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Pacific

(ERE Informatique/PSS, 1987)

Deep at the bottom of the Pacific ocean, you must search for the lost treasure of Atlantis. Now, the Pacific ocean covers an absolutely massive area, and that's also the case in this exploration game. Close to the surface, there are few hazards, but as you dive deeper, you will encounter lots of coral reefs which bar your way, and sea creatures that must be avoided. You also need to top up your oxygen supply regularly. The graphics are stunning, but to be honest, the playing area is so phenomenally large, and the screens are so similar to each other, that it's not worth your while trying to find Atlantis. Sadly, this is another occasion in which the programmers concentrated on creating beautiful graphics, but forgot to include a proper game.

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5

Pac-Land

(Grandslam, 1989)

A fairy has been kidnapped, so Pac-Man has to journey through Pac-Land to rescue her and send her back to Fairyland. The ghosts are also out to stop him, though; one of them has a plane to drop bombs on Pac-Man, and another has a car. However, if Pac-Man finds any power pills, then he can kill them. There are also lots of cherries to collect along the way for bonus points. The power pills also enable you to jump higher, although this won't help you when getting past the lakes; you must waggle the joystick instead. The graphics are really colourful and really appealing to children. The same goes for the cheerful tune which gets irritating after listening to it often – although the jingle that plays when you lose a life is sublime. The game is relatively easy but it's still good.

See also: Pac-Man Emulator, Pacmania.

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7

Pac-Man Emulator

(SyX/TotO, 2012)

Ever since its release in 1980, Pac-Man has remained enduringly popular and is one of the best known video games of all time – but thanks to this emulator, it is possible to play the original coin-op game on your CPC! There are obviously some limitations; the graphics are drawn in medium-resolution MODE 1, so stippling has been used to colour in some of the ghosts, and the sound emulation isn't perfect, although the tune at the beginning of each game is instantly recognisable. The game also plays noticeably more slowly than the original, but despite this, it's not detrimental to the gameplay and it remains very enjoyable. Pac-Man never gets old – and as this is an emulator, it's possible to play the many unofficial bootleg and hacked versions of the coin-op game as well!

See also: Pac-Land, Pacmania.

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8

Pacmania

(Grandslam, 1988)

It's another Pac-Man game, but this one's in isometric 3D and it's absolutely fantastic, although the graphics are in boring monochrome. Still, you'll find that it's a great game. Each section of mazes has a different theme depending on the difficulty level, and there are three amazing tunes which will have you humming away in no time. There are also lots of bonuses to collect. It's a shame about the graphics, as they could have been much better with some colour, but this game still rocks.

See also: Pac-Land, Pac-Man Emulator.

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9

Pang

(Ocean, 1991)

Travel across 17 nations and burst balloons as you go! There's not much of a plot to this game, but each level is divided into three screens, and you have to use a harpoon to blast the balloons. However, they will divide into two smaller balloons, and the same thing happens if you burst these balloons! If you're not careful, you'll have dozens of tiny balloons bouncing about and you'll lose one of your six lives. This is a really simple and addictive game, and it's one of the very few games around that makes full use of the Plus' extra facilities. If it was that little bit easier, I would probably have given this game the full ten marks.

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9

Panic Dizzy

(Codemasters, 1991)

Grand Dizzy's toy-making machine has gone haywire and Dizzy has been left to control it! Random shapes fall out of the machine and you've got to align them with the correct slots at the bottom to make the toys. It's a bit like those toys for two-year-olds where they have to work out which shapes fit in which holes. It's yet another game that only features Dizzy so that it'll sell, and this one's absolute rubbish. It's unoriginal and boring, although the younger ones might like it.

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

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3

Panzadrome

(Ariolasoft, 1986)

The Panzadrome is a heavily fortified island guarded by robot tanks, and your aim is to destroy it completely. You begin with a poorly equipped tank, but there are factories on the island where you can upgrade it. However, you will have to get past armies of robot tanks and turrets and avoid any mines in your path in order to reach a factory – but achieving this is practically impossible. Moreover, all this destruction leaves craters in your way which your tank cannot drive over, and you could easily find your path blocked, unless you have some Polycrete to fill in the crater – but to obtain it, you must find the correct factory first! The graphics and sound effects are very poor and the game is far too difficult.

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3

Panza Kick Boxing

(Futura, 1991)

Reviewed by CPC4eva

Do you want to be the best prize fighting Thai boxing champion ever? Great, because here's your chance to take them all on in the ring in this game, which has been endorsed by André Panza. The fighting is quite smooth and the controls are very easy to pick up and learn. There are lots of different moves, and each time you make a good hit on your opponent, a yellow flash appears on the screen. You can choose from a number of different fighters and different opponents. As you win bouts, you get more money and are able to fight the better fighters and win trophies. The referee is quite good and keeps an eye on the game when you or your opponent's energy runs out, indicating that the match is won or lost. The cartridge version has greatly improved graphics and colour over the normal CPC version.

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7

Paperboy

(Elite, 1986)

If you were ever a paperboy when you were young, you'll know how ungrateful your customers can be. You've got to deliver your papers to all the houses on your street by firing them into the mailboxes and avoiding people, objects and cars. You also have to make sure you don't run out of newspapers, but more can be picked up on the way. If you don't deliver newspapers to any of the houses, they'll cancel their subscription. It's a very original game and fun to play, too, although it is slightly difficult. The graphics are quite good, but amazingly, there's no sound at all; apparently the programmer ran out of memory!

See also: Paperboy 2.

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7

Paperboy 2

(Mindscape, 1991)

Paperboy is back to deliver some more papers. However, this time, you can also play as Papergirl (so as not to be seen as being sexist). The neighbourhoods are a little strange, though; all the streets have castles in them! You'll also have to dodge the likes of skateboarders, bouncing balls, ghosts (!), and the obligatory workmen carrying furniture or glass. The game has better graphics and is much faster than its predecessor – in fact, I think it's too fast. It also makes crashing into things a frequent occurrence, and your six lives will quickly run out. In addition, you'll only hear any sound if you have 128K.

See also: Paperboy.

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6

Para Academy

(Zeppelin, 1990)

Have you got what it takes to join the Parachute Regiment? Your strength and stamina will be tested to the limit in six events – the 100m sprint and 100m freestyle, the tug of war, weightlifting, target shooting, and rope climbing. Completing all six events wins you promotion, and if you fail three events, the game is over. If you haven't already guessed, this is a joystick waggling game, and I hate this sort of game. You can be promoted easily enough, but further promotion is much harder, especially if you have to use the keyboard.

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5

Para Assault Course

(Zeppelin, 1988)

As you may have guessed, this is a joystick waggling frenzy in which you try to complete some gruelling assault courses as quickly as possible. After a few goes, you'll probably have built up your muscles sufficiently to attempt the real thing! Among the obstacles you will face are walls, ramps, rivers, monkey bars and logs, and you'll also have to swim through a water-filled pipe and crawl through barbed wire – and unlike the other obstacles, if you get these ones wrong, the game is over. You can use the keyboard, but it doesn't work very well and makes the game a bit tougher. The graphics are OK, but there are no sound effects or music to accompany the game at all, and I dislike joystick waggling games anyway.

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4

Parabola

(Firebird, 1987)

Bruce is a springy creature who has to bounce his way across a grid, starting from one corner and attempting to reach the opposite corner. Each square on the grid represents one stage, in which you must bounce around a screen full of moving guardians, collecting some spinning discs. As well as avoiding the guardians, some of the squares are booby-trapped and will cause Bruce to fly into the air and come back to earth with a bang, losing a life. This is a nice and simple isometric arcade-cum-puzzle game, and the graphics are well presented, although movement can be slow, and the sound is fairly limited. If you like puzzle games, though, this is worth a look.

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7

Park Patrol

(Firebird, 1987)

As a ranger in a national park in America, you have to patrol your area of the park in your canoe and clear it of litter. You must avoid the local wildlife and dodge the logs and swimmers while paddling your canoe. You can also return to your hut to replenish your energy – that is, if the ants haven't taken your food away! There are five levels, and unusually, you can customise the difficulty of each level – nice. The graphics are nothing special, and some of the tunes are irritating, but I think it's an enjoyable little game despite these faults.

