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Vampire

(Codemasters/Dinamic, 1986)

Reviewed by Javier Sáez

The android Phantomas has been entrusted with the dreadful task of killing Dracula. To accomplish such a mission he has to make his way into Dracula's castle, open five locks, six windows, collect a hammer and a peg and finally get to the upper part of the castle to face Dracula. This game (originally released by Dinamic as Phantomas 2) has no music and the graphics are almost the same as you'd see on the Spectrum version. However, after a short period of training, you'll discover a very playable game with lots of rooms to explore. This is one of the few games I couldn't quit playing until I finished it.

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Vampire Killer

(Scorpio Gamesworld, 1984)

Reviewed by Pug

You have finally found Dracula's secret lair – an old tower block with working lifts! The Prince of Darkness is resting on the 12th floor and there's only a few minutes left until midnight. Can you make it to the top floor in time and deal with this spectre of evil? To succeed in your mission you will have to collect certain items that the vampire is afraid of. These are found in certain rooms, but be careful, for some rooms are filled with monsters. Such encounters drain your shock meter; if this runs dry you'll flee the building and fail in your quest. Some of the lifts are hazardous, which can result in your descent to a lower level. Vampire Killer is written entirely in BASIC and it shows, with sluggish movement, drab graphics and simple audio. If you do reach the Count, I doubt you'll come back for more.

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Vector Ball

(Mastertronic, 1988)

Vector ball is a futuristic sport where two robots – one yellow, one red – try to shoot a puck into their opponent's goal. The robots can't actually push the puck around the arena; instead, they have to swivel around and face the direction that they wish to shoot the puck. As far the concept goes, it's about as simple as you can get; it's the implementation that is poor. The controls are infuriatingly difficult to get the hang of, while the computer-controlled robot always snatches the puck from you and scores lots of goals. The isometric graphics aren't impressive, although the tune is good.

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Vector Vaults

(Albertoven, 2016)

You have been transported to an alien spaceship orbiting Earth, and the aliens have given you the task of breaking into its on-board computer called Solomon. You don't know why they want you to do this, but you will be well rewarded if you succeed... Behind this very surreal background story is a brilliant arcade game that pays homage to the Vectrex games console, which can only display vector graphics. You control a small craft and must manoeuvre it through eight mazes of increasing difficulty, avoiding obstacles and collecting batteries to replenish your constantly diminishing energy. The graphics are drawn entirely using lines instead of sprites, and the game moves incredibly fast as a result. It's also infuriatingly difficult, yet very addictive, and it has that elusive 'one more go' factor; once you start playing it, you'll be hooked!

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Vendetta

(System 3, 1990)

You used to be a high-ranking officer in the US army, but you have now been thrown out, and your brother and niece have been kidnapped by terrorists who were once in the army. Your mission is to rescue your relatives and collect evidence along the way. On each level, you must explore all the rooms and search every nook and cranny for clues. Unfortunately, this is an extremely frustrating exercise, as you have to be in exactly the right position to find objects. Ultimately you spend ages just moving randomly and relying on luck to get the object you want. The graphics are in boring monochrome and there's hardly any sound as well.

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Venom

(Mastertronic, 1988)

The land of Armosin is overshadowed with evil, and Traklan and his Venomite priests stalk the land and bring terror to it. Arrell has been captured, and your objective is to rescue him. This adventure is different from most others in that instead of typing in commands, you select them from a list using the cursor keys or joystick. This takes time, since the cursor moves really slowly, but if you stick with it, it is a nice enough adventure (albeit rather small) with some decent pictures used in a few locations.

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VENOM Strikes Back

(Gremlin, 1988)

Reviewed by Pug

Matt Tracker's son has been kidnapped by VENOM and taken to their moonbase. In this, the final game in the MASK series, you play Matt, who is on a rescue mission to free his son. The game itself is very similar to Exolon where you run and jump from left to right blasting anything that moves. Power-ups come in the form of helmets that give you additional abilities such as levitation, ghost mode and better powered weapons. Bizarrely, they all look like squares with letters written on them. The gameplay is a little repetitive in places and it's a shame that the well animated visuals lack the vibrant colours of the previous games. Overall, VENOM Strikes Back is an average game and for me is the weakest of the three games in the MASK series.

See also: MASK, MASK II.

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The Vera Cruz Affair

(Infogrames, 1985)

Reviewed by Guillaume Chalard

Vera Cruz, a pretty young woman, has killed herself. As a police inspector, you inspect her flat and find several clues that make you think it's a crime rather than a suicide. This is one of the first murder mysteries on computer. The plot and the whole investigation are very realistic (the programmer himself was a policeman!). The first part takes place in Vera's living room. You must collect clues (e.g. cigarette ends, a gun and a matchbook) that will be decisive in finding the murderer. The second part is in your office, where you can hear witnesses, contact other police officers or examine evidence. The few graphics are really good and though it's hard to progress, this is a great game for those who like to investigate.

