|Games this month:|
Zzoom is one of the games that was B.C. (Before CRASH). It is exactly one year old now, and was the most wanted game of the August ZX Microfair last year.
Zzoom, being a fairly old game, has held its own in
the market well, probably due to its good 3D graphics. They’re pleasing
and realistic, especially the way that the clouds move at different speeds
depending on how close or far away they are from the player’s view.
Action is compelling and continuous, if not even tiring (it’s hard work
flying). The enemy aircraft ‘zzoom’ very realistically towards you.
Overall, it’s stood the test of time very well and can still be
recommended as a great air to air/land and sea conflict.
I remember Zzoom being reviewed well because of the
graphics, which were some of the best looking 3D at the time. I particularly
liked the screen layout and fresh use of colour. As it’s a pretty fast
game, the periodic ‘breathers’ between bouts of action are quite
welcome. Has it stood up well? Yes, I think so, because it is very playable
and yet hard enough to be interesting and a challenge. It’s one of those
games that’s certainly worth dusting off and putting on the computer
again. With Imagine going down the pan, some of their games may enjoy a
In issue 2 we said that Alchemist was Imagine’s first step into the mist-shrouded world of terror and mystery. Perhaps overstating it somewhat! Alchemist, however, was Imagine’s first attempt at anything with adventure overtones in an otherwise arcade style game.
Alchemist does have some Imaginative
graphics, although I can’t agree with the review, ‘exceptional
graphics... excellent graphics’. They are quite old looking and
don’t move very easily about the screen. The keyboard layout is poor.
Overall this game comes nowhere near Atic Atac, as mentioned in the
original review. The castle which seemed massive on first playing has dwindled
down to just a dozen separate rooms. I think it was overrated.
I don't entirely agree about the graphics. They are quite
original, certainly very detailed. If they move awkwardly it is more because
of their size and inertia which has been added. On the other hand I do think
Alchemist lacks a lot in playability because of the content, which
isn't very high. It’s an easily completed game and unlike Atic
Atac doesn’t have sufficient arcade interest once completed to keep
you having another go.
|Use of Computer||80%|
|Value For Money||95%|
(Matthew) The 80% for use of computer doesn’t hold up as far as the keyboard play goes, and I wouldn’t give it more than 69% now. The graphics too, by today’s standard, would have to come down, probably around the 72% mark. As to its addictive qualities, well the original 89% is right out of the window! More like 60% for me.
(Lloyd) I wouldn’t push the graphics down much at all, they still look fine to me. It got 90% for playability, well it’s fun to start with but I think that’s over the top. It seems to me, looking back on it, that Alchemist was among the first of a generation of games which tried to get definitely away from the shoot em up tradition, so perhaps its ratings were more appropriate then than they are now. Certainly its addictive qualities were rated far too high, I think around the 68% mark now.
Scuba Dive certainly got a rave review from CRASH in issue 2 (92% overall) and has remained a popular vote in the HOTLINE ever since. How does it fare now?
|Use of computer||89%|
|Value for money||98%|
Soon after the arrival of Scuba Dive a few other
companies followed suit and produced underwater games. Scuba Dive is
still the best one though. I tend to agree with most of the review but the game
does tend to get boring, tedious and unaddictive very soon — no lasting
appeal for me. Sound and a few more danger scenes could have made this low
content game better. However, I wouldn’t tell anyone not to buy it, just
that they might be a bit disappointed after a while. I must say, that the
animation and drawing of the sea creatures is very well done.
I think I agree with Matthew about the content of Scuba
Dive, not that it’s bad in itself, but that the implementation of
the game makes for one that is fairly slow after a while. Scuba
Dive’s success lies more in the first few plays where the graphics
delight and the size of the underwater caverns promises much fun. It
isn’t a game of skill in the sense of fast timing and firing accuracy,
but swimming skills to take a time to master. Once that’s achieved
though, some of the fun does lag. On the whole I would say that if we were
reviewing as new today, it would still get a very high rating from me, but less
on the addictivity.
Durrell’s Harrier Attack was a B.C. game. At the time of its release a number of magazine reviews commented on the tastelessness of a game which sends Harriers into strafe and bomb an island town in the wake of the Falklands Conflict. Well, that’s as may be, but it seems a rather pointless criticism to level at a game which is firmly in the tradition of computer games — knock hell out of the enemy!
This game is fun to play. I have to say that this is the first
time I’ve played it, so it really is like a new game review for me. I
think the various skill levels play a major role in its addictive qualities.
Graphically it is quite primitive by today’s smooth standards, but by no
means does this interfere with a great game. Colour has been used realistically
and wisely. I can’t really fault it at all as a simple shoot em up except
that I wish Durrell would update some of the graphic features, such as
increasing the size of the playing characters, and perhaps adding a bit more
sound. Overall it has stood up very well.
