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Baby Jo

(Loriciel, 1992)

Baby Jo is lost in the park, and his mother is worried about him, but being a strong and brave little baby, he makes his own way home. There are four levels which take Jo through the park and some caves and mine shafts, before emerging again in a housing estate and his mother's house. This is a jolly platform game which has 'cute' written all over it; the graphics in particular are marvellous and really colourful, and the scenery and the types of monsters that Jo faces are also cute. The levels are big and are divided into several sections; if you lose a life, you restart at the beginning of the section you died on. There are also passwords for each level, which is also very helpful. The only problem with the game is that there is no sound at all!

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8

Bachou

(Central Solutions, 1986)

Back in the early days of the CPC, Central Solutions were well known for always releasing games that were truly abysmal, and this is no exception. Aliens have invaded Earth and are destroying the cities, and you must shoot them. How original is that? Each level takes place on the same single screen with four cities represented at the bottom. The aliens zoom around the screen, dropping bombs on the cities, and if they are all destroyed, the game is over. If you shoot enough aliens, you can go to the next level, which is more or less the same as the previous one. The graphics and sound effects are primitive and there's nothing to make you want to have another go at the game.

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2

Back to Reality

(Mastertronic, 1986)

The ship in which you are travelling has entered a black hole and emerged into a parallel universe. You have to get it back into the real universe by somehow making antimatter and combining it with matter. This is an adventure game which involves collecting objects and turning them into new objects, from which you eventually end up making antimatter. You'll need to be rather good at science to work out all the puzzles! You've also got a limited supply of oxygen which will need to be replenished frequently. The graphics are OK but the music (if you can call it that) is terrible, the man you control walks much too slowly, and at the end of the day, the game really isn't all that interesting.

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6

Back to the Future Part II

(Image Works, 1990)

Reviewed by Pug

We've all seen the movie, so there's no need to explain the premise behind this one. The game opens with the hoverboard chase, which looks very dull in monochrome, where you race to the town hall while taking on Biff's cronies. The second level looks more appealing graphically, as you help Jennifer leave the house unnoticed. A dull monochrome beat-'em-up follows this, leading to an animated sliding puzzle game. The final level is similar to the first one. The graphics vary, the music is good, but the game doesn't work too well, as some of the stages are sluggish.

See also: Back to the Future Part III.

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4

Back to the Future Part III

(Image Works, 1991)

Reviewed by Pug

Image Works got their act together with this game and made better use of the CPC. Again, great presentation upon loading followed by good visuals. In this one, you are chasing the train in order to save Dr. Brown's sweetheart. You start on horseback, which is well animated, and travel along entering various towns. The scene changes to a 2D shoot-'em-up with cowboys and Indians. Beyond this, you face Mad Dog's gang in an isometric shootout. This game is a great improvement on the previous one. The graphics and sound are all spot on.

See also: Back to the Future Part II.

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8

Back to the Golden Age

(French)

(Ubi Soft, 1991)

A great mage once ruled the world by using the power of four magical crystal balls, or Edres. The mage held one of the Edres, and three priests held another Edre each. However, one of the priests has stolen three of the Edres in an attempt to take over the world. You are Zad, and have been entrusted by the great mage to recover the missing Edres. This is an arcade adventure where you explore castles and dungeons, collect potions, fight knights and warriors, buy supplies, and cast various spells, although the descriptions of what they are used for are often very cryptic. The graphics and animation have been done superbly, and the game itself is really big and will keep you occupied for a long time.

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8

Bacterik Dream

(Chip, 1987)

Researchers from the US Army have created a virus, but it is out of control, and they have asked for your help in wiping it out. Each level consists of a single screen containing viruses and white blood cells, and you must destroy all the viruses before they infect all the blood cells. To do this, you can use either a rolling pin to flatten the viruses, a pair of lasers to fry them, or a combination of the two – but you must decide which method to use at the beginning of the game. Each level also contains many coloured tiles which affect play in different ways. This is a simple arcade game, but it's very enjoyable and the action is frantic throughout; there's no time at all to relax!

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8

Bactron

(Loriciels, 1986)

A patient is critically ill, and viruses are spreading around his body. Bactron – a yellow blob of antibiotics – must reactivate the enzymes which have been sterilised by the viruses. The game involves lots of exploration, trying to locate the enzymes in the patient's body while avoiding the viruses which will drain your energy if you touch them. It's a race against time as well; more viruses are being produced and the patient's temperature is rising. The enzymes are shown as yellow cubes, and activating them boosts Bactron's energy, but don't touch the light blue cubes! The rooms are viewed from an isometric perspective, and the graphics are absolutely gorgeous, especially considering the year it was released. The music is wonderful and really groovy, and it's a nice game with a clever plot.

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8

Bad Cat

(Go!, 1987)

Inspired by the Olympic Games, the stray cats of Los Angeles have teamed together to hold their own competition. Up to four players compete in four events. There are two obstacle courses to negotiate, a game in which you must jump into the air and catch geometric shapes while trying not to fall into a pool of water, and a ten-pen bowling game against a dog, in which you bowl balls and try to hit each other with them. Between each event, you have to travel across the city to the next event on a motorbike. (These cats are really cool!) The graphics are well drawn, but the game seems to be aimed at children, as I found it to be far too easy, and unless you can find someone else to play against, there isn't enough challenge to make you want to play it again.

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5

Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja

(Imagine, 1988)

Reviewed by John Beckett

Ninja games are always welcome in my house, and this one has a plot to die for. Ronnie Reagan has been kidnapped by ninjas and you, as the 'Bad Dude' Blade, must rescue him. But instead of launching a full-scale investigation, Blade sets out to find the President by walking along the back of trucks and through the sewers, taking on whole armies of ninjas! Cool! Well, actually, not that cool, because this game could have been so much better. The graphics are nice and colourful, if a little blocky, and the sound is fine; it's just the lack of a two-player option, and a general rushed feel to the game that let it down. Still, lots of cool power-ups, a good variety of levels and some great end-of-level bosses rise this above the average.

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7

Badlands

(Domark, 1990)

Most of the Earth has been turned into a wasteland, and the only form of entertainment is racing, with bullets and missiles. There are three drones (cars), and to stay in the game, you must win all the races which take place over four laps, although there are oil slicks, bombs, and spikes which litter each track. During the race, spanners appear on the track, and collecting these lets you upgrade the car or buy some missiles. The game is too easy, though, and you can tell it's a Spectrum port by the graphics – they're terrible!

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3

Bad Max

(French)

(Transoft, 1985)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

This adventure game, taking place in a neo-punk universe (hence its title), is a failed attempt at creating a game using stereo vision. Remember the movie Jaws 3-D, which you had to watch wearing ridiculous red and blue glasses? Well, if you have a pair of these glasses left, you may have a look at this game. At best, you'll get a real headache! Now, the graphics (in red and blue) are far from great, the parser is rather poor (but at least you can get the list of all possible actions, which is useful), and you must be familiar with French slang if you wish to understand a few sentences. Consider it as a curiosity...

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4

Ball Bearing

(Radical, 1993)

Appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape

Isn't it amazing how the simplest ideas often result in the best games? As an example, take nine levels of horizontally scrolling action, and make the player control a metal ball, but only allowing them to move it up or down while it bounces left and right off the walls. It really is surprisingly addictive. Your aim is to collect all the rings on each level, although a bug in the game means you can avoid collecting one ring. There are various power-ups to collect, some of which are nasty and alter the ball's controls. Even with three lives, the levels aren't very tough, but you will keep coming back to it.

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9

Ballblazer

(Activision/Lucasfilm, 1987)

A thousand years in the future, Ballblazer is the most popular sport in the galaxy. It's a very simple game where two players control a vehicle known as a rotofoil and hit a ball (or a plasmorb as it's known in Ballblazer) into the opponent's goal. Each game can last between one and ten minutes, and the first player to score five goals, or the most goals when the time has run out, is the winner. It sounds simple, but it's rather tricky to play. There's no map to let you know where you are on the pitch, although when you've got the ball, you'll always face your opponent's goal. Getting the ball off your opponent is also frustrating, especially on the higher skill levels (there are ten in total). It is a very fast-paced game, but it also has some flaws.

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7

Ballbreaker

(CRL, 1987)

Breakout in isometric 3D – now that sounds interesting. As well as a ball, the bat is also armed with some missiles, which you'll need to blast the monsters and certain bricks. It's not just a case of destroying all the bricks; on some screens, you'll have to make use of the power-ups that are there. It has got some colourful graphics, and the music is pretty good (although it can be switched off), but the isometric style doesn't work well, as it's difficult to judge where the ball will go. There is also a sequel, Ballbreaker II, with lots of new levels for you to try out.

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6

Ball Crazy

(Mastertronic, 1987)

Meet Eric, a bouncy green ball. What he has to do is to make all the tiles in one layer the same colour as the one shown below the TV screen by continuously bouncing on it. When you've done that, another layer appears, until you reach the tile below the TV and go on to the next level. Various objects appear from the TV to make your life that little bit harder, though, but there are lots of bonuses to collect as they fall from the roof. This game is rather average and is a bit easy as you start with about ten lives, and I think it's really aimed more at children.

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6

Balloonacy

(Cronosoft, 2008)

Guide the red balloon through sixteen screens littered with obstacles, without touching any of them. On each screen is an electrified window, and you must manoeuvre the balloon carefully and skilfully to the master switch so that the electricity can be switched off, allowing you to exit through the window. Of course, this isn't as easy as it seems, thanks to the monsters, walls, laser beams and spikes that must be avoided. The first few screens are a gentle introduction to the game and are fairly easy to complete, but some very accurate control will be required to complete the later screens! The graphics are colourful and there are several merry tunes that play throughout the game. The concept of this game may be very simple, but it will take a lot of skill to master.

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7

Balloon Buster

(Blue Ribbon, 1989)

Appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape

Buster the clown has to burst all the balloons on each level in the correct sequence of colours – red, green, yellow and blue – by throwing a ball into the air, and he can only burst one balloon at a time. He also has a time limit to beat. It really is a children's game and it shows. For a start, it's a bit easy, and each time you lose, you can simply restart from the level you were on. It's true that it's extremely colourful, but not only is it easy, it also becomes boring rather quickly.

