ZX Spectrum Games

ZX Spectrum Games

23 Feb 2011

Spectrum Games - Ghost's Revenge - Classic ZX Spectrum Game

Ghost's Revenge ZX Spectrum
This is perhaps a lesser known title from Micromania that was one of many Pacman clones available for the ZX Spectrum.

If you like Pacman then this is a decent version to try. I never played this one back in the day but took the notion for a spot of Pacman gaming today.

So here is a quick review of a nice version of one of the most classic arcade games of all time...

Ghost's Revenge - ZX Spectrum
Look it's one of many Pacman Games available for the Speccy - there isn't too much I can say about it that you won't already know! (Unless you've been living under a rock for the last thirty years).

Travel around the maze to gobble the pellets, avoid the ghosts (which do exhibit varying AI - just as they should) munch the power pills to make the ghosts eatable for a short amount of time. The screen also has the wrap-around from left to right and right to left - like any classic Pac-Man game should.

To complete the screen you have to eat all the dots and energy blobs in the maze whilst avoiding the blue, red, purple and green ghosts.

If a ghost touches you a life is lost. Eating a pulsating blob causes the ghosts to turn light blue and become vulnerable, allowing you to eat them to score extra bonus points.

After a short time they become invulnerable again - again just like the arcade game.

The trippy menu screen to Ghost's Revenge
One good thing about this game is the difficulty selection which actually adds variety to the game as well as making it more difficult or easier.

For example:
  • LEVEL 1-3 Features normal mazes in the classic Pac Man style
  • LEVEL 4-6 Features mazes which become invisible after a short time - pretty novel for 1983!
  • LEVEL 7-9 Features completely invisible mazes
  • LEVEL 10 Features an invisible maze coupled with double speed ghosts! Pac-tastically difficult

The Maze Disappears...
One annoying thing about the game is the little ditty that plays after you lose a life. I mean it's okay as far as BEEPER tunes go but it gets on yer pecs after a few times.

This game was also a title that would run on a 16K Spectrum - if you like Pacman then check it out.

And that's about it!

It's Pac Man, it's playable and it is a fine example of a total retro game.

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

GENRE: Arcade Game (Pac Man)
RELEASED BY: Micromania
DEVELOPER(S): Dominic Wood
PRICE: £5.95

Classic Arcade Gaming:

The Maze Disappears - Pac Man is slightly scary!

Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games

13 Feb 2011

Spectrum Games - 3D Lunattack - Classic ZX Spectrum Game

3D Lunattack ZX Spectrum
This classic arcade game for the ZX Spectrum was released by Hewson Consultants (who pretty much always impressed with the likes of Uridium and Technician Ted - both classic games) in 1984

This was a time when anything with 3D graphics was amazing, and to be fair this was a very good and playable arcade game.

It is also notable for supporting the Currah Microspeech unit and for having a back story on side 2 of the cassette which was a conversation between the pilot and the mission leader (If my memory serves!)

It continued the Seiddab story too and was probably the best game in this series...

3D Lunattack ZX Spectrum
Skimming the surface of the moon
So, the whole deal was that those nasty Seiddabs (in a bit of trivia note that this is 'baddies' spelt backwards) had setup a base on our very own moon. Cue some arcade gaming that was quite revolutionary in 1984.

The game required you to fly in your almost cool sounding Z5 Luna Hover Fighter against the baddies which was protected by three rings of defense. It was classic arcade action all the way.

The first consisted of robotically controlled DAB tanks which fired missiles at your craft which could be destroyed by laser fire.

The second was a mountainous area seeded with aerial mines which exploded within a certain range of your craft. These could be shot down or flown around.

If you flew too close an exploding mine would damage your craft and knock you around quite realistically causing your craft to shimmy and shudder.

The third zone was dotted with missile silos, which again could be shot at with your lasers.

If you managed to reach the command zone, a lot of straffing runs were required to destroy the base which tried it's best to shoot you down with a barrage of gunfire. If you took it out then it was mission complete and in classic arcade game style you returned to the beginning to do it all again.

Lunattack Loading Screen ZX Spectrum
A classic earlier era loading screen
Your craft was also armed with air-to-air missiles which destroyed the enemy fighters before they appeared in visual range, although when they were sighted the lasers had to be used to shoot them down.

Weapon selection was automatic (and pretty cool), below the horizon it was lasers, above the horizon missiles were chosen. The transition of weapons was nicely done.

