Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Stunt Car Racer - Atari XL

It suddenly dawned on me the other day that the Amstrad CPC version of Stunt Car Racer might not be the best version. For some unknown reason, the C64, Speccy and more importantly 16-bit versions completely escaped me. That's not saying the Amstrad version is bad, just that I watched a video the other day that compared all versions, and just watching the 16-bitters blew me away.

I always thought the Amstrad CPC version was really fast, too fast if that makes sense, those dips, hills and corners came at you at pace, giving the player less than a second to react in some cases. But the Amiga version really opened my eyes to how superior 16-bit computers were in comparison to my trusty 8-bit. At that time as well, I also had an Atari 800XL, but unfortunately, the games on that system were really hard to find, the ones I did find were absolute classics, in fact, the best tennis game I played until Virtua Tennis on the Dreamcast was a game called Real Sports Tennis on my Atari, there was nothing else like it, it still holds up today and the controls are sublime.

The rest I'm sure everyone already knows about, Star Raiders, Rainbow Walker, PastFinder, Rescue on Fractulus and the great Eidilon. The Amstrad pretty much had all of the games released for my Atari, but I did miss the look and feel of the games, not so much the sprites, but smoothness if you like.

The other day I accidentally came across a post in CPCWiki about Stunt Car Racer for the Atari 8-bit computer, one of my favourite games of all time on the CPC was now available on probably my favourite computer of all time (although I will always love my CPC). So I quickly scuttled off to Youtube and did a search, the video played and my jaw dropped, it not only looks amazing, but it zips along using extra A8 CPU power, faster than on my CPC. I'm literally in heaven with this conversion, it completely smokes the C64 and Amstrad, and seems to run at the speed of the ST and Amiga, without the detailed graphics.

I hope you enjoy, there are a few details from the forum 'Atari Age' below, but details summarised below as well.

Technical details:

- All features of the C64 version
- improved frame rate
- Music
- Rich SFX
- QR-code generation for "High Score Cafe" (in the "Hall of Fame" enter "1"-"8" for the
QR-code of the best lap time or [OPTION]+"1"-"8" for the race time, [ESC] to leave QR screen)
- PAL & NTSC compatible

You can download here:

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Taito Legends 2 - Respect!

I’m a bit late to the party with Taito Legends 2, but if you haven’t experienced this wacky selection of sometimes bizarre arcade games, including football champ, with a control setup that includes ‘shoot’, ‘pass’ and ‘punch’. Then you’re really missing out! 

I can’t help but gush over Elevator Action Returns, it’s fast, ultra smooth and offers the best elevator experience I’ve ever had. Then there’s the 1995 Space Invaders comeback, Attack of the lunar loonies, where you get a round of applause for completing a stage, before moving into a vertical scrolling shoot-em-up and boss stage, it’s completely bonkers but massively fun and ultimately cute. 

Don Doku Don is a game I can’t even remember, but boy is it fun. It’s nothing to look at, but it’s a really good platformer in the style of Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands. Suffice to say, I kept playing because the challenge is fitting nicely within my skill set. Gekirindan is one of my favourite games of the compilation, it’s Taito at its best and one of the reasons why you need to own TL2, the visuals are incredible with a really great intuitive control scheme, the hours will simply melt away playing this gem of a classic Japanese shooter. If that’s not good enough, they’ve thrown in G Darius, this brought back so many memories of the nineties, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love and have longed to play this game again. 

I just wish they included a better way to save your progress, I love the arcade experience, but not the punishment of having to switch off! That’s the only negative I’ve have about this compilation, well that and wishing they’d included more games.  


Friday, 19 January 2018

My letter from Amstrad Action?

I was just digging through a mountain of my old books and magazines and noticed an old letter I received from Amstrad Action back in the day. Chris Anderson was the publisher and claimed I was one of the first 500 people to have taken out a subscription with Amstrad Action. The letter makes for an interesting read, especially when you consider I renewed and they sent me a free copy of the masterpiece that is Thrust and the wonderful Starstrike 2. Happy memories and happy days that I thought I'd share with you! Enjoy the contents of this letter from Amstrad Action. 


Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Take the Bullet - Dreamcast

Game: Take the Bullet
Developer: Scotland based Red Lemon studios
System: Sega Dreamcast

Dreamcast games I never knew existed?

This shooter is set in the sixties, you are a highly trained bodyguard who must protect a presidential candidate, from a well-known gang, called the Children Of Gabrielle.

What's amazing is that this game has over twelve missions, over fifteen or more different weapons, with a wonderful option to play from either a first-person mode or third person view, but get this, Red Lemon were also developing the game to work with the Dreamcast's  official lightgun. The mind boggles at such a thought, can you imagine the likes of Virtua Cop or Confidential Mission where you're fully in control of where you walk? From what I've read thus far, this would require the use of the D-Pad, freely running around in this type of game would have been amazing and most likely a first. That's exactly what the developers were hoping for here, throw the above in with the added bonus of a Goldeneye four player split screen and the Dreamcast's online multiplayer system, with up to sixteen players simultaneously and surely this would have been one of the best games ever?

I've searched the internet high and low for a copy, apparently there's an almost finished version, even looked for an ISO to download over at EmuParadise, but sadly I'm yet to find anything to play. There's a video I discovered on Youtube from a guy called 'The Dreamcast Junkyard' he's played the actual game, so just waiting for him or somebody else to share it, who knows, the Dreamcast community is massive and very talented, I'm sure someone or a team of dedicated people could get it up and playable, especially when you see what was done with Half-Life. 

How Nintendo revolutionised gaming

I found this old Nintendo article the other day, I took it from a free a mag, called Shortlist from back in September 2015. They basically interviewed Shigeru Miyamoto (director and designer) from Nintendo. The article gives massive insight Shigeru Miyamoto and the people who worked with him, it's reassuring to know that the people testing the game just didn't want to go home, played it into the wee hours of the morning, obviously up and being paid overtime for ironing out all of those nasty mushrooms bugs.

Anyway, below you'll find a high-resolution scan of the entire article, hopefully, you'll enjoy reading it as much as I did...


Saturday, 13 January 2018

The wonderful world of the ZX Spectrum

Saw this article a while back in Computer Shopper and absolutely loved it. This scan is from issue 348, I had no idea they featured a retro-inspired article once a month in their magazine, I definitely didn't expect to find it here whilst browsing for the latest gadgets. You can click on the image to make it full screen and read it first hand, but it is nice to see a feature on the stuff we grew up with from the eighties. The article talks about the Amstrad models, the 128K Plus 3 with disk drive is the one I had, but I did originally have access to a 48K model, every time we visited my cousin (2-3 times a week) The writer also takes a well-earned playground swipe at Commodore 64 owners, some thirty years later... Great stuff! Make sure you check it out.

Well, hopefully, you'll enjoy and it will bring back some amazing childhood memories. It certainly did for me. This guy is a great writer, so look forward to reading more of his articles in future.  

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Hidden rant by Richard Aplin buried deep within Shinobi

You've probably heard about or seen this hidden rant by Richard Aplin buried deep within the Amstrad CPC version of Shinobi, well if not, here it is, after a bit of tidying... 

Ok, now all that game rubbish is out of the way, I would like to begin the customary rant, which programmers often put in their code. It is at the moment 04:04:38 on 04/06/89. It is, if you were wondering, very early on a Sunday morning, and I am sitting here in a totally empty office in the centre of Bristol, (13 Small St, if you want to pop in and say hello!) and I am in raptures at the moment listening to the utterly, ridiculously excellent album 'The Wall' by the utterly, ridiculously excellent Pink Floyd. (It's just got to the classic 'How can ye have any pudding if ye don't eat yer meat?' bit!)I am, as if you cared, Richard Aplin, Project Manager (and the person who gets to rush in at the last moment and finish/rewrite games when someone else screws them up totally and then buggers off leaving us well and truly up the proverbial creek without the proverbial wooden implement. (YES ROB! YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!) I had the misfortune to be left with the task of rewriting this from scratch! Fortunately, I have just (last week!) got a PDS development system together (as any programmer will tell you, it is the ant's elbows for writing games on) and I am sitting here typing this on my PC (with 32mb hard disk), safe in the knowledge that it will assemble all 150k of the source in the blink of an eyelid! (well, 5.2 seconds anyway) Right, enough of that rubbish, as the album has just started on 'Goodbye Blue Sky'.. another of my favourite tracks. Sing along if you know the words.... 'Oooooooooh.. Ooooooooh...D-d-d-did you see the frightened ones.. D-d-d-did you ever hear the falling bombs.. D-d-d-did you ever wonder why you had to run for shelter when the promise of a brave new world unfurled beneath the clear blue skyyyyy...' ..Ecstasy!!! Anyway, I want to get this bloody game finished before 6am, so I can get a couple of hours' kip and then go to the Commodore show in London.. But if I keep typing this it's not going to happen! Mind you, I've just done the speech for the 6128 version, and all I've got left to do is play with the map editor (runs on an Amiga) and get rid of some of the crap left on the map of mission 3, level 3. I might even try and get some memory back so I can do a high-score table... but there's little chance of that I'm afraid.. according to this excellent assembler, I've only got $74 bytes left before my code runs over the start of the sprites.. which would cause nice big crashipoos! Pity the bloody 464 is so underpowered memory-wise. Anyway, next on the agenda after this damn game is Double Dragon 1.. then Double Dragon 2! (Aaargh!) Anyway, due the the immense complexity of the Artificial Intelligence in those two, Virgin have agreed to a 6128-only game!!!! YAHOO!!(Types happily as The Wall rolls on into 'One Of My Turns') Incidentally, did you ever see my best game.. 'Fly Spy' from Mastertronic? I spent AGES on that game, and I was well chuffed with it.. pity it didn't sell that well... ('Go up to the bedroom in the suitcase on the left you'll find my favourite AXE!'-classic line by Roger Waters!) Anyway, I really AM getting bored with typing all this crap for you to read.. so I'll get on with finishing the game, and who knows? Maybe I'll carry on with this later! Bye for now!!(current time 04:27:01 on 04/06/89) .......... Okay!! Back again! It's now 08:24:03 on 04/06/89 and I'm getting a bit tired! (In case you were wondering about the strange format for the time/date: in PDS if you press CTRL and ENTER then it automatically inserts the current date/time wherever you are typing - Useless but fun!) Right! I've just finished all the alterations to the backgrounds and maps and things.. and I just exercised a bit of sadism with the ninja positioning on mission 3 level 3! (Putting in the baddies is all just a case of playing with numbers which determine what baddies start where and what they are doing. It is VERY boring, but then so would be the game if I didn't do it!) You know, It's just occurred to me that the deep freudian reason for me typing all this crap for the one or two people who will actually hack the game and happen to notice this.. the reason I'm doing it is to vent my frustration.. (cor blimeymissus!) at never being asked to do one of those daft writeups for a magazine about 'my work in progress'!! Childish and petty really.. but then that's just the kinda guy I am! If(* EGO TRIP ALERT*) you were wondering.. I'm the grand old age of 19 (20 on 6th December!Send me a prezzy!), well into music, Wimpeys, Fags (It's my ambition to be the first person to have my lungs used tocover roads when I die..... thinkabout it you slow-witted person!), Diet Coke (In this coding session alone - 3pm Sat. to now - I can see 12 empty cans lying about!), Alcohol (Oh joyous youth! When I'm older my liver will never speak to me again!) Particularly favoured brews include: Guinness, Newcastle Brown (tits oot fer th' lads!), Ruddles County, San Miguel.. in fact.. now I mention it.. I like LOADSABEER! Anyway.. on with my ego trip.. and why not? It's my keyboard and if I want to fill up your memory with text, then I will! Well, it looks very much like my pretensions to visit the Commodore (or is it commode?) show are well and truly buggered, as it's now (pauses to press CTRL and ENTER) 08:37:58 on 04/06/89.. hang on!! 08:37? Is it fuck! It's 08:50! My real-time clock is buggered! Well, serves me right for buying an Amstrad PC1512! Maybe it should be called an Unreal-time clock... Hang on a min.. I'll just assemble this junk and see how much of your ram I've ranted my way through so far.. Bugger me! 5494 bytes! Doesn't ram fly when you're having fun! Well, my Floyd Collection is exhausted for the night (i.e. I've listened to 'The Wall'(There'll be nobody home), 'Animals'(baaaahh!), 'Dark Side of the Moon'(There is no dark side of the moon.. as a matter of fact it's all dark), 'Wish you were here'(We're just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl), 'Atom Heart Mother'(You name it!), 'Relics' (biiiiike!), 'Final Cut'(Not that keen on that one actually... sorry Roger), and The Wall(again!) about 4 times each.. I'm exhausted for the DECADE (have to start Double-bloody-Dragon on Monday!), and the Binary Design Bristol Office Fridge is devoid of Diet Coke!! .. definitely time to call it a weekend (weekend? Ha!! I laugh in the face of having a social life! I tweak the nose of hobbies! I kick the shins of spare time! ... ohhhhhh GOD!) and time to go back to my flat and listen to some Talking Heads while drifting off to sleep at the same time as everyone else wakes up and says things like 'ohhhh god.. what DID I drink last night?' In fact, just to celebrate finishing Shinobyl (the office pet name!) I might even treat myself to having a TOASTED CHEESE SANDWICH! (if I can be bothered to make it) Oh fuck this, I'm off... Well, goodbye, I hope you like the game as much as I... enjoyed typing this text, and have a nice life. Oh, by the way, pop in and see me some time if you are passing through Bristol! Seeya, Richard 'Mad as a hatter' Aplin. Hello again! I'm BACK! It's now 17:46:40 on 05/06/89 and after having a severe sleep yesterday (and I did have that cheese sandwich!) I thought you might appreciate it a bit if I put on some 'frills' today. Well, having spend an hour squeezing a few more bytes out of the memory (I copied some code that was only used sometimes into a bit of spare space on the end of the screen ram!), I wrote you a silly little 'end of game' thing, and did a high score table. I was quite pleased with the hi-scores, as they only took just under an hour to write & debug! These were done with the aid of aural stimulation (cor blimey missus! Pt.II) from TheThe's rather nice new album 'Mind Bomb'. It's really good, but a bit more commercially minded than 'Infected' (their previous masterpiece). I had a bit of a Floyd Overdose (if that is possible!) yesterday, so it's been TheThe and Talking Heads today. Oh yes.. I also put on a cheat mode! Not a very good one, only infinite lives, but at least it's a bit of a challenge to find! What do you mean? No, of course, I'm not going to tell you what it is!! Anyway, according to a mate, the Commodore show was ok-ish, but he said there were LOADS of crackers wondering about, blatantly showing off. Well, my views of people who crack and copy games is my own business, and you probably wouldn't be interested anyway. You are most probably hacking this game to cheat, as the Amstrad scene has little piracy (am I joking?!?), and as it looks very much like this game will have no disk protection (sob!), there is nothing to crack! On the nice game front, (I'm an Amiga freak really - I've got two Amiga's, this PCI'mm typing on, a CPC464+drives, a commodore 64, and assorted other bits) Forgotten Worlds looks like a nice amiga game.. good parallax. In case you were wondering (I know you weren't!) I have done games on this, the 64, the Amiga, and I've tinkered with the ST and speccy (two very similar machines!) Well, I haven't got properly drunk for AGES (what with finishing this), so I'll just dump this code out, run off 3 copies to send to Sales Curve tomorrow, and be off, or, as Biffa Bacon (VIZ READER!) would say: 'Ga'n oot doon pub' (attempts Geordie accent and fails as miserably as southerners usually do) Bye!! Hello (again!) It's now (..wait for it!) 15:21:17 on 02/08/89.. nearly three months later! I've been slaving away on Double Dragon for a while now and Ian Mathias at Virgin has just given me the FINAL (at last) list of changes for Shinobyl. So, I'm just about to dredge through all my old code and do them. Then, I'll send it off and NEVER SEE IT AGAIN! (well, that is until I have to do the Disk & Tape masters) Quite a bit has happened since I last typed something here... I bought a Video Walkman (brilliant toy!) I've done most of Double Dragon 1 (I love having 128k and a disk drive to play with!) I went to Paris for the Bastille Day bicentenary (lots of fun but expensive) and now I've caught some nasty disease and I feel like hell. Anyway, dear ol' CPC owner, I do it all for you! Well, I'd better bugger off and do these changes or it'll never be done in time for the post. Ok.. now they're done. Andy Green from Virgin has just rung up and asked for a 1-level demo version for some magazine or other. Presumably it's for the excellent Amstrad Action, who just happen to live just down the road in Bath. Well, I don't know at the mo' whether it'll ever actually happen.. only you will know that!

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Brian Cox - London 2017


I was lucky enough to attend the IP EXPO last month and recorded this video of Brian Cox, the Universe and where technology and data are going, I've tried my best to remove all the background noise, and I'm sure you will really enjoy this video. It was a great venue and even better day out, as usual, any feedback in the comments below and let us know what you thought of it.


Monday, 6 March 2017

Technology will save us!

Pick up any newspaper or tune into any tv news channel and you'll hear all sorts of jargon sprinkled with spectacular unfounded statistics about how computers will one day take over the world.

This, for the most part, appears to capture and easily bind the audience in these sensational stories about the future use of computers. We read of them playing chess, choosing emotionally engaging music, passing the Turing test (not the best way to test computers in 2017) and provide electrical pulses to robotic fingertips that can be sent to the human brain, and the impression is given that electronic machines are ready to take over. In all of the this, the cautious qualifications of the experienced appear to be ignored in favour of those who have never experienced the struggles and difficulty presented by the use of computers. They, at least, have painstakingly learned that computers are no substitute for human thought: in fact, that preparing to put work on to a computer at the levels needed just to run write a Windows kernel, especially when considering the vast levels of backwards compatibility is one of the most mind-stretching exercises that anyone could ever be asked to do.

The key to the whole subject is that if we do not know how to perform a certain calculation or analytical process, then the computer cannot tell us how to do so. Unfortunately, we have to tell it. The problem is that the sci-fi element has been massively oversold throughout the years, unfortunately the obvious has been thrown out the window, namely that the computer is just a tool to do the job, albeit a very powerful tool, in a world where its effectiveness depends largely on the skill, experience and people who control its use.

The public image of machines and computers is an electronic brain outlined by an incomprehensible science. The cold hard truth is that these are simple machines, a group of simple machines if you prefer, whose actions are coordinated by a central automatic control. They can provide simple logical processes, they take in information and process it, store the information and then pass on the results. The program of instructions remains in the computer while it carries out the task and is replaced by a different set of programmes when a different job is needed.

A computer without a program is like a CD player without a CD. Thus, the modern computer can be used in regards to automation, mechanical aid, faster calculations, handling data for science, industry and commerce.      

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Star Trek: Lightspeed update

Star Trek: LightSpeed

Game development Stardate – Part 1 (-305854.8007039574)

Game Story:

This will be a sweeping adventure through space and play out like an episode of Star Trek. Throughout the game, you'll upgrade your ship to its former glory, engage in turn-based combat, earn new experimental upgrades, and prevent the Federation from destruction. You’ll need to navigate the Alpha Quadrant, meet with new life forms and solve a variety of political disputes.