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5

Banger Racer

(Cult, 1991)

Banger racing involves a lot of people driving unroadworthy cars around an oval circuit and smashing into each other, with the sole survivor being declared the winner. In this management simulation (well, what else did you expect from Cult?), you're a young racer taking part in a league consisting of three divisions, the aim being to reach the top of Division 1. Each season consists of 30 races, in which around 20 drivers compete. You start off with a fairly poor car and not much skill, but booking training courses will help, and as you start to win prize money, you can improve your car, buy mechanics and get some sponsorship. This is one of Cult's better games, and it's the only game of its type that I know of, but the options are rather limited and it eventually becomes repetitive.

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6

Bangers and Mash

(Alternative, 1992)

Bangers and Mash are two chimpanzees who starred in their own TV cartoon show, and they get up to a lot of mischief. On this occasion, Bangers has been rather naughty, so his mother sends him into the jungle to collect some fruit for a nice tart she's preparing. The jungle is full of nasty creatures which kill Bangers on contact – hedgehogs, giant ladybirds (!) and Venus fly-traps. You must also watch out for ghosts and Witch Snitchnose. Diamonds as well as fruit can be collected for bonus points, and some flowers have interesting effects if you touch them. This could have been a reasonably good game – the graphics are cheerful, and the jolly TV theme tune is also present – but it's much too hard, and the levels are too big.

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5

Barbarian

(Melbourne House, 1988)

Hegor the Barbarian must enter the underground realm of Durgan and slay the evil Necron in order to become ruler of the kingdom and gain the crown. You won't be surprised to hear that this involves lots of sword fighting and slaying a lot of monsters throughout your quest. Although it's a platform game, you control Hegor through the use of an icon system, allowing you to jump, somersault, pick up, drop, select and use weapons. Fortunately, there are very few – maybe even no – situations where you are in immediate danger, so you have time to select the correct icon without losing a life. The graphics and animation are excellent, and although the game may not be fast-paced and full of action, it's still fairly satisfactory overall.

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7

Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior

(Palace, 1987)

Princess Mariana has been captured by the evil Drax, and to rescue her, he has challenged you to a series of fights against his toughest warriors. You may remember that the advertisements for this game were a bit controversial, featuring an almost naked Maria Whittaker as the princess, and Michael van Wijk (Wolf out of the TV programme Gladiators) as the barbarian. You can also practice your skills, or play against a friend. This is a great game with some really good animation and beautiful scenery, and some excellent atmospheric music. It's also fun because you can chop your opponent's head off with the right move, as shown in the screenshot!

See also: Barbarian II.

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9

Barbarian II

(Palace, 1989)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

Having thought you'd dispatched the bald-headed evil wizard in the first adventure, you find that you must fight your way again to defeat Drax. This time you have the choice of the Barbarian or the curvaceous Princess to chop and slash your way through a plethora of various monsters – not humans this time – which are each defeated differently, against a wide selection of pretty backdrops which connect to form a labyrinth our heroes have to travel through to confront your enemy in the final showdown. Essentially, apart from the same look and feel (which is welcome), this is a different type of game from its predecessor; there's no two-player action (as in no head chops) and it thereby suffers for it. Incidentally, the cartridge version is exactly the same as the normal CPC version!

See also: Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior.

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5

The Bard's Tale: Tales of the Unknown

(Electronic Arts, 1988)

Reviewed by Pug

Skara Brae has been taken over and ruined; only fear resides here now. Your band of adventurers must find the Evil Mage's lair and defeat him. The world of The Bard's Tale is full of temples, taverns, inns, sewers, castles, monsters and treasure. With these ingredients, you end up with a classic and addictive role-playing game. The graphics may look primitive at first, but in the long term they grow on you with their distinct style. You soon become engrossed in this game. As you develop, it is a real joy to slay that beast that once ate you for breakfast!

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9

Barrier Reef

(The Power House, 1987)

You have been sent down into the Great Barrier Reef in a submarine to collect lots of cash, although I don't know how it got there. The reef is really a large maze, and you'll find some sections cut off – but there are bombs lying around which will enable you to reach other sections of the reef. Watch your oxygen levels as well, and don't touch the fish, or you'll lose one of your nine lives. This is just a bog-standard exploration game with poor graphics and sound effects, and little variety in the gameplay. Avoid it!

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3

Barry McGuigan's World Championship Boxing

(Activision, 1985)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

Here's another boxing game, based upon the legendary Irish featherweight champion. The first interesting feature is that you begin the game before the fight. You have ten weeks to practice and you can choose between several activities to improve your strength and stamina (e.g. roadwork, heavy bag, sparring). You can also choose your opponent, which brings a little 'simulation' touch to the game. The fights are rather realistic; knockouts are really well rendered. Unlike many other games, you can block the punches of your opponents, and an uppercut doesn't look like a right hook. The sound of the crowd, which increases when the fight toughens, is great too. Though it shows its age, it is still a good game.

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7

Basil the Great Mouse Detective

(Gremlin, 1987)

The evil rodent criminal, Professor Ratigan, has kidnapped Basil's friend, Dr. Dawson. Using his detective skills, Basil must hunt for clues as to Ratigan's whereabouts. On each of the three levels are five clues hidden inside tins or bags, which Basil must search. However, the devious Ratigan has also left behind eight false clues. Fortunately, by pressing a particular key when you are carrying five clues, you can find out how many of them are the clues you're looking for. You can also find mousetraps to trap enemies with, and cheese to restore your energy. The graphics are very colourful indeed and are really appealing, but the game is very difficult as it's often impossible to avoid losing energy in some situations, and it's depleted too quickly.

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6

Basket Master

(Dinamic/Imagine, 1987)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

Dinamic are famous for creating good-looking games which are cursed with a difficulty level that makes them hardly playable. Unfortunately, this basketball game (known as Fernando Martín Basket Master in its native Spain) is not an exception to the rule. Playing against the former Spanish player who gave his name to the game, or against a friend, you must prove your skills in a one-on-one game. You can dribble, shoot from every position, dunk, defend and make fouls – and you will, because it's hard to retain possession of the ball for more than a few seconds, even on the easiest level. The controls aren't suited to a sports game, and scoring feels like a miracle. After every basket, a replay scene reminds you how badly you play and how easy it is for your opponent to score. This is the kind of game that requires a lot of self-control.

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4

BAT

(Ubi Soft, 1991)

Reviewed by CPC4eva

You play the role of an agent of BAT on a vital mission to apprehend some dangerous escaped criminals. The city of Terrapolis on the planet of Selenia is known for hosting some of the most dangerous killers in the universe. There you must search for the criminals by exploring and using your bargaining or ruthlessness with the people that live there. Be careful and trust no one – not even the police. An immense game in size and scope, the stunning graphics will have you mesmerised and it is not an exaggeration to say that this is an 8-bit graphical masterpiece. The game is played by using a point-and-click interface, and while it may sound boring, it's rather practical and is extremely easy to use, allowing you to explore and have a real sense of adventure. You will become hooked on this amazing game.

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8

Batman

(Ocean, 1986)

Robin has been kidnapped, and to rescue him, Batman has to find seven pieces of the Batmobile which have gone missing in his lair, which is very big indeed. First, though, you're going to need to find four other items which improve your agility; when you find them, you can then explore other parts of the lair. Each room is viewed from an isometric perspective, and the graphics are very detailed, although some rooms have awful colour schemes! The sound isn't particularly good, though, but the game is quite a challenge, and you're going to need all of the eight lives you start with. Thankfully, you can collect icons which let you save your current status and location to memory (although unfortunately not to cassette or disc).

See also: Batman the Caped Crusader, Batman: The Movie.

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8

Batman the Caped Crusader

(Ocean, 1988)

The Joker and the Penguin have kidnapped poor Robin again, and Batman has to complete two missions, entitled 'A Bird in the Hand' and 'A Fete Worse Than Death' – so you really get two games for your money! The playing area is viewed in the style of a comic strip, showing one frame at a time, and it's quite smart. Some frames have captions as well, giving you strong hints as to which object you need to use. The icon system is wonderful to work with, Batman is very well animated, and the graphics, while a little dull, are still detailed – and one of the tunes is incredibly groovy!

See also: Batman, Batman: The Movie.

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8

Batman: The Movie

(Ocean, 1989)

Batman's nemesis, the Joker, is up to his evil tricks again. You must chase the Joker through Gotham City, in five levels of platforming and driving action. The game starts with you chasing Jack Napier through a chemical factory and cornering him so that he falls into a vat and becomes the Joker. You must then escape in the Batmobile to the Batcave and discover which objects contain the Joker's deadly chemical, Smilex. Once that's done, you go back on to the streets, and finally, pursue the Joker to Gotham Cathedral. The graphics and music are both up to Ocean's high standards, although the second level is infuriatingly difficult; I've never been able to pass it without cheating. With regard to the cartridge version, the choice of colours is a lot better, but nothing else is different.

See also: Batman, Batman the Caped Crusader.

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7

Battle Beyond the Stars

(Solar, 1985)

This is another Galaxian clone, but it's really fast. Each level has five waves, and you can choose to start on any of levels 1 to 5. Each wave of aliens moves differently, and you'll need to learn their moves in order to destroy all of them. You'll also need exceptionally quick reflexes to dodge the missiles that the aliens fire at you. Although the graphics and sound effects may be rather basic, and the gameplay is totally unoriginal, it is extremely intense; if you can survive for more than a few minutes, you're doing well.

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6

Battle of the Planets

(Mikro-Gen, 1986)

Zoltar has declared war on the entire universe, and you have to defend five planets against his fleet of spaceships. Take out a few of them, then head towards the planet's surface where more spaceships can be shot and you can get a chance to refuel and repair your shields. Once that's been accomplished, it's time to take off and hyperspace to another planet, before Zoltar's cohorts kill all life on any of the other planets. It's not the most interesting game – it's just the same old blasting and planet-hopping all the time.

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6

Battle Ships

(Hit Pak, 1987)

It was such fun playing battleships with your mates at school, using only a pen and paper! So why would you want to play it with a friend on a computer? Granted, you get to watch a nice sequence showing your ship firing at your enemy's ships and watching them burst into flames if you hit them, but can you really trust your friend not to look at the monitor while you position your ships? You can still play against the computer, though, and this is probably your best bet – and keep the salvo fire option on, otherwise you'll only get four shots a turn and games will drag on for ages.

