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Sabian Island

(Skyslip, 1988)

Reviewed by Pug

You're deep behind enemy lines with a mission to retrieve a stolen timing mechanism for a nuclear bomb. If you fail, New York City will be dust! Armed with your machine gun and grenades, you pace along, taking out guards and navigating the harsh terrain. Along the way, power-ups appear that aid in your mission. This game is a Commando clone that wasn't thought out too well. For a start, the sprites are big and the playing area is too small. You soon find yourself stuck trying to find a way through whilst avoiding the enemy. Loss of life occurs quickly, ruining a good-looking game.

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5

Sabotage

(Zeppelin, 1988)

You have been hired as a mercenary to gain access to an alien mothership. To do this, you must fight through eight levels containing several waves of aliens, and a big end-of-level alien. On completing each level, you then enter a maze where you must pick up a key and a blueprint of the mothership; you'll also be given a password so you don't have to complete previous levels in future games. The aliens are very mean and you'll need some skill to dodge them, although you can collect power-ups which make you invulnerable for a while or make you go faster. If the game consisted only of the space shoot-'em-up section it would be just about OK, but the maze section is so frustratingly difficult that you'll give up on the entire game after a few goes.

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4

Saboteur

(Durell, 1986)

Reviewed by John Beckett

A rare example of a stealth-'em-up on the CPC, you are cast as a ninja sent into an enemy stronghold via a rubber dinghy, with your mission to retrieve stolen computer discs and make your escape via a convenient helicopter on the roof. There are many guards roaming the corridors, guard dogs running around, and security cameras that will shoot you if they see you. However, anything you find on the floor (rocks, shuriken, etc.) can be a deadly weapon! Anyway, the graphics are fine – dark and suitably moody though very lacking in colour – and the playing area is large, though not too large. As for the music – well, there isn't really any, and what sound effects there are aren't very good. But still, a really good game. Ninja fans will love it; just don't get too attached to the main character because he dies in Saboteur II!

See also: Saboteur II.

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7

Saboteur II

(Durell, 1987)

Reviewed by Missas

In this thrilling game, you return as the sister ninja of the original Saboteur who is now dead. She must break into the dictator's high-security compound to alter the course of a nuclear missile and then escape. Saboteur II is at least five times bigger than the first game, with an increased challenge level, more complicated missions and more intelligent enemies. The graphics are MODE 1 with four colours, directly ported from the ZX Spectrum version. When many enemies appear on screen, the pace slows considerably. This, along with the graphics, is the game's biggest drawback. The sound is good, with a great tune and some effects. The grab factor is strong and the missions will keep you occupied for a long time; it is really challenging and the difficulty level is just right. Load it and become the Avenging Angel!

See also: Saboteur.

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8

Sabre Wulf

(Ultimate, 1985)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

Guide the intrepid explorer around a jungle maze in this delightful game. You can only escape by collecting the four pieces of the lost amulet that are scattered in the labyrinth environment. Armed with only your trusty sword, you have to make your way through a mass of marauding wild creatures that appear on all sides from the undergrowth. The graphics here are cute, whereas the music and the sound effects, like the game itself, are simple yet effective.

See also: Knight Lore.

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8

Sabrina

(Iber Soft, 1989)

The famously large-breasted Italian pop singer Sabrina Salerno stars in this incredibly tedious beat-'em-up. Sabrina is at the airport and has to go to a concert where she is due to perform, but there is a transport strike, so she has to walk to the venue instead. However, not everyone approves of her activities, and along the way, she will have to fend off various citizens, and even a few bombs, using three methods – punching, kicking, or hitting them with her breasts. The only skill involved in playing this game is remembering which method to use on each type of citizen. The graphics are drawn entirely in black and white, there are almost no sound effects, and the gameplay is slow and monotonous.

See also: Sardina Forever.

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2

The Sacred Armour of Antiriad

(Palace, 1986)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

You are Tal, the last hope for mankind's successors in a post-apocalyptic world which has been destroyed by the invasion of a hostile alien race. The legendary sacred armour of Antiriad, an advanced anti-radiation suit, is the only weapon available to overthrow them. You have to find the suit and its components that are strewn about the landscape and then to use it to free your people. This is one of the most lavish games ever to be produced on any 8-bit machine, let alone the CPC – the graphics are simply brilliant. The sound effects are adequate, whereas the opening music is excellent. If anything, the only problem with this game is that it's far too hard to complete without cheating!

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9

Sai Combat

(Mirrorsoft, 1986)

This is a fighting game based on an ancient martial art known as sai karate, in which you face one opponent at a time. As well as being able to kick your opponent karate-style, you also have a long stick to hit your opponent with, as well as blocking your opponent's moves. You start with a white belt and try to work through the ranks, up to a black belt, and then working through the eight dan levels. There is a wide variety of moves you can execute, and you'll soon find out which are the most effective ones. The colourful and well animated graphics are accompanied by some suitably Oriental jingles, and there's a different background for each level. It's a good game that will appeal to beat-'em-up fans.

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7

Saigon Combat Unit

(Players, 1989)

The Viet Cong launched a suicide mission on the US Marine Corps headquarters and have captured your commanding officer. Now you must penetrate the Viet Cong's base and rescue him from their clutches. This is a two-part platform game in which you must jump over chasms, avoid hidden mines, shoot Viet Cong soldiers, and blow up the occasional jeep, tank and helicopter. You're armed with a gun, a supply of ammunition and a limited number of bombs, and you can buy extra weaponry at shops, which also act as restart points when you lose a life. The graphics and sound effects are very good (lots of explosions!), but it's too difficult for my liking, especially since there are too few restart points.

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6

Saint and Greavsie

(Grandslam, 1989)

Ian St. John and Jimmy Greaves used to host a football show on TV which was apparently rather popular, and these two personalities appear on this quiz game which will suit football anoraks nicely, but leave everyone else (myself included) bored. Up to four players take turns to answer three types of question – home questions are about more recent football, away questions relate to 60s and 70s football, and the rare derby questions are based on trivial facts. To liven things up a little, you get to see a footballer scoring a goal, which lets you know if you were right or wrong. There are other nice bits of animation to see and the graphics are lovely, as is the music, but answering question after question about football just isn't my thing.

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5

St. Dragon

(Storm, 1990)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

Similar to R-Type, here you control a baby dragon that has to rescue its mother. On the way you encounter weird metallic creatures such as mechanical tigers, cyborg bulls and armoured cobras who act as half- or end-of-level bosses. Power-ups can be picked up by shooting special pills that are littered around the scenery. Thankfully, unlike other similar games, when you die you don't lose them, even after a new continue. Your dragon also has a unique feature; your tail is impervious – only its head is vulnerable. This proves very useful when you're surrounded by enemies and their fire, as you can respectively destroy them and block with it. Nice looking, but a rather slow scrolling affair that is made difficult by the rather small screen area.

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7

Salamander

(Imagine, 1988)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

Deep in the heart of space, evil forces have gathered, and it is your task to destroy them in this clone of Nemesis. There are two main sections; firstly a side-scrolling flight through the innards of the beast at breakneck speed in which you have to work hard to avoid the shifting scenery and relentless roving worm monsters, and a second top-scrolling journey through a decidedly packed asteroid field. A variety of power-ups are available, but considering the degree of difficulty here they tend not to be kept for long. The worst aspect of this game though, has to be the sheer lack of effort on the part of the programmers who quite clearly dragged the Spectrum version over (which actually has more colours!) without any due thought or consideration for the Amstrad's superior capabilities.

See also: Nemesis.

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4

Samantha Fox Strip Poker

(Martech, 1986)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

Remembering those early teen years when the hope of seeing an awfully digitised picture of a big-breasted pop star could keep me two hours in front of my screen, I'm really glad to have grown older. But, well, that was a way to practice poker. The graphics are ridiculously bad, the computer's strategy is rather strange, and you must have a great imagination to distinguish anything erotic on the few MODE 2 screens that you'll see. Keep this game if you're a collector, or if you're a fan of Samantha...

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3

Samurai Trilogy

(Gremlin, 1987)

Appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape

You are an aspiring warrior hoping to attain the title of Samurai War Lord, under the guidance of your master, Chu Yu. You must fight against other warriors in two disciplines – karate and kendo (fencing) – before duelling with four of the best samurai warriors. Before each fight, you must select a strategy to adopt, and you must also select three of twelve types of training to improve your prowess. Then you must choose your attack and defence tactics; choose wrongly and your opponent could have a big advantage over you. All these tactical decisions that need to be made detract from the actual fighting, and it's difficult to know how your decisions affect you and your opponent. The graphics are fairly good with some splendid backgrounds, and the music is suitably Oriental, but the game itself is poorly executed.

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5

Santa's Christmas Capers

(Zeppelin, 1990)

Those naughty elves have spiked Santa's Christmas pudding, so for one day only, you have to take over as Santa and deliver presents to all the children around the world. There are three levels, taking Santa over Lapland and then across the Atlantic Ocean, before heading over the houses and dropping the presents he has collected on the way. While flying the sleigh, you must dodge or shoot all the Christmas presents coming at you (!) by firing snowballs at them. It's a pretty appalling game, and far too difficult for the young children that this game would be aimed at. Overall, the graphics are mediocre, and the only good thing about the game is the excellent rendition of various Christmas carols.

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2

Sapiens

(Loriciels, 1986)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

When it was published in France, in 1986, Sapiens was really out of the mainstream. It was the first CPC game to introduce fractal graphics – I'd never seen a game with so many trees and bushes in it before! And its plot (your main objective is hunting to survive) was very refreshing. The playing area is really huge, and you'll never see the same landscapes twice every time you start a new game (remember, they're mathematically generated!). But the screens all look the same, which quickly becomes boring. That's a pity, because the control panel is handy – once you've worked out how to use it – and there are many things to do, such as making a spear, carving a flintstone, and killing a bear. But most players won't have the patience to discover all the joys of the prehistoric era.

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6

Saracen

(US Gold, 1987)

Play Ilan the Crusader as he battles against the Saracen hordes. On each of the 40 levels, you must look for the Saracen chief and blow him up with a hand grenade. You will need arrows to do this, and to shoot some wooden walls and other moving enemies (crosses with flashing coloured balls on each end – bizarre!), but each arrow can only be fired in one direction, although there is a plentiful supply. The graphics and music are absolutely dire, and you'd be forgiven for thinking that the game is written in BASIC (it isn't, though). There is also no option for starting from a particular level, and after playing only a few levels, I became bored. Take my advice; don't play it!

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3

Sardina Forever

(GenSoft, 2012)

Reviewed by Missas

This is a remake of Iber Soft's game Sabrina that was released 24 years earlier. It was said that the previous game was not as complete as it could be, so this time we may have the opportunity to see it as it should be. The graphics are nothing great. They are just average, but the sprites are cartoonish and look funny. Sabrina still looks great! A catchy tune plays throughout the game. The gameplay is repetitive and poses no challenge. It is probably more a demo than a game; it is a funny, short promo of Sabrina Salerno herself! The grab factor is weak. Once you complete it (in less than ten minutes) you probably won't bother to do it again. Overall, a funny, short demo/game.

See also: Sabrina.

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5

SAS Combat Simulator

(Codemasters, 1988)

The SAS are the élite fighting force, able to tackle the roughest terrain and the toughest missions, and this is a really tough mission. You're on your own as you race through desert, jungle and swampland to destroy four enemy bases. There are four levels consisting of two parts; the first is a shoot-'em-up where you go berserk with your gun and grenades, avoiding enemy fire, while the second sees you armed only with a knife, stabbing the oncoming enemy soldiers (who are all unarmed, thankfully). The graphics, sound and music are all excellent, but as luck would have it, the game is too difficult, particularly the second part of each level – maybe the SAS could use it in their recruitment training!

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6

SAS Strike Force

(Mikro-Gen, 1987)

A group of terrorists are holding people hostage in various locations and threatening to blow up a nuclear power station. In a situation this serious, you call the SAS. You control one SAS gunman at a time as you attempt to stop the terrorists from carrying out their plans. You start at a farmhouse where the terrorists are based, watching out for enemy fire, grenades and mines. That's probably the only one of the four levels that you'll have the chance to see, because the game is far too difficult. The main problem is that the action is just too fast; the gunman you control, and the terrorists, move so quickly that you just can't avoid enemy fire. The graphics and music are quite good, but it's a shame that it's wasted on such flawed gameplay.

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4

Satan

(Dinamic, 1989)

The forces of evil are taking over the universe, and the wizards which once ruled the world have fallen under its spell. As a warrior, you must first become a wizard by gathering three scrolls guarded by the fearsome Tam Lin beasts, and then you must free the wizards who have been captured in the Palace of the Clouds. The graphics in this game are some of the most breathtaking I have seen on the CPC, and have to be seen to be believed! There's no music, but the sound effects are good. It's a great game, too, with lots of enemies to kill, although there's a lot of jumping around, as the warrior moves somewhat gracefully through the air.

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8

Sauvez Yurk

(French)

(Ubi Soft, 1990)

You and your friend Yurk, a dragon who was rescued in a previous adventure called Orphée (released several years before this one), have entered another world and must escape from it by collecting some magic crystals. Not a very original story, is it? This is a rather nice text adventure in which you select commands by clicking on icons instead of typing them. It makes the game more accessible to those who are new to text adventures, and you aren't left struggling to find the correct words. The graphics are beautifully drawn in the high-colour, low-resolution MODE 0 – a change from most French text adventures – but the font is rather difficult to read. There's also some delightful music to accompany this very agreeable game.

See also: Orphée.

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8

Savage

(Firebird, 1988)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

The first time I played this game, I was really baffled. Even my friends who owned a Commodore 64 stopped giggling at my CPC when they saw these graphics! The sprites are huge and colourful, and the animation is as fast as it can be. Remember Trantor? Well, this game is even better! Okay, the action is sometimes a little confusing, and the game is rather difficult. But there are three totally different stages, each of which you can access by a code. The last one, in which you're an eagle, is really amazing. I really think this is the most gorgeous game for the CPC, and one of the very best; programers had (at last) mastered the machine!

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9

Scalextric

(Leisure Genius/Virgin, 1987)

The slot-car hobby that many of us spent our childhoods with is somewhat badly recreated here. Either a computer or a friend can race on a track. There are lots of pre-designed tracks available, or you can create your own. However, the racing itself is dull; the track is too narrow and overtaking is therefore extremely difficult, and if you crash into your opponent, the race is over instantly. The graphics are average, but there's hardly any scenery on the track edges. The sound effects are very limited as well, and the drone of the engines becomes irritating. Indeed, creating your own tracks is probably the best part of this game!

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3

Scapeghost

(Level 9, 1989)

Alan Chance was falsely accused of bungling a police raid on a drug gang which led to his death, and as his ghost, you have three days to clear your name. This is a three-part text adventure, starting in the graveyard as you witness your own funeral, and then moving on to gather evidence at the scene of your death in order to locate the gang at their new hideaway and allow the police to arrest them. This was Level 9's last text adventure and a great way to end their legacy. The 28 pictures are wonderful and really add to the atmosphere. Some rather elaborate commands can be understood, too, and the plot is also highly original. This is one of the best text adventures I've played.

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9

Scientific

(Chip, 1987)

Two completely different types of game – a quiz, and a Centipede clone – are mixed together to produce one rather awful game. You control a spaceship that can only move left and right, and you must shoot all of the blobs that move from left to right, and gradually down the screen towards you. However, every few seconds, and after completing a level, play is interrupted and you are asked a question or two about maths or history. If you don't get it right, either you lose a life, or you have to restart the level. These interruptions are frankly annoying and make the game very irritating to play. Why should anyone be asked such questions while playing an arcade game, anyway?

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3

Scooby and Scrappy Doo

(Hi-Tec, 1991)

Scooby and Shaggy have been captured and are being held in a castle cell, so Scrappy must rescue them. This is a platform game with four levels, lots of ghosts and other nasty creatures, and bonuses to collect. The monsters can be killed by using some 'puppy power' (i.e. punching them), although this requires some practice; time it wrongly and you will lose one of your three lives (and they are easy to lose). The graphics are really colourful and excellent, but there are few sound effects and no music, which is a shame. The game itself is enjoyable to play but suffers by being rather difficult, and you really need more lives to make the game a bit fairer.

See also: Scooby Doo.

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7

Scooby Doo

(Elite, 1986)

Scooby's friends are being held in a haunted castle belonging to a mad scientist, so Scooby enters the castle to rescue them. Originally, this was meant to be an interactive cartoon adventure, but this proved to be too ambitious for 8-bit machines and a completely different game was released, after a very long wait. You must explore the castle, climbing stairs and jumping over holes and skulls lying on the floor, while punching the ghosts and other strange creatures. Extra lives can be obtained by collecting Scooby Snacks, and you'll certainly need them. The graphics are Spectrum-like, and there's no music or theme tune to sing along to! The game itself is very repetitive and quite frustrating, particularly when you reach the third level.

See also: Scooby and Scrappy Doo.

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4

Scoop

(French)

(Generation 5, 1990)

Gather your French-speaking friends around the computer to play this quiz game. This quiz can be played by between two and five players, and it features a strange nose-shaped cartoon character as your host, who is very nicely animated. On each turn, you can choose one of seven categories, and each player stakes some points and then guesses the correct answer to a question. If they answer correctly, they gain the number of points they staked, but if they don't, they lose it instead. The first player to reach a certain target score wins the game. This game isn't bad at all and makes good use of pictures and music with the questions, and there are 'junior' and 'senior' versions of the game as well. (The answer to the question in the screenshot is "Taureau (the bull)", by the way.)

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7

Score 3020

(Topo Soft, 1988)

In September 3020, the most powerful computer in the world, known as Silice, has gained control of the Nuclear Arms Centre of the Terra Federation. The only way to stop Silice from destroying Earth is to play a deadly game of pinball against it – but no one has beaten it so far. What's more, pinball in the 31st century is a very dangerous affair, as the bumpers, ramps and targets have been replaced with tanks and guns – and the ball is radioactive as well! However, as a pinball game, this one is mediocre. Although the graphics are colourful, the movement of the ball is jerky, and you have very little control over it. The ball can become stuck on a screen for ages, and while there are 20 screens, it's unlikely that you will see most of them. As pinball games go, this one is mediocre.

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4

The Scout Steps Out

(Amsoft, 1985)

All of the Scout troop's award shields have been stolen, and you have to find them all. Like a good Scout, you've also got to do some good turns – cleaning the windows of the pensioners' flats and gathering sealife for the nature class, and mushrooms for the Scouts' meals. There are only about a dozen screens, but clearing them all is a tricky task with all the nasty creatures about. The graphics and sound effects are fairly simple, although there's a catchy little tune on the starting screen that you can whistle to! It's worth a look, but don't expect much out of the game.

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6

Scramble Spirits

(Grandslam, 1990)

Take on the might of 21st century fighter planes in your outdated World War II era plane. The odds don't sound great, but this vertically scrolling shoot-'em-up gives you five lives and five credits, which is extremely generous; I managed to reach the fifth level out of six on my first attempt. Unfortunately there are no power-ups apart from mini-planes which act as smart bombs which attach to either side of your plane and can also be used as shields; the disadvantage is that your plane becomes wider and therefore easier for the enemy to hit. Graphically, the game looks very Spectrum-like, and the sound effects are mediocre as well, and although it plays well, it is a little on the slow side and not very challenging either.

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6

Screwball

(Blue Ribbon, 1986)

This is a clone of the arcade classic Q*Bert, where you jump around on the squares to change their colour. Here, you control a worm, and the monsters you have to avoid are black bugs. You have 60 seconds on each level to change the colour of all the squares. The difficulty increases as you progress – the bugs move faster and there are holes which restrict your movement, although the bugs can move over them! You also get an extra life when you complete each level. I've never liked this type of game because the controls always seem to be very awkward, and this game is no different. The graphics are mediocre and the sound effects are useless, but at least it's not that hard, despite the annoying controls.

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4

Scruples

(Leisure Genius, 1987)

Your morals are tested in this computer version of the board game. The players take it in turns to ask someone else what they would do in certain situations, and they have to answer "yes", "no" or "depends". If their answer doesn't match the answer card that the player owns, that player gets a new question card. However, the other players can make a challenge if they thought the player answering the question was untruthful... The first player to get rid of all his/her question cards wins. It's not easy to explain the rules in such a short space, but you should get the hang of it after a few goes. Unfortunately, playing against the computer isn't as exciting as playing the actual board game with your friends.

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6

Scuba Kidz

(Silverbird, 1989)

The Sea Lord has kidnapped your friends, the Scuba Kidz. Fortunately you're a good swimmer, so you decide to rescue them using your scuba diving gear. You must swim through eight reefs, shooting bubbles at fish to kill them (!) and ensuring that your supply of air does not run out, otherwise you will drown. Occasionally you may come across locked doors, but some of them lead to dead ends, and since keys are in short supply, you must learn which doors to open and which to leave alone. This is a dull game with little to see and do. Both the graphics and sound effects are primitive, and all the game really consists of is wandering around each of the reefs and trying to find the exit.

