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Hacker

(Activision, 1985)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

You're taking part in the Magma project, a top secret plan to use the heat produced by our planet's magma to create energy. This endless source of energy could allow a country to dominate the whole world. But several spies have stolen pieces of a very important document and threaten to sell it to federal agents, so you must negotiate with each spy to recover the document. You can travel using a subterranean vehicle, but heat will soon damage it, and during the main part of the game, you'll be only guided by the sound of your sonar. Each spy talks in his own language (Chinese, French, English, Greek or Egyptian) and the subterranean tunnels are a maze. If you buy or sell the wrong object, you'll be blocked later in the game so it's trial and error... It's a very clever and difficult game.

See also: Hacker II.

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7

Hacker II

(Activision, 1986)

Alexander Cherkazov, a Russian scientist and political strategist, has formulated a plan to overthrow the US government, and intelligence reports indicate that the plan is hidden in a military complex in Siberia. The CIA has enlisted your help to infiltrate the complex and steal the papers. You control a robot and move it around the building while evading detection by the security cameras. There is an excellent tutorial built in to the game to get you started, but the game itself is too tricky, and there doesn't seem to be much else to do.

See also: Hacker.

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6

Hair Boy

(Carlos Sevila, 2016)

Reviewed by Missas

Hair Boy is an old-fashioned screen-by-screen platform game in which you control a blond guy who must retrieve his sword in order to progress to the next level. The graphics are basic but nice, and they are drawn in a cartoon style. A catchy tune and some effects accompany what is a very challenging and sometimes frustrating game. You need to plan each jump carefully because it is very easy to be killed. Thankfully, the animation and the collision detection are perfect. Each time you lose a life, you lose time – and patience! Overall, it is certainly worth giving it a few goes, before you decide to break your CPC!

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7

Halls of Gold

(Ariolasoft/Rainbow Arts, 1986)

Reviewed by Pug

This platform game (which was released in France as Les Mines du Roi Aquantus) has a twist; you cannot jump! Instead, you run, dangle, fall and climb ladders. You possess bombs that allow you to create holes in the floor. Nasties-wise, this one includes lots and lots of running men who look just like you. They home in on your location and the aim is to evade them long enough until you've collected all the gold. This is a boring game with primitive MODE 1 graphics and hardly any sound at all. There's a level editor built in, but I doubt you will find any interest in using it.

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2

Halls of the Things

(Design Design, 1985)

Reviewed by Pug

A creepy and daunting tower full of riches to be taken. You, the hero, venture into this domain with dreams of treasure and all that follows. A very old game that would have carried a lot of interest back then. You have two weapons with which to defend yourself. Sadly there are only keyboard controls, and some of this includes directing your weapon. An easy game at first soon becomes frustrating. Primitive MODE 1 graphics mirror those of the Spectrum original – yes, it's a port. It's fun for a few minutes as you take on the challenge, and then you'll reset your CPC.

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3

Hammer Boy

(Dinamic, 1991)

This is one of those games which has such a simple concept and which is still great fun; it's a manic arcade game with four levels, where the aim is to survive for the entire time limit (roughly one minute) without letting any enemies scale the walls of the fortress that you are guarding, or destroying it! You're constantly being bombarded by the enemy, and you must batter them with your hammer to stop them; if too many of them enter the fortress, they'll capture the flag and you must start again. It's a rather short game, and once you get used to it, it's not that difficult, either. It is very good, however, and both the graphics and music are marvellous.

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8

Hammerfist

(Vivid Image, 1990)

Reviewed by Pug

Two worker drones malfunction and suddenly realise that their kind has kept man under control for centuries! They quickly set about changing this to free mankind and stop the other drones. You find yourself in a power room that is locked, and this quickly alerts droids and drones. Clearing the nasties opens the door and leads to the next scene. Each scene requires the careful use of Hammerfist or Metalisis, for each has different abilities. Detailed monochrome graphics with smooth, well animated sprites make this an enjoyable blast. Sadly, there's no in-game sound!

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7

Hammerhead

(Zigurat, 1992)

This is a slightly weird platform game in which you control a character whose method of killing monsters and enemies is to headbutt them! In each of the nine levels, your character must simply reach the end of the level without running out of energy or time. Along the way, coins can be collected. Some of these will top up your energy or give you a bit more time. Every few levels, there is an end-of-level monster which must be defeated, by headbutting the cannonballs that it fires at you! This is one of the last games that Zigurat released for the CPC and is very little known indeed. The graphics are reasonable enough, but the game slows down considerably when there is a lot of action on the screen, and the gameplay is rather simplistic and limited.

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6

Hamsters en Folie

(French)

(Generation 5, 1989)

Games don't come much sillier than this one, in which your great-aunt has left you her hamster shop and trusts you to take care of them and make a successful business out of breeding and selling them. Ils sont fous, les Français! You need to buy food for the hamsters, and as more hamsters are born, you must also buy cages and open more shops to prevent overcrowding. Other events also occur in which you can make or lose money, including such hilarious things as your prize hamsters winning a beauty contest, being kidnapped by a terrorist (!), and standing for the European elections! There is no real end to the game, but it's such a laugh that you won't care.

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7

Handicap Golf

(CRL, 1985)

This golf simulation lets you play either a 9- or 18-hole round of golf on your own or with another player. On each shot, you decide which of fifteen clubs to use and select the direction to strike the ball, taking into account the wind direction and speed. With certain clubs, you are also required to select the power of your shot. This game is written entirely in BASIC and is therefore quite slow. The graphics are very simplistic with some rudimentary animation. Most of the holes are very similar to each other with very few obstacles, and it's very easy to score well under par; I achieved it on my first attempt. If you're looking for a challenging golf simulation, this isn't it!

