CPC Game Reviews - by
 Nicholas Campbell

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Updated version of the Sean McManus Software Collection

Those of you who bought the magazines Amstrad Action and Amstrad Computer User in the early 1990s and typed in the listings that were published in them every month may well recall the name of Sean McManus, whose programs regularly featured in these magazines. He also wrote a machine code game called The Further Adventures of Fred, and it was due to be published on the covertape for issue 118 of Amstrad Action – but unfortunately the magazine ceased publication after 117 issues, although Sean still released the game into the public domain.

Sean has now tweaked The Further Adventures of Fred so that it's a bit easier. The first level was particularly unfair as it put you in immediate danger of losing a life, so it's been modified slightly and swapped around with a later level. Several of his listings have also been updated to include built-in instructions, better presentation, or changes to the keyboard controls.

Sean's collection of his CPC work was originally released in 1997, and you can download the updated 2020 version from his web site. Even after 30 years, he still remembers how to program in Locomotive BASIC!

New reviews

I have reviewed five games:

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

Corsair Trainer

Bitplane Technomantes has released a one-level preview of their new game Corsair Trainer. It's an entrant in the Assembly Online 2020 game development competition and it's a space shoot-'em-up with very smooth 50Hz vertical scrolling. You may remember the name Bitplane Technomantes from a few years back when they released the technically amazing and highly playable Dragon Attack in the 2016 #CPCRetroDev Game Creation Contest. The programmer, Axelay, is the man responsible for several other great Amstrad CPC games, and Corsair Trainer also features the very distinctive and beautiful artwork of rexbeng.

You can download Corsair Trainer from the Assembly Online 2020 site. Be warned that even on the lowest difficulty setting, it's very tough to reach the end of the first level! I hope that Axelay will make the final version a bit easier.

Video of Corsair Trainer on YouTube

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

Buccaneers

Matranet is planning to release a beat-'em-up called Buccaneers. I know very little about the background to this release, but it's based on an arcade game from 1989 by a Spanish company called Duintronic. It seems that a ZX Spectrum version was being developed but was never released.

However, the original development team of Juan Carlos Sánchez Álvarez and Manolo Matamoros have released a playable demo for the Amstrad CPC, featuring music by McKlain. Your comrades have been captured by Caribbean pirates and you must rescue them. The demo enables you to play the first of eight levels for two minutes. It's a side-scrolling beat-'em-up with beautiful Mode 1 graphics and a very jolly soundtrack. You can download the playable demo from Matranet, although it requires 128KB of RAM. The boxed version can be ordered from Matranet at a cost of €32 excluding shipping, and it will even include a 50ml bottle of honey rum from Andalusia!

New version of GB Tetris Emulator

40Crisis has released version 1.1a of GB Tetris Emulator. New features include a marquee surrounding the playing area to provide an even more authentic Game Boy emulation experience (as you can see in the screenshot on the right) and some changes to the keyboard controls, and if you're playing the game on a standard CPC, you now have 27 colour schemes to choose from. The new version can be downloaded from the CPCWiki forum.

Brick Rick

Juan José Martínez has just released Brick Rick – a platform game that plays very similarly to one of his previous releases, Magica (which has been reviewed on this site and was rated 8 out of 10). Rick is working on a building site that is being invaded by aliens, and he has to get rid of them by hurling bricks at them and stunning them. There are 50 levels and each level has a time limit of 60 seconds.

You can download Brick Rick from Juan's site, and as with Juan's previous Amstrad CPC games, you can order a physical copy from poly.play, which is expected to ship in early November 2020.

New reviews

I have reviewed five games:

Another conversion of Tetris

Almost as soon as 40Crisis released his Game Boy Tetris emulator for the CPC, Crazy Piri released their own conversion of Tetris! Unlike 40Crisis' version, it's not an emulator, but it is clearly strongly influenced by the Game Boy version and uses the same graphics, although it includes a different set of tunes and sound effects. You can download it from Crazy Piri's site.