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4

SDAW

(French)

(Lankhor, 1990)

A nuclear explosion in 2194 wiped out the city of Chicago. 76% of its inhabitants were killed, while most of the rest became mutants, who took power and now plan to dominate the world and terrorise the few remaining survivors with a weapon of unimaginable power. Nearly fifty years later, one of the survivors creates an android called SDAW to travel through the sewers and locate and destroy the weapon, which you, as SDAW, must now do. This is an adventure with dozens of locations which generally look very similar to each other, but there are relatively few puzzles to solve, which is slightly disappointing. The graphics and presentation are both very good indeed, but there's a sense that the game relies more on style than substance.

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7

SDI

(Activision, 1989)

The United States and the Soviet Union have declared all-out nuclear war on each other, threatening the destruction of the entire world. As missiles hurtle through the atmosphere, you control a satellite belonging to America's Strategic Defence Initiative (which went under the nickname of 'Star Wars'). On each stage, you must destroy all of the missiles, fighters and enemy satellites as they fly across the screen. If you don't, you have to play another section where you must try to destroy even more missiles as they target the Earth's cities. This goes on for ever; there doesn't appear to be any ending to the game, and it soon becomes repetitive. There are very few sound effects, and despite an excellent loading screen, the game also suffers from being a Spectrum port.

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5

Seabase Delta

(Firebird, 1986)

The reporter Ed Lines, stranded on the submarine Sea-Lion, has sent a distress signal which has been intercepted by enemy agents. A mysterious force draws the submarine towards Seabase Delta, and Ed must explore the deserted base and escape from it – but not before he finds a way to deactivate a nuclear missile whose target is the United Kingdom! This text adventure was created using The Quill and features graphics for most of the locations. The initial stage of the game, where you must travel along a railway line, is annoyingly tedious, but once you've reached the main section of the base, the game becomes much better. There is plenty of atmosphere, and there are many subtle hints included in the text – although this means that experienced adventurers shouldn't find it particularly challenging.

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8

Seas of Blood

(Adventure International, 1986)

Reviewed by Pug

You are the captain of the pirate vessel Banshee. Together with your band of seasoned cut-throats, you must scour the lands of the Inland Sea, searching for treasure. The game opens with you and the crew out at sea. As you sail around, you'll come up against other ships, or you may find land and hopefully a port to dock at. There are many ports to visit, each full of mystery and adventure with some well-drawn graphics depicting each location. This is an entertaining text adventure that's full of twists and turns to keep you busy and alert. Fans of the Fighting Fantasy book that this game is based upon will not be disappointed.

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8

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole

(Level 9/Mosaic, 1985)

I'm quite a fan of Adrian Mole but this game is rather disappointing. Much of the humour and content that was in the book is retained here, and some new events have been added to make things more interesting. You don't actually get to do much; all you do is read Adrian's short diary entries and make the occasional decision from a choice of three responses, which affects your score. You start at 40% and your score increases or decreases as you make the right or wrong decisions. The graphics are horrible and garish as well, and the game is really an 'adventure' in the loosest sense of the word.

See also: The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole.

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5

La Secte Noire

(French)

(Lankhor, 1990)

Someone from the Black Sect (the English translation of the game's name) has entered the village of Issegeac, killed your grandfather, and stolen a book of spells which belonged to him. Can you retrieve the book and save Issegeac from another curse? This is a text adventure, but like many French text adventures, none of the rooms have descriptions, and you must rely on guessing what objects to perform actions on by looking at the pictures – and many of the responses are unhelpful. How long would it take someone to guess that you must press a branch to reveal a secret passage which doesn't seem to be mentioned anywhere in the game? Thankfully, it gets better from that point onwards. Apparently this is regarded as one of Lankhor's classics, but I certainly don't agree.

See also: La Crypte des Maudits.

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7

Seesaw

(Amsoft/Andromeda, 1985)

This is an original game in which you use a seesaw to catapult bricks into the air, in order to knock out some insects which appear from two turrets of a castle. Erm... just play the game, OK? Another larger insect throws bricks on to the seesaw one at a time, and you must push them into the right position so that the next brick that lands on the seesaw will throw them into the air. You have to be careful that you aren't thrown into the air, and if a brick lands on you, it will hurt! The graphics are colourful, and it's a nice idea for a game, but it's too difficult to complete even the first level.

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5

Senda Salvaje

(Zigurat, 1990)

You are an adventurer who has learnt of the mysterious treasure of Eldorado, hidden in the temple of Mozteca deep within the jungles of South America. You must travel across marshland, mountains and jungles to reach the temple, fending off attacks by piranhas, eagles and even fire-breathing dragon spirits! Once you've found the entrance, you must explore the heavily guarded temple and locate the treasure. Unfortunately, as with many Spanish games, the graphics are very colourful, but I found it too difficult to make progress. The various enemies you encounter drain your energy too quickly and some of them are seemingly impossible to avoid. To make things worse, if you lose a life, you are usually sent back several screens, which is often very annoying.

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4

The Sentinel

(Firebird, 1987)

This is one of the classic games, because there is no other game like it. You are placed on an artificial landscape which is guarded by the Sentinel, and you have to reach his position while avoiding his withering gaze as he rotates slowly around his plinth. However, you can't actually move; instead, you have to absorb the trees that are scattered around, and use them to create robots that you then transfer yourself to. You can also create boulders and place the robots on top of them to reach higher ground. Oh, and there are 10,000 landscapes to master... This is a truly absorbing (pun intended) game with astonishing graphics, but it takes a lot of time to learn – you'll need a lot of patience and thought to get through it!

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9

Sepulcri

(Reaktör, 1986)

In 2075, the Strategic Defence Initiative has become reality, and the first satellite is being developed. The designers of the satellite need to test it, however, and they have built a very, very small robot which can explore inside the computer. You control this robot, which has to activate all the switches in the computer. It's an isometric exploration game which should instantly remind you of another, better known game. Most rooms contain hazards such as monsters to avoid, and spikes which you may need to jump over if you want to progress. The graphics are good, although some of the colour schemes are horrible, and the robot moves fast as well. Overall, it's a nice game which will keep fans of isometric games like this one happy.

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8

Sergeant Seymour Robotcop

(Codemasters, 1992)

This is one of three arcade games starring Seymour, who has become a policeman. He's got an extendable arm which he uses to grab the bad guys and then throw at the nearest wall in order to kill them and grab the bonus that is left behind. On each screen there's a generator that creates the bad guys, and Seymour will need to remove all of them within the time limit to go to the next screen. Getting used to the controls is the most important part, and when you've mastered them, you'll really be able to enjoy the game. It's a simple game but great fun to play, although you only get three lives, and you really need more than that.

See also: Seymour at the Movies, Stuntman Seymour, Super Seymour Saves the Planet, Wild West Seymour.

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8

750cc Grand Prix

(Codemasters, 1989)

Time to burn some rubber on a motorbike as you race against eight other riders. You have to finish each race in a certain place to qualify for the next race; if you don't manage this, you're out. The motorbike is quite powerful, but you're going to need to use some turbo to get past the other competitors, and on longer races, you'll also need to pit to fill up with fuel and to change the tyres. However, it's too easy to crash, and by the time you're back on your bike, you'll be too far behind to gain on them. The graphics are really blocky as well, and don't really give the impression of speed.

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5

720°

(US Gold, 1988)

Lots of skateboarding here as you attempt to earn medals and raise some money to buy tickets and equipment by showing off your miscellaneous skills at courses scattered throughout Skate City. There's a ramp, a couple of downhill tracks, and a slalom track too. If you don't do well enough, you won't get any more tickets to get into the courses, and the killer bees will come after you (honest)! The game is quite a lot of fun at first as you muck about on all the courses, but I lost interest after some time. And killer bees? Who on Earth decided to put killer bees in a skateboarding game?

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6

Sewer Rat

(Lachlan Keown, 2009)

Reviewed by Pug

In Sewer Rat you play the role of a very hungry rodent. Thankfully, scattered around each screen are neatly sliced pieces of cheese for you to munch upon. Snakes, grey aliens and other nasties wander around and are deadly if touched. Each level carries a theme that introduces different hazards and obstacles, which improves the gameplay. Visually, everything looks rather drab and dated but this doesn't deter you from having just one more go. Sewer Rat is both addictive and challenging – which goes to prove that great graphics and sound do not make a game.

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6

Seymour at the Movies

(Codemasters, 1991)

Seymour is about to make his big break in a new film, but there is chaos, as the director has gone and left the scripts locked in a safe! Yes, Seymour has to come to the rescue. The game, which was released as Seymour Goes to Hollywood and is more commonly known by that name, features several classic films such as Grease, Flash Boredom, Sherlock Bones and The Wizard of Oz, but to see them (and solve the puzzles within them), you'll have to find the keys to each studio first. The puzzles are entertaining and the graphics are impressive, but two things let this game down – the frustrating maze of studios in which it is easy to get lost, and the size of the game; it's too much to sit through in one go. Amstrad Action also released a mini-game, Seymour: Take One on one of their covertapes, which is worth looking at.

See also: Sergeant Seymour Robotcop, Stuntman Seymour, Super Seymour Saves the Planet, Wild West Seymour.

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7

Sgrizam

(Dinamic, 1986)

Reviewed by Javier Sáez

Despite being in the 25th century, some things never change. The emperor Cophenix wants Mirdav to rescue the princess Doxaphin. Mirdav has to fight his way into the Kindos castle, from the dungeons to the upper rooms. Only the mighty sword he's carrying, Sgrizam, will let him take the princess back to his father. Sgrizam is quite a simple arcade game. Whenever an enemy comes to you there are only three possible actions – bend down, jump or brandish your sword. The graphics are quite big and colourful and the scrolling is smooth, although there is some sprite flickering. The sound effects are only average. There's a tune but thankfully, it doesn't play throughout the game. Sgrizam is reasonably difficult; it just requires a bit of concentration. Its main problem is that although the levels change, the gameplay remains almost the same.

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6

Shackled

(US Gold, 1988)

Many prisoners are being held in the dungeons of a mysterious castle, and you must rescue them. You must explore nearly 100 levels, shooting doors to release the prisoners, and finding keys to unlock other doors. There are also many monsters to impede your progress, although if you have some prisoners with you, they will be a bit easier to defeat. This is a Gauntlet clone and it's unfortunately not a good one. The graphics are poor and the scrolling and movement are jerky and slow, and the music on the menu is nothing special either. All the dungeons look very similar, and the game lacks excitement.

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5

Shadow Dancer

(US Gold, 1991)

Joe Musashi returns to fight more crime on the streets of America. One of your students, Kato, has been murdered, and not only that, the Sauros are threatening to blow up a US space shuttle. You must prevent this from happening, and avenge Kato's death. Throughout the game, you are accompanied by your dog Yamoto, who seems to be totally invulnerable to any enemy fire. You have an unlimited supply of shurikens to throw at enemies, and you can also use magic to kill every enemy on the screen, although you can only use this a few times. The graphics are big and colourful, but the sound is rather limited and the music on the menu is irritating. The game itself is great to play, and having six credits and four lives with each credit is wonderful.

See also: Shinobi.

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8

Shadow of the Beast

(Gremlin, 1990)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

Transformed against your will into a hideous mutant servant by the Beast Lord Maletoth and his evil mages, you resolve to use your beast-like powers to scour the land in search of him and to take vengeance for the death of your father. Fight your way through a seemingly endless barrage of adversaries in order to face the final confrontation with Zelek the Beast Mage, in order to regain your humanoid body and rid yourself of the shadow of the beast. The music here is of a very high quality, and combined with the detailed monochrome graphics this is a very eerie, yet appealing game.

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8

Shadow Skimmer

(The Edge, 1987)

Captain Blatt was inspecting the outer hull of a massive mothership in his Shadow Skimmer, but the mothership's computers have malfunctioned, and the Shadow Skimmer is now being treated as a hostile invader! Can you guide Captain Blatt to the other side of the mothership and enter the hatch that will lead you to safety? This is a colourful shoot-'em-up that also requires a lot of exploration. On each of the three sectors, it is necessary to find and shoot an object that will remove the barrier that blocks the entrance to the next sector. Occasionally, you must explore below the hull using the hatchways, and flip your spaceship to pass certain obstacles. The graphics and sound effects are very good, the game is easy to get the hang of, and exploring the hull will keep most players interested.

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7

Shadow Warriors

(Ocean, 1990)

The streets of America are full of muggers and other criminals, and as the Shadow Warrior, your mission is to clear the streets and make them safe again. The Shadow Warrior's method of combat is a series of ninja-style kicks, and in fact, this is the only move that you can use on the enemies. You may not have to learn a lot of moves like other beat-'em-ups, but I think this is a bit limiting. It's a fairly standard scrolling beat-'em-up – the graphics are nice, but there's hardly any sound and there's nothing that makes it better than other games like it.

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6

Shanghai Karate

(Players, 1988)

This is an average karate game with four skill levels, in which you control Lo Yin. The story of the game is that Wang Chen, a pupil at the Changchun Academy, massacred all of his fellow pupils and teachers, and Lo Yin was the sole survivor. In reality, it's just a straightforward beat-'em-up, with you fighting against Wang Chen's men one at a time. On each level, you must defeat your opponent four times before he does the same to you. The first skill level is easy, but after that, it becomes a bit more challenging. You can also change the speed of the game to make it easier. The graphics are quite good, particularly the backgrounds, of which there are four selections available. However, there's no variety in the gameplay and it soon becomes repetitive.

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6

Shanghai Warriors

(Players, 1989)

A gang of mercenaries led by Snide Gantree has stolen a Soviet submarine, and you must single-handedly battle your way through three enemy bases to recover the submarine. This is a dull beat-'em-up in which you take on several mercenaries, move right to the next screen, take on another group of mercenaries, move right to the next screen, and so on – and this goes on for what seems like an eternity. Occasionally you can collect weapons, but there is hardly any variety in the gameplay, and each level is so long that most people will want to switch off and play something better when they realise how boring this game is. The backgrounds are nice, though.

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3

Shao Lin's Road

(The Edge, 1987)

Lee has spent much time mastering the mysterious martial art known as Chin's Shao-Lin, but he is trapped in a temple that is filled with hordes of Triads. Can you use the skills you have developed to defeat them and escape from the temple? Each level contains a set of number of Triads who you can knock out with a carefully timed kick – although if you get it wrong, the Triads will hit you instead. Halfway through the level, a Triad who is stronger than the rest must also be defeated, although it requires several kicks to knock him or her out. The graphics are nothing special, and the Oriental-themed music is not great either, but the game overall is fairly good, if perhaps a little lacking in variety.

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7

Shard of Inovar

(Bulldog, 1987)

The background to this icon-driven text adventure is very weird and convoluted, but I shall try to summarise it here. A magical barrier known as the Cairnrue is preventing rain from falling on the land, but in order to dissolve the barrier, a magical stone called Inovar is required to invoke the Ritual of Decairn. Unfortunately it has been stolen, and only a tiny shard remains, so it is up to you, Varwield Secunda, to travel westwards and retrieve Inovar. All of these fancy names and rituals are very confusing indeed at first, and some of the puzzles are rather odd. However, the use of icons to select verbs means that solving most of the puzzles isn't too difficult, and if you stick with the game, you will eventually begin to make sense of it.

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6

Shark

(Players, 1989)

To be honest, I don't know what this game is about, but what I can certainly tell you is that it is awful. It's a run-of-the-mill space shoot-'em-up where you shoot aliens and collect power-ups while exploring a maze and trying to find the route through it. However, the nature of the controls is such that far too often, you end up using your precious power-ups when you don't need them, and since you will actually need the power-ups to progress through the maze, this makes the game nearly impossible to play. Excellent graphics are wasted once again on a lousy game.

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3

Sharkey's Moll

(Zeppelin, 1991)

It's gangster shooting time in this truly abysmal horizontally scrolling shoot-'em-up. Kill the gun-toting gangsters either in a hail of bullets or by throwing Molotov cocktails at them, and try not to hit the informer that wanders about the screen as if he's in a trance. There are plenty of games like this, and nearly all of them are much better than this one. The scrolling is very slow, it takes ages to complete a level, it's far too easy, and the Spectrum-like graphics are off-putting. The only good thing is the music on the menu.

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3

Sharpe's Deeds

(Incentive, 1987)

You are the sole heir to your uncle Ferdinand Sharpe's fortune, but to inherit it, you must find twelve treasures and the deeds for your uncle's estate. You start in an inn, in a quiet village in Somerset, where your solicitor is waiting for you. After you've spoken to him, you're on your own. If you're a fan of Infocom's text adventures, you'll know which one influenced the creation of this GAC adventure, although there are many puzzles to solve before you even encounter your first treasure. The map is quite large, and there is a lot to see and do. Plenty of well drawn pictures have been added, too, and unlike many GAC adventures I've played, there are few problems with finding the correct word to use.

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7

Sherman M4

(Loriciel, 1990)

The American-built Sherman M4 tank saw action in World War II. Despite its inferior armour and weaponry, it was also reliable, and they managed to beat the Germans by outnumbering them. You can command a battalion of up to four tanks in ten missions against the Germans. Five of them are based in Normandy, while the other five are based in the Ardennes region. The playing area contains villages and supply bases which are held by the enemy and which you must capture. You also have to hunt down and destroy enemy bunkers and tanks. The game makes use of wonderful 3D graphics, but the game slows to a snail's pace when the screen becomes crowded. However, the biggest fault is that all of the missions are too easy, even on the higher difficulty settings, and the gameplay is rather limited anyway.

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6

Shinobi

(Virgin, 1989)

Bwah Foo has captured all the children at a school for training ninjas, and as Joe Musashi, a former graduate of the school, you resolve to rescue all of them. The children are scattered over five levels which are split into three or four sections. It's a platform game, and a rather good one, with lots of enemy ninjas to slay with your shurikens. Different ninjas will require different techniques, though, and then there is the matter of defeating the end-of-level guardians. You do have magic powers to help you, although you can only use them once in each section. The graphics aren't all that good – they're rather messy – and the music on the menu is poor, although some better tunes play throughout the game, which is easy to get into and fun to play.

See also: Shadow Dancer.

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8

Shockway Rider

(FTL, 1986)

Appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape

This is a rather silly game, and one which was also slightly controversial when it was first released. You know those long airport walkways? This game sees you jumping to and fro between them and killing gang members with whatever weapons you can find lying at the side of the walkways. You can also get extra lives if you can achieve certain targets which change on each level. The controversy arises when you lose a life; your blood-stained head gets cut off and rolls down the walkway! It's not that bad a game, but all the levels (apart from the first) are basically the same thing. The music is really cool, though!

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6

Short Circuit

(Ocean, 1987)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

Struck by a lightning bolt, Robot 5 has come alive. He tries to escape from his creators who want to catch him in order to study what happened. This game was inspired by the movie of the same name by John Badham. You control Number 5 through the laboratories and must find the way out. You can download programs to enhance your abilities, search the rooms for keys and other items. This part is rather good, with good graphics and a cheerful tune. The second part is an action sequence in which you must escape cops and various animals while jumping over ponds. It's difficult and rather stupid. In summary, this is an average game. It's a pity that the second half of the game could have been better.

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6

Short's Fuse

(Firebird, 1985)

The evil Boris has planted bombs in several capital cities around the world. Only Sam Short can save the world! As Sam, you must defuse all the detonators within the time limit, otherwise the bomb will explode. The gameplay consists of simple platforming action, jumping across gaps and on to moving platforms and avoiding falling off the edges of platforms or landing on spikes. The graphics and sound effects are both very basic indeed, and the music is particularly annoying. As for the gameplay, Sam moves about the screen in a rather jerky manner and the controls can sometimes be unresponsive. This was one of the first games that Firebird released for the CPC and it looks very dated now.

See also: Super Sam.

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5

Shufflepuck Café

(Microïds/Brøderbund, 1989)

Welcome to Shufflepuck Café! If you've ever played a game on one of those air hockey machines you find in big amusement arcades (and boy, I loved playing them in my youth!), you'll recognise this. Air hockey is like ice hockey except that it's against two players, and you hit the ball with a bat rather than a stick. It's really easy to grasp. The café is filled with eight contestants, who each have their own ways of playing, which you will need to know in order to beat them. You can play a few games against any of them, or take part in a knockout tournament. Both the graphics and the music are stunning and the game is great fun, and you can customise it as well.