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6

Battle Valley

(Rack It, 1988)

Terrorists have seized some missiles and threatened to destroy the world. The US government has decided to send tanks and helicopters into Battle Valley, where the terrorists' six bases are located. The tanks are used to destroy cannons, rocket launchers and missile tracking stations, but some of the bridges are damaged and you'll need to use the helicopter to collect pontoons and winch them on to the bridge. The graphics and music are impressive, but the controls are awkward; to turn around, you have to press the fire button twice quickly, and to go faster, you must also press fire twice quickly and the direction you're moving in. Anyway, it's a rather tedious game, because the scenery doesn't change and a lot of time is spent driving back and forth between bases.

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5

Batty

(Hit Pak, 1987)

It's another Breakout clone, and it's certainly not the best of the bunch. While the graphics are reasonable, there are next to no sound effects. What really annoyed me, however, was the size of the bat; it's too small, and it moves rather slowly so that you can't reach the ball in time. Each level also has an alien that fires large bullets which always seem to get in your way. All of this makes clearing the first wall a tough task – and why are there so many bricks that require more than one hit to clear?

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4

BB4CPC

(César Nicolás González, 2011)

Reviewed by Missas

Bub and Bob return to the CPC after 24 years! CNGSoft delivers this great remake of a rather average coin-op conversion from 1987. To begin with, forget what you remember about the previous conversion. BB4CPC delivers vastly improved graphics (better colours and level design), the arcade music, and most importantly, coin-op perfect gameplay. This means that the gameplay and grab factor are now very high and that the disadvantages of the previous version (bad collision detection, drab colours and very few sound effects) are no longer present. Retro lovers should love BB4CPC and will certainly have a great time with it!

See also: Bubble Bobble.

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9

Beach Buggy Simulator

(Silverbird, 1988)

You've just bought a new beach buggy, so what better way to test it than to participate in the Dune Trials and race along a series of tracks, jumping over boulders and shooting down any helicopters flying overhead? This is certainly not your average race course! As with most racing games, you must reach the chequered flag within the time limit. Your fuel supply is limited, and it'll run out quickly if you crash too often. Fortunately, more fuel can be collected along the course, and thankfully the buggy is indestructible – it must be a great buggy! The graphics are colourful and a nice tune plays throughout, although there are no sound effects. It's a really easy game to get into, and the difficulty level is set perfectly.

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8

Beach Head

(US Gold, 1985)

A dictator has control of the fortress on the island of Kuhn-Lin, and your mission is to storm the island and recapture it – but you'll have to battle with the enemy forces first! The first stage of the game is a sea invasion where you sink the enemy's aircraft and ships, although there's a secret passageway you may take to surprise them. Once you've blown them away, you can land on the beach and make your way to Kuhn-Lin by tank. When you reach the fortress, you have to aim your gun at several targets before the turret lays waste to your tank. This is one of those games that was once good, but which has since dated; it doesn't have much appeal any more.

See also: Beach Head II.

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5

Beach Head II

(US Gold, 1986)

The dictator is back! It's a war between the allies, led by J. P. Stryker, and the dictator's armies. There are four stages to the game in which you must first parachute them into the enemy fortress and reach the turret. Your can then control the turret and use it to shoot tanks and jeeps as the enemy attempt to stop you. When you've got your remaining men into the helicopter, you have to go on an obstacle course, dodging gunfire and other obstacles, before the final confrontation with the dictator himself. The game isn't as good as its predecessor, despite the fact that you can control either the allies or the dictator, and the graphics are awful.

See also: Beach Head.

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4

Bedlam

(Go!, 1988)

You are a cadet in the Stellar Imperium's pilot academy, and as your final test, you must fly an X12 Fighter craft across sixteen sectors to prove your status as an élite pilot. It's just as well that this is only a simulation machine and not a real X12. Actually, this is yet another vertically scrolling space shoot-'em-up with nothing new in it at all. The graphics are quite good, but there's no music and few sound effects. The stages are quite short, but if your spacecraft is destroyed, you have to start at the beginning of the stage, and another problem is that there are no power-ups which enhance your firepower.

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6

The Bells

(Blaby, 1986)

The evil archbishop has kidnapped Quasimodo's girlfriend, Esmeralda, and Quasimodo has to negotiate the hazards strewn about the tower, including arrows, rocks, barrels and chasms. On each screen he has to reach the bell and ring it before his time runs out, or he'll be struck by lightning. As soon as you look at this game, you know that it's going to be awful. The graphics and sound are rubbish and the overall presentation makes it look like it was written in BASIC (and it mostly is!). It's also quite tough, and you need more than three lives.

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1

Berks III

(The Power House, 1987)

You have entered the City of the Berks, and they're out to stop you grabbing their treasure! You must manoeuvre your way through the city and collect all the keys so that you can gain access to the treasure. Each screen is teeming with Berks which home in on you, and you must avoid all contact with them. Most Berks can be shot, but some of them (which are circular in shape) can only be stunned temporarily. This game is a simple variant of Robotron: 2084. The graphics are colourful but basic, and the sound effects are limited to shots and explosions. However, the gameplay is quite frantic, although the random placement of Berks each time you enter a screen means that you can lose one or more lives instantly, particularly on higher difficulty levels.

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7

Bestial Warrior

(Dinamic, 1989)

Reviewed by Pug

You are a mercenary aiming to obtain the three parts of the C70-Magnum – a very powerful weapon indeed. Searching for this weapon involves surviving the great fortress that is Sagar. It's full of traps and enemies. A well drawn loading screen is the precursor to a MODE 0 menu system which leads to the game itself. The playing area is small but colourful and smooth. It reminded me of Gryzor to some degree. The baddies spawn endlessly in this flip-screen game, making progress very difficult indeed. Even the power-ups don't last long before you're dead again. Not one of Dinamic's greatest efforts.

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6

BeTiled!

(CEZ Games Studio, 2009)

The mad scientist Dr. Cirilus has discovered a way of extracting energy from crystals. You have to help him extract this energy by linking crystals of the same colour together. Each level in this fast-paced puzzle game consists of a grid, and you must swap neighbouring crystals so that a line of at least three crystals of the same colour is created. When this happens, the crystals explode and new ones appear. Once you've obtained the required number of crystals of each of the seven colours, you can go to the next level. The game is based on Bejeweled and it is so addictive it should carry a health warning! With excellent graphics (including differently themed graphics every five levels) and a catchy tune that increases in tempo as your time limit nears zero, this is arguably one of the best games ever released for the CPC.

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10

Beverly Hills Cop

(Tynesoft, 1990)

Reviewed by Pug

Taking the part of Axel Foley, you're out to stop the big crime lord who is smuggling weapons and worse. After a well drawn loading screen, a brilliant rendition of the movie's soundtrack meets your ears. An options screen allows you to play the game outright or practice one of the four stages. The stages are all themed around existing genres such as Robocop, Chase HQ, Commando and Doom – yes, Doom! Each stage is different, so there's something here for everyone. The difficulty varies, as do the graphics – which overall are quite good. The sound, apart from the impressive music, is adequate. I was surprised by this one; it's rather good!

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8

Beyond the Ice Palace

(Elite, 1988)

Reviewed by Alain Schroetter

The programmers at Elite probably wanted to restore their honour after the disastrous conversion of Ghosts 'n' Goblins to the CPC. Once again, the fight between good and evil is at stake in this perfect clone of the arcade classic. After a short introduction, you are cast into the battle, featuring ugly monsters to smash in, bottomless chasms to avoid, and bonuses to collect. At the end of each of the three levels, another large monster awaits to scalp your long blond hair. The presentation is quite polished, but the game is extremely difficult and frustrating. If you persevere, though, it is possible to finish it with the nine lives you have, provided you have not broken your monitor with rage before then.

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7

Biff

(Beyond Belief, 1992)

Appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape

Biff is a chimpanzee, but he's been very naughty and his mother has kicked him out of the treehouse. In order to please her again, he must complete various tasks. This is an arcade adventure in which you roam around a landscape, picking up objects and using them in certain places. Each time you do so, you score some points and get a clue as to what you need to do next. To make things a little easier, the next object to use flashes when it's on the screen. All of this means that the game has a very linear structure because you cannot choose what task you wish to perform next, and although critics may dislike this style of gameplay, I don't mind it too much. However, it's a shame that the game is a Spectrum port; everything is green, and there is no sound at all.

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7

Big Foot

(Codemasters, 1988)

Big Foot's girlfriend has been captured and has been imprisoned in a cage in the National Park, and the only way that Big Foot can free her is by finding the pieces of wire scattered around the park, connecting them to the cage and running a high voltage to blow the lock. The playing area is quite big and there are a lot of hazards – the most common being molten lava! In fact, more often than not, you'll keep jumping into them and losing lives. The graphics are gorgeous, but Big Foot seems to have a mind of his own and the game becomes annoying.

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5

Biggles

(Mirrorsoft, 1986)

Appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape

Reviewed by Pug

Jim Biggles, the brother of the famous World War I fighter pilot, learns of a German secret weapon that could change the course of history. He travels back to warn Biggles – and so the adventure begins. There are two parts to this game, the second part requiring a password. The first part is split into three mini-games. In the first one, you pilot your aircraft along a scrolling playfield. The other two are flip-screen affairs involving shooting, long jumps and avoiding guards. The MODE 0 graphics vary between games, but carry an overall moderate standard. An interesting tune plays upon loading with good in-game effects.

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7

Big Screen Hero

(Skyslip, 1988)

Reviewed by Pug

Play the hero within a movie as the audience watches! This consists of various stages or movies, such as taking part in a western shoot-'em-up, being trapped in a maze, and the final showdown beat-'em-up, etc. It delivers an odd but appealing challenge where each level is a totally different game style, so it never gets boring and it has that "just one more go" addictiveness. All the graphics are in MODE 0 and vary between games, but overall, they maintain an average standard. Sound-wise, it's imaginative and also includes digitised speech during the game. It's a brave attempt at mixing different games into one box – even if the third 'film' has some dodgy collision detection.

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6

The Big Sleaze

(Piranha, 1987)

Sam Spillade is a private investigator working in 1930s New York – although he isn't particularly clever or successful. At the start of the game, Sam is given two cases to solve, and as Sam, you must travel around New York in your wreck of a car to find clues and follow up any leads. This three-part text adventure was created using The Quill and contains some very well-written text that sets the atmosphere nicely – although there are also some sexual innuendos that I didn't like much. You'll need to read the text carefully, as it reveals clues to where you need to go next. Some locations are also accompanied by pictures. However, there are a few problems with the parser, and the need to be at some locations at particular times in order to solve some puzzles makes this a rather difficult and sometimes frustrating adventure.

