EGG #003: Spectrum From The Magazine Archives Of

EGG #003: Spectrum (17th April 2017) (Spectrum 48K/128K/+2/+3, Magazine)

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Pengo Quest (Gabriele Amore)
I think there's a good reason why we've never before had a version of Pengi where crushing the monsters was optional.
Castle Capers (Gabriele Amore)
A game so dated, basic and samey that you won't pick it up more than once. Check it out if you must - it's probably just about worth it for the music.
The Story Of The Sinclair ZX Spectrum In Pixels Volume 1 (Retro Fusion Books)
A very easy read. The games that have been selected for inclusion are some of the Spectrum's finest but it's not actually a collection of the "best" games; more a randomised selection of memorable ones.
Air Apparent ZX (Stephen Nichol)
The most boring shoot-'em-up ever... in which you must face off against the forces of the evil Prince L'thargy. No, I didn't make that last bit up.
Snake Escape (Einar Saukas)
This is a remarkably addictive little game - it's one where each screen generally only has a single solution, but only a lot of brain-strain (or trial and error) will allow you to work it out.
Angry Birds: Opposition (kas29)
Put together with quite a lot of finesse... So addictive I wound up playing it for a good hour or two
Batterys Not Precluded (Cronosoft)
The games here play very well, in a sort of mindless way that doesn't demand any real attention.
Target Renegade 2017 (Bum Fun Gaming)
Completed the original Spectrum version of Target Renegade? Then you'll find this new version just as fresh, exciting and challenging. It has the pulse of the original coursing through its veins.
Chicks And Bricks (Rafal Miazga)
I suppose if you're a great fan of the bat and ball genre, you might be tempted to give this a go. But I'd be very surprised if anyone picked it up for the "chicks" themselves as, frankly, they are as boring as the game itself.
Husband Chores (Bum Fun Gaming)
A game that attempts to turn monotonous housework into an exciting arcade game. It fails miserably.
Join (Retrosouls)
An early Denis Grachev title... which is reasonably enjoyable and an early example of what became his seminal series of gravity and inertia-based games on the Spectrum.
Jubbles (Jonathan Cauldwell)
Boredom overcame me on level 30 - and, if higher levels do put up much more challenge, you'd have to play through all the earlier easier ones all over again.
Target Renegade (Imagine)
Rightly considered a classic of its time on the Spectrum.
Foggy's Quest (Bum Fun Gaming)
Looks very attractive, and if you persevere, it's a neat enough, bug-free little game.
Farmer Jack And The Hedge Monkeys (Cronosoft)
With its gorgeous opening screens, its selection of funky music and its colourful graphics, Farmer Jack is really a very well put together title indeed.
Blizzard's Rift/Kuiper Pursuit (Cronosoft)
If you're a fan of deep space shooters, and have played Elite to death, then what are you waiting for?
Bouncing Bomb Redux (Bum Fun Gaming)
Learning how to manoeuvre the bomb around is tricky and it will take the player a fair amount of time to master each of the screens.
Monty Mole And The Temple Of The Lost Souls (Bum Fun Gaming)
Combining a stalwart Spectrum hero (Monty) with the Eighties classic Indiana Jones is a real winner... The result is a pure injection of nostalgia.
Pixel Quest (Einar Saukas)
The phenomenal soundtrack, admittedly a curious ingredient for a puzzle game, lifts this game head and shoulders over other puzzlers on the Spectrum.
The Return Of Traxtor (Matranet)
Pretty addictive... The only real problem is that, occasionally, it doesn't seem as responsive as it should be.
Cray 5 (Monument Microgames)
It's rather a shame that, despite excellent sound and graphics, the game is quite a dull affair.
Red Planet (Salva Kantero)
It might be a little too tough for the beginner but I found it very playable. Jumping requires a strategy all of its own.
Request In Peace (Matranet)
This is what every game should aspire to - a gradually increasing difficulty level with that 'just one more go' factor.
