ZX Spectrum Games

ZX Spectrum Games

31 Aug 2009

ZX Spectrum Games - Turtle Timewarp - ZX Spectrum retro game

ZX Spectrum Turtle Timewarp
Another lesser known gem from the same team that brought us the excellent (but tough!) Fahrenheit 3000, Turtle Timewarp was released for the ZX Spectrum by Perfection Software in July 1984.

Turtle Timewarp was based on the classic arcade game Turtles

This classic ZX Spectrum game was set in a future where the world had suffered from thermonuclear destruction. The last humans had long since departed and the main life form left behind was turtles.

You took the role of the main turtle - the biggest and strongest of all the survivors. It was up to you to collect the smaller turtles and carry them (on your back) to the relative safety of the remaining human homes.

In amongst all of this some aliens had paid the earth a visit and left behind a series of timegates which you used to 'warp' to other lands (other levels in the game). Time to do the 'Turtle Timewarp'! Let the retro gaming commence!

ZX Spectrum Games Turtle Timewarp
Things are never that simple though. In this entry in ZX Spectrum retro gaming the land was populated with various mutated creatures who all had a desire to munch away at any shell carrying creature - namely you. A creature could be temporarily halted by dropping a stun bomb in it's path which would leave it dazed for a few seconds. You were only allowed one stun bomb on the game screen at a time though.

Every now and again your lair would appear in the centre of the screen where you could collect extra stun bombs - and you needed them.

Each screen was maze like in design - slightly reminiscent of Pac Man in look and feel. Some areas of the maze had little 'inshots' and in each one of these there was a question mark (eight question marks in total).

The question marks would either hold a small buddy for you to carry to the human house (which appeared once you picked up the little critter), or another mutated nasty. You would not know either way until you ran into the question mark. If it was a nasty you had to be quick smart and do a runner before it killed you!

ZX Spectrum game Turtle Timewarp Level 1Your turtle always 'ran' under it's own steam making this arcade game fast moving at all times. So, if you pressed 'left' it would continue moving to the left until it either hit a wall or you changed direction. This aspect required that you timed your movements well to make the character move around the maze smoothly and took a few goes to get the hang of.

To complete the level you had avoid the nasties which constantly roamed around the maze and collect five turtles and drop them off at each human house.

Once all five had been deposited the warp gate would appear in the centre of the screen which you could would jump into and materialise on the next level. Each level was different in layout - requiring a slightly different strategy to complete. It goes without saying that each new level was more difficult than the last!

On Release:
Turtle Timewarp was another title from the then newly formed Perfection Software which was generally recieved well by ZX Spectrum magazines and gamers alike. It was original in concept (as far as Speccy games go there was nothing else like it), and people enjoyed the nice theme tune at the beginning coupled with good presentation. The game was (for most!) far from easy, and took a few plays to get into. Once you got the hang of it you realised just how addictive it could be. The graphics were functional and good enough for this type of game - the turtle retreating into his shell was a nice touch! It was generally regarded as a nice and simple game which managed to combined puzzle elements with arcade action well. At only £4.95 it represented good value for money too.

The test of time:
Well, here in Spectrum Games we can see that Turtle Timewarp has aged considerably. This is mainly due to the simple nature of the graphics, but once you get past the scant visuals, the gameplay becomes apparent. It's still fun, fast moving and hectic, and certainly has that 'one more go' factor. This game is not easy by any means (I still can't get past level three!) but it does keep you coming back for more. A good little retro game.

Grab your best turtle-neck sweater and do the timewarp again!

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

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

GENRE: Arcade puzzle game
RELEASED BY: Perfection Software
DEVELOPER(S): Tim Williams and Chris Jones
PRICE: £4.95 (re-released the following year on a budget label at £2.99)

Let's do the timewarp agaaain! Turtle Timewarp in Spectrum Games:

30 Aug 2009

ZX Spectrum Games - Horace Goes Skiing - ZX Spectrum retro game

ZX Spectrum Games Horace Goes Skiing
ZX Spectrum Horace Goes Skiing
Another classic ZX Spectrum game (one that would run on the 16K Spectrum) that is surely fondly remembered by most.

Horace was a ZX Spectrum Games character that starred in four separate adventures. Horace goes skiing was his second outing on the ZX Spectrum, and was almost 'two games in one'.

The game was coded by William Tang (of Melbourne House fame) and released by Sinclair Research in 1982 - making it one of the early titles for the Sinclair machine.

The first part of the game was getting Horace across the road to the ski hut to purchase the equipment allowing him to ski on the slopes. This part of the game was really very similar to the classic arcade game Frogger - and was a decent rendition to be honest.

At the beginning of the game Horace had $40 to spend. If he was knocked down whilst crossing the (busy) road it cost $10 in ambulance fees. After you had guided Horace across the road, you had to walk him into the door of the hut where he would fetch his skis at a cost of $10.

Horace could not enter the ski hut unless he could afford the hire charge. If Horace had spent all his money on ambulance fees, then it was possible to accumulate points and money by crossing the road repeatedly - very dangerous. At every 1000 points scored Horace received a $10 bonus.

You would notice when doing this that the traffic became more hectic.

Anyway - once you had collected the skis it was time to race back across the road and onto the slopes.

Now the game switched to the actual ski-ing, the second part of the game. You had to slalom down the ski-slope (the Hannekon run), avoiding any trees and going between the flags.

Horace goes on the piste - ZX Spectrum
Points were scored for travelling between the flags - and as before $10 was awarded for every 1000 points gained. Hitting trees caused Horace to fall over - but if his ski's were undamaged then you could carry on down the slope. If they were broken then it was back to the busy highway to purchase them again...

You gained more points for succesfully moving through the end flags - and once you had conquered the slope it was back to that insanely busy road to get your next set of ski's...

On Release:
Well Hungry Horace had been a popular game on the ZX Spectrum and his next outing proved to be equally as popular. It was quite well received, the colourful graphics and different stages went down well with gamers. In the early days of the ZX Spectrum, arcade games like this were quite amazing...

The test of time:
Well old father time has not been too kind to poor old Horace. But here in Spectrum games we look back at this one with a lot of fondness. It was never a brilliant game (even back then) but it reminds us of that magical time when colour graphics, slightly jerky scrolling and sparse sound effects seemed to be the pinnacle of technological achievements. We also reckon it was written in BASIC - not bad at all if so.

Get out the cowbells and download Horace Goes Skiing for the ZX Spectrum. Alternatively you could try and play it online.

