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Aaargh!

(Melbourne House, 1989)

A green dragon and a red, fire-breathing ogre are on Darance Island, searching for five Roc's eggs which they will need to obtain the golden egg. To find these eggs, it is necessary to enter towns and villages and pulverise every building to dust with either your fists or your fiery breath – nothing will stand in your way! You can replenish your fire by eating burgers (!), but unfortunately it seems that there is no way to replenish your energy, and with all the enemies on the screen at the same time, you won't last long. The graphics are wonderful, but the sound effects are poor and the gameplay wears rather thin after a while. There's also a beat-'em-up between the dragon and the ogre after every level which adds nothing to the game.

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5

La Abadía del Crimen

(Spanish)

(Opera Soft, 1988)

Reviewed by Javier Sáez

This game takes Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose to your CPC. William of Baskerville, helped by his apprentice Adso, must solve the mysterious deaths that are taking place in the abbey but also, being a monk himself, he has to cope with the strict routine that rules the abbey. La Abadía del Crimen has very nice isometric graphics, good sound, and a deep, complex plot. It's the best Spanish game of all time without question, but unfortunately, it was never released outside Spain.

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10

Abu Simbel Profanation

(Dinamic, 1986)

Reviewed by Javier Sáez

This platform game is one of the first Dinamic creations. You take control of Johnny Jones, who's trapped inside an Egyptian pyramid and has been cursed and turned into a big headed creature. Your task is to give Johnny back his human shape so he can get out of the pyramid. You guessed right, it won't be an easy task; as a matter of fact, finishing this game is an honour reserved only to the best (although it's not impossible). Avoid everything but some Egyptian symbols that work as keys and locks, make your way to the chamber where the Pharaoh lies, and remember 'wait, see, and calculate'. The game has nice, colourful graphics, at least for the time, but it would have been nice to hear a tune throughout the game. It's worth giving it a try, but it's better if you have infinite lives... and infinite patience!

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6

Academy

(CRL, 1987)

After a Gal-Corp trainee pilot accidentally crashed into a nuclear reactor, the Gal-Corp Academy for Advanced Skimmer Pilots was formed. To qualify as an élite pilot, you must complete five levels, each containing four missions, successfully by attaining an average rating of at least 90%. This is the sequel to Tau Ceti and it offers several new features. The most notable one is the ability to design your own skimmers, as the three models already provided may not be suitable for certain missions. There is also a greater variety of enemies, and you can also use delay bombs – but be careful with them! Like Tau Ceti, the gameplay can initially be frustrating as your skimmer will be blown up a lot in your first few attempts, but perseverance will eventually pay off and you'll discover a great game.

See also: Tau Ceti.

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8

Ace of Aces

(US Gold, 1987)

Reviewed by John Beckett

I'm not a great fan of flight sims, so I was pleasantly surprised when I loaded the game and was greeted with a nicely drawn options screen showing a sergeant major-type pointing his baton at the various missions to choose from. Equally nice briefing and weapon selection screens follow, along with some cartoon-like photos of the hero running to his plane and taking off. The sound effects are also very impressive – but when the real game starts, it all goes to hell. As far as sound goes, all you get is a constant drone. (It actually hurts your ears!) The graphics are dull (just the inside of the cockpit and a few hills rolling by), and the game is ridiculously hard. Once you get your compass blown out, you just drift forever until you get shot down! A real disappointment.

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5

Action Fighter

(Firebird, 1989)

The US Secret Command has asked you to carry out five dangerous missions which take you into enemy territory. Each mission consists of two parts. In the first part, you drive a motorbike along a road, shooting the enemy vehicles and collecting pods, which turns the motorbike into a car (pretty impressive, eh?). Collect some more pods and you enter the second part. The car now becomes a jet-car and the action takes place in the air. Throughout each mission, lorries and helicopters appear, and entering them gives you power-ups for your vehicle. The graphics are very impressive indeed and the sound effects are fairly good as well. However, the missions are far too long and take what seems like an eternity to complete – if you manage to complete them, of course.

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6

Action Force

(Virgin, 1988)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

Based on a Marvel comic, this shoot-'em-up lets you control a helicopter to fight against COBRA, a terrorist organisation. You have to destroy enemy planes and place bridges so that the jeep you're escorting can reach its destination. The graphics are colourful but rather simple. Controlling the helicopter isn't easy, because you must permanently push your joystick forward to keep it flying, while avoiding enemy fire. Otherwise, it will crash to the ground (as in Airwolf). Also, you've only got one life! Eventually, the game isn't fun enough to keep you trying for very long.

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4

Activator

(Cascade, 1986)

The space station Antari is drifting in space, taken over by hostile lifeforms. The seven nuclear fuel rods that power the ship are scattered about its many rooms. An activator pod (that's you) has been sent to collect them all and put them back in the power chamber where they belong. The concept of the game is rather simple – just explore a maze and shoot aliens as you go along. However, to gain access to certain parts of the maze, you'll need the right key. The graphics are simple but functional, and the sound effects are limited to exploding noises when you shoot aliens. Even so, it's not a bad game, and you've got plenty of lives to do it.

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7

The Addams Family

(Ocean, 1992)

Gomez has to rescue the other five members of his family, who have got lost in their own house (!). The Addams' house is quite large, however, and doors will need to be unlocked by finding the right colour of key. Some of the monsters can also be killed by jumping on them. The graphics are very well drawn and the tune is a good rendition of the Addams Family theme, although it only plays on the menu screen. The sound effects in the game are still OK, though. It is a difficult game, though, but you get a generous amount of retries – nine lives and five continues.

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8

Adidas Championship Football

(Ocean, 1990)

24 nations take part in the Adidas Championships. You can choose any of them in your bid to become the Adidas Champion. The championship is divided into six groups of four nations, and the teams in each group are picked at random. Another player can also take part in the proceedings. You can choose formations and match lengths, from 4 to 16 minutes. The graphics and music are quite good, but the gameplay is a bit of a let-down. Controlling the ball as you run down the field is very tricky indeed, and passing is also a problem, because selecting the power of your kick is cumbersome. You can't play in any friendly matches, either. It's a good-looking but disappointing football game.

See also: Adidas Championship Tie Break.

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5

Adidas Championship Tie Break

(Ocean, 1990)

Can you beat six of the best tennis players to become the number one? This tennis game is quite different from most others, in that instead of using a view from one end of the court, it uses a top-down perspective, with the screen scrolling as the ball moves from one side of the court to the other and back again. As well as being able to choose the length of a match, the type of court to play on, and whether to play singles or doubles, you can even select one of six racquets to use. Because you are unable to see your player all of the time, the game automatically places him in the correct position when the ball is returned to you, and both serving and returning the ball are very easy to perform. The graphics are a bit minimalist, and it may not be the most realistic simulation of tennis, but it's an easy game to learn and play.

See also: Adidas Championship Football.

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7

Adiós a la Casta: Episode 1

(4Mhz, 2016)

Reviewed by Missas

Adiós a la Casta: Episode 1 is a platform game inspired by the 2015 Spanish elections. You play a character called Coleta Morada (a nickname of the Spanish politician Pablo Iglesias) who must collect as many opposition votes and the votes of undecided people as possible, with the votes being represented by icons. The more votes collected, the easier it will be for Coleta Morada to defeat the final boss Rodrigo Rata. To begin with, the game loads with a detailed screen. The intro music is good and a pleasant tune plays throughout the game. The graphics are displayed in MODE 1 with four colours, resulting in very detailed sprites and scenery. The sprites move very fast and smoothly; this game definitely requires fast reflexes! The game itself is of average length; it could be bigger, but it's not short at all. Overall, a very good platformer which might remind you of some NES platform games.

See also: Adiós a la Casta: Episode 2: De Buen Rollo.

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8

Adiós a la Casta: Episode 2: De Buen Rollo

(4Mhz, 2016)

Following the December 2015 election in Spain, no agreement could be reached to form a coalition, and new elections were held in 2016. Once again you play Coleta Morada (known in real life as Pablo Iglesias), and you must wander around a supermarket and an underground car park, collecting objects to boost your own charisma and ammunition to help you defeat the end-of-game boss ANSAR. However, there are a variety of people and creatures who will drain your energy if you touch them. The gameplay is identical to the previous episode, but the graphics are drawn in the CPC's colourful, low-resolution MODE 0, and they look absolutely marvellous and are very nicely animated. A jolly and catchy tune also plays throughout the game. It's less difficult than its predecessor but it still offers a challenge.

