CPC Game Reviews - by
 Nicholas Campbell

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Astrocop

Mananuk has released another platform game for the Amstrad CPC. This one is called Astrocop. It's slightly different from his previous platformers in that instead of a single large level, it's divided into 15 small levels, and on each level, you must collect a floppy disk and rescue a kitten. You can download Astrocop from itch.io.

New reviews

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

I have reviewed six games – a mixture of new releases, previous entries from the #CPCRetroDev Game Creation Contest, and a French text adventure:

Lala Prologue 2022

The Mojon Twins have reworked one of their earlier games for the Amstrad CPC, Lala Prologue, which was released back in 2010 (was it really twelve years ago?! How time flies...). The original game (which was rated 8 out of 10 on this site) featured four-colour Mode 1 graphics, but this new updated version uses the CPC's 16-colour, low resolution Mode 0 to make the graphics brighter and more colourful. The movement of Lala and enemy sprites on the screen is now much smoother as well.

You can download Lala Prologue 2022 from itch.io. It seems to be the trend among developers of 8-bit games nowadays to use itch.io for downloading games, as it provides a convenient means for players to donate money to the developers for their efforts.

New reviews

I have reviewed two games:

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

I have reviewed three games:

Playonretro has released Red Planet for the Amstrad CPC. The game was originally released for the ZX Spectrum in 2015, and in it, you control an astronaut who has to explore an old space station, find ten containers of explosive, place them in an area deep within the station, and then return to the room where you entered the station. Your supply of oxygen is limited, so you will need to find oxygen canisters to replenish it. You can also collect ammunition to kill enemies - pelusoids, arachnoviruses, and even your former companions who attempted this mission before you but have been infected by arachnoviruses! It's a fairly small game – there are only 30 rooms and you are given so many opportunities to replenish your ammunition that you don't really need to conserve it – but it has great graphics and is very enjoyable to play.

You can download Red Planet from itch.io, although at the moment it's only available as a cassette image or a snapshot, and some people have reported problems getting both of them to work on emulators, as well as a real Amstrad CPC. The game is available in both English and Spanish.

Blinky's Scary School

Zisquier (aka Amstariga) has released Blinky's Scary School. I've played it and it plays very well and looks very nice, but from what I've seen so far, the puzzles and the layout of the castle have changed, so if you've played any of the original versions of the game, it probably won't help you much! You can download Blinky's Scary School using this link to Google Drive.

Goody, el Regreso

Iván Ávila has released Goody, el Regreso. Spanish readers may be familiar with Opera Soft's 1987 release Goody, and this is an unofficial sequel. Following his previous bank-robbing capers, Goody made some poor financial investments and has had to don his mask once more and break info safes to recoup his losses. As with Iván's previous games such as Llum, Goody, el Regreso has been programmed using the 8 Bits de Poder (8BP) RSX library, and you can download his latest game from itch.io.

Paco, el Hombre

Goody, el Regreso isn't the only new release to be programmed using 8BP. Jose Javier García Aranda, the author of 8BP, has released Paco, el Hombre – a clone of Pac-Man that is designed to demonstrate that games developed using 8BP don't have to be sluggish. There is only one level, and there are no power pills to collect, but the game can be played at four different speeds ranging from 15fps (frames per second) to 33fps. You can download Paco, el Hombre from the 8BP GitHub page; look in the dsk and tape folders for the disc and cassette images for use with emulators.

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

Chuckie Egg 4

Jean-Marie Barone has released another modified version of Chuckie Egg, which is unsurprisingly entitled Chuckie Egg 4. This latest modification features eight more new screens taken from the 2009 BBC Micro and Acorn Electron release Chuckie Egg 2009 by Dave Edwards, and it also includes a new title screen courtesy of Kukulcan from CPC-POWER. You can download Chuckie Egg 4 from NVG.