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

GENRE: Arcade game
RELEASED BY: Sinclair Research Ltd
DEVELOPER(S): William Tang
PRICE: £1.99 - UK

Mart really needs to drink more before going on the piste in a really early arcade game...

27 Aug 2009

ZX Spectrum Games - Formula One Simulator - ZX Spectrum retro game

ZX Spectrum Formula One Simulator
Ahh now this one takes me back (but necessarily in a good way!).

I had the Mastertronic version for the ZX Spectrum - and thought it would be comparable to Chequered Flag by Melbourne House. Not quite. Time to review another classic game turkey...

This computer game was first released for the ZX Spectrum in 1984 (overpriced at a whopping £8.95!) by Spirit Software (who went on to manufacture the Spirit Steering Wheel and taking orders for it before going bust) before being snapped up by Mastertronic and re-released in their budget £1.99 range.

ZX Spectrum Games Formula One Simulator
Not A Bad Loading Screen I Suppose
It should be noted that the original version (published by Spirit) came bundled with the steering wheel which was actually just a yellow plastic circle - a bit like a lid from a small tin! Even at the time it was laughable...

So - Mastertronic named it 'Formula One Simulator' - and even as a budget game it was a bit of a non-starter.

One side of the tape had the 16K Spectrum version, the other the 48K Spectrum version. The fact that a 16K version of a 3D racing simulator was present should have set the crapness alarm bells ringing.

Anyway, according to the instructions, the game was 'based on formula one levels of acceleration, braking and road holding'. Apparently the program had been developed for the ultimate in realism. Ahem.

The 48K version gave you a total of ten tracks to race around which were:
Silverstone, Brands Hatch, Monaco, Hockenheim, Osterreichring,Kyalmi, Zolder, Paul Richard, Monza and Zandvoort.

The view of the game was the traditional 'cockpit view', looking forwards as you were seated in the powerful car. Your drivers hands could even be seen as they gripped the steering wheel in grim determination.

Once you had chosen a track you could either practice a circuit or go straight to qualifying. Your qualifying time would determine where you would begin in the following race.

As soon as you started driving you knew something just wasn't right. The left and right controls were pretty sluggish and when you turned either left or right you 'hands' (and steering wheel) didn't actually move - but you did expect them to! Due to this there was no feeling of steering at all. With barely any roadside features to see - the driving effect was pretty sparse.

Mastertronic (unwittingly hilariously) included this little gem in the instructions:

'Steering wheel - Use a sellotape tin or similar object, about 4 1/2" indiameter and 1" deep, hold it at the top and position it at the centre of top row of keys so that it nestles against the ridge at the back. Roll it to theleft or right with moderate pressure to steer. To begin with, a rocking motion on the wheel may help get the feel of the car.' - Priceless!

Check out the menu options (option 6 is where it's at!) in this not-so-classic arcade game:

ZX Spectrum Games Formula One Menu ScreenPlease - if anyone tried this, you've got to let us know!

Formula One awesomeness:

A white knuckle ride... Formula One SimulatorPlease see our other (more in depth!) ZX Spectrum game reviews - all links are listed in alphabetical order. Cheers guys.

If you want a laugh download this for a Spectrum emulator - you may even be able to play this online. Get the real hardware and a tin lid for the ultimate in realism!

GENRE: Arcade Game (Driving Simulator)
RELEASED BY: Spirit Software then Mastertronic
DEVELOPER(S): S C Stephens
PRICE: Originally a crazy £8.95 then a more realistic £1.99 by Mastertronic

A succesfull qualifying lap in this not so good arcade game:

Pure arcade game action - it's a short lived race...

Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games

Download Spectrum - Spectrum Download - Download Spectrum

Download Spectrum
So - you've (hopefully) read some of our reviews of these classic games for the ZX Spectrum, and now you want to know where to get your hands on them.

Well, we don't keep a download section here - there is no point. World Of Spectrum have got it covered with a HUGE library of ZX Spectrum titles.

On there you will find almost every arcade game and text adventure ever released for each machine type. That's right, there you can get versions for the standard 48K (and even 16K) ZX Spectrum, and versions for the ZX Spectrum 128 (obviously covering the ZX Spectrum +2 and ZX Spectrum +3 respectively)
Download Spectrum (48K)The World Of Spectrum archive is split into various sections covering arcade games, adventure games, educational software, demo tapes and so on. The two main categories of interest to most of us are of course 'Games' and 'Text Adventures'.

The arcade games archive is here.
The text adventure archive is here.

Each archive lists the games alphabetically - it really couldn't be easier to get what you want!

So follow those links to get those titles, but here are a couple of direct links for starters:

Download Spectrum Harrier Attack Get Harrier Attack

Download Spectrum Green BeretGet Green Beret

Let the nostalgia overload commence, and Download Spectrum games!

A note on unavailable titles (Download Spectrum)
There are a few titles for the ZX Spectrum where distribution has been denied by the publishers.

It should be noted that games developed by Ultimate:Play the game (now known as Rare) are not available for distribution and cannot be downloaded for an emulator.

Games developed by Odin (such as Hearland and Nodes of Yesod) are also not available to download for an emulator.

You may also come across some arcade conversions which are also denied distribution (such as CapCom games like Side Arms and 1942)

It's a shame that these classic games are unavailable at the moment - we hope that one day they will all be made available for download.

Download Spectrum (128) Anyway - there must be more than 90% of Spectrum titles available for Spectrum Download, there is enough in there to keep you going for weeks, months... years.

The ZX Spectrum will always continue thanks to the likes of World of Spectrum.

Cheers all,

Mart and Bri.

Download those classic arcade games

24 Aug 2009

ZX Spectrum Game - Return of the Jedi: Death Star Battle - ZX Spectrum retro game

ZX Spectrum Return of the Jedi: Death Star Battle
A strange one this - but since we're in a bit of a Star Wars mode at the moment, just like Red 5 - it's going in.

Death Star Battle was released for the ZX Spectrum by Parker Software (who were famous for their version of QBert) in 1984.

Neither of us ever played this game back in the day (I certainly can't remember it - I don't think many Speccy gamers can!)

ZX Spectrum Games Death Star Battle
Anyway - this arcade game was a more famous Star Wars computer game on the Atari 8-bit machines - and it looks like it didn't convert to the ZX Spectrum well.

Return of the Jedi: Death Star Battle put you at the helm of the Millennium Falcon in a quest to destroy the Galactic Empires most feared ultimate weapon, the Death Star.