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4

Hardball

(Amsoft/Accolade, 1986)

Reviewed by CPC4eva

An apt name for a game of baseball. Another of those Amstrad CPC sports games that looked great but failed to deliver in the gameplay stakes, and having to press the space bar every time just to continue playing is bonkers – well, it is to me, especially when you're playing with a joystick. I was really hoping this was going to be fun to play and I would be smashing home runs out of the stadium, but I am rather disappointed with it. I can't fault the appearance as it is definitely well presented and looks rather polished in the graphics and sprite departments, but it just has something missing and I can't figure it out. Maybe it's got too much realism, as I have watched many a baseball game on TV, only to become completely bored out of my brain.

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4

Hard Drivin'

(Domark/Tengen, 1989)

This game made a great coin-op and was quite realistic – for its time. There are two tracks – the speed track and the stunt track – for you to race around in your high-speed road car. However, there are other vehicles on the track, so don't crash into them! Initially, you'll be impressed by the true 3D graphics, and it's also fun at first to watch replays of your many crashes. Unfortunately the game is really slow and the engine noises are terrible, but the worst thing of all is the steering system, which makes negotiating the tracks a nightmare. You're constantly fighting to keep the car on the road.

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5

Hard Hat Mack

(Ariolasoft/Electronic Arts, 1985)

Mack is working on a construction site and has to complete the work on three sections of the site. On the first level, you have to collect beams and place them in the gaps in the platforms, then collect the jackhammer to secure them in their place. On the second and third levels, you have to collect all the boxes. Transport between platforms is accomplished by elevators and springboards which you jump on. Watch out for Vandal and Osha; touch either of them and you lose one of your three lives. This is based on a very old game, and it shows. Three levels is not a lot, and the graphics are primitive. The first level is annoying in that you are supposed to place all the beams before picking up the jackhammer, but it's easy to pick it up accidentally and be unable to complete the level.

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5

Harricana

(Loriciel, 1990)

This game was released in the same year as the inaugural Harricana event – a snowmobile endurance race across the frozen landscape of Quebec in Canada. Loriciel even entered a team for that event! The game consists of eleven stages with twenty competitors taking part, and one competitor is eliminated at the end of each stage. The boundaries of the course are marked with posts, and it can be difficult to see which direction the course goes. Fortunately, you can stray off-course, but you may crash into a tree or a log. The game is relatively easy – I reached the ninth stage without any major problems – and the graphics are detailed, although some horrendous colour schemes are used. There's some nice music on the introduction as well.

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7

Harrier Attack

(Amsoft/Durell, 1984)

Piloting a harrier jet, you launch from an aircraft carrier and fly over an island towards the city, bombing everything as you go along. Enemy planes fly towards you and can fire missiles at you, as can the tanks and launchers on the ground. Once you've returned to your aircraft carrier, it's the same thing again, but faster – and any game which is as repetitive as this will not grab your attention for long. Both the graphics and the sound effects are poor and this is one game which really shows its age.

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4

Harvey Headbanger

(Firebird, 1986)

Harvey Headbanger and Hamish Highball like nothing better than to fight with each other, and this game sees you and either a computer or a friend taking control of these two characters. When they collide, both of them bounce around the screen uncontrollably for a while, but if you collect some cocktails, this will enable them to recover more quickly. When Harvey and Hamish move, they paint the tiles on the screen to their own colour, and cocktails will magically appear if you can draw a circle in your colour. To win, you will need to do the same thing to your opponent. You'll be addicted for quite a while, especially if you can find a friend to play against, and there are five skill levels if you're playing the computer, but ultimately the game is fairly limited.

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7

HATE

(Gremlin, 1989)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

This is an isometric shoot-'em-up in a similiar vein to Zaxxon. You have two vehicles at your disposal; a jet plane and tank which you use alternately between stages. You start with no shields, so it's imperative you increase your armour by blowing up any enemy defences in between destroying the alien ships that come at you. The gameplay is excellent as the scenery and enemies scroll past quickly, so you really have to have your wits about you. The graphics are relatively good for MODE 1, but it's the music that really stands out.

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7

Haunted Hedges

(Amsoft, 1984)

Another one of those very early Amsoft games which hasn't stood the test of time. This one's a Pac-Man clone set in a hedge maze, where you, as the gardener, have to pick up all the coins left in the maze. The power pills are replaced by axes, and they don't last very long. It's both slow and unchallenging, and the poor sound effects and crude graphics and presentation are enough to put you off almost right away.

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1

Haunted House

(Incentive, 1987)

Reviewed by Pug

Part of Incentive's Double Gold series, this text adventure sees you taking on the role of a poor old gentleman of the road who just wants a cosy room for the night. Rifling through bins isn't a career move that brings big rewards, so you end up looking for somewhere dark and quiet. You find a stunning building and no one seems to be in! What luck! The adventure begins with you stuck inside the house with only your trusty torch as a guide within the gloom. Exploring this old building reveals many daunting things that send shivers down your scruffy spine. An easy-to-understand parser and interesting puzzles with good graphics for most locations.

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7

Havoc

(Players, 1990)

As the Cold War neared its end, the Soviet Union developed their own equivalent of the American AH-64 Apache helicopter gunship – the Mi-28 Havoc. You can fly either one of these aircraft in this somewhat lacklustre shoot-'em-up. There are three missions, all containing large amounts of enemy firepower on the ground and in the air. You have three types of weapon available for you to destroy the targets. If you make it to the end, you still have a huge aeroplane to shoot down within a limited amount of time before it flies away; failure to do this ends the game. The graphics are clear and detailed, but the sound effects are poor, the landscape scrolls very slowly, and the game is slightly too difficult.