See also: Adiós a la Casta: Episode 1.

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8

Advanced Pinball Simulator

(Codemasters, 1988)

Are pinball games really supposed to have a plot? This one does. A wizard has cast an evil spell over the land of Santagon and threatens to erupt a volcano. You have to make a potion and banish the wizard forever, as well as performing other tasks. These are done by extinguishing letters on the table and hitting other things with the ball. Why a pinball game needs a plot (especially one we've heard so often) is a mystery, but it's certainly not a bad example – just an average one. The ball moves rather slowly, but this doesn't make the game any easier, and there's also only one table.

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6

Adventure Quest

(Level 9, 1984)

Reviewed by Richard Lamond

Set many years after the events of Colossal Adventure, the second in Level 9's Middle Earth trilogy has a simple mission – find and defeat Agaliarept, the Demon Lord, in his Dark Tower. Borrowing heavily from J. R. R. Tolkien, Adventure Quest has a number of familiar locations (starting outside the same brick building as in Colossal Adventure, for example). The descriptions are very well written, positively oozing atmosphere, and the parser is of a high standard for the time. Offering a definite challenge, Adventure Quest is not as accessible as its predecessor, but as with most Level 9 games, perseverance will bring reward. The re-release in 1986 as part of the Jewels of Darkness compilation features simple graphics which add to the experience, although there is something of a trade-off in game speed. A worthy follow-up to Colossal Adventure.

See also: Colossal Adventure, Dungeon Adventure.

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9

L'Affaire Santa Fe

(French)

(Infogrames, 1988)

You're a wanted man in the Wild West, and have been forced out of the town of Santa Fe – but where are you going to go? This is a multiple choice adventure where you are given two or three options and then select one of them. When you first see the truly luscious pictures (which were hand-drawn and then digitised and touched up on the CPC) and hear the music, you think that this is going to be a big game. If you play it for a while, though, you realise that there isn't as much as you think. There are very few locations, and while there are many opportunities to die, it's a very easy game to complete (there are two possible endings, by the way). It is worth playing just to see the gorgeous pictures, but should they have been sacrificed to make a bigger game?

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7

African Trail Simulator

(Positive/Dinamic, 1990)

Take to the desert on your off-road bike as you negotiate all the stages of the African trail. Before you start each stage, you must select three items of equipment to take with you; the right choices may well be crucial. You have to gauge your speed correctly and perform wheelies where necessary when you ride over hills, or you'll fall off. You may also meet other riders who will knock you off your bike. Unfortunately, the gameplay doesn't match the excellent graphics – there's little scenery, the stages last too long, and there isn't enough of a challenge.

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4

Afterburner

(Activision, 1988)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

Strap into an F-14 Tomcat and take to the skies engaging the might of the Soviet air force in this Cold War shoot-'em-up arcade conversion. Placed in a seemingly never-ending dogfight armed with only your trusty Mavericks and forward cannons, you pitch and yaw in 360° above a variety of landscapes, dodging enemy assault whilst mercilessly destroying them. The graphics are superb, with large, colourful sprites all around, with appropriate sound effects that reflect your destructive capabilities adequately. This is such an accurate port that it suffers from the same drawbacks in gameplay in that destroying enemy vessels is a formality and it's random pot luck as to whether you are shot down or not.

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6

Aftermath

(Alternative, 1988)

This is a version of the arcade classic Missile Command, where meteorites hurl down from space and obliterate your bases on the ground. You've got six bases, and an ammunition base to fire at the incoming meteors. If all of your bases are destroyed, that's it – the world is doomed! However, if any missiles hit your ammunition base, you won't be able to fire for the rest of the level. This isn't a bad game by any means, but it does become repetitive, and very easy when you only have one base left. The graphics are a bit dull as well.

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6

Afteroids

(Zigurat, 1988)

Take one of the earliest computer games ever (namely Asteroids), and add some nice graphics to it, along with a few bonuses to pick up. That's what you've got here. You control a little spaceship that floats around a large arena, and you have to blast all the meteors and other objects that bounce about the arena. However, shooting meteors will cause them to fragment into several smaller meteors. Another problem is that there's no friction and controlling your spaceship is difficult, to say the least. First impressions are good – you've got ten lives, and the first level is easy enough – but it doesn't last, as the second level is far too hard.

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6

After the War

(Dinamic, 1989)

Reviewed by Alain Schroetter

I remember precisely the day I received After the War. A friend of mine sent it from Spain when it was released, and it was a shock! The Spanish programmers at Dinamic did some really good work – enormous sprites, fluid animation, neat, full colour graphics and irreproachable sound track, a feat that even the programmers of the 16-bit versions hardly managed to reproduce! It is no coincidence that the game caught the attention of foreign publishers. Try this game out and see what an 8-bit machine can really do.

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8

Agent Orange

(A'n'F, 1987)

Reviewed by Pug

Those peace-hating aliens are at it again... tut, tut! They're trying to take over as many worlds as they can by planting carnivorous plants. You are out to counter this, though, by shooting down the alien planting ships and collecting the seeds they leave behind. Do well, and money can be made, allowing you to purchase more powerful ships. The game itself, when played, shows a few bugs in the programming, such as scrolling into unseen alien attack, resulting in loss of life. The monochrome graphics make the gameplay a let-down to a certain degree, but it does carry that "one more go" element. The sound and music are good.

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5

Agent X II

(Mastertronic, 1987)

The Mad Professor is back, and he has set up an underground base on the Moon where he is developing a zit-ray that will cause all of Earth's population to suffer from acne – then he can sell acne cream and make a fortune. Don't you just love games with mad storylines? There are three parts which load separately. The first part is a horizontally scrolling shoot-'em-up which is easy to complete. The second part takes place in the Mad Professor's base and is a platform game in which you must collect the access codes in order to log in to the computers. The third and final part is a Breakout-style game which is a lot harder, but also rather boring. The graphics are colourful and the music is beautiful, but the gameplay just isn't of the same standard.

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4

Ahhh!!!

(CRL, 1984)

Aliens have invaded the galaxy, and you must clear six sectors, each of which contains three waves of aliens. You have lasers at your disposal, and a cloaking device can be used, acting as a shield – but it uses fuel. After you've destroyed three waves, you have to dock with a spaceship to refuel. It's such a hard game, though, because of two things; when you've shot most of the aliens, the remaining ones move ridiculously fast, and they can also move off the top of the screen, reappearing at the bottom so that they crash straight into your ship. The graphics are poor as well.

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4

L'Aigle d'Or

(French)

(Loriciels, 1986)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

An abandoned castle in the mountains of Westphalia, traps and gloomy dungeons... you must find the Golden Eagle (the English translation of the game's title), an artefact that brings power and wealth to its owner. This is a really good graphic adventure game, even if the graphics aren't really appealing. The animation is awful too, by the way, but you'll enjoy trying to find your way among those dusty rooms, collecting items and falling into dark pits (drawing a map will come in handy!). One of the very best games of 1986.

See also: L'Aigle d'Or: Le Retour.

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8

L'Aigle d'Or: Le Retour

(French)

(Loriciel, 1992)

The Golden Eagle has been stolen again, this time by Nahmur, the grand priest of a sinister cult. However, he does not know how to master its powers, so he has broken it into several pieces. Not surprisingly, your mission is to recover all the pieces of the Golden Eagle. This is an arcade adventure which is set in the future. You can access information kiosks which allow you to read e-mails and news, and there are also weapons stores where you can exchange your weapon. If you find any safes, you might be able to open them; just listen very carefully as you turn the dial! The graphics and animation are both stunning, especially if you have a Plus machine; contrary to what some might say, this was the first non-cartridge game to utilise the Plus' extra colours. It's an intriguing game which mixes action and adventure elements well.

See also: L'Aigle d'Or.