Blinky's Scary School

Thanks to XeNoMoRPH on the CPCWiki forum for posting details of a preview version of a game called Blinky's Scary School that is being developed for the GX4000 and Plus machines. This arcade adventure platformer was originally released by Zeppelin Games in 1990 for several 8-bit machines, as well as the Amiga and Atari ST, but unfortunately the Amstrad CPC missed out. I used to own it for the ZX Spectrum and I remember playing it a lot – until the Spectrum developed a terminal fault a few months later and I was left with only my CPC.

Amstariga has been working for several months developing Blinky's Scary School, and he has suggested it will be coming very soon. It's looking quite impressive, although the palette resembles that of the Commodore 64 in places. You can watch his latest preview video below, and he has posted a few more videos of the game on his YouTube channel.

Preview of Blinky's Scary School on YouTube

Last Friday, Xyphoe presented the second Amstream Amstrad Video Game Awards Show, known colloquially as the Sugars. There are no real life prizes, but it's a fun way to recognise the hard work that has been put in by individuals and teams to develop new games for the Amstrad CPC over the last twelve months. Fifteen games were nominated, and the results are as follows:

You can watch the entire awards show on YouTube, complete with a few technical hitches, and also a bit of controversy over the "Best platformer" award!

The Sugars 2021-2022 on YouTube

Chuckie Egg 3

Jean-Marie Barone has released a modified version of the A'n'F Software classic Chuckie Egg called Chuckie Egg 3. Back in 1984, Bit Twiddlers released their own modified version of Chuckie Egg for the BBC Micro with the title Chukee, apparently with the approval of A'n'F Software. It contained eight new screens, and Jean-Marie has inserted those screens into the CPC version of Chuckie Egg. You can download Chuckie Egg 3 from NVG.

New reviews

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

I have reviewed Top Level.

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

As the FA Cup Final is in a few days' time, I have reviewed FA Cup Football.

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

I have reviewed seven games:

Retrobloc

Krappygamez has released Retrobloc for the Amstrad CPC. It's a puzzle game based on an old MS-DOS and arcade game called Blockout, which is like a 3D version of Tetris. Retrobloc was originally released for the ZX Spectrum in late 2020 and it has now been converted to the CPC. If you've played Welltris on the CPC or another machine, the presentation will probably look very familiar to you, and the gameplay is also quite similar, although not identical. You can download Retrobloc from itch.io.

New reviews

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

I have rewritten my review of Hacker II: The Doomsday Papers and given it a higher rating. When I first reviewed it, I didn't have a clue what I was supposed to be doing, but I revisited it recently, and after watching a couple of YouTube videos, I now understand what to do.

Toki

GGP continue to tease the Amstrad CPC community with the release on YouTube of another trailer of their forthcoming conversion of Toki. The group has stated that this is the final trailer, and it looks like it is scheduled for release in October. They didn't state which year, though... The video premiere was on the 1st of April, so I hope it isn't a poisson d'avril.

We've been waiting for nearly four years now, and I'm sure we can wait for another six months (hopefully). It's looking amazing, and if you haven't tried the beta preview version yet (which admittedly is from Christmas 2019), download it now and get a taste of what to expect!

Trailer of Toki on YouTube

New reviews

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

I have reviewed two games:

Dokoban

Back in the 1990s, I was obsessed with the type-in listings that were published in Amstrad Action and Amstrad Computer User magazines. Amstrad Computer User ran a regular feature each month where they published listings that were written in just ten lines of BASIC, known as '10-Liners'. I was amazed by the ways in which some programmers managed to cram so much into ten lines – but one such 10-Liner that I came across recently is on another level.

Dokoban is a clone of the puzzle game Sokoban, in which you move blocks around the screen so they are positioned over some markers, while trying to avoid getting them, or yourself, stuck. Normally I wouldn't write an article about tiny games like this, but Dokoban has to be seen to be believed. This game includes 13 highly challenging levels and multi-coloured graphics, all in ten lines of BASIC, and with no machine code routines at all! Now, it does cheat a bit, since it's impossible to type it in manually (it contains lots of characters that aren't available on the keyboard, so you have to run a separate program that sets it up for use), but even so, it's just utterly astounding.