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5

Hawk Storm

(Players, 1990)

The evil Neviks have stolen the Capacitoid energy crystals that the inhabitants of the planet of Edos use as a power source, and without the crystals, they will die. Enter the fearless warrior Hawk Storm to brave the perils of the Neviks' domain and retrieve 32 crystals. Initially, you're armed with a fairly feeble gun and a limited supply of ammunition which you must use very conservatively. As you progress, you can beef up your gun and obtain other weapons. Gameplay involves the usual platform fare of shooting Neviks and jumping over spikes, lakes and other hazards, but the scrolling is slow, the controls are unresponsive at the best of times, and for some reason, you can't jump off a lift when you're on it. All of these things mar what could have been a reasonable platform game.

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6

Head Over Heels

(Ocean, 1987)

Head and Heels are trying to steal the crowns from the five worlds of the Blacktooth Empire. The two characters have different attributes; Head can jump but not run, whereas Heels can zoom about, but can only jump short distances. There are many puzzles to solve, but you'll have to work out who should carry them out! A lot of people think this is the best CPC game of all time, and I can see why. It's a large game with hundreds of rooms and all sorts of ingenious tricks, and involves both exploration and lateral thinking. The graphics are beautiful and the sound effects are cute, too.

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9

Heartland

(Odin, 1986)

You were searching your grandmother's attic when you discovered an old book. Upon reading it, you become part of the tale that the book tells. The Heartland is now ruled by the warlock Midan, and the people live in misery and fear. But the last chapter of the book is missing, and if the six pages which make up the last chapter are not found, Midan will rule forever. This is a nice exploration game with plenty of shoot-'em-up action as well. You must find the pages, but there are also six dark pages which must be destroyed. When you have found the pages, you can go to the bed and on to the next level. The graphics and sound effects are lovely and make the game enjoyable – although you'll definitely need to make a map.

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8

Heavy on the Magick

(Gargoyle, 1986)

Appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape

Axil the Able has ended up in a dungeon for incurring the wrath of the wizard Therion, and obviously, he must find some way of escaping. This is an excellent, and perhaps unique, adventure game. Axil isn't much of a fighter, so he has to use spells throughout his search. Many of the doors in the dungeon are also magical and can only be opened by entering a password – but how is he going to find out what the passwords are? Fortunately, there is a very helpful ogre called Apex who he can ask for information about things, but his answers are rather cryptic... At first I didn't like this game much; it takes time to understand what you need to do and how to do it. Once you've managed this, things become clearer and you'll discover a clever and challenging game which will tax your brains for a long time.

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8

Helichopper

(Firebird, 1986)

Reviewed by Pug

An old and odd game idea here. You place stranded clones found on the right-hand side of the screen into pockets on the far left. To do this, you must navigate a series of sprites that hinder your journey; collision results in instant death. You carry an infinite supply of bombs that ease this burden, but it's still a tricky deal. There are 24 levels here, where the only difference you encounter is the formation of the wacky sprites that are out to stop you. Fun for a few minutes, but beyond this, there's nothing to keep you hooked. Simple graphics and sound sum up this Spectrum port.

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3

Help Inc.

(WoW, 1993)

Help Inc. is a secret organisation that can be relied on to get you out of trouble – unless they send Agent 57, their most incompetent member. During one assignment, you have ended up inside a prison cell with another prisoner for company. Your immediate priority is to escape, but Help Inc. have another mission lined up for you if you succeed... This is a text adventure written using GAC which starts off quite promisingly. However, the area you can explore is rather small compared with most adventures, and the puzzles and locations seem to have been added haphazardly, with little thought for how they fit together as a whole.

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5

Helter Skelter

(Audiogenic, 1991)

This is a slightly strange game in which you control a bouncing ball and must kill monsters by bouncing on them. On each level, there are several monsters which you need to destroy in the right order; an arrow shows you which monster you need to kill. If you touch the wrong monster, it will divide into two monsters. You have only 30 seconds to complete each level, so you can't afford to waste any time. It sounds like an interesting game but it's seriously flawed. The animation of the ball is ridiculously jerky, and the ball itself is very hard to control. The graphics are poor as well, which is quite a contrast to the gorgeous loading screen and the cute and catchy music.

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3

Hercules: Slayer of the Damned

(Gremlin, 1988)

Appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape

In Greek mythology, Hercules (or Heracles) was punished by Eurystheus and made to carry out twelve labours. However, you don't actually perform twelve tasks in this game. Instead, you fight against a seemingly immortal skeleton in a terminally boring, single screen beat-'em-up. The twelve labours are each represented by an icon that occasionally appears on the screen; if you hit it, it will move into an urn on the left of the screen. However, watch out for the large spider, which will steal the labours you've collected, unless you can reach it in time and hit it. The background graphics are OK, but the music is terrible, the gameplay is very repetitive, and you really have very few, if any, clues as to how well you are doing.

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3

Herobotix

(Rack It, 1988)

The Z-ray particle destroyer gun, which is able to destroy entire planets, has been stolen from its location in a secret laboratory and divided into six pieces. Herobotix the droid has entered the alien ship where the pieces are now hidden, and must find and reassemble them. The ship is massive, although it has a network of teleporters to jump to different parts. There are also computers which can switch off the conveyor belts for a while or show a small section of the ship on a map, and switches which turn off force fields – and touching them results in instant death. The graphics are rather average, and while the gameplay is reasonably good, you won't enjoy it much unless you're willing to make a map of the ship.

