Developed during a competition inviting participants to adapt any Spanish arcade game on ZX Spectrum, ALTAIR has been first adapted on the Sinclair computer before being converted on CPC. Published in 1981, the game remember the concept of GALAGA but providing the ability for your ship to freely move on the screen. So you face waves of enemy ships before being faced with a boss protected by an armor to blow before you can destroy it. The game then loops, letting you trying to make the highest score.

Technically minimalist, ALTAIR is none the less effective despite of its graphics from a previous age. Some details show the will of the author to faithfully reproduce the original arcade game, adding to the overall quality. The sound effects are insupportable after a few minutes, and by contrast would have won to be changed. The inability to make fire backwards is also destabilizing for the modern player, the ship turning according to the direction. Repetitive and predictable, ALTAIR is a good representative game of its time despite the limitations that it implies.

Developer : Cidelsa
CPC version : Inmensa Bola de Manteca
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Original cover-artwork and picture by IXIAN FACTORY

Amnesia is a PICROSS-like game in which you must fill grids with series of rounds separated by crosses. Numbers listed at the beginning of each row and column give indications which determine the number of rounds in the series and their location.

Coded in BASIC, Amnesia is a well done game with cute graphics, simple but effective sound effects, a backup function and even a system of coins to skip the grids you can not complete. However, the 20 grids are quite simple and the game is quickly completed. A nice oldschool intro permit to learn more about its development. Amnesia is a simple and fun game that is in an excellent introduction to picross.

Note the presence on the Internet of screenshots of an AMNESIA 2 that seems to be more an update than a sequel. But unfortunately, this game is still unfound.

Developers : Rudiger and JRM
Intro : Nicky One

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Original cover-artwork by IXIAN FACTORY - Picture by MOUNT et M. ZHOUF

Second title adapted by 40Crisis with its impressive engine that permit to load Spectrum games on CPC, ANT ATTACK could be a distant ancestor of ICO created on Playstation 2 in which a boy and a girl should help each other to survive.

So of course it is far from interactions between the protagonists of Fumito Ueda's game but you have to choose a character that will face a horde of giant bellicose ants in a dreamlike city to find his or her partner and lead to the shelter. With 10 levels of increasing difficulty, the game features fascinating monochrome isometric 3D graphics reminiscent of Escher drawings whose the city derives its name. The only real problem is that you must play with keyboard using keys that does not facilitate the playability on CPC. Classic game on Spectrum, the author also devotes a page of its website to it and fans have even rebuild the city of Antescher with LEGO bricks. The lifetime is short but the interest is elsewhere and you will live an amazing experience for a so old game.

Original game : Sandy White
Interpretation code : 40Crisis

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Original cover-artwork by IXIAN FACTORY - Picture by DAVE ROWE

Guide to the surface a small air bubble, it is the mission entrusted to you in AQUA. Of course, the path is full of obstacles and your bubble, attracted to the surface, does as it pleases. It must therefore be run accurately as contact with the barrier bursts.

Behind this basic principle lies a friendly game with simple realization and nice graphics. It is addictive and we start again at the end of each game to try to go further. However, some defects are noted. At first, the game is in Spanish so it would have been very simple to use English. Then, There is no music. Finally, the twenty levels loop in a few minutes with a little practice, rigid movements often leading to error. Whatever, it is very entertaining to extract our little bubble from depths of the oceans! And if you like AQUA, you will definitely be conquered by BALLOONACY who uses exactly the same idea while providing a much higher life time.

Developer : GG
Additional GFX : DadMan

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Original cover-artwork and picture by PAGANTIPACO

AREA 51 uses the concept of MANIC MINER. You play as a little alien who must collect all the crystals in each level, taking care to avoid enemies, obstacles and deadly falls. Like his illustrious ancestor, the character just can give directions to control his jumps. You have to direct the trajectories to the pixel! Platform or puzzle game, the borderland is thin because you need to measure every step.