New reviews

Missas has returned with a review of CPC Soccer.

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

GB Tetris Emulator

There are plenty of versions of Tetris available for the Amstrad CPC. The official release by Mirrorsoft was mediocre at best, but many other unofficial versions were released into the public domain or published as listings in magazines. But did you ever think that you could play the Game Boy version of Tetris on your CPC? Well now you can! 40Crisis has released GB Tetris Emulator, which emulates the Game Boy version reasonably accurately. There are some minor issues with the sound – although the famous Korobeiniki theme tune that everyone outside Russia associates with Tetris is faithfully reproduced – and the missile launching sequence if you achieve a particularly high score, but it still plays just like the Tetris that so many Game Boy owners loved.

GB Tetris Emulator will only work if you have 128KB of RAM, and if you own a Plus machine, you can emulate the Game Boy palette, as you can see in the screenshot on the right. You can download the emulator from the CPCWiki forum, but for obvious reasons, with Nintendo being very litigious when it comes to emulation, it doesn't include the ROM files for the game itself; you'll have to hunt for those yourself and then insert them into the included disc image file using a tool such as ManageDSK.

CPC Soccer

CPC Soccer Community Edition has been released. You can download it at itch.io. Don't forget that you can also buy a physical copy of CPC Soccer International Edition from Bitmap Soft.

New reviews

I have reviewed two games:

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

CPC Soccer

Bitmap Soft has just released a new game called CPC Soccer. It's been programmed by Israel Roman Alvarez, and it's basically an Amstrad CPC conversion of Sensible Soccer – a very fast-pased game that is widely considered to be one of the best football games of the 16-bit era. Retro Video Gamer has written a review (which also includes lots of screenshots), and Xyphoe played it on one of his YouTube streams last night, which you can watch below:

Xyphoe's preview of CPC Soccer on YouTube

CPC Soccer plays much faster and more smoothly than any other football game I can think of on the CPC, and it looks very exciting. You can order a copy from Bitmap Soft for 10.00 excluding shipping, and Israel plans to release a free digital version in the future.

New reviews

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

I have reviewed six games:

At this point, I would like to plug Yellow Belly's YouTube channel. Yellow Belly has been streaming most Sunday evenings starting from 19:30 or 20:00 BST, and in each stream, he plays a few relatively little known Amstrad CPC games beginning with a particular letter of the alphabet, hoping to find one or more "hidden gems". Last Sunday, he played Oriental Games and I admitted I had never played it before, so he suggested that I review it – so that's what I've done! If you're into Amstrad CPC gaming then I suggest you join him on Sunday evenings and watch his streams.

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

I have reviewed Space Moves.

Retrobytes Productions released Space Moves towards the end of last week, and you can now download the game from the NVG archive. It is a great game, although the first part (which is very similar to Army Moves) is very difficult. Hopefully a review of the game will be uploaded this weekend. If you find the game too difficult, I've written a type-in listing that you can use to make the game a bit easier (well, a lot easier, actually).

Deva Drifter

Albertoven has released a new game called Deva Drifter. It's a top-down racing game, similar to Super Sprint and The Oliver Twins' Grand Prix Simulator games. There are no opponents, though; you're racing on your own against the clock. Unlike other such games, the author has concentrated on simulating realistic physics, and you can drift the car around corners.

Deva Drifter is the third part of the Hidden History Saga; the first part, Vector Vaults, was highly acclaimed (and was rated 9 out of 10 on this site), and Deva Drifter is also great fun to play, although the track and scenery graphics are very basic. You can download a free version from Albertoven's site that contains five tracks, and a deluxe digital version with additional tracks is available for €3.90 – but if you want a physical copy of the game, it will cost an eye-watering €69! I don't see many CPC fans buying copies at that price, however good the game may be.

