ZX Spectrum Games

ZX Spectrum Games

6 Oct 2010

Spectrum Games - Spy Hunter - Classic ZX Spectrum Game

Spy Hunter ZX Spectrum
The famous Bally Midway arcade game was converted to the ZX Spectrum by Denton Designs and released by US Gold back in 1985.

The arcade game had been really popular and we were treated to a decent version on the good old Speccy.

In the game you play the part of a world class spy, driving for your life in a snazzy bondesque turbo-charged and armed sports car. The road is crawling with enemy agents bent on your destruction.

You had to manoeuvre your car along the road ways and water ways (where it would convert into a speedboat) watching out for the Road Lord, the Switch Blade, the Enforcer and many other enemies.

Spy Hunter ZX Spectrum
The arcade action began with the Weapons Van rolling up from the bottom of the screen and stopping at the shoulder of the road. Your car would then roll out of the back, prepped with fully loaded machine guns.

Your car could be moved left and right as well as forwards (accelerate) and backwards (which could be used to come to a standstill).

The game was a vertically scrolling romp, with the road weaving and forking as you blasted and rammed your way through the enemies.

What was cool about the game was the varying weapons at your disposal. Not only could you blast the bad guys with machine guns, you could also power up with rocket launchers, oil slicks and smoke screens. Muhahahaaa!

If all else failed you could try and ram or nudge the bad guys into the road edge, disposing of them nicely.

The terrain changed too as you traversed the course. As the game moved on you were eventually given the chance to drive into a waterway. Here your car entered a boathouse and automatically became amphibious, skimming along the surface of the water with ease.

Now it was time for waterborne arcade action as you battled away against enemy speedboats et al.

Arcade action with Spy Hunter on the ZX Spectrum

Every now and again the weapons van would appear on the roadway, ready to supply you with weapons power ups. To gain the power up you had to drive into the van by moving behind it and driving up the rear ramp to get on board. Once you had been powered up you would then roll out the back and the game would continue.

There were plenty of different enemies to dispose of (in classic arcade fashion), each one with different strengths and weaknesses:

The 'Road Lord' was bulletproof and had to be rammed off the road
The 'Switch Blade' had nasty extended buzz-saw hubcaps to slice you up nicely
The 'Barrel Dumper' dumped barrels in water ahead of you, sneaky b*stard
The 'Enforcer' fired a powerful shotgun
The 'Mad Bomber' aimed bombs at you
The 'Doctor Torpedo' unsurprisingly tried to torpedo your ass into oblivion...

All of this aside running off the road or water caused you to crash and lose a life...

On release:
Well the arcade game was a huge hit so the converion was eagerly awaited. We were glad to get a nice conversion of the game (Crash Magazine awared it Smash status) and not a quick cash in. I suppose it could have been better with some improved sound effects and smoother scrolling, but overall it was playable, fun and addictive. It did well on the Spectrum and was a big hit.

The test of time:
This classic game is still quite fun in a quirky way. Picking up the different weapons does not have the wow factor it did back then, but you know what, it plays quite well and brings back the nostalgia nicely. Not bad at all.

We recommend getting hold of the real Sinclair hardware but if not then download this one for a ZX Spectrum emulator. Alternatively you could try and play it online.

Please see our other ZX Spectrum retro game reviews and programmer interviews - all links are listed in alphabetical order. Cheers guys.

GENRE: Arcade Game
RELEASE DATE: 1985
RELEASED BY: US Gold
DEVELOPER(S): Denton Designs and F David Thorpe
PRICE: £7.95

Classic arcade action...
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Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games

5 Oct 2010

Spectrum Games - Flight Path 737 - Classic ZX Spectrum Games

Flight Path 737 ZX Spectrum
It's time to look at an all time turkey again. This festering turd of a game was unleashed upon us ZX Spectrum gamers back in 1985.

In fact it is such a bad computer game / flight simulator that not only is it one of the worst ever games on the ZX Spectrum, it must be one of the worst games ever. Period.

Now that I've got that out of the way....


Flight Path 737 ZX Spectrum After the basic loading screen you got a slightly odd yet decent piece of music to set the scene. It has nothing to do with flying but must be the best part of the game. Trust me, it get's worse from here on in.

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So - onto the flying excitement. Hold onto your hats as we get to grips with our arcade joysticks...

The aim of this 'classic arcade game' (ahem), was to take off, fly over a mountain range then land on the other side. Hardly a thrilling prospect but I suppose flight-sim fans should like it. If was any good they probably would have.

You were given six skill levels to play with, from first solo (easiest) to test pilot (most difficult). The more difficult the skill level, then the higher the mountains would be. You would also be hit with cross winds, turbulence and even engine fires.

But let's be honest here, the game was ultra difficult without any of the extra Roland Emmerich type disasters thrown in.