Technically simple, this game adapted from the ZX Spectrum is not flawless. You have to deal with slowdowns, the fault to a lack of optimization of the conversion. The music is quite horrifying and you can play only using keyboard. But most frustrating is that the game is very short with 9 levels only. Yet all this doesn't prevent it to be nice to play. Probably charming because outdated, and surely because of a complete mastery of this kind of gameplay by its creator. We forgive it its lack of ambition when we know it was quickly developed for the Spectrum Minigames Competition 2004. Just give it a try and you probably be in love like us for this little game.

Developer : J. Cauldwell
CPC version : N. Campbell

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Original cover-artwork by IXIAN FACTORY - Picture by 3D ADDICT

You just put a bomb deep in an enemy space station and now your goal is to successfully escape before the explosion. This should be the typical story of a nervous futuristic action game. However, here you are in front of your keyboard to play an adventure game. Surprising!

Exploration and object research are the program to equip you to escape in a pod. Edited by Dinamic on Spectrum in 1987, ESP Soft offers us a CPC adaptation of a very successful game. It is easy to immerse in the oppressive atmosphere of the station. The vocabulary provided in the manual makes the game very accessible. The puzzles are logical and simple enough to solve. However, if the graphics are superb, we regret that they are not more numerous, the confined environment is a pretext for multiple reuse of the same screens. immersive musics add to the atmosphere. Quite short, providing no save option, ARQUIMEDES XXI is still a thrilling adventure. Accessible and available in 3 languages, it might even entertain players habitually refractory of this kind of game.

Developer : Dinamic Software
CPC version : ESP Soft

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Original cover-artwork and picture by ALFONSO AZPIRI

You return from a mission and find out that your planet was destroyed. Yeah, these are things that happen! So, you decide to go to Axys, the only world at your fingertips to find refuge. But you have to cross a sector flooded by the armada of your most bitter enemies. This is one of those hard days...

Offered to type by yourself in the French magazine CPC Infos, AXYS is an ambitious game that required no less than three issues. What surprises immediately, despite numerous slowdowns, it is the fluidity of scrolling and stunning full-screen graphics. A real graphic slap. Alas, the rest shows that technical skills are not enough when you do not master a kind of game. AXYS effectively brings together all the mistakes to avoid to create a good shoot'em up, the prize going to the loss of all weapons obtained when a life is lost. To win, the only solution is to lose no life! Full of good intentions, technically impressive for its time, this title is well worth the look and may be of interest to hardcore players.

Code : Fabien Fessard
GFX : Stéphane Saint-Martin
Music : Grégory Clément
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Original cover-artwork by IXIAN FACTORY - Picture by UNKNOWN

And one more unlikely story, one ! Well, to make it short, you are invited to a realize test and you are transported into a tower that consists of 10 rooms. In each room, you have to shift crystals on designated spots by driving a small bulldozer.

But what can make worthwhile this simple clone of SOKOBAN? Maybe it's because it has been created in 1991 and at the time, this little homebrew game born of the mind of one man is worthy of praise. With its simple and cute graphics, the progressive difficulty and the ability to train on each level, BALLDOZER is endearing and surprisingly modern. The author even offers the choice to play in mode 0 or in mode 1 with dedicated graphics depending on whether you prefer the opulence of colors or the simplicity of a duller but thinner display. We only regret his short life: 10 levels, it is too short when you are facing a so interesting game. BALLDOZER was an opportunity for the author of this critic to remember that indie games are not unique to our time, but a timeless momentum...

Developer : Joeren Erkens

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Original cover-artwork by IXIAN FACTORY - Picture by UNKNOWN

BALLOONACY! offers a very poetic situation, inviting you to experience the fate of a small balloon that desperately search to escape through the window of rooms with winding corridors and infested by monsters. your balloon naturally tries to fly up, forcing you to constantly pull it down. At the slightest touch, it is the explosion. Obviously, you will have to slip into the tightest corners to go deactivate the force field switch protecting the window.

