The Micro User1st April 1988
Published in The Micro User 6.02
All good stuff
This is yet another bundle of the best - or supposedly best - games of yesteryear, the fourth in this particular series from compilation specialist Beau-Jolly. No less than eight of the 12 games featured have already appeared on compilations - four of them on Beau-Jolly's own Five Star Games II.
Zalaga was one of the first games to offer a simple diet of pure mindless destruction. Hordes of aliens stream onto the screen and settle menacingly above you. Without warning they scream down towards you as you move your laser base to intercept.
Things are very hectic as the Zalagans have a nasty habit of curving off the bottom of the screen then coming up and ramming you from below.
Galaforce takes the basic idea of a straightforward shoot-'em-up several stages further. It features a number of different types of brightly-coloured alien and a much greater variety of attack formations, as well as a great musical accompaniment. Unlike Zalaga. it gives you up and down controls as well as the conventional left, right and fire. Now you can go out and get 'em, rather than waiting to be overwhelmed.
Gary Partis' Psycastria must have appeared on almost every compilation since its original release. It is a supersmooth sideways-scrolling game covering four different scenarios - land, sea, the moon and deep space. Although the idea is to shoot the 10 energy pods on each level, you quickly learn to survive by simply shooting everything in sight.
Each of the four attack phases must be cleared in one go -
if you lose a life you must start that level again. This feature
while, but the game is well worth a little perseverance.
Deathstar is an excellent conversion of the arcade game Sinistar, in which you are the pilot of a solitary mining spaceship in search of crystals. Shoot the asteroids to release them - once collected they act as bombs.
Competing with you are the Worker ships, which use the crystals to assemble, piece by piece, the dreaded Deathstar. The Workers are defended by Warrior ships that shoot at you at the slightest provocation - remarkably accurately. Deathstar's most impressive feature is the 16-way scrolling: As you move, the screen moves with you. A great blast.
In Thrust, you jet around the galaxy in search of vital power pods. Unfortunately, for once you are subject to the real physical laws of gravity. You move around by burning your limited supply of fuel which can be replenished from tanks dotted around each planet.
The many hostile gun emplacements are problem enough - but your troubles really start when you manage to capture a pod, because then your ship's handling changes dramatically. To finish a level you must destroy the planet's reactor before blasting off with your prize into the void. Great, but very tricky.
Bug Eyes II is an arcade adventure in which you, Agent Starman, must collect the 25 keys dotted around and about in order to release your predecessor, Agent Zelda, from prison. Jet-packed lizards, scissors, snakes and worms all bounce around merrily intent on robbing you of your precious oxygen supply. The superb music and special effects are let down by a rather weak game.
Needing no introduction is Repton. In this, his first adventure, you must collect diamonds while avoiding falling boulders and Repton-eating reptiles. Some of the diamonds are hidden in safes, and needless to say the key is never easy to find. Playing number one again rather leaves me looking for the transporters, skulls and fungus - but it's as addictive as ever.
In The Mine you tunnel in search of buried treasure, hampered by the mine's many other inhabitants who are all out to stop you. You can easily dispose of them with your neutraliser, but time is always against you. The Mine is a fairly average implementation of Dig Dug, quite fun, but not for very long.
Blagger is a Manic Miner-style platforms and ladders game in which you run and jump around 20 increasingly difficult levels. As burgler Roger the Dodger, you must collect all the keys and rob the safe before progressing to the next level. Although Blagger is fun, it is quite slow and jerky and compares unfavourably with more recent offerings.
Ghouls is another Miner-type platform game. This time you are ina haunted house and must watch out for spiders, poisoned spikes and collapsing floors. Although it was very popular in its day, it never grabbed me. It still doesn't.
Killer Gorilla is an implementation ofthe arcade machine game Donkey Kong, in which you chase the gorilla up increasing difficult sections of scaffolding in an attempt to rescue the fair maiden from its clutches. The movement is jerky and the sound rather basic, but it's a game I still go back to on occasions. I think you will too.
Released as a competitor to Yie Ar Kung Fu and Way Of The Exploding Fist, Karate Combat is a martial arts game. Although you can play against the computer or a human opponent, the practice mode is very useful, because there are some 17 manoeuvres to be mastered: Thank Buddha for joysticks.
The graphics are finely detailed, but somewhat on the small side. Although Karate Combat was well received first time around, it lacks the technical merits of its competitors.