The static mountains in one of the worst games of all timeThe instructions supplied with the game were a joke, they didn't even list the keys to use. Figuring out the controls by trial and error was a thankless task too as the controls are so un-responsive you cannot even tell what is supposed to be happening. You can press a key and wait a week for a response.

Getting airborne was difficult enough as being incorrectly lined up by one pixel would cause the airplane to blow up. Realism at it's best there. You could run out of runway too (even though you can still see it in front of you, stretching away into the distance!) - causing you to crash. How bad can you get?

If you ever did manage to get airborne (you would have more chance standing in the street and flapping your arms) the mountain range would come into view. And it would sit there and not move. Ever. Until you probably crashed into them - despite them still looking like they were miles away from you.

Never in the game did you ever get a sense of movement. Aside from your instrument panel changing, nothing else did. This game is sooo bad I just can't describe it. The constant engine drone sound effect is enough to send you over the edge for good.

I'd rather listen to a record by David Hasselhoff on repeat for 24 hours. Honestly, I would.

On Release:
Good old Crash Magazine described this game as being a 'botch up'. How right they were. They scored it with an overall of 4% - personally I think they were generous with that. At £5.95 it was a joke - the only way you could recoup some money was by using it as a blank cassette. An abomination of a game and the lowest score in Crash Mag I can ever remember.

The Test Of Time:
Well it has not improved with age. An utterly disgusting game. I think it was probably written in BASIC (given the keys being more sluggish than Jabba-the-hut), but even so it is no excuse for being so bad. Have I said it was a terribe, terrible game?

We recommend getting hold of the real Sinclair hardware but if not then do not download this one for a ZX Spectrum emulator. Alternatively you could try and not play it online.

Please see our other ZX Spectrum retro game reviews and programmer interviews - all links are listed in alphabetical order. Cheers guys.

GENRE: Arcade Game / Flight Sim / P*ss take
RELEASE DATE: 1985
RELEASED BY: Anirog Software
DEVELOPER(S): Stefan Walker
PRICE: £5.95 - far too much for a blank cassette ;-)

Classic Arcade Gaming - I run out of runway:

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Classic Arcade Gaming - I fail again:

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Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games

4 Oct 2010

Spectrum Games - Chuckman - Classic ZX Spectrum Game

ZX Spectrum Chuckman
Another 'classic' game from the slightly odd software house, Custom Cables International (who were also responsible for the unofficial Star Wars computer game 3D Star Wars.

I remember picking this maze like arcade game up for my ZX Spectrum when it was re-released by Mastertronic at £1.99.

I tell you what, for £1.99 it wasn't bad.

It's hard to get into and fast moving, but if you persevere with it a good (if slightly basic) little arcade game is hidden away in there...

Chuckman ZX SpectrumThe aim of the game is pretty simple: guide your hero around a maze along the yellow paths to diffuse the numerous time bombs. So finding the bombs is your first problem, but as usual there are plenty of pitfalls to hinder your progress

From time to time there are earthquakes (eh?) which leave a nice gaping hole in the path - which will kill you if you fall in. These have to be repaired or if you can find a way you can 'go around' them.

There are also stomping boots wandering about the maze which are out to... stomp you. Avoid these at all costs as instant death occurs if you touch them. The mazes were usually quite fiendish too so there were plenty of dead-ends to leave you able to see the bomb, but not reach it. A puzzle game to make you a little tetchy.

Chuckman negotiates the maze on the Speccy...In a neat touch the mazes are generated randomly each time the game is started, so that no two games are ever the same. Pretty cool.

Dotted around the maze are wheelbarrows (to fill in any holes), toolkits (to diffuse the bombs - do not touch a bomb without carrying one of these!), rollerskates (which scare away the stomping boots - weird!) and food (to top up your energy levels).

As you move around the maze your energy slowly decreases, and firing up the map drains it even quicker. Eating food along the way is essential as when your energy level hits zero your wee guy is kaputski.

The scrolling is quite smooth and the game cracks along at a fair old pace. Once you get the hang of it the simplicity of it means a fair amount of fun as you try and find the next bomb before it explodes. There are also the usual skill levels and high score table - and a huge scrolling message every time you lose the game, which is a little bizarre. Not bad overall and a fun puzzle game.

The test of time:
It's simple, but it is pure puzzle and arcade action. The graphics are very simple (and were back in the day), but the scrolling works well, the action is fast and the controls are responsive. Oh, and try leaving chuckman alone for a little while and watch what he does - another little neat touch.

We recommend getting hold of the real Sinclair hardware but if not then download this one for a ZX Spectrum emulator. Alternatively you could try and play it online.

Please see our other ZX Spectrum retro game reviews and programmer interviews - all links are listed in alphabetical order. Cheers guys.

GENRE: Arcade Game / Puzzle Game
RELEASE DATE: 1983
RELEASED BY: Customer Cables International then re-released by Mastertronic
DEVELOPER(S): K Baker
PRICE: £5.00 then £1.99 on re-release

Classic scrolling arcade action:
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Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games

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