Adapted from the eponymous game created on C64, BALLOONACY! has retained pastel colors that are surprising on CPC. Minimalism and clarity seem to be the watchwords of this title unpretentious but that has a terrible gameplay. Often wrongly compared with BUBBLE GHOST where we only indirectly leads a bubble, it is closer to CRAZY BALLOON using the same game mechanics. Offering only 16 levels, the first half is quite simple while the second suddenly becomes very difficult, a troublesome imbalance. But it is addictive. It is annoying but you want to try again when you failed. Overall it is a good game.

Original game : Richard Bayliss
CPC version : Kevin Thacker

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Original cover-artwork and picture by CRONOSOFT

Puzzle games generally make us cogitate to empty a game board faster than new pieces to drop arrive. BALLS offers the opposite and you'll have to fill the board as quickly as possible.

The goal is to drop balls without ever 2 of the same color meet. But when brought together, up to 5 at a time, they explode and bring extra points. It is therefore time management to fill the board while taking risks to score to the max. Unfortunately, the lack of ambition of the game soon becomes apparent. If we can excuse it not to offer any music, the lack of high-score table is unforgivable. We can not even enchain the 20 tables available but only play them independently, the game ending in a few seconds with a terse "game over" message when you've succeeded to fill the board. It's a shame because despite of its uninspired name, only some details are missing in BALLS to be a must-puzzle-game rather than a trivial pastime.

NOTE: You will find short instructions in french only in the game, but the cover includes full english manual in its inlay.

Developer : Z Production
Code & GFX : Zecreator

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Original cover-artwork by IXIAN FACTORY - Picture by INCONNU

Puzzle games repeating the hackneyed concept of BEJEWELED are legion and everyone has already launched himself at least once in a hunt for crystals, sometimes to the overdose. But this is the first time that this kind of game lands on CPC with such mastery and fun.

In fact, there is a lot of puzzle games on 8 bit machines whose authors made the mistake of thinking that the little resources necessary permit to create good games easily, often sacrificing speed and playability. We do not find this error here and the gameplay is exemplary. Several game modes are available, the graphics change regularly and all the elements to make the game addictive are here with combos or the presence of special crystals. Also developed for MSX and ZX Spectrum, this CPC version is more colorful and offers new graphics. We still regret the tasteless conversion in 4 colors of the intersequence pictures and especially the absence of a password system which would have avoided losing the benefit of all the efforts when the CPC is turned off. Anyway, try it to adopt it!

Code : Zogo
GFX : DaDMan
Music : WYZ
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Original cover-artwork original and picture by CEZ GAMES STUDIO

Ordurak wreaking havoc across the kingdom and Fres god does not like that! Here you are at the head of a small band of four heroes sent to kick ass of the troublemaker. But you must first extract the source of his power, of course fiercely protected!

BLACK LAND is an ambitious RPG that requires no less than two floppy disks. It offers developed and wisely orchestrated story. The gameplay is rather rigid and requires to read a huge documentation in English that will remind older the heyday of role playing board-games. In return, an exciting adventure featuring beautiful graphics awaits you in a heroic-fantasy universe. Despite numerous slowdowns, we are quickly snapped up by the depth of the game. Rarely a CPC game has been so neat, able to captivate the player in front of the screen for many hours. Find out more about this excellent title in our report dedicated to Bollaware.

Read the report dedicated to Bollaware...

Code : Roland Barthel
GFX & story : Sigurd Fauser
Music : V. Schreitmüller
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Original cover-artwork by IXIAN FACTORY - Picture by ANDREW DOBELL

French expert magazines used to offer games each month in the form of listings that readers had to rewrite on their CPC. After several hours of hard work, the writer had a new and free game. For budding creators, it was the opportunity to showcase their works. Luc and Hervé Guillaume were of these ones. For 5 years, the two brothers have broadcast their productions in several magazines.