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9

Side Arms

(Go!, 1987)

A man known as Bozon wants to exterminate Earth, and his headquarters lies deep underwater. As Lieutenant Henry, you must swim through the sea to locate his headquarters. The game consists of one long level with lots of creatures to shoot, and several huge dragon-like monsters (which you must obviously shoot as well) help to break the action into distinct stages. Initially you can't move fast at all and your firepower is limited, but collecting the power-ups left behind by the creatures you shoot gives you more speed and weaponry – and you're going to need it! Without it, you'll lose lives very easily. If you keep hitting the fire button, you'll be OK. The graphics are all right, but they could be better, and so could the music, which is mediocre. The game itself is reasonably good once you get the hang of things.

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7

Sideral War

(Delta, 1989)

The Halson galaxy is under threat. You have been sent on a mission to destroy a thermonuclear planet. This is a standard horizontally scrolling shoot-'em-up in which you shoot lots of aliens and jump across craters and lakes. Every so often, a spaceship appears and you enter it, taking you into space, where you shoot and dodge spaceships instead. However, it's highly unlikely that you will ever get the chance to do this without cheating. This is a ridiculously difficult game from start to finish! Jumping over obstacles requires great precision, but while you're trying to position yourself, the aliens are swarming around you and draining your precious energy. The graphics are very good, albeit with too much purple used, but it's a shame that the gameplay is not up to the same standard.

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4

Sidewalk

(Infogrames, 1987)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

Known as Marche à l'Ombre in France, and based upon the songs and the suburban-Parisian universe of the famous French singer Renaud, this game is a strange attempt to merge two worlds (pop music and video game). The game in itself is rather dull. Though the graphics, in black and white, are rather good, they lack variety and the playing window is too small. Furthermore, it's quite impossible not to get lost because the point of view changes every time you enter a new place. The plot is original (you must find your motorcycle which has been stolen, and buy two tickets for Renaud's show), but the gameplay is awful. Time is limited, the game area is tiny – about 20 screens – and the fight scenes are a pity. One for fans of Renaud only.

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3

Sigma 7

(Durell, 1986)

I'm not sure what the story behind this game is, but the game itself consists of seven stages, each divided into three phases. In the first phase, you have to shoot and dodge alien attack formations; in the second, you have to clear a maze of dots and find the pattern of dots which you can't clear; and in the third, you have to reproduce this pattern by bouncing on tiles at the right time. This is all repeated seven times, and it gets harder each time. The graphics are reasonable and some of the animated sequences are nice, but the gameplay may get repetitive, especially when you get three extra lives on completing each phase.

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6

Silent Service

(MicroProse, 1986)

You are in control of a fleet of American submarines based in the Pacific Ocean during World War II, and you must simply sink as many Japanese ships as you can. You can try some target practice or attempt various missions which recreate actual events in the Pacific, and depending on your experience, you can adjust the difficulty and realism levels. This is an extremely realistic game (in fact, the West German authorities banned it from general sale because of this) and it's clear that a lot of attention has been put into this. It's not exactly for action fans – it's very much a strategy game, and you must plan your actions carefully – but if you like these sorts of games, then this is a winner.

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7

Silent Shadow

(Topo Soft, 1988)

An enormous bomber plane, equipped with the most advanced technology known, has just been launched – the Silent Shadow. Its mission is to fly to the outskirts of a city to destroy an enemy base. However, the Silent Shadow's sheer size makes it relatively vulnerable, so you (and perhaps a friend) must pilot a much smaller fighter and destroy enemy ground targets and planes to make way for the Silent Shadow. There are four levels, each one an unrelenting onslaught of enemy firepower. Your fighter can hold up to three bombs at a time, and many more can be collected along the way – and you'll need to use them regularly. The graphics are undoubtedly very nice, but it's difficult to make out the enemy's bullets, and there are so many enemies to face that you will probably never reach the end of the first level.

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6

Silkworm

(Virgin, 1988)

This horizontally scrolling shoot-'em-up is better than most other offerings. You control a helicopter and you just blast away at the enemy helicopters and missile bases. On every level, there's a helicopter which has to be hit in the right place, and then there's the end-of-level helicopter which is very big indeed. There are also extra firepower and invincibility bonuses to collect. It's colourful with lots of explosions, and if there's an extra player handy, it's possible to play with a jeep, although it's not as powerful as the helicopter. One warning, though – don't play this game if you suffer from epilepsy, as the screen flashes quite a lot.

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8

Sim City

(Infogrames, 1990)

Ahh... it's one of the most famous games ever, and it did appear on the CPC. You have to build your own city, starting with a power station and then building residential, commercial and industrial zones, and making the infrastructure of roads, railways and power lines. You must also make sure your citizens are happy. There is a limitless number of ways to play this game, and it is great fun – especially when you initiate a few disasters! The colour scheme isn't the best but the graphics are excellent all the same, although the beep is horrible – and it also couldn't save or load cities with some disc drives (such as mine); not that this is a problem now that we have emulators...

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8

The Simpsons: Bart vs. the Space Mutants

(Ocean, 1991)

This game is loosely based on an episode from the TV series. The space mutants have arrived at Springfield and are causing chaos, and as Bart Simpson, you're the only one who can stop them. In the first level, the aliens have sprayed some objects purple, and you have to paint them red using a spray can and any other objects you can find a use for. The second level involves collecting hats and knocking them off people's heads (!), and in the third level, you must collect and shoot balloons – and so it goes on. The graphics are very colourful, albeit basic, and Bart looks just like the guy you see on TV. There isn't much sound, though. It's a cute little platform game and I like it, although the levels are a bit long.

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7

Sir Ababol

(The Mojon Twins, 2010)

Reviewed by Missas

In this arcade adventure, you control a young crusader named Sir Ababol who wishes to go to Jerusalem but unfortunately loses his sword. On his journey to recover it, he has to collect the strange ababol flowers. To begin with, the graphics use only four colours (MODE 1), however from screen to screen the colours change. Besides that, they are atmospheric and detailed. The controls are simple and they are executed with precision from Sir Ababol, which is a great advantage for the game, since you have to avoid many enemies during your quest. The sound is good and there are some nice effects throughout the game, and the music is atmospheric and well written. The gameplay is fast-paced, but the game itself is neither very large nor too difficult. The grab factor is strong. As a whole, this is a very entertaining game, and if the Mojon Twins continue like this, they will soon become a legend in the CPC scene.

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8

Sir Lancelot

(Melbourne House, 1985)

Take on the role of Sir Lancelot and explore a castle consisting of 24 rooms. In each of these rooms, you must collect several objects before you can visit another one – but there are also lots of monsters which you must dodge. This simple but delightful platform game was released in the early stages of the CPC's life, so the graphics are rather crude, but don't be fooled. There is some wonderful platforming action on offer, and while experienced players will find that most of the rooms pose little difficulty to them, completing all of the rooms will still be a challenge.

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8

Sirwood

(Opera Soft, 1989)

The village of Nargoot was fairly prosperous, thanks to the Golden Shield – a shield with magical properties. However, the dark magician Amargol has stolen it. Enter Arn, a farmer from the village who has set out on a quest to find the shield and return it. This is a wonderful game with three levels which each load separately. Each level contains lots of monsters which must be shot, and several larger enemies which can only be destroyed with a particular weapon. You must also collect six objects in order to complete each level – if you reach the end. The most remarkable aspect of this game is the graphics; they are absolutely luscious, with really big sprites. As a result, the game moves a bit slowly, but it's nothing to worry about.

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8

Skateboard Joust

(Silverbird, 1988)

A mediocre and very simple single-screen arcade game in which you move around the screen on your flying skateboard, using it to kill the monsters which float around the screen in a particular formation. There are four monsters to kill on each level – two waves, with two monsters in each wave. Bonus icons can also be collected when they appear. The graphics and sound effects are rather primitive and there's no appeal to the gameplay at all; it's the sort of game that you'll play a few times and then forget about.

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3

Skateboard Kidz

(Silverbird, 1988)

Skate around a city landscape, performing jumps and collecting all five letters of the word SKATE in order to obtain pieces of bronze, silver and gold skateboards. If you want to acquire bonus points, you can collect litter and either give it to the elderly ladies standing about, or put it in the nearest litter bin. You also have to dodge various moving obstacles such as remote-controlled planes and cars. The graphics are awful and the scenery is very drab with little colour used, which is strange considering that they're drawn in low-resolution MODE 0. There is also practically no sound, and the skateboarder moves at a very slow pace. Because of this, the game has no atmosphere or appeal.

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3

Skate Crazy

(Gremlin, 1988)

Freddy wants to impress his roller skating friends with his skills, and he's going to do this by skating around several obstacle courses. The game is divided into two parts. The Car Park Challenge consists of four courses which have been laid out in a car park. You must impress the judges by performing stunts, while not crashing too much or becoming too tired. If you don't impress them enough, you must repeat the level. The Championship Course is more like a platform game in which you must simply reach the end of each level without losing all of your lives. The graphics are colourful and the music is absolutely marvellous, and although the Championship Course is merely OK to play, the Car Park Challenge is such great fun that you'll want to try it out again and again.

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8

Skate or Die

(Electronic Arts, 1989)

Join Lester on five different skateboarding events – the ramp, high jump, downhill course, pool jousting (!), and the jam (a fight in a back yard). You can practice an event or compete in all five. They're all boring, anyway; there is a very limited number of moves you can perform on the ramp, and the downhill course and the jam scroll too slowly to make it exciting. These two events are in monochrome, while the rest of the game uses full colour (but still very poor) graphics. It gives the impression that the game has been put together in an inconsistent and rather slapdash manner.

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4

Skate Rock

(Bubble Bus, 1987)

The Slime Rats are the coolest skateboarding gang in town, although I don't know why they call themselves the Slime Rats – the name doesn't sound very cool to me! To join the gang, you must tackle a series of courses, collecting eight flags in each. The graphics are appalling, there are no sound effects (although you have to listen to some irritating tunes before and after each course), and the gameplay is just as bad. The scrolling between screens is annoying and the collision detection is suspect as well. Maybe it's not quite as bad as it sounds, but it could have been a lot better.

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5

Skatin' USA

(Atlantis, 1990)

Tom Essex woke up one morning and found that all of his super powers had now disappeared, and he was no longer Superkid – but he continues his mission to clear the streets of criminals. Armed with his skateboard and catapult, Tom has to skate around six stages and collect nine banknotes on each one, while avoiding the muggers or firing at them. Contact with the muggers loses energy, and if you lose too much, the game is over. After completing a stage, there is a bonus stage which allows you to collect more points. The music is very good, and the graphics are OK as well, and Tom zooms around each stage at some speed. However, the muggers are hard to avoid and appear randomly on each screen, and progressing to subsequent stages is more a matter of luck than skill.

See also: Superkid, Superkid in Space.

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6

Skool Daze

(Amsware Systems, 2015)

Reviewed by Missas

The legendary Skool Daze arrives on the CPC with a slight delay of only 31 years! In this original game, you take control of Eric, who must steal his report card by accomplishing various tasks. Four teachers and three pupils play a major role, while there are many other unnamed pupils wandering around. Eric must try not to be punished because of his or other students' actions. If he receives 10,000 lines, he is expelled and the game is over. This is a direct Spectrum port, so everything is faithful to the original release. What I mostly enjoyed about this game is its atmosphere and the tricks that Eric must do to achieve his objective. The sound is negligible but the grab factor is strong and the overall game is very entertaining although it clearly shows its age.

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7

Skull and Crossbones

(Domark/Tengen, 1991)

The Evil Sorcerer has captured several beautiful women, and your mission is to rescue them and defeat the Sorcerer, who adopts various disguises throughout the eight levels of this platform game. One Eye (and Red Dog if two people are playing) must board pirate ships, explore a variety of lands, kill a lot of the Sorcerer's henchmen, and collect lots of treasure in the process. Sword fighting techniques will not take long to master, although finding the right methods for dealing with some of the tougher henchmen will be a bit more tricky. The graphics are colourful, although the music doesn't fit in well with the pirate theme – and if you only have 64K of memory, you will only hear silence! Overall, this is a fairly satisfactory game, although the scrolling is very jerky, and the controls are slightly awkward.

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7

Skweek

(Loriciels, 1989)

Many years ago, Skweek's planet was contaminated with a blue skweekicide by aliens. Now you're going to change all 99 continents back to their original colour – pink! Each level consists of a board of tiles, and there are all sorts of hazards – monsters, arrow tiles, ice, and crumbling tiles are just some of them, but there are also a large range of bonuses. The graphics are extremely cute, and Skweek is so small and furry! There are two tunes to select, but they're rather too cute for my liking. You can switch them off, though. All in all, this game is so amazingly excellent that there's no way you can't like it.

See also: Super Skweek, The Tiny Skweeks.

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10

Skyx

(Legend, 1988)

A legend tells that four people will one day bring peace to the kingdom of Belda. That day has come, and you control this group of people. The game is based on Qix (hence its name), where you must draw lines in order to fill in parts of the screen; when you fill at least 75% of the screen, you can go to the next level. To make this more difficult, there are a few monsters; a green mask which moves unpredictably and very quickly around the screen, and one or more other enemies which move along the lines that you have drawn. There are also apples which give you more time, and potions which make you behave in strange ways. The graphics are very good and the game is well presented, but the presence of the green mask makes it frustratingly difficult.

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5

Slap Fight

(Imagine, 1987)

This is a bog-standard shoot-'em-up in which you are flying above the surface of the planet Orac and shooting aliens. Some of them leave gold stars behind which you can pick up, and collecting them allows you to select from a list of power-ups, which you can decide to make use of at any time. The graphics are pretty good when you consider that this is just another space shoot-'em-up, and the music is good as well. It's just that the enemy bullets are often too small to see, and if you lose a life, it's really difficult to recover from losing all your power-ups too.

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6

Slapshot

(Anirog, 1985)

Reviewed by CPC4eva

The only ice hockey game I have seen on the CPC. It's three versus three, with you against the computer or a human opponent, over three periods to score more goals than your opponent. The graphics and sounds aren't fantastic and the selection of your players can be annoying at times. The computer opponent moves faster and is better at stealing the ball from you, and you have no control over your goaltender; he just moves across the goal by himself. If you strike your opponent, it's a foul and you are penalised by being taken to the penalty circle closer to your opponent's goal. When the puck gets behind the goal area it becomes quite quirky and tricky to move.

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4

Sliders

(Microïds, 1991)

This is a simple game set in the future, where two balls – one blue and one red – try to fire another ball over their opponent's goal, which is represented by a square. The game can be played with a friend or against the computer, and you can change the computer's expertise, as well as a number of other settings. The ball is magnetic, and if you're nearby, you can attract it towards you. Once you have the ball, you then aim and release it. While the concept is very simple, it will take time to master, as controlling your ball is tricky due to a lack of friction. Not everyone will like it, but I thought it was reasonably good, although the graphics during the game are rather blocky and the scrolling is slow.

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7

Slightly Magic

(Codemasters, 1991)

Reviewed by John Beckett

In this brilliant Dizzy clone from Codemasters, you play the part of a trainee wizard named Slightly, and must rescue the lovely princess who has been snatched away by an angry, sunburnt dragon. Unfortunately, poor Slightly is stuck in his master's castle, and must first find his way out. Codemasters add a nice little variation to the gameplay here, as to progress Slightly must learn spells by finding both the spell and a related object (for example, a hearing spell and a megaphone). These are pretty fun, especially later spells which turn the poor guy into a bird and a fish. The graphics are good and little Slightly is cute and well animated, the music is unbelievably catchy, and the game's difficulty is perfect. This game is great in all ways, except for one thing; I found it a bit too short.

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9

Slug

(Alternative, 1988)

It's late on Friday night, and Slug is sitting with his girlfriend, watching the horror film Emperor Hades Meets the Yak-Faced Melboids from East London Part 37 (Revisited) (sounds like an interesting film to me!), when his girlfriend is suddenly taken away by a mechanical arm, to another world. As Slug, you have to collect five hearts on each of the levels, which consist of four moving platforms with holes allowing you to fall down to and jump up to higher and lower platforms. There is the usual array of monsters to shoot with your TNT slime as well. Beneath the silly plot lies an extremely basic arcade game. The graphics are quite good, and there are some nice animated cartoons every three levels, but it's dull and repetitive and won't hold your attention for long.

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4

Sly Spy: Secret Agent

(Ocean, 1990)

Reviewed by Pug

Playing the role of a James Bond-inspired secret agent, your mission is to stop a terrorist organisation called the Council for World Domination at all costs. After receiving the briefing, you are taken by air to the location where the action begins. Jumping out of the plane, you freefall to the landing zone. Several bad guys join your position and try to take you out. A successful landing leads to eight scolling levels which include such scenes as construction sites, factories, underwater action and a motorbike chase. Visually, the game is very detailed and colourful with almost smooth scrolling. There's no in-game sound, but a tune plays on the options screen. Overall, Sly Spy: Secret Agent is a fun shoot-'em-up, if a little repetitive.

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7

Small Games for Smart Minds

(CEZ Games Studio, 2007)

Reviewed by Missas

This is a compilation of cleverly designed puzzle games for players who want to challenge their brains or their friends! There are three types of puzzle, each one consisting of so many levels that you won't become bored easily! The graphics are OK; the loading screen is wonderful, while the choice of colours is pleasant and the level of detail is above average. The sound is almost absent and there is no tune – something that might prove to be a good thing, because when you progress, puzzles tend to become frustratingly difficult. The gameplay is enjoyable, but players will need to be persistent and patient if they want to progress. The grab factor is above average. As a whole, it's an interesting puzzle game.

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7

S*M*A*S*H*E*D

(Alternative, 1987)

You are Pigseye Peers, an inexperienced army surgeon who has been thrown in at the deep end, in the Strangest Mobile Army Surgical Hospital East of Detroit. But the still, which provides you with alcohol, has gone missing, and you must discover what has happened to it. As you've probably guessed, this is a parody of the M*A*S*H TV series and film, and if you're a fan, you'll recognise a lot of the characters in this game. As for the game itself, it's a text adventure which was written with GAC. The graphics are reasonably good, and solving the puzzles isn't as hard as some GAC adventures – the vocabulary isn't too limited.

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7

Smash TV

(Ocean, 1991)

In the 21st century, a new style of game show has emerged on TV. It's fast, it's furious, and it's got action – it's Smash TV! You run around a maze of rooms, each containing several waves of monsters about to unleash their fury at you. You won't get a single moment to relax here! You can improve your weapons by collecting power-ups left behind by some of the monsters. The graphics are big and bright, although all the rooms look the same. The sound effects are good with lots of lovely explosions, but there's no music. However, it's a great game full of action and no time to take a breather.

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8

The Smirking Horror

(WoW, 1991)

You're sitting in the computer room at PUE Tech on a freezing night, and a snowstorm is raging outside. It's time to finish your assignment, so you'd better get on with it – but you soon discover that all the computers are down. Bummer! Fans of Infocom's text adventures will instantly recognise the scenario, which is almost exactly the same as that of The Lurking Horror. This adventure is written using GAC, so it's unfair to expect it to match the quality of the game it's based on – but it uses GAC's features well. The author's sense of humour really shows through, especially if you've played The Lurking Horror and discover that certain things are rather different in this game! This is a really enjoyable text adventure, and is arguably one of the best GAC adventures that I've ever played.

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8

Smugglers Cove

(CRL, 1985)

Reviewed by Pug

You, an agent to the Royal Duchy, sift through the wreckage along the shores at Daymer Cove. Finding the ship's log sends you off on a treasure hunt deep into the caves. You start this text adventure trapped in some dimly lit caves. The computer replies to your standard adventure input with classic pirate chatter – which does give this game some atmosphere. With an average level of difficulty you'll soon be solving the puzzles that lie ahead, but the crude-looking pictures, which often take an age to display, delay the pace and start to ruin your interest.

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4

Snoball in Hell

(Atlantis, 1989)

I don't know why the word 'snoball' is spelt the way it is in this game, but you know the saying about "a snowball's chance in hell", and now you're attempting to raise hell, armed with just a few snowballs. Can you pull it off? This is a Breakout clone, using an armoured tank as a bat and a snowball as a ball. Unlike many other Breakout clones, though, the bat moves vertically and not horizontally, and there are also plenty of monsters which fly towards you. They can be hard to dodge, but you soon learn to hold down the fire button more or less constantly. The graphics are very colourful, but there's nothing that makes it better than similar games.

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6

Snooker Management

(Cult, 1990)

A snooker management game? What kind of lunatic thought of this? It's one of Cult's terrible efforts at writing management games, being written entirely in BASIC with no graphics to speak of. You start bottom of the world rankings and have to play in tournaments and earn prize money to make it all the way to the top. You can also arrange matches with other players and gamble your money on other players. The big problem is that you have to sit through other players' games, and of course, your own games. It is duller than watching paint dry, and even die-hard snooker fans will loathe this sorry excuse for a game.