The Adventure Of Jane Jelly: The Treasure of Zedin (Jaime Grilo)
There are already many better tomb-raiding platformers than this. But, if you've got a breast fixation, then you'll find it fun.
Hyperkill (Psytronik)
One of the best Spectrum shooters I've played. Would've easily set you back a tenner back in the Speccy's heyday.
Izzy Wizzy (Cronosoft)
A lot better than many games of this type. It's also easy to get into too.
Jilly's Farm Volume 1... SokoBAArn (Bob's Stuff)
Puzzle fanatics and lovers of the Ultimate Filmation series will be in their element here.
Circuitry (Monument Microgames)
A cramped, but pretty cracking, little game. It's quirky, and that's admirable enough that it gets my vote.
The Incredible Shrinking Professor (Rucksack Games)
Three lives, a humongous quest and overwhelming odds against you even progressing further than the fifth or sixth screen... That is, frankly, just a terrible combination.
Code Zero (Cronosoft)
This game doesn't work on any level. It's devoid of imagination with the only incentive to progress being to collect more key-cards and open more doors. Whoopee.
Robot 1 In The Ship Of Doom (Bum Fun Gaming)
A superior platformer that's brilliant fun whilst it lasts. Even though, admittedly, that's not very long.
Robot 1 In The Planet Of Death (Psytronik)
A fairly respectable graphic adventure. It's not really an improvement over the original. It's just bigger and less frantic. Those two elements probably mean you'll play it for a bit longer.
Crystal Kingdom Dizzy 2017 (Evgeniy Barskiy)
100% all round. This absolutely could not be any better. Get it, play it, be amazed.
Egghead Goes To Town (Fusion Retro Books)
A fine return to form for Egghead and his adventures.
Impossabubble (Dave Clarke)
Despite the professional presentation, the game is just a tad too mediocre to catch the attention of most Spectrum owners.
A Yankee In Iraq 1.05 (Ast M. Moore)
The total lack of variety - planes and missiles ad infinitum - makes this game feel more like an endurance test than any sort of fun.
Abu Sinver Propagation (Matra)
Unless you're someone who just loves any 3D style isometric format game, my advice is to steer well clear of this.
Escape From The Sewers (Matra)
Unless you've never played a platform game before, I suspect you'll have seen everything Escape From The Sewers does done better elsewhere a hundred times before.
Fantasy Zone: Escape From The Pyramid (Matra)
Funky background music.. but there's not really a lot to discover. The fact that you can just patiently clear each screen and be assured of success means it's not very exciting at all.
Pietro Bros. (Matra)
Ultimately, far too frustrating to persevere with for long.
Gandalf (Matra)
If you're looking for a brand new platformer, Gandalf should be at least on your wish list, and quite probably near the top of it.
Retro Force (Matra)
A superlative piece of programming and one of the best monochrome space blasters ever written.
Gimmick! Yumetaro Odyssey (Matra)
A highly polished platformer... Mixes mangaesque design with everything classic Nintendo and Sega ever brought to the party. Slap it in your Spectrum tape deck today!
Retro Invaders (Matra)
It's just yet another arcade-space-shooty thing that the Spectrum already has hundreds of. Nothing pushes the machine or feels particularly exciting or addictive.
Gimme Bright (Matra)
This game has got a certain quality that I think will appeal to many gamers.
Pentacorn Quest (Matra)
The graphics aren't bad, and I can think of worse ways of whiling away a few hours than pushing buttons, collecting acorns and avoiding things.
El Stompo (Monument Microgames)
Pretty enjoyable, dispensing with a lives or password system in favour of just presenting you with each scene in turn until you win it.
Zombie Calavera (Monument Microgames)
The game is rendered entirely in dark blue and black, with Santos barely discernible at all in some positions in some rooms.