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8

Airwolf

(Amsoft/Elite, 1985)

You've got to rescue five hostages held in an underground base somewhere in the Arizona desert, and you have to destroy some defence boxes as well. However, you have to do all of this in a very expensive helicopter – no, I can't work that one out either. The graphics are nothing special and the only sound effects are the constant drone of your helicopter blades, although a good tune plays throughout. The game is far too difficult, though; I mean, how on Earth do you fly a helicopter through such tight confines?

See also: Airwolf II.

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2

Airwolf II

(Hit Pak, 1987)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

The programmers surely wanted to do something very different from Airwolf. And indeed, they managed to do so. But the result is still far from amazing. This game is a shoot-'em-up (which curiously scrolls from left to right), looking like Salamander or R-Type. But it's much less fun, as the playing window is very small and the graphics are Spectrum-like. You just have to blast your way through a bunch of aliens, guns and blocks that stand in front of you. Well, that's an average game, which can be rather enjoyable for a (short) while.

See also: Airwolf.

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6

Akalabeth

(Fessor, 2015)

Reviewed by Jorge Giner Cordero

Akalabeth is the first commercial game by Richard Garriott, a role-playing game originally programmed in 1979 in BASIC for the Apple II. After buying some food and weapons, you start at ground level. You can descend into dungeons, fight monsters or enter shops, but first, it is best to visit Lord British's castle where he will ask you to kill some kind of monster; you must kill ten monsters to complete the game. All graphics are drawn with lines, and the dungeons are displayed in first-person perspective with no sound effects. The graphics are drawn quickly, except for the global map, which draws quite slowly, so it's better to draw it on paper. The game comes with instructions, and overall, this is a piece of history you have to play.

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7

Aladdin's Cave

(Artic, 1985)

A wizard has trapped Aladdin in a network of caves, and he must find his way out again. This is a platform game consisting of 16 screens, and in most of them, there are one or more objects to be collected. If you collect all of the objects in a room, you may be able to gain new powers, allowing you to transform into other creatures, such as a monkey, a bird or a genie – but although it is necessary to use these powers to complete the game, you can only use them in certain screens! This is a rather old game, so the graphics and sound effects are rather basic. However, the music is absolutely awful, although thankfully, it can be turned off, leaving you with a simple but enjoyable platform game.

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7

Alex Higgins World Pool

(Amsoft/Gem, 1985)

You and a friend can see how you fare at pool with this game – there doesn't seem to be an option to play against the computer, which is unfortunate – but at least you'll save money by not playing pool down the pub. You take shots by aiming a cursor and then selecting the force and spin. It's quite a well implemented version of pool, and the game claims that it conforms to the rules of 8-ball pool, but the music on the title screen is rubbish!

See also: Alex Higgins World Snooker.

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7

Alex Higgins World Snooker

(Amsoft/Gem, 1985)

Like Alex Higgins World Pool, you can't play snooker against the computer, which again is a bit of a shame, and you also take shots by aiming a cursor and selecting the force and spin. You can choose to play either 6-ball, 10-ball or 15-ball snooker if you want a shorter game. I like the score bar at the top of the screen; it's just like the real thing! However, actually putting the balls in the pockets is difficult and you're unlikely to score large breaks here – and once again, the music is awful!

See also: Alex Higgins World Pool.

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6

Alien

(Amsoft/Argus Press, 1985)

An alien is lurking somewhere within the spaceship Nostromo. The alien has hatched from the body of one of the seven crew members on board, but can the other six crew members kill it in time, before the ship returns to Earth or their oxygen supply runs out? This is a strategy game, and there is more than one way to complete the game. You can kill the alien using the weapons scattered throughout the ship, which is rather tricky; you can try to entice it to enter one of the airlocks and then hurl it into outer space; or you can rescue the ship's cat, Jones, set the auto-destruct sequence, get at least three crew members into the lifeboat, the Narcissus, and escape. The choice is yours. Thankfully, there's a short, easy scenario to let you learn the mechanics of the game. It's one of those games that takes time to learn, but the effort is worth it.

See also: Aliens, Aliens: US Version.

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7

Alien Break-In

(Amsoft/Romik, 1985)

Reviewed by Pug

An early mix of Galaxian and Space Invaders. Motherships appear in the sky releasing alien invaders that swarm around dropping slow-moving bombs. Pods are also dropped, and if they land, they form into crab-like mutants that crawl along the ground towards you. Luckily, you are able to create holes in the ground to trap and kill these mutants. Well that's the good news, because you can only dig these holes five times in total – so only good shots need apply here! This game has no progression as such; no levels or stages, just a single screen of endless minions. It's easy at first, but once many pods begin to drop, you end up in trouble. Smooth, average graphics and sparse sound effects. You will soon get bored.

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4

Alien 8

(Ultimate, 1985)

A ship is heading towards a distant planet and its inhabitants, the Cryonaughts, have been frozen during the journey. You have to find 24 valves and the cryogenic chambers that they are to be plugged into before the ship reaches its destination. The ship contains lots of rooms, often filled with hazards and obstacles that you have to negotiate, and you might need a valve to climb over some walls. There are also several types of enemy, such as Dalek-like mice and clockwork mice, that you must avoid too! This is an old game, but it has stood the test of time well and is just as good today. The difficulty level might put people off, but perseverance will be rewarded in the end.

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8

Alien Highway

(Vortex, 1986)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

Defeat the aliens again in this sequel to Highway Encounter. Once again you must guide the Vorton and its precious weapon, this time the Terratron, through 30 zones in an attempt to destroy the extraterrestrials' industrial complex. Avoiding the electrified edge of the road at all costs, you must get past the cunningly placed obstacles, whilst shooting the Zebs and any passing kamikaze aliens. Along the way you are also required to arm the bomb by picking up seven regeneration stations or otherwise it will fail to detonate. However, what is a good, hard game is let down by MODE 1 graphics and poor sound.

See also: Highway Encounter.

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6

Aliens

(Electric Dreams, 1986)

Nothing has been heard from the colony of LV-426 for some time, so Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley sends a team of five Colonial Marines to investigate – and her fears are well-founded, as the colony is now home to an army of aliens. Your aim is to find your way through the labyrinth of 255 rooms and kill the alien queen. The game (which is based on the highly successful film of the same name) mixes arcade and strategy elements – you'll be blasting a lot of aliens, but you need to work out a way of reaching the alien queen's chamber, and there are other rooms to explore as well. If you're not careful, one or more of your team might be captured or impregnated! It takes time to understand how the game is meant to be played, but you'll enjoy it once you do. The background music makes the atmosphere much more tense and eerie as well!

See also: Alien, Aliens: US Version.

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8

Alien Storm

(US Gold, 1991)

Reviewed by Missas

Our planet is once again being attacked by aliens, and a special squad known as Alien Busters is formed to save the day. In this game you may choose from three characters (Gordon, Scooter and Karla) who have different attributes and special moves, in order to complete six big levels, each of which is divided into several stages. Graphics are colourful MODE 0 with 16 colours on screen, and a lot of effort has been applied to make them look very detailed. The sound has a variety of effects which help the game maintain an atmosphere, and the main music theme is also fine. The gameplay is enjoyable because of the variety of players' moves, the good controls and the different gameplay stages of each level. You may have to face aliens in close combat or shoot them in first person perspective! Overall this is a very good and balanced game which you will most probably enjoy playing.

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8

Aliens: US Version

(Electric Dreams, 1987)

This game was first released in the USA before it was released in the UK. As one might expect, it's based on the film of the same name, although unlike the UK version, which concentrates on one section of the film, the US version contains eight sub-games, each of which is inspired by a different section of the film. Unfortunately, the sub-games combine to make a rather unsatisfying and incoherent game. It starts off promisingly, with a nice comic book-style introduction and an easy first level in which you identify your equipment, but the second level, which sees you landing the drop ship, is almost impossible to complete. Thankfully there is a built-in cheat to allow you to select and play the other levels while you're playing this lousy game. The graphics in some of the sub-games are laughably bad as well.

See also: Alien, Aliens.

