam case and includes an A3 size poster illustrated by Lorena Azpiri, the daughter of the late Alfonso Azpiri whose artwork adorns the inlays of many Spanish games; you can see the packaging in the photo on the right. It costs €18.99 excluding postage, which is €11.00 for most European countries, and the game is expected to be sent to customers during the first half of December 2017.

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