That Sinking Feeling (Bum Fun Gaming)
I suppose people may play That Sinking Feeling for a few moments but, essentially, within those moments you've pretty much seen all it has to offer.
Baby Monkey Alba (Bum Fun Gaming)
The gameplay and background music make it addictive enough that I can give it a cautious recommendation.
Skyscraper Of Doom (Bum Fun Gaming)
One of Bum Fun's strongest releases so far.
The Sword Of Ianna (Retroworks)
A really great game, if a tough one... It's nothing short of a tour de force for the Spectrum and it is astounding.
Fist-Ro Fighter (Matra)
The number of sins this game commits are astronomical... Sorry, Retrobytes, you'll have to do a lot better than this.
Seto Taisho Vs. Yokai (Alessandro Grussu)
Very responsive, gorgeous to look at and has easily taken a team the best part of two years to produce.
Chrimblast (Dave Hughes)
If you're in the mood for some mindless, forgiving blasting fun, then Chrimblast will certainly fit the bill.
Land Of Mire Mare (AGD Homebrew Games)
Without the Mire Mare connection, I would be summing up that it was a difficult, colourful, frustrating graphic adventure that doesn't really offer much more than a hundred others.
Alter Ego (Retrosouls)
The Nintendo version of this slightly has the edge over the Spectrum one, with a larger number of tunes, more beautiful sprites and some nice "Level Clear!" and "Game Over" Americanisms that RetroSouls decided us Brits didn't need.
Old Tower (RetroSouls)
A brilliantly addictive game, successfully combining puzzles, reflexes, new ideas and sparks of genius, it takes its rightful place at the head of RetroSouls' superior catalogue.
Endless Forms Most Beautiful (Monument Microgames)
Everything reacts well and some of the games have some nice AY music on the Spectrum 128K models, but I really don't understand why anyone would want to play any of these games for longer than a few minutes.
Gluf (Retrosouls)
What has really appealled to me in the past about Retrosouls' games has been their inventiveness. By contrast, this seems good but a little disappointing.
Tourmaline (RetroSouls)
It's free, it's frighteningly addictive and yet another addition to Retrosouls' growing catalogue of tremendous Speccy games.
Popeye (Gabriele Amore)
A waste of time. It's so difficult just to move.
Benny Hill's Madcap Chase 2019 (Highriser)
The game might be bearable for five minutes or so but I don't think the additional music will convince anyone that they don't have better things to be doing with their time.
Being Left Is Not Right (Matra)
The whole premise of this is too stupid for words. All that can be said for it, is that, mercifully, every game is over extremely quickly.
Droid Buster (Matra)
I can't really recommend this. It's not addictive, the graphics are poor and it offers the player nothing new.
Halloween (Silverbird)
The scariest thing about the game is just how bland it is. I mean, yes, it all works, and it's not buggy, but it's so unoriginal that you wonder why the programmer bothered.
Misifu (Matra)
A load of crap, but the music's ok on the 128K version.
Aliens: Neoplasma (Sanchez)
Believe the buzz, and get playing it now.
Dead Zone (Matra)
Too simple to be fun... Even the budget games of the late Eighties tried to do a bit more than just recycle the old "Lunar Rescue" format.
Survival ZX (Matra)
One of the worst games I've ever seen, completely lacking in any playability, lastability, addictive quality and completely devoid of aesthetics or atmosphere.
Manic Pietro (Matra)
The only real complaint against it would be "Oh, not another Manic Miner mod!" but when the mod is as good as this one is, and Manic Miner is such a great game anyway, will anyone really be complaining?
Octukitty (Narwhal)
If you really like generic flick-screen platform games then by all means give it a whirl. But if you were hoping for something a bit more daring, then you're only going to come away from this disappointed.
Space Junk (Matra)
With only 21 levels, it's only a small game but it's an addictive one and, even after you complete it all, I do think it's one of those puzzlers to which you may well come back to after a few months.
