Personal Computer News21st January 1984
Published in Personal Computer News #045
Bob Chappell gets to grips with a handful of Commodore 64 games - some are simply addictive
What some of these Commodore 64 games lack in sophistication is made up for in other ways.
Best of the bunch is the simple, but maddeningly addictive, Crossfire. On screen are six rows of seven boxes, but the action is in the lanes between the boxes. Ranged around the perimeter are snoozing aliens with your craft somewhere more central.
Some of the aliens waken to patrol the lanes, merrily firing a missile or two as they go. This is a game of shoot or get shot for it is apparent that they are intent on ganging up on you. You outmanoeuvre your pursuers using your joystick or keyboard (the latter can be configured to your own taste), and trying desperately not to get caught in crossfire. Shoot one of them with your limited supply of 35 missiles and, like as not, the injured party will undergo a metamorphosis into something unpleasant.
When your ammunition is down to under 11, you must reach a reloading station pronto. There are two speeds of play and several levels, each offering fewer defence missiles than the one before. The game has good sound effects and mood music which can be turned off.
A simple concept which, at first sight, appears to be a doddle. Take my word, it's not as easy as it looks and it keeps you coming back for more.
Bonka is an aptly titled version of the Panic variety where, instead of bashing the enemy, you bash the ground.
A series of platforms are linked by ladders. The hero starts at the bottom of the screen and must first get hold of a hammer. At the top of the screen is a solitary meanie, a rotund alien equipped with built-in deely boppers. No prizes for guessing on what platform the hammer is.
Once the hammer has been captured, a quick press on the joystick fire button digs a large hole - obviously this hero has never seen a shovel. The meanie turns out to be short-sighted and will fall into any hole, to be left dangling by its antennae.
A quick wallop over the spot with the hammer and the meanie plunges down the screen - the further you drop, the more points for you. Each screen supplies more meanies to harass you. Again, simple but insomnia-inducing.
The Spectrum version of Everest Ascent was reviewed in a previous issue of PCN (issue 13) so let's be brief.
This game lets you make an assault on that most romantic of mountains, Mt. Everest. There are no graphics (except for a scenic backdrop), and progress up the mountains in a matter of selecting options and giving orders from menus.
A successful ascent involves careful control and planning of movement and supplies, making sure you have enough Sherpas, oxygen, food and such like.
This is an enjoyable exercise in logistics with a yeti thrown in for good measure though it's not a true adventure.
You got it in one - our old web-footed friend is still trying to cross the road. Here, he has to contend with lorries, racing cars and a shrieking ambulance which goes twice as fast as the rest of the traffic and drives down the road's centre. If Toad makes it, he then has the usual logs, crocs and turtles to contend with.Road Toad is one of the best amphibians I've seen, which gives a deep 'Ribbit, ribbit' croak as it hops. A very competent version of a classic, though some colours are not so hot and don't show some objects to best advantage.
Using your cross-sight, you defend your city against waves of horizontally mobile alien saucers which dump bombs on their way to the local galactic supermarket. Each wave contains about 70 ships, so you need a strong wrist and trigger finger. The ships come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours.
As the ships move across at different heights, they sometimes pause before resuming their journey. That's about it really for Cataclysm - you get them before they wipe out the city.
Attractive graphics and zippy space sounds, but not much variety. Joystick only.
This limited version of Scramble offers only two types of screen. The first has you dodging asteroids and solar pods to bomb bases, with a mystery ship shooting up from below. In the second screen you travel through ice caves avoiding walls while destroying more bases.
The game has a bug which locks it up. If you crash your ship into the ground on take-off (unlikely but possible) the program stops and only powering off and on restores it.
This game does what it does reasonably well but there's not much to it. And the disk version is more than double the price of the £9 cassette.