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7

Heroes of Karn

(Interceptor, 1984)

Karn has been ravaged by evil, and four of its mightiest citizens – Beren the king, Istar the wizard, Haldir the elf-lord, and Khadim the dwarf, known as the Heroes of Karn – are trapped under four different spells. Only a fearless adventurer such as you can set them free. The atmosphere of this adventure is complemented by the awesome graphics that are shown when you enter a new location, and it's easy to get into the game, although it becomes harder after you've rescued Beren. However, the limited vocabulary and primitive parser ruin what is otherwise a fine adventure.

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7

Heroes of the Lance

(US Gold, 1988)

Reviewed by John Beckett

Closely based on characters and events from the Dragonlance book Dragons of Autumn Twilight, the aim of this game is to take your party of eight brave warriors deep into the ruins of the temple of Xak Tsaroth and retrieve the Disks of Mishakal from the huge dragon guarding them, thus saving the world or something. The storyline is a bit lame, but the graphics make up for that; the characters and monsters move fluidly and there is a lot of detail in the backgrounds. Also, the loading screens of the game's warriors are pretty nice too. Alas, the sound effects aren't on the same level, and also the game is too hard; when you first play, all eight of your characters will be dead before they know what hit them – which is a shame, because the game has got potential.

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6

Heroes Rescue

(Defecto Digital, 2016)

Reviewed by Missas

Take control of Fry from the cartoon Futurama, who has to try to save various cartoon characters from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Marvel Comics and The Simpsons in this simple platform game. The graphics are in MODE 0 and they are good and clear. Bebop and Rocksteady as well as the other enemy sprites are clearly depicted and nicely drawn. Unfortunately there is no in-game music but there are some sound effects. The gameplay is simple; grab the crystals, avoid the bad guys and set free the characters who are trapped on each screen. What particularly sparked my attention was the smooth animation. Overall, it's a simple game that is addressed to lovers of old platform games (although other gamers should enjoy it too).

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6

Hero of the Golden Talisman

(Mastertronic, 1986)

The Golden Talisman protected a faraway city from evil, but it has now been stolen and broken up into five pieces which have been scattered throughout a deadly labyrinth. You must enter the labyrinth and find the missing pieces, so that the Wizard's curse on the city can be removed. The labyrinth consists of more than 500 screens; it's big! There are objects to be collected, including coloured keys which open portcullises of the same colour, candles to help you see where you're going, and flags which increase your firepower, which will help you defeat the dragons. The graphics and sound effects are primitive and the controls are rather frustrating, as is the need to position yourself absolutely precisely when trying to bounce off the walls and on to a ledge lower down.

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5

Hero Quest

(Gremlin, 1991)

Morcar and his legions of Chaos have taken over the empire, but four men have undertaken the task of defeating him. You control the party – a barbarian, a dwarf, an elf and a wizard – as they attempt fourteen quests. In every room and corridor, there are things to be discovered; secret doors, hidden treasure, potions, monsters and traps. Many of the quests offer rewards for completing them successfully, which you can use to buy extra equipment for the later quests. It's a classic role-playing game which is based on a board game of the same name, and the graphics and sound are very good (if you have 128K of memory, that is). The pace can be a bit slow, but there is a real urge to explore further, and when you've completed all the quests, there are ten more for you to try in Hero Quest: Return of the Witch Lord – but they're much tougher!

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9

Hideous

(Alternative, 1992)

Four levels of an underground complex have been contaminated with radiation, and it's your job to manoeuvre a tank around each level and find eight lead blocks to shield the radiation source with. However, the complex contains many obstacles, such as doorways, one-way conveyor belts and force fields. Your tank also needs to be refuelled and rearmed constantly, and then there are the mutants... This is a simple game with very colourful graphics, and it's quite appealing at first, but your tank moves very slowly, and given that there's a lot of trudging around to be done, it will take ages to complete each level. It would have been a lot better if passwords were provided, to allow you to skip levels that you have already completed.

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7

Highlander

(Ocean, 1986)

Connor MacLeod was born in the Scottish Highlands in 1518. After surviving a fatal wound in 1536, he learns that he is an immortal – a group of people who can only be killed by decapitation, and who fight each other through time, in a quest to gain The Prize. This is a sword-fighting game with three levels which each load separately. Each level sees you fighting against a different opponent. In the first level, you fight your tutor, the swordsman Ramirez. Aman Fasil is your opponent in the second level, which is set in New York in 1985, and in the third level, you face Kurgan, who by this stage is the only other immortal remaining. All of the levels are more or less identical in terms of gameplay, and the graphics, music and sound effects are nothing special at all.

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4

High Steel

(Screen 7, 1989)

You're a builder who belongs to a company which constructs skyscrapers. On each level, you have to build floors using the girders and bricks supplied by the overhead crane. Each floor requires a row of at least five bricks. When you've created a floor, you can climb up the girders to build the next one. But this building site is overrun with strange creatures who will make your life difficult, and you must also watch out for bricks falling from the sky! Some of these hazards will merely knock you out for a short time, while others cause you to lose one of your three lives. The graphics are colourful and cartoony, and the music is cute as well. It's a nice game once you understand the rules, although by the fifth level, the amount of monsters becomes overwhelming.

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7

Highway Encounter

(Vortex, 1985)

A nasty collection of aliens has invaded a planet, and they've brought a powerful weapon with them. Only the Vortons can stop them. Your task is to guide the Vortons and their counter-weapon, the Lasertron, through a series of obstacles spread over thirty zones, and only when you reach zone zero can the Lasertron be activated. The graphics are quite good, even if none of the sprites are multi-coloured, but there isn't much in the way of sound effects. Nonetheless, it's still a challenging game which requires a lot of thought as well as good reflexes.

See also: Alien Highway.