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7

Les Passagers du Vent

(French)

(Infogrames, 1986)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

This game is the faithful adaptation of the (great) cartoon strip of the same name by François Bourgeon. The story takes place in France, England and Africa during the 18th century. You guide Isabeau, her lover and many other characters through the dangers of the colonial era. The main interest of the game is M. Bourgeon's gorgeous hand drawn graphics, and the style of the original cartoons is perfectly retained. The soundtrack is really good, and underlines the dramatic (and sometimes nearly sensual) atmosphere of the game. The game itself is divided into ten chapters. Every time a character has a choice to make, you must say the right thing in order to progress to the next chapter. However, the game is rather linear; I finished it in five hours (including two hours of loading...)

See also: Les Passagers du Vent 2.

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5

Les Passagers du Vent 2

(French)

(Infogrames, 1987)

Isabeau's lover Hoel has been poisoned by Estienne de Viaroux – one of her companions – and she goes to meet King Kpëngla in Dahomey to see if he can do anything. This game follows the adventures of Isabeau and a group of other people travelling with her, as they try to earn the trust of the king and return to Fort Saint-Louis where Hoel is lying, seriously ill. The format of the game is exactly the same as its predecessor – clicking on character's faces and choosing the correct responses to allow you to progress. However, later on in the game, there are no clues as to whether you have made the right choices. The graphics and music are just as marvellous as those in the original game, and it's more difficult as well.

See also: Les Passagers du Vent.

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7

Passing Shot

(Image Works, 1989)

Reviewed by CPC4eva

Image Works has a passing shot at a tennis game on the CPC. The main difference from most other tennis games on the CPC is that when you serve you are shown a normal view of the court, but when the ball is hit, the game is then played from an overhead view. It's an interesting concept and one that could have worked well, but the actual speed of the gameplay is quite slow. If you are willing to hack it out and have patience you may enjoy it more than I did and go on to become the Grand Slam champion of all four major tennis tournaments. There are no in-game sounds and the in-game graphics are garishly Spectrum-looking.

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3

Pasteman Pat

(Silverbird, 1989)

Nasty Norville and his workers have mixed up all of Pat's posters, so he has to put them back together again by sliding the paper along. Watch out for all of the things that Norville throws at you, or you'll be knocked off your ladder! There are twelve difficulty levels to keep you going, from starters to impossible, and there are several posters that you can use – all of them advertising other Firebird games (although some of them weren't released for the CPC). If you're stuck, try going to the toilets... It's an average sort of game, really, and although the music is good, the graphics and the colour clash show that it's a blatant Spectrum port.

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6

The Pawn

(Rainbird/Magnetic Scrolls, 1987)

It was just another normal day for you, coming back from the supermarket, when you suddenly end up in the fantasy land of Kerovnia, with a wristband on your forearm which you cannot remove. Then you encounter a magician called Kronos, who asks you to deliver a note to King Erik. Maybe you could ask him about this wristband that you're wearing? Despite the interesting book that comes with the game, which describes the recent history of Kerovnia, the game itself doesn't bear much relation to the events in the book, and the puzzles to be solved seem rather incoherent and unconnected with each other. However, this is reckoned to be one of the best text adventures ever, combining a traditional fantasy adventure with a sense of humour, and the pictures are stunning.

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9

Paws

(Artic, 1985)

You play a female cat whose ten kittens are missing. Your aim is to search the city, the alleyways and the forests to find them and return them to your home in the city centre, before Bulldog Billy and his pack come to your home for their nightly fight. Unfortunately, you can only pick up one kitten at a time. However, you can kill the dogs by firing fluff balls at them (!), and if you kill enough of them, you can prevent them from forming a pack. There is also lots of food and other objects, allowing you to maintain your stamina and strength. The graphics are OK, but what is so off-putting about the game is that it is really slow and therefore rather boring, especially with all the walking that you have to do. What's more, there are no sound effects at all!

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4

Pearl Harbour

(Sprites, 1985)

Despite the name, there is no link at all to the bombing of Pearl Harbour in this game. Instead, it's a computerised version of the battleships pen-and-paper game. The computer places a random number of ships on a 15×15 grid, and on each turn, you select which square you want to fire at. If you hit an enemy ship, an animation is displayed, and the aim is to sink all the ships in the fewest number of hits. To aid you, there is a radar which gives you a hint as to where the ships are located, but use it sparingly, as you are penalised each time you use it. The animations are very crudely drawn, and sound effects are limited to a few explosions. The biggest drawback is that there is no option to play a traditional game of battleships against the computer, and a one-player version of battleships isn't much fun.

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4

A Peasant's Tale

(Crysys, 1988)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

You must rescue your maiden and find a time machine to escape from a Middle Age hell. Well, thatís easy to say... The action is seen from above, from a bird's eye view. You must fight a bunch of soldiers, and bushes that fire at you (!). Once youíve found your beloved, rush outside the castle and try to stay alive. Well, neither the graphics nor the overall realisation of this game are very appealing. However, it is a lot of fun to play because the difficulty level isnít too high and itís one of the very few games that you can complete without cheating!

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7

Penalty Soccer

(Gamebusters, 1990)

Releasing a game which is devoted entirely to saving penalties is, in my opinion, ridiculous – and if you really want to release such a game, at least make it a bit challenging. That's not the case here, as you may have guessed. You can choose to start on any one of eight difficulty levels (which are represented by eight different footballers), and on each level, you must save ten penalties before the footballer you are facing scores ten penalties. It's really easy to complete, and I managed to do so on my first go. The graphics are OK, but there are no sound effects other than a whistle at the start of the game. Avoid this game totally!

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1

Penggy

(Chip, 1986)

Take control of Penggy as he tries to push the three diamonds in each level together while avoiding the green monsters that roam around the screen pursuing him. Penggy can push the ice cubes on the screen towards the monsters, which kills them, but some of the ice cubes contain eggs which allow more monsters to be generated. If you do kill all the monsters, you will go to the next level, but to score extra points, you'll have to push the three diamonds into a horizontal or vertical row. This is a Pingo clone which is rather mediocre. The graphics are colourful, albeit simple and flickery at times, and the game is easy to get into. However, it is quite slow, and the music can soon become very irritating.

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5

Pépé Béquilles

(French)

(Softhawk, 1987)

Marcel Dugland, also known as Pépé Béquilles, is a very old man who has had his crutches stolen by some of the patients in the hospital where he has been residing for over a year. However, the patients are a crazy bunch, and you will need to perform some favours for them in order to gain access to restricted areas of the hospital and make your wheelchair go faster, but finding your hearing aid, and a trolley to carry things in, is your first priority, and you need to be injected every two hours. This is a humorous French text adventure with some lovely graphics. Commands are selected using a menu system, and although most of the puzzles are not difficult to solve, timing is crucial to success, as some rooms in the hospital are only open at certain times, and you must be careful where you go at night...

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8

The Pepsi Challenge Mad Mix Game

(US Gold/Topo Soft, 1988)

Originally released by Topo Soft in Spain as Mad Mix Game, US Gold joined forces with drinks company Pepsi to release this Pac-Man clone as part of their Pepsi Challenge advertising campaign, although there's nothing related to Pepsi in the game itself. However, there are several unusual power-ups, such as the ability to transform into a hippopotamus, allowing you to crush ghosts. There are also tiles and barriers which force you to travel in one way only, and runways which turn you into a jet fighter and let you shoot at the ghosts and other nasties! The graphics are colourful, although the music is terrible. It's a bit easy and slow-paced, but I enjoyed it, and I think the game is aimed at younger players anyway.

See also: Mad Mix 2.

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6

Perico Delgado Maillot Amarillo

(Topo Soft, 1989)

The Spanish cyclist Pedro 'Perico' Deldago won the 1988 Tour de France, albeit in controversial circumstances, and this game sees you taking part in four stages – a race on flat terrain, an uphill time trial, a downhill race, and the final race through city streets to the finish line. The controls vary on each stage; some require you merely to move your bike left and right, while others require rhythmic waggling left and right or repeated pressing of the fire button – although thankfully you don't need to waggle very fast. The graphics also vary widely, although they are quite impressive throughout all the stages. There's no time limit on any of the stages, so you can always play all four of them without any pressure. Despite the other competitors having an annoying tendency to run into you and slow you down, this is still a very good game.