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5

Alien Syndrome

(ACE, 1988)

Reviewed by Pug

Alien Syndrome is an eight-way scrolling maze shoot-'em-up. Your goal is to resuce the captives on each level before the timer runs out. One or two players can take part in a Gauntlet-like game. The game itself looks drab and moves at a jerky rate with endless numbers of mutant sausages and jellies out to get you. Computer screens sometimes hide the odd power-up or bonus, but this usually allows another nasty to catch up with you. Too difficult, poor use made of the CPC's graphic capability, with a handful of sound effects. This one could have been a great game if it wasn't for it being a rushed port.

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3

Alkahera

(Budgie, 1985)

Reviewed by Pug

Alkahera sees you conscripted by the Galactic Government to patrol the trade routes in outer space. The game places you inside the cockpit of your spaceship with a 3D view of your surroundings, where your scanner alerts you to illegal presence. It's a simple game of "shoot the scaled sprite", where 90% of the time you collide with it instead. Game over occurs very quickly and the escape pod option is a waste of time. The graphics are colourful and add a little appeal. Simple sound effects add some atmosphere to a very boring game indeed.

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3

Alphakhor

(French)

(Loriciel, 1989)

In the year 2006, a deadly virus is threatening humanity's existence. However, there was an outbreak of an identical virus in 1463, and it was stopped successfully. It's up to Xavier Nollevo, who has invented a time machine, to go back to the Middle Ages and save humanity! This is an adventure game where you must explore a mediaeval town in the search for the magic formula, helping various characters as you go along. You have to be careful, and eat and drink all the time, and watch your money as well. The pictures are excellently drawn, and while it's not a particularly large adventure, it'll keep you occupied for some time – provided you understand French, that is.

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9

Altair

(Inmensa Bola de Manteca, 2014)

Reviewed by Missas

Altair is a CPC conversion of the original coin-op game released in Spain in 1981. 33 years later, it finally arrives on the CPC and it manages to remain totally faithful to the coin-op version. It clearly demonstrates the gaming era that was predominantly focused on achieving high scores rather than progressing to new levels. The graphics are, as expected, basic and chunky but they are colourful and vivid. The animation is good, while the in-game sound may be considered annoying by today's standards, but it exactly captures the atmosphere of the arcade halls of the 1980s. The gameplay is fast-paced, and although it is repetitive, you won't get bored easily because the challenge is well balanced and the grab factor is strong.

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8

Altered Beast

(Activision, 1989)

Reviewed by Javier Sáez

The master of all Gods, Zeus, commands you to rise from your grave and rescue his daughter. How could you refuse? After all, Zeus will send you some power-ups to increase your fighting abilities. Whenever you collect a few of them, your character will turn into a beast – either a werewolf or a dragon, depending on which level you are playing. This is quite a bad coin-op conversion. You'll see graphics close to the original game, although the sprites lack definition. Apart from that, your character moves slowly, the scrolling is awful and hitting the enemies requires patience most of the time. There's a tune playing throughout the game, but it doesn't improve the overall impression of it.

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4

Alternative World Games

(Gremlin, 1987)

Reviewed by Pug

Eight wacky world events await you in this game – a sack race, plate balancing, river jumping, boot throwing, pole climbing, running up a wall, pillow fighting, and last but not least – pogo. Each event can be practiced, and believe me, if you want to get anywhere with this one, you'd better do that. The controls for each game are different, sluggish and add a high degree of confusion. The graphics are very detailed with good animation, but the rate at which everything moves, mixed with the hard to understand controls, just ruins everything.

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3

Amaurote

(Mastertronic, 1987)

The city of Amaurote has been invaded by a plague of giant insects, but instead of getting out a can of fly killer, you have to eradicate them by using bouncing bombs – and with 25 districts of the city to clear, that's some task. The first thing you should try to do is destroy the Queen insect with a Supa Bomb. The isometric view is impressive, but the use of bouncing bombs makes it very difficult to aim them at the insects, and you can't unleash another one until the first has exploded. The game is too difficult and takes much too long to play, but the music is arguably the best of any CPC game!

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3

AMC

(Dinamic, 1989)

You're the best marine in the Astro Marine Corps, and you've been sent to the planet Dendar to rescue some of your fellow marines. Dendar is host to all manner of horrible monsters and robots, but fortunately you're armed with a huge gun that'll sort most of them out, and you've got a supply of grenades too. There is also a healthy range of power-ups to collect. In short, it's your usual sci-fi shoot-'em-up, but this one is good. The graphics are absolutely luscious, the scrolling is fast, and the explosions when you kill monsters are great. It would get a higher mark if the levels were shorter.

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8

Amélie Minuit

(French)

(ERE Informatique, 1985)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

Amélie is a young woman who works in a skyscraper. She figures out that she has forgotten an important file and decides to return to her office. But it's 11pm and she's got only one hour to find it. At midnight, the building will be closed and the power turned off. There are 29 floors and 224 rooms to explore, and the lift randomly stops, wasting precious time. Amélie must find her glasses, keys, and other items to reach her goal. Now, I doubt you'll have the patience to help her. The graphics are dull; every room looks like the previous one. Amélie looks like she's made of matches and even at the fastest speed, the game is desperately slow. To make things even worse, you have to be exactly in front of a door to open it – and there are 336 doors to open!

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3

American Turbo King

(Mastertronic, 1989)

Drive your car around six obstacle courses while avoiding other cars, as well as the bombs that are dropped by planes and helicopters. You'll have to memorise each course thoroughly – if you don't, you'll probably reach a dead end and have to reverse your car, which costs so much time that you'll have to start again anyway. The graphics are average and while the tune is excellent, there are hardly any sound effects, and your car is totally silent. It's quite a slow game as well and not really worth bothering with.

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4

Amsgolf

(Amsoft, 1984)

Reviewed by Pug

After the traditional Amsoft loading screen you are presented with a very bland-looking display. Instructions are offered and it's vital that you read them to learn how the game works. When you're ready to play, you're asked for your handicap, which also requires a password. Simply put, Amsgolf asks the player which club to use, the direction to aim the ball, and then the strength of your swing. After pressing the appropriate keys the action begins. A line is drawn that indicates the direction and destination of your ball, with redefined characters representing the scenery. Each screen or hole is simply another mish-mash of drab-looking hazards with pointless audio. It's a game that you'll try once and never touch again.

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1

Amsoccer

(IJK, 1986)

Amstrad Rovers take on IJK United in the worst football game that has ever been released on the CPC. There are only four players in each team, and none of them can run fast enough to catch up with the ball, which bounces around the pitch like it's on ice; it doesn't have any friction at all! Every time the ball moves past the edge of the screen, you have to wait for several seconds while the screen scrolls to reveal the next section of the pitch. Scoring goals is more or less impossible, and the graphics and sound effects are abysmal. How on Earth such an awful game was ever released is beyond me.

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0

Amstrad Shuffle

(Alpha Omega, 1986)

This is a collection of eight card games, with two separate parts containing four games each. The first part contains the traditional game of patience, where you arrange cards in columns in descending order and alternating suit colours, as well as clock patience (a bit boring), row patience (much more interesting), and pairs (a memory game). The second part contains the more complex games – carpet patience (much too easy), raglan patience (a much harder variant of traditional patience and very hard to get anywhere), sultan patience (which uses two packs of cards and is quite challenging), and blackjack. If you're familiar with patience, you should be able to learn the rules easily and enjoy some of the games a lot – I certainly did.

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7

Anarchy

(Rack It, 1988)

Appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape

Shoot all the blocks on each level whilst avoiding the monsters, and then when you've done that, find the exit block with an inability to fire! You also can't shoot blocks if you're next to them – you have to get a run at them, if you see what I mean. The graphics are a bit simple but they do the job, as do the sound effects and the music. It's still a good game to play with some tight time limits, although the keyboard controls are really awkward.

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7

Android One

(Vortex, 1985)

An android has been sent to shut down a nuclear reactor which is going to explode. You have to battle and blast your way through 14 screens containing mutant monsters, and when you reach the reactor and shut down, you've got to make your way back to the screen where you started from. The game is absolutely awful, though, with ridiculously simple graphics and sound effects, and it's also too hard.

See also: Android 2.

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3

Android 2

(Vortex, 1985)

A new menace has come to invade an alien planet. You control the new improved Android 2, and have to clear five Millitoids from three zones – the Maze of Death, the Paradox Zone, and the Flatlands – within a time limit. You've also got to avoid walking into the indestructible robots and stepping on the many mines scattered about the zones. The graphics are fairly basic, the sound effects are poor, and the animation and scrolling are jerky, all of which lessen the appeal of a game which could otherwise have been reasonably good.