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8

Highway Patrol

(Microïds, 1989)

Ever fancied being a police cop and driving around the highways of America in pursuit of criminals? It sounds thrilling, but this game is one of the best cures for insomnia I've ever played! Your car is fitted with a guide that tells you how far away the criminal is, but it's very difficult to find him, and all you end up doing is driving around, looking at the same flat scenery all the time, and occasionally seeing a car pass in the opposite direction. The animated sequences played before and after the game are very good – in fact they're the best thing about this awful, monotonous excuse for a game.

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1

Hire Hare

(CNGSoft, 2016)

Reviewed by Missas

Hire Hare is an isometric 3D arcade adventure where you take the role of Hecatia, a sorceress who needs to find her way around a castle and confront the warlock Lycurgus. You can also collect keys to open chests, but this won't be easy; a great variety of enemies will try to stop you in your quest! Starting with the graphics, they are nothing less than console quality with impressively fluid animation and design. Frequently there are many sprites on screen without this causing any slowdown in the frame rate. A nice tune plays throughout the game, but there are no sound effects. The gameplay is faster than it is in most games of the same genre and there are many screens to explore and spells to cast. The atmosphere of this game is mesmerising. It is a gem for our machine.

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9

Hi Rise

(Bubble Bus, 1986)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

A simple but funny game where you control a little character running on complicated structures. Two policemen try to catch you, so you must escape by climbing ladders and trapping them with glue. Though it seems simple, this game isn't so easy because you must walk along every inch of the building to complete a level, so you have to find the best itinerary and avoid dead ends. Graphically it is basic, but this isn't the most important aspect. The gameplay is good and there are hundreds of levels, but controlling your character is sometimes difficult because you must be exactly positioned in order to turn around or to climb a ladder.

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5

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

(Infocom, 1986)

The late Douglas Adams' book of the same name is one of the best known science fiction novels of all time, and this text adventure version (which is one of the best known text adventures of all time) mostly follows the plot of the book. If you've read the book, it'll certainly help you with a few of the puzzles, some of which are very clever and require some bizarre logic; the puzzle where you try to get the babel fish is the stuff of legend, and you could even buy T-shirts saying, "I got the babel fish". The game features some extremely well written prose filled with Adams' unique sense of humour, and is a must, even if you're not a fan of text adventures!

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9

The Hit Squad

(Codemasters, 1989)

Los Angeles in the year 2125 is ruled by the evil Emilio Bocker. It's up to the Hit Squad – a group of four young men and women – to find his lair and kill him. At the start of the game, you choose one of the four members to play as, although it makes very little difference to the gameplay. Each of the twelve levels consists of shooting monsters and jumping from platform to platform in search of a teleport ticket, which you will need in order to teleport to the next level. You can also collect boots to make you jump higher, food, and tokens to give you extra lives or better weapons. The graphics are simple but colourful, and the digitised pictures of the Hit Squad and the programmers are a nice addition as well. While the gameplay may be the same as nearly every other platform game you've seen before, it's still a fairly good game.

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7

HKM

(US Gold, 1989)

Kwon visits five countries – Russia, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Lebanon – in a mission to kill. There are two enemies in each level, and you have to knock them out three times, although if you lose too much energy, your next enemy will require more knockdowns. Unfortunately you're immediately at a disadvantage, since your enemies require far more hits to be killed. The sprites move too sluggishly, although hits are represented by Batman-style "ZAP!" and "POW!" captions appearing. It's a shame that the truly luscious backgrounds are wasted on such a frustratingly difficult and tasteless game.

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4

Hobgoblin

(Atlantis, 1991)

In the land of Altoris was a Golden Orb, an artefact that kept the inhabitants safe. Unfortunately it has been stolen by hobgoblins, and your father, who is also the king of Altoris, has sent you to recover the Orb and restore peace to the land. Starting in the forests, you must reach the castle where the Orb is being held by the hobgoblins, shooting all the time to kill any monsters that appear. Initially it's an appealing game, with colourful and well drawn graphics – the background is particularly nice – although there are few sound effects and no music. However, any enthusiasm is soon quashed; it's a seriously difficult game, thanks mostly to the very poor collision detection.

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4

Holdfast

(Kuma, 1984)

There is a border crisis in the land of Dictatoria, and while the country's defence budget has increased dramatically, the village of Holdfast is still waiting for a school and a clinic to be built. The villagers have had enough and the seeds of protest have been sown. In each stage of the campaign, you are required to make decisions which affect both the villagers' and the government's determination, and to win, you have to reduce the government's determination to less than 50%. It's entirely text-based, but boy, is it fun! You'll fail the first few times, but you may well complete the game before too long. Until that happens, you'll probably love it.

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8

Hold-Up

(ERE Informatique, 1984)

An armoured van is driving around town and dropping lots of bags of money on the roads (why would it be doing this?). Meanwhile, your mission is to crash into the van and collect all the bags, while avoiding the police cars who are looking out for you. You can drop oil on the road so that they lose control, allowing you to make a getaway – until they locate you again. It's a good game, and when you consider the year that it was released, the graphics and music aren't bad, although the digitised speech is unrecognisable. It can become a bit repetitive, but if you're looking for a quick game to play, this could be a good choice.

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Hollywood Hijinx

(Infocom, 1986)

Your Aunt Hildegarde has passed away, and she has left you her late husband's mansion in her will. Unfortunately, there's a bizarre test that you have to complete before you can inherit the mansion; as you are dropped off at the mansion, you are told that you have to collect ten treasures hidden within it by 9:00am the next morning, or you won't inherit anything. Really, this text adventure is little more than a treasure hunt. Hardly original stuff there, but it's the excellent prose and the strange and often crazy puzzles (including the obligatory maze, and it's bigger than most others!) that turn it into a highly entertaining adventure which is suitable for players of all levels, whether you're inexperienced, or a hardened fan of text adventures.