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1

Snowball

(Level 9, 1984)

Reviewed by Richard Lamond

Join Kim Kimberley, secret agent extraordinaire as you attempt to save the interstellar transport Snowball 9 from certain disaster. Waking from hypersleep you literally begin the game in the dark – but escaping your coffin is only the beginning of your problems... Level 9's first foray into science fiction is a difficult but atmospheric text adventure thanks to some well crafted descriptions. Working out how to deal with the syringe-wielding nightingales will be your first major stumbling block, but that pales in comparison to the maze (a highly frustrating piece of coding that exists seemingly to allow Level 9 to boast of the game having over 7,000 locations). Originally text-only, Snowball was reissued as part of the Silicon Dreams compilation boasting graphics, but it loses part of its mystique in the process. Overall, it's still a highly polished adventure that you can easily lose a couple of hours playing.

See also: Return to Eden, The Worm in Paradise.

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8

Soccer Challenge

(Alternative, 1990)

Despite the name of this game, you don't actually play a proper game of football; instead, the game concentrates on training. There are four types of training – dribbling, tackling, passing and penalties. When you have completed all four courses successfully, you can then go on to the assault course. The courses are all self-explanatory, except for the dribbling, in which you have to kick the ball around some cones in the direction highlighted by the arrow shown on the screen. There aren't many football training games around, mainly because they're just not as exciting as actual football games. This is no exception; the graphics are OK, but the gameplay is really dull.

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3

Soccer Director

(GTI, 1990)

There are lots of football management games on the CPC, but this game instead sees you as a crooked businessman trying to buy at least 501 shares in the top ten clubs in the 1st Division. Starting with £200,000, you buy some shares and watch their value rise and fall as each team's fortune changes. Each week, you are paid a dividend through your ownership of the teams, and can use that to buy more shares. You can also bet on a team to win the league or be relegated, and you can also call meetings to demand pay rises, ground improvements, or a new manager. There is no excitement to this game at all, mainly because it takes ages to build up enough money from your dividends, and you are forced to look at screen after screen of information after each turn. Oh, and it's written entirely in BASIC as well.

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2

Soccer 86

(Activision/Loriciels, 1985)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

The French version of this football game is known as Marius Tresor Foot, after a great French footballer who played for France in the 1982 World Cup. You can select two of four teams (Great Britain, France, Germany or Italy) and choose the level of each of your players (from 0 to 20) and your opponent's players. However, there are no differences between the different teams, save for the colour of their shirts. You automatically control the player that is closest to the ball, although pressing the fire button allows you to change the player you want to control. Once you are in possession of the ball, your speed is reduced by half, which favours a very collective method of play! Eventually, it is a fast and really enjoyable game, though it isn't realistic at all.

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6

Soccer Pinball

(Codemasters, 1992)

Soccer and pinball – when you think about it, it almost makes sense. As you'd expect, the pinball table is laid out in the form of a football pitch, the aim being to get rid of each of the defenders blocking the way, and then scoring three goals to go on to the next table – which has exactly the same layout, but with more defenders. Whether you'll actually be able to score three goals seems to be a matter of sheer fluke; the game is too difficult and the goalmouth is too small, letting down an otherwise novel concept. Out of interest, it also uses the cassette motor as a sound effect... bizarre!

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6

Soccer Rivals

(Cult, 1991)

A football management game combined with a board game – it sounds interesting but after a few goes, you begin to realise its limitations. Three players, which can be human or computer-controlled, choose to manage one of 32 teams and take it in turns to move around the board. Each square on the board triggers an event; one type of square lets you buy new players, another lets you set up a youth team and coach, or to make improvements to your stadium, while another lets you train your players. There are also 'chance' squares which may win or lose you money. The problem is that you can only perform actions when you land on the right square, which may take one turn or ten turns. Football management games should be based on skill and not luck.

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5

Software House

(Cult, 1988)

What's it like to be the manager of your own software house and release some games? This game lets you try this out. Your aim is to survive for five years, but you start out with a budget of only £2500, and if you go more than £25,000 into debt, it's all over. In each quarter (which counts as one turn), you can select one or more games to buy, and then it's your job to organise the duplication of tapes and the artwork, packaging, price and the number of advertisements to place in magazines. After each turn, you then read the Games News magazine which has news of how well you're doing and how good or bad they think your latest game is. It's all good fun, although it can be frustrating and unpredictable most of the time.

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7

Software Star

(Addictive, 1984)

You're a games programmer at a software house, and you want to achieve the title of Software Star. Games are developed and released, and each month you get to see how well they're doing in the software charts; getting in the top three is crucial if you want to be known, and good reviews count, too! Other tasks you have to perform include booking adverts, removing old games from your catalogue, and whether to use hype or honesty to sell your games. Any initial excitement about the game begins to wear off; even on the beginner level, it's too difficult.

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5

Solar Coaster

(Optyx, 1987)

Yawn – it's yet another Galaxian clone. This one has only four levels; three of these feature a formation of aliens hurling laser beams at you, while the fourth sees you fighting against the aliens' mothership. We've seen it all before. The graphics are actually not too bad and are quite colourful, but the sound effects are nothing special. The game itself is a bit difficult; while the alien ships whizz about the screen and fire at you (and those lasers seem to home in on you), your spacecraft moves rather slowly – but practice makes perfect. Even so, there are better games than this out there.

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4

Solar Empire

(Players, 1990)

The evil Dargons have enslaved the galaxy, and you must free as many planets in the galaxy as you can. How do you do this? You must find an asteroid and shoot it, allowing you to steer it in a particular direction. Captured planets will be liberated if you manage to crash an asteroid into it. It seems like an extremely drastic method of liberating a planet, but I'm not responsible for devising this game! Obviously, you have the usual aliens to contend with, as well as the fact that your spaceship is very snake-like in both appearance and manoeuvrability. There are also several dials that tell you the nearest location of various objects. The graphics are quite good, although the screen is mostly empty space. However, for some reason, I don't really warm to this game much.

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6

Soldier of Light

(ACE, 1989)

Reviewed by Pug

Playing Xain, you must travel to various human planets (three in total) infested with alien intruders. In this slow and jerky scrolling shoot-'em-up, you move along, taking out enemies with the occasional power-up available. Each planet has a boss to fight once you make it to the end of the zone. The graphics are quite good in this one, although at times a little too garish, but the sluggish movement and scrolling just ruin this one game-wise. The in-game sound effects are nothing to write about either.

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4

Sol Negro

(Opera Soft, 1988)

Bully and Mónica are both cursed. Every full moon, one of them turns into an animal, while the other regains their human form. This prevents them both from being together, so they wait until there is a total eclipse and they can visit an underwater temple where the curse can be removed. In the first part, you control Bully, and you must find the key to release Mónica (who has turned into a hawk) from her cage and reach the temple. The roles are reversed in the second part, where you control Mónica, who is accompanied by Bully (who has turned into a fish). What a strange story for a game! Well, the graphics are very nice indeed and really detailed. Unfortunately, even with twenty (!) lives, the game is still frustratingly difficult, particularly in the second part.

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6

Solo

(Opera Soft, 1989)

One morning, a little eight-year-old boy called Carlitos was ready to go to school. He walked out of his house and into the streets – and was confronted by hordes of armed men shooting at him! Fortunately he had a Gunstick with him... This is the very surreal story behind this target shooting game, which can only be played using MHT's Gunstick. As the scenery scrolls along, you have to shoot the gunmen and avoid shooting any innocent bystanders. Your ammunition is limited, so you will also need to shoot boxes to maintain your supply. It's fairly standard stuff, although there is a lot of action going on; there is little time to rest! The graphics are very detailed and well drawn, although the tune on the menu is merely OK. Despite the silly story, this is a fairly good game.

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7

Solomon's Key

(US Gold, 1987)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

Wealth beyond avarice is yours for the taking in King Solomon's mines, but first you must navigate your way through a labyrinth of monster-filled chambers in this conversion of the Tecmo puzzle arcade coin-op. To proceed, you need to obtain the cunningly placed key to unlock the exit door. Reach it via the blocks that are arranged before you and lay your own to bridge any gaps between you and your goal. However, the monsters can condemn you to fall to your death by destroying the blocks beneath you. Thankfully you can kill them the same way and use fireballs against them that you can pick up along the way, along with reams of bonuses that are littered all around. A rather difficult challenge but a delightful-looking game.

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8

Sonic Boom

(Activision, 1990)

Fly the highly sophisticated and well armed fighter jet, the Sonic Boom, engaging it in six different conflicts across the continents of the world. Nothing original in the plot, then; it's another vertically scrolling shoot-'em-up. However, it's quite good, mainly because of the beautiful graphics and the fact that the difficulty level is such that you can complete most of the six levels without too many problems – although it's perhaps a little too easy. There aren't many power-ups to collect – extra firepower is more or less all you can get – but the variety of end-of-level combats you face is interesting.

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8

Sootland

(Zafiro, 1989)

What sort of a name is Sootland? I don't know, but it's one of those target shooting games where you have to aim your crosshairs at the bad guys before they shoot you. This one is an American western-style shooting match, and there are three levels, each with four screens. All you do is scroll between them and find the cowboy popping his head through the scenery – they only appear one at a time, and when you've shot him, you have to find the next one, which means more scrolling. This goes on and on, but you just don't know how many of the bad guys you're supposed to kill. The graphics and sound are both pitiful, and it's such an unbelievably awful game.

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2

Sooty and Sweep

(Alternative, 1989)

All of Sweep's bones have gone missing, so it's the task of Sooty and/or Sweep to search Matthew Corbett's house and collect the bones. You can play on your own or with a friend as either Sooty or Sweep, and there are also two difficulty levels, which control how much time you've got and how many bones there are to collect. Unfortunately, you can only collect one bone at a time and give it to Soo before you can get another one. You'll also need to watch out for the insects flying about the house! The game is clearly one for very young players, as everyone else will find it far too easy – and why are the graphics in monochrome?

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5

Sorcerer

(Infocom, 1986)

After defeating the warlock Krill in Enchanter, you now have your own room in the Circle of Enchanters, but Belboz, the leader of the Circle, has gone missing, and of course, you must find him, or the Circle of Enchanters is in big trouble. The game again consists of exploring the Guild Hall and then exploring the land, gathering scrolls and using them to cast spells. However, this time, you don't have to worry about finding food and drink, and several potions can also be found in the game. The difficulty level is greater than in Enchanter, with a glass maze, and another puzzle involving time travel in which you meet an older version of yourself! I think this is the best of the three games in Infocom's Enchanter series.

See also: Enchanter, Spellbreaker.

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8

Sorcery

(Virgin, 1985)

Reviewed by Pug

Find and free the captured wizards! The evil Necromancer has locked them away and only certain items will free them. This game helped establish the CPC as a rival to other machines. Its graphics were quite simply amazing – a never before seen split screen incorporating MODE 0 and MODE 1! The MODE 0 graphics made good use of the colour palette and everyone drooled over them. Ultra-smooth sprites moved along with no flicker and this made the game an enjoyable challenge. A heralding tune plays upon loading with sparse in-game sound effects, but this doesn't matter. It's a hard game to beat but definitely worth a try. An icon in the CPC's history.

See also: Sorcery+.

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10

Sorcery+

(Amsoft/Virgin, 1985)

Reviewed by Alain Schroetter

This game is the sequel to one of the most famous games on the CPC – Sorcery, widely used by Amstrad to promote the CPC because the graphics were very nice at the time the game was released. The first part is more or less the same as in Sorcery, but it is a bit easier. The real plus of the game is in the second part, in which you have to find four golden hearts to defeat the evil necromancer. The game provides good graphics and fast animation and it is really addictive. It is not too large, so you won't get lost easily, and the difficulty is well balanced. Just a little hint; in the second part, drop the 'roland' statuette into the water (in the 'bridge' room) to get the fourth golden heart.

See also: Sorcery.

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9

Soul of a Robot

(Mastertronic, 1986)

A computer is still running the planet Nonterraqueous, and a robot with the mind of a man is sent out with a bomb so that the computer can be destroyed. The computer lies within a large maze filled with platforms, and you have to jump to reach them. However, some platforms are higher than others and you'll need to adjust the jumping power of the robot. The thing is, the robot is a bit slow, and with the many monsters about, you'll probably hit one of them and come tumbling back to the floor and maybe lose a life. Before long, frustration sets in after you realise that getting anywhere is too tricky.

See also: Into Oblivion, Nonterraqueous.

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4

Southern Belle

(Hewson, 1985)

Appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape

The Southern Belle was a steam locomotive that carried passengers from London's Victoria station to Brighton. This is a realistic simulation which faithfully recreates the 51-mile journey and allows you to take control of this famous train. Although there is a daunting range of controls, you can choose which ones you can manipulate, and leave the computer to work the remaining controls. In addition, there are several runs which vary in difficulty, and in order to pass them, you must achieve a rating of at least 70% overall. Starting with a training run, you can then try to cope with speed limits, maintenance works, stopping at stations, and attempting to beat the record of 48 minutes from Victoria to Brighton. The vector graphics are excellent, and even if you're not a trainspotter, you may find the game to be a nice diversion once you've got the hang of it.

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7

Soviet

(Opera Soft, 1991)

Soviet citizens are being kidnapped on the orders of a dictator from a neighbouring country. The KGB has sent its best agent, Igor, into the country to rescue the hostages. You have to drive around each of the two levels (only two?), collecting the hostages as they run towards your vehicle. Unfortunately the dictator's army is out to get you! You'll be assaulted by a barrage of bombs and bullets, and while you're dodging them, the hostages are being killed; if too many die, the game is over. The graphics are detailed and well drawn, although the rendition of the Soviet national anthem on the menu is mediocre. The game itself is OK, but the constant bombardment that you face makes it very difficult indeed.

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7

Space Ace

(Players, 1987)

Here's an Asteroids clone without any of the playability. Shoot the aliens as they zoom across the screen, while trying frantically to stay out of their way at the same time. It's not easy at all, and if you can survive for two minutes, you're doing really well! My main complaints regarding this game are that the controls are unresponsive and the movement of your spaceship is sluggish, whereas the aliens move much faster than you and are therefore difficult to avoid. The graphics are fairly good, but the game is so frustratingly difficult that you'll want to throw something at your CPC in sheer anger.

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3

Space Crusade

(Gremlin, 1992)

During the War of Strife, which lasted for 5,000 years, an army of fighting men called the Space Marines were assembled to take on the alien forces of Chaos. These aliens reside in large spaceships, and there are twelve missions to be undertaken. There are three chapters of Space Marines which you can control – the Blood Angels, the Imperial Fists, and the Ultra Marines. On each mission, you control four marines led by a commander. Completing a mission successfully earns the commander honour badges which allow you to obtain better equipment – but your commander has to return alive! The rules are rather complex and take some time to understand, and the game will seem difficult at first as all your marines are killed by the aliens! Stick with it, though, and you'll discover an absorbing and highly tactical strategy game.

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9

Spaced Out!

(Firebird, 1987)

A rather interesting board game in which you control the Space Cowboy, starting at the bottom left of the board and attempting to reach the top right. In each turn, two dice are rolled, and you can use them to move a certain number of steps in any direction you want. Then it's the turn of the aliens to move randomly, as they attempt to block your progress. If you are stuck and can't move, you are 'spaced out' and must pay a penalty. You can land on the aliens if you roll the correct dice and eliminate them, although this also penalises you slightly. If you accumulate too many penalty points, you lose. There are four different types of aliens and the difficulty can be configured. The graphics are nice and the sound effects do the job, and it's not a bad game, actually, despite what some people might think.

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7

Space Froggy

(Glenco, 1990)

Appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape

Reviewed by CPC4eva

Written in compiled BASIC using Sprites Alive to demonstrate its capabilities on the CPC, Space Froggy is a stunning platformer which appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape. Controlling a very cute and cool-looking frog wearing sunglasses who finds himself in space with nine lives, you set out to collect nine ROM chips and some keys that will open doors, all while avoiding enemy space monsters so you can upgrade a CPC464 to a CPC6128. Having played my fair share of commercially released budget games, Space Froggy puts most of them to shame. Colourful, big sprites, really good use of MODE 0, an atmospheric space feel, pleasant in-game sound effects, easy movement and controls, with a detailed playing area. It's all very professionally presented, a fun and absorbing game, and quite an achievement.

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7

Space Gun

(Ocean, 1992)

It's the year 2039 AD, and your spaceship receives a distress call from a crippled starbase which is being overrun by aliens. You have to explore the corridors of the starbase, rescue as many hostages as you can, and blast lots and lots of slimy, monstrous aliens. The game is viewed in pseudo-3D, with you looking down the corridors, and the effect is fairly impressive. Unfortunately, the pace of the game is sluggish, which spoils the atmosphere of what should really be an action-packed game. Interestingly, this is one of very few non-cartridge games to exploit the Plus' extra colours and other facilities, and for some reason, it was only released in France. However, the slow pace and the unresponsive controls make this a frustrating game to play.

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5

Space Harrier

(Elite, 1986)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

Three-dimensional shoot-'em-up conversion of the popular Sega arcade game. Fly across the surface of different planets across the galaxy at breakneck speed, destroying the waves of enemies that come at you. Face and destroy the guardian aliens such as double-headed dragons at the end of every stage, in order to progress to the next with only your trusty laser gun to aid you. While the music and sound effects are nice, the gameplay is ruined by the somewhat hit and miss graphics. Backgrounds and your own character are more than adequate but the 'transparent' enemies and planet obstacles make it too difficult to pinpoint them, something which the sequel amends with solid sprites.

See also: Space Harrier II.

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5

Space Harrier II

(Grandslam, 1990)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

An evil force has taken control of the Fantasy Land and imposed a cruel tyranny upon it. Yet again, shoot your way past the scores of enemies that come at you and carefully weave your way through opposing surface structures. Blast the end of level monsters in order to face the next round and battle your way through to the ultimate level to meet and destroy the Dark Harrier. In spite of the fact that this lacks any originality – it's exactly the same as its predecessor – it's a superior game as the improved graphics beef up the gameplay considerably.

See also: Space Harrier.

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8

Space Hawks

(Amsoft/Durell, 1984)

Reviewed by Pug

Space Hawks is a Galaxian clone, pure and simple, but not a bad one at that. Upon loading, your ears are met with a decent rendition of a well known sci-fi movie. A starfield scrolls in the background as you choose one or two players. You then begin your attack upon the Space Hawks. Each stage displays different baddies, including a pink ball that bounces around the screen on later levels – hitting it causes it to split into four! Overall, it's a good blaster, and in many ways, it's far superior to many later attempts.

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8

Space Invaders

(40Crisis, 2016)

Reviewed by Missas

40Crisis has made another Z80 miracle and here we are with one more direct emulation of another legendary game – the famous Space Invaders. There isn't much to say about this game, as you all know it. It is a 100% faithful emulation of the coin-op, like a MAME game. It is a strange feeling when playing an exact coin-op game on your CPC screen! I strongly believe that all of you out there should load it and spend some time playing it. The old arcade game feeling is unsurpassed and never aging!

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7

Space Moves

(Toni Ramírez, 2015)

Reviewed by Missas

Space Moves was the winner of the 2015 #CPCRetroDev Game Creation Contest. It is, as its name implies, inspired by the legendary Army Moves and Navy Moves, both of which were released by Dinamic. Those games were really tough to beat and this one hasn't forgotten its roots; it is also a real pain to beat. The game features different styles of non-stop action, colourful graphics and great sound, making a great overall package. Despite its difficulty, the grab factor is strong and it is enjoyable. I particularly liked the way the heroine is drawn. Overall, a worthy descendant of the previous games.

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9

Space Pest Control

(Juan José Martínez, 2015)

Reviewed by Missas

In Space Pest Control you take control of a space commando in a dangerous mission – you must eliminate all the aliens and return home alive! As you have already guessed, this is an interesting shoot-'em-up. The graphics are nice and colourful. The sprites are drawn with imagination and care while their animation is fast and smooth. The sound includes both an in-game tune and sound effects which cooperate nicely. The whole package reminded me of the game Deep Core on the Amiga. The gameplay is fast enough but more enemies and a higher difficulty level would be appreciated; for some reason I feel that this game could be more complete than it actually is.

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7

Space Racer

(Loriciels, 1988)

Reviewed by Pug

A racing game set in the future featuring advanced hover bikes. The race starts with you lined up with your opponents. As soon as the countdown has finished, off they blast into the distance while you slowly build up your speed. Sadly, this game is just too difficult. You struggle to control the hover bike correctly and the slow frame rate mixed with the small play area makes for a very boring game.

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3

Space Rider

(Hi-Tec, 1990)

You are a test pilot working for the Space Rider Jet Pack Company, and have been sent to a planet to test their latest jet pack, and also collect 99 nuggets containing important minerals while you're there. Of course, the caverns and mines in which you'll find these nuggets are filled with hazards and aliens which will drain your energy, which is represented by an oscillating wave of coloured bars at the bottom of the screen – neat. However, the game is rather mediocre. The graphics and sound effects are poor and the jet pack is difficult to control; it's practically impossible to stay still, which makes shooting the aliens a frustrating task. It also lacks originality.

