Editor note: This is a collection of Amstrad CPC Mini reviews that CPC4EVA put together recently. We are offering some of these as single releases, along with being included in this list. This is being done to see which is more popular with our readers and to help us decide the best way to handle reviews in the future.
1944, occupied France is on the cusp of being liberated by allied forces. The German army is retreating on a train back to Berlin carrying France’s valuable art collection. As part of the French Resistance you must stop the Germans and take the art train to Riviere. Starting at the Metz train yards, you avoid German soldiers shooting at you from buildings, the controls are tricky while using a joystick as you alternate pressing the spacebar to duck shots fired upon you. From this point onwards the game becomes more involved as you engineer and navigate the train safe condition to your destination. It’s not easy, you must shoot down fighter planes, take enemy train stations and enemy bridges to protect the train and art from damage. Graphics are detailed, respresenting the theme admirably. Gameplay has alot of staying power keeping you hooked, you just want one more go at taking the train from the German army. 7 out of 10.
Heralded by its creators as the fastest, smoothest ever scrolling in an Amstrad CPC game, you fly the latest Swing -Wing fighter bomber with 360 degree control. Set from an over head view point, taking off from a runway, your objective is to pilot your fighter bomber, locating enemy targets to bomb as you avoid the obstacle riddled terrain of water, housing, trees and other buildings. If you can bomb all targets you must land your fighter and return back to base. Sounds simple but i assure you carrying out the task is not. Controlling the fighter bomber takes practice, practice, practice, you seem to fly off everywhere at supersonic speed, its very unforgiving, especially landing and firing bombs as you must hug the terrain at a very low level. Graphically its quite basic but it does scroll at super speed and just for that you have check it out. 5 out of 10
Invaders from a distant star have turned Earth into a desolate wasteland, 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 a tortuous maze where you kill aliens for ammo and parts to build a device that will make you capable of eliminating the invaders. The second part you take to the air and 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 music and graphics in particular exploring the maze and rooms of part 1. It’s smooth and amazing to play, 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 arcade game Green Beret but plays nothing like it. 8 out of 10
Before the mighty Super Cars from Gremlin graphics, came War Cars Construction Set from Firebird. Based on the simulation of slot car racing, taken from an over head perspective, you must race off against a computer opponent to collect flags for points whcih may also allow you to perform special moves such as crashing your opponents car without losing a life. The added bonus of the game is that it contains a construction set where you can build your own tracks. The selected mode 1 four colour scheme is very poor, reminding me of the speccy colour scheme and graphics used in skate board game, 720 degrees. While the speedway arena playing area is big it is also confusing as the side by side split screen is very small and the on screen map is very poor to read, it seems like you are driving around in circles not achieving much. 4 out of 10
Set in the old wild west, this is a run n gun shoot to kill style game. Released as a French only game, i was unable to locate much information about the game itself. What i played of it, i found the objective is to run to an end point to get to the next level without losing your five lives. Along the way you must avoid enemy cowboys shooting bullets and throwing knives towards you. There are 5 levels or parts which can be selected seperately but the gameplay is very repetitive, nothing changes between levels except some backgrounds. If the game wasnt hard enough there is also a kind of large vulture bird flying above you dropping TNT explosives that are difficult to avoid. The graphics suit the style of game but the movement and scrolling are jerky and slow. Controls are not very responsive, whch meant i was losing lives quite easily. There is a french style wild west tune playing but it doesnt add much improvement to the game. 3 out of 10.
