ZX Spectrum Games

ZX Spectrum Games

31 May 2010

Spectrum Games - Rambo - Classic ZX Spectrum Game

ZX Spectrum Rambo
Ahhh good old Rambo - the ultimate 80's action icon?

Stallone's on screen larger than life character was bound to make the transition to 8-bits, and Ocean Software won the rights to convert Rambo to the ZX Spectrum in 1985.

Surely such a well known action character would lead to a classic arcade game? Well, sort of...

Rambo ZX Spectrum
According to the instructions this classic game took place in approximately 1 million sq. feet (scale) of jungle which featured the P.O.W. camp, a secret Temple plus many different types of terrain.

Good old Colonel Trautman, had given you very precise orders...
Find the P.O.W. camp, photograph the evidence then make your way north to the extraction point where a helicopter would whisk you to the safety of your command centre in Thailand.

Just like in the movie you were not to engage the enemy or attempt to rescue any POW's you may find.

Of course on finding captured soldiers and hordes of enemy soldiers your fighting instincts took over and it was time to kick some ass, in true Rambo/Arcade game style.

You had to free the captive POW (who was tied up) and then head north towards the extration point to where the chopper would be waiting.

The game was presented in standard 8 way scrolling, with the jungle scenery moving nicely around our hero. Of course there were plenty of enemy soldiers skulking around the playing area too, and in the beginning you could use the trusty knife or grenades to take them out.

The grenades were very effective but obviously noisy - so using them would draw more enemy soldiers towards you. The knife required more skill to use but was also more stealthy and kept contact with the enemy at a minimum. Even so, for some reason the bad guys 'exploded' when you threw a knife at them! They should've only done this with explosive tipped arrows?

Further weapons such as a machine gun, rocket launcher and the famous bow and arrow could be found in the jungle (in a different location each time you played), but only one could be selected and used at a time. The variety of weapons was a good feature and added something more to the arcade action.

Find those POW's John...
Basically the aim of the game was to gain access to the camp (through a hole in the fence), rescue the soldier named Banks then head north to the chopper. Once in the chopper you had to locate the helipad where more hostages could be liberated. With the hostages on board it was time for a final duel with the enemy gunship before flying to safety.

On Release:
The movies had already been popular so the arcade game ended up being popular too. This game was generally regarded as a reasonable effort in the arcade genre, and for a movie tie in was pretty well executed. It did well due to the popularity of the character.

The Test Of Time:
Well, I want what every other Spectrum games player wants, for this game to love me as much as I, love it! But unfortunately - it's not quite there.
Rambo is still fairly playable, but has aged more than other arcade games from the same era. The characters tend to flicker and it just doesn't play as well as the likes of Commando. Not bad, and worth it for pure nostalgia. Nice loading screen and cool 'drum beats' rendition of the film music too. Try it - cos if you don't I'll give you a war you won't believe.

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

GENRE: Arcade Game
RELEASED BY: Ocean Software
DEVELOPER(S): David Anderson, F David Thorpe
PRICE: £7.95 - UK

Our hero wastes a few bad guys in classic arcade action:

Arcade Games, Classic Games and ZX Spectrum Games

24 May 2010

Spectrum Games - Starmaker - ZX Spectrum Classic Game

ZX Spectrum Starmaker
Starmaker was a strategy game/management game released for the ZX Spectrum in 1986 by R&R Software.

The games coder Dave Hawkins also went on to develop adventure games such as Wizards Warrior and Stranded.

This game was something different on the Speccy - where most games player were used to arcade games, adventure games or platform action.

ZX Spectrum Starmaker The aim of the game was to run a music band and drive them to commercial success.

After choosing your skill level you would begin. After naming your band you started with a small amount of cash, although you do have the option of borrowing from the bank. If you want you can go straight into it and start on the long road to pop stardom. I wonder if Simon Cowell used this to hone his skills?

You can choose from varying options from making a record (either a single or an album), performing a concert, advertising (only if you have a record to advertise) and also producing some merchandise such as posters and T-shirts.