Black Horse (Retro Works)
A cross between chess and Ultimate's Alien-8 and, although it may be a puzzler at heart, the presence of the enemy pieces additionally introduces a competitive edge.
The Infeasible Game (Ian Munro)
Control handles well and there's a pulse-pounding piece of music in the background that lifts the gaming experience.
Illogical (Ubhres)
Despite having been (mostly) done before, there is just enough of a change to the nanogram formula that this should be added to your games collection.
The Legend Of The Prince Frog (Bum Fun)
I found getting anywhere all depended to a large degree on luck rather than skill - the frog is difficult to control, frequently not immediately jumping in response to the jump key control, although going left and right works fine.
Just A Gal (
Very competently programmed... Sense of speed is good, if not great... Those of you who love racing games may well find it's brilliant
Yazzie (Retro Souls)
A taxing little platform game - those who loved Endless Forms Most Beautiful will adore it, as will Denis Grachev fans who are looking for a game in somewhat similar style.
Drift (
This is just a hundred different types of awesome. It has to be experienced to be believed.
Booty: The Remake (Matra)
A polished game. It's smoother than the original and, apart from its monochrome nature, it's hard to fault.
Moritz The Striker (Sebastian Braunert)
Maybe, if you really like football, and you really like following the exploits of Moritz, you might just be able to squeeze some fun out of this. But personally I think it will take a lot of effort.
Jungle Queen (Gabriele Amore)
The type of game that children really like because it's so easy to control.
ZX Larry (Rafal Miazga)
Leisure Suit Larry coupled up with a control system that makes any play ridiculously tiresome. Even a few hot-keys for the actions would have made his ZX Spectrum outing much easier to play.
Rubicon (Rucksack Games)
An interesting game which plays well but has its fair share of problems. All the collectables are essentially the same thing, which makes you wonder why you don't just have to collect the crystals from a maze rather than this confusing array of different things.
All Hallows: Rise Of The Pumpkin (Rucksack Games)
I don't think this is going to set the Spectrum scene on fire and the best that can be said for it is that it might pick up a few fans each year during the season of the witch.
Mr. Hair (Bitmapsoft)
There's nothing hair-raising here. In fact, it all seems pretty disjointed and weird... I doubt anyone would choose to play this more than once.
Bonnie And Clyde (
Great stuff and yet another brilliant game in a startling new run of software from
The Lost Treasures Of Tulum (Retroworks)
I had high hopes for this game... but it doesn't feel as if it's destined to be remembered as fondly. I do think it will find its fair share of fans though.
Dungeons Of Gomilandia (Retroworks)
It's entertaining, and it puts up a heck of a good challenge, so I think any puzzle gamers will enjoy any time they spend with it.
Phantomasa 2 (The Mojon Twins)
In learning how to complete each room, you will get a little bit further each time you play until you eventually succeed in amassing all the swag.
Jet Set Willy: The Nightmare Edition (JSWMM)
Jet Set Willy with the difficulty ramped up. What a waste of time. There will be zero audience for this.
Vade Retro (Retroworks)
Great backstory, graphics and physical presentation but a fairly mediocre platform game. And so many empty rooms lessen the excitement of the original premise.
Terrible Old Games You've Probably Never Heard Of (Unbound)
A very good book for anyone who plays or collects videogames. There seems to be at least one review of one terrible game for every machine format on sale between 1980 and 1995.
Qbox (Matra)
Really annoying... A single mistake leaves you totally stuffed and has a devastating impact on your desire to replay a second or third time.
Pi-Dentity (Fusion Retro Books)
The best you can do with this is just let it sit on the title screen and the volume turned up. The game itself is not really worth playing.
Jumpin' Jupiter (Quantum Sheep)
It's inferior to Manic Miner but it's a great game for youngsters to cut their teeth on - my niece (aged 6) loved it and had much more difficulty puzzling out what to do than I did.