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5

Space Smugglers

(MHT Ingenieros, 1989)

The Space Smugglers are a highly organised group of dangerous assassins, and you have just been chosen to rid the galaxy of them. On the screen are three teleporters, and aliens appear at random. Some of them are harmless, but others are dangerous and will show you their weapon after a few seconds. You can only shoot an alien when they have drawn their weapon, so you will need quick reflexes to survive! When you have shot the required number of aliens (shown at the top of the screen), you are taken to the next level. This game can only be played using MHT's own Gunstick, and it's actually fairly unexciting. It takes ages to complete a level, and of course, the next level is the same, except that you may need to shoot even more aliens. The graphics and animation are absolutely wonderful, but that's of little consolation.

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5

Spannerman

(Amsoft/Gem, 1984)

An earthquake has struck and has damaged the pipes that cool a nuclear reactor. It's time to call in the local plumber to mend the pipes. This is a platform game consisting of only one screen, and as leaks continually appear, you have to adjust the joints with your spanner to stop the leaks. To make life more difficult, the screen gradually fills with water, although you can go underwater to fix leaks. Other things to watch out for are mutated rats and falling debris. The graphics and sound effects aren't particularly good, as would be expected from a game that was released in the very early days of the CPC, and despite the inclusion of five difficulty levels, there's not much to make you want to play the game again after a few goes.

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5

Speed King

(Mastertronic, 1986)

Race against 19 other riders around ten tracks in your super-powered motorcycle, capable of reaching 250mph! There are three difficulty levels – novice, champion and pro – and you can practice each track before you go racing over two, four or six laps. The first thing you'll notice once you start racing is that the graphics are very blocky indeed! However, this doesn't necessarily mean that this is a bad game; in fact, it is quite fast, although one annoying aspect is that all of the riders unerringly remain in the centre of the road, and it is relatively easy to crash into them unintentionally. Despite this problem, this is still a fairly decent game overall.

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7

Speedzone

(Mastertronic, 1988)

A vertically scrolling shoot-'em-up whose only difference from every other game like it is its speed. There's nothing original in the game at all, but the aliens whizz across the screen like bullets. Fortunately you don't lose a life on contact with them; your energy decreases instead, and when it runs out, you lose one of your three lives. Your shield is also fully restored at the start of each level, which is annoying if it runs out just before you shoot the last alien! The game isn't that hard, but every level is the same, except for a little picture somewhere on the screen. The sound effects are sparse and the music on the title screen really hurts the ears.

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5

Spellbound

(Mastertronic, 1986)

Gimbal the wizard has managed to mess up his spells again and has trapped himself, as well as you and several other people in a castle! You have to release Gimbal and return everyone to the correct zones in the castle. Lots of objects are scattered over seven floors, and while many of them are useful, a lot of them are not. You'll also need to interact with the characters, make sure they eat and drink, keep them happy, and get them to help you. This is the second of four games featuring Magic Knight, and it's rather good, too, although the style of the game is very different from Finders Keepers. The graphics aren't that good, although the music isn't bad.

See also: Finders Keepers, Knight Tyme, Stormbringer.

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8

Spellbound Dizzy

(Codemasters, 1991)

The fifth Dizzy adventure is also by far the largest – in fact, it's too large! Dizzy has been looking at Theo the wizard's spell book and has managed to send the Yolkfolk somewhere else, so now he has to send them all back again. There are a large amount of extra features in this game which make it better than the other Dizzy adventures – for instance, Dizzy can hurt himself if he falls too far – but that is outweighed by the sheer size of the game. It's far too much to sit through in one go, and the bit where you have to collect rocks each time you want to go down the wind shaft is extremely wearisome. The tune quickly becomes annoying, too.

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, Panic Dizzy, Treasure Island Dizzy.

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7

Spellbreaker

(Infocom, 1986)

The final instalment of Infocom's Enchanter trilogy sees you as the master of the Circle of Enchanters, but now magic itself is failing, and spells just aren't working properly any more. The journey involves collecting white cubes that are central to the use of magic, and you'll soon find that they have some very special properties indeed... The author, Dave Lebling, said that it "was intended to be a nasty, vicious and cruel, hard game and it succeeded in that." You rely on spells a lot more than the previous two adventures, and many of the puzzles are extremely difficult. Infocom meant this to be their toughest ever adventure, and I can agree with that. However, it's probably too tough for most people, and I didn't like it as much as some of their other adventures.

See also: Enchanter, Sorcerer.

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7

Sphaira

(French)

(Ubi Soft, 1989)

You are an archaeologist who is looking for a lost civilisation which lies underneath the Atlantic Ocean. After entering some magic caves in a remote part of Peru, you emerge somewhere else, and your quest begins... This is an adventure which uses icons to select actions, instead of requiring you to enter them. A lot of puzzles rely on you knowing a magic word; you will need to use them either as passwords or when casting spells (and if you want to know one, ask for help at the cottage and the big tree). The graphics are fairly good, but the game relies too much on magic words, and there are very few objects to pick up and make use of. The procedure used for casting spells is also annoying and unnecessarily complicated.

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7

Spherical

(Rainbow Arts, 1989)

Wuron the dwarf magician must guide the Starball – a sphere with magical powers – through the rooms of the castle of the evil dragon Mirgal. In each room, Wuron must construct a path to allow the sphere to reach the block marked 'IN', before the sphere starts rolling. Wuron is able to create blocks out of thin air, but watch out for the ghosts and sorcerers who will drain your energy! There are plenty of objects and power-ups to collect, although you'll have to work out what they all do, and use them wisely! The graphics are breathtaking, although there aren't many sound effects, but with dozens of levels to play and four opportunities in the game to restart a level, the thinkers among you will love this.

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9

Spike in Transylvania

(Codemasters, 1991)

Spike has been shipwrecked in Transylvania, along with several of his Viking mates, who are now locked up in the dungeons of the King's castle. Fortunately, Spike hasn't been captured, but he now has to rescue all of his comrades. This is an arcade adventure in which you must find the right objects to solve puzzles and progress further in the game, as well as dodging the guards, rats and bats who will drain your energy. It's all rather easy, though, and it shouldn't take you too long to complete the game. However, I still think the game is a good one while it lasts, despite the monochrome graphics. The music is fairly good as well, and so is the animated sequence when you lose all your lives!

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8

Spiky Harold

(Firebird, 1986)

Winter is closing in, and Harold the hedgehog has to find food for him to last through his hibernation. Starting above the ground, you have to venture underground into a network of tunnels full of other wildlife, and you will lose a life if you touch any of them. Believe it or not, you get twenty lives, but you're going to need every one of them! Squeezing past many of the monsters requires the utmost precision, and it is very frustrating to lose several lives in this way. I don't mind the game too much – Harold is really cute – but most people will find it too difficult.

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6

Spindizzy

(Electric Dreams, 1986)

Appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape

GERALD is on Hangworld, and he has to explore all 386 locations and collect more than 200 jewels in his mission. There are all sorts of puzzles to solve – you'll need to hunt for the right switches to open doors and cross chasms, for instance – and tricky terrain to negotiate, and you're battling against the clock, too! What makes this game so truly irresistible is that urge to explore a little more of Hangworld with each go. It's one of the all-time classics, and yes, I think it is the best game ever to appear on the CPC.

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10

Spindrone

(Atlantis, 1988)

The planet Fungii 7 contains lots of barrels of plutonium, and it's your job to guard them. However, the green alien Kermatoids are intent on getting their hands on it and have launched an invasion. You must shoot them and prevent them from stealing the barrels – once they've got them, it's too late! If all 27 barrels are stolen, then the game is over. There are three screens, and while you're guarding one screen, the Kermatoids are taking advantage on the other two, so it's quite difficult, although you have a radar to show you where the aliens are. Basically, it's a mediocre space shoot-'em-up which won't interest you for long, although the graphics are brilliant and the Kermatoids are quite cute!

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5

Spitting Image

(Domark, 1988)

The greatest war the world has ever seen is about to commence. It's so great that even the Swiss are getting involved this time! This is a beat-'em-up based on the British TV show of the same name, which lets you match six of the world's leaders against each other – Maggie Thatcher, Ronnie Reagan, Michael Gorbachev, Pope John Paul II, Ayatollah Khomeini, and P. W. Botha. Of course, each of them has their own ways of fighting. You select an opponent and a champion, with you playing the opponent, and if you defeat the champion three times, it's on to another one. The graphics are brilliant and there are some jolly jingles to be heard, but it is after all a novelty game, and although it's funny at first, it'll wear off before long.

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5

Splat!

(Amsoft/Incentive, 1985)

Zippy the spider is stuck in a maze which is constantly scrolling within a section of the screen, and if he touches the edges of the screen, he loses one of his three lives, which can happen if you're trapped within the walls of the maze and there's no escape! It's probably not easy to understand this explanation, but it is an original idea, although the aptly named Zippy can be a little bit too fast, for you can sometimes run into the edges when you didn't mean to. The graphics are very basic and the colour scheme is garish, and there are no sound effects worth talking about, but it's still a fun game to play every now and then.

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7

Split Personalities

(Domark, 1986)

This game was originally entitled Splitting Images, but its name had to be changed for legal reasons. This is a variation of those sliding tile games, although in this game, the board is initially empty. The tiles are stored at the top left corner and you can release them as necessary. The aim on each of the ten levels is to recreate the face of a famous person shown elsewhere on the screen – but with a tight time limit and numerous hazards to face, it really isn't easy. Many famous faces of the 1980s are in the game – Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Neil Kinnock, Clive Sinclair (boo!) and Alan Sugar, to name a few. The caricatures are well-drawn and very colourful, and even though the constant white noise is irritating, it's still a thoroughly enjoyable game.

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9

Spooked

(Players, 1989)

An eerie mansion full of ghosts and other strange creatures... and you're inside it. As well as avoiding the nasty ghosts and skulls, you have to collect the insects that roam and fly about, and use them to cast spells. Each spell requires different insects – there's a book that'll reveal everything, but you'll need a spell to open it! Watch the hourglass at the corner of the screen; if it runs out too many times, you'll be hanged! Sadly, this is an awful Spectrum port with flickery, monochromatic sprites and hardly any sound, and the game itself is frustrating.

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2

Spooky Castle

(Atlantis, 1990)

King Michael's daughter, Princess Clare, has been kidnapped by evil ghosts and taken away to a castle, and as Gary, you must free her. The main hazards to watch out for are bats, fire and ghosts. Contact with bats depletes your energy, while touching fire or the ghost that wanders from right to left across the screen loses one of your lives instantly. You can collect vases to replenish your energy, and ankhs to give you extra lives. However, they reappear every time you enter a room, which makes the game rather easy to complete. The graphics aren't bad, but the castle is too small (it has fewer than 20 rooms) and once you've completed it, it's not something you'll want to play again.

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6

Sporting Triangles

(CDS, 1989)

This quiz game is based on ITV's short-lived version of A Question of Sport. Three players choose an area of sport, and then they take it in turns to move around a triangular board, answering questions based on the three subjects that have been chosen, as well as the occasional question on general sport. The game consists of seven rounds, but apart from the last round, which is a quick-fire session, there is only one question in each round. This makes each game rather short. Many of the questions are now outdated, and unless you have a really good knowledge of many sports, you won't like this game. It does have a great rendition of the theme tune, though. (The answer to the question in the screenshot is "Renault", by the way.)

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4

Sport of Kings

(Mastertronic, 1986)

There are some of us (but certainly not me) who like to take a gamble on a horse at the races. Now you and up to four other players can see how much money you can win. You can choose a total of 25, 50 or 75 horses, with seven horses competing in each race, and you can study the form cards for each horse for the last fifteen races. There are also four types of bet you can use on a horse. Once you've made your bet, you can watch the race and cheer on your horse. I suppose that if you're a fan of horse racing, you might like it, as it gives you the opportunity to try to beat the bookies in real life, but all you see at the end of every race is "You have lost £xxxx" and "You have won £xxxx". The thrill of winning just isn't there.

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3

Sputnik

(SPE, 1986)

Robots have taken over the Earth, and the only hope for the human race is to send an SOS – but the robots have also shut down all the satellite communication systems. A remote-controlled android has been sent into the communications building to reactivate the Sputnik devices within it so an SOS can be transmitted. You control the android and you must explore the building and find and activate thirty Sputniks. Initially this game feels pleasant enough, although the graphics lack colour, but every time you lose a life, you're sent right back to the starting room! As the building contains over 200 rooms, this is extremely annoying and frustrating.

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4

Spy Hunter

(Kixx, 1989)

Reviewed by CPC4eva

An arcade game licence tie-in of Bally Midway's top-down, vertically scrolling driving shoot-'em-up. You play a super spy out to save your own life from a variety of other spies intent on doing you harm. Taking control of a fast red sports car which can transform into a speedboat is how you plan to stay alive. You have the option of playing at one of two skill levels – novice or expert. Just like the arcade version, you drive along a winding course with large amounts of enemy spies to blow up, either by bumping them off the road or blasting them with your firepower. A lorry also drives by regularly to upgrade your weaponry. Graphically it's different to the arcade version but not in a negative way. The gameplay and control of your vehicle is more than agreeable and you'll find yourself playing again and again to get a higher score.

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6

Spy vs. Spy

(Beyond/First Star, 1985)

Two spies are in an embassy, and they have to collect four objects before making their escape in an aeroplane. The objects are all hidden underneath furniture and ornaments, so a lot of searching is needed – and you'll need to find the briefcase first. The amusement really begins when you plant booby-traps to catch your enemy unawares, and steal the objects off him – but try to remember where you planted them, or you may be caught out! It's got simple graphics and sound effects, but it is so addictive in the two-player option that you won't be able to resist it.

See also: Spy vs. Spy II: The Island Caper.

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9

Spy vs. Spy II: The Island Caper

(First Star, 1987)

Those two spies are at it again – this time they're stranded on a desert island and have to find three pieces of a missile and return it to a submarine. The traps are more inventive this time, and they include napalm bombs and nooses, and there's a gun lying somewhere too... Sadly, everything that made Spy vs. Spy such enormous fun (especially with two players) has gone. The scrolling is excruciatingly slow, the controls don't respond well, and the traps are too difficult to place. I would stick with the original game.

See also: Spy vs. Spy.

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4

The Spy Who Loved Me

(Domark, 1991)

Both the British and the Russians have had some of their submarines stolen by Karl Stromberg. The British have sent out James Bond to recapture their sub, while the Russians have sent the attractive Anya Amasova. The last of the five James Bond games to be released for the CPC has five levels taking place on both land and sea, and all of them involve steering your car or boat and avoiding the scenery (you can try shooting the enemies, but it does little good). You have to collect tokens in the first three levels to buy the equipment to go to the next level. All the levels see you doing the same thing each time, and there's very little variety.

See also: Licence to Kill, Live and Let Die, The Living Daylights, A View to a Kill.

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4

Sram

(ERE Informatique, 1986)

You have been transported to the mysterious planet of Sram, where the high priest Cinomeh has imprisoned the King Egres IV. (If you wonder where these strange names come from, they're based on the names of the game's authors.) You must free him – but first, you will need to find the hermit, and all the ingredients for a special potion that he will make for you. This text adventure comes from France and is regarded as a classic there, although you can also play the game in English or German. Certainly the graphics are fairly impressive, but I found the parser to be lacking in some areas, and finding the exact combination of words to perform particular actions is frustrating. I suppose it was good for its time, but nowadays it isn't as good.

See also: Sram 2.

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7

Sram 2

(French)

(ERE Informatique, 1986)

Now that Egres IV is in power again, he repays your kindness by ruling through tyranny, oppressing his people and using sorcery. The only way to stop him is to kill him – but in a rather unusual way, by making what is known in France as 'la galette des rois', or 'the kings' cake' – a cake with a bean hidden inside it. You start in a crypt, where the only ways out are to open the tombs contained within it. I wasn't particularly satisfied with Sram, but this sequel is much better. The graphics are as good as, if not better than, the original game, and there are no problems finding the right combination of words to solve puzzles. On the other hand, it is slightly too easy, but that doesn't worry me too much.

See also: Sram.

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9

Stainless Steel

(Mikro-Gen, 1986)

The evil Dr. Vardos has devised a plan to take over the whole world, and the only person who can stop him is Ricky Steel and his Class A101 flying car, Nightwind. However, Ricky has left his car on the other side of town, so in the first level, you're on foot, shooting Dr. Vardos' androids and helicopters. Once you find your car, you fly across a desert, again shooting everything that moves, and then fly over a river, trying to bomb submarines. The graphics are monochrome – although I'm not saying they're bad – but the sound effects are OK, and there is a nice tune that only plays at the start of the game. However, even on the easiest of the four difficulty levels, most players will find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to progress beyond the second level.

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6

Stairway to Hell

(Software Invasion, 1986)

Venture through 15 screens of platforming action, taking you through mines, ice caverns, jungles and deserts, before reaching hell itself. Each screen is filled to the brim with perilous obstacles to avoid and gaps to jump. With only five lives, you're going to need them all, and indeed, you could do with more, because the game is unbelievably tough, as well as being slow and jerky. Each screen overwhelms you with obstacles, and if you make a mistake (which is all too often), you're sent right back to the start of the screen. The graphics are OK, albeit garish at times, and the sound effects are simple, but the rest of the game stinks.

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1

Star Avenger

(Kuma, 1984)

Reviewed by Pug

Remember Scramble? That game where you pilot a spaceship through caverns collecting fuel and dropping bombs, etc.? Well, this is an early attempt at bringing the game to the CPC. For the year it was released, this is not a bad attempt. Sure, the scrolling is a little jerky and you can't actually drop bombs, but it's fun and makes good use of the CPC's colour palette. It's presented well and you can choose which stage you wish to start at. A pleasant but primitive tune plays on the title screen, with in-game effects doing their job. A hidden gem from the early days of the CPC.

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7

Starboy

(Gasoline, 1986)

Can you guide Starboy through ten levels of platform action and rebuild his spaceship so that he can escape? This is a simple platform game which involves climbing ladders, jumping over chasms and avoiding aliens, robots and bullets. Aliens and robots can be shot, but your ammunition is limited, although it can be replenished. The graphics are rather primitive and can be flickery, but the music is absolutely delightful, and although it will take a while to complete the first level, once you've overcome this hurdle, you'll discover a nice little game.

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7

Starbyte

(Mister Chip, 1987)

Reviewed by Pug

A Spanish flip-screen adventure game. This game is impossible! After so many attempts at navigating the first screen I gave up! For the year it was released, it should have been far better presented. The graphics are simple but colourful and everything that moves jumps in blocks instead of pixel-by-pixel movement, so timing is out of the window with this one. The use of sound for music and effects is basic. A very poor offering indeed; the difficult and sluggish controls make this game one that you will soon forget.

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0

Star Commando

(Amsoft/Terminal, 1984)

Aliens have invaded several galaxies and you must stop them. Each galaxy has sixteen sectors, all of which must be cleared before you can go to the next galaxy. In each sector, you must simply blast waves of aliens until the 'danger level' reaches zero. If the going gets too tough, you can warp out of danger by holding down the fire button for several seconds. Your ship's power can be restored by visiting the mother ship, but you can only do this once per galaxy. This shoot-'em-up was released early in the CPC's life, so the graphics and sound effects are quite basic, although the scrolling is rather fast. The gameplay is very straightforward, and while it will eventually become repetitive, it's actually not a bad game if you're looking for a quick blast.

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6

Star Driver

(Radical, 1994)

After the asteroid mines were abandoned, the runways and roads were used as racing tracks instead, in the Asteroid Championships. The rules are simple; stay on the road and complete an orbit of the track in under 60 seconds in order to qualify for the next round. If you are successful (and extremely good), you have the option to try a 'double orbit' in under 100 seconds to get a massive bonus, but if you fail, you're knocked out of the Championship. Graphically, the game is very impressive and the scrolling is very fast, but controlling your car is quite awkward, and the game is very unforgiving with regard to the time limit and the width of the track.

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5

Stardust

(Topo Soft/Kixx, 1987)

Reviewed by Pug

Earth sights a large fleet approaching from the depths of space. The Biodroid Empire is planning a mass invasion upon Earth. The heavily shielded fleet's only weakness is their shield generator. This is where you come in, piloting your Astrohunter spacecraft. In this top-down shoot-'em-up, you must fly past the alien cruisers, taking out towers, guns and ships. The last part of the game involves running on foot to take out the shield generator. This game boasts some truly amazing graphics, and for once, is not a Spectrum port. A pleasant tune plays on the menu screen with good in-game sound effects.