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Hollywood or Bust

(Mastertronic, 1986)

Five Oscars have been mislaid throughout a Hollywood film set, and Buster Baloney has to try to retrieve them. The cops are out to try to arrest him, although he can confuse them for a while by firing custard pies (!). There are also ghosts which must simply be avoided. This game is really unexciting; the graphics are mediocre and the music is annoying. Another irritation is the film sequence, which involves more custard pie throwing – this is waiting for you if you walk through most of the doors, and most of the time, you'll be sent back to the start. You've only got one life as well, making a below average game even worse.

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4

Holocauste

(French)

(MBC, 1988)

The story behind this French text adventure is that in July 2004, a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the USA wiped out all life on Earth – except for four scientists who are hibernating in an underground shelter. Four years later, an earthquake damages the life support computer, and one of the scientists (that's you) is woken up. Your mission is to find the necessary components to repair the computer and hibernate for several more years. Thankfully, no nuclear war occurred in real life! The pictures are good, if not brilliant, and I really like the loading screen and the sampled speech, but I had a lot of problems getting the game to understand what I was typing, and the inability to examine most objects proved to be a significant hindrance. It's OK, but not that good.

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7

Homerunner

(Amsoft, 1984)

Rarely does one come across games that are as abysmal as this. No – this is worse than abysmal. Guide the little man from the bottom of the screen to the top-right corner marked 'HOME' while avoiding the astro spiders and collecting the sole object on the screen. The screen consists of six platforms in which gaps open up and move randomly. The spiders also fall through these gaps and block your way, and it's not possible to jump over them. So, the graphics are rubbish, the music is worse (it's the same irritating melody repeated every six seconds), and it's too difficult – I can't get off the first screen. Then again, why would I want to?

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Hong Kong Phooey

(Hi-Tec, 1990)

Reviewed by John Beckett

Hi-Tec made tons of games for the CPC based around Hanna-Barbera characters, and while they're all pretty similar, they're all amazing fun too! And Hong Kong Phooey is no exception. As the kung-fu dog, you must jump around platforms while staving off the numerous bad guys, with the aim being to track down some bad guy who has escaped from prison. The graphics are pretty good; not the best use of colour, but Phooey moves fluidly and the traps and enemies are well drawn. And the sound effects are good, as they are in all Hi-Tec games. Gripes? The game may be too hard for some, but I found it a lot of fun, and also pretty addictive.

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Hopper Copper

(Silverbird, 1989)

This is arguably one of the craziest and daftest concepts for a game ever – a policeman who patrols the streets on one of those bouncing space hoppers that you may remember from the days when you were young. What was the programmer of this game on? Anyway, it's your job to clear the streets of criminals, although some of them are carrying weapons, and others may throw nails on to the ground so that your space hopper will burst. The graphics are average, but there isn't much variety in the game, and it's also rather easy. The music is pretty good, though.

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5

Hoppin' Mad

(Elite, 1988)

This is one of those games that's rather out of the ordinary. You control a sort of snake which consists of four bouncing balls, which is constantly bouncing up and down while moving left across a landscape filled with hazards. The aim on each level is to collect little balls and balloons while avoiding the hazards. The snake can be made to bounce higher or move faster, but timing is crucial in this game. You don't die instantly if you hit a hazard, but you will lose one of the four balls which makes up the snake; lose all four, and you lose a life. The first thing you notice about this game is the spectacularly awful Spectrum-style graphics, with some of the worst colour schemes I have ever seen. I also found the game to be too difficult, which put me off even more.

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5

Hora Bruja

(ESP Soft, 2011)

Reviewed by Missas

In Hora Bruja, you take control of a witch who tries to find her King. In order to succeed in her mission, she will need to travel through a big castle, some caves and finally through clouds! Hora Bruja is designed in MODE 1. Grey is the predominant colour; however, because of the detailed sprite and foreground design, the result is satisfactory. A pleasant tune plays throughout the game and there are some effects too. The gameplay is fast-paced; the hero and the enemies move fast and smoothly. The game itself is quite big and the mazes are designed with imagination without being frustrating to find your way through them. Until you complete it, the grab factor will most probably be quite strong! Overall, a pleasant and well designed game that is really worth playing.

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Hot Rod

(Activision, 1990)

Reviewed by Pug

In Hot Rod, you race against two other roadsters around a 2D track. The tracks are short and scroll in small chunks as the leader reaches the edge of the screen. This forces any car lagging behind into the same area as the lead racer, often resulting in an unfair race. The controls are sluggish as the squashed-looking sprites crawl along with no car-to-car collision detection. Certain parts of the game look unfinished, such as the bridges that you cannot drive under. The visuals are a mix of good and bad and the playing area is too small. Two tunes take turns to play as you struggle with this game before you decide to quit.

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Hotshot

(Addictive, 1988)

Imagine a two-player 'sport' that's a combination of pinball and Breakout – that's Hot Shot. It's a five-stage tournament in which you fire a plasma ball around an arena, trying to destroy bricks and qualify for the next stage. The ball moves across the screen very fast indeed, but touching it is deadly, and the only way to grab possession of it is to aim your vacuum tube at it. Unfortunately, the ball moves so fast that lightning reflexes are required, and its movement is very erratic and unpredictable, which means that amassing enough points just to qualify for the second stage relies a lot more on luck than skill. It's fun at first but it quickly becomes frustrating.

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The House of Horrors

(Solid, 1984)

Reviewed by Pug

For some unexplained reason, you decide to enter a creepy-looking building and then find yourself locked inside! You must move your stick-man figure around a maze-like plan of the building and reach the exit. Along the way, you'll encounter the tenants (and hazards) which present a challenge. Each challenge is a mini-game including hangman, maths tests, shooting a vampire, picking the correct door, and many more. The addition of these extra games does make this BASIC program interesting and it may give your brain a workout too!