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8

Periscope Up

(Atlantis, 1989)

A supercomputer within Britain's secret nuclear missile base has malfunctioned, and unless it can be fixed, a barrage of missiles will be launched, triggering a nuclear war. The base lies below the sea, and you must guide a submarine through a network of tunnels and collect all eight digits of the code that will shut down the computer. Your submarine is equipped with smaller scout craft that can collect fuel and keys for opening locked gates, and you'll also need to use them to locate and destroy six flashing pods that are hidden behind moving barriers. This is a very simple game with basic graphics and hardly any sound effects. There are no moving enemies to dodge, so you're not under too much pressure. However, many of the obstacles require some very precise positioning indeed, and it's too easy to needlessly lose lives.

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6

Peter Pack Rat

(Silverbird, 1989)

Almost everyone thinks that rats are dirty creatures, but Peter is different. He's a tidy rat who likes to clear up rubbish. On each level, Peter must collect a certain number of objects and bring them back to the starting location. However, watch out for Riff Rat and other birds and insects; they can be stunned by throwing things at them, but if you stun a bird, you can fly around the level and transport yourself to another location quickly. Unfortunately, the time limit is rather tight, and the game is a blatant Spectrum port with everything in monochrome. The music is OK, though.

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6

Peter Shilton's Handball Maradona!

(Grandslam, 1986)

Diego Maradona's 'hand of God' goal in the Argentina vs. England 1986 World Cup game was certainly controversial. This game was an unashamed attempt to cash in quickly on the hysteria at the time, and boy, it shows. Rather than being a proper football game, the only thing you get to do in it is play as the goalkeeper and save a few shots from your opponent. Moreover, your team scores goals without any input from you, although their chances can be increased by improving your skill, which involves more goal saving. Terrible graphics, terrible sound, and hardly any gameplay make this a game to avoid.

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2

P-47: The Freedom Fighter

(Firebird, 1990)

The P-47 Thunderbolt was one of the most famous fighter planes of World War II, and now you're on a bombing mission in one of them. In each level, you fly from left to right and take out waves of enemy fighters, before coming face to face with an end-of-level guardian – usually a train, a large plane, or even a battleship! Shooting helicopters also reveals either additional weaponry or an extra life. This game has some terrific graphics; check out the background for the second level and you'll see what I mean. The sound effects are excellent, too, and with so much action going on, this is a game you'll certainly like.

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9

Phantomas Saga: Infinity

(CEZ Games Studio, 2006)

Reviewed by Missas

In this colourful arcade adventure, you control Phantomas, a cartoon-styled character who is a burglar! Unfortunately, his latest break-in doesn't go as planned and he finds himself trapped. Now it's your job to guide him to freedom! The graphics are very well drawn and are colourful, happy and detailed. The sound is very nice too; there are both effects and a cheerful tune. The gameplay is fast-paced, but the controls do not help a lot because the jumps are often difficult to execute with accuracy and the player's energy is easily depleted. Besides that, there are some dead ends, and when you walk into them you are 100% dead. As a result, the player may become frustrated. However, because the game itself is well designed, the grab factor does not suffer, and it is probable that most players will insist on completing it. In general, although there are some drawbacks, this game is worth playing and completing.

See also: Phantomas Tales #1: Marsport.

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7

Phantomas Tales #1: Marsport

(The Mojon Twins, 2009)

Reviewed by Missas

Phantomas returns in a new arcade adventure game. This time his quest will be much more dangerous; it is a much bigger game than the first one. The graphics are more colourful compared to Phantomas Saga: Infinity and overall, they are very nice and detailed. The loading screen is wonderful. The sound is also improved, both in terms of effects and in-game music. However, the greatest improvement is in the controls. Phantomas now jumps with accuracy. This boosts the gameplay and grab factor, since inaccurate jumping was the major drawback of the first game. As a whole, this is a game worth exploring and completing. It would be very nice if Phantomas' adventures continue on the CPC!

See also: Phantomas Saga: Infinity.

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9

Phantom Club

(Ocean, 1988)

The Phantom Club's members are all superheroes – but they weren't super enough to resist the evil influence of their overlord, Zarg. Plutus is the sole remaining good member, and you play him in this game as he tries to defeat Zarg and his minions. Starting at the rank of Zelator, Plutus must explore the Phantom Club building, which consists of more than 550 rooms. To move up a rank, you must complete the mission associated with it – but to do that, you must find the right movie screen and collect 40,000 points, which is achieved by shooting globes, or psychic balls as they're also known. The action is viewed from an isometric viewpoint, although many of the colour schemes are horrendous. The balls are difficult to find, and there are so many rooms that the game quickly becomes rather boring.

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4

Pharaon

(French)

(Loriciels, 1987)

You are an eminent professor of archaeology at Washington University who has just discovered the secret of Acktheon, an ancient Egyptian god. You travel to Cairo in order to retrieve the formula for antimatter. However, a Bulgarian colleague, Yvan Skival, is also searching for the formula and is extremely determined to find it before you do... This is a French text adventure containing many rather nice digitised pictures. Commands can either be entered using the keyboard or selecting an icon with the cursor keys. There are also a couple of arcade-based sub-games that you can play, which adds a little variety to the game. Overall, it's fairly good and not too difficult, although a lot of the objects that you can use are hard to spot in the pictures, and being killed randomly by Yvan is annoying.

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7

Phileas Fogg's Balloon Battles

(Zeppelin, 1991)

Phileas Fogg has volunteered to undertake a dangerous mission, and enter a battlefield in his hot air balloon. While flying above the battlefield, you must drop bombs on the cannons, shacks and towns. However, your supply of bombs is limited, as is your supply of hydrogen gas and sandbags which are used to control the balloon's height – but if you can find a shack belonging to the allies, you can replenish your supplies. The main problem with this game is that your control of the balloon is severely limited; you have to let the balloon go in the direction the wind is blowing. There is also little variety in the scenery and the gameplay. Both of these flaws make the game quite dull and not something you'll play for very long.

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4

Phoenix

(Norbert Kehrer, 2016)

The arcade game from 1980 is recreated fairly faithfully on the CPC. The first two levels play very similarly to Galaxian; you must destroy a wave of spaceships which fire missiles and divebomb towards you. In the third and fourth levels, you must blast a wave of fast-moving alien birds. The fifth and final level is a battle with a huge alien mothership, where you must fire at the underside of the ship and attempt to penetrate the cockpit in order to destroy the entire ship. Phoenix was one of the first games to introduce a 'boss' to be defeated, and this is a good conversion. Although there is no music or background graphics, it's enjoyable to play and a good choice if you're looking for a quick blast, and there is also the option to play with either MODE 0 graphics (colourful but blocky) or MODE 1 graphics (less colourful but more authentic).

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8

Pick 'n' Pile

(Ubi Soft, 1990)

Pick balls of the same colour and pile them on top of each other to blow them up! You have to remove all of the balls on each level within the time limit. Extra points can be gained by using the multipliers and points blocks, and you get enough in one go, you'll get a gem, and once you've built up a bit of a collection, you'll get a huge bonus. Watch out for the monsters, though, who will eat away at your time limit if they touch the floor! It's easy on the first few levels, but later on, it becomes pretty difficult. With excellent graphics and a bouncy theme tune, this game is one of my favourites.

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10

Pinball Magic

(Loriciel, 1990)

Pinball seems to be more a matter of luck than skill for me, and the same is true of this game. There are twelve tables, and to complete a table, you must light up all the letters and then aim the ball at the exit hole. It's a pretty good simulation; the ball whizzes and zooms almost too fast for you to follow it! Unfortunately, the normal CPC version, while possessing some very detailed and well drawn graphics, is much too difficult for me; although the first screen is easy enough, the second screen is ridiculously tough to complete. The cartridge version has musical effects, is much more colourful and makes use of the Plus' extra facilities, and it's a bit easier than the normal CPC version as well. Not surprisingly, I think the cartridge version is the better one.

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7

Pinball Power

(Mastertronic, 1989)

Nearly all pinball games on the CPC show a top-down view of the pinball table. However, this one (also known as 3D Pinball) dares to be different, by showing you a perspective view of the table, the way you would see it if you were playing a real pinball machine. This level of realism is maintained when you start playing the game; the ball moves really fast, and you'll need to be alert! Unfortunately, there is only one table and you can't tilt the machine, but the graphics are excellent, and the sound effects are pretty good as well.

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8

Pinball Wizard

(CP, 1985)

Reviewed by Pug

Pinball Wizard is a conversion of the original ZX Spectrum 16K title. Before the game begins, you're asked to choose a speed setting from 1 to 5. The gameplay delivers an acceptable challenge which includes all of the usual hazards and bonuses. The controls respond well too, with a smoothly moving ball in play at all times. Graphically, it's a port, so the visuals pretty much match those of the original (with more than four colours used). Some dated sound effects work well and complete a game that's worth a few goes.