Of course, the game content was limited. Created by rookies, playability was often hellish, making those games difficult and frustrating. So what motivates today the creation of a compilation grouping them? Nostalgia, certainly, but not only. Many french readers will remember having long admired the unique screenshot that illustrated a game without the courage to rewrite the program. The graphics are cute and colorful, and there is a lot of variety. Anyway, the aim is to offer a tribute to a group that has amazed many players. This first volume also includes games really more ambitious that might surprise you like SKY WAR with its two parts or the nice shmup called DARK POWER.

Developer : Black System
Code & music : Luc Guillaume
GFX : Hervé Guillaume
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Original cover-artwork by IXIAN FACTORY - Picture by UNKNOWN

The second volume of this compilation offers to discover all the other indie productions from Black System, bringing the total to 27 games in 5 years. The brothers were mighty prolific! Their impact on the landscape of the CPC is undeniable and most readers have admired their graphic style if they have not gone up over the obstacle of the time needed to rewrite the games. Now they are all gathered to play them easily. Sport, breakout, action, run'n gun or shmups, Black System has been very creative even if they had clearly a preference for the last two kind of games very much in fashion back in those days. We could succumb to facilitate providing a technical review but it would be futile as the interest is elsewhere! With their cute graphics and small catchy musics, you are asked to set aside the flaws of these games to keep only the variety of the experience and the surprising freshness. A great memory for many players and certainly a good surprise to others. Find out more in our report dedicated to Black System.

Read the report dedicated to Black System...

Developer : Black System
Code & music : Luc Guillaume
GFX : Hervé Guillaume
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Original cover-artwork by IXIAN FACTORY - Picture by UNKNOWN

Blue Angel 69 is a puzzle game based on numbers. It offers you to play against a friend or the computer in a battle to turn in which you remove tiles containing positive or negative numbers, according to specific rules. Good anticipation skills are needed to strategically select the numbers, clear the grid and finish with the best score.

Published on many computers in 1990, this Magic Bytes game finally arrives on CPC in a version that offers the same feature : each tile removed reveals progressively reproductions of the famous sexy robots drawn by the artist Hajime Sorayama. This classic idea is enough to revive the interest for a game that renews little when playing alone. In addition, if the side A features pictures from the original game, side B invites you to discover those of its following part, Sexy Droids. The graphics are good with catchy musics and many options are available. If the initial grids are simple, the game quickly become more difficult with a CPU more and more aggressive and it takes a different turn if you added a time limit on each turn.

Code : Kevin Thacker
Graphics : Markus Hohmann
Musics & sounds : Roald Strauss
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Original cover-artwork by KUKULCAN - Picture by SORAYAMA HAJIME

A cute game where you have to burst bubbles to clear each level from critters that disappear by turning into candies? BUBBLE BOBBLE of course! If in 1987 the CPC players were pleased with the game provided by Software Creations, it must be said that it was not very close to the arcade coin-op nor of the possibilities of the CPC computer.

So what a pleasure to discover this new version crafted with love! Much faster than its predecessor, this version also offer better playability with colorful graphics, a wonderful soundtrack and all levels from the original. It includes counter screen at the end of a play as well as additional game modes for those that will manage to see the "real" end of the 100 levels by solving the famous riddle! Main screen even use the style of those of RAINBOW ISLANDS. Playable in co-op, you can finally use 2 joysticks with 2 buttons! The only regret is the flashing characters, a problem due to the routine used that save RAM to let the game work on 64Kb CPC's, a limitation that I don't understand nowadays. Apart from that, BB4CPC (4 referring to "for", not the number) is a gem on which you will return regularly!

Original game : Taito Corporation
CPC code & GFX : CNG Soft
Music : Tom&Jerry
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Original cover-artwork by IXIAN FACTORY - Picture by TAITO CORPORATION