See also: Android One.

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5

Andy Capp

(Mirrorsoft, 1987)

Reviewed by John Beckett

Based on the popular Daily Mirror comic strip, you control flat-capped layabout Andy. The aim of the game is to find out who has stolen your dole money. You do this by wandering around the vast neighbourhood, quizzing your mates, while at the same time finding ways to line your pockets until your giro turns up. You can have a flutter at the bookies, even – heaven forbid – go to the Job Centre! On top of this, you've been barred from your local, and the police are after you – just another day in the northeast of England! The graphics retain the charm of the comic, but are very grey and dull, and on the whole, although it's different and fun for a while, the game soon becomes rather boring.

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6

Angel Nieto Pole 500

(Opera Soft, 1990)

Angel Nieto won thirteen motorcycle World Championships in the 50cc and 125cc classes back in the 1970s and 1980s, so why you ride a 500cc motorbike in this game is a mystery to me. Anyway, you're competing with ten other riders in the World Championship, with four tracks to race in. Yes, there are only four tracks! Despite this, it's actually a pretty good game. There are no qualifying sessions and you automatically start last in each race, but you can practice each track beforehand. The graphics are very good and it's not too slow either, although the engine noises aren't very realistic at all.

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8

Angleball

(Mastertronic, 1987)

Here's an original twist – a hexagonal pool table! You can play against a friend or the computer at any one of over twenty different table layouts. There are only seven balls on the table instead of the normal fifteen, and if you fail to pot a ball three times, you lose the frame. There's not that much else to say about it, but one nice feature is that you can design your own table layouts and save and load them for later use. The title music is also awful, but that doesn't matter too much.

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7

Animated Strip Poker

(KnightSoft, 1985)

Reviewed by John Beckett

Hmmm... 'animated' could be stretching the truth a little! Basically, what we have here is a very simple strip poker game, easier than others I've played on the CPC (not that I've played them all, you understand! Ahem...) where a – very horny – Ace of Spades with a lightbulb for a head presides over a bout of the aforementioned parlour game between you and the lovely Mindy. The basic game is simple enough, and fairly addictive (for the obvious reasons!) but sadly, there's only one girl, and it doesn't take long to get through her measly three items of clothing. The sound and graphics are very poor too, and the whole thing is less than titillating. For a far better CPC strip poker experience, check out Teenage Queen.

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3

Ant Attack

(40Crisis, 2014)

Reviewed by Missas

Who would have expected this? Ant Attack finally arrives on the CPC 31 years after its original Spectrum release! This version is 100% emulated, meaning that the CPC emulates the Spectrum version. For the story, this is a very interesting isometric arcade adventure game where you have to save your friend and avoid getting killed by giant ants. The graphics and the sound are Spectrum all the way. The gameplay is really interesting with a very strong grab factor. Unfortunately it is a small game. If it had missions it would be much better. Overall, it's a blast from the past, but it needs some improvements to refresh it.

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6

APB

(Domark/Tengen, 1989)

Officer Bob has to get into his police car and catch litterbugs, drunks and speeders, as well as arresting criminals. Each day, you're given a quota of offenders you have to catch, and every other day, there's a criminal for you to look out for. You can also buy improvements to your car and collect doughnuts to give you extra time, and there are bags of money lying around, too – although they may be booby-trapped! The graphics are all right, and the sound effects are reasonable enough, but it's a brilliant game; chasing cars is great fun! Unfortunately, there are a few annoying bugs.

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9

The Apprentice

(Mastertronic, 1986)

Reviewed by Alain Schroetter

In this very, very dull Sorcery-style adventure, you play the role of a wizard who must collect items and give them to other wizards in order to get a certain amount of silver rings. You fly so slowly across the screens that you could think you are crawling. The places you visit are inhabited by sundry creatures stupidly pacing up and down, and which come back when you have killed them anyway. If you happen to enter a room at the place where a monster is generated, you will lose all your lives at once. The graphics are not too bad, but that does not mean they are good either. The sole positive point is that you never really get annoyed by all the flaws in the game, because its slowness and its lulling tune soon make you sleep, and when you wake up, your time has run out and the game is over!

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2

Aqua

(CEZ Games Studio, 2007)

Reviewed by Missas

The story of this game is original; a bubble begins its quest from the bottom of the ocean, and you need to guide it through the dangers of deep water to the liberty of the surface! The controls are rather simple and easy to learn. You should try not to touch the surrounding rocks and sea creatures because the bubble will lose energy. The graphics are cute and colourful and happy tunes that remind us of old songs play during the game, although you can also turn them off. The grab factor is high. The quest of the bubble and the adventures you can experience through it can make you want to try again and again to succeed in reaching the surface. Overall, this is a pleasant game based on an original idea and is well executed by CEZ Games Studio.

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7

Aquad

(Norsoft, 1985)

Reviewed by Pug

A pleasing and easy to get into maze game, similar to Pacman, with an underwater setting. Before playing, you can set the number of nasties and also the speed of play. Simply collect the dots (big ones double your score) while avoiding the sea life that is searching for its meal. There are swinging doors that alter the maze layout as you move around, adding some variety. Simple but colourful graphics and cheerful effects and tunes complete a fun (if dated-looking) little game.

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6

Aquanaute

(FIL, 1988)

Reviewed by Pug

A colourful-looking game in which you dive into the depths of the ocean in search of adventure. Starting in your boat, you collect your air canister before jumping into the sea. A new screen loads which displays a bland-looking ocean with lethal fishing hooks that trap you and drain your energy. Reaching the bottom of this screen leads to a series of screens in which you dodge the sea life – one touch leads to game over. Reaching the sea bed leads to more variety in terms of visuals, which adds a little more interest. Sadly, you accidentally hit a fish and have to start all over again. A frustrating game that soon becomes boring.

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3

Arachnophobia

(Disney, 1991)

A highly aggressive spider from South America has mated with local spiders, and the local town is infested with them! In each of the seven affected suburbs, there are fifteen houses that are literally crawling with these deadly spiders. Starting in any of the houses, you must locate and destroy the nest and use your 'bugometer' to find the house that contains the queen spider. Destroying it is much easier if you have the flamethrower, but you'll need to find the right pieces first... The graphics are unbelievable and everything is superbly presented, although the difficulty level is high; if you're bitten just four times, the game is over, although you can restart on the same level you died.

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8

Arcade Flight Simulator

(Codemasters, 1989)

Codemasters certainly took things too far by tacking the word 'simulator' on to this game! It's a very straightforward arcade game with three levels based on the three world wars, with varying scenery and planes for each level. You have to shoot down a certain number of enemy planes and bomb their base to progress to the next level. The graphics are actually very good and there's some nice music on the menu, although the sound effects aren't up to much. The game itself is pretty average and there's little to do in it other than shoot planes.

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6

Arcade Fruit Machine

(Zeppelin, 1989)

Fruit machines – you love them or you hate them, with all their flashing lights and reels. Of the few fruit machine games on the CPC, this one is actually one of the best, with lots of options to win (or much more likely, lose) some money. You start with 50p and insert 2p coins to get some credits and spin those reels. If you can light all nine letters, you can play one of six extra games where you can use your skill or luck. The graphics are very colourful and well drawn and the sound effects are really good, too – lots of lovely pinging noises.

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7

Arcade Trivia

(Zeppelin, 1989)

If you're a pub quiz regular, you might like this game. You and up to two other players can join in for several rounds of trivia questions, starting with £1 and hoping to win some money. Each round consists of five questions taken from five categories, and if you answer them all correctly, there's a cash run where you can earn up to £5. Some of the questions may also reveal joker cards, although this is a more risky way of winning money. There are four question files to keep you going, but there's not that much variety, and the many atrocious spelling mistakes spoil the game a lot for me. (The answer to the question in the screenshot is "newtonium", by the way.)