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7

Star Firebirds

(Insight, 1986)

You have travelled far across the galaxy to annihilate a race of hostile aliens called the Firebirds. Your mission is simple – shoot them all! This is an unoriginal Galaxian clone with two or three additional features. The Firebirds appear on the screen in waves, and if you don't shoot them all quickly, another wave will appear. If things get too much, you can switch on your shield, warp to the top of the screen, and destroy a few aliens at the same time. As well as aliens, there are bombs that fall very slowly and which release a line of shrapnel when shot, and an Emperor Bird that homes in on you and requires several hits to destroy. It's all been done before, and in addition, there is almost no difference between one level and the next.

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5

Starfox

(Reaktör, 1987)

Reviewed by Pug

Aliens have moved into the eight systems that are at peace with one another. Now chaos rules within the systems and space travel is dangerous. You pilot your Starfox fighter hunting down this alien menace. Starfox is a 3D space simulator with vector and filled polygon graphics. Wormholes supply quick routes to other systems and an autopilot alters your course to lock on to the baddies. Your ship and weapons can be upgraded as you progress through the eight stages of this action game. This is one of those games that will either grow on you or become boring very quickly.

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6

Starglider

(Rainbird, 1986)

The Egrons have invaded the planet of Novenia, and two inhabitants of the planet decide to destroy them single-handedly using an ancient Airborne Ground Attack Vehicle (AGAV). You manoeuvre the AGAV around Novenia's surface, destroying the Egron craft with lasers or missiles. There's a radar at the bottom of the screen which shows your current co-ordinates. You'll need to remember where underground depots are located so that you can replenish your lasers, shields and missiles. Your energy can be restored by flying slowly between the two towers marking the power lines which can be found around Novenia, but this requires some precision. The 3D vector graphics are relatively fast and the game is an absolute joy to play as a result – one of the classic 3D space shoot-'em-ups.

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9

Starion

(Melbourne House, 1985)

Aliens have caused chaos in the space-time continuum by removing objects from time zones and scrambling them into other time zones. You're the bold pilot who has to venture into the time zones, retrieve the objects, and put them back in their correct places. It's not as simple as it sounds – the objects are really anagrams, and each letter is collected by shooting alien spacecraft. You then have to work out what the anagram is, although you're given clues when you enter a zone. The game features very fast vector graphics, and with nine sectors and nine time zones in each sector (and an anagram for each one!), this game is going to last you a long time.

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8

Starquake

(Bubble Bus, 1986)

An unstable planet has suddenly appeared from out of nowhere, and Blob, the Biologically Operated Being, has landed on the planet in order to repair its core before it explodes. The core consists of nine parts which you must find within the vast caverns of the planet – and there are 512 screens! Fortunately there is a teleportation network which you can use, but you need to know the correct codes. Blob flies around the caverns using hover pads, but some objects can't be picked up if you are using a pad, and you also can't use the teleports. You have a supply of platforms to raise your height, but these are limited. This is a wonderful game and an absolute joy to play. The game might be a bit too large, but exploring the caverns is such fun that it doesn't really matter.

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9

Star Raiders II

(Electric Dreams, 1987)

The Celos IV star range is under attack from the Zylons. You must stop them from destroying all the cities on the four planets of the Celos IV system, and in turn, destroy all of their bases within their own Procyon star range. The action sees you zooming over the planets, blasting Zylon fighters and destroyers, and then travelling to a space station for repairs – and doing it all over again, and again. Your spacecraft also has shields and a Surface Star Burst, or SSB, which is used to destroy Zylon bases. The graphics are fairly simple, although the explosions are spectacular and the scrolling of the planet's surface produces a great pseudo-3D effect. It's a game that will appeal to shoot-'em-up fans, although ultimately it is a bit repetitive in the long term.

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7

Star Ranger

(Tynesoft, 1986)

This is a version of the classic Lunar Lander with a few bells and whistles added. Firstly, the simple line-drawn graphics of the original have been replaced by much more colourful graphics. The sound effects are decent as well, and there's the added problem of dodging flying rocks. There's only one screen, though, in which you have to land your spacecraft on four landing areas – misjudge the landing, though, and you lose one of your six lives. You've also got to watch your fuel level! The second level (using the same screen) is harder, as you must also avoid laser beams. Sadly, the difficulty is so high that it's doubtful that you will complete the second level.

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5

Star Sabre

(Cronosoft, 2008)

Fast and furious shoot-'em-up action is what you'll get in this game. Pilot your spaceship through four levels of mayhem and dodge the waves of aliens and scenery, as well as all the bullets that are fired in your general direction. Every so often, you can collect bonus icons to improve your firepower, and as well as an end-of-level monster, you also have to deal with a similarly powerful alien spaceship halfway through each level. In short, nearly all of the ingredients of a typical shoot-'em-up can be found in this game. Although there is no music to listen to, and there are only four levels, the graphics are beautiful and the scrolling is very smooth, even when there are a lot of aliens on the screen, and it's definitely a game that is well worth checking out. There is also a 128K edition which contains lots of enhancements to make it even better!

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8

Starstrike II

(Firebird, 1986)

The Federation is planning a pre-emptive strike on the Outsiders, using their new generation Starstrike II spaceship. This will not be an easy task, as there are 22 Outsider planets to be penetrated, and they are spread across five solar systems. Each planet is either agricultural, industrial or military, which determines how heavily defended it is and what types of gameplay you will be playing. Your fuel and shields are limited, although fuel can be used to replenish your shields. Fortunately you can replenish both by returning to your support module. This shoot-'em-up is a big advancement on its predecessor, with significantly improved 3D graphics and a greater variety in the gameplay – definitely a game that is not to be missed!

See also: 3D Starstrike.

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9

Starting Blocks

(Coktel Vision, 1988)

Five events are bundled into this game; the 400m sprint, parachuting, the 50m swim, the ski jump, and track cycling. For a game that fills up nearly an entire disc, that's not a lot! Four of the events involve some furious joystick waggling, although thankfully the keyboard can also be used. The parachuting event involves positioning yourself to land on a target, while the ski jump requires both joystick waggling and ensuring that you land correctly. You can practice the events, or play all five at once, competing as either Africa, America, Europe, or Asia and Oceania. The game as a whole isn't bad, although the combination of events seems rather strange. The graphics are fairly good in most of the events and the music at the start of the game is also nice.

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7

Star Trooper

(Players, 1988)

An alien syndicate led by Jabba McGut has stolen the Earth's only supply of 25 extra-special alloys, and is now threatening life on Earth. Only a Marine Corps Star Trooper such as you will be tough enough for a mission as dangerous as this. It is your aim to recover the alloys and return them to Earth. There are five missions with five alloys of the same colour to recover in each one. You must wander around a labyrinth of corridors and lifts to find the alloys, while shooting the aliens that patrol the labyrinth. You'll also have to find keys to let you pass through force fields and use the teleportation units. The graphics are colourful and well drawn, and the sound effects are OK, but you only have one life, and all the missions are effectively the same.

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6

Star Wars

(Domark, 1988)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

As Luke Skywalker, you must take on the military might of the Imperial Death Star in your X-Wing. Viewed from a first person perspective, you first engage Darth Vader and his fleet of TIE fighters, shooting them and their fireballs to protect your limited shields. Then on to the military station's surface dodging and destroying its defensive turrets, and finally into the trench, avoiding the various protrusions and obligatory fireballs until you are finally able to attempt to launch your torpedoes down the exhaust shaft to blow the Empire's pride and joy to kingdom come. Failure results in a restart – thankfully, the difficulty is configurable. A brilliant, albeit simple looking game that's a must for every Star Wars fan.

See also: The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Star Wars Droids.

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9

Star Wars Droids

(Mastertronic, 1988)

C-3PO and his companion R2-D2 have been imprisoned and must escape from their captors. The base consists of eight levels, and C-3PO and R2-D2 must work their way up the levels by unlocking the barriers and lifts. You'll find computer terminals next to them, and if R2-D2 logs on to them, you play a Simon-like memory game where you must memorise two sequences and repeat them correctly if you want to gain access. Of course, there are also a lot of robots and other hazards to impede your progress and reduce your energy. The graphics are very well done with lots of detail, and the tune on the menu is really groovy! However, the gameplay is very monotonous, and the method of selecting icons to perform actions is both awkward and frustrating.

See also: The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Star Wars.

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4

Stationfall

(Infocom, 1987)

After your heroic mission in Planetfall, you are now a Lieutenant First Class on the Stellar Patrol Ship Duffy, but your latest assignment is ridiculously mundane – go to a nearby space station to pick up a supply of forms. When you get there (accompanied by your robotic friend, Floyd), the station is completely deserted, most of the machinery is going crazy, and an alien ship has brought something rather nasty with it. Of course, you've got to save the station from being taken over by it. The sense of foreboding and isolation pervades this text adventure, which increases the difficulty level considerably with respect to its predecessor – and this is the main reason why I don't like it as much. It's still very good, though.

See also: Planetfall.

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8

Steel Eagle

(Players, 1990)

Ho-hum – another cheap, horizontally scrolling shoot-'em-up. This one has the added bonus of making your CPC pretend it's a Spectrum, and that is never a good thing. You can collect up to five different power-ups, all of which add some extra weaponry to your spacecraft. Unfortunately, if you aren't able to collect these power-ups, you'll have great difficulty getting far, and that's the main problem with this game. The scrolling is reasonably fast, and I can put up with monochrome graphics, but there are too many enemies and not enough room to dodge them.

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4

Steg

(Codemasters, 1992)

It's a tough life looking after your family. Steg is a slug, and his little slugs, the T'yungunz, are hungry and want their favourite food – grubs. On each of the ten levels, Steg must blow bubbles to trap the grubs which are to be found crawling around. The bubbles float upwards, and hopefully they will find their way to the T'yungunz at the top of the level. On the first two or three levels, this isn't a problem, but on later levels, you'll need to intervene by blowing more bubbles or gently blowing on to them to make them move. The concept behind this game is quite original and is fairly similar to Lemmings. However, the game crawls sluggishly (pun intended), and as a result, each level takes ages to complete and things become boring. If this wasn't a Spectrum port, it could have been a lot better. The music is good, though.

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5

Steve Davis Snooker

(CDS, 1985)

Reviewed by Pug

A decent snooker game for one or two players. There's no computer opponent, so playing on your own means you clear the table and then your score is taken into consideration. Fouls generate a score of their own which is subtracted from the number of successful pots, so once you finish the game, you may be surprised by your score. You use a cursor to aim your cue and then select power and spin. Once you pot a red, you are asked to select a colour. The visuals are adequate and the sound comprises of a few basic effects. It's just a shame that you can't play against the computer.

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6

Steve McQueen Westphaser

(Loriciel, 1992)

Despite using his name, the legendary actor doesn't make an appearance within the game. In fact, it's a re-release of a game that was originally bundled with Loriciel's Westphaser lightgun. Six criminals are roaming the Wild West, and there's a reward for shooting them. Three of the shoot-outs take place in a saloon, while the other three take place in a town square. The shoot-outs can be rather chaotic and you'll need to have a good aim as well as quick reflexes. What's bizarre, though, is that in the saloons, the innocent people who you mustn't shoot (which includes a very young child) carry on their normal business while there's a gunfight going on! However, it's great fun, and the game captures the Wild West atmosphere marvellously, with graphics and sound effects which have to be seen and heard to be believed.

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8

Stockmarket

(Amsoft/Argus Press, 1985)

Play the risky world of the stock market as you (and up to five other players if you want) buy and sell shares in four mining companies who mine lead, zinc, tin and gold respectively. Shares will go up and down and other events will occur as you attempt to make a million pounds; companies are taken over or go bankrupt, bonus payments are made to shareholders, and bonus shares can be handed out. However, the taxman will soon be after you, and when you buy a lot of shares, they will grab money from your bank account! There are four difficulty levels to try out, and having only four companies means that things are kept simple. It's a nice enough simulation for wannabe stockbrokers, but the real thing isn't for me!

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7

Stomp

(DK'Tronics, 1985)

Run around a grid, dodging monsters, collecting flags and stomping dynamite before it blows up. If you stomp enough dynamite, you can go to the next stage. However, there are two problems. The first and most important is that once you step on a square, it disappears, and you can't step on it again, so you must be careful where you walk, or you may end up trapped! The second is a pair of shoes that moves around the screen very fast and which will squash you if you cross its path. The game has a very simple concept but is unfortunately very frustrating, mostly thanks to the aforementioned shoes. Most players will give up and play something else after a few goes.

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3

Stop-Ball

(Juliet, 1988)

One of those games which has a very simple concept which proves to be enjoyable – in the short term, at least. It's a bat and ball game with two different styles of gameplay which alternate on each screen. Firstly, you must manoeuvre your bat so that a ball remains in the air at all times. If it lands on the ground, a counter will decrease, and when it reaches zero, the game ends. On the following screen, you must touch several tiles while avoiding all the balls; touch any of the balls and the game ends instantly. Subsequent screens add more blocks and eventually, more balls, to make things harder. It gets repetitive after a while – and why does the game have to have such awful Spectrum-like graphics?

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4

Storm

(Mastertronic, 1986)

Princess Corinne has been kidnapped by Una Cum, who is searching for a box called The Fear which will cause chaos should he obtain it. You must explore the dungeons in Una Cum's lair and collect three snake brooches to unlock the door where Corinne is trapped, but there are lots of monsters waiting for you in every room! You take the role of Agravain, with another player (if there is one) taking control of Storm if necessary. The graphics are colourful but not very good, and there are well written descriptions of each room which scroll near the top of the screen. The sound effects are useless, though! A lot of exploring and mapping is required, and this game will keep you occupied.

See also: The Fear.

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7

Stormbringer

(Mastertronic, 1987)

After returning from the 25th century in Knight Tyme, Magic Knight returns to the quiet village of Cornhamp-on-Marsh, which has been taken over by the Off-White Knight, who is in fact the evil personality of Magic Knight. To free the village from his clutches, Magic Knight has to merge with him. This is the final game starring Magic Knight and it's much like the others, but with more characters, more rooms, and more features. The graphics are reasonable, but I think it's a little trickier than the other games – and if you're wondering where the music is, try wearing the personal stereo!

See also: Finders Keepers, Knight Tyme, Spellbound.

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7

Stormlord

(Hewson, 1989)

Appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape

Rescue the fairies on each of the four levels before the night comes in. It's a tricky little game and no mistake – in fact, it's much too tricky, and completing the first level is an enormous feat in itself. It's colourful, and the fairies are rather sexy (and Amstrad Action laughably censored them when it appeared on their covertape). The wolf-whistles you hear when you walk past the large fairies are amusing, too. The music is also extremely good (although it doesn't play during the game itself), but even though you've got nine lives, the game is still too difficult, and a tight time limit only makes things worse.

See also: Deliverance.

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8

Storm Warrior

(Elite, 1988)

The evil Witch Queen has summoned a huge thunderstorm which is set to last for a hundred years and wreak havoc upon the kingdom. But as usual, only one person can stop her – the Prince of the Kingdom, who you control in this platform game. You must travel through the land and enter the Witch Queen's castle, and stop the Witch Queen from carrying out her plans. Throughout your travels, you encounter warriors with swords, and you have to fight them. For some reason, the number of hits it takes for you to kill them with your sword is entirely random! The graphics are beautiful, although the hardware techniques used may cause a few problems, and all the warriors look just like you; there are no other types of enemy other than a few gargoyles.

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6

Stranded

(Cronosoft, 2006)

Can you help Moosh to close the bridge between his world and the world that the evil Tsych inhabits, thus saving his people from doom? This is a puzzle game consisting of 32 deviously designed levels made up of tiles, most of which will disappear after Moosh moves to another tile. The aim is to guide Moosh from his starting position to the purple tile that marks the exit, and to remove all the tiles that can be removed. The first few levels are fairly easy, but it becomes quite difficult surprisingly quickly, although you are given passwords which enable you to skip earlier levels. This is the first totally new game on the CPC to see a commercial release for at least ten years, and I certainly welcome it. Although there is very little sound, the graphics are colourful and the game as a whole is very challenging.

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7

Streaker

(Bulldog, 1987)

You're in a shopping centre with no clothes on (yes!), and have to find all your clothes before you can leave again. However, there are thieves about who will steal your clothes and other objects you're carrying, although you can prevent this by giving them the correct object. You'll need also need to sneak into some of the shops when they're closed. This is a strange game, but when you try and play it, you will scream. The game is slower than an arthritic tortoise, the graphics are worse than terrible, and what sound there is is rubbish. It really is an absolutely useless game!

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2

Street Cred' Boxing

(Players, 1989)

The West Siders have threatened to take over Joe's gym, so Joe hires six men to see if they can beat the stuffing out of them. Before they can set out on to the streets, the six men have to undergo training to see if they're up to standard. The first part is a joystick-waggling session where you must get your men to qualify by punching the bag as much as they can within eight seconds. The second part is where you fight the West Siders, although there's not much you can do to prevent them slaughtering you, and the moves are limited. The tune is quite good, although the graphics are much better on the first part than the second; it's a shame that there's not much of a game in there.

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4

Street Cred' Football

(Players, 1989)

Play a rough and tough five-a-side game of football in the street. Each team selects five players (although it doesn't make any difference as to which faces you choose), and then it's time to kick off. This game is really nothing to get excited about. The graphics are ugly and monochrome, and although there is some mediocre music on the main menu, there are no sound effects at all during the actual game. Worst of all is that it is ludicrously easy to beat the computer; grabbing the ball of an opponent is really simple to do, and you'll quickly find a way to score goals again and again. In fact, I won my first game 25-3! The players move quite slowly as well. In summary, it's an awful game.

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3

Street Fighter

(US Gold, 1988)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

This little known beat-'em-up pales into comparison to its sequel – remember all the fuss that Amstrad Action made over Street Fighter II, which was ultimately never released for the CPC? No choice of player, though; you are left with the diminutive Ryu to travel the globe in a series of bouts to determine who is the 'world warrior'. You and your opponent face each other in front of a luscious landscape while you proceed to knock the crap out of him/her using the variety of moves available to you. A health bar at the top of the screen indicates your progress or lack of it. Good large sprites, but rather garish colours. It's also too easy up to the final confrontation with Sagat, who is way too difficult.

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5

Street Gang

(Players, 1989)

Reviewed by John Beckett

Another beat-'em-up that has you playing the usual cool customer out to beat up various gangs. Basically, the back of the box tells the whole story; "Kick and punch your way through New York City's violent crime-ridden streets". But despite its lack of originality, there's something I like about this game. The graphics are quite colourful and cartoony, and are a breath of fresh air from the usual seriousness of this type of game. The hero actually looks quite geeky, and the villains come in all sorts of interesting guises. Another nice touch is an end-of-level bonus stage where you open one of three bins for the chance to win an extra life – and they are much needed, because this game is pretty tough! Overall, not the best game of its type, but fairly enjoyable nonetheless.

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5

Street Gang Football

(Codemasters, 1989)

A football game with a difference – it's played in your own back yard! Two gangs have gathered for a fun game of football, but there aren't many rules, and if either side scores a goal, the two gangs may start a fight with each other. This involves lots of silly remarks filling up the screen – "Goal!", "No it wasn't", "Yes it was", "Not even near", "Wanna fight about it?", etc. It's not so much the tricky controls as the fact that this game takes itself too seriously. It does have some really kicking music, though.

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4

Street Hawk

(Ocean, 1986)

Reviewed by John Beckett

Based on the American TV series from the 1980s, Street Hawk puts you in the shoes of ex-dirt biker Jesse Mach, and in the saddle of the latest government project – an all-terrain attack motorcycle capable of great speeds. You travel up the screen, evading police, shooting enemy cars with your lasers, jumping over and evading innocent drivers and pedestrians, while keeping an eye on your several gauges (armour, laser, turbo, etc.). After locating a robbery at a store, the game switches to Operation Wolf-style shoot-'em-up shenanigans before switching back to more driving. The game is not too difficult (if anything, it's too short) and the variety of gameplay keeps things fresh. OK, it's not too pretty to look at, being a Spectrum port, but it's definitely worth a play.

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6

Street Machine

(Software Invasion, 1987)

This is a driving game viewed from above, where you race your rally car around a track in the shortest time. The course takes you through towns and countryside, and forests and lakes. The car can be difficult to control, particularly on the second and third stages where you'll be driving in rain and snow respectively. Eventually your car will break down and you have a minute to fix your car; if any part of the car has more than 80% damage, you won't be allowed to continue. It takes a while to learn how to control the car, but it's really not a bad game at all, and the graphics, while fairly simple, are still colourful – and the lightning effect on the second stage is nice, too!