I remember first off being struck by the nice effect of the sun
glinting on the waves of the sea and thinking that because of the more solid
looking graphics it was more fun to play than say Penetrator, which it
resembles. But after a few plays I realised that there is less fun here than in
Penetrator, which isn’t to say that Harrier Attack is
boring, but I do think it lacks content. Having taken off, bombed, landed,
there isn’t much more to do except improve the old hi-score. The game
still looks quite good by today’s standards although the landscape
scrolling is a bit jerky. In its day, Harrier Attack was one of the
new generation of somewhat better looking shoot em ups, and that was its
strength. Spectrum programming has overtaken its look now.
Wheelie got the best overall percentage in CRASH issue 2 — 93%. In fact that makes it one of the highest scoring games in any issue of CRASH. Even now, it is fighting it out in the top five of the HOTLINE chart and has been successful in most popular sales charts as well. What do we think today?
All I can say is that Wheelie is still the same
compulsive, addictive game that it ever was. Nobody has tried yet to copy this
game because it cannot be bettered. This game is so panicky, I just can’t
put it down. All the features are well structured to test the skill of the
player and develop those skills in preparation for the final race against the
biker. The graphics are so realistic, especially the crashes, but also the way
in which the speed of the bike relates to hazards. They just haven’t been
improved upon by anyone yet.
Wheelie was a highly original game when it came out,
and looking at it now, one can only say that it is still original because no
one has done anything like it. I rather doubt that any other version would be
better anyway. I don’t know yet what the Eddie Kidd game from Martech
will be like, but if it’s anything like Wheelie it will have to
be really good to be better.
|Use of Computer||89%|
|Value For Money||99%|
Fighter Pilot was the first offering from Digital Integration, a software house which has established itself very firmly with this and its second game, Night Gunner. We gave Fighter Pilot an overall rating of 86%, and said that it was definitely the best simulation for the Spectrum yet. Is it still?
|Use of Computer||82%|
|Value For Money||85%|
Yes it is! Undoubtedly the best flying simulation for the
Spectrum as far as I’m concerned, and it will remain at the top for a
long time to come, I’m sure. Nothing I can see about the review needs
commenting on — game and review stand up well to the test of time! After
playing so many games and mastering them, this one still remains unmastered by
me — perhaps if I played non-stop for two weeks I might be able to fly
this high performance fighter well. The ultimate simulation for the
Attention to detail, especially in simulations, is bound to
make a game playable, and Fighter Pilot hasn’t really been
bettered on that count. Everything works and combines to make this a very real
experience of flying. There’s the possibility that someone, maybe
Digital Integration themselves, will come up with a similar program that
actually creates a detailed ground effect, but until that does happen I think
the original review’s comments about being the best still stand.
We said of Omega Run (issue 2, 87% overall) that it hovered between being a flight simulation and a straightforward game. Since then a number of flight simulations have appeared and Omega Run tends to look more like a game than a simulation, with, oddly, more similarity to Zzoom than anything.
The instructions are of a high standard, each item being very
carefully explained. The idea behind it is still quite good although, looking
back, it seems to lack a fair amount of content and variation, meaning its
addictive qualities have dropped in comparison to later games. It’s a
shame the 3D effects couldn’t have been improved, like a moving
landscape. The graphics stand up as fairly detailed, but there aren’t all
that many of them. It’s still playable when you get it out again, but
doesn’t have much of an addictive quality.
I thought Omega Run was a lot of fun when I first
played it, although not so addictive as to keep me trying. I saw the Commodore
version not long ago, expecting a vast graphic improvement, but it looked very
similar, no attribute problems of course. Getting the Spectrum version out for
a re-run, I left it feeling somewhat unimpressed because it does lack content,
there’s too much twisting and turning to shoot enemy planes down, and
|Use of Computer||78%|
|Value For Money||90%|
Android 2, a follow up (no surprise) to Android 1, was a CRASH SMASH in issue 2 getting 90% overall. How’s it stood up?
|Use of Computer||80%|
|Value For Money||89%|
The 3D effect on Android 2 works very well and is
still one of the leading 3D maze style games. It’s attractive, colourful
and boasts good animation. Playing it today, it’s still difficult which
in a sense makes it challenging. In the original review, one of the bits used
was mine, I said that this was a good game in itself with great graphics like
Ant Attack, but a better playing game than Ant Attack. I
haven’t changed my mind! The demo and instructions are some of the best
Considering the difficulty of getting through the very complex
maze with all its hazards, this is still a very playable game with plenty of
challenge and a lively, full, colourful screen. I always liked the graphics and
the 3D effect and no one has really challenged Android 2, in my opinion, if one
is looking at maze type games. In truth, I don’t think it has dated at
Of the nine games looked at this month Lloyd and Matthew reckoned that Microsphere’s Wheelie and Digital Integration’s Fighter Pilot are the two that had stood the test of time best of all, neither of them looking the least bit dated, and are certainly still the most enjoyable to play again.