Percy Penguin In The Present Palaver (Snagultoof)
The good news is that this game is really good. But it's probably just that little bit too tough for most players.
Mage Rage (Joesoft)
The 8 x 8 CHR$ appear cheap and nasty when paused, but in motion they do give the game a unique charm... If you take the mapping element seriously, you could have quite a lot of fun puzzling all of Mage Rage out.
Invasion Of The Zombie Monsters (Relevo Videogames)
Involves the Rick Dangerous style of gameplay, whereby the player must become intimately acquainted with all the game's stages in order to clear them.
Pussy: Love Story From Titanic (Fun Forge)
This is infuriating... The game is fiendishly good, but that title? To whoever christened this game, simply grow up.
Yumiko In The Haunted Mansion (Fun Forge)
Unfortunately for a game that looks so promising, playing Yumiko is decidedly dull.
Moritz On The Autobahn (Team Moritz)
Graphics are fair, music is great. Unfortunately, because it doesn't do anything new, there's no wow factor.
Dead Flesh Boy (Bum Fun)
A reasonable implementation of the splatterhouse blood and gore platform genre... but I do think a better, more bloody, version needs to be written.
Wunderwaffe (Bum Fun)
Overall: Just about average platformer with a very high difficulty level. Suitable for those who are willing to practise and learn the patterns needed to make it through each screen.
Towdie (Bum Fun)
A respectable enough graphic adventure with a lot to recommend it.
Astro Blaster (Matt Jackson)
Probably the best conversion of Astro Blaster that it's possible to program on the Speccy... If you liked the original, you're certainly not going to be disappointed.
Rays Reprisal (Monument Microgames)
If you can still tolerate games with teletext style graphics then give it a go. If you like to see Spectrum homebrew that pushes the machine to its limits and/or does something new and original, then there's nothing to see here.
Blast Annual 2020 Volume 1 (Blast Annual)
You have got to get this...! With beautiful cover art, advertisements from every publisher currently supporting the scene, this is like an Eighties fanzine maxed up with caffeine and given the production facilities of a full-blown creative arts department.
Blast Annual 2020 Volume 2 (Blast Annual)
In almost every respect it's a masterpiece.
Valley Of Rains (
This is just brilliant; pure adrenaline for the eyes, ears and other senses.
Space Monsters Meet The Hardy (Bitmapsoft)
A super-fast, cute, bouncy flick-screen run and gun game. It is a speedrunner's delight and very satisfying when you clear a new stage.
Hunt Buck: Nuclear Defence (Red Triangle)
There are some neat elements here but this needs a serious injection of speed to make a reasonable game. I don't think its brooding intensity is going to appeal to most gamers.
RoboBro Episode 1 (Hippiman)
There's a good game in here struggling to get out. I just can't see many people having the patience to play it for long enough to find out.
Frantic Pengo (Gabriele Amore)
This is fun for a few minutes but, because of the high frustration factor, I soon lost interest in it.
The Dark Redux (
If you missed The Dark first time around, then this is a much better version. Download it now and be amazed.
Down The Pipe (DF Designs)
A free, mindless blast that, whatever its faults, can never be accused of taking itself too seriously.
S.O.L.O. (Matra)
S.O.L.O. isn't a bad game and it shows some imagination, but, being written with AGD, it can't hope to compete with the likes of Aliens Neoplasma, or the latest Denis Grachev title.
Mabus Mania (Matra)
Alright, it doesn't do anything new, it doesn't push any boundaries and it's pretty similar to a hundred other platformers. But it's addictive, and the time limits for each screen are tight, so that you can be picked off and be chomping at the bit for another try.
Birdy Cantabile (Matra)
With a few more musical scores, a lot more variety in the rooms and a bit of a makeover on the graphics front, I think this might have legs. As it is though, I have to admit I wasn't very impressed.
Batboy (Matra)
It's a long way from being the best game the Speccy has ever seen, but there is something here. Especially if you're a Batman fan.