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7

Street Warriors

(Marcus Kasumba, 1995)

Reviewed by CPC4eva

A non-commercial adaptation of the Street Fighter II-type beat-'em-up genre, in Street Warriors you can select one or two players and up to six different fighters from around the world – four men and two women. There are a lot of files on the disc, so there is quite a bit of disc access and loading. It's not a bad effort, with large, colourful fighters, a decent playing area, some nice vocal sounds from each character during the fights, and multiple fighting manoeuvres. If you can master the moves, in particular the special move for each fighter, it will be a much more enjoyable game to play. To help you achieve this, a practice option is available. It's not in same league as the arcade version of Street Fighter II but it's definitely worth a go. An unusual inclusion is the loud digitised tune that plays on the loading screen.

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5

Stress

(Cobra Soft, 1985)

Reviewed by CPC4eva

An aptly named game, as it will give you a great deal of stress. Stress is an adaptation of Pac-Man, but sadly it is not a very good one. You play a human-shaped white silhouetted sprite in a bland-looking square arena representing a room of a haunted house. Just as in Pac-Man, you collect a large amount of yellow dots (which are meant to represent gold coins), but that's where any similarities end. There is only a single white ghost chasing you and there is no grid or path that the ghost follows. In this game the enemy ghost just zooms straight for you. From the beginning, you have very little chance of surviving the first level no matter how many times you try or what tactics you use to avoid it capturing you.

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1

Strider

(US Gold, 1989)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

Defeat the master and his evil minions across the continents of the globe in this action platformer set in a 21st century still in the Cold War. A faithful conversion of the arcade game by Capcom, you take Strider deep into enemy territory where you must destroy all that comes in your way. Plenty of special weapons are available, while numerous major end of level bosses await to stop you. In spite of the monochrome graphics, this is a visually pleasing game with some nice sound effects chucked in for good measure and excellent gameplay, although the sequel is better.

See also: Strider II.

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8

Strider II

(US Gold, 1991)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

Once more you must defeat the evil master in what is pretty much a repeat of the prequel. This time, you are also equipped with a gun as well as your sword with which to take out your enemies, which again are divided between normal bods and big bosses. Nevertheless, the graphics are better than in Strider, with good, fluid sprite animation and detailed backgrounds. The nicely rendered theme tune remains also. And yet, the game hasn't lost any playability or speed – which makes you wonder why the original didn't look as good as this.

See also: Strider.

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8

Strike!

(Mastertronic, 1987)

A reasonable enough ten-pin bowling simulation is what's on offer here. Knock down as many skittles as you can in each of the ten frames, hoping to knock all of them down and thus score a strike. The bowling alley is viewed from an isometric 3D perspective, and the bowler shuffles slowly left and right, trying to aim the ball. It's up to you to judge when to release the ball, but careful timing is also required when releasing it, otherwise the ball will instead land on the floor, or even your foot! However, while the graphics and music are both fairly good, aiming the ball correctly becomes a matter of routine after some practice, and there is also no way of aiming the ball diagonally.

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6

Striker

(Cult, 1990)

Here's a football game in which you play the role of a player instead of a manager. You're a young 18-year-old footballer starting in a 4th Division team, with ambitions to play for one of the top teams in the 1st Division, and even represent your country. Your progress is entirely based on your ability to score goals. Provided you're picked for a match, there will be several opportunities for you to aim the ball at the goalmouth. You have to judge what angle to shoot the ball at, and press a key at the right moment. With practice, you'll become more adept at this and help your team to be promoted. There isn't a lot else to the game, but I actually enjoyed it for a while. At least it makes a change from all of Cult's football management games.

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7

Striker in the Crypts of Trogan

(Codemasters, 1992)

This game caused a sensation when it was released, as it was the first non-cartridge game in the UK to utilise the extra colours offered by the Plus machines. Unfortunately, only a few other such games were released, which is a shame. Anyway, as Striker, you are out to destroy the evil Trogan and his minions, and you must also collect sixteen parchments along the way. It's quite a good platform game and it's a great challenge. The sound effects are OK but it is the graphics which will knock your socks off (if you're running it on a Plus, that is) – a beautiful skyline ablaze with colour, with eerie silhouetted scenery! The graphics are still very impressive on a normal CPC, though.

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8

Striker Manager

(Cult, 1990)

Cult released lots of football management games in their time. Most of them are awful, so it comes as a surprise to discover that this one is actually good! Unlike most football management games, you don't have the option of choosing any team you like – you must choose between two 4th Division teams who want to offer you a contract. Match highlights pass quite quickly, and when a player attempts to score a goal, the screen switches to a nice view of the goalmouth. Unfortunately, there isn't much in the way of tactics, and you can't choose where your players will be positioned on the pitch, but if you don't want a complex game, then this is a good one. It's very well presented, too.

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7

Strip Poker

(CORE, 1985)

Can you get the beautiful Marilyn to remove all her clothes within twenty rounds of strip poker? Actually, it's a lot easier than you'd think. The game uses only 32 of the standard deck of 52 playing cards, which makes it easier to obtain a winning hand. Unlike most other strip poker games, this one doesn't offer any form of betting, and you can only change cards if there is an ace in your existing hand. Marilyn offers very little challenge, and within a few goes, you'll more than likely win the game and see her in all her glory. The easiness of this game would no doubt have delighted teenage boys back when it was originally released, but the graphics lack sophistication and there are more challenging offerings out there.

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5

Stroper

(Zigurat, 1992)

You have been assigned to rid several planets of an army of mutant aliens. Although there are a variety of aliens, the ones you must eliminate are the spider-like creatures – but instead of shooting them, you must trap them by lifting a grille off the floor, letting them fall into the hole, then replacing the grille. You must also collect a certain number of hearts. Once you've done this, you can return to your spaceship and go to the next planet. As this was one of the last Spanish games to be released for the CPC, it's very little known. The graphics could be better; the choice of colours is poor and some of the backgrounds are very garish. The movement and scrolling are also quite slow. Despite these problems, it's not a bad game overall, and it's easy to play; if anything, it's actually a bit too easy.

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7

Stryfe

(ERE Informatique, 1986)

Wlamir the wizard and Olaf the dwarf are on a mission to slay the evil demon Morvelinh. There are 25 levels (or chapters, as the game calls them), where Wlamir and/or Olaf (you can play on your own or with a friend) collect treasure chests and potions, and destroy the hordes of monsters that are constantly in their way. Each level has four screens, and you must find the silver key and then the golden key, which unlock the door to the next level. The potions can be used to destroy the generators which create the monsters, and if you're playing Wlamir, the monsters will also be destroyed. Yes, this is a Gauntlet clone, and it's very nice indeed. The graphics and the loading screen are stunning and the action is fast. It's slightly easy, but that's not a big concern, and the in-game music is simply gorgeous.

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8

STUN Runner

(Domark, 1990)

Reviewed by Pug

Another arcade conversion hits the CPC with a silent thud. No one was expecting miracles with the 8-bit versions of this arcade smash, but it could have been done better. This 'race' game involves you speeding down twisting tunnels and long expanses of road, shooting the obstacles and collecting bonuses. Upon playing this game you soon wonder, "What am I supposed to do here?" It doesn't move at any pace that attracts you, each level looks and feels the same, and the game soon becomes boring. The visuals, although colourful, do nothing for something that barely resembles a game.

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2

Stunt Bike Simulator

(Silverbird, 1988)

Chad Adams wants to be the world's best motorbike stuntman, and to prove it, he must complete five events. These include dropping from a hang-glider on to his motorbike, riding over logs, jumping through rings of fire, driving on to the back of a moving lorry, and jumping on to a helicopter – don't try these things at home! You get three attempts to perform each stunt correctly, and if you fail, you must start again from the beginning. Apart from the last stunt, they're all easy once you work out the correct method. The graphics are fairly simple, and the hang-glider, lorry and helicopter are so blocky that it looks like they're made from bricks, and strangely, there are no sound effects or music at all. This is a dull game that is best avoided.

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3

Stunt Car Racer

(Micro Style, 1990)

Race a stunt car around eight tracks and against eleven other competitors in a league consisting of four divisions. You can practice on all of the tracks, and you'll certainly need it if you want to stand any chance of completing the required three laps of each race. You are also supplied with turbo boost in each race, but you should use it carefully, as the track takes its toll on your car, and if you land on the track at too high a speed, you will damage your car permanently. What sets this game apart is the graphics; the track is viewed in true 3D and the frame rate is quite fast – well, for a CPC. The sound effects are pretty good, too, and racing around the tracks is great fun – but you will need a lot of practice to master the toughest tracks!

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9

Stuntman Seymour

(Codemasters, 1992)

Reviewed by John Beckett

Oh no! Corrupt movie moguls have stolen your latest film scripts! You play as international superstar Seymour and must jump around various film sets, shooting and throwing bombs at the baddies, and find your way to the end of each stage, to do battle with the big boss and retrieve your scripts. Why Codemasters created Seymour when they had good old Dizzy is a mystery to me, but, that said, he's managed to star in a few decent games. Stuntman Seymour, though, is merely average. The graphics are bland and blocky, the game is flickery, jerky and slow beyond belief and each level has the same end boss! However, it has some pretty addictive music, is not too difficult, and despite its flaws, it's quite fun, with each well designed level based on a different movie genre.

See also: Sergeant Seymour Robotcop, Seymour at the Movies, Super Seymour Saves the Planet, Wild West Seymour.

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5

Sub

(Gasoline, 1986)

Reviewed by CPC4eva

A French game where you play the role of an underwater diver armed with a spear gun. Your objective is to score points by killing seven different waves of underwater species (seahorses, clams, piranhas, sharks, stingrays, swordfish and turtles). Each wave has different score values; the first wave is worth ten points each, the next wave twenty points, and so on. Your energy bar is depleted by being hit by a creature. The gameplay is the same on each level, but each time you finish a level, the next time it becomes harder. The game has good controls and movement with large sprites for the diver and underwater creatures, and the animation of the diver falling into the water between levels is nicely done. It's a simplistic, easy, repetitive game, although I'm not sure environmentalists would let a game like this be released nowadays.

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5

Subbuteo

(Electronic Zoo, 1990)

Many football fans will remember growing up with Subbuteo, the table football game where you flick the players using your finger. It's been around since 1947, and this is obviously a computer adaptation of the game – and surprisingly, the concept works rather well. Each player takes it in turn to fire the ball using one of their players; if a player doesn't hit the ball or fouls another player, play passes to the other team. There are also opportunities for 'defensive flicks' and 'positional flicks' which allow you to adjust the positions of your players. The graphics are crude, but that's not a big problem. What is a problem is that even on the novice level, the computer is rather good, and aiming your players correctly is very tricky.

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6

Sub Hunter

(Psytronik, 2011)

Reviewed by Missas

In order to cover up an experiment gone wrong, the government tries to dispose of the evidence by dumping toxic waste into the sea. However, as a result, swimmers begin to go missing and mutated sea creatures spiral out of control. This is a job for you – Sub Hunter! In this scrolling shoot-'em-up, your task is to save the swimmers and survive in the hostile seas. The graphics are detailed, colourful and well drawn with a fine colour selection, so the visual result is excellent. The intro graphics are hand-drawn and there is parallax scrolling during the gameplay. The in-game music creates a stressful atmosphere. The gameplay is fast-paced with accurate control response of the submarine, while the difficulty level is balanced as levels progress. The grab factor is strong. Overall, what we have here is a new CPC jewel.

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9

Subtera Puzlo

(EgoTrip, 2013)

Reviewed by Missas

Subtera Puzlo was an entrant in CPCWiki's 16KB ROM game development competition held in 2013. As the name implies, it is a puzzle/arcade game. You control an insect and you need to avoid the other subterranean insects and collect the coins before the time limit ends. The game begins with a catchy tune which I particularly enjoyed. The graphics are drawn in MODE 1 and are highly detailed and well designed. The on-screen colours change from level to level. The levels are neatly and carefully designed, and there are some nice sound effects. The gameplay is great with perfect collision detection and non-stop action. Thus, the grab factor is very strong. The game has many levels to complete and you will not get bored of it easily. Overall, this is a magnificent game that hides its size (only 16 kilobytes!).

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8

Subterranean Stryker

(Amsoft/Insight, 1985)

Travel through five levels of a subterranean cave system in your spaceship, rescuing the miners who have been kidnapped by the aliens. Each level contains eight men, several aliens that must be shot, and a lot of other hazards. It's a bit like Defender in that the game is horizontally scrolling and there's a scanner at the top of the screen showing a map of the level and the positions of both the men and the aliens. However, the cave passages are very narrow, and there are often moving hazards that block and unblock them, so some very precise positioning and timing is required. The poor collision detection and occasionally flickery graphics spoil the game even more.

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5

Subway Vigilante

(Players, 1989)

The London Underground is a dangerous place in this scenario; the stations are filled with muggers and thugs. It's up to you to clear the stations and make them safe for London's citizens. From the very start, you are heavily outnumbered as skinheaded, bare-chested fighters close in on you, approaching you from both sides, and beat you up mercilessly. It's difficult enough to kill the required number of enemies to go to the next level, but to make things worse, when you lose energy, you have to start the level all over again! It's not a good game anyway, as movement is sluggish and the graphics have been converted straight from the Spectrum. The music is the only positive thing that's worth mentioning about this poor game.

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3

Sudoku

(Cronosoft, 2008)

Reviewed by Missas

Sudoku arrives on the CPC thanks to Kevin Thacker. In this puzzle game, the objective is to fill a 9×9 grid with digits so that each column and row, and each of the nine 3×3 sub-grids that compose the grid, contain all of the digits from 1 to 9. The puzzle setter provides a partially completed grid, which typically has a unique solution. There are only four colours, but there is no need for more. Furthermore, an Oriental-style tune plays during the game. There are three game modes, one of which gives the player the opportunity to create a sudoku puzzle as he or she may like. This automatically gives infinite depth to the gameplay, thus the grab factor is really strong. If you like sudoku, simply do not miss this game.

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7

Sudoku Master

(Binary Sciences, 2009)

Everyone should know about sudoku – the puzzle game in which you must fill a 9×9 grid, ensuring that each number from 1 to 9 appears only once in each row, column and 3×3 block. You can choose to play either a randomly generated puzzle from one of four difficulty levels, or attempt the "128 level challenge" – and if you somehow manage to solve all 128 levels, you really can crown yourself a Sudoku Master! The game is very well presented indeed, which isn't surprising, as the programmer was involved in the French demo scene for many years. Some of the colour schemes are horrible, though – but thankfully, you can change them easily. The music that plays during the game is quite relaxing and not distracting. Fans of sudoku will certainly enjoy it.

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9

Sultan's Maze

(Amsoft/Gem, 1984)

Six rubies belonging to the Sultan of Baghdad are hidden inside Hampton Court maze. However, the ghost of the Sultan's bodyguard still roams the maze and is waiting to catch any intruders! Your task is to collect all six of these rubies. Unfortunately, the game is written entirely in BASIC, and it takes ages to draw your view each time you move. Your energy decreases quickly as well, and it's only possible to rescue one ruby at a time before re-entering the maze; in summary, it's extremely boring.

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2

Summer Games

(US Gold/Epyx, 1988)

This Olympics-inspired game was originally released in 1984, but it wasn't until four years later that it was released for the CPC on US Gold's Gold, Silver, Bronze compilation. There are seven events to compete in – the pole vault, diving, the 4×400-metre relay, the 100-metre sprint, the freestyle relay, the 100-metre freestyle, and skeet shooting. Most of the events are quite good and thankfully don't involve a lot of manic joystick waggling, although obtaining a good result in the pole vault and diving events seems to be mostly down to luck. It's also very difficult to beat the computer's default records in most of the events. Despite these flaws, there is a very varied mixture of events to play which will keep you entertained.

See also: Summer Games II, Winter Games.

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8

Summer Games II

(US Gold/Epyx, 1988)

Reviewed by CPC4eva

Challenge your sporting skills in eight different events – the triple jump, rowing, the javelin, show jumping, the high jump, fencing, cycling and kayaking. You can practice an event, compete in some events or play all the events consecutively. Once you have entered your name you can choose from sixteen different countries, and your objective is to get the gold medal and set new world records. The opening and closing ceremonies are nice touches but the game itself is unfortunately a poor Spectrum port, with a small screen size, not the best choice of colours and graphics used, and poor in-game sound effects. There are many events, but the gameplay could be better, and there isn't enough staying power with this one.

See also: Summer Games, Winter Games.

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3

Sun Star

(CRL, 1987)

In the 22nd century, stations orbit the Earth and harness the Sun's energy to grow crystals that are used for interstellar travel. However, things have gone wrong; the disrupter pulses have gone awry, and your task is to shoot them and collect ten crystals on each station before warping to the next one. Each station consists of a 30×30 grid, and you can only move horizontally or vertically. It's difficult to know what to say about the graphics, since your view of the grid is represented using coloured tiles – it's certainly unusual, if rather primitive. The constant noise of your engine is annoying, and the game itself is a bit repetitive.

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6

Supercars

(Gremlin, 1990)

In this game, you're battling it out with other cars in the race to win the championship. There are three stages, nine tracks and the hazards increase as you progress. If things are getting tough, though, you can buy some add-ons for your car, or if you have the money, you can get yourself a new, faster car – and in the later stages of the game, you're going to need to! The graphics are basic but do their job, although the sound effects are useless. This is compensated for by the excellent music, which is only available if you have 128K. The game is made better by passwords which mean you don't have to restart the first and second stages each time you play.

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8

Super Cauldron

(Titus, 1993)

Reviewed by Pug

Super Cauldron places you as Zmira, a good witch who respects nature. Her powers have been weakened by a curse that has been cast everywhere by a demon. Your task is to regain your powers and remove both the curse and also the evil demon responsible. Along the way, you collect spells that are stored in your book for later use, some of which allow access to otherwise unreachable areas. This game is a multi-scrolling platformer that pushes the humble CPC to its limits in terms of graphics and effects. It looks, feels and performs like a console game!

See also: Cauldron, Cauldron II.

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10

Super Cycle

(US Gold/Epyx, 1987)

Get on a motorbike and race around twelve tracks, and reach the chequered flag before your time runs out. The first few tracks are relatively easy, but on later tracks, you'll encounter obstacles which you must dodge. Watch out for the other riders, who have a nasty tendency to try to bump you off the road or crash into you! Three of the tracks contain flags which you can collect to gain bonus points. This is a very enjoyable game indeed. The graphics are colourful, and you really get a feeling of speed as you fly past the scenery and the other riders. There are also three difficulty levels, although the lowest one is much too easy! Thankfully that's not the case with the other two difficulty levels.

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8

Super Gran

(Tynesoft, 1985)

Reviewed by Pug

Based on a 1980s children's TV series, this offering sees you playing the mighty Super Gran – an elderly lady with super powers! Sadly, this game doesn't quite portray her too well. Some very large and crude graphics flicker along as you sit in your single-coloured flying bike taking out clones. If you play this any further, you no longer need this bike and see Super Gran in all her glory – a large, flickery sprite. The TV soundtrack plays during the game and even this is laughable. I feel sorry for anyone who owned this!

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0

Super Hang-On

(Electric Dreams, 1988)

Race across four continents, each divided into several stages, and make it to the final stage before your time runs out. You can choose which of the four races to compete in. Each one is located on a different continent, with Africa being the easiest course and Europe the hardest. Your motorbike has a turbo booster which you can only use when it has reached its normal maximum speed of 280km/h – you'd better hang on when you use it! Unfortunately it's not a good game. The graphics are ugly and colour is used poorly. The music which briefly accompanies each race is tinny, and the time limits are so tight that if you make the slightest mistake, you have very little chance of reaching the next checkpoint. This is not one of the better motorbike racing games.

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6

Super Hero

(Codemasters, 1988)

It's not easy being a god, and to prove your worthiness, your fellow gods have set you a challenge. The aim is to defeat five Guardians roaming inside a large labyrinth – but you do this by destroying their spirits, and they aren't located in the same rooms as the Guardians. Before looking for the Guardians, it's necessary to find four items – a pair of shoes, a bag, a hammer and a helmet – which enable certain actions such as jumping and carrying objects. It's an isometric exploration game, and if you're a fan of the genre, you'll instantly recognise the inspiration for this game. The graphics are very detailed, although the size of the screen is a bit small. However, although it's good, it seems to lack something in comparison with other games like it.

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7

Superkid

(Atlantis, 1990)

New York has become a dangerous place in the year 2089. Crime is rife, and armed gangs of rival thugs roam the streets, killing each other and many innocent citizens. But who's this on the scene? It's Superkid! You have to fly around each level, restoring order by flying into the thugs. A lever at the bottom of the screen shows how much crime there is; if it goes too far to the right, you lose a life. Your aim on each level is to rescue children and to guide the pensioners safely to their rest home, preventing the thugs from killing them. The graphics and music are both good, but the game quickly becomes monotonous, particularly by the third level where it's a lot more difficult to help out the citizens.

See also: Skatin' USA, Superkid in Space.