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House of Usher

(Anirog, 1984)

Reviewed by Pug

House of Usher is an early platform game made up of nine rooms. You start in the reception hall and pick a door. Each room carries its own challenge with certain aspects of the novel influencing it. This in itself doesn't always work, though, as some rooms are a nightmare to complete. The graphics look primitive and ultimately do the game no favours at all. The only aspect of this offering that does seem to work is the audio – a spooky, eerie silence throughout the game.

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3

Howard the Duck

(Activision, 1987)

Howard the Duck has been parachuted on to Volcano Island, where the Dark Overlord has imprisoned Beverly and Phil. Howard must collect his gear and head for the volcano to ultimately destroy the Dark Overlord using the deadly Neutron Disintegrator. Once you have worked out how to jump over the mutant slime and collected your gear, you can fly across the river in your solar-powered jetpack (I thought ducks could swim?) and use your mastery of Quack Fu to kill any mutants on your way to the volcano. The game is based on a comic book character, who later appeared in a well-known turkey of a film of the same name. This is a turkey as well, with mediocre graphics and little or no thought having been given to the gameplay, which is incredibly dull, simplistic and tedious.

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2

How to be a Complete Bastard

(Virgin, 1987)

Appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape

Adrian has gatecrashed a yuppie party, and to acquire the honour of being the complete bastard, he has to perform all sorts of misdemeanours to make all the guests leave. Ransacking the house will reveal countless odds and ends; finding out their uses is left to you! In addition, there are four meters – the drunkometer, the weeeometer, the fartometer, and the smellometer – which are all self-explanatory. However, there are some things you can only do when you're sober, and other things you can only do when you're drunk. The nature of the game is initially appealing, especially to adolescents, but the way that the rooms are viewed is very confusing, and it's so slow that you'll switch off within minutes.

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How to Be a Hero

(Mastertronic, 1987)

Reviewed by John Beckett

The story behind this game is that you play a nerdy guy who, in order to discover what it takes to be a hero, is thrust by his super-hero teacher into several heroic situations, to see how much of a hero he is. Sounds good, but in reality the story doesn't play an important part in the game at all; it's just three levels of dull, very hard dungeon-roaming viewed from above. The first level is set in an Egyptian tomb and you must find keys and various treasures, shoot the obscene amount of bad guys (scorpions, spiders etc.) who never seem to die, and find the exit to the next level – another tomb. The graphics are bad, and the sound is pathetic. More like How to Be a Zero!

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Hudson Hawk

(Ocean, 1991)

Eddie 'Hudson' Hawkins' friend has been captured by a gang, who force Eddie to steal three works of art made by Leonardo da Vinci in order to build a machine that will turn lead into gold. If he refuses to comply, the gang will kill his friend. The film that this game is based on was a major flop, but the game itself is not bad. It's a platform game with some puzzle elements to it; for instance, you will have to work out how to reach a high window, climb over large boxes (Hudson's a small fellow in this game), or avoid being caught by security cameras. Graphically it's brilliant, albeit very blue indeed, although there is no music and little in the way of sound effects. It's an easy game to get into and is worth trying out, even if Hudson's movements are a little sluggish.

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Humphrey

(Zigurat, 1988)

Reviewed by Alain Schroetter

This is a game I used to like when I was younger, but which has since lost much of its attractiveness. You take the control of a strange-looking guy named Humphrey. When Humphrey walks on the ground tiles, they change colour, and you must step on all of them to clear the stage. Of course, a plethora of creatures spend their time chasing you, while flying bugs only expect you to jump so they can sting you to death. Some tiles move to take you to inaccessible places, while others crumble under your steps or explode. The graphics are not too bad, but the sound effects hardly exist and the animation is slow. Besides, you often get stuck when getting round an obstacle, which does not simplify your task.

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5

Hunchback

(Amsoft/Ocean, 1984)

Esmeralda has been captured and Quasimodo the hunchback must rescue her. As Quasimodo, you must jump over the obstacles on the ramparts, dodging spears, arrows and fireballs, and leaping across chasms. Watch out for the knight who is climbing the walls and chasing after you! This was one of Ocean's earliest releases for the CPC. I suppose the game was good for its time, but it feels really old and dated nowadays. Obviously, the graphics are poor and unappealing, but the gameplay totally lacks any excitement. It doesn't have the nostalgia of some of Amsoft's other titles – even if they were bad as well.

See also: Hunchback: The Adventure, Hunchback II: Quasimodo's Revenge.

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3

Hunchback: The Adventure

(Ocean, 1986)

Reviewed by John Beckett

This is a very snazzy-looking text adventure, in which you take the part of deformed bell-ringer Quasimodo, and must ultimately rescue Esmeralda from the clutches of the evil Cardinal. First though, you must escape from the maze-like and heavily guarded Notre Dame Cathedral, before taking to the sewers beneath Paris. It's not a difficult game, but it can get frustrating with its maze-like layout, and you'll often find yourself wandering about in circles. On top of that, the parser is quite limited, with a lack of obvious commands such as 'talk' and 'examine', which detracts from the depth of the game somewhat. Stick with it, though, and you'll be pleasantly surprised. It's lovely to look at, is challenging but not difficult, has a great sense of humour and is quite lengthy.

See also: Hunchback, Hunchback II: Quasimodo's Revenge.