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6

The Archers

(Level 9/Mosaic, 1986)

The Archers is a radio show which has been broadcasting on BBC Radio 4 since 1951. In this game, you get the chance to control the storylines for four of the show's characters – estate owner Jack Woolley, 19-year-old Elizabeth Archer, farmer Eddie Grundy, and entrepreneur Nelson Gabriel. At the start of the game, there are two million listeners, and throughout each of the four parts of the game, you are given a choice of three decisions which will affect the storyline accordingly. Making the wrong decisions isn't going to please the listeners, and if you haven't gained enough listeners by end of each part, you must start again. There are some fairly rudimentary graphics to accompany the majority of the storylines, but unless you're a fan of the show, you won't really enjoy this game all that much.

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6

Archon: The Light and the Dark

(Electronic Arts, 1989)

Reviewed by Pug

In Archon, you play a board game with a mythical setting. Similar to chess in its design and appearance, you control a set of characters – light or dark. Each character has various strengths and weaknesses, such as strength, speed and magic. You take it in turns to move around the board, which is made up of black, white and coloured squares. The different squares affect your performance; for example, a piece from the forces of Light will do well in combat while standing on a white square and poorly on a black one. There are also power squares, and if all are stood upon, your team gains tremendous power. Combat takes place in a battle arena where you and your opponent fight it out with your chosen weapon. Archon is an easy game to get into and soon grows into an intense game of strategy. The graphics look a little basic and so is the sound, but they play second fiddle to an addictive and challenging game.

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8

Area 51

(Nicholas Campbell, 2006)

Reviewed by Missas

Fizzog the alien has crashed his spaceship on our planet, and he needs to get replacement parts for his spaceship that can only be found in the infamous Area 51. It will not be an easy task as the parts are scattered across seven levels full of deadly obstacles and enemies. You must collect objects that are placed all over the screen using only your hand and eye coordination and some pixel-perfect jumps. Area 51 was originally released for the ZX Spectrum as an entry in the 2004 Minigame Competition and was converted to the Amstrad CPC two years later. The graphics are basic but well designed and a mysterious tune plays throughout the game. If you love the pre-1984 gaming era then do not miss this game; it's like an extra set of levels for Manic Miner. Overall, Area 51 is a nice little game which you can easily complete after a few tries.

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7

Argo Navis

(Kuma, 1985)

A spaceship has been overrun by aliens, and you have been sent on board to find twelve flashing blue crystals. There are 96 rooms to explore, and you must navigate platforms and stairs and dodge aliens in your search for the crystals. You will often find your way blocked by barriers which can only be moved by finding the corresponding switch. Flashing stars can also be collected for extra points, and you'll also need to collect oxygen cylinders to replenish your supply. Once you've found all twelve crystals, you must go to a particular room in the spaceship and insert them into some slots, and then it's a race against time back to the airlock where you originally entered! The graphics and sound effects are rather basic, but don't let this put you off; this is a good platform game which requires a bit of mapping and puzzle-solving as well.

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7

Arkanoid

(Imagine, 1987)

This is widely regarded as one of the best Breakout clones of all time and it's not hard to see why; in fact, a lot of people talk about Arkanoid clones instead! The graphics are brilliant and both the ball and bat move extremely smoothly across the screen. In addition, there are power-ups to collect and monsters which get in your way. The theme tune is wonderful to listen to as well. However, this game would get a much better mark if it wasn't for level three, which is nigh-on impossible to complete – I think I've managed it once without cheating. However, there is an unofficial construction kit which lets you create your own levels.

See also: Arkanoid: Revenge of Doh.

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7

Arkanoid: Revenge of Doh

(Imagine, 1988)

If you thought the original game was tough, you'll be screaming at the sequel. Yes, the authors clearly thought that those indestructible orange bricks should be added to the third level, again making progress beyond this level almost impossible. In fact, this was the subject of a letter in Amstrad Action (and no, I didn't write it). The graphics are better and the bat and ball scroll smoothly, but it's just too difficult. Do the authors of sequels have any sense at all?

See also: Arkanoid.

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6

Arkos

(Zigurat, 1988)

An axe with magical powers has been stolen from the village of Kartes by the evil Tarox, and its people have suffered terribly for years as a result – but then a boy called Arkos was born, and his childhood was spent training to eventually retrieve the axe and bring prosperity to Kartes once more. As Arkos, you must first cross the village to the marshes, where you will meet Tarox, who has transformed himself into a huge monster. Once you defeat him, a large bird will take you across the marshes to the abandoned temple of Zintos where you will find the axe. The graphics are very colourful and well drawn, but the sound effects are rather basic, and the first and third parts of the game are very frustrating due to the sheer number of enemies that can appear on the screen, which wastes a lot of your lives.

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6

The Armageddon Man

(Martech, 1987)

In 2032, the world is close to Armageddon. Sixteen countries form the United Nuclear Nations (UNN), and its supreme commander, the so-called 'Armageddon Man', decides the fate of the world. It's your job to maintain world peace and stability between these nations. You have a network of satellites which allow you to eavesdrop on communications and shoot down nuclear missiles. There are other aspects of the game as well, and you can also declare your support for, or criticise, any of the nations. Events happen quickly, and it's quite a task to keep up with them. This is an icon-driven strategy game and will take some time to master. If you've got the patience, you might well like it a lot, but it really isn't the type of game that everyone will enjoy.

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7

Army Moves

(Dinamic, 1986)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

If you already know a few Dinamic games, it's hardly useful to present you this one. Two words will be sufficient: 'beautiful' and 'unplayable'. In the first part, you drive a jeep and then fly a helicopter, and you must clear your way through myriads of enemy jeeps and helicopters. If this wasn't enough, there are many holes in the road so you have to jump to avoid them, and missiles keep falling. It's a real challenge to stay alive for more than 15 seconds. In the second part, you must cross a swamp to enter the enemy camp and destroy it. As usual with the Spanish developers, the graphics are colourful and the sprites move smoothly. The game window is a bit too small, however. Unless you play with infinite lives or are specially gifted (I'm not), it's really hard to keep your self-control!

See also: Navy Moves.

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5

Arquimedes XXI

(ESP Soft, 2011)

Reviewed by Missas

Arquimedes XXI was originally released for the Spectrum and MSX machines in 1987, but thanks to ESP Soft, it is also available for the CPC. Firstly, this is a pure text adventure. The game starts with a well drawn introduction screen. The graphics are above average (MODE 0) with a fine colour selection, but they are not too detailed. The result is satisfactory, though. The parser is limited to simple words like "examine" and "w" (meaning west) and after some practice, a player won't have any problems with the interface. Because of the well drawn in-game screens, the gameplay is further assisted. The plot is very interesting, thus the grab factor is strong. A minus here is that the game itself is rather small. Overall, an interesting text adventure that is worth playing.

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7

Artura

(Gremlin, 1989)

You are Artura, and your evil half-sister Morgause has kidnapped Nimue, apprentice to Merdyn the Mage. You must rescue Nimue so that Merdyn can recover the lost Treasures of Albion and reunite the kingdom of Albion. Behind the rather grandiose background is a run-of-the-mill platform game in which you must explore a huge castle in the search for magical runes that will enable you to teleport to other sections of the castle in your search for Morgause. The castle is filled with warriors, rats, bats and other creatures which you can kill with your axe, and witches also need to be defeated in order to reveal some of the runes. The music that plays before the start of each game is amazing, but the graphics look rather dull in comparison, and the game requires a lot of walking around and exploration; you'll definitely need to make a map to find your way around.

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5

Aspar GP Master

(Dinamic, 1988)

Jorge Martínez 'Aspar' won four motorcycle World Championships in the 80cc and 125cc classes in the 80s, and this game (released outside Spain as Grand Prix Master) sees you competing in the 80cc World Championship, which consists of seven tracks and a total of twelve other riders. Unlike most other racing games, you get an overhead view of the track, rather than a view from the motorbike. You can practice each track before attempting to qualify and ultimately race, which is a good thing, because qualifying isn't easy. Your bike has a turbo booster which you need to use in the corners to maximise your speed. Getting the hang of qualifying and racing will take a lot of practice, but it's worth it, as the game is a lot of fun once you've mastered it.

