Computer Gamer

Amstrad Collection

Author: Mike Roberts
Publisher: Mastertronic
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Computer Gamer #14

If you have an Amstrad computer, what games must you have? Mike Roberts looks at some of the best that we've seen.

Amstrad Collection

The Amstrad computer has been out in its three (present) forms for over two years now. In that time, there have been bad games, good games and outstanding games. But what games have there been that no dedicated gamer should be without? Here Computer Gamer tells you a little about the best ten games that we think the Amstrad has seen.

Elite (Firebird/Acornsoft)

Has got to be the ultimate space game and is arguably better on the Amstrad than any of the other versions - making it even more of a necessary purchase than ever before.

This classic space game was first released on the BBC and has gone through Commodore and Spectrum phases before emerging on the Amstrad. Though initial version of the game were bugged, current disk and tape production copies have all of this rectified.

The game features colourful. 3D, vector graphics, exploration, and trading. What makes the game so enjoyable is that you select the role that you are going to play (trader, pirate, bounty hunter, miner or a mixture) just by the way that you are playing the game.

The space battle sequences are the most exciting of any game that you will ever play. If you can only buy one program - get this one.

Tau Ceti (CRL)

A space game that shares one or two small similarities with Elite, but is a totally different game. The main similarity is that they are both so good.

In this game, you have to turn off the central reactor. This will disable all of the rampaging robots, and allow the colony of Tau Ceti III to be restarted.

To do this, you guide your skimmer from city to city exploring them, fighting off killer robots and defending buildings. Some buldings are useful, with supplies and weaponry, and the reactor substation which houses the rods that you need to collect. Then follows a puzzle section where you must assemble the rods.

Back to the central reactor to shut down the robots and you have won the game.

There is also an expanded disk version of the game.

Formula 1 Simulator (Mastertronic)

There are a number of driving/racing simulators available for the Amstrad, including the official Amsoft 3D Grand Prix But the Mastertronic (i.e. only £1.99) version is as good as, if not better than, the other game which is at a much higher price (i.e. nearly four times the price).

Formula One is available for other machines, but it really only shows its true form when on the Amstrad. Rear view mirrors, a 3D track, and all the features you'd expect to find on a racing game - including a selection of different tracks.

Sorcery (Virgin Games)

I don't normally go for arcade adventures (a very misleading label) or platform games, but this game (probably better called a real time problem solving game, but arcventure is easier to pronounce) is quite exceptional.

The first game on the Amstrad to use screen splitting to reasonable effect. This gave a full colour action screen on the top three-quarters, and a higher resolution status window at the bottom.

The plot is that you have to rescue the sorcerors from the forces of evil. Many problems need to be solved, and the game varies from play to play to some extent due to the random placing of some of the objects.

Sorcery has excellent graphics and some fiendish problems, a game like this will keep you occupied for weeks, if not months.

Sorcery+ (Virgin Games)

The same game as Sorcery for disk users only. All that Sorcery can provide, plus a whole new section nearly doubling the size of the game.

Theatre Europe (PSS)

Theatre Europe has been one of the most 'controversial' games that has been released in recent years. This is due to its incredibly topical nature and accent on nuclear war.

Many "non-computer" people complained about it because of this, but that did not dent its popularity amongst computer wargamers.

You either play the Warsaw Pact of NATO powers and have to take over Germany. To do this you have to either complete your invasion in 39 days, or hold it off for the same period. After this time it is assumed that NATO would win due to their greater manufacturing base.

A very realistic simulation with good graphics on the Amstrad and nice pictures of mushroom clouds.

Spitfire '40 (Mirrorsoft)

If you have to buy one flight simulator for your collection then buy this.

Realistic spitfire action with good graphics and absorbing action screens. The game takes a little while to get used to as it is so complicated, and the controls of a Spitfire are a bit strange if you are used to the more run-of-the-mill flight simulator.

Defend Or Die (Alligata)

Got to be one of the best Defender games available, and the only one worth buying for the Amstrad (if there even is another one!).

No description necessary as this game follows the Eugine Jarvis original faithfully - landers, bombers, mutants, swarmers... You name it it's there. For all super zapper fiends everywhere.

Spindizzy (Electric Dreams)

Spindizzy is a spin off (pardon the pun) from the current marble/gyroscope craze of little spinning objects running around mazes.

Spindizzy is a bit more complex than most, having switches, lifts and jumps. With mapping and problem-solving, this game is the best of the genre.

Doppleganger (Alligata)

A full colour 3D arcade adventure that is easy to play, but has some fiendish puzzles to solve.

You play the princess who has a ghostly alter-ego. You can go places that she can't, and she can go places that you can't. Between the two of you, you have to recover all the lost pieces of gold, silver and bronze, and thus re-unite your two personalities.

A very good game that is easy to play, but will keep the dedicated games player amused for ages.

Doppleganger is available on the Alligata Triple Pack disk with Defend Or Die (and Super Sam), so disk users can get the best of both worlds.

Macrocosmica (Amsoft)

A space trading game, seemingly based on Elite, but with slightly more emphasis on the trading rather than the space combat aspect of the game.

All the usual Elitisms are included. With the addition of better graphics in the map section, a casino, a different system for space stations and planets, and the option of bribing the pirates to ensure your safety.

The combat scenes are mediocre, but the game stands up on its trading and strategy aspects, with very reasonable presentation.

Mike Roberts

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