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Hunchback II: Quasimodo's Revenge

(Ocean, 1985)

Esmeralda has been captured again, so Quasimodo sets out to rescue her again. As in the previous game, you must dodge various hazards, but this time, it's a proper platform game in which you can move all around the screen. Your aim on each of the five screens is to collect all the bells on the platforms. To move from one platform to another, you can either jump or use the ropes on the large bells. However, it's rather hard, and pixel-perfect precision is often required. The graphics are OK for their time, and the jingles when you start a new game and complete a level are very jolly, but the actual gameplay isn't particularly endearing to me.

See also: Hunchback, Hunchback: The Adventure.

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4

Hundra

(Dinamic/Mastertronic, 1988)

The Viking king Jorund has been captured and is being held by the Viking gods somewhere in the kingdom of Lukx. Jorund's daughter, Hundra, must enter the kingdom and rescue him. As Hundra, you must collect three precious jewels in order to rescue Jorund. The first isn't too difficult to find, but you'll need two keys to collect the others, and you can't collect the circular key until you've found the triangular key. This isn't a bad platform game by any means, and the graphics are colourful and appealing. However, there are numerous traps which are frustratingly difficult to avoid, meaning that lives are needlessly wasted. Despite this, it's still possible to explore most of what is a fairly good game.

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7

The Hunt for Red October: The Movie

(Grandslam, 1991)

The film that this game is based on sees a Soviet submarine commander called Marko Ramius in charge of Russia's most high-tech submarine, the Red October, which is virtually undetectable. Ramius is planning to defect to the Americans, but they don't believe him. However, the CIA agent Jack Ryan does, and he sets out to find it, before the American and Russian navies beat him to it. The game consists of five levels which re-enact some of the scenes in the film, and there are several distinct types of gameplay throughout the game. The graphics are quite good, but two of the five levels are simple sub-games rather than levels in the proper sense, and the game itself is too short and too easy; I completed it after only a few goes.

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6

Hustler

(Bubble Bus, 1985)

This is a 6-ball pool game which allows you to play in several different ways. There's the normal game, of course, and other games where you must pot the six balls in the right order, or pot the balls in the corresponding numbered pockets – the aim being to pot all the balls in the fewest number of shots. You can play on your own or against another player, but you can't play against the computer. The very simple graphics and poor sound effects only reinforce the notion that this is a rather dull simulation of 6-ball pool.

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4

Huxley Pig

(Alternative, 1991)

Horace the Hamster has left the front door of Huxley Pig's house open, and now Vile Vincent the vampire pig and Sidney the Snake have hidden Huxley's toys and outfits. You must search the house for them, but first you'll have to find Horace's spanner and give it to him. Then, before you can look for a toy and an outfit, you must find a cross to get past Vile Vincent. Once you've got both items, you must take them to Huxley's bedroom. Once you've found three toys and outfits, you are taken to the second part, where you play three mini-games with themes based on the outfits you've collected. The graphics are colourful and will appeal to young children, but Huxley moves very slowly, and avoiding the spiders that reduce your score if you touch them can be frustratingly difficult even on the easy mode.

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5

Hybrid

(Starlight, 1987)

Four aliens are being held captive within a prison, but now they must be exterminated. You have three Hybrids under your control – a brain, a xylon, and a robot. The brain is only lightly armoured but can teleport itself and the other droids to another area of a screen, the xylon can activate switches which allow barriers to be crossed, and the robot is the most heavily armoured and has the greatest firepower. You must find cells where you can fuse the Hybrids together in order to fight an alien. If you defeat the alien, the Hybrids separate once more and you must find another cell. The prison complex consists of 200 rooms, so there's a large area to explore, but unless you're prepared to make a map, you probably won't find this game of interest. The graphics are rather bland, and the so-called 'music' (which thankfully is disabled by default) is absolutely terrible!

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5

Hydrofool

(FTL, 1987)

Appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape

Sweevo has been called upon to clean up the planetary aquarium of Deathbowl, by removing four plugs and draining all the water away – but each of the plugs can only be removed if you find the correct objects. Furthermore, the plugs have to be removed in the correct order! Therefore, Sweevo has to explore the maze that is Deathbowl in search of the objects, while avoiding all the aquatic creatures that will drain his energy on contact. Most of them can be killed, but you will need to find the correct weapon, and the range of weapons is quite bizarre, as is the rest of the game! The graphics and animation are both wonderful, the music is a delight to listen to, and exploring Deathbowl is fun as well as challenging.

See also: Sweevo's World.

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8

Hyperbowl

(Mastertronic, 1986)

If you've ever played one of those air hockey machines that you find in amusement arcades, then the format of this game will be familiar to you. You control a hover which you can use to move the puck, either by pushing it or shooting at it. You can also choose to play with a friend, or take on the computer in a tournament – and the computer is rather good! There's not all that much to say about the graphics, but the high-energy music on the menu is absolutely marvellous.

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8

Hyper Sports

(Imagine, 1986)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

Here's a great arcade conversion and one of the best sports game for the CPC. You have to win six events – swimming, clay pigeon shooting, vault, archery, triple jump and weight lifting. Though it's relatively easy to qualify for the early events, the game becomes more and more difficult as you progress. The graphics are really cute and the overall realisation of the game is flawless. The different events are varied and require much timing, but the difficulty level is just perfect. Unlike other sports games, it isn't only about joystick waggling, even if your wrists are often aching...

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8

Hypsys

(Dro Soft, 1990)

Reviewed by Pug

Hypsys is a top down, scrolling shooter split into two parts. The first part involves you piloting a hovercraft with one weapon – a gun turret located to the right of the craft – while in the second part, you pilot a helicopter. The scrolling flows smoothly but it slows down when there's a lot going on screen-wise. Energy and ammo power-ups spring up occasionally but nothing else. Some good colour mixing in places makes you think that the CPC has suddenly developed a larger palette; this game is very colourful. However, there is no sound at all.

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