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5

Ping Pong

(Imagine, 1986)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

Since the famous Pong, in the earlier days of video game history, few attempts were made to adapt this sport on our favourite computer. And then came this excellent game. Well, the graphics are rather poor (the crowd is ridiculous) and the sound effects are extremely irritating. But the gameplay is excellent. You begin at level 0 and each victory makes the game harder (at least until level 5). You must reach 11 points to win, which is a little too short (21-point matches would have been more interesting). Don't expect much realism; you only have three or four different ways to hit the ball. But it is fast and extremely fun to play.

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7

Pingu Soccer

(PanZ, 2016)

Reviewed by Missas

Pingu Soccer is an unusual game where two penguins try to score goals on a frozen ice rink! It is without doubt an original idea. The game features practice, tournament and multi-player modes. You will definitely need to practice before beginning the tournament because the artificial intelligence of the computer opponents is unusually capable and the computer will demean you! The graphics are basic and could be better. Nevertheless, the frame rate is fast and smooth. A tune plays throughout the game without any additional effects. The gameplay is highly challenging and interesting. Your computer opponents will let no opportunities go to waste, and they employ many different strategies. The two-player mode is very entertaining! Overall, an original and engaging idea.

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7

Pipe Mania

(Empire, 1990)

This is a marvellous puzzle game where you piece together random sections of pipes on a board to allow the slime to flow through it. If it doesn't flow through enough sections on each level, the game is over! There are also bonus levels where instead of placing pipes on a board, you drop them from the sky, Tetris-style. The graphics do their job – they don't have to be awesome for this type of game – but there's no music and few sound effects. Even so, this is a great game which is made even better by a password for every five levels so you don't have to go through the earlier levels every time.

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8

Pirates!

(MicroProse, 1987)

Fancy being a pirate in the 16th and 17th centuries, sailing across the Spanish Main? This all-time classic sees you as either an English, French, Dutch or Spanish adventurer, captaining a ship and sailing to and from towns, trying to earn prestige by capturing and plundering enemy ships and towns. You also have to visit taverns to recruit men for your voyages, and you can trade goods with local merchants as well. During the course of your travels, you may also find members of your family and uncover lost treasure! Although it can be rather slow at times, this is a truly awesome game which gives you total freedom to do whatever you want. Being a pirate has never been so much fun, and I cannot do this game justice in such a small space. You really must try it out for yourself!

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10

Piso Zero

(Zigurat, 1991)

An army led by the Cadwaladwr brothers has invaded the headquarters of RBA and taken the staff hostage, and you must single-handedly rescue as many of them as you can from each building. There are two types of staff – the glamorous secretaries, and the chiefs, who carry briefcases containing important documents. Once you've located a hostage, you must guide them to the exit. You only need to rescue one chief in order to progress to the next building, although rescuing additional staff earns more points. Of course, you must also dodge the Cadwaladwr brother's gun-toting followers. This game is frustrating to play. Its random nature means that you can't tell if the next hostage to appear will be a chief or a secretary, and it's often hard to distinguish bullets from the background.

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5

Pit-Fighter

(Domark, 1991)

Pit-fighting is an illegal 'sport' where two burly men fight each other to the death. There are eight contestants you must face, and you can choose from one of three fighters – Buzz, an ex-pro-wrestler; Ty, a kick boxer; and Kato, a karate expert. I'm not into beat-'em-ups, though, and this is certainly one of the worst ones that I've seen, with awful, blocky, Spectrum-like graphics and slow, jerky scrolling. It's far too easy as well – that is, if you can be bothered to slog it out. In short, it's the pits (groan)!

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1

Pix

(EgoTrip, 2013)

Reviewed by Missas

This is a Picross puzzle-solving game in which the player needs to fill nonograms which consist of a grid, with numbers on the sides of the grid detailing how many squares need to be filled in that row or column. The graphics are basic with only four colours used, and the sound is just a beep. The grab factor depends on whether you love or hate this style of game. Before playing it, you need to consider only one thing: do you like solving Picross puzzles? If your answer is yes, load the game and you will enjoy it. If your answer is no, read this review and try the game at least once!

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5

Planetfall

(Infocom, 1986)

You're a lowly Ensign Seventh Class on board the Stellar Patrol Ship Feinstein, when the ship is torn apart by an explosion. You escape to a nearby planet, and end up in a deserted complex. As you explore your surroundings, you eventually learn that all its inhabitants died from a nasty disease – and now you're infected as well, and must find a way of curing it. This is a thoroughly engrossing text adventure, which features the adorable robot Floyd, who becomes your companion through much of the game. The constant need to obtain food can be a bit irritating, and you'll need a lot of access cards to explore several areas of the complex, but the scenario is fascinating and the game is suitable for inexperienced adventurers.

See also: Stationfall.

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9

Plasmatron

(CRL, 1988)

A colony that was established on the planet of Laughton 2 now lies deserted, and it has since been occupied by alien forces. You are Captain Ford, a space pilot who has been sent to the former colony to see what has happened, and to shoot the aliens. It's a horizontally scrolling space shoot-'em-up, and my goodness, it is bad! There is only one level, and no power-ups whatsoever to collect. But the worst aspect of the game is the amount of flickering that occurs; I don't think I have seen a game with such horrible flickering. The scrolling is very slow as well. It's a badly programmed game and there's nothing to recommend about it.

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2

Platformer Medley Block #1

(The Mojon Twins, 2009)

Mari Stormbringer is a bored supermarket cashier. She grabs a packet of n&n sweets, not realising that they are contaminated, and she is transported to another world. Can you help her return to the real world? Behind the surreal story is a cute and very colourful, albeit rather linear, platform game. You start the game with 20 lives, but you will need all of them, as it's a rather difficult game. The graphics are bright and cheerful, and background images are used on each screen to great effect, and it will take you many attempts to reach the final screen.

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8

Platoon

(Ocean, 1988)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

The first casualty of war is innocence – or perhaps it's being forced to play this. Engage the Viet Cong in this supposed adaptation of the movie to which it bears little resemblance. The most part of the game involves having your soldier wandering around the deadly labyrinth that constitutes the Vietnamese jungle, collecting objects in order to complete your mission. From all corners of the screen you are almost constantly assailed by enemy troops that appear from nowhere, or alternatively you are suffering at the hands of nearly invisible snipers and troops. The 3D sections in the underground tunnels are more impressive, but are frankly not worth getting to in a game that is ultimately frustrating, annoying and extremely difficult.

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3

Play Your Cards Right

(Britannia, 1986)

Bruce Forsyth hosted a popular TV game show in the 1980s, but this computer adaptation of it doesn't do it justice at all. You and a computer or a friend take it in turns to guess the percentage of a certain group of people who said yes or no as to what they would do in a particular situation, then you turn over playing cards one at a time, guessing whether the next one will be higher or lower; if you successfully turn over five cards, you score a point. The first player to score two points goes on to the final round where you can gamble to earn more points – although unlike the TV show, you don't win any prizes, and you don't hear the crowd shouting "Higher!" or "Lower!" at you all the time. Playing this game is entirely a matter of luck instead of skill and it quickly becomes boring.

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4

The Plot

(Firebird, 1987)

In 1605, Guy Fawkes tried and failed to blow up the Houses of Parliament. This is your chance to rewrite history and succeed where Guy failed – or else you'll be hung at dawn! You have to search the Houses of Parliament for sticks of dynamite and other objects, but you'll also need the dynamite for blowing up the bats and other creatures that fly about. The graphics aren't bad, but the music is irritating (although it can be switched off), and entering doors and climbing ladders is very awkward; it took me ages to work out how to do it.

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5

Plotting

(Ocean, 1990)

Here's a cute puzzle game which was only released on cartridge. On each level, you have to clear a pile of blocks from the screen by matching blocks together. You control an egg-like creature that can only move vertically and which can be positioned to allow the block to bounce off the walls of the screen, and hit the appropriate blocks in the pile. It's not easy to explain the rules, but if you have a few goes, you'll learn them quickly. You don't have to clear all the blocks, though; when you've cleared enough, you can qualify for the next level. The game exploits the extra graphical facilities of the Plus machines, the music is really good as well, and there's also a two-player option which allows both players to play simultaneously.