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5

Superkid in Space

(Atlantis, 1991)

Aliens are threatening the Earth, and it's up to Superkid to save everyone. Superkid must travel to five of the alien planets and find four nuclear detonators so that he can blow the planet into oblivion. There are a variety of aliens which behave differently and which will sap your energy if you touch them or the bullets they fire. Fortunately Superkid has a gun and lots of grenades at his disposal, and lots of ladders which magically extend up to the nearest platform. The game retains the look and feel of its predecessor, with colourful graphics and cute (maybe too cute) music. It's also a better and more enjoyable game to play thanks to the smaller levels.

See also: Skatin' USA, Superkid.

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7

Superman: The Game

(Telecomsoft/First Star, 1986)

Reviewed by Pug

Darkseid, a powerful supervillain, has invented the deadly Omega Beam and aims to use it on the population of Metropolis. As people walk around, Darkseid tries to lure them into his underground mines, while Superman tries to prevent this. This maze-like game is a tricky one where you affect barriers along the streets to guide the citizens to safety. Power gems are also required to allow Superman access to these other screens where even more people wander around. The graphics are nothing special but move smoothly, with only a few sound effects added too.

See also: Superman: The Man of Steel.

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5

Superman: The Man of Steel

(Tynesoft, 1989)

Reviewed by Pug

Darkseid is back, and this time, he's brought a friend – Lex Luthor. Together they are planning the destruction of all mankind! To make matters worse, Lois Lane is being held hostage by the same mad duo. The first stage places you in a slow and sluggish 3D shoot-'em-up, followed by a vertical scroller where you defend a Space Shuttle (which is better). The next stage sees you inside the satellite that is controlled by Lex. Throughout the game, Superman can make use of his various powers, but they all have limits. Pleasing and colourful graphics make this one an eye-catcher – but where's the famous soundtrack?

See also: Superman: The Game.

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7

Super Monaco Grand Prix

(US Gold, 1991)

Another coin-op conversion makes its way on to the CPC. You're racing around the Grand Prix circuits of the world, but first you must qualify, and then you must reach a certain position after three laps if you want to go on to the next race. In addition, the track may also be wet, making things trickier for you. The graphics are good, especially the digitised pictures, and the girl in the yellow swimsuit! However, the scrolling is too slow and it doesn't feel as if you're doing 200mph at all.

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6

Supernudge 2000

(Mastertronic, 1989)

While you can't win or lose any money on computer-based fruit machine games, they should at least be able to capture most of the excitement of gambling your shiny coins away. This game does not do that. The three reels scroll at a snail's pace so that you have to wait ages before they come to a stop, and on top of that, there aren't many bonus features on the fruit machine to make things a bit more exciting. Having said that, it seems to be easier to win money in comparison with other fruit machine games, but it's not worth the effort or the wait.

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4

Super Pac

(Loisitech, 1986)

Reviewed by Pug

This is another Pac-Man clone for the CPC; eat all the dots while avoiding the ghosts... The maze is large and the level of difficulty can be adjusted to make the game easy or hard. Sadly, the maze layout never changes between levels, so boredom will soon kick in. The MODE 1 visuals are adequate, with smooth sprites and a few chirpy sound effects.

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3

Super Pipeline II

(Amsoft/Taskset, 1985)

This is a rather surreal game where tools are running amok and causing pipes to leak, and you have to fix them by getting your two trusty helpers to do it. On each level there is a tank, and a certain number of barrels have to be filled with water, and if the tank runs out, your score will start to decrease. The helpers can also be used as shields, and if they die, you can collect another one. The graphics are brilliant and the sheer fun of the game is complemented by the catchy music; once you listen to it, you won't forget it easily!

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8

Super Sam

(Budgie, 1985)

Reviewed by Pug

Sam Short is out to capture the notorious Boris – a slippery character indeed. Hiding somewhere within the fortress, you roam from room to room collecting parts of a cage – the only thing that will contain him. Nasty creatures pace around which deplete your energy, unless you can find a syringe. Finding this object turns you into Super Sam and makes you invulnerable for a short time. Be careful not to fall down the manholes, and look out for booby-trapped rooms! The graphics are very basic with some flicker and colour clash. A cheerful tune is available, although it can be turned off to allow the game to be played with sound effects only.

See also: Short's Fuse.

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4

Super Scramble Simulator

(Gremlin, 1989)

Take on the challenge of motorbike scrambling as you negotiate fifteen gruelling courses. The obstacles waiting for you include streams, logs, loose stones, oil barrels, and even Volkswagen Beetles that you must ride your bike over! You must complete each course within the required time, and you'll be penalised for any mistakes you make. If you fail, the game is over, and you must start again from the beginning and attempt to complete all the courses all over again. That is what really ruins this game. Detailed graphics and two great tunes can't make up for this.

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5

Super Seymour Saves the Planet

(Codemasters, 1992)

The Earth has been contaminated with toxic waste, and Seymour has to clear up the mess. Each level takes place on a single screen and you must collect the tokens scattered about the screen, as well as jumping on the heads of mutants to kill them. The graphics are average and the backgrounds (which vary only on the 128K version) aren't great, either. The sound is below average, and to be honest, the concept of the game has really dated – it won't hold your interest for very long.

See also: Sergeant Seymour Robotcop, Seymour at the Movies, Stuntman Seymour, Wild West Seymour.

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5

Super Ski

(Microïds, 1987)

Known as Eddie Edwards Super Ski in the UK after the hopeless but lovable ski jumping hero of the 1988 Winter Olympics, you can take part in four different events – two types of slalom, the descent, and the jump. In the slalom events, you have to steer between the flagpoles; miss them and you will be penalised. In the descent, you just head for the finish at full speed, although you still need to pass through some gates to avoid being penalised. You can also practice the events, and in the slaloms and descent, there are three tracks to choose from in each event. The game is a thrill to play thanks to the screen being updated really fast, while still having some remarkably beautiful graphics, with the Alps looming in the horizon – it's excellent!

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8

Super Skweek

(Loriciel, 1991)

Skweek is back and ready to paint everything pink! As in the last game, there are 99 levels and the same set of monsters to confront. However, there are several new power-ups and even a shop where you can buy them. The money can be collected by shooting monsters. In addition, most levels have more than one floor, so you'll have to use the lifts. The original Skweek is in my opinion one of the best CPC games of all time, so it's a shame to see that the sequel is much worse, and lacking in the main thing that made Skweek such fun – speed. It is much slower, and it absolutely crawls when there are several monsters on the screen. The graphics aren't as good and there's very little sound, and overall, the game is disappointing.

See also: Skweek, The Tiny Skweeks.

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6

Super Space Invaders

(Domark, 1991)

This is a poor conversion of the coin-op game which attempted to revive the classic Space Invaders and bring it in line with the 90s. There are twelve levels, each with a different background, and with three waves of aliens to fight. Shooting the aliens that fly along the top of the screen now gives you to chance to collect a temporary power-up. There is also a two-player option if you want to play with a friend. What makes it poor is that the backgrounds are very blocky and often garish, and it becomes difficult to see the aliens you're trying to kill, and the missiles that they fire. The movement of the aliens is also slow and jerky. The music is really good, though.

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4

Super Sports

(Gremlin, 1988)

Five very mixed events make up the Super Sports Olympic Challenge – target shooting, daredevil diving into a small pool of water, tile smashing karate-style, and swimming through a lake filled with hazards such as jellyfish and even mines! Up to four players can play, and you can also practice any of the events. Gilbert the commentator is also on hand throughout the events to offer encouragement or criticism of your efforts. The graphics are colourful and very nicely drawn, and each event also has a short piece of music which plays before the start of the event. Overall, it's an enjoyable game to play, especially if you can find someone else to compete against.

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8

Super Sprint

(Electric Dreams, 1987)

This is a racing game viewed from overhead in which you compete against three other cars (or two in the two player mode) and try to win on all eight tracks; if you don't win, the game is over. You also have to avoid tornadoes (!) and oil slicks on the track, which will cause you to lose control of your car. You can also collect spanners, and if you collect three of them, you can make improvements to your car. While the graphics are average, the only sound effects are engine noises, and the gameplay is very limited.

See also: Championship Sprint.

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5

Super Stock Car

(Mastertronic, 1989)

Four high performance cars – a Lamborghini Countach, a Ferrari Testarossa, a Lotus Esprit and a Porsche 959 – race each other around several small tracks. It's not really a stock car race, eh? Your aim isn't to win the race; instead, you need to complete a certain number of laps within the time limit. This is easy on the first few tracks, but later on, you'll have to complete more laps in the same amount of time. The graphics and animation are both excellent, with really chunky, colourful cars and lots of fire and smoke when they crash into each other. The high-energy music is marvellous and really suits the game as well. However, the cars can only point in eight directions, and the controls are a bit unresponsive. Without these problems, I would have enjoyed the game a lot more.

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7

Super Stunt Man

(Codemasters, 1988)

As a professional stuntman, a film company has hired you to take part in a film. You must shoot seven action scenes covering both land and water. There's even a scene where you must jump the Grand Canyon! In most of these scenes, other cars or boats will fire at you, and if you are hit by a missile or skid on a puddle, or damage your car too much, another take has to be made – although you receive an 'amazing action' bonus for your efforts. You have three takes per scene, which isn't very generous. The graphics and sound effects are poor and the time limit is quite tight. Memorising the layout of the course on each scene is vital if you're to succeed, but other cars get in the way too much. It's not a very enjoyable game to play.

See also: Italian Supercar.

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5

Super Tank Simulator

(Codemasters, 1989)

NATO has just rolled out its latest tank, and you've been given the job of testing it and taking it into battle. Four levels await you in this mediocre shoot-'em-up. Each level has two parts. The first part involves driving around in your tank and aiming at enemy targets, and the action is viewed from above. This part is not bad, but although your tank is highly manoeuvrable, it can be destroyed with one hit – it's not a very good tank then, is it, NATO? What really lets the game down is the second part, in which you move a set of crosshairs around the screen and shoot targets as they scroll by. This part is excruciatingly difficult, and you'll probably never see the second level without cheating. Other than that, the graphics and sound are quite good, so it's a shame that it's outweighed by some aspects of the gameplay.

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Superted: The Search for Spot

(Alternative, 1990)

Superted's friend Spot has been kidnapped by Texas Pete. Spot is bundled into Pete's car, and Pete drives off with him in the back. The bear with the red suit and super strength must chase the car and avoid the many hazards left by Pete. At the end of the first level, he faces Skeleton, and then he flies into outer space where there are more hazards, as well as Texas Pete himself. There are quite a lot of hazards to avoid, even on the easy level, and children (who are the intended audience for this game) will find it too difficult. The graphics are nice and colourful, but the sound effects are poor, and there are only two levels – and I don't mean the difficulty levels.

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6

Super Trolley

(Mastertronic, 1988)

I used to have a part-time job in a grocery store, but it was nowhere near as boring as this excuse for a game. Starting off as a dogsbody in a supermarket, you have to stock up the shelves, and also rescue the occasional stray dog or baby. Keep at it often enough, and you'll be promoted to porter and then manager. The game was developed as a result of a letter to the now disgraced Jimmy Savile's Jim'll Fix It TV show, but sadly, it's extremely boring. There's nothing worse than stocking up the potatoes or whatever, only to be told that you have to stock something else up, ad nauseam. The graphics are OK, but there are hardly any sound effects (although your trolley squeaks) and everything moves so slowly.

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Supertrux

(Elite, 1988)

Race across Europe in a bid to win the Supertrux trophy. Can you reach the finishing line before your time runs out? Starting in London, you steer your truck along the roads, avoiding the other trucks (which all look the same, incidentally) and obstacles which appear, such as roadworks, tyre barriers and puddles which cause your truck to skid. A nice aspect of this game is that at the end of each stage, you can choose one of two routes, so for instance, you can visit France and Spain, or alternatively, travel across Belgium and Germany. The graphics are reasonable and the scrolling is quite fast, but crashing is often unavoidable, which obviously hinders your progress and can be rather frustrating.

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Super Wonder Boy in Monster Land

(Activision, 1989)

A dragon called Meka is bringing fear to Wonder Land, so Wonder Boy sets off to Monster Land on a new mission to defeat him. This is a platform game, and Wonder Boy has to kill all sorts of monsters with his sword. Each monster you kill will produce some gold which is used to buy better weapons and armour, spells, or food in the many shops which you can enter during your mission. Unlike its predecessor, the graphics are rather ugly, and the most noticeable thing about them is the almost total lack of colour. There's hardly any sound during the game, although there is a tune on the menu. The gameplay doesn't make up for these deficiencies, though.

See also: Wonder Boy.

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6

Super Wrestle

(Lachlan Keown, 2015)

Reviewed by Missas

I always enjoyed wrestling games because I was a huge fan of the WWF wrestling series (nowadays known as WWE) back in the 1980s, so I was really eager to play this game. To begin with, the graphics are a little blocky but they are smartly designed and they surprisingly resemble the atmosphere of the Wrestlemania matches, with the same wrestlers (yes, Hulk Hogan couldn't be absent from this!) and the crowd shouting and taking photos. The sound is good with some effects besides the crowd noise, while the sprites, although recognisable, definitely lack detail. The animation is very smooth with a high frame rate but the controls are a little awkward, and although there are several moves, it is not very easy to perform them. Also, you can select your wrestler from a choice of four. However, the gameplay has the potential to be far better.

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6

Surprise Surprise

(Central Solutions, 1986)

You have been invited to a party within a large house, but first of all, you must search the house and find five letters which make up a code. The house has one hundred rooms, and there are dangers lurking in most of them. This is an absolutely terrible game – that much is obvious from the moment you load it. From the loading screen consisting of random lines and flashing colours, to the extremely crude graphics, to the extremely irritating random beeps which play throughout the game, to the snail-like movement of your character, this game has 'awful' written all over it. Even then, I might have felt generous enough to give it at least one mark out of ten, but alas, no – you only have one life! And did I mention that it only works properly on a CPC464 and not on the other models?

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The Survivor

(Anirog, 1984)

Reviewed by Pug

You are stuck in a maze-like arena full of endlessly generating robots and monsters. Your mission is to collect all of the treasures scattered around. All contact with the nasties drains your energy bar, but there are potions that boost this. This game shows its age; it was one of the first to be released for the CPC464. An aged game idea with primitive methods of gameplay, simple, blocky graphics and basic effects.

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Survivor

(Topo Soft, 1987)

On board a spaceship, you are the sole remaining example of a creature that has evolved over one million years. Your aim is to ensure the survival of your race by placing ten pods in the incubators that can be found around the spaceship. Of course, there are other inhabitants and machines on board who will drain your energy, although it can be replenished when you place a pod, or by chasing and eating one of the tiny engineers that wander around – which is both gruesome and hilarious to watch! The graphics are very colourful indeed, and while the game can occasionally be awkward – jumping correctly from platform to platform is often frustrating – there is a wide enough variety of locations to keep fans of exploration games interested for some time.

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Survivors

(Atlantis, 1988)

Nuclear war has taken place, but the occupants of seven bunkers are trapped inside them, and three droids have been sent to rescue them. This game is quite similar to Boulder Dash, but the difference is that each droid performs different functions – the blue one can dig the earth, the yellow one can rescue the inhabitants, and the red one can push boulders. You must use each droid carefully or you'll be stuck! Despite the simple graphics, this is a great game if you have the ability to think laterally, but the levels are too big for most people to complete.

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6

Survivre

(French)

(Lankhor, 1992)

You're a lion cub, roaming the savannah. One morning, you realise that your mother has disappeared, and now you have to face life without her... This is a multiple choice adventure game where you must choose one of several possible actions, but many of them will take you down false paths. Along the way, you'll encounter many different types of animal – a hippopotamus, a hyena, an antelope, and even a jackal who can play chess (yes!). This game wasn't released on its own and was only available on one of Lankhor's Black Soft compilations. Excellent full-screen graphics accompany each location, and there are lots of suitably atmospheric tunes as well. Overall, it's a nice adventure (although all the text is in French), and at times you feel sorry for the poor lion cub as you're playing the game.

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8

Suspended

(Infocom, 1986)

A disaster is taking place on the planet of Contra, and you have been woken up so that you can alter the settings of the Filtering Computers that maintain the planet's systems. However, you do not actually control yourself; instead, you control six robots, each of whom perceives the world around them differently and has their own capabilities and limitations. While chaos reigns on the planet above, you must use all six of the robots to fix everything. This is a text adventure like no other, and it's one that takes a lot of getting used to. It is one of Infocom's most difficult games, and to do well, you must remember where all the robots are and make sure they're in the right places at the right times. The plot is highly original, but its difficulty level and other general quirks will put a lot of people off.

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8

Swap

(Microïds, 1991)

Puzzle games don't come much harder than this one! You're given a board of several colours of either squares, triangles or hexagons, and you have to clear all of them from the board by swapping them and matching the colours up. The difficulty depends on how many colours there are, the shape of the tiles, and whether or not there is a time limit. How well you complete one level determines which level you'll go on to next, so it's never the same game twice! The whole game is extremely well-presented, and the icon-based menu system looks stunning. You'll get frustrated, but with the option to save and load the game as well as a multiple undo system, this is a great game for all of us intellectuals.

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9

Sweevo's World

(Gargoyle, 1986)

Appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

Don't ask me what the plot of this game is, I never understood it. All you have to do is find your way through a maze filled with tin boxes, rotten fruit, chocolate geese (!), and brownies (that you must collect). It is funny, anyway, despite the four-colour graphics (which are very good, though). The animation of your creature is fluid, even if it slows a lot when there are other characters on the screen. Well, it is a strange game, and really addictive because you want to explore this silly world further – and understand the meaning of it all!

See also: Hydrofool.

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Switchblade

(Gremlin, 1990)

Reviewed by Chris Wraight

As Hiro, last of the Blade Knights, your task is to find the lost pieces of the mystical Fireblade and free the world from the tyranny of the evil Havok. What could be a fairly dreary task is enlivened by the superb implementation of an otherwise fairly standard platform format. Whether using your fists or one of the many weapons lying around the dungeon, the sliding power bar makes performing different moves simple and elegant. The difficulty is also pitched just right. Graphically, things are spot-on; the detailed MODE 1 graphics provide a suitably gloomy ambience. A great tune plays throughout too – a relatively rare thing in CPC games. There are a couple of niggles (Hiro's jumping can be slightly clumsy at times), but generally this is one of the most professional titles ever released for the CPC, and a cartridge version is also available for Plus machines.

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9

SWIV

(Storm, 1991)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

Vertically scrolling shoot-'em-up action in this unofficial sequel to Silkworm (its name could be interpreted as Silkworm IV). Once again you must stop everything getting past; waves of helicopters, tanks, rockets, and numerous other deadly foes on land and air as you fly past a barren landscape, all of which can be obliterated by the weapons at your disposal. You have a choice of craft between a helicopter or a jeep, both of which have their advantages and disadvantages, and killing the large bosses enables you to pick up power-ups that increase your firepower. The graphics are highly detailed, the sounds of exploding units and installations are effective and it's enjoyable enough, but the fact remains that this is a bad Spectrum port. Considering the year this was released it should have looked better.

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Sword of the Samurai

(Zeppelin, 1992)

A gang of evil ninjas has captured lots of people and taken them hostage, so as a noble warrior, you must rescue the hostages and kill the gang's leader. The story sounds rather similar to that of Shinobi, and the game itself also bears a remarkable resemblance to it. Three hostages need to be rescued on each of the seven levels. There are several different types of ninjas, each of which needs to be dealt with in a different way. This is a fairly decent platform game with clear and colourful graphics, although there are very few sound effects, and while it's not quite as good as the game that inspired it, it's still worth trying out.

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Sword Slayer

(Players, 1988)

Follow the storyline of Spartacus, a gladiator in the Roman empire who seeks to escape from the arena. The eleven scenes in the game take him from the arena to the streets of Capua, where he rushes to a temple and then on to the forest, before finally escaping. Throughout all the scenes, you've got to slay other gladiators and legionnaires, and sometimes eagles. It gets monotonous fairly quickly, and the Spectrum-like graphics are mostly in the same colour, but the game deserves a special mention for using digitised sound effects.

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5

Syntax

(Blue Ribbon, 1988)

Appeared on an Amstrad Action covertape

Rebel forces from the planet Syntax are planning to invade Earth, and you have volunteered to fly to Syntax in your impulse-drive fighter and defeat their dastardly plans. You must fly around the planet in the search for ten crystals which you must drop down ventilation shafts. Nearly everything about this game is poor. The graphics and sound effects are very basic and it's difficult to work out where it's safe to fly. Many of the areas you can explore are restricted in size, and the controls are very sensitive, so flying your fighter in a straight line is quite tricky, as is avoiding flying into buildings and rebel ships. You'll end up crashing far too frequently.

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