New reviews

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

Yet another new game has been released for the Amstrad CPC, and this one – called The Sword of Ianna – is particularly special. Why is that? Well, it's a cartridge game, yet it's designed to run on normal CPC machines and not the GX4000 console or Plus machines! It runs on a device called the Dandanator, which effectively acts like a 512KB EPROM cartridge.

I mentioned The Sword of Ianna back in January. Retroworks originally released the game for the ZX Spectrum and MSX2 in 2017, and they've done a great job converting it to the CPC. One of the reasons why it's only available on cartridge is that it's a very large game indeed; it will probably take around three hours to complete it from start to finish! There's also a huge amount of animation, similar to Prince of Persia.

You can download The Sword of Ianna from RetroWorks' site. It really is an amazing game and all CPC fans should try it out! Because the game runs on the Dandanator, you can only play The Sword of Ianna on a CPC that has this device, or on an emulator that supports the device, such as Retro Virtual Machine.

RetroWorks has released a trailer video on YouTube that you can watch below, and Xyphoe played the game on a live stream last Friday, which you can also watch on YouTube.

Trailer for The Sword of Ianna on YouTube

I have reviewed two games, both of which were released very recently:

ESP Soft has released their latest game Red Sunset. They made a preview available back in Christmas 2018, and it looked amazing. The final version consists of three levels of vertically scrolling action in which you control one of two types of fighter – the Slider or the Viper. The graphics, music and scrolling are all amazing, and the game has been developed by the same team behind Galactic Tomb – another stunning example of what the Amstrad CPC can achieve in the right hands.

You can download Red Sunset from Amstrad ESP, and there's a YouTube video that showcases the game that you can watch below (skip to 2:12 if you want to see the gameplay straight away).

Video of Red Sunset on YouTube

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

Space Moves

The new, expanded version of Space Moves is now available to order from Matranet on cassette at a cost of €21.45, excluding shipping. The cassette comes in a jewel case inside a cardboard box, and it also includes an instruction manual and a CD containing the soundtrack. There are no plans to release it on disc, although a DSK file for use on emulators should become available to download once all the physical copies have been sold, as far as I know.

If you want to see how the game plays, Xyphoe played it on one of his YouTube streams last Friday, and you can watch it below:

Xyphoe's preview of Space Moves on YouTube

Atic Atac

John Ward is trying to write Ultimate Play the Game's ZX Spectrum classic Atic Atac for the Amstrad CPC, and Steven Day has contributed some beautiful Mode 0 graphics. John has posted a video on YouTube to demonstrate how gorgeous the game looks and plays so far, and you can also follow its progress on the CPCWiki forum.

Robert Small has reviewed two games:

New reviews

A new contributor, Shaun Neary, has reviewed three games (although he's been in the Amstrad CPC gaming community for a long time – even longer than me!):

Shaun is not the only new contributor this time. neepheid has reviewed two games:

And Robert Small has reviewed two games:

Space Moves

Amstrad Eterno has released a cinema-style trailer on YouTube for the enhanced version of Space Moves by Retrobytes Productions, which you can watch below:

Trailer for Space Moves on YouTube

Today CPC Game Reviews has reached a milestone, with 2,000 Amstrad CPC games reviewed! It took almost five years to reach 1,000 reviews, and as I got older, left university and real life increasingly got in the way (as I'm sure it has for the large majority of readers), I felt I would never reach 2,000 reviews – but I've done it at last!

2,000 games reviewed

A big thanks to everyone who has contributed reviews to this site over the many years it's been online (21 and counting). Without your help, the site would still be languishing at around 1,400 reviews.

I hope all of you Amstrad CPC fans out there are still enjoying browsing all the reviews and playing lots of great (and perhaps not so great) CPC games during these challenging times, and please remember to stay safe.

So what's in the latest batch of reviews to be added? I have reviewed four games:

And Robert Small has reviewed Toyota Celica GT Rally.

Robert Small has reviewed Hostages.

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