Distributed by Spanish group Delta Soft, Tuma 7 is a run and gun platformer. Split into two parts the first one sees you riding a motorbike at break neck speeds in an alien type world combating various different creatures in a platform environment. The second part you lose the motorbike and you take on more human like enemy toe to toe again in a platform environment. Sprites look very similar to those found in other games but only much much bigger as it uses mode 0 in the game. Like most Spanish cpc games this one has loads of colour with some outsanding looking graphics and really cool fire power, you can use both joystick buttons to fire a laser or huge rockets at your enemy but gameplay is poor, its hard to control your characters who are constantly flashing, you get stuck in places and seems very difficult to advance further at times. 4 out of 10
Released by Spanish Software company, Zafiro, in 1988, this is a run and gun game set in the American wild west. It’s a poor looking speccy conversion with many faults including the enemy can run faster than you, their bullets travel faster than you can walk so your easily killed, the colour scheme clashes as your bullets and your enemy bullets are the same colour, you and your enemy sprites are the same colour yellow and look the same in appearance. The backgrounds and colour scheme do change as you pass a screen onto a new one but its not very exciting plus there is no other means to dodge bullets other than ducking for cover, it would have been nice if you could jump or run faster. Its very repetitive and quite dull i made it to a screen that transported me to the post office and thats as exciting as it got. 2 out of 10
A 1988, French release, that is an adaption of Space Invaders. An original catchy tune plays throughout, while a cloud at top of screen releases alien fighters into a holding bay. When each column is filled, the first alien of that column will fall towards you. Your cute and colourful alien fighter space ship can shoot them down as they fall or while they are stacked in the column. The challenging part comes with shooting down three other objects, an alien ship, a green rod and a red rod. Failing to shoot them down results in losing a life as they hit the bottom of screen. When you shoot the red rod it acts like a smart bomb killing all the aliens in the columns. Sideways control mechanism can be jerky so priortising what to shoot first is essential. Thunder Fighter is simplistic and enjoyable. 6 out of 10
Flying a space craft from a first person perspective your mission is to repel the invasion to your colony, Falvius V, from enemy space craft of the evil emperor Zircon. Enemy ships are detected and measured by the amount of energy they make which is probably the only game i have seen this in. The controls are awkward as if you select down you will find you that you are selecting different icons to use such as different fire power or a hyper space, so flying your space craft is only in the up and left right directions which means shooting enemy ships down is very frustrating. Some nice looking sprites and colours but noy very exciting gameplay. This was originally released as a 1.99 range game, with Amstrad Action issue 21 review stating cheap doesnt always mean good value. 3 out of 10 .
A French only game, where you play the role of an under water diver armed with a spear gun. Your objective is to score as many points by killing seven different waves of under water species (sea horses, clams, piranha, sharks, sting rays, sword fish and seals or is it turtles?). Each wave has different score values, the first wave is worth 10 points each the next wave 20 points and so on. Your energy bar or oxygen is depleted by being hit by a creature. Gameplay, is the same level but each time accomplished the next time it becomes harder. Good controls and movement with large sprites for the diver and under water creatures, the animation of the diver falling into the water between levels is nicely done. Its a simplistic easy, repetitive game, not sure environmentalists would let a game like this be released today. 5 out of 10
An aptly named game, as this game will give you a great deal of stress. A french only language game, Stress is an adaption of Pac Man but sadly to say it is not a very good adaption. You play a human shaped white silouheted sprite in a bland looking square arena represnting a room of a haunted house i believe. Just as in Pac Man you eat or collect a large amount of yellow dots but thats where any similarities with Pac Man ends. There is only a single white ghost chasing you and unlike Pac Man there is no grid or path that the ghost follow, in this game this 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 how you change your tactics to avoid it capturing you. 1 out of 10.
A non comercial version adaption of the Street Fighter 2 genre, in Street Warriors you can select one or two players and upto six different fighters from around the world, 4 males and 2 female. There’s about 37 files to this game so there is quite a bit of disc access and loading. Its not a bad effort, large colourful fighters, a decent playing area, some nice voice sounds from each character during the fights, multiple fight manouveres and 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 you can select the practice option from the main menu. Its not in same league as the arcade version of Street Fighter 2 but its definitely worth a go. An unusual inclusion was the loud recorded tune during the loading screen. 5 out of 10.
An arcade game license tie in of Bally Midway’s top down vertical 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 interchange into a water based speed boat is how you plan to stay alive. You have the option of playing at two skill levels novice or expert. Just as the arcade version, you drive along a winding course with large amounts of enemy spies to blow up either by bumping them into road obstacles or blasting them with your firepower with a weapons van driving by regularly to upgrade your weapons arsenal. Graphically its different to the arcade version but not in a negative way. Gameplay and control of your vehicle is more than agreeable and you’ll find yourself playing again and again to get a higher score. 6 out of 10
Written entirely in basic using the Glenco, Sprites Alive software, Space Froggy appeared on Amstrad Action #64, January 1991, cover tape. Coded to show the capabilities of what the Sprites Alive software could do on the CPC, it resulted in a stunning platformer. Controlling a very cute and cool looking frog wearing sunglasses who finds itself in space with 9 lives. You set out to collect 9 rom chips and some keys that will open doors, all while avoiding enemy space monsters so you can upgrade a CPC 464 to a CPC 6128. 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, easy movement and controls with a detailed playing area. Included is an informative scripture about the game as well as instructions and pleasant in game sounds. It’s all very professionally packaged, a fun and absorbing game, quite an achievement written in basic. 7 out of 10.
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