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8

Pneumatic Hammers

(Firebird, 1987)

A gold mine is being threatened by landslides because the handle that turns off the piledrivers has broken – but the only way you can obtain one is to cast it from the gold that the mine is producing. The building next to the mine consists of five rooms which can be reached using the lifts. The problem is working out exactly what it is that you are supposed to do! The instructions that come with the game are brief and very unhelpful. Actually, I'm not entirely sure if there is a game in here. I certainly can't be bothered to waste time trying to find out where and what it is.

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1

El Poder Oscuro

(Zigurat, 1988)

Reviewed by Javier Sáez

A mysterious and terrible 'Dark Power' is the leading force of the aliens that have invaded the planet Siros. You've called for help but, by the time reinforcements arrive, it'll be too late. Your task is to activate a huge power generator to destroy the power that literally erases the screens of the game as you play. To do this you control a huge robot, but you can also leave the robot in a spacecraft when necessary and even fight your way on foot in very narrow places. Despite it sounding quite interesting, this game isn't that funny. There are too many objects to collect, the time limit is too strict and your character is quite a good pilot, but just an average trooper. By the way, there is a nice intro sequence at the beginning of the game.

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7

Pogostick Olympics

(Firebird, 1987)

You've just got to laugh at such a ridiculous concept! The Pogostick Olympics consists of five events – balloon popping (in an Olympics!), hurdles, triple jump, target shooting, and the obstacle course – which you must complete while bouncing on your pogostick. You have three attempts at each to score some points, otherwise the game is over. They're all pretty easy, though, and I completed the game on my first go! Once you do that, all you can do is try to beat your previous score, which is pretty boring. The graphics are superb and very colourful, and the music is good, too, but they don't deserve to be used on a mediocre game like this.

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5

Poogaboo

(Opera Soft, 1991)

Remember Roland in the Caves, where you controlled a flea and had to escape from the cave and avoid the pterodactyl? Did anyone actually manage to reach the exit of the first cave? This is effectively the same game, except that the graphics are much better, and you can score bonus points by eating flies. As well as the pterodactyl, you must also avoid becoming entangled in spider's webs! So is it a good game? Absolutely not! Although it's a bit easier to judge the power of your jumps correct, it is an extremely frustrating game; the pterodactyl seems to have some sort of homing instinct for the flea. Mind you, the loading screen is gorgeous.

See also: Roland in the Caves.

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2

Popeye

(Piranha, 1986)

The macho Bluto is wooing Olive Oyl again, and to win her back, Popeye has to collect 25 hearts and return them to her. Some of them are in difficult places, though, and to get to them, you'll need to find the right keys. You also have to avoid straying into Bluto's path, and there are large numbers of monsters to watch out for, including a giant fly, an exotic bird, a shark and a witch. This game really is strange, as are many of the locations! You'll need to keep some spinach handy as well. The chunky graphics will appeal to youngsters, but older people might well tire of the slowness of the game.

See also: Popeye 2, Popeye 3.

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6

Popeye 2

(Alternative, 1990)

Bluto has kidnapped Olive Oyl, and Popeye has to rescue her. No hearts need to be collected this time; the objective here is merely to reach the top of each level and beat up Bluto while eating those cans of spinach for which Popeye is famous. However, this is much easier said than done. Getting Popeye to climb ladders is awkward, and so is jumping across gaps. Barrels and flames also seem to appear without warning, making Popeye lose one of his three lives, and there's the added problem of bombs, which also have to be defused within a few seconds before they explode. There's a good rendition of the theme tune, but the graphics are badly drawn and very blocky, and the game is ridiculously difficult and frustrating.

See also: Popeye, Popeye 3.

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3

Popeye 3

(Alternative, 1992)

Popeye has been chosen to represent Earth in the 7th Intergalactic Olympiad, and he's taking part in a wrestling contest against five of the best wrestlers from across the galaxy. A lot of joystick (or keyboard) waggling is required here; when the two of you lock into battle with each other, you must waggle as much as you can to slam your opponent down to the floor and reduce his energy. When you've reduced it enough, you have to try to pin him down for four seconds. This was an attempt to cash in on the wrestling craze of the early 1990s, and younger players will like the colourful graphics (I think the aliens are cute as well!). Everyone else might well find it too easy, and I managed to complete it on my second go.

See also: Popeye, Popeye 2.

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6

Pop-Up

(Infogrames, 1990)

There is quite a story behind this game, at least on the CPC. In 1989, Loriciels released an absolutely excellent game called Bumpy. They then handed over the game to Infogrames to convert it to 16-bit machines, which they did, under the name of Pop-Up. What Loriciels were not expecting was Infogrames re-releasing the game for the CPC as well! So what are the differences between Bumpy and Pop-Up, then? As far as I can tell, the loading screen has changed, and the graphics are also different, with nice background pictures and themes which change every five levels – but the music, sound effects, and gameplay are exactly the same. I'll still give the game a high mark because it is very enjoyable, but one has to question why Infogrames chose to re-release it for the CPC at all.

See also: Bumpy.

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9

Postman Pat

(Alternative, 1988)

Hooray! It's Postman Pat and his black and white cat! You get to drive around the twisty lanes of Greendale and deliver letters and parcels to the village folk – but Pat has to do more than that. Along the way, you'll have to get Miss Hubbard's prescription and round up Peter Fogg's sheep. It's a tough life being a postman! This game has 'cute' written all over it. It's wonderful, albeit rather easy. The graphics are bright and jolly, and you have to play the game just to listen to the excellently rendered theme tune.

See also: Postman Pat 2, Postman Pat 3.

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8

Postman Pat 2

(Alternative, 1989)

Pat's van has broken down so he has to deliver his letters on foot. He's going to need some refreshment along the way, though, so you must make sure Pat doesn't run out of tea. He can get more tea by performing errands for the local people of Greendale and finding things they've lost. Some things may be broken, though, so you'll have to find Ted the farmer to fix it. Watch out for the birds who might steal your letters! It's unfortunate, then, that this game is nowhere near as good as the original. The theme tune is only played once, right at the start of the game, there are few sound effects, and the dull, monochrome graphics give the impression that it's going to rain at any time.

See also: Postman Pat, Postman Pat 3.

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5

Postman Pat 3

(Alternative, 1992)

In the last of the Postman Pat series of games, Pat takes to his van again to deliver some letters. Mind you, he's got to dodge all those roadworks, not to mention reckless nutters driving at 60mph and on the wrong side of the road. You'll also need to stop at the garage on each level to fill up the van with petrol. On the easy mode, all the hazards are in the same place and it's just a question of memorising when they occur. On the hard mode, things become more taxing. The graphics are colourful, but the tune isn't up to the same standard as the one in the original Postman Pat, and since the game moves as a rather slow pace, it's likely that interest will soon wane.

See also: Postman Pat, Postman Pat 2.

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6

Potato Rescue

(EgoTrip, 2013)

Reviewed by Missas

In this arcade adventure, you must take Amy to rescue her favorite pet potato. Now Amy must move quickly to save him from becoming lunch! The game features fast-paced gameplay, with vivid colours, nicely drawn graphics and very interestingly designed screens. It somehow resembles Zelda for the NES. Music plays throughout the game, changing as you progress. There are also sound effects. The collision detection is great. The sprites are also very well designed. Overall, it is a remarkable yet small game. If it was bigger I would give it a straight ten out of ten.

See also: Concave, Ice Slider, Jewel Warehouse, A Prelude to Chaos.

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9

Potsworth and Co.

(Hi-Tec, 1992)

When they are asleep, Potsworth the dog and his friends – Rosie, Nick, Carter and Keiko – become the Midnight Patrol and enter a dream world, but to stay there, the Grand Dozer must be asleep, and the Nightmare Prince is trying to wake him. The gang must find objects on each of the five levels and stop the Nightmare Prince. You control one of the characters on each level, and each character has different powers. As well as collecting objects, you also have to activate lifts by pushing heavy objects on to the appropriate buttons. The graphics are cute and colourful, and the music on the menu is a joy to listen to. Unfortunately the levels are very big and take a long time to complete, which makes the game rather tedious to play.

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7

Power and Magic

(Zigurat, 1990)

Nimiane, the treacherous lady of the lake, has captured Merlin the magician. You play his son Gareth, and you must cross plains and forests to reach your father and rescue him. However, Nimiane has sent various warriors and demons that you must fight. As well as using your fists or a sword, you also have five types of offensive spell at your disposal which are more powerful than using physical weapons. If you lose all your energy, it may also be possible to resurrect yourself, if you have sufficient magic remaining. The graphics are very colourful and the sprites are huge – but the disadvantage is that the game moves quite slowly. It also doesn't help that the controls can be unresponsive and awkward, especially when you're trying to select a spell when there's a lot of action on the screen.