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8

Asphalt

(Ubi Soft, 1987)

America's highways are ruled by lawless anarchists, and the juggernauts that travel all over these highways now require armed protection. You're in control of one of these lorries and have to shoot all the cars and motorbikes that come up behind (and sometimes in front of) you and attack you. As well as a gun, you've got a flamethrower and some mines, although these are limited. At the top right of the screen, you can see how damaged your juggernaut is, and if any section becomes badly damaged, the juggernaut will burst into flames. The graphics are good, but I found the action to be a bit dull and repetitive.

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6

Assault Course

(Players, 1990)

Joystick-waggling games are normally the bane of my life, so it's refreshing to see such a game where battering the hell out of the joystick won't work! Better still, it can be played using a keyboard! As you might have guessed, you're taking part in an assault course and you must complete the course within the time limit. It's all about getting a sense of rhythm – if you lose it, you'll fall off some of the obstacles, which is rather easy. It is possible to complete the courses, but they're all much the same, really.

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6

Assault on Port Stanley

(Amsoft, 1985)

The Falklands War of 1982 saw British forces retake the Falkland Islands after it was briefly occupied by Argentina, and this game is very loosely based on it. The game begins with you controlling a British warship and firing at enemy ships – although you can't adjust the range of your gun. At any time, you can launch a helicopter, where you must dodge and shoot enemy planes. If you reach land before you run out of fuel, you must then fly your helicopter through a narrow channel and dodge even more enemies, while occasionally stopping at huts to collect troops and refuel. The gameplay is badly flawed, particularly in the first stage, where the best way to survive is to avoid confrontation with the enemy ships. The graphics are rather basic and there's very little variety in the enemies you encounter.

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3

Asterix and the Magic Cauldron

(Melbourne House, 1987)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

Recover the seven missing pieces of Getafix's cauldron so he can brew his famous magic potion, or else the small village of indomitable Gauls will no longer be able to hold out against the Roman invaders. As always, it's up to Asterix to save the day accompanied by his ever-ravenous friend Obelix. Make your way around the village, its forest, the surrounding fortified camps and even the Imperial capital itself whilst engaging in combat with nefarious legionaries, wild boars and even a Gladiator in the quest set before you. It's a nice looking game, but it has no sound and is ultimately way too difficult as the fight sections are a bit of a gamble.

See also: Asterix Chez Rahazade.

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7

Asterix Chez Rahazade

(French)

(Coktel Vision, 1988)

Asterix and his colleagues are surprised when an Indian fakir, Kiçah, arrives at their village looking for help. The monsoon season has passed, and the Ganges valley, where the fakir comes from, has not seen any rain at all. Kiçah wants Asterix, Obelix and Cacofonix (or Assurancetourix as he is known to French readers) to travel to India before Princess Rahazade is sacrificed to the gods. This is a graphic adventure where decisions are made based upon choices you make during conversations with the characters. Among the places to visit are Roman camps, Rome itself, a pirate ship, and ancient Greece. The graphics are spectacular, but the game can become slightly wearisome, and there seems to be no indication of how well you're doing.

See also: Asterix and the Magic Cauldron.

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7

Astro Attack

(Amsoft, 1984)

The simplest games aren't always the best as far as I'm concerned. This game sees you controlling a spaceship and flying it around a maze, firing at enemy spaceships and watching out for laser beams that pop up randomly to block your path. Once you destroy all the enemies, you're faced with the same thing all over again. The graphics are extremely blocky, albeit colourful, but there isn't much sound – and why should there be? Nonetheless, there's only so much I can take of this game; it gets boring rather quickly for me.

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5

Astroball

(The Power House, 1988)

This is a simple and cheerful little game that starts off being addictive but becomes a bit frustrating. You control a ball which constantly moves left and right and bounces off the walls and anything else it comes into contact with – you can only move it up and down. The aim in each of the sixteen screens is to collect four objects within the time limit and avoid hurting the ball too much. The graphics are brilliant and the music on the title screen is also great, albeit a little bizarre for some tastes. However, most of the game is written in BASIC and the controls can often be unresponsive, and the ball sometimes has a mind of its own.

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6

Astro Plumber

(Blue Ribbon, 1986)

You have been sent to a scientific research base beneath the Moon's surface so that you can repair some leaking pipes. However, the underground caverns also contain many strange inhabitants which cannot be destroyed, and you will lose one of your three lives if you touch any of them. You have a jet-pack to help you avoid them, but it has a limited supply of fuel. Your supply of air is also limited, and you will need to return to the surface regularly to get some more air. This is a very simple platform game with basic graphics and very poor sound effects. The need to return to the surface regularly to refill your air supply, as well as the inability to destroy any of the inhabitants, makes this a frustrating game that you won't want to play again after a few goes.

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Atahualpa

(Transoft, 1985)

Reviewed by John Beckett

Atahualpa was the last ruler of the Incas before the Spanish came over to conquer Peru, and this game is set in that time period. The whole premise is slightly vague, but you control a young woman and must traverse the maze-like layout of the levels, avoiding the many enemies and collecting scattered items, all of which are shown on a handy map on the right of the screen. Things can get pretty hectic at times, but you are helped by the ability to sprout wings and fly above all the carnage for a limited time. The graphics are tiny and lacking in colour, there are too many bad guys after you, and the whole thing is just very vague and mysterious. There is a nice rendition of Ravel's Boléro during the game, though.

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The A-Team

(Zafiro, 1988)

The A-Team are four Vietnam war veterans who are wanted by the American government, after having escaped from prison for crimes they didn't commit. The TV series, which was shown in the 80s, was extremely popular (and extremely violent). In the computer game, the A-Team have invaded an army base, and your task is to clear it of the enemy soldiers and tanks. The screen scrolls horizontally and you must aim your crosshairs at them and fire, but try not to run out of ammo, or shoot your fellow team members! The scrolling is a bit slow, and the brilliant theme tune to the TV series isn't here (shame!), but there's plenty of action and the graphics are nice too.

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ATF

(Digital Integration, 1988)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

Pilot the Advanced Tactical Fighter across hostile territory in this flight simulator-cum-shoot-'em-up. Armed with a multitude of Amraam and Maverick missiles, as well as your gun cannons, you must engage enemy forces on land, sea and air. Fly over green pastures, deserts, mountains and oceans as you destroy the opposition's fighters and installations. Viewed from a 3D perspective behind the plane, the ATF moves along nicely in the fast scrolling three-dimensional environment, and the surrounding information banks on your screen are a nice touch. While it has more of an arcade feel than most flight simulators, the loss of realism is compensated by good graphics, sound and gameplay.

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Athlete

(Microïds, 1985)

Up to six players can compete in a series of five athletics events – the 100m sprint, the long jump, the 110m hurdles, the javelin, and the 400m. This is basically a French version of Daley Thompson's Decathlon. The graphics are rather drab and flicker a lot, although the athletes themselves are animated fairly well, and the sound effects are mediocre. As you might expect, each event requires some serious joystick waggling or keyboard bashing, and accurate timing of your jumps is also necessary for some events. If you manage to complete all five events, you'll be exhausted! This is a reasonable game, but its main drawback is that unlike most other games of this nature, you only get one chance to qualify for each event; if you fail, your game ends immediately.

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A320

(French)

(Loriciels, 1988)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

As the captain of an A320 airbus, you must prevent a hijacking and save your passengers. First, you have to gain access on board. Then, you'll have to pilot the plane and arrest the hijacker. Well, that's easy to say... This rather good game features digitised pictures and good sound effects. What made it very boring was the loading time between two screens. Though the pictures sometimes look good, they often look blurred and it may be difficult to spot little details – and every detail counts in this game.

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Atlantis

(Anirog, 1985)

Skip is a diver searching for treasure within the domain of King Neptune. On each level, Skip must rescue a harmless purple creature known as Cute, and either collect a pearl or rescue a sailor or a mermaid – but his air supply is limited, and he must also avoid other nasty creatures such as sharks, octopuses and crabs which roam Neptune's domain, as any contact with them costs a life. The graphics are simple but colourful and nicely animated, and a variety of sea shanties play during the game, but there are only three levels, and the second level is frustratingly difficult.