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7

Bigtop Barney

(Players, 1986)

Reviewed by Pug

Barney is a circus performer who needs your help to complete a series of events and please the public. Each level involves circus themes which require skill and timing. There are four levels – tightrope, unicycle, balloons and trampolines. Each has its own charm and hazards – some have more of the latter than others. The graphics are average and collision detection is tight. A pleasant tune plays and old-fashioned sound effects reign supreme. It's a blatant clone of the arcade game Circus Charlie, and done via a Commodore 64 conversion.

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5

Big Trouble in Little China

(Electric Dreams, 1987)

Reviewed by John Beckett

Based on the fairly low-key film of the same name, this is a strange and unexciting little game where the aim is to walk through China's streets, sewers and temples, before taking out the mini-bosses (the 'Storms', for those who have seen the film) and finally the end boss, and rescue the kidnapped girl. There are three interchangeable characters – Jack Burton (an American trucker), some kung fu expert, and Egg Shen (a wizard on a floating cloud). Although the game is unbelievably short, it makes up for this in its difficulty – if one of your three characters dies, you can kiss goodbye to finishing the game. This is never more frustrating than in the sewers, where you just cannot avoid the sewer monsters! The graphics are awful, and the characters move like they're made of wood. Not a terrible game, just really boring.

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5

Billy la Banlieue

(Loriciels, 1986)

Billy is a streetwise suburban guy ("la banlieue" is French for "the suburbs", by the way), and this is a platform game in which Billy has to explore the suburbs, meet other people on the streets, and find the right objects to give to them. The graphics are superb, especially when you consider when this game was released. However, it is let down by the controls; getting Billy to jump over gaps is often very frustrating indeed, and you'll often need to position him precisely to climb walls and reach other platforms – and on that point, if you're going to play it, please note that you cannot walk past stairs!

See also: Billy 2.

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5

Billy the Kid

(Mastertronic, 1990)

Are you a sharp shooter like Billy? This game has three parts to it – target practice where you shoot tin cans and bottles, an escape from a bank where you shoot all the enemies while avoiding the civilians, and a showdown at high noon which really tests your reflexes; shoot the enemy cowboy within a second or die. Each level consists of these three parts, so they all contain the same thing – not that you'll get past the second level, because the score you have to achieve is unreasonably large. The Spectrum-like graphics don't help either, but I suppose it's OK if you want a quick test of your agility.

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5

Billy 2

(Loriciels, 1987)

One of Billy's rivals, Ricky Le Tétard, is trying to win the affections of his girlfriend Lily. Billy must impress her by beating up Ricky's mates and completing four different arcade games successfully. You begin the game with $200, and you can use this money to play the arcade games and restore your energy by inserting your money into chewing gum dispensers (!). The arcade machines are scattered around the town, and each one plays a different game which you must master. Completing all four games provides you with a code so that you can 'phone your girlfriend and prove your worthiness to her. Unlike its predecessor, Billy 2 doesn't involve much in the way of thinking. The graphics are nice enough, but the area you can explore is fairly small and a couple of the arcade games are quite frustrating to play and rely a lot more on luck than skill to complete.

See also: Billy la Banlieue.

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4

Binky

(Software Projects, 1985)

Reviewed by Pug

This game, when released, would have been an acceptable offering to your collection as the CPC was still relatively new. You play the part of Binky, who has to paint the floors of all 21 storeys of a hazardous building. Binky is the only one who can change this by simply moving along the floor and painting it as he goes. Very dated sound effects mix with basic-looking visuals. It's odd to see the nasties falling to their deaths as they move randomly, although there are homing beach balls on later levels.

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4

Bionic Commando

(Go!, 1988)

Some time ago, aliens laid waste to your planet, and now they've built a huge weapon to destroy all life on the planet. It's up to you to make your way to the missile silo and deactivate the weapon before it's too late. When you first play this game, you'll think you're using a Spectrum. The graphics are truly appalling – some of the worst ever seen on a CPC! In fact, the game comes in versions for colour and green screen monitors – not that there is much difference between the two. As for the sound, there's no tune and the effects are useless. Despite this, it's still OK to play, although the game is somewhat dull and uninspiring.

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5

Bionic Ninja

(Zeppelin, 1989)

The Icarus Earth base is under attack, and six ninjabots have been sent to the base to smash the aliens. Each ninjabot – an android with ninja fighting skills – is sent out one at a time, and you control them as you move through each of the levels, destroying the aliens using shurikens, your samurai sword, or your bare metal fists. In summary, it's a fairly average mixture of a platform game and a beat-'em-up. The graphics aren't all that good – actually, they're messy and garish – and there are very few sound effects. The gameplay isn't challenging enough to make it all that interesting.

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6

Bio Spheres

(Silverbird, 1988)

In a network of labyrinths, several bio-bombs have been planted, and it's your task to blow up the bio-bomb on each level. However, you must first find the six parts of the bio-shield before attempting to shoot it – shooting the bomb without the shield is not a good idea! Of course, there are lots of nasty creatures floating about the labyrinths, and they tend to drain your life force rather quickly. You can also collect accelerators (smart bombs) and use them to help you kill lots of nasties at once. I have to say that this is really rather good – the graphics are well drawn and there's some nice music to be heard in between levels, and it's a lot of fun to play as well.

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7

Birdie

(ERE Informatique, 1987)

An interesting game, this one; what would it be like to be a bird? This game sees you controlling a bird, flying to some unknown destination. The landscape is viewed in perspective 3D from behind the bird, and you must avoid bumping into trees and other obstacles. All this flying makes our feathered friend hungry, so he (or she – I don't know what sex the bird is) must look out for butterflies and eat them. Sadly, this original concept hasn't worked too well in this game, for while the graphics (particularly the animation of the bird) are great, the scrolling is very slow indeed, and there's no music and hardly any sound effects.

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5

Black Beard

(Topo Soft/Kixx, 1988)

Black Beard's old mate, Red Beard, has stolen his map of a treasure island after drinking too much rum again. Black Beard is angry and storms on to Red Beard's ship to find the map. As Black Beard, you have to roam the ship and open the treasure chests by firing bullets at them. There are invincibility potions and extra lives to collect, and one chest contains a torch which you must use to light the cannon next to the plank and prevent Red Beard's pirates from boarding the ship. Eventually, the final chest, which contains the map, will open. This is a mediocre game with all the action viewed from above. The graphics are quite good, but movement is sluggish and lives are easily lost by pirates appearing from nowhere.

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4

Black Fountain

(Incentive, 1987)

In the land of Areth, Abhaldos has contaminated the River Ist with a poison, turning the river black. You are Shardor, a servant in the court of the town of Loesp, who has been given the mission of cleaning up the river, by finding a magical crystal. This is a text adventure which was created with GAC. The scenario is set in a mediaeval fantasy land, and once you've left the court with the help of Garros the gatekeeper, you need to find some money and get the various craftsmen of Loesp to make objects for you. Unfortunately, the game doesn't let you discover what skills most of the craftsmen have and what objects you are supposed to ask them to make. The parser is quite unforgiving as well, and I'm not particularly impressed with the game.

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5

Black Magic

(US Gold, 1987)

The evil Red Warlock Zahgrim has ruled the kingdom of Marigold with an iron fist, and now is the time to banish him! In this arcade-cum-role-playing game, you are a lowly apprentice who knows only a couple of spells. However, by shooting the various monsters and collecting objects, you can gain valuable experience points; collect enough, and you move up one rank and learn more spells. Your mission is to collect the six magical eyes of King Anakar, which are scattered around the large landscape. The mixture of platforming and role-playing elements is interesting, and although it's a little slow-paced and the graphics may be nothing special, I found it quite captivating to explore the realms of Marigold.

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7

Black Tiger

(US Gold, 1990)

Long ago, three evil dragons brought darkness to a kingdom that used to be at peace. Eventually a warrior named the Black Tiger emerged to restore peace to the kingdom, and it is he who you control in this dull platform game. You must jump across chasms and climb poles to reach the end of level, while battling various monsters with your mace and set of knives. Killing monsters and smashing vases lets you collect zenny coins which you can use to buy more powerful weaponry and shields, which you'll certainly need for the later levels; just find an old man and he'll help you. Why is it dull, then? The game is an ugly Spectrum port with poor graphics and music, and the scrolling and movement are both very jerky.

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4

Blade Runner

(CRL, 1986)

Reviewed by Javier Sáez

Several replicants have managed to reach the Earth, which is forbidden under penalty of death. It is your duty as a Blade Runner to kill, no, 'retire' them. The gameplay is quite simple. You move across a map of Los Angeles searching for flashing dots that mark the position of a replicant. When you get to the dot, your spinner lands and a side scrolling view of a street is shown. After a short chase, the replicant is spotted and shot down without opposition, as life seems to be much easier for Blade Runners in computer games. I'll put it plainly, this game is just a curiosity for Blade Runner fans only. The Spectrum-like graphics are awful, and the gameplay is always the same. Only the menu music has some quality (guess why – it's a Vangelis theme).

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4

Blade Warrior

(Codemasters, 1989)

Reviewed by John Beckett

The storyline for this game sounds like it came straight from a cheesy 80s fantasy movie. Basically, the Death Demon has shattered your magic sword (the only weapon that can kill him... how'd he manage that, then?) and you, as the Blade Warrior, must go around the screens collecting the various ingredients needed to right this wrong. Anyway, graphics-wise, this game is disappointing; the detail is OK, but the lack of colours and general lacklustre feel makes you think 'Spectrum'. Sound-wise, it's also nothing special; a lot of silence and the occasional bit of sampled speech. And as for the gameplay, the fun is soon over thanks to the terrible collision detection; you'll try to jump on a platform a hundred times in a row and still not manage it! All in all, quite fun for a quick blast, but no classic.

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5

Blagger

(Amsoft/Alligata, 1984)

Roger the Dodger is a burglar who has entered the town of Umstrid to loot his way through 20 levels of platforming action. On each level, there are several keys that need to be collected in order to open the safe, but they are located in rather awkward places. You'll have to plan your route carefully, as there are conveyor belts and platforms that will crumble if you stand on them for too long – and there are also enemies and other hazards on each level that must be avoided. Despite the game's age – and it certainly shows, with its colourful but unsophisticated graphics – it's quite a lot of fun to play, and most of the levels are very challenging to solve, although it can be fairly frustrating at times as well. I also love the ragtime piano music that plays throughout the game!