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5

Power Boat Simulator

(Codemasters, 1989)

Race a catamaran or a speedboat along five levels of action, dodging other speedboats, watching out for mines, and trying not to crash into the scenery! Your boat uses a lot of fuel, so you'll need to collect extra fuel regularly. You can also collect mines which you can use to blow up other boats, although it's not necessary to do this at all in order to complete the course; it merely allows you to obtain a few extra points. The first course is very easy indeed and is a simple introduction to the game, but it becomes a bit harder from the second level onwards. There's also a 'night level' in which you can only see part of the course at any one time. The graphics are very good indeed, although there's no music. Overall, though, this is a great little game.

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8

Power Drift

(Activision, 1989)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

Choose from twelve wacky drivers, and rev through some stomach-churning circuits. Watch the dust fly and the wheels spin as you screech over a rollercoaster track and wave goodbye to your opponents. Roar over mounds of mud, drive through the desert, slip and slide on snow-covered tarmac and race your way through the night to face the final lap and take the chequered flag. Your choice of driver affects your sprite's look and a nice display shows your position by shifting the characters' portraits. It possesses nice, colourful sprites, pretty backgrounds, and some detailed scrolling landscapes and competent gameplay to boot; the tracks become exponentially trickier while you dodge your opponents. A better conversion than Sega's more famous Out Run.

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8

Powerplay: The Game of the Gods

(Arcana, 1986)

This is a mixture of a board game and a quiz game for between two and four players; unfortunately, the computer can't control any of them. Each player has four men, and they move them around the board and answer questions; which category depends on the colours of the tiles. If a man can answer enough questions correctly, he mutates into a monster and becomes more powerful, which is useful when you move on to the same tile as an opponent and challenge him. If you succeed, your opponent will lose some of his power, or disappear altogether! The aim is to eliminate all four of your opponent's men. The graphics are absolutely wonderful, although a game can go on for a really long time. There are four banks of questions, and you can also create your own if you wish. (The answer to the question in the screenshot is "November", by the way.)

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8

Predator

(Activision, 1988)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

Cash-in from the highly tongue-in-cheek Schwarzenegger action film. Guide our musclebound hero Arnie through the American tropical jungle, shooting the never-ending number of guerrillas, while avoiding getting killed by the Predator alien that has its sights firmly set upon you. Sadly the game isn't as half as amusing as the film itself and if anything is particularly tedious; as a rule of thumb, almost any Schwarzenegger film conversions (barring Terminator 2 perhaps) are well worth avoiding.

See also: Predator 2.

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3

Predator 2

(Image Works, 1991)

The Predator is back, and this time he's come to Los Angeles, where there is a battle between rival drugs gangs. Out to get all of them is Lieutenant Mike Harrigan, which you control in this dull shoot-'em-up. As the screen scrolls horizontally (and very slowly), you must aim your crosshairs and shoot all of the gunmen before they fire on you and drain your energy. The gunmen leave behind ammunition which you will need to pick up, as you will use a huge amount of it during the game! You can also collect better guns and energy packs, but avoid shooting the Predator and any innocent bystanders. The slow scrolling is the main reason why the game is poor, but the graphics are messy, and the sound effects are both minimal and awful.

See also: Predator.

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4

Prehistorik

(Titus, 1991)

The Zoglor tribe has run out of food, so armed with a wooden club, Prehistorik the caveman must travel through forests, mountains, jungles and even venture inside a volcano in his search for food. Along the way, there are many different monsters who can be beaten up and killed. You can also enter caves, where you may find more supplies for the tribe. If you don't obtain enough food at the end of each level, you must start the level all over again, so watch out! The first thing you notice about this game is the graphics – they are definitely some of the best that I have ever seen on the CPC. However, the music becomes annoying after a while, but thankfully it can be turned off. Unfortunately the game slows down a lot when there are monsters on the screen; if this didn't happen, I would rate the game a lot higher.

See also: Prehistorik 2.

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7

Prehistorik 2

(Titus, 1993)

One of the last commercial games to be released for the CPC and also one of the best. You control a caveman looking for food, and among the many monsters you'll face are bears, spiders, wasps, dinosaurs, and a huge ape halfway through the game. There are also lots of bonuses to collect. What makes this game stand out from other platform games is the graphics, which are truly awesome, especially on the Plus version, which features extra colours and parallax scrolling. The music is also terrific, and it's the only commercial game I know of that exploits the Plus' enhanced DMA sound facilities. Thankfully, the gameplay on the normal CPC version doesn't suffer, and it's a hugely enjoyable game to play.

See also: Prehistorik.

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9

A Prelude to Chaos

(EgoTrip, 2016)

Reviewed by Missas

A Prelude to Chaos is directly inspired by the Zelda series on the NES console. In this fantastic role-playing game, you need to guide Amy through 70 screens and help her collect crystals and open doors as well as gaining experience and routing ferocious enemies! The graphics are in MODE 1 with four colours and they are quite detailed. The sprites move fast and smoothly. There is a fantastic tune playing on the menu and during the game there are some effects, but they are nothing special. In terms of gameplay this game excels; there are many interesting puzzles to solve, the difficulty is correctly set and you won't get bored of exploring. Overall, a fantastic and interesting game. Oh, there is more good news: at the end, we are promised that Amy's adventures will continue...

See also: Concave, Ice Slider, Jewel Warehouse, Potato Rescue.

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9

Prince of Persia

(Microïds/Brøderbund, 1990)

The Grand Vizier has captured the Sultan's daughter and has given her an ultimatum; either marry him, or die! You have one hour in which to get out of the dungeons and rescue her from her cell before the Grand Vizier kills her. Each level sees you fighting guardians and finding the way out, and there are potions to be drunk, too. This was also one of the first games to feature real animation, where the characters really do move properly, and the number of actions you can perform are astonishing. The graphics are incredible, especially the intro sequence, and really, the only bad thing about this game is the awful 'music', which thankfully isn't present in the main game.

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9

Prison Riot

(Players, 1990)

The inmates are running riot in a high security prison, and you have been sent in to find their leaders and restore order. You must explore the prison (which is very large), collecting food, ammunition, and keys to enter the cells. Some of the cells will have their windows broken, where a leader will be waiting on the rooftop for you to negotiate his surrender – but you'll have to solve a puzzle (one of those sliding tile games) within 60 seconds. This game looks and plays very similarly to the Joe Blade series, but like those games, it's got dull, monochrome graphics, a mediocre tune, and poor gameplay.

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4

The Prize

(Amsoft, 1985)

Within the Chamber of Midas lies an ancient secret – but what exactly is it? In order to find out, you must fly through several mazes. Each maze contains four code pods which you must collect in the correct order. When you've got all four, you must then fly to the base to take you to the next maze. Of course, there are aliens in each room which you must shoot – but your supply of laser bolts is limited, although it can be replenished. This is a monotonous exploration game with very poor graphics and sound. There's just not enough excitement in the game to make you want to collect the code pods.

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4

Pro BMX Simulator

(Codemasters, 1988)

It's time to get on your bike again, as you race against three other BMX bikers to complete three laps of each course before your time runs out. Believe it or not, up to four players can play against each other. There are three sets of tracks – dirt biking, desert riding and quarry racing – and there's also a choice of playing in either standard or expert mode (where you have to choose chain and wheel sizes for your bike). It's tough enough even in standard mode – the first two courses are quite easy, but after that, the time limit becomes far too tight to beat.

See also: BMX Simulator, BMX Simulator 2.

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6

The Prodigy

(Electric Dreams, 1986)

The Machine Sorcerer Wardlock has created an organic lifeform in his Mechlab laboratories – but Solo the Syntheman doesn't want to be experimented on for the rest of his life (and who can blame him?), and he wants to escape from the Mechlabs with baby Nejo, who will need to be fed with milk and have his nappy cleaned occasionally, like all babies. The Mechlabs are divided into four zones and are also filled with Wardlock's previous experimental creations. Contact with these sends Solo all the way back to the start of the maze. This is no fun whatsoever, and to make matters worse, none of the monsters can be killed. The isometric graphics are reasonable, but I suggest you turn the volume down; the music (if you can call it that) is probably the worst you will ever hear on the CPC!