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Atom Ant

(Hi-Tec, 1990)

"Up and atom!" Seven levels of action await our diminutive hero, with eight bombs to be defused on each level. Each bomb must be carried to the top of the building, where the bomb can be defused by touching a strange glass ball (!). Of course, Atom Ant will have to avoid all the planes, helicopters, missiles and other flying insects that guard some of the bombs, and there's a time limit as well. Even so, the game is a bit too easy, although it may take a while to work out how to dodge the plane that guards the defuser on the second level! The graphics are good in most places and the music at the start of the game is excellent.

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Atomic Driver

(Loriciels, 1988)

Here's a crazy little game, in which you seemingly control a car which has to drive around the town shooting other cars and strange objects, while not bumping into them, because if you do, the game is over. I don't know what the aim of the game is – maybe you're just meant to get as high a score as you can – but the really cute and colourful graphics and sheer silliness of it make it ridiculously addictive for me! It's a shame the music isn't very good, and only having one life is a bit annoying, but these are minor drawbacks to what is actually a rather good game.

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Atomic Fiction

(Chip, 1987)

Reviewed by Pug

Atomic Fiction is a pleasant little game based on Oil's Well, which in turn is quite similar to Pac-Man. Here you have a small maze filled with dots that must be collected by a grabber. The grabber comes from above ground and is extended downwards by a pipeline. Within the maze are nasties that move along the screen horizontally. If they hit your pipeline, you lose a life. Both the graphics and sound are reasonable and suit this simple but entertaining idea for a game. The controls, though, are not always responsive.

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Atomik

(FIL, 1988)

An extremely ugly-looking Breakout clone – so ugly that one can be forgiven for thinking that it's written in BASIC. It isn't, by the way; if it was a BASIC listing in a magazine, it would be reasonably good, but as a full-blown commercial game, it is appallingly bad. Actually, it's not so bad that it deserves zero out of ten. The game is actually playable, although you can't stop the bat from moving, so positioning it below the ball is very tricky and the game is pretty difficult because of this. You can also design your own levels, but you'll simply be put off by the abysmal (and very flickery) graphics.

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Atom Smasher

(Amsoft, 1984)

Imagine that you're controlling a rocket which is the size of an electron, and that you're orbiting around an atom. The aim of this game is to shoot a target that moves within the nucleus of the atom, while avoiding collisions with the electrons. When you manage to shoot the target, another electron is added to the atom. Things quickly get hectic, because the electrons soon start to move so fast that avoiding them is very difficult. The graphics and sound are both awful, anyway – and your rocket doesn't seem to obey any of the laws of quantum mechanics!

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Atrog

(Zafiro, 1988)

A hundred years ago, the Khun tribe were evicted from their homeland by the savage and merciless Krull tribe. Now, it's time for revenge, and the warrior Atrog has been chosen by the Khun to slay every one of the Krull. There are three levels, with three groups of people in each, and you must kill all the people in one group before facing the next group. You'll soon find that it's better to hit them once, move away from them to avoid their punches, and hit them again. This makes for a slow and tedious game, and it's a pity that the gameplay doesn't match the absolutely marvellous graphics – and why do you hear white noise throughout the game?

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Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

(Global, 1986)

Wimp starts his shift at the PuraTom processing plant at 9 o'clock to find that all the tomatoes have mutated and run amok! He has to stop the big killer tomatoes and shove them in holes, and crush the smaller bouncing tomatoes before he goes home at 5 o'clock. You'll need salt to kill the bouncing tomatoes, and when you kill six of them, the salt will run out and you will need to find some more. I won't tell you what objects you need to kill the big tomatoes, though. There are also punch cards which Wimp can insert into the cube-shaped objects dotted around the plant to gain extra time. At first glance, it looks like another Spectrum port with the dull, monochrome graphics, but if you take the time to play it, you might find it's actually not a bad game at all.

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ATV Simulator

(Codemasters, 1988)

Take to the off-road in your all-terrain vehicle and negotiate six courses within the time limits set for each one. As this is supposed to be an all-terrain vehicle, the courses take place in deserts, grassland, swamps, and even on ice, and the obstacles you have to tackle also depend on the scenery. The graphics are quite good (especially when you're flung off your vehicle and it lands upside down), but they lack colour, and the sound and music are both OK as well. It's not great, but at least you can progress through the first few courses without much bother.

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Auf Wiedersehen Monty

(Gremlin, 1987)

Having escaped from the clutches of Intermole by hiding in Gibraltar, Monty Mole now dreams of spending the rest of his days on the island of Montos in Greece. First, though, he's got to get some money. This is a jolly little platform game where the map resembles that of Europe, although to reach some countries, you'll have to find an airline ticket and check in at a desk. Littered around the map are travellers' cheques which Monty can pick up, and as money is collected, you'll see a picture of Montos appear gradually at the bottom of the screen. The graphics are simple but still quite good, while a catchy melody plays constantly in the background.

See also: Impossamole, Monty on the Run.

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Aussie Games

(Erbe/US Gold, 1990)

A rather unusual selection of six Australian-themed events is provided in this humorous game. It starts with belly-flopping into Sydney harbour, then continues with shark fishing, shooting beer bottles from a moving jeep, kicking and catching a ball from one player to another on a beach, throwing and catching a boomerang, and finally, a dry boat race. The graphics are very colourful and the animation is marvellous, and there are some really jolly tunes to listen to. Like most multi-event games, not all of the events will appeal to everyone, and the controls are quite difficult to understand on a couple of them. Overall, though, it's an entertaining and well presented game, and the pictures that are displayed after competing in each event are a really nice touch.

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Australian Rules Football

(Again Again, 1989)

Reviewed by Richard Lamond

Control the Koalas in their attempts to win either the Outback Amateur League or the Victorian Football League in this CPC interpretation of the Australian sport. This is a shabby representation of a sport that takes place on a cricket oval, but here is represented by three flick-screens; when the ball isn't present on the screen you're in, then it effectively doesn't exist until you go back into the screen that contains the ball. Knocking the ball out of bounds results in a re-take from the centre spot and it's disturbingly easy to run from the centre spot and score a goal (worth six points). Your computer opponent is poor, scoring the odd behind (worth one point) but otherwise being largely useless. The graphics are uninspiring and sound effects are restricted to the odd whistle and crowd noise. There is no two-player option either; a real disappointment.

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Autocras

(Zigurat, 1991)

I love the dodgem cars at the funfair, but this is no ordinary dodgem car session – no, this one involves lots of killing! Your aim is to bash the opponents' dodgem cars and cause them to fly out of their cars. As they run on to the arena to grab another car, you have to run them over with a sickening crunch! However, the timing is important; you must build up speed by circling the arena for a while, and bash into your opponents' dodgems after they've just crashed. Of course, your opponents can do the same to you... The first level is OK, but the second level, where there are two other competitors, is too hard, and it's a boring game, anyway, even with all the blood and gore.

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Avenger

(Gremlin, 1986)

Reviewed by John Beckett

When I saw the loading screen, I knew this game was going to be special – a ninja with a pair of shurikens seemingly bursting from a tiger's head! Cool! The plot of the game is uncertain; something about ridding the dungeon of monsters to please the god Kwon. You can call on Kwon's services to regain your health several times, but do it too much, and he gets angry and kills you! Ungrateful fool! The dungeons are fairly huge and difficult, but not overly so – each go takes you that bit further, and the player's interest is kept going with new monsters and treasures to uncover. The graphics are fine – small but clear, and very well animated – and the music is a treat; a nice kung fu ditty and lots of satisfying explosions! I love ninja games, and this is one of the best. I advise you play it as soon as possible!

See also: The Way of the Tiger.

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Les Aventures de Pépito au Mexique

(Belin, 1991)

Pépito is a cartoon character which is used in France to advertise a brand of sugary chocolate biscuits and cakes. You play Pépito, on the trail of some Mexican bandits who have stolen his supply of chocolate. The journey takes you across 34 screens, confronting the local wildlife, as well as chasms, boulders, and the bandits themselves. Most of the hazards are avoided by jumping over them, which requires some careful timing, although some enemies can be fought off by flinging your sombrero, or some chocolate biscuits, at them. The game is aimed at young children, so it's slightly easy, but while the graphics are absolutely stunning, you have to wait 15 seconds on average for the next screen to load, and unless you have a lot of patience, you will soon find yourself losing your temper.

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