Budget Bureau £2.99

Publisher: Codemasters
Machine: Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Crash #63

SAS Combat Simulator

'Who dares wins' is Code Masters' favourite motto. After all, they've dared to sell some pretty dire software at times, yet made a fortune in the process. True to their adventurous spirit, they've come up with SAS Combat Simulator (71%) (neat title, lads!). The good news is that this is one of their better releases. Most of the action is depicted by some decent overhead-view graphics, with your little soldier shooting and grenading swarming enemies. Starting on foot, he can find an armoured jeep and a tank to drive while he blasts or runs over enemy soldiers, and blows even trains to smithereens. After reaching the end of a stage, play switches to a side-view hand-to-hand combat section, with yet more soldiers for the violent hero to punch. Unfortunately this section is both repetitive and irritating as near-perfect timing is needed to dispatch countless foes. Even so, SAS Combat Simulator is a challenging shoot-'em-up with plenty of content.


Set in the equally dangerous world of the Roman Empire, Kixx's Colosseum (70%) is all about chariot racing. But this isn't exactly a sport to take up for health reasons. The drivers are equipped with weapons, and the winner is the sole survivor at the end of the race! As Benurio, wrongly-accused of treason (you were on holiday at the time), you must prove your innocence by winning a chariot race (this is almost as strange as British justice!). Racing round the oval track, obstacles must be avoided, while you hack away at other drivers with your axe. If a driver is killed, you take his weapon even if it is less powerful than your present one. The action is fast and furious, albeit very repetitive. Although the sprites are simple, the track is fast-scrolling, and the perspective for the bends is ingenious: the viewpoint follows the chariot round. Despite a very simple concept, Colosseum is surprisingly addictive.

The Hit Squad


But it's back to the future for The Hit Squad (70%) from Code Masters. In post-apocalypse 2125, evil Emilio Bocker rules the city of Los Angeles with an iron grip. Something must be done, so you decide to search the city for Booker's hidden lair. But who are you? Well, when the game starts you can choose to be one of four different streetfighters, such as stealthy Stak and 'sexy Xena'! Exploring twelve parts of the city simply involves jumping around platforms, shooting nasties while searching for teleport and weapon disks. But the action is well-portrayed by large, Colourful graphics, while the digitised title picture of the four fighters is particularly impressive.

Fast Food

Another playable Code Masters release is Fast Food (68%). Despite the strange moniker, this is actually a souped-up version of Pac-Man! The hero, however, resembles that old egghead, Dizzy. Hamburgers chase the oval hero around many mazes, while he tries to eat all the other food. Special abilities may be obtained, including burger-eating, by collecting various objects. What really disappoints is the pedestrian pace at which the action takes place. But amusing, animated screens every three levels provide an incentive to keep playing. The neat presentation is improved further on 128K machines by the inclusion of a neat in-game tune.

Soccer Star

However, even decent presentation would do little to improve Cult's dire Soccer Star (28%). This football management game is about as unrealistic as you can get. Firstly, there are only eight teams per division. But worse still, you are only allowed to buy and sell players at the beginning of the season: so if your team is rubbish, you're stuck with it! Match presentation is equally poor, consisting mainly of a ball wobbling along a line - this is meant to represent 'the balance of the match'! The goalmouth action is slightly better but is hardly exciting. With such limited options and poor presentation, Soccer Star is a sure candidate for relegation.