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7

Blasteroids

(Image Works, 1989)

As the name might suggest, this game is based on the all-time classic Asteroids, although it's an improved version which sees you roaming across the galaxy, clearing sectors of asteroids, and eventually defeating Mukor, the guardian of the asteroids. You should all know how to play Asteroids – shoot an asteroid and it splits in two; shoot those asteroids and they split into two, and so on. However, you can transform your ship into one of three types, which affects your speed and manoeuvrability, but allows you to blast enemy spacecraft more easily. It's a rather average game and it can become slow when there are lots of objects on the screen, and the graphics leave a lot to be desired.

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6

Blazing Thunder

(Hi-Tec, 1990)

Battle your way through five levels of non-stop shoot-'em-up action in your armoured tank. Each level is filled to the brim with soldiers, guns and tanks out to get you – and watch out for the flashing mines as well. Most of the soldiers carry guns which don't harm you much, but the soldiers firing mortars cause much more damage to your tank. Power-ups can also be collected which increase your firepower, speed or energy. This is one of the few Hi-Tec games that isn't based on a cartoon character, although the usual colourful graphics are present. The action is hectic at all times, and while it's certainly not original, it's an entertaining game to play.

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7

Blip

(Silverbird, 1989)

Several magazines completely disliked this collection of six Pong-style bat-and-ball games (which, incidentally, was released as Video Classics), but I didn't think it was that bad. The six games are tennis, football, squash, solo squash, 4-bat blip, and Asterbliperoids, and they're all pretty much the same, with some minor differences. Since the game is supposed to be minimalistic, don't expect much from the graphics and sound effects. It's all right for a while, but there isn't a lot in here to keep you coming back.

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5

Blockbusters

(Macsen, 1986)

Reviewed by Pug

"I'll have a P please, Bob." The popular TV quiz show comes to your CPC – well, sort of. Good old Bob Holness is missing, and there's no Gold Run either, just a series of boards for two players to challenge each other with (you can't play against the computer). Alternate sets of questions can be loaded in and the difficulty of the game can be adjusted. However, it feels incomplete and for that reason, I doubt its long term appeal.

See also: Blockbusters (TV Games), Gold Run.

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3

Blockbusters

(TV Games, 1988)

"I'll have an S please, Bob." The classic quiz show presented by the legendary Bob Holness is reproduced on your CPC for a second time. One or two players select letters from the board, trying to form a line of their own colour across the board either horizontally or vertically by answering questions correctly. The answers to the questions start with the letter that is chosen. The one-player option is a bit odd in that when it's the computer's turn, it chooses a letter for you and you have to answer the question; if you get it wrong, the computer automatically wins that letter. The questions also appear on the screen very slowly. Despite these problems, it's not that bad, even in the one-player game. (The answer to the question in the screenshot is "Nepal", by the way.)

See also: Blockbusters (Macsen).

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6

Blood Brothers

(Gremlin, 1988)

Hark and Kren are the Blood Brothers, and on returning home from an expedition, they find that the Scorpions have destroyed their village and its inhabitants, and now they want revenge. The brothers have to find their way around the Scorpions' mines, shooting aliens and collecting gems. There is another aspect of the game, though; when you want to fly from one mine to another, you enter a 3D section where you must manoeuvre your spaceship through walls and shoot blocks. Unfortunately, both parts are very difficult indeed; the spaceship's controls are very sensitive, and the two brothers don't have very much energy to enable them to survive for long. It's also a game that is best played with a friend, as controlling both players simultaneously is awkward.

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5

Blood Valley

(Gremlin, 1988)

Based on the Duelmaster series of adventure gamebooks, this one- or two-player game takes place in the Valley of Gad, where each year, an event called The Hunt is held. The Valley's ruler, Archveult, along with his allies, hunt down a freed slave in a pursuit lasting five days. In the one-player option, you play the slave, and your aim is to find the exit. In the two-player option, the second player takes control of the Archveult and his henchmen. This is a poor game that is badly implemented. There is no explanation as to what the various objects you can pick up actually are, and worst of all, you can barely move a few steps without being forced to fight yet another monster, which makes the game very tedious indeed.

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4

Bloodwych

(Image Works, 1990)

Reviewed by Javier Sáez

Someone has to find the Crystals of Sanguis to destroy the demon that dwells in the castle of Bloodwych. Any volunteers? In this role-playing game, your first task is to recruit four heroes among wizards, warriors, thieves and adventurers. Each of them has different abilities, attributes, equipment and knowledge of magic. You move your party through three-dimensional dungeons where fighting is not always the best choice, as it is possible to trade and offer things to characters controlled by the computer. It's precisely when fighting comes that the game isn't that good, as combat is a bit confusing and it's difficult to know what's really happening. On the other hand, this game has a two-player mode with a split-screen view, which is a rare feature in role-playing games.

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8

Blue Angel 69

(Kevin Thacker, 2010)

Reviewed by Missas

In this board game, the aim is to be the person with the highest score at the end of each round. Each player takes it in turn to choose a number from the grid and when a tile is removed, part of the background picture is revealed. The round finishes when there are no more numbers that can be taken and the person with the highest score wins. After a beautifully drawn loading screen, atmospheric music plays on the menu. Starting the game, the tune changes again with another ambient tune. The gameplay is amusing, pleasant and fast-paced, since there is strong competition from either the computer or a human player. The grab factor is very high; it is a game that one would play repeatedly. Taken as a whole, this is a really great job with awesome graphics and sound, partnered with nice gameplay.

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9

Blueberry

(French)

(Coktel Vision, 1987)

Blueberry is a comic strip which is very well known in France, and dozens of books have been released. This game follows the ageing Blueberry (also known as Mike), and his companion Jimmy MacClure, as they travel across the deserts of Arizona in pursuit of a gold mine. However, they know that the area surrounding the mine is cursed, and a spectre guards the mine. Many pitfalls await them, not least the native Indians and other ambushers... The game plays like a comic strip, while allowing you to make your own choices as to what you want to do next. There is also some arcade action where you must shoot enemies while avoiding being shot yourself – it's nice at first, but quickly becomes a real chore. The graphics are excellent, as one would expect from Coktel Vision, but the arcade sequences let the game down slightly.

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8

The Blues Brothers

(Titus, 1992)

Appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape

Jake and Elwood are playing a concert tonight, but the town sheriff remembers their previous concert, and has stolen their equipment. Now the Blues Brothers must find their way through five levels of platform action, collecting one item at the end of each level. You'll find crates which can be used to get rid of any enemies you encounter, and you can collect records as well; if you collect 100 of them, you'll get an extra life, but collecting a broken record means you'll lose 50 records. This is a really enjoyable game; the graphics are brilliant, even if the screen is rather small and everything is, well, blue. And of course, there's plenty of groovy music from the film of the same name to listen to.

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9

Blue Star

(Free Game Blot, 1987)

Reviewed by Pug

Blue Star is a shoot-'em-up where your mission is to destroy the alien bases that have appeared within your territory of space. The game starts with your very small ship facing a large base that consists of large tiles with tiny alien ships trying to defend it. After destroying that base you then have to dodge asteroids for around two minutes with no fire button! You then repeat everything again with a different layout of tiles. Visually everything moves and looks crude, with a few blips and bangs for sound.

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3

BMX Freestyle

(Codemasters, 1989)

See how good you are at BMX stunts with this test of your skills. Among the six events are wheelie trials, ramp jumps, half and quarter pipes, a "slow race", and finally, a tricks track where four judges rate your stunts. You've only got one shot at each event, and if you don't qualify, you'll have to start again. Most of the events can be mastered if you persevere at the game, and as a hint – you'll need to get a good build-up of speed to succeed at the wheelie trials. Apart from that, the graphics are standard and there's a really cool tune which suits the whole BMX thing rather well.

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6

BMX Kidz

(Silverbird, 1988)

This game tests how good you are at performing tricks on your BMX. You're up against three other riders and have to complete each course before your time runs out. After the second course, you'll also have to perform a set amount of stunts to qualify for the next course. You'll need to collect spokes and cans of Coke along the way if you're to make it to the finish. The graphics are colourful and neat, and while there's no music, the sound effects do the job. However, the game seems to be too difficult – completing the first course is tricky enough, and the second one is almost impossible.

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4

BMX Ninja

(Alternative, 1989)

It's a fight between you and the BMX gangs as you perform bunny hops, wheelies and backflips to shake off the enemy gang members on their BMXs, skateboarders and scooters. A meter at the bottom of the screen shows how far you've got to go to reach the next level. It goes back to zero if you're knocked off your bike by your opponent, which is an all too frequent occurrence – the skateboarders are extremely tough to beat. The graphics are awful and there are hardly any sound effects; it's a sorry excuse for a game.

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2

BMX Simulator

(Codemasters, 1987)

Take to the BMX track and complete three laps of each track within the time limit to be allowed to tackle the next course. You're also up against the computer, who is awful on the first course, but very good on the rest of them! A friend can also try and beat the clock with you. Even though I can't complete the third course (and there are seven of them in total), I still like this game a lot. The action replay feature is a neat touch, the graphics are good, and the music on the menu is stunning.

See also: BMX Simulator 2, Pro BMX Simulator.

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8

BMX Simulator 2

(Codemasters, 1989)

It's more of the same here, except that you're up against three other bikers rather than two, and either one or two players can join in. The courses consist of the usual obstacles, but sadly, this game is nowhere near as good as its predecessor. Your bike is far too hard to control and more often than not, you'll be flown off the track and into the rubble. In actual fact, the game is little more than a cut-down version of Pro BMX Simulator with only one set of courses, and it's even more difficult than that game.

See also: BMX Simulator, Pro BMX Simulator.

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4

Bobby Bearing

(The Edge, 1986)

Bobby is a spherical droid, and his five chums – Osborne, Boogle, Bungo, Bert, and Barnaby – are lost in a large maze. It's his job to find them and return them to where he started by pushing them along. However, the maze is huge and is filled with all manner of nasty traps such as switches, crushers, and black balls which will attempt to knock you out. The maze is viewed in isometric 3D and it looks quite good, although there are very few sound effects and no music. Nevertheless, this is a lot of fun to play, and exploring the maze is almost as much fun as finding the other droids.

