Commodore User

Cheapo Round-Up
By Mastertronic Plus
Commodore 64/128

Published in Commodore User #72

Leviathan (Mastertronic, C64)

Leviathan was loved by all when it made its first humble appearance on the C64 a while back, and quite rightly so. You pilot a lone space fighter over a huge mile-long spacecraft, not completely dissimilar to those in that wonderful, fabulous, and truly amazing Sci-Fi series, 'Battlestar Galactica'.

And from that point on it becomes a very basic Zaxxon clone, except rather than fly over badly drawn missile silos and cutesy dragons, you fly over gorgeous statuettes and through picturesque temples. Silky smooth scrolling and animation complete the graphics package, which the playability soon matches up to.

The gameplay level may be a little low, but that doesn't necessarily make it boring. If it does, you sure are going to have a lot of fun being bored. A classic piece of C64 gaming. Buy it.

Bionic Commando (Kixx, Amiga)

Well, here's something we haven't seen in a while, an Amiga budget game, and what a good game too. What more could a games player ask for? It's playable, has good graphics and a soundtrack that has a rock guitar break!

One thing you might be asking yourself is what is a Bionic Commando? Well, it's like a normal commando, in the way that it runs around firing guns and killing people. But unlike normal commandos, you have a bionic arm that extends to incredible lengths. With this arm you can hit bad guys, catch objects and climb trees and the like by extending it upward and grabbing hold of an overhanging ledge.

It's very fast. The only real problem is the scrolling. Unlike the lovely C64 version, the Amiga game uses the dreaded push-flip-scroll. But hey, when you've got a game as good as this one, who cares?

Cybernoid (Kixx, C64)

Hewson's mega blast comes to budget at last, and the message to all you kids who haven't bought it yet is snap it up now! Hailed as being one of the best shoot-'em-ups of our - or indeed any - time, you play the pilot of a lone Cybernoid fighter craft on a perilous mission and fly about a bit and get through three levels of bullets, rockets, explosions and general mayhem.

Unlike certain other charge cards, sorry, shoot-'em-ups I could mentioned, Cybernoid doesn't leave you stranded and unarmed right at the start of the game. No, you begin with full, if limited, supplies of all five weapons available to you, such as bouncing bombs and a shield.

The graphics are pretty stunning, especially for a C64, with detailed sprites and backdrops and some pretty magnificent explosions. The sound matches well with loads of great spot effects and a blinding intro tune. Another fine re-release.

Wizball (Ocean)

The perennial Nick 'Rockin' Kelly fave rave and star of a thousand compilations has finally appeared on budget and Wiz is still bouncing as high as ever.

Bring a little colour to a bland and dreary world is the gameplan, and just like the little green pea with a large smiley mouth that he is, Wiz takes the message literally and sets off with the intent of rescuing the people of Boringworld from a monochromatic existence.

This he does by flying through the many horizontal scrolling levels, shooting all the aliens and collecting both the special tokens they drop and the doplets of colour they leave behind. To collect the colour, he needs the help of a little friend called Catellite, who is just one of the many items you can buy when you collect the bonus tokens, along with such necessities as true vertical and horizontal control and three-way fire.

Excellent graphics, perfect scrolling, groovy sound and classic playability make Wizball a must.

Pitstop (Kixx, C64)

If I were asked to pick out an advertising slogan that best suited this game, it would probably have to be something like "The original and still the best". And indeed, since its release aeons ago, in my mind Pitstop II has yet to be beaten to the title of best C64 driving game ever.

What can only be described as twin player simultaneous Pole Position, you and a friend (or a computer-controlled dummy car if you have no friends handy at the time) get to race around a selection of tracks against many different drivers and even have the chance to race in a tournament.

The graphics are still great, even after all this time. The cars move smoothly along the road, the update of other cars is smooth and convincing and it's even got a little pitstop sequence, where you can change tyres and refuel.

This was brilliant when released, and still is. One of our all time favourite games.

Monty On The Run (Kixx)

Now for some reason, and I could never quite understand why, the Monty series of games used to get non-stop good reviews. I could never understand why because I always found them to be depressingly dull, almost suicidally so. But, still people like them, so they can't be bad.

Monty Mole has escaped from prison but he's not high and dry yet. Before he can really breathe a sigh of relief he has to escape the country cross the English Channel. To get across the English Channel he has to do two things. Firstly he has to find all the gold coins hidden about the game, and then he has to find the Channel - not as easy as it sounds since the game is designed as a maze. It's also riddled with puzzles. Each of the screens is filled with dozens of perilous traps and roaming bad guys. Also, the gold he needs to collect is sometimes positioned in the most inaccessible places.

Monty On The Run provides a classic platform challenge, but only if you can stand those kind of games.

Die Alien Slime (Virgin)

The idea behind this game seems to be to rid a space station owned by an invading alien force. This is done by racing hell-for-leather around an eight-way, scrolling floor plan of the station, all decked out in glorious metallic colours, killing all the aliens you come across. Sound familiar yet?

Just to add a little more to the picture, the aliens come in all colours and look not totally unlike small piles of excrement - you know what I'm talking about?

Alright, I'll come right and say it, it's just a little bit like Alien Syndrome, alrighty. That said, it's not actually a bad copy. Fans of the coin-op should check it out.

Protector (Mastertronic)

At last! An original cheapo this month! And surprisingly enough, it ain't bad!

Play solo against the computer, or against a friend in a battle across the skies in a daring rescue mission to free a group of innocent packing cases (?). There are two helicopters in the air at one time, and dotted about the wraparound scrolling scenery are some packing cases. Once you've picked them up you can then proceed to bomb your opponent's base and win the level. Then it's onto some trickier scenery.

The scrolling is smooth, the sprites are well-animated but the controls are a little sluggish. It's fun. It's a cheapo!