First you had to survive the attacks of the Tie Interceptors as they pursued you. When you reached the Death Star you had to anticipate the seemingly 'random way' in which portals in the enemy field opened up (it's not good I can tell you). These portals allowed Tie Interceptors access to their base - thus providing you with a chance to penetrate the Death Star's defences.

Once you had penetrated the enemy shield you still had to contend with a heatseeking 'Death Ray' - sound really B movie eh?

ZX Spectrum Death Star Battles
Now you had to blast the Death Star with your pulse laser until you had cleared a route to the energy core - hitting that would blow the huge space station into a fearsome explosion which would send hundreds of blazing fireballs hurtling into space.

Now you needed 'Solo like' reflexes to avoid this debris as you made good your escape. This had to be done before the Death Star construction was completed - otherwise it was game over.

Every now and again Darth Vaders shuttlecraft would roam across the screen. If it hit you then you lost one of your five lives. It was possible to destroy it with a sustained barrage of lazer fire, but remember kid, don't get cocky.

Well... what can I say? I can't judge this game properly as I never ever played it back in the 80's. All I can say is playing it now was not enjoyable. The graphics are poor (and would have been at the time) and the gameplay is just plain odd. The 'seemingly random' appearance of the force field portals are awful - it's all about luck rather than judgement - and in my experience there's no such thing as luck...

Perhaps someone can remember this game. If so - please give us a comment or two! Perhaps you have downloaded it or even managed to play it online.

Please see our other (more in depth!) ZX Spectrum game reviews - all links are listed in alphabetical order. Cheers guys.

GENRE: Arcade game
RELEASED BY: Parker Software
DEVELOPER(S): Les Fairbrother
PRICE: No idea

I've played games from one end of the ZX Spectrum to the other, seen a lot of strange stuff in Return of the Jedi: Death Star Battle

Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games

21 Aug 2009

ZX Spectrum Games - Return Of The Jedi - ZX Spectrum retro game

ZX Spectrum Games Return Of The Jedi
ZX Spectrum Games Return Of The Jedi
Domark had developed the previous two Star Wars Games (Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back) for the ZX Spectrum and completed the trilogy with their conversion of Return Of The Jedi early in 1989.

The third arcade game was popular, but never quite reached the legendary status of the original vector graphics Star Wars original. Still, it was a nice way to round off the trilogy.

Without a vector graphic in sight, we blast off into a galaxy far far away....
Oh, and it was quite a long time ago (twenty years!) too.

Taking the popular isometric top down view, Return of the Jedi was an arcade scroller. Starting off as Princess Leia, you hurtled through the forest of endor (a yellow pathway with a few trees) on a speederbike avoiding imperial stormtroopers (also on speederbikes) and the odd tree. Bizarrely enough the stormtroopers were actually good shots here taking you down efficiently. So already we're not staying faithful to the films! ;-)

You also had to watch out for those pesky ewoks and their trip wire device which would take you out. I though they were on your side?

If you made it to the end of the level you were treated to a bunch of ewoks doing some sort of dance. The whole scene looks a bit dodgy it you ask me!

Now that you've jedi-mind wiped that image out of your head you move to the dreaded Deathstar. Now you were piloting the fastest hunk o' junk in the galaxy with the smoothest talkin' granny permed pilot of them all, Lando Calrissian.

Trapped next to the Deathstar by a fleet of Star Destroyers (it's a TRAP!) you had to take out tie-fighters and survive long enough whilst Chewie made his way to the imperial bunker on Endor (which we will come to in a moment)

Leia rides a speeder

So you flicked between Lando and Chewie, and as Chewie (still in the forest) you had to avoid and destroy oncoming boulders and logs as you moved along the scrolling landscape. Once you reached the imperial bunker you could blow it sky high - freeing Lando to begin his Deathstar attack run.

Again it was a diagonal scrolling level, and the object was to avoid the dangerous protrusions jutting from every wall as they scrolled towards you. Avoiding enough protrusions (and the TIE fighter that tailed you) eventually led you to the central reactor, which had to be destroyed (oh so THAT's how you destroy a DeathStar!)

Anyway, DeathStar number two destroyed, it was back to Endor for another speeder bike run in a thicker part of the forest - very similar to level one. One more dodgy Ewok dance later and once again you had defeated the evil empire. Hooray!

On Release:
Well by 1989 the Star Wars games were becoming a little 'old hat' - the film had been released six years earlier. Response the Return of the Jedi was pretty good, but it was never regarded as a 'must have' game. The graphics were nothing to write home about, but Domark did manage to capture the spirit of the arcade game quite well.

The test of time:
Well, Return of the Jedi really is a product of it's era. In some ways it seems a bit older than the original Star Wars, but maybe that's just me. With it being a sort of pretty good game back then, it's decidedly pretty bad now! Here in ZX Spectrum Games we like this one purely for nostalgia. The opening menu's are nice and it does have a nice theme tune (the Ewok celebration piece!)

Oh, and why does the loading screen have Frankenstien's monster holding a lightsaber on it?

So use the force and load this one up. Please see our other ZX Spectrum game reviews - all links are listed in alphabetical order. Cheers guys.

GENRE: Arcade scroller
RELEASE DATE: Early 1989
DEVELOPER(S): D Kelly, DP Rowson, D Howcroft
PRICE: £9.95 Cassette £14.95 Disk - UK

Leia doesn't get taken from behind in Return of the Jedi on the ZX Spectrum:

Lando is no solo on the ZX Spectrum:

ZX Spectrum Game - Wheelie - ZX Spectrum retro game

ZX Spectrum Wheelie
Microsphere followed up their previous release (The Train Game) and released Wheelie for the ZX Spectrum in 1983 and let's say it was something a little different (in the arcade game genre) when it hit the high street stores.

In Wheelie you had just taken delivery of the ultimate in two-wheeled machines - the powerful four cylinder fuel-injected and turbo charged Zedexaki 500.

ZX Spectrum Games Wheelie
While you were out on the road trying this beast of a bike out, you came across a sign saying ‘Private road — no speed limit to brave riders’. Getting yourself far too excited you entered the driveway and the gates slammed shut behind you. You were now trapped inside Nightmare Park! (Cue scary music)

Your only way out now was to find the ghostrider (how did you know he was there?), who was dozing somewhere off to the right of the park, wake him up and then race against him. The park was full of wildlife, (humorously experts in karate although they never performed any 'moves'), so bumping into any animal was not good for your health (you lost a life).