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8

Bobo

(Infogrames, 1988)

Bobo's in a prison and is trying to make his escape, but he'll have to complete some tasks first. Bobo's plans seem a bit awry to me – the five tasks, in order, are: serving soup to the other prisoners, peeling potatoes, helping the other prisoners to flee by using a trampoline, jumping to and fro on high-voltage wires, and keeping the guards asleep. The graphics and animation are marvellous, done like only the French can do them, and the tunes accompanying each task are nice, too. However, the tasks, though fun at first, become cumbersome after a while and you may lose interest. The game only comes into its own when you play with a friend and see who can get the highest score.

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7

Bob's Full House

(TV Games, 1988)

Ah, Bob Monkhouse! This is a computerised version of the 80s TV show which was presented by him. It's a quiz game which also has an element of bingo in it; in each of the three rounds, you have to fill in certain squares on your bingo card, and the first player (out of four) to do this wins a prize. In the final round, the first player to fill in all the squares goes on to the end game, to win a holiday. Unfortunately, you don't really get to win all the prizes in real life. The graphics aren't bad and the game is simple enough to play, but the questions repeat themselves much too often.

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6

Bob Winner

(Loriciels, 1986)

This game wasn't released in the UK until 1988. I can't understand why it wasn't released earlier, because the quality of the graphics is beyond description – how people must have gasped in awe of them back then! Erm, oh yes, the game... Bob Winner is on a quest to find a lost civilisation, and has to collect three keys which are being held by three opponents that he meets on his journey – two boxers and a gun-wielding cowboy. To fight them, Bob has to find the right object. There are only about twenty screens, but they all feature stupendous digitised backgrounds. The graphics and animation are without a doubt the best I've ever seen on a CPC, although the game ultimately lacks depth and isn't that big.

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7

The Boggit

(CRL, 1986)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

More Tolkien spoofing in this text adventure game from Delta 4, the creators of Bored Of The Rings. Guide the hapless Boggit, Bimbo Faggins, and the kooky wizard Grandalf, along with Thorny and his band of dwarves, to vanquish the Dragon Daug and steal back the treasure. Well, that's supposed to be the plot, as no opportunity has been missed to poke fun at The Hobbit in this rather amusing parody. While it suffers the same drawbacks as its predecessor – the graphics are not exactly top notch and the sound effects and music are lacking – the game more than makes up for this with its irreverent humour. Some of the puzzles are tricky, but aren't outrageously difficult, and the gags to be found in almost every corner of the game make this a gem.

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7

Boinggg!

(Atlantis, 1988)

Here's a bizarre game where you control a bloke on a spring or pogo stick of some sort, who has to reach the exit of each screen by jumping from platform to platform, avoiding the monsters that fly around the screen. You have to get the strength of the jump just right, or you'll miss the platform and fall off the screen. The graphics are pretty crude and very flickery, and there are hardly any sound effects. There are 20 screens, but most people will be screaming in frustration by the time they reach the third screen.

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4

Bomb Fusion

(Mastertronic, 1989)

Terrorists have broken into the Sellerscale nuclear power plant and planted bombs all over it. You must defuse them, and at the same time, guide used fuel capsules into the crate. They're automatically controlled by the computer, and when you move over them, they will follow you – unless they touch the Balloid which also roams around the screen. The amount of radioactivity increases when a bomb goes off or you touch the Balloid. At first, it seems that the game is OK, despite the rather simple graphics and almost total lack of sound. However, it's a bit boring, mainly because it's too easy and extra lives are easy to obtain.

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5

Bomb Jack

(Elite, 1986)

Reviewed by Pug

This was a fun and unique game that was a rave in the arcades back in the mid-1980s. It's still fun to play today, and the CPC conversion is a good one too. The aim is to jump into flight and collect all the bombs on the screen. Collecting lit bombs in sequence rewards you with bonus scores and special abilities. Several nasties begin to appear as you fly around, making progress a little tricky. This is a great game with good graphics displaying various scenic backgrounds, smooth sprites and varied sound effects. Sadly, there is no music, which is a shame.

See also: Bomb Jack II.

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8

Bomb Jack II

(Elite, 1987)

Reviewed by John Beckett

I'm not usually one for puzzle games, but I make an exception for Bomb Jack II. Much like its predecessor, the aim is to fly around platforms, collect things and avoid bad guys, but where it differs is that you can only fly to platforms that are directly above, below or beside where you are. This adds a lot more strategy to the game, as you try and work out the best route, while the bad guys get faster the longer you take. The difficulty curve is perfect, the sound is decent, and the graphics are above average, with some nice little background drawings of pyramids, Stonehenge etc. Unfairly forgotten in the face of its classic predecessor, Bomb Jack II is one of my favourite puzzle-style games ever, and the game I play the most. It really is that addictive!

See also: Bomb Jack.

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9

Bomb Scare

(Firebird, 1986)

A space station orbiting Neptune has been taken over by aliens. They have planted a massive bomb in it, and unless it can be deactivated fast, it will blow not only the space station, but Neptune as well! You control a rather odd-looking bomb disposal droid and must wander the station looking for the four pieces of equipment that will deactivate the bomb – or you can find the exit and take the coward's way out, leaving Neptune to its fate. The rooms are shown in an isometric layout, and although the game has a Spectrum-like feel to it, this can be forgiven once you become immersed in the game. It will take a while to get the hang of controlling the droid, but once you do, you'll discover a rather neat game.

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7

Bonanza Bros.

(US Gold, 1992)

Robo and Mobo are the Bonanza Brothers – two robot burglars out to grab treasure. Their targets are ten buildings, each containing eight pieces of treasure, but they're all guarded by security guards and dogs. You can knock them out with your stun gun, but you must make sure that the guards don't see you, or you'll lose one of your eight lives. The graphics are below average and there's almost no sound, although the tune on the menu is great. However, the game is let down by the awkward controls – to jump, you have to hold down the fire button, and then release it and then move in the direction you want to jump.

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6

Booly

(Loriciel, 1991)

This is one of those puzzle games in which you have to swap the colours or states of tiles so that they all match. However, this game is made more difficult in that if you click on a tile, some of the adjacent tiles may not be changed, and the connections between the tiles are invisible – although it is possible to see them briefly by pressing a key. Furthermore, there are 150 levels and three stages in each level... that's enough to keep the most hardened fan of puzzle games baffled. The graphics are good (although the backgrounds are garish) but there are very few sound effects, and if you don't like puzzle games, you should give this game a miss.

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7

Booty

(Firebird, 1986)

You're a cabin boy called Jim, who has to collect treasure (or booty if you want to call it that) from an old galleon. There's lots of it to collect in the holds of the ship, but you'll need the correct numbered keys to open the holds. Then there are the ghosts of the pirates who used to sail the ship; touch them and you lose a life. And finally, some of the rooms contain platforms and lifts. This is a simple platform game with colourful graphics and a short tune that repeats itself constantly and soon becomes quite irritating. At first it seems good, but the collision detection is dodgy, particularly when getting on and off lifts, and when you lose a life, you go all the way back to the first screen, which is very annoying indeed.

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6

Bosconian 87

(Mastertronic, 1987)

Aliens have set up space stations which are currently orbiting around Earth, and you must destroy all of them on each round. Just make sure you don't crash into the mines and rocks, and watch out for the waves of aliens which appear when you hear the alarm that signifies 'condition red'; they approach very fast, and you should try to guide them towards hazards which they will hopefully crash into. You'll lose lives frequently, but there are lots more to pick up, as well as extra fuel and bombs, and better ammunition. The graphics are detailed, albeit very blue, and a suitably space-themed tune plays throughout. However, it's not a very sophisticated shoot-'em-up, although it is worth playing if you want a quick blast at something.

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6

The Boss

(Peaksoft, 1985)

Reviewed by Richard Lamond

Also re-released by Alternative Software as Soccer Boss, this early football management game lets you take charge of one of eighty football clubs as you battle your way up from the 4th Division. As manager, you get to invest in the peculiarly run transfer market – the better the player's form, the more expensive he is. You can also sell your stars, but with a limited number of names out there, it won't be long until you see them back on the market! Your players are also multi-talented, capable of playing anywhere on the pitch and in any formation (with the exception of your goalkeepers). All in all, this is a straightforward management game that's fun in the short term, but loses appeal the longer you play.

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6

Boulder Dash

(Mirrorsoft/First Star, 1985)

Rockford the ant has to collect some diamonds scattered throughout a maze. He can dig through the earth, but this may release one or more boulders, and if he doesn't get out of the way, Rockford will be a dead ant. Later on, you'll also encounter a few enemies. This is one of the all-time classic games, and the graphics stay true to the original. However, while the first three levels are OK, things suddenly become really tricky on the fourth level, which I don't like. Still, you can have fun designing your own levels with the construction kit.

See also: Boulder Dash III, Rockford.

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7

Boulder Dash III

(Action, 1986)

For some reason, Boulder Dash II was never officially released for the CPC, but fans of the original game can enjoy a new set of sixteen caves filled with boulders, diamonds and all sorts of other nasties. This time, Rockford has donned a space suit, and while the enemy creatures may have new names, they perform the same functions as other nasties in the previous games – for example, fireflies are replaced by mouths, and butterflies are replaced by eyes. Fortunately, the option to select which cave to start on is still there and is very welcome, as the game is extremely difficult; in fact, I would say that several caves are impossible to complete, thanks to those mouths!

See also: Boulder Dash, Rockford.

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7

Bouldeur

(Bretagne Edit' Presse, 1989)

Reviewed by Pug

Another Boulder Dash clone arrives for your entertainment on the CPC. With this one you get 72 rooms to complete that are split into nine areas of eight single screens. Pressing any number from 1 to 9 will open up one of these areas. There's no treasure to collect or any monsters to avoid, just rocks to skip around. The rocks and scenery are varied and colourful, though, adding more interest. The controls are responsive – an important requirement in a game like this one. There's also an editor that allows you to alter each screen. Bouldeur is surpringly addictive and begs you to have just one more try.