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4

Profanation

(Chip, 1987)

You're a treasure hunter, exploring the Egyptian pyramids with no regard for the sanctity of the place (the name of the game means 'desecration' in English) and grabbing whatever treasures you can find. Naturally, there are lots of monsters which will kill you if you touch them; mummies, beetles, blobs of slime, and bats which home in on you very quickly. Fortunately, you are armed with a gun to shoot the monsters, but after you've shot a monster, another one will appear. In essence, it's a Gauntlet clone with some very detailed graphics, but it's too easy and you'll soon get a sense of déjà vu when the levels soon start to repeat themselves.

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6

Professional Ski Simulator

(Codemasters, 1987)

I've never gone skiing in my life, but this simulation lets you compete against the computer or another player on several pistes. The screen scrolls down slowly and if you don't keep up, then you'll lose sight of where you are and it will be almost impossible to recover. You also have to complete each piste within a time limit. This may seem easy but it most certainly isn't. The controls are rather awkward and it's often difficult to get your skier moving, and seeing the computer sweep through each set of flags with ease doesn't exactly raise your morale. I like the beautifully detailed scenery and the music, though.

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6

Pro Golf Simulator

(Codemasters, 1990)

Play a round of golf on an 18-hole course, ranging from easy 3-par holes to much trickier 5-par holes surrounded by water and sand bunkers. You can practice any of the holes, and you can also perfect your putting skills. Taking shots is easy enough; select a suitable club and the direction to hit the ball, and judge the strength of your shot and whether you want the ball to veer to the left (hook) or right (slice), taking into account the wind direction. The course is viewed from a top-down perspective, which is annoying when your ball lands underneath a bush or a tree. The graphics are good, as is the music (yes, music in a golf game!), and while it's not the most realistic golf simulation for the CPC, it's still pretty good. It even comes with an editor to let you design your own courses.

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8

Prohibition

(Infogrames, 1987)

New York is being overrun by gangsters, and the police have hired you to kill them all. The gangsters pop out from windows, rooftops, doors and manholes, and you are given just a few seconds to shoot them before they shoot you and erase one of your three lives. You can run for cover at any time, but sooner or later, you will no longer be allowed to do this. Another problem is finding where the next gangster is hiding! As the game progresses, the time limit becomes shorter and more bullets are needed to kill each gangster. The graphics are very detailed and the colour scheme reflects the mood well, and so does the music. The 128K version has extra graphics and music, and a larger screen size and a bonus shoot-out section. It's a fairly good shoot-'em-up, although it will eventually become repetitive.

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Project Future

(Gremlin, 1985)

Reviewed by Pug

This is your first mission as a Space Cadet, on board the fearful SS Future. Your aim is to activate the ship's self-destruct system before it hits Earth. To achieve your mission you must find all eight parts of the destruct code that are hidden deep inside the ship. This game is a flip-screen maze full of limited power-ups and patrol droids that soon regenerate once you've shot them. Some colourful graphics and a few chirpy sound effects encourage you to explore the ship, but the game does become a little frustrating.

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5

Pro Mountain Bike Simulator

(Alternative, 1989)

Reviewed by Richard Lamond

One or two players can take part in this challenging mountain bike racer. Never mind having to avoid the boulders and pitfalls on the courses, your first real obstacle will be getting to grips with a clunky set of controls. Once you work out how to move through the gears you'll start to make some progress, but it's still a long, uphill battle to get to grips with the game, as there's no way to control the trajectory of your bike when you make leaps from ramps; you will crash and crash often! The graphics are blocky and undefined but clear enough for you to see what you're doing. One gripe, though, is the flick-screen scrolling that makes careering into the occasional unseen object at the edge of a screen both unavoidable and frustrating. The game has a decent title tune and overall, it's a fun distraction that rewards perseverance.

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Pro Skateboard Simulator

(Codemasters, 1989)

Skate your way around lots of courses, trying to reach the finishing line before your time runs out. There are two types of game here; the first sees you collecting flags and is viewed from an isometric perspective, while the second is a slalom course in which you move left and right to steer yourself between the flagpoles. In either case, if you run out of time or don't pass through enough flagpoles, you lose a life. It sounds OK, but the game is mediocre. The graphics are nothing special and lack colour, and there is no music and very few sound effects, so you effectively play the game in silence. It's a bit difficult as well.

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4

Protector

(Mastertronic, 1989)

If you want to see a really boring two-player game, then look no further than this lame excuse for a game. Both players control a helicopter each, searching the (very small) landscape for the three parts of a missile which have to be transported back to base one at a time. When you've done that, you must take the missile to the other player's base and drop it there to win the game. You can stop the other player by firing at him, but it makes very little difference, since you'll run out of ammunition before you destroy him. The game is rubbish when you're playing with a friend, and beating the computer seems impossible to me.

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Pro Tennis Simulator

(Codemasters, 1989)

This is a fairly simple tennis game which is quite tricky to get the hang of. There are relatively few options – the only changes you can make being the ability of your computer opponent, and the length of the match. Your opponent's ability determines the surface that the game is to be played on – clay for novice opponents, grass for medium opponents, and concrete for expert opponents. The action is fast, but the controls are a little awkward, particularly if you're using the keyboard, and even the novice opponent is too difficult to beat – or maybe I haven't had enough practice. The graphics and sound are both of a high standard, but I didn't find playing against the computer to be much fun.

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6

Pro Tennis Tour

(Ubi Soft, 1990)

Of all the tennis games that have been released for the CPC, this one (known as Great Courts in France) has to be one of the smoothest and fastest. You start as the bottom-ranked player from a list of 17, and only by playing in tournaments such as the Australian, French and US Open, and of course Wimbledon, can you improve your ranking and become the number one player. The action is very fast indeed, so I reckon it's one of the most realistic tennis simulations on the CPC as well! However, the game is very playable; all you need to do to return the ball is to position yourself appropriately and press the fire button, and serving is no problem either. The graphics are very good, and they're even better in the cartridge version, which looks and feels almost like a different game.

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8

Psyborg

(Loriciel, 1992)

An alien race is threatening to take over a system of 38 planets, and naturally, you've got to stop them. This isn't a shoot-'em-up, though; instead, it's a time trial where you race at full throttle along 38 tunnels or vortices, one for each planet. The tunnels consist of tiles, and you must ensure that you stay on the tiles, or you will damage your spaceship and eventually crash. Some of the tiles affect your spaceship by jumping it over gaps, or teleporting you further along the tunnel – or further back if you're not careful. There are also restart points to make things easier. In fact, the game is much too easy; I completed it on my first go. It's still worth playing, though; I've never seen such a blindingly fast game on the CPC with 3D graphics.

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9

Psycho City

(Players, 1989)

The city is overrun with muggers and gun-toting criminals, and you're determined to clean the streets and get rid of them. You'll need to obtain a gun to fend off the criminals – but the bins are booby-trapped and will explode if they hit something when you push them! Lying around the city, and in some of these bins, are sacks of money and briefcases containing drugs, which you need to return to the bank in order to claim a reward and score points. You must also find where Mr. Big is hiding and kill him. The graphics are bright and colourful, although they don't fit at all well with what is supposed to be a violent city, and the sound effects are very limited indeed. The biggest problem is that your character shuffles about at a snail's pace, which makes exploring the city extremely dull and tedious.

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Psycho Hopper

(Mastertronic, 1989)

You have entered the World of Dreams, and are bouncing on a space hopper (remember them?) shooting bats and dwarves and collecting four pieces of a skull on each level. Well, dreams are nearly always completely detached from reality, aren't they? Controlling your space hopper isn't easy; you'll need to bounce a lot in order to increase your height so that you can reach other platforms, but you can't bounce on the spot, so you have to move left and right instead and try your best to avoid the energy-sapping monsters. Frankly, the inability to bounce on the spot makes this game quite frustrating to play, and excellent graphics and music can't make up for this.

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6

Psycho Pig UXB

(US Gold, 1988)

The advertisement for this game, which featured a Page 3 model, made a large number of fools part with their money, and what did they get? Well, it wasn't value for money! It would have been all right if it were released as a budget game, but it certainly isn't suitable at full price. Anyway, you're a pig and have to blow up all the other pigs on the screen by collecting bombs and throwing them. It's too easy and there are hardly any graphics, but I thought it was an amusing way to waste a few minutes. The music is really cool as well!