There was also a rader effect which showed you in which direction to proceed - but only when your cross-hairs were at the bottom of your view screen. This added a nice tactical element to the game which made it more than just a bog standard shoot em up arcade game.

All in all this classic game was a bit of a benchmark in 3D gaming which also included good gravity and collision effects. I played it a lot back then and it still gives me fond memories.

On Release:
The 3D sprites were quite amazing, the playability great and the cockpit graphics almost made you feel like you were really in a space-ship. This was the highest quality of 3D gaming and mags such as Crash raved about it. The little mission briefing audio on the tape was a nice bonus too.

The Test Of Time:
It's sooo basic these days, but I still quite like it. This classic game is such a retro 3D shooter that unless you played it back in the day you may not like it as I do. Still, it has aged a lot better than many other 3D type arcade games on the Speccy. Not bad, and I still give it a go now and again.

Oh, and if you get shot down you can always say 'Hewson, we have a problem'.

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

GENRE: Arcade Game (3D Shooter)
DEVELOPER(S): Steve Turner
PRICE: £7.95

Classic Arcade Action - And It Was 3D too!

Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games

3 Feb 2011

Spectrum Games - Jackal - Classic ZX Spectrum Game

Jackal ZX Spectrum
This was an arcade game that ate a bucket load of my loose change back in the day. I loved it, and I was pretty good at it too :-)

So, when it was being converted to the good old Speccy in 1987 by Konami (who had developed the coin-op version) I was rather excited.

I needn't have been as this game turned out to be a complete turkey...

Jackal ZX Spectum
For fans of the original arcade game the plot will be familiar; drive around in your jeep killing enemy soldiers, destroying vehicles, gun emplacements and buildings.

It was classic run 'n gun action that was simple enough and fun enough down your local arcade.

The squad was a four-man team composed of Colonel Decker, Lieutenant Bob, Sergeant Quint and Corporal Grey sent to rescue soldiers kept as hostages by the enemy. One or two players controlled the teams in an armed jeep, in which you had to venture through several enemy strongholds to rescue your buddies.

In each of the six levels, the goal was to rescue POWs from various buildings and then transfer them to dust-off locations where a chopper would take them to safety.

Once the soldiers were rescues the player(s) had to defeat (in classic arcade fashion) a boss enemy at the end of each level. If you made it to the final level, there were two bosses for you to take out.

Crappy graphics in Jackal - ZX Spectrum
As with most arcade games, there was a scoring system that would grant the player extra lives depending on the score attained.
If a collision occured with an enemy vehicle or if the jeep was hit by an enemy bullet, a life was lost. No surprises there.

For rescuing your buddies you could receive various rewards. Some buildings contained one flashing prisoner; if this man was rescued the jeep's primary weapon (a machine gun) was upgraded. In addition, if enough prisoners were rescued, a weapon upgrade was given during the unloading process to the rescue chopper.

The Jeep's initial weapons consisted of a machine gun and a grenade launcher. The grenade launcher was upgradeable into a rocket launcher, which could be further upgraded to shoot long-range missiles, and two kinds of spread missiles.

These powerups were excellent and needed as you progressed through the game.
It should be noted that in the arcade versions I played the machine gun always fired upwards, but there were versions where it fired in the direction the jeep was facing. This method was employed in the ZX Spectrum version of the game.

This all worked well in the original arcade game and for me was up there with Commando and Ikari-Warriors. It's a shame that the Speccy version seems to be a lazy port over with poor graphics, jerky scrolling, stodgy controls and little playability.

The screen moves so badly you can barely see an enemy before it is on top of you meaning you can be shot before you even know where it came from. The graphics are terrible, and the scrolling is more jerky than a slice of beef jerky that is being jerked around by a jerk.

This conversion of a good arcade game was sooo bad it still brings me out in a cold sweat. Yearghs!

On Release:
The original arcade game was never mega-popular but the game was reasonably anticipated and a preview appeared in good old crash magazine. When it was released in late 1987 most mags and gamers noted the game as yet another poor arcade conversion, something which had plagued all of the 8-bit machines. There was nothing worse than a half-arsed attempt at converting an arcade game to a home computer.

The Test Of Time:
Well twenty odd years on and this game is as bad as ever. The original coin-op is still worth a blast but please avoid this one on yer Speccy. Comedy value only.

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

GENRE: Arcade Game (Vertical Scroller)
DEVELOPER(S): Cyclone (David Whitehouse, Stephen Lockley, Adrian Carless)
PRICE: £7.95 - UK (£2.99 on re-release)

It should have been classic arcade action:

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