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7

Bounder

(Gremlin, 1986)

Reviewed by John Beckett

Oh my God! AMTIX! gave this game 91%? Why??? Anyway, in this game, you play a tennis ball who is constantly bouncing up the screen, and you have to move him around between bounces so he lands on nice stuff like grass, and avoids bad stuff like spikes. And that's about it, really! This game has many levels, but I only ever get to level 2, before I turn it off through sheer frustration. The graphics are pretty abysmal, especially if you have a green monitor (is that grass or spikes? Oh, spikes. I'm dead...) , the difficulty is absurd, but to its credit, it has a nice little ditty of a theme song, and – though I hate to say it – it is strangely addictive. Also, you've got to love Bounder himself. He's a cute little guy!

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4

Bounty Bob Strikes Back

(US Gold, 1985)

Reviewed by Pug

The sequel to Miner 2049er (which wasn't released for the CPC) involves Bounty Bob on a mission to claim the rights to 25 newly discovered mines. To do this, Bob must walk over every platform and carry out carefully timed jumps to reach the others. Objects are scattered around that aid Bob. Collecting one allows Bob to stamp on the nasties that live in the mines. There are also slides, tubes and cannons that propel you to hard-to-reach platforms, but a careful plan is needed if you wish to complete a screen. Average graphics that work, all running at a comfortable speed, and adequate sound effects. It looks easy, but to win this challenge, you will need to use your brain.

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7

Bounty Hunter

(Codemasters, 1989)

Four outlaws – Jack Nickalot, Charles Bronkon, Clint Westwood and Kodak – are on the loose, and you're out to capture them, dead or alive. There's a bounty on each of these criminals' heads! Each level consists of three parts. In the first part, you're on foot, shooting Indians, cowboys and Mexican bandits. In the second part, you're on horseback trying to stop a train carrying the outlaw, and if you succeed, you go on to the third part – a one-on-one shoot-out between you and the outlaw. The graphics are colourful and well drawn, and the music is good as well. Unfortunately it's quite difficult; you can't fire horizontally, and the enemy characters have an annoying habit of walking straight into you, which loses you one of your three lives – and you should have more than that.

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5

Boy Racer

(Alligata, 1987)

The car you're driving in this game isn't any ordinary car – not only is it equipped with bullets, but it can also fly. Speeding along the highway, you must dodge or shoot your opponents who are driving towards you; they must have no fear! The highway weaves in and out and branches into two at certain points. The graphics are OK, although I don't like the tune that plays on the menu. Your opponents are far too difficult to miss, and shooting them often has no effect.

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4

Brainache

(Codemasters, 1987)

Can you guide Brainache (otherwise known as Private Harry Jones) through the Stella mines to retrieve his mining equipment and the Anatese diamond and bring them back to the spaceship one at a time? It's going to be a perilous mission, since the mine is full of deadly plants and creatures. This is a dull game which only has one level. The graphics are poor and there is a lot of flicker, and the scrolling between screens is slow as well, but the worst thing about the game is that the mutated insects that you will encounter are very difficult to both shoot and avoid, and it's very frustrating indeed. The music on the menu is the only worthy aspect of this mediocre game.

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4

Brainstorm

(Firebird, 1987)

The name suggests that this game is going to seriously hurt your brain, and it will! There are 26 screens, each containing areas of different colours. A ball bounces around the screen, and you must manoeuvre three coloured lines using a cursor so that the ball is trapped in a red area of the screen, where you will score points. If the ball enters a purple area, however, you will lose points, and if it enters a green area, it will warp to another area of the screen. To go to the next screen, you must have more points than when you started the screen. It's frustrating at first, but if you're smart, you can easily find ways to trap the ball. I don't know what other people will think, but I love this game to bits!

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9

Bravestarr

(US Gold, 1987)

Reviewed by John Beckett

Based on the awesome 80s cartoon show of the same name, Bravestarr is a truly awesome game. The story goes that your master, Shaman, has been captured by the evil Tex Hex, and you must get him back. Apart from flying around on your hover-jet shooting bad guys, you can visit various locales, grill the regulars, learn clues to Tex Hex's whereabouts, and so on. The graphics are very colourful and detailed, the sound is excellent (there's even an attempt at the show's theme tune!), and the game is hugely fun, mixing several genres successfully. My only gripe is the game's length – it's very short (I finished it in around ten minutes!), but that doesn't matter because you'll play it again and again!

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9

Braxx Bluff

(Amsoft, 1985)

Three explorers went to the planet of Prolon, but their rover vehicle has run out of power and is stranded in Braxx Bluff, and its life support systems are failing slowly. Your mission is to find and rescue them. The gameplay consists of several stages, all of which are presented in 3D, with fairly crude graphics to represent the landscape. On some stages, you will hear a signal which indicates if you are heading in the right direction. Some stages also see you fending off Krittas, who will attack you or drain the rover of power. The sound effects are very basic and the graphics are very crudely drawn, yet in spite of this, the 3D effect works rather well. However, the major annoyances with this game are that if you make a mistake, the game usually ends instantly instead of giving you another chance, and the final stage is also extremely difficult to complete.

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5

Breakthru

(US Gold, 1986)

Reviewed by Pug

You're on a mission – drive like mad through enemy territory and reclaim technology that has fallen into the wrong hands. What you get is a small game area that block-scrolls, with plain-looking visuals. This coin-op conversion is a rushed effort of dodging, shooting or jumping over whatever approaches, combined with grubby-looking graphics. Collision detection is also in question at times which results in a very frustrating game experience and a lot of "game overs". Not US Gold's finest hour.

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2

Brian Bloodaxe

(The Edge, 1985)

Brian Bloodaxe is a Viking who one day decided he would invade Britain. Having landed on its shores, you now have to guide Brian around 127 screens in his search for the Crown Jewels. Once you have found them, you must then find the Throne, and Brian will have conquered Britain! Unfortunately, this is an extremely difficult task. The collision detection is very unforgiving, and even a moderate fall from a platform can cost you one of your four lives. The layout of the rooms is quite confusing as well; several rooms have exits that don't take you back to the place from where you entered the room! Although there is a weird and wonderful variety of enemies, the graphics are poor and the gameplay is so frustrating that most people will quickly give up.

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4

The Brick

(Delta, 1989)

Of the many Breakout clones I have played, this ranks as one of the worst. Twenty levels are there to be played, but after a few minutes of playing the second level, you'll switch off and play something else. It's that old favourite, the indestructible brick, and on the second level, the other bricks are enclosed inside three walls of them so that it's very difficult to reach them. In addition, the ball moves too slowly and the aliens that move about the screen get in the way. It would probably take hours to complete the second level! The graphics are terrible, too, and your bat is very difficult to see.

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3

Brick Breaker

(Dro Soft, 1987)

Reviewed by Pug

Another Breakout clone for the CPC. This offering is a very crude effort with nothing to hold your attention for very long. Single-coloured, bland-looking visuals mixed with the jerky movement of the bat and ball soon ruin all hope for this one. Collision detection is another issue, not to mention poor presentation and only one sound effect. Even the few power-ups on offer can't save this one. It does have a high score table, though, but I doubt you'll want to add your name to it.

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2

Bride of Frankenstein

(39 Steps, 1987)

Reviewed by John Beckett

It's obvious at first glance who was behind this game – Viz Design, creators of the identical-looking Werewolves of London. In this similarly-themed game (which was later re-released by Codemasters as Frankenstein Jnr.), you play as Frankie's fiancée and must search around the castle and its grounds, looking for your future husband's brain, lungs and other organs which have somehow become scattered. Unlike the enjoyable Werewolves of London, you have no form of attack and must simply flee from the ghosts and skeletons which pursue you. And if they catch you, you're screwed; you often can't escape until you're dead. Basically, the game is a boring maze, where you're either fleeing or swapping keys around to open doors – yawn. Nice, colourful, cartoony graphics, though.

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5

Bridge-It

(Amsoft, 1984)

Once you've seen this game, you'll reckon it is one of the worst CPC games ever – it certainly isn't anywhere close to being the best! There's a walkway connecting two houses together, and you have to get as many of the little men as you can to walk from one house to the other by linking the walkways together at the right time. It is an extremely slow and boring game which is made all the worse by the terrible, irritating music (which mercifully can be switched off) and the horrible graphics.

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0

British Super League

(Cult, 1990)

This is a football management game in which you are the manager of one of 16 teams competing in the British Super League, which consists of a mixture of teams from the English and Scottish leagues. It quickly becomes clear that it's yet another poor game from Cult. There are no graphics worthy of the name; in the match highlights, the players are represented by asterisks, and big black boxes flash on the screen to show where the ball is being passed to. There are no detailed statistics for each player, so you can't tell how good they are, and it's not possible to find out how good players from other teams are, either. It is actually written in machine code, but it gives the impression that it's written in BASIC, and as a result, it's best that you avoid it.

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3

Bronx

(Animagic, 1989)

Reviewed by Javier Sáez

Manny Lopez, leader of the Sharks, is going to fight against other gang bosses for the title of King of the Bronx. To help you in this task, you'll start each stage wearing armour and carrying different kinds of weapons. Bronx has big and colourful graphics, including a great loading screen, a good background story (that is, in the game inlay) and a sense of humour. Maybe you've seen some of your opponents before. Nevertheless the game is a bit slow, due to the size of the sprites, and once you manage to combine offensive and defensive moves, it's a bit too easy.

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6

Bronx Street Cop

(Mastertronic, 1989)

Life in the Bronx district of New York must be tough with all the muggings, robberies and other crimes that occur each day. You're a new recruit and have to show the bosses that you're the meanest cop around. The game starts with target practice where you must achieve a certain score; if you do this, you can go on to the streets and shoot criminals – but don't shoot any grannies or you'll be disciplined! The graphics and sound are somewhat basic, and for that matter, so is the gameplay; the missions basically consist of more target practice, and the game is a bit too easy.

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5

Bruce Lee

(US Gold, 1984)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

Is there any need to introduce this game? Based upon the movies of the famous kung-fu actor, this early platform game is one of the funniest ever released on our computer. Technically, there is nothing amazing. The graphics are average and the sound effects are sufficient, no more. What makes the gameplay excellent is the design of the levels. Each screen is different and the difficulty of the (many) traps perfectly studied. You must collect golden lanterns and climb nets and ladders. Two opponents will try to stop you; a green sumotori (!) and a ninja. It's really funny to watch them fry as they walk on the traps you have triggered...

