Commodore User1st June 1988
Published in Commodore User #58
I-Xera (The Power House)
And I expect better than this from even the cheapest of cheapos. "Enter a soap factory... to find the logo which fell from the Empire's flagship." In other words, tour dozens of identical looking screens shooting flying objects.
The second offering from Elite's new budget range is a title almost as old as themselves. It was also a lot of fun, causing the then CU Crew much anguish.
The idea is to fly a helicopter around a testing little maze (it really isn't that huge on locations, rescuing some of those ubiquitous little scientists who are always getting themselves into trouble. Bumping into walls and being shot by missiles causes your shields to disappear at an alarming rate. A tough challenge and good value at this price.
Sword Slayer (Players)
"Taken into slavery as a child, his parents slaughtered by the Romans, Spartacus was destined to beome (sic) one of the famous heroes of all time." And with a history like that it doesn't come as any great surprise to find him in this weak excuse for a beat-'em-up. Sword Slayer features "two player action" and "giant graphics" complemented by pitiful sound and plenty of slow, dreary fighting action.
The vile icing on this stale cake is the multi-load, although to be fair it isn't as off-putting as much as the game itself.
Beach Head (Americana)
There was a time, a couple of years back, when you couldn't move for Beach Head clones. It was the game that put American software house Access on the map.
Basically, Beach Head is four highly playable and entertaining mini-games rolled into one. In the first section you shoot down dive-bombing aircraft from a ship. Then you move on to sinking enemy ships before taking over control of a tank in a sort of Zaxxonesque battle on the island of Kuhn-Lin.
There's also a secret passage which, when you find it involves you in a bit of dodging and weaving through a minefield. Of course it's dated, but it is a classic and still remains great fun to play, though God knows why. Re-release of the month.
American Road Race (Silverbird)
When it was first released about three years ago, Activision's stab at recreating the feel of a road movie (anyone seen Vanishing Point) carried probably the longest title in gaming history The Great American Cross-Country Road Race. Bit of a mouthful really. The game, unsurprisingly, is a bit dated. Having said that, it holds more appeal than some more recent racing releases than we could mention. Select from four possible cross-country routes from the West Coast to the East and simply belt along avoiding bad weather, dodgy roads, police, wayward trucks and running out of petrol.
You could do a lot worse if you fancy a quick tour of American's freeways.
Metropolis (The Power House)
Mikro-Gen's Pyjamarama turned out to be a prime source of inspiration when it first saw the light of day over four years ago. Subsequent sequels never managed to capture the flavour of the unique arcade adventure action in quite the same way, and neither did any of the 'tributes'.
And that includes Metropolis, although it must be said it's very, very similar to Pyjamarama. But this is no bad thing. If Pyjamarama appealed all those years ago, then guiding Moonboots the lunar explorer through the many rooms of Metropolis should prove a bit of a laugh.
Night Racer (Mastertronic)
Night Racer bears an irritating and unattributable similarity to Epyx's Hang-On rip-off, Super Cycle, albeit with less scenery. In fact, the high-speed racing action is set against a very simplistic, but quite effective night scene. There's a healthy feeling of speed as you zip around the samey tracks, performing silky smooth gear changes while negotiating tight bands.
Anyroad, Night Racer offers adequate entertainment for the price, although don't expect anything overly time-consuming.
Droids (Mastertronic Added Dimension)
Despite its name, and the resemblance it bears to Ultimate's Entombed there's nothing very enjoyable about this licence.
You control C-3PO (with R2-D2 dragging along as usual) and have to work your way through eight rather dull levels of play, entry to which is gained by playing a sort of Pocket Simon-type game.
Any icon-driven game is slow, but trying to move C-3PO out of the way of an approaching droid is agonising. Graphics of minimal quality and abysmal sound make this a waste of £3. Use the force to give this a swerve...
Super Trolley (Mastertronic)
Avid readers of Buzz will know that this is the game that dear old, white-haired, doesn't-he-do-a-lot-for-charity, Jimmy Saville, fixed it for a young lad to have programmed and marketed.
Gameplay consists of filling holes and pushing a trolley around in an effort to find promotion in a hypermarket. I'm sorry to say the concept isn't very exciting - shopping in Tesco's rarely is - and nor is the game...
Beach Buggy Simulator (Silverbird)
If these are the kind of beaches I had to drive my beach buggy around I'd stick to the M25.
This is another, very average dose of Jeep-style gameplay with you controlling a fairly bland buggy wazzing over the dunes avoiding rocks and trying not to be blown up by roving helicopter gunships.