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6

Psycho Soldier

(Imagine, 1988)

Reviewed by Pug

The Greek goddess Athena has decided to find adventure and challenge in the mortal world. She finds herself in a post-apocalyptic world full of criminals, mutants and destruction. So off she goes on a mission to clear away the evil that is destroying the Earth. This is a flip-screen platform shoot-'em-up with power-ups. The game is a little slow and the graphics look blocky and garish. Sound-wise, a basic tune plays on the options screen with a few effects during the game. There's nothing special here in this game to keep you interested.

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Pub Games

(Alligata, 1987)

Seven favourite pub games – darts, billiards, dominoes, table soccer, pontoon, poker and skittles – are brought to you on the CPC. All of the games require you to play with a friend; you might want to take control of both players, but it's nowhere near as much fun. As for the games themselves, they're mostly average, with darts and skittles being the best ones to play. The graphics vary considerably, but sound effects are mostly absent, although there's a nice little tune on the menu. If you have someone else to play against, it's fun for a while.

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6

Pub Trivia

(Codemasters, 1989)

If your brain is full of useless facts and you feel like learning some more, then try this game. Up to four players can test their knowledge of music, sport, showbiz and trivia. Each round consists of answering five questions where you score points, followed by the 'money maze' where you can score both points and money (allowing you to continue if you get a question wrong). This pattern continues until you become bored. Eventually, after seeing the same questions many times, you will get past the first round, but with only three sets of questions that can be used, and not enough variety, it's not a game to become enthusiastic about. (The answer to the question in the screenshot is "March", by the way.)

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5

Puffy's Saga

(Ubi Soft, 1989)

Reviewed by Pug

In this game, you play either Puffy or Pufyn, who must make their way through 34 dungeons filled with traps, monsters and treasure. The game itself resembles a mixture of Gauntlet (monsters, keys and magic items) and Pac-Man (collect all the dots to exit). There are larger blue dots to be found that assist your quest; the more you collect, the better the bonus or power-up you will receive. Graphically, Puffy's Saga looks very nice, with no flicker and acceptable scrolling. Music plays on the informative title screen with a few in-game sound effects, including digitised sounds on 128K machines.

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8

Pulsator

(Martech, 1987)

Reviewed by Pug

Pulsator is a puzzle game in which you travel around a flip-screen maze looking for the exit. Certain parts of the maze are blocked by locked gates; each one is numbered between 1 and 6. To open these gates, you have to look for and travel over a numbered tile found within the maze. Retracing your steps over the same numbered tile closes the gate. Certain parts of the maze are one-way routes and many instant death tiles act as walls in places. Several nasties occupy the maze and drain your energy if touched, but thankfully you can shoot them down. Colourful and smooth graphics, simple effects and a nice tune add to a very challenging game.

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8

Pulsoid

(Mastertronic, 1988)

It's Breakout time once again, although I have to say that I actually like this one a bit. Instead of a ball, though, there is some sort of laser pulse which bounces about the screen, and if it collides with one of the creatures that roam at the top of the screen, it splits into two pulses, and if there are lots of creatures, there are going to be a lot of pulses, and things get quite hectic! Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities to get extra lives, and you'll need them. The graphics are nothing special, but the gameplay makes up for it, and you must listen to the music... it is truly excellent!

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7

Punch and Judy

(Alternative, 1989)

Punch's stall has been dismantled and the pieces are scattered all over the seaside resort of Bridlington, with all its tacky cafťs, shops and amusement arcades. You've got to find all the pieces and then find the cast who are also wandering the streets, before the tide comes in. Don't run into Mr. Policeman, though, or you'll be arrested! When you've done this, the show starts and you have to hit each of the cast repeatedly, again avoiding Mr. Policeman. The graphics aren't bad at all, but there are very few sound effects, and it becomes very boring as you wander the streets looking for the cast members.

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5

Punchy

(Amsoft, 1984)

Reviewed by John Beckett

A total rip-off of the 1983 arcade game Hunchback, the aim of Punchy is to get to the left of the screen to the right, avoiding boulders and holes on the way. Once Punchy achieves his aim, it's on to the next level. And... that's it – really! Zero marks for the storyline! Anyway, the graphics are, to be honest, appalling (it was an early game, but still...), the sound is nothing special, and the difficulty veers crazily from absurdly easy to impossible (I mean this literally, as the level I'm stuck on has a huge pit, two ghosts and no way of getting across). Still, for all its negative points, it is still quite a lot of fun and is also quite addictive. Just don't expect to be blown away by it!

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6

Purple Saturn Day

(Exxos, 1989)

Seven alien contestants and one human contestant (that's you) are about to participate in the Purple Saturn Day games, which consist of four events – Ring Pursuit (a high-speed slalom race around Saturn's rings), Tronic Slider (a bit like ice hockey), Brain Bowler (a very original game in which you attempt to light up chips on an electrical circuit), and Time Jump (collecting sparks of energy in the hope that you can travel through time). The graphics are of an extremely high standard, and all of the events, with the notable exception of the Time Jump, are great fun, although it will take some practice to master them – especially the Brain Bowler! My only complaint is that there is no two-player option.

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9

Puzznic

(Ocean, 1990)

If brain-teasing puzzles are your thing then you'll like this. It simply involves matching tiles with the same pattern on them together, and making them disappear. The difficult bit is that there is also gravity, and you might move a tile into a place where it's blocked and can't be matched! Additionally, later levels require you to remove three tiles at a time. Another nice feature of the game is that you can choose several routes – if you have trouble with one set of puzzles, you can try another. The excellent graphics add to the appeal of this great game.

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8

Pyjamarama

(Amsoft/Mikro-Gen, 1984)

Reviewed by Pug

Wally has gone to bed and woken up in his dream! Trapped and unable to wake up means the sack at work in the morning. In this action adventure, you roam from room to room looking for the winding key to your bedside alarm clock. You collect various objects; some open locked doors, while others reveal secrets – there's even a game of Space Invaders to be played in one room. The graphics are a direct port of the Spectrum version, but a chirpy tune plays throughout.

See also: Everyone's a Wally, Three Weeks in Paradise.

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7

Les Pyramides d'Atlantys

(Microïds, 1986)

Somewhere underneath the Atlantic Ocean lies the mysterious, lost city of Atlantis, and an expedition has been sent out to find it. Moving your boat around the Atlantic, you must journey down to the depths of the ocean in a submarine and scour the ocean bed in the search for the city. Now, the ocean is a vast place, and you are given no clues whatsoever as to where the city might be. All you do once you're on the ocean bed is move around – everywhere you go, the scenery looks the same. The graphics are good, especially the perspective view, but the rest of the game is extremely boring, unless there's something I don't understand.

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1

Pyra Mydya

(Bug Byte, 1986)

Narud Pendaryn is searching for a magical chest within Pyra Mydya, but in order to locate it, he must find four pieces of a stone tablet, and then find a model of the pyramid so that the hieroglyphics on the tablet can be translated. The pyramid consists of an enormous maze full of monsters which you can either avoid or shoot, but you only have a limited supply of ammunition. There are also lots of other trinkets which merely increase your score. The game is obviously inspired by the works of Ultimate (in particular, Sabre Wulf), but although the graphics are colourful, exploring the pyramid becomes a bit dull, and overall, the game lacks sophistication compared with Ultimate's games.

See also: Darkwurlde.

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5

Python

(Chip, 1986)

This is a clone of Pac-Man, except that you're a snake, and as you eat pills, you grow longer and longer. The trick is to eat all the pills without becoming stuck in the maze and crashing into yourself! There is also a time limit on each level, so you can't wait and think for too long. Thankfully, if you lose a life, you won't have to restart the entire level. The graphics and sound effects are pretty basic, although there's some nice music to listen to on the menu. With thirty levels to munch through, this should keep you occupied for a while.

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7

Python Pete

(Optyx, 1986)

Python Pete is hungry, and you must guide him around ten levels of a garden, eating the fruits and avoiding the walls and the poisonous mushrooms. Yes, it's a snake game. This effort is mostly written in BASIC, and it really shows. The graphics are rather crude, although they do the job, and the music (if it deserves to be called that) is awful. The game would be quite enjoyable if it wasn't for the very unresponsive controls; by the time you've pressed a key to change direction, Pete has crashed into one of the walls. Some of the fruit is tucked away in tight corners, so the game needs to be responsive – and it isn't. This game feels more like one of those listings that featured in some of the CPC magazines in the mid-1980s, and that's where it should have belonged.

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