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8

Bubble Bobble

(Firebird, 1987)

This is regarded as an all-time classic, and it's easy to see why. It's a simple platform game where Bub (and Bob if another person is playing) kill all the enemies by blowing bubbles at them and then bursting the bubbles. Bonus points can be obtained if you collect all the letters of the word 'EXTEND'. There are also a range of monsters and 100 tough levels to get through. The graphics look very dated, and while there aren't many sound effects, they do their job. This is still a fun game to play after all these years.

See also: BB4CPC, Rainbow Islands.

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8

Bubble Dizzy

(Codemasters, 1991)

Dizzy has decided to go diving and collect some pearls from the bottom of the sea. On each level, you start at the bottom of a well and try to reach the surface again before your oxygen runs out by using bubbles, as well as collecting as many pearls as you can. Of course, there are also creatures to watch out for, which decrease your oxygen. This is one of the better Dizzy arcade games but it is much too easy; you'll probably be able to complete it on your second or third go! Even so, the graphics are pretty good (although there are some awful colour schemes in use) and it's OK to play it occasionally.

See also: Crystal Kingdom Dizzy, Dizzy, Dizzy Down the Rapids, Dizzy: Prince of the Yolkfolk, Fantasy World Dizzy, Fast Food, Kwik Snax, Magicland Dizzy, Panic Dizzy, Spellbound Dizzy, Treasure Island Dizzy.

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7

Bubble Ghost

(ERE Informatique, 1988)

Here's a cute and original puzzle game in which a ghost must blow a bubble from one side of a room to the other, ensuring that the bubble does not come into contact with anything. Naturally, other hazards have to be negotiated; there are candles that have to be blown out, and fans that have to be turned off. Naturally, the rooms become trickier and the passages become narrower as you progress. While there's hardly any sound, the graphics aren't bad, and it's really a rather addictive game. It's really amusing to see the ghost's anger and frustration when the bubble bursts – something that you will also feel after playing this game for a while!

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8

Bubbler

(Ultimate, 1987)

Vadras Prison consists of five 3D worlds full of platforms, ramps and ledges. Each stage also contains several 'bubblers' which have to be corked to stop them from releasing bubbles, and you must cork all of them to go to the next stage. In a further twist, the thing you control is also a bubble, and it's very awkward to control; you need to move the direction gauge and then make the bubble move or jump in that direction. This takes a lot of getting used to, and you'll find the rest of the game rather difficult. It's too easy to fall off, and dodging the bullets fired by some of the enemy creatures is entirely down to luck.

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6

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show

(Tynesoft, 1989)

Compete in six rodeo events – knife throwing, target shooting, calf roping, the bucking bronco, steer wrestling and the stagecoach rescue – on your own or with up to three other players. You can choose to play in as many or as few events as you wish, and you can try again as many times as you like, which is very useful for the more difficult events (particularly the calf roping and steer wrestling). The graphics are colourful, beautifully drawn and very well animated, and the music is excellent, with some great renditions of well known American tunes. Most of the events are fun to play, and this is a game you will want to keep coming back to in order to improve on your previous scores.

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8

Buggy Boy

(Elite, 1988)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

Heartily enjoyable arcade driving game. Navigate your motorised buggy with its two (!) gears around numerous outside race courses that progressively become more fiendish as you lap the circuit again. Narrow bridges have to be traversed to avoid a watery delay, while rocks, fences, boulders and wood piles are cunningly placed to prevent you from reaching your goal before the time runs out. Along the way, bonus points are collected by passing through flags of various values, and the logs that are occasionally placed on the road enable you to jump over otherwise unpassable paths. A nice looking game that is very addictive.

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9

Buggy Ranger

(Dinamic, 1990)

In the year 2019, machines have rebelled against mankind and laid waste to cities, and only a Buggy Ranger can stop them. You control an armoured buggy with a removable turret which you can manoeuvre around the screen in order to destroy the many obstacles and enemies that the buggy will encounter as it drives through each city. Although the turret is mostly invulnerable, the buggy's energy is depleted by collision with airborne enemies or obstacles on the ground. The graphics are colourful and of the high standard that one expects from a Dinamic game, but there is no music. Thankfully it's not overly difficult to progress in the game; just make sure to keep moving swiftly and don't plod along!

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7

Buggy II

(Chip, 1986)

Drive a buggy across the desert, avoiding all the hazards and continually searching for fuel. The desert is strewn with barrels to dodge and rivers to cross. Your aim is to find two white poles and drive between them; if you succeed, your buggy will be refuelled. A pair of green arrows on the panel at the bottom of the screen indicates if you are on course or not. The graphics are colourful, and the game really gives an impression that you're driving fast. The sound effects are reasonable as well. However, the obstacles are placed randomly in each game, and as you progress, it can be almost impossible to dodge them, which is very frustrating indeed. You'll also be going so fast that you often won't be able to notice the white poles in time and you'll drive past them. Despite this, it's still all right if you're looking for a quick game to play for a few minutes.

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7

Bugsy

(CRL, 1986)

Bugsy Maroon is a small, blue rabbit with a big aim – to hire a mob and become Public Enemy number 1 in Chicago! This is a two-part text adventure set in 1922. You start the game with no weapons and some loose change. You'll have to find a way to make an impression and get the local gangsters to respect you – and it took me a while to work out where to begin. Talking to characters calls up a menu where you can select various options, such as greeting them, threatening them, buying items from them, hiring them, or demanding protection money. Obtaining money (by whatever means) will enable you to buy weapons and hire more men for your mob. The graphics are generally extremely garish, with some very poor choices of colours for most of the locations, but the text is well written and very humorous; it made me laugh a lot!

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7

Builderland

(Loriciel, 1991)

Melba is our hero in this game, but you don't control him; he just walks merrily along the screen. You have to help him avoid any traps by moving bricks and ramps to let him walk over chasms, lakes of fire, mines, and so on. Other objects such as knives and helmets can be used to prevent Melba from being killed by any nasty creatures. Occasionally you'll also have to build a house, where a large monster has to be defeated by throwing rocks on it. The graphics are stunning and the sound effects and music are also cute, but the game is far too difficult and the levels are too long.

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7

Bullseye

(Macsen, 1985)

Reviewed by Pug

The Sunday afternoon TV show of old hits the CPC... "super, smashing, great!" Round 1 is a general knowledge round where your darts skills are as important as getting the question right. Round 2 sees both players compete for the highest score with three darts. Round 3 sees the leading player take on the black and red board – "keep out of the black and in the red, nothing in this game for two in a bed." You are then offered a chance to gamble your winnings by scoring 101 or more with three darts. The graphics are clear, if a little basic, and the classic theme tune is included, but where's the top prize – a speedboat?

See also: Bully's Sporting Darts.

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Bully's Sporting Darts

(Alternative, 1993)

I remember the quiz show Bullseye well. Bully was the mascot of that show, which also saw the contestants playing games of darts. There are plenty of darts games on the CPC, so this one adds several rather bizarre variants of darts. As well as the standard 501 and 'round the clock' games, there's cricket, football, golf, snooker and tennis! The best way to understand how to play these variants is to watch two computer-controlled players playing. Aiming the dart is a bit tricky since the hand you control wobbles rather erratically, but fortunately, the computer offers nine skill levels. The graphics are very good, and although there are hardly any sound effects, the wide variety of games will keep you entertained.

See also: Bullseye.

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Bumpy

(Loriciels, 1989)

Guide Bumpy around each of the many levels in this game (I don't know how many there are) and collect all the items. Each level consists of walls and platforms and you just have to bounce from platform to platform, but it's not as simple as that; some of the platforms disappear when you bounce on them, while others force you to bounce in a certain direction. You'll also need to break down some walls and put out fires, but you must have the right power-ups! It's one of those games which has a simple concept but is ridiculously addictive – I love it! While it can be initially frustrating, practice makes perfect, and the graphics and sounds are pretty good as well.

See also: Bumpy's Arcade Fantasy, Pop-Up.

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Bumpy's Arcade Fantasy

(Loriciel, 1992)

This time, Bumpy is at a fairground consisting of nine attractions, and each attraction contains either twelve or fifteen sub-levels, very similar to the levels in the original Bumpy, and there are over 120 levels to complete! Fortunately, there's a password system to let you skip the attractions you have completed, and you can attempt any of the levels on an attraction in any order. Also, there are far more different types of platforms and walls, although you soon learn how they work. The graphics are much more colourful too, but while this game is still excellent, it doesn't seem to be quite as addictive as its predecessor.

See also: Bumpy.

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Bunny Bricks

(Silmarils, 1992)

Breakout meets baseball in this rather nice-looking game. Instead of having a bat to prevent the ball from falling off the screen, you control a bunny with a baseball bat who must hit the ball whenever it comes near. The advantage of this is that you can control where you want the ball to go – upwards, or to the left or right. There are all the usual bonuses to collect, and there are 22 levels to complete. Graphically it's impressive, albeit a bit garish, although I didn't like the music much. It's not a frustratingly difficult game, either, unlike certain other Breakout clones I could name...

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7

Burnin' Rubber

(Ocean, 1990)

This is the game that every Plus owner has, because it comes free with the machine. It's an endurance race where you must stay on the track for as long as possible without running out of time, but first of all, you must qualify to settle your grid position. This game makes full use of the Plus' extra abilities and has some beautiful, crystal-clear music on the title screen. The sky even changes from day to night to show your progress! It's touches like these that make this game better than others like it.

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8

Buster Block

(Kuma, 1986)

Can you become a bionic block buster by exploring all 400 rooms in a maze full of monsters? The aim in this rather boring game is to explore as much of the maze as you can. Each room contains lots of monsters and lots of blocks which you can push to destroy the monsters, although there are several types of blocks and they all behave differently. However, the monsters can push blocks as well. 400 rooms is a lot, and you'll become bored long before you reach them all. The graphics and sound effects are nothing special, either.

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4

By Fair Means or Foul

(Superior, 1988)

This game was also released on budget as Pro Boxing Simulator. Anyway, beneath the intriguing title is a boxing game where you are allowed (and encouraged) to cheat. There's an indicator for each player, showing the number of chances they have – when this reaches zero, they lose. If the indicator is red, it means the referee has his eyes on you and you'll be caught if you foul, but green means you can get away with it. The graphics are great and the characters and referee are well-animated, and the sound of the crowd roaring is nice – their comments are even better! However, the controls are too tricky, particularly with the keyboard, and selecting the right moves seems to be a matter of luck most of the time.

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