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Viaje al Centro de la Tierra

(Topo Soft, 1989)

Reviewed by Javier Sáez

In this three stage game you take a journey to the centre of the Earth. The first stage consists of a puzzle and the third one is a side scrolling arcade game in which you make your way through a prehistoric jungle. The second stage is a game in itself. You take control of three characters at the same time, each with different attributes and objects, in their way down the inside of a volcano. Forget about the first level; go straight to the second level, and enjoy great graphics and gameplay right from the start.

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Victory Road

(Imagine, 1988)

Reviewed by CPC4eva

It's hard to believe that Victory Road is the sequel to Ikari Warriors, but unfortunately it is a poor coin-op conversion. You're a warrior on a mission. Armed with grenades and a rifle, you can tackle the foes along the road to victory by yourself or with a friend. With six lives you should be able to progress quite well, but beware, as not only will you encounter a competing military, but also monsters, which is really strange. The road winds on and on, through tombs containing the bones of former seekers. Collect icons to build up the firepower necessary to fight off your aggressors. The graphics are overhead like Ikari Warriors and there's limited sound. It really is an uninspiring and boring game. You'll have more fun playing its predecessor.

See also: Ikari Warriors.

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Video Card Arcade

(Blue Ribbon, 1990)

Three card games are on offer here – poker royal, twenty one, and high or low. In each game, you start with 20 credits and must score as many points as you can. Certain combinations of cards score more points than others. In poker royal, five cards are dealt, and you can change any or all of them, hopefully producing a winning combination of cards. In twenty one (better known as blackjack), you must try to score less than or equal to 21 without your opponent beating you. In high and low, five cards are dealt one at a time, and you must guess if the next card will be higher or lower in value than the current one. The graphics are very colourful and well drawn, and all of the games are reasonably entertaining if you want a few quick goes.

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Video Poker

(Entertainment USA, 1986)

This version of the card game uses slightly different rules – it's a one-player game, for a start. First you bet some of your money, and then five cards are selected at random. After choosing which cards you want to keep, the remaining cards are changed, and it is then that you will hopefully win some money. You can also look at the odds of winning for each combination before you insert your money, and there are five skill levels as well. It goes without saying that you can't win or lose any real money, and you have to wait a long time between each turn; you'll soon get bored.

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A View to a Kill

(Domark, 1985)

Reviewed by John Beckett

The first CPC game based on the adventures of James Bond is a very run-of-the-mill affair indeed, comprising of three levels, based on scenes from the film, each of varying styles of gameplay. There is a reasonably fun platform level where James must escape from a mine before it caves in, an Impossible Mission-style level where James must explore the many floors of the City Hall, searching for objects, collecting door-passes, rescuing the girl and escaping before the place sets on fire, and a very poor driving section set in Paris, which is extremely confusing to navigate around. The graphics are pretty awful, but there is a nice rendition of both the Bond theme and the View To a Kill theme by Duran Duran, and the difficulty is set about right.

See also: Licence to Kill, Live and Let Die, The Living Daylights, The Spy Who Loved Me.

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5

Vigilante

(US Gold, 1989)

Reviewed by John Beckett

You're the Vigilante and it's your calling in life to beat up the scum on the streets. One day, however, the evil skinheads kidnap your girlfriend Madonna (nice name) and take her to their den. The Vigilante must fight his way through endless gang members before he can destroy their boss and reclaim his girl. I'm a big fan of scrolling beat-'em-ups and the coin-op version was the daddy of them all. But how does the CPC version compare? Well, the graphics are detailed, colourful and downright excellent, but the gameplay is crippled by the slowness of the character, the unresponsiveness of the controls and the sheer difficulty as horde after horde of thugs attack you from all angles! That said, though, it's quite good fun, and poor Madonna's plight will keep you playing until she's safe in the Vigilante's arms!

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The Vikings

(Kele Line, 1987)

Reviewed by John Beckett

In this top-down shoot-'em-up, you play as a lone Viking washed up on a hostile land. Your aim is to explore the vast land and locate the parts of your Viking longboat, before setting sail once more – but first things first, you're completely weaponless until you find your lost sword. A task that is not made easy by the hordes of enemy warriors intent on putting you in a shallow grave! The graphics are awful and tiny, the music is shrill and repetitive, and although the controls are responsive, the enemies are far too fast and plentiful for you to consider making any serious progress. Akin to Commando or Ikari Warriors in its concept, I don't want to insult those two great games further by comparing them to this ugly, below average effort.

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Village of Lost Souls

(Robico, 1987)

Reviewed by Pug

Village of Lost Souls is the first part of The Realm of Chaos Trilogy. You play a warrior who emerges from the mists of a powerful spell to take on a quest. The words of your master echo in your ears – aid the Lord Talent of Dinham to destroy a portal to the Thirteenth Realm. The adventure starts with a series of obstacles that need to be removed before your main quest can commence. For example, there is a hut that is on fire that contains something important. Solving problems like these instructs you in how to play this adventure. It's a pretty large text adventure, too, meaning this one will take weeks to crack. Location descriptions are brief and scroll upwards. This can be annoying at times, waiting for it to finish so you can read it. Overall, a bland-looking text adventure that doesn't offer anything outstanding.