The scrolling levels were displayed in the form of four ‘roads’ stacked one on top of another like a cross section through underground caverns. The four were not always visible to you, and any road travelled on could run steeply uphill or downhill to another cavern roadway. There were thin ‘uphill/downhill’ lines across some roadway sections, and you could make the bike travel down a level if the down key was pressed, and uphill by pressing the up key.

Apart from the park wildlife (which included jumping kangaroos and giant hedgehogs) there were plenty of other obstacles to overcome.

Humps in the road could only be got over by accelerating rapidly and performing a ‘wheelie’ which allowed the front wheel to ride up and over the hump. Sometimes, in true Eddie Kidd or Evil Knievel style, you had to jump over a double decker bus! Getting the timing right took a fair bit of skill and practice: going too slow meant you hurtled into the roof of the bus. Too fast and your rider was sent flying through the air.

On top of all of this some sections of the caverns were iced over which had to be ridden over slowly or your poor biker would be sent sprawling.

Running into a dead end killed you if you did not hit the brakes in time, and even going downhill too fast could be rather fatal as your rider went flying over the handlebars.

Gas stations (represented by the word 'GAS') were dotted around the caves and running into them topped your fuel level up to maximum. Each gas station could only be used once though - and if you ran out of gas then once again it was the loss of a life.

Riding through the caves in Wheelie ZX SpectrumTo be promoted to the next level required completing the one you were currently on. You would then be given a code to enter the next stage.

As the game was scrolling you could ride the bike in either direction and sometimes you needed to do this, working out your route by moving up and down through the roads and avoiding the dead-ends. Once you made it to the right hand side of the level you were free to race against the 'ghostrider'.

On Release:
Well Wheelie was certainly something different when it was released on the ZX Spectrum and Microsphere had another hit on their hands. Riding the bike, timing the jumps over parked buses and cars, performing wheelies over humps, searching for fuel and avoiding the nasties made for an exciting arcade game. A biking game like this had never been seen on the Speccy before (bike games were usually in the racing genre) and it established Microsphere in the gaming sector.

The test of time:
Well here in the land of ZX Spectrum Games we do have a soft spot for Wheelie. It was one of the first games I ever played on the Sinclair Spectrum (I borrowed a friends copy) and loved it. You know, it's still not bad and riding around the caves jumping over buses is still good for a laugh. The sound effects are a bit grating and the scrolling does show it's age. This is made even funnier by the fact that Microsphere stated that Wheelie would contain 'some of the best graphics you're ever likely to see on a Spectrum' :-)

It's really retro now, more so than many other games in my opinion, but stick with it and you'll see there is a good little game in there - a good example of a really early classic arcade game for the ZX Spectrum.

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

Give Wheelie a go. It's 'wheelie' good. I 'wheelie' mean it etc etc....

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

GENRE: Arcade game
RELEASED BY: Microsphere
DEVELOPER(S): Microsphere
PRICE: £5.95 - UK

Mart needs to rollback the years in Wheelie... classic arcade action:

Arcade Games and Classic Games

19 Aug 2009

ZX Spectrum Game - Spectipede - ZX Spectrum retro game

ZX Spectrum Spectipede
The classic game was first published in 1983 by R&R Software and was then re-released for the ZX Spectrum in 1984 by Mastertronic.

At only £1.99 it was a decent version of the classic arcade game 'Centipede'.

Kevin Allison (who didn't seem to develop any other ZX Spectrum Games) created a well rounded version of the game with plenty of options and features, and it was all crammed into 16K of RAM too.

No real story to Spectipede (or Centipede for that matter) it was classic arcade action and a case of shoot the nasties and survive as long as possible.

ZX Spectrum Spectipede
The Famous Mastertronic Loader
Different creatures inhabited the screen such as spiders, scorpions, fleas and of course the 'Spectipede'. Plenty of green coloured mushrooms were dotted around the screen too and things would get busy pretty quickly.

The aim of the game was to shoot the Spectipede which headed for you avoiding the mushrooms as it moved.

If you hit the body of the Spectipede it would split in two, creating two Spectipedes. Hit any of these in the body and it would split again, and so on...

Fleas descended the screen leaving new mushrooms behind (mushroom making fleas?) and needed two hits to kill them, speeding up after the first hit. Sneaky eh?

Scorpions wandered across the screen poisoning any mushrooms they touched.

Spectipedes would drop straight to the bottom of the screen when they ran into a poisoned mushroom, but if you were quick you could get underneath it and destroy it with rapid fire as it descended straight down.

Whilst all of this was going on Spiders would randomly appear and try to jump on you. This game was rapid arcade action all the way.

ZX Spectrum Games Spectipede in game screen
Mushrooms All Round
The game would award you with an extra 1500 points for clearing a screen (by destroying the Spectipede) and an extra life for every 20000 points gained.

As you progressed through the levels the game really did hot up and took a lot of skill (and luck!) to keep going.

One or two players could take part, in two player mode you took alternate goes on each life lost.

The keyboard play was nice and responsive and most joystick types were supported by the game too.

Oh, and the cassette sleeve and inlay had slightly bizarre and cartoony images.

ZX Spectrum Spectipede Cassette Inlay On Release:
This game was never a massive hit and I can only remember the Mastertronic release. With this game being available in 1983 and also running on a 16K Spectrum it really is one of the early gaming classics for the Sinclair machine. We are talking real retro gaming with this title! Games like this were still popular in 1983 and here we had a really good version of it for the ZX Spectrum. At only £1.99 you couldn't really go wrong and it was regarded as one of the better Centipede clones you could get.

The test of time:
Well here in the land of ZX Spectrum Games we have a real soft spot for this classic game. When you play it you just know it really is one of those early simple games that is all about fast action and quick reflexes. As the 1980's wore on games became more complex in concept, design, story and graphics. Consequently Spectipede is a playable version of a classic game, and would probably keep your attention for a good twenty minutes. Not bad, not bad at all...

Hone those reflexes and download Spectipede for the ZX Spectrum. Alternatively you could try and play online.

Please see our other game reviews - all links are listed in alphabetical order. Cheers guys.

GENRE: Arcade Game
RELEASED BY: R&R Software then re-released by Mastertronic
DEVELOPER(S): Kevin Allison
PRICE: £1.99 - UK

Mart used to be good at this, honest! Classic Arcade Action:

Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games

16 Aug 2009

ZX Spectrum Game - Zynaps - ZX Spectrum retro game

ZX Spectrum Zynaps
Yet another quality ZX Spectrum title from Dominic Robinson, Steve Turner, Steve Crow and Hewson.

Zynaps was released in the summer of 1987 and proved that those bods over at Graftgold and Hewson still had what it took when creating quality arcade games or shoot em ups.