Dokoban is an entrant in the 11th BASIC 10 Liner Contest, which has plenty of entrants for a wide variety of 8-bit computers. You can download Dokoban from itch.io.

It seems that Mananuk just can't stop converting games from the ZX Spectrum to the Amstrad CPC, as he's released his third CPC game in less than two months! His latest game is Black Sea – an underwater exploration game in which you, as Captain Robinson, explore the depths of the Black Sea in your bathyscaphe in a search for treasure.

Black Sea features a beautiful animated title screen by Éric Cubizolle (aka Titan) and colourful graphics by Radastan. In my opinion, the graphics are better than in Mananuk's previous two games for the CPC, The Mandarin and Paleto Jones. You can download Black Sea from itch.io.

New reviews

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

I have reviewed two games:

Puzzle Bobble updated again

Crazy Piri has updated Puzzle Bobble again. Version 1.2 features faster launching of bubbles. You can download it from itch.io.

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

Crazy Piri has released version 1.1 of Puzzle Bobble. Among the improvements are:

  • New graphics and animations for the bubbles
  • The addition of a hard difficulty mode that doesn't show you where the next bubble will go after it is fired
  • Cartridge and Dandanator formats that are compatible with 64K CPCs

You can download version 1.1 of Puzzle Bobble from itch.io, and version 1.0 is still available from the same link.

Mananuk has converted another of his ZX Spectrum games, Paleto Jones, to the Amstrad CPC. Like his previous game, The Mandarin, which was released last month, Paleto Jones is a platform game in which you must collect gold coins and explore a tomb where your uncle is being held.

You can download Paleto Jones from itch.io. All donations made when downloading the game will be donated to the UNHCR (the United Nations refugee agency), which is to be welcomed given the current crisis in Ukraine following the Russian invasion of that country.

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

I have reviewed Wordle CPC.

Most of you will probably have heard by now of the addictive word puzzle Wordle that seems to have taken the English-speaking world by storm over the last few months, and which was recently bought by the New York Times newspaper. I've certainly been enjoying my daily Wordle fix! If you aren't familiar with it, you have six attempts to guess a five-letter word, and like Mastermind, you are told if a letter is in the correct position, or if a letter is in the word but in the wrong position.

The concept is so simple that it has already been ported to several retro computing platforms, and it was inevitable that someone would convert it to the Amstrad CPC. That someone is Arnolde, who previously developed the Bejeweled clone Gem Jam for the CPC. Dictionaries are available in four languages – English, French, German and Spanish – and you can download Wordle CPC from the CPCWiki forum. Now you will no longer have to wait for hours for the next day's puzzle to appear; you can just play as many games as you want.

Robert Small has reviewed Codename MAT.

I have reviewed two games:

Xyphoe's Nightmare is a new game that is currently only available exclusively on the Antstream streaming platform. It has been developed by Yellow Belly (who was also the man behind Bug's Quest for Tapes), with the help of some other contributors. Xyphoe himself has stated that the game will be made available to play on emulators or a real CPC in due course – something that I would like to emphasise – but for now, it can only be played on Antstream. You can watch the official trailer on YouTube.

Mananuk has converted his platform game The Mandarin from the ZX Spectrum to the Amstrad CPC. The story is rather crazy – our hero Mandarino has been recruited to infiltrate an enemy base called The Dying Orange and rescue a small creature who has been kidnapped by an evil empire. You must explore the base and retrieve energy cells in order to activate an emergency walkway and flee the base after you rescue the small creature.

Xyphoe previewed The Mandarin on his YouTube livestream last Friday, and you can download the game from itch.io. Mananuk has programmed a few other games for the ZX Spectrum, and one of them, Black Sea, is in the process of being converted to the CPC, and XeNoMoRPH has posted some gameplay footage of a beta version on YouTube.

E-mail: nich <AT> durge <DOT> org