Personal Computer News


Commodore Crackers

Author: Bob Chappell
Publisher: Audiogenic
Machine: Commodore 64

 
Published in Personal Computer News #074

Four excellent games for the C64 kept Bob Chappell wired up to his computer.

Commodore Crackers

Four excellent games for the Commodore 64 kept Bob Chappell wired up to his computer

Frantic Freddie

Frantic is the right word in this game of chase-me-round featuring platforms and ladders. Our hero Freddie is a telephone engineer whose wildest dream has come true. There, resting temptingly on the telephone wires and his for the taking, are several pots of gold. Freddie just has to nip up the nearest telegraph pole, waddle along the wires, and it's goodbye British Telecom, hello Bahamas.

Dreams often turn to nightmares and Freddie's is no exception. Shimmying along the wires to spoil all the fun comes, not Busby, but a bunch of Greeblies.

These ovals ogres waltz the network after poor Fred who could avoid them all quite easily were it not for one small earthly factor - dream or nightmare, he still can't walk though solid objects, to wit, telegraph poles. He has to shin up one side and down the other. The Greeblies don't suffer this handicap but Freddie can still win out - if he pockets all the pots, the Greebly tribe quakes and topples headlong.

Should a Greebly knock Freddie off the wires or poles, the screen shakes as he hits the ground; Freddie comes cartwheeling back up again but is in no fit state to continue - one of his three lives is disconnected. Freddie can progress through 16 screens, each one with a different looking gang of Greeblies and a new layout.

That's not all - there's super music (ten different tunes - loved the opening rock 'n roll number), cartoon interludes, bonus characters and daft messages. Beating the Greeblies may drive you up the pole but you'd be barmy not to buy Frantic Freddie. Frantic fun.

Slinky

And so to wires of another kind. Remember Slinky, a wiry spring-like object that you used to let loose at the top of the stairs so that it would obligingly 'walk' down?

In this superb game, probably more familiar to you from the arcades as Q-Best, Slinky's home is a massive pile of cubes. You must guide Slinky across one face of every cube, turning it a different colour on contact. Once all the cubes have been changed, on and upwards to the next level.

Sounds boring? Don't you believe it. Among the hazards are a nomadic magnet that drags you off the pile and drops you into the abyss below, a raindrop that speeds you up if it touches you and a dust cloud that slows you down. If both wet and dusty, you rust solid and an oil-can arrives and carts you off to the scrap metal yard.

Still not convinced? There's a vacillating metallic head, hyper holes, a cube hopper and, sensationally, 99 levels of play which include a variety of character and cube behaviour.

As icing on a very rich cake, between levels you may get a high-speed action reply or one of several amusing cartoon displays. But for me the cherry on the top was what happens when you succeed in completing a level. The screen explodes with a firework display, flags wave and the 1812 overture thunders out. Exhilarating.

Excellent graphics, oodles of variety, cracking sound effects - Slinky is undoubtedly the monarch of cube games.

Loco

This game of locomotive lunacy has you driving a classically designed steam train across your screen.

You have a side-on view of the action. No sooner has the large loco been flagged on its way by the waving station master and begun puffing along the merry track, than trouble strikes. Planes and airships start dropping enormous bombs while steaming down the rails towards your loco come runaway, explosive-laden carts. Your loco has two defence systems - blasting a jet of steam forward eradicates a cart while puffing smoke into the sky brings overhead enemies to grief.

To help you drive your train through the five stations, an aerial display at the bottom of the screen shows your position on the immediately surrounding six-track layout. Using this, you can take evasive action by switching from track to track, trying to call in at fuel depots as you go.

Loco has high-quality smooth-scrolling graphics and makes good use of sound. Together with its five skill and two speed levels, it all adds up to a first-rate game, one of the best yet from Alligata. Steam out and get it.

Horace Goes Skiing

Horace became a cult figure among Spectrum owners. He is a cute cartoon blob on legs who in this game must cross a busy road to get to borrow some skis. Once kitted out, Horace enthusiastically launches himself down a giant slalom course, doing his best to avoid getting creamed on the trees and flags.

Simple, unsophisticated stuff but all good clean fun. If you've never played with Horace, now's your chance.

Bob Chappell

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