To generate cash you have to sell records, starting with singles before moving on to albums. If you get it right your bands popularity will increase and you will generate more money. Other positives will happen such as deejays interviewing the band, slots on tv will reap more cash and so on. Just watch out for dodgy geezers selling fake tickets to one of your concerts!

A rocking gig in this classic game:

If you play it right you may never have to borrow from Mr Jones.

Starmaker ZX Spectrum The interface is nice and easy to follow, with icons and options clearly displayed allowing you to make your next managerial choice (the phone ringing icon when you phone Ron Static to produce some merchandise is excellent!)

At each month end you see what position in the charts your single reached and how much of your merchandise you have sold. This in turn will give you a figure of revenue generated - hopefully at a profit!

All in all this classic game was very enjoyable back in the day, and you know what, it's still fun to play all these years later.

On Release:
This game picked up a bit of a cult following back in 1986 and did reasonably well. It was never a huge hit but a lot of gamers enjoyed it as it was playable and something different (I was more of an arcade games player but really liked this back then). At only £2.99 it was great value too.

The test of time:
Like I say this classic game is still pretty playable. It's got oodles of retro charm, is easy to use and once you start generating some cash is plenty of fun. Give it a go.

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

GENRE: Management Game
DEVELOPER(S): Dave Hawkins
PRICE: £2.99 - UK

Star making those stars in classic gaming action:

Arcade Games, Classic Games and ZX Spectrum Games

8 May 2010

Spectrum Games - Mr Freeze - ZX Spectrum classic game

ZX Spectrum Mr Freeze
This slightly odd platform/arcade game was released for the Speccy by Firebird in 1984.

It sold for £2.50 before being re-released at £1.99 - and was just about worth it. Just.

Stay Cool with Mr Freeze on the ZX Spectrum

In the game you played that part of Mr Freeze, a cool customer if ever there was one. Ahem.

The challenge was to de-ice six compartments of a refrigerator using your trusty flame thrower - so the game was spread over a walloping massive six screens!

There were the usual hazards to watch out for in an arcade game based in a fridge. Nasties such as flying food, guardian robots and lasers of course.

Also stationary ice-cubes would prove to be deadly and falling through any gaps in the shelves would take away one of your six lives. Six screens, six lives, you had to stay ice-cool to overcome the excitement in this game...

Why so frosty?
You could de-ice the compartments in any order you fancied - so it was possible to traverse between the screens, which were linked in tried and tested flick screen fashion.

To de-ice a compartment you had to walk into the De Ice button located at the top of the screen - your flame thrower was actually just used to 'scare away' nasties (it didn't kill them, merely turned them away from you)

The main thing to avoid was the laser which would try and zap you as you climbed any set of stairs. A little tactical thinking was required when planning your route upwards in any of the compartments.

The game would have been decent but for one thing: The controls are more stodgy than my mum's Bolognaise. Getting our hero to jump a gap or move off a ladder is fiddly and usually happens more by luck than judgement. If it wasn't for this the game would be okay - as it stands it was (and still is) a bit of a frozen turkey.

On release:
Well this arcade game did not do Firebird any favours - although they would go on to do better. It was generally regarded back then as poor to average - but the awful controls and low amount of screens made sure it generally recieved a 'cold reception'. Even at £2.50 it was frozen out in favour of other bargain offerings. There were far better platform games you could get for your lolly too.

The test of time:
I did have this back in the day (picked up with my £1.99 pocket money) and managed to complete it despite the crappy controls. I never played it again - and writing this review has brought back all those bad memories. It could have been an okay game - but believe me it isn't. Even the little game over ditty is odd.

It's time to give this game a go for pure nostalgia and laughability. You'll soon see that it's not nICE.

We recommend getting hold of the real hardware - but if not then download a ZX Spectrum emulator and download Mr Freeze for the ZX Spectrum if you want to see a poor-ish game. Alternatively you could try and play it online.

GENRE: Arcade Game (Platform game)
RELEASED BY: Firebird Software
DEVELOPER(S): David T Clark
PRICE: £2.50 then £1.99 - UK

Stay cool in some insipid arcade action:

It's game over (thankfully) - hang onto your joystick in this not so classic game:

Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games

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