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The Vindicator

(Imagine, 1988)

Reviewed by CPC4eva

Invaders from a distant star have turned Earth into a desolate wasteland, and humanity has only just survived. Only one man, known as The Vindicator, can fight the evil invaders and take back Earth. The battle takes place over three parts. The first part is a tortuous maze where you kill aliens for ammo and search for parts to build a device that will enable you to eliminate the invaders. In the second part, you take to the air, and in the third part, you race across the surface in your high-powered jeep for one final battle against the giant guardian of the catacombs. The standouts are the music and graphics, in particular exploring the maze in the first part. It's smooth and amazing to play and the sprites are detailed with good animation and use of colours. An interesting note about the game is that it was billed as the sequel to Green Beret but plays nothing like it.

See also: Green Beret.

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Vindicators

(Domark/Tengen, 1988)

Reviewed by Chris Lennard

The year is 2525; an armada of space stations sent by the evil Tangent Empire is approaching Earth. The only way to destroy this invading force is to infiltrate the enemy with your SR-88 Strategic Battle Tanks, better known as Vindicators. You must negotiate each space station's heavily guarded corridors, and destroy the control room. Replenish your tank's ever decreasing fuel supply with canisters located throughout the many levels. Collecting stars enables you to buy power-ups and special weapons in shops that are useful on the many enemies and the prerequisite big bosses. Essentially a re-packaged Ikari Warriors, the cute graphics are let down by the tricky controls of your tank's movements and firing, making this a difficult challenge.

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20000 Lieues Sous les Mers

(French)

(Coktel Vision, 1988)

Professor Aronnax, his servant Conseil, and a whaler called Ned have been taken prisoner aboard the Nautilus submarine, piloted by the mysterious Captain Nemo, after it crashes into their ship. This is a computer adaptation of Jules Verne's 1869 novel of the same name, and you play the part of Professor Aronnax as he helps Captain Nemo in his underwater exploration. As well as a point-and-click adventure, there is also a sub-game where you shoot sharks. However, much of your time is spent waiting or visiting rooms and clicking things over and over again, hoping that something will happen. The graphics are messy and are not up to the standards of most of Coktel Vision's other adventures, either.

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Virusdog

(Kukulcan, 2016)

Reviewed by Missas

Your dog W. Camelot is ill. Some viruses are causing the problem and it's your job to get rid of them! You can achieve this if you manage to complete all 50 levels of this hardcore puzzle challenge. To begin with, the graphics are in MODE 1 with high detail and smooth movement. The presentation of this great game is influenced by the demo scene. You may choose to listen to music or have sound effects only during the game. The gameplay is challenging while the levels are intelligently designed. Besides this, I found it interesting to try to solve them; you will not get bored or frustrated. The difficulty escalation is just right. Bear in mind that it is not an easy game. Overall, once more the CPC proves its ability to provide excellent puzzle games.

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Vixen

(Martech, 1988)

Vixen is the only surviving human on the planet of Granath – a planet where giant dinosaurs still roam. As Vixen, you must wander the planet, killing all the monsters with a crack of your whip and leaping from platform to platform. Gems can be collected for bonus points, and you can also collect fox heads. When you collect enough of these, the next time you reach your lair, you are transformed into a fox and enter a bonus stage where you collect more gems. The cover of this game caused a lot of controversy, because it featured the snarling Page 3 model Corinne Russell in the guise of Vixen. She doesn't feature in the game, though, which is a very average platform game with nothing that makes it stand out from any other platform game.

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Viz

(Virgin, 1991)

The computer game based on the profanity-laden comic sees three characters from the comic – Biffa Bacon, Johnny Fartpants and Buster Gonad – racing in the Fulchester fun run, with Roger Mellie (the man on the telly) providing the commentary. The race consists of five levels, and you must win each level if you want to go to the next one. Before each level, there is a sub-game where you can earn tokens which allow you to use special powers in the race. However, winning is extremely difficult, since any contact with obstacles or the other characters severely harms your chances. Your opponents are also suddenly able to overtake you if you go too far ahead of them! The graphics aren't bad, and the music is fairly good, but the novelty of the swearing soon wears off to leave a very poor game.

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Volley Ball

(Chip, 1987)

Play a game of volleyball with another player or against the computer. You can only score points when you are serving, and the first team to reach 15 points wins the game. First impressions are good, with a nice little tune and colourful, well drawn graphics (although both teams wear the same colours). However, it's a frustrating game to actually play. The players can't move diagonally, and when you are trying to bounce the ball, it's difficult to judge where it is going to land, and worst of all, the computer becomes very confused as to which player you should control. The result is that the computer is far superior to you and always wins. It's slow as well, and it's not a game you'll stick with for long.

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Voo Doo Rage

(Artic, 1986)

Reviewed by Greig McGregor

My memories of this game are vague, but if I remember correctly, it was nearly impossible. You had to make your way from top to bottom, jump over floating monsters, obtain a rolling pin, then catch your friend playing his computer. The big sting in the tail was that if you catch him too early, he kills you, and if you catch him too late, he kills you. It's probably the most unforgiving early CPC release. It's the usual bland platform fare with the usual mix of monsters, and the sound, while basic, works OK. I could never get off the first level, though.

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