First of all Hewson were always well known for polished technical programming (just look at Technician Ted and Uridium for example) and this game featured animation at 25 frames per second, high resolution multicoloured scrolling graphics (not easy to accomplish on the Spectrum), a 3 dimensional parallax scrolling starfield and of course a 'myriad' of sprites.

ZX Spectrum Zynaps
There was not a huge back story to Zynaps - it was a good old fashioned arcade game (shoot em up), right to left scrolling and borrowing heavily from the classic arcade game Nemesis. For fans of this type of game, Zynaps was a must have title.

Anyway, this game was set in an alien infested planetary system.The game began with our hero escaping in Scorpion fighter from an alien station far out in deep, deep space.

After lengthy fighting our hero had discovered the location of the alien base and the final conflict was about to begin...

And so began the game.

Old School arcade action in Zynaps ZX Spectrum
Classic Gaming on the ZX Spectrum
Your fighter (The MK1 Scorpion) was supplied with a wide range of sophisticated equipment and weaponry all of which was powered by an internally mounted fuel scoop.

Armed with wing mounted pulse lasers as standard, further weapon powerups could also be added such as homing missiles, seeker missiles and plasma bombs to take out ground based targets.

In the usual arcade game style, shooting down a wave of enemy fighters would leave behind a blob of fuel which could be scooped up.

The first powerup to you was 'speed up' which increased your ships speed - but if you did not want this then you would wait and collect another fuel blob which then moved the powerup selection to 'increase firepower' and so on. This way you could pick and choose which powerups you wanted.

Once you had powered your ship up (you needed to as the game progressed too) you could dole out plenty of destruction to the alien craft and eventually alien motherships.

There was plenty of fancy flying required to manouver around hazards and avoid asteriods - all whilst trying to not be hit by enemy fire. All in all this game was straightforward arcade action in the traditional style which managed to get the balance of playability and difficulty just right. Hewson also managed to create nice and colourful graphics with barely any of the dreaded Spectrum attribute clash - more slick programming.

Games like this proved that there was still plenty of life left in the shoot em up genre by 1987 if it was executed properly.

On Release:
Fans of shoot em ups and the Nemesis arcade game loved this effort from Hewson. It was slick, playable, hard (but fair) and highly addictive. ZX Spectrum gamers bible Crash magazine awarded the game an overall score of 91% praising it for it's polished presentation and overall addictive qualities. It was well worth the asking price of £7.95 too. Zynaps was yet another big hit for Hewson, who barely put a foot wrong during the Speccy years.

The test of time:
Well here in Spectrum Games we still dig out this gaming classic every now and again for a quick blast. The game is still playable and for pure old-school arcade action you can't really go wrong. Still playable, still fun, Zynaps is a true classic game.

Hone those reflexes and load it up - it's still good.

We recommend getting hold of the real Sinclair Hardware but if not them download zynaps for a ZX Spectrum emulator. Alternatively you could try and play it online.

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

GENRE: Scrolling arcade game
RELEASE DATE: Summer of 1987
DEVELOPER(S): Dominic Robinson, Stephen Crow, Steve Turner
PRICE: £7.95 - UK

Mart needs some flying lessons from Major Lawrence Bartle Frere in Zynaps - a classic arcade game for the ZX Spectrum:

Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games

14 Aug 2009

ZX Spectrum Game - Scumball - ZX Spectrum retro game

ZX Spectrum Scumball
Cult budget programmer Peter Gough (anyone remember the playable shooter Gunstar?) did it again and came up trumps with a gem of a ZX Spectrum game in Scumball.

This game was released in 1988 by Bulldog and at only £1.99 was an absolute steal.

In Scumball your job was to cleanse the sewers and destroy the uber germ leader, the slime monster.

Taking control of a sanitising robot named LINDA (Laser Incorporated Nasties Disposal Android - Gough's games tended to have plenty of humour in them) you had to enter the sewers and kill every nasty that got in your way. Talk about germ warfare.

ZX Spectrum Games Scumball
First things first - the game was very similar in look and feel to the classic ZX Spectrum game Starquake.

Instead of the game character BLOB we had LINDA. The graphical style (some of the rocky platforms were very reminiscent) and animation certainly had a similar look to Steve Crow's work - but this was no bad thing!

LINDA kills all germs. Dead. ZX Spectrum Scumball

The game was a flick screen platform game with the usual weird range of nasties to avoid and kill, items to collect and use and also various bonus features to pick up.

The mission, which you had already accepted, was to collect eight grenades (one at a time) and deposit each of them in the lair of the slime monster.

Once all eight had been deposited the slime monster could be blown into tiny slimy pieces and victory was yours. You would have killed all germs. Dead.

Of course there were plenty of nasties out to stop you. Mutated insects, giant crabs, snakes and other nasty sewer dwellers would all sap some of LINDA's energy - and if the energy level reached zero the game was over.

This game was a very good arcade game (adventure) mixing good puzzle solving elements with jumping and exploring action. Your character (which was easy to manouver and highly responsive) was also affected by gravity when jumping around and falling. Nice stuff.

With plenty of screens to explore and solve (mapping the game was handy as it was quite large), smooth animation and fast colourful graphics, Scumball was an essential ZX Spectrum purchase (a steal at the price) for flick screen fans, arcade game fans and platform game fans.

On Release:
When Scumball was released it was a top, top budget title. Gamers enjoyed the character physics, the colourful environments and superbly animated nasties. As a budget game it really stood out and was well worth the asking price. By 1988 the ZX Spectrum scene was unfortunately in decline due to the lure of 16-bit machines, but cheap and arcade games like this proved that there was life left in the old dog just yet. This game did pretty well and deservedly so.

The test of time:
Well you know this classic game just has something about it. It was obviously technically impressive back in 1988 but even now it is still playable and fun. I always did like a good platform game and this is pretty much as good as any - there is plenty of variety in the screens and the game also has plenty of challenge in it. Here in the land of Spectrum Games we regard this one as a hidden gem - pure retro game charm.

Stick this one on - you'll never have so much fun cleaning!

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

GENRE: Arcade Game (Flick screen platform game)
RELEASED BY: Bulldog Software
DEVELOPER(S): Peter Gough
PRICE: A paltry £1.99 - UK

LINDA starts to clean house in yet another classic arcade adventure:

Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games

12 Aug 2009

ZX Spectrum Games - Robin Of The Wood - ZX Spectrum

ZX Spectrum Games Robin of the WoodZX Spectrum Games Robin Of The Wood
Odin had already surprised everyone with their first game Nodes of Yesod and followed that one up with another quality ZX Spectrum release, Robin Of The Wood.

Released right at the end of 1985, Robin Of The Wood was a game that loads of us ZX Spectrum gamers asked to be in their Chistmas stocking.

Based on the legendary stories of English folk hero Robin Hood (I'm sure you all know how the story goes) Robin Of The Wood saw our hero battling with the evil sheriff of Nottingham and his Norman army.

The whole story to the game went along the lines of a special arrow which was made of solid silver and engraved with ancient characters and symbols - a shaft of power! The sheriff (boo!) had this arrow in his possesion, but didn't realise it was a magical arrow being the fool that he was. All he knew was that the peasant folk wanted it back.

In fact this arrow was the symbol of peaced and freedom to the Saxons - and more precious than any treasures or money.

It was with this special arrow that the sherriff wanted to draw our Robin (hooray!) out of the woods by offering it as the grand prize in an archery contest. The game was on.

You began the game on the day of the contest. The woods surrounding the sheriff's castle were teeming with his soldiers who were armed with crossbows and would shoot on site.

Robin has made it to the castle ZX SpectrumSo - a couple of your merry men (Will Scarlett and 'Little John') had hidden some quivers of arrows around the forest for you to collect. Apart from the Norman soldiers, witches also inhabited the woods and would be grateful to you if you gave them certain flowers and plants for their potions.

You began the game armed only with a wooden staff (a quarterstaff) in the depths of sherwood forest. Before even thinking about gaining entrance to the sheriff's castle you had to seek out an ancient hermit who had in his posession your sword, your famous and trusty bow and three 'charmed' arrows. As Robin you had to give him bags of gold to trade for each item - and you needed the charmed arrows to enter the contest as they would prevent you from being recognised once inside the castle.

The game was split into three sections which were the forest, the castle dungeons and the castle courtyard. In the forest wild boars had to be avoided (as they caused injury) , the witches would help you (if you helped them by giving them the correct flowers) by whisking you to a new location, and the old hermit would heal you of any injuries as long as you dropped any weapons you were carrying.

If you were really unlucky you would run into the dreaded sheriff and he would send you straight to the dungeons. You could escape if you were holding the correct key....

Once you had obtained all the weapons and infiltrated your way into the castle you were able to enter the tournament and win the magic arrow. The three 'charmed' arrows safeguarded you against being recognised by the Sheriff, but once the last magic arrow had been fired you would quickly be spotted and had to escape before getting caught.

Throughout the game your status was displayed at the bottom of the screen, such as health (represented by a pair of antlers which changed colour according to your energy level) and any objects you were carrying. If Robin's wounds became too severe, he died and the game was over. This was the only life you had at the beginning of the game - extra lives had to be obtained.

On Release:
Spectrum gamers had been impressed with Nodes of Yesod and this new software house Odin delivered again. Robin of the Wood was an impressive ZX Spectrum game - the lush locations, use of colour and character animation were all top notch. Despite it being compared to Ultimate's Sabre Wulf (the forest locations did look a little similar) praise was high and Odin had another hit on their hands. Robin of the Wood was a good game that had the right mix of action and puzzle solving combined with overall style.

The test of time:
Well playing this one again really brought back some memories. The game is of course dated but if you look with your 'retro eyes' you can really see how good this game was back then. Once you begin gathering items like your bow and sword the game opens up a fair bit. Odin are another sofware house that perhaps don't get the recognition they deserve.

Here in ZX Spectrum Games we reckon you should give Robin of the Wood a go - it's a cool retro arcade adventure game.

Don a Michael Praed type wig and... Everything I do....

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

GENRE: Arcade adventure
RELEASE DATE: End of 1985
RELEASED BY: Odin Software
DEVELOPER(S): Odin Software
PRICE: £9.95 - UK

Robin clonks a few heads in sherwood forest in Robin Of The Wood on ZX Spectrum Games:

9 Aug 2009

ZX Spectrum Games - Moon Cresta - ZX Spectrum retro game

ZX Spectrum Games Moon Cresta ZX Spectrum Moon Cresta
I suppose when this game came out in March of 1985 it was already 'old school' then. Does that make this classic ZX Spectrum arcade game old-old school?

Incentive Software (and developers Tim Walter and Philip Taglione) re-created the Nichibutsu arcade original faithfully adding another quality shoot em up to Sinclair's rubber keyed micro.
In true arcade fashion there wasn't really a back story to Moon Cresta, but with action this good you didn't really need one.

The game was a classic arcade shoot em up. Set against a downwards scrolling starfield backdrop you had to blast away at hordes of alien ships. Hordes and hordes of them.

You began Moon Cresta with three lives and in a nice touch each 'life' arrived as part of a three-stage rocket which flew to the top of the screen and then separated.

Your first life was the nose stage of the craft which descended to the lower portion of the screen ready to do battle with the alien menace.

This first stage was armed with a single-firing laser making destroying the alien ships a little tricky with your pea-shooter of a cannon. If you lost that life then the two remaining stages repeat the process leaving you with the middle stage to fight on.

Blasting the alien hordes in Moon Cresta ZX Spectrum Games
The second and third stages each were armed with dual-firing lasers, which made blasting through the bad guys a lot easier. You could move your craft to the left and to the right along the base of the screen - no up and down movements here.

Various waves of the enemy would swoop in and attack you - some of which would split into a smaller alien when shot once. Another hit would finish them off.

After basting your way through a few waves you were faced with a nice little bonus section (as was usual for arcade games): docking the first stage of your craft with the second stage for bonus points. The bonus was based on the time taken to dock as the top craft slowly descended downwards, wavering around. You had to guide it by the left and right controls and applying thrust (with the fire button) to slow the rate of descent. Basically it was very similar to the arcade classic Moonlander - come in too fast and you blow up. Come in too slow and you'll burn away all of your fuel before you dock. Oh the dilemma!

This bonus sequence was then followed by five waves of 'dancing aliens' which included diagonally opposed asteroids and white blobs that morphed into seeking missiles if they were not destroyed in time. The variety of nasties and the way some of them changed kept the pace of the game red hot.

Depending on how good your skills were it was possibe tp 'earn the right' to fight with either two or three rocket stages together as the speed of the aliens increased.

Prety much the full display area was used to depict the action with score lines superimposed at the top of the screen, just like the arcade original.

On Release:
Well as we have said Moon Cresta was already a little old school, a little retro when it was released in 1985 on the ZX Spectrum - but playability never dies and it was a well liked game by Speccy enthusiasts. Fans of pure shoot em up's loved it as did fans of the arcade orginal. Moon Cresta was a breath of fresh air when it was released and sold well.

The test of time:
As we have already said Moon Cresta was already a little 'old school' when it was released in 1985 - and it is a pure shooter of a game. The graphics were nothing special even back then as the game was all about playability, fast reflexes and a faster trigger finger. For those reasons it hasn't dated too badly at all. Still playable, still fun, Moon Cresta is worth playing all over again.
Nice one Incentive.

Load it up and play it - it's a blast.

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

GENRE: Arcade Game
RELEASE DATE: March of 1985
RELEASED BY: Incentive Software
DEVELOPER(S): Tim Walter and Philip Taglione
PRICE: £6.95 - UK

Nice manouvers in Moon Cresta - a very good conversion of the arcade game

7 Aug 2009

ZX Spectrum Game - Earthlight - ZX Spectrum retro game

ZX Spectrum Earthlight
Good old Pete Cooke and Ian Ellery who had previously collaborated on excellent 3D arcade games such as Academy and Tau Ceti came up with another winner for the ZX Spectrum yet again with this classic arcade game.

Pete Cooke was known as a 3D specialist and would port the Commodore Amiga classic game Stunt Car Racer to the ZX Spectrum in 1989.

But enough of the incidental information, Earthlight was released in the summer of 1988 by Firebird software to high praise and numerous accoldades.

ZX Spectrum Earthlight
As soon as the game loaded up you just knew it was going to be good. The nice 'earth rise' loading screen came to life. The games title 'shimmered' as a nice roll-over effect moved from left to right across each letter. All in all, extremely cool.

Moving into the games option screens saw something very similar to a mouse pointer to choose start levels, control method and so on. Once again, pretty smart stuff (especially for the ZX Spectrum) and a little bit ahead of it's time.

The impressive title screen in this classic arcade game:

Anyway, like any good arcade game - this one had an imaginative back story.

An alien named Slaatn was on a routine intergalactic garbage collecting mission. Without warning he was drawn off course by a strong force coming from the direction of Earth and was forced to make a hasty emergency landing on the moon. The Slaatn had landed.

Alone on the airless world, Slaatn had only one chance of escape: Neutralise the moon's box transmitters and eliminate the offending force field. If only Obi-Wan had been around to do this for him....

The game took place over four levels, each of which was divided into eight zones. These zones could be tackled in any order. For some reason the moon's surface was a smooth chequered pattern - but it was pitted with the odd crater and other obstacles.

Planet earth could be seen hanging in space in the background, smoothly rotating at a speed that meant a day would last around two seconds!

The chequered moon is bathed in the glow from Earth-light ZX Spectrum Anyway, using a stolen saucer like craft you had to skim the moon's surface and collect each and every one of these box transmitters. Your craft could move left and right and had a nice and quick top speed. The screen would smoothly scroll as you skimmed along - with impressive parallax perspective as you went.

Your craft could also increase and decrease in height which was useful for avoiding tall structures on the surface. It was also equiped with a finite supply of missiles - and you needed them to take out enemy craft which were out to stop you. Colliding with an alien craft or a structure on the surface reduced your ships shields - and if the shield was fully depleted then you lost one of your three lives.

But the real trick to this game was the 3D effect. You could move the craft 'in' and 'out' of the screen - meaning you could move further 'away' from your own viewpoint. The ship decreased in size perfectly as you moved away - and increased again as you moved 'towards' your viewpoint. You could pull some pretty impressive moves as you skimmed along, climbing and weaving in and out of the moon's obstacles.

To clear a zone you had to collect all the transmitters and clearing all eight zones meant you moved to the next level. You always had to keep and eye on fuel though as running out meant the loss of a life...

On Release:
When Earthlight was released ZX Spectrum gamers were impressed with the polished presentation, the games options (you could configure the game by changing level colours etc) and the fact that it was something a little different. The parallax perspective effect was brilliant and the fact that you cold move in and out of the parallax 'area' added depth (no pun intended) to the gameplay. Requiring brains as well as brawn, Earthlight proved that good games were still being made for the Speccy in 1988. At £7.95 is was great value for money too.

The test of time:
This classic game is still playable - no question. Once you get the hang of the controls you realise what a fun game it is. Here in Spectrum games your humble reviewer here has been playing it regularly for the last couple of days. Because you have to think a fair bit and conserve your fuel and missiles it hasn't dated as much as some other shoot em up's from the 80's. A nice and playable arcade classic.

Come on, it's a marvellous night for a moon-dance. Let youself get carried away by a moonlight shadow. Take a giant leap...

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

GENRE: Arcade Game (Shoot em up)
RELEASE DATE: June of 1988
RELEASED BY: Firebird Software
DEVELOPER(S): Pete Cooke and Ian Ellery
PRICE: £7.95 - UK

Impressive programming in this classic arcade game

Arcade Games, Classic Games and ZX Spectrum Games

5 Aug 2009

ZX Spectrum Game - Gunrunner - ZX Spectrum retro game

ZX Spectrum Gunrunner
Everyone has an off day, a dud, a momentary lapse. Well, this arcade game from Hewson was certainly by their standards, well below par.

For a company associated with high quality arcade games such as Technician Ted, Avalon, Exolon and Uridium, Gunrunner came as a bit of a disappointment.

ZX Spectrum Games Gunrunner
In Gunrunner you had to save a distant ice planet from a bunch of not very nice aliens called the 'Destrovians'. This planet contained an elaborate set of pipes (plutonium pipes) which the Destrovians were going to sabotage. Enter you (as the Gunrunner) so save the day!

The game was a right to left scrolling arcade game played over a total of ten levels. Our main character was quite a nifty soldier, he could run left and right, kneel down and jump. At certain points you would acquire at Jet Pack which allowed you to take to the air and zip along the level rapidly.

As you moved along waves of Destrovians would attack you from both directions - and coming into contact with any of these took away one of your three lives. Losing a life also sent you back to the beginning of the current level. Bummer.

The Destrovians were devious though - you would come across booby trapped sections of pipework; bombs would blow you away and mines would decorate the surroundings using our hero's innards as paint.

Gunrunner begins his run ZX SpectrumYou started this not quite classic game with a standard blaster as a weapon but this could be upgraded by picking up varying weapons left lying around by previous (and unsucessfull) freedom fighters.

These powerups (in classic arcade game fashion) included a tri-directional blaster, a temporary shield, the aforementioned jet-pack and a poison bomb which would take out all destrovians in the immediate vicinity (think smart bomb).

It was possible to have more than one powerup at one time though - so you could cause a lot of destruction with the jet-pack and tri-blaster.

At the end of each level there was a computer station - and once this had been reached then it was onto the next stage. Completing all ten meant the end of the game - and you were a gun-runing hero. Hooray!

On Release:
It has to be said thsi arcade game was a bit of a let-down when it was released. It's not that it was bad game, far from it in fact. It was the fact that it was an average arcade game (in a shoot em up style), and was not of the high quality everyone had come to expect from Hewson. The look and feel was very much like Uridium (the character set, the monochromatic scrolling backdrops, even the enemy aliens moved in the same pattern as the enemy fighters) - without the overall polish and playability. Gunrunner was a moderate hit but never hit the heights of previous releases by Hewson.

The test of time:
Well Gunnrunner was merely 'pretty good' back then, and today it doesn't really offer anything special. The action is lacklustre and the gameplay is pretty flat. Of course most classic games seems simple by todays standards, but some of them (Uridium included) still have a certain amount of playability inside. Gunrunner does not really 'suck you in'. Worth a luck purely for interest.

Stick to your guns - and play any of the other Hewson classic games.

GENRE: Arcade Game
RELEASE DATE: June of 1987
RELEASED BY: Hewson Consultants
DEVELOPER(S): Christian Urquhart and Mike Smith
PRICE: £7.95 - UK

Running a gauntlet in Gunrunner... not quite a classic arcade game

Classic Games and Arcade Games

ZX Spectrum Game - Contact Sam Cruise - ZX Spectrum retro game

ZX Spectrum Contact Sam Cruise
Contact Sam Cruise was released for the ZX Spectrum by Microsphere right at the tail end of 1986; just in time for the Christmas rush.

Contact Sam Cruise was something a bit different to most other titles, film-noir type detective games were not your run of the mill type of game on the ZX Spectrum!

The developers David S Reidy and Keith Warrington had collaborated on the excellent Skool Daze and the equally good Back to Skool previously for Microsphere, and used a similar graphical style to represent the city locations.

ZX Spectrum Games Contact Sam Cruise
Contact Sam Cruise loads up on the ZX Spectrum

Just another quiet day in the Sam Cruise detective agency... My secretary Daisy rattles away at the typewriter and the clackity clack rythm sends me into a distant day dream. It's hot today, too hot, the hazy sunlight is streaming through the venetians and the fan in here just pushes warm air around. We need rain, the hard rain, to wash away this stifling heat and....

The ringing of the phone snaps me out of my stupor, dabbing the sweat from my brow I reach over and pick up the receiver.

Some broad named Dana wants to meet me on the roof of the Hotel Royal - and that's all I got - with no other cases I got no choice. I leave the office and begin the case of 'The bali budgie'....

And so the adventure for you (Sam Cruise) began.

Already the case you were working on had a humorous title - 'The bali budgie' which was obviously a take on 'The maltese falcon'.

Sam Cruise was suitably adorned in trench-coat and trilby hat and could walk along the streets, enter buildings and interact with the environment.

Sam wanders the mean streets in Contact Sam Cruise
Contact Sam Cruise on the ZX Spectrum
As the character you could operate light switches, open and close blinds, use telephones, sabotage fuse-boxes and unlock or force open doors. On top of all this Sam was a sprightly chap and could perform rolls and somersaults which was useful to avoid sniper fire.

Sam was kitted out at the beginning with ten first aid kits (lives), a number of disguises and $50.00 cash.

The cash meter slowly and continuously falls and must be kept above $0.00 or the game is over.

Being shot by a sniper requires the use of a first aid kit, and if you used them all up then once again the game was up.

Entering buildings was really well done. You could go 'inside' the building and walk around, viewing our Sam through the windows. An icon would flash whenever you were next to an important item such as a telephone, which you could then use (you only began the game with the number to your office but gathered more numbers as clues were solved).

In some cases the police would not take kindly to you entering a building (except for number 19 which was a gangster house - they never showed up there!) and would appear on the scene to arrest you. Sabotaging the fuse box (and plunging the building into darkness) could allow you to escape.

Changing into a disguise could also fool the police, although they were wise to a lot of them and proceeded to recognise more of your disguises as the game wore on.

Being a private dick meant that you had to earn cold hard cash. Client fees was one way to earn money, and as certain pieces of the case were solved you would be given a cash advance from your mysterious client.

Luckily for you plenty of paper money was floating around the streets due to a recent bank robbery. Sam could be made to somersault onto any of these rogue bills and if you timed it right you got to keep the bill which could be a dollar or even a whopping five dollars!

It was a good way to keep the cash meter topped up anyway.

The game was over if Sam was shot more than ten times or if he was picked up by the mafia and unceremoniously hurled from the roof of a very tall building. Splat.

The city was nicely represented with a variety of buildings to wander around in. Microshpere managed to use a lot of colour in the locations whilst keeping the game easy on the eyes. Other citizens would go about the city on their daily routines, and of course some of them you would have to talk to.

Solving the case meant fame and fortune for the Sam Cruise detective agency, but 'The Bali Budgie' was never going to be easy...

On Release:
Contact Sam Cruise really was something new on the ZX Spectrum. Microsphere did make games that were a bit 'different', such as Wheelie and Skool Daze. Once again they came up with a winner with this noiresque detective adventure. Gamers enjoyed the interaction with the environment, the range of disguises you could use and simply exploring the well drawn city. The case you were on was tricky enough to keep you hooked in and the game also had plenty of atmosphere. It ended up being a big hit at the time and I always yearned for a sequel, but no further Sam Cruise adventures were ever released.

The test of time:
Here in the land of Spectrum games we reckon that you should look Contact Sam Cruise out. Of course it is dated and those once impressive graphics are very ordinary, but it was ahead of it's time regarding the gameplay. Entering buildings and being able to turn the lights on and off, use telephones, open doors and sometimes even make it onto the roof was really quite something. A classic arcade adventure game.

Grab a trilby and trenchcoat and give it a go. If you perservere with it and get the hang of somersaulting onto the stray money you'll be sucked into 'The Bali Budgie'.

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

GENRE: Detective arcade adventure
RELEASE DATE: End of 1986
RELEASED BY: Microshpere
DEVELOPER(S): David S Reidy and Keith Warrington
PRICE: £7.95- UK

Sam goes for a wander in Contact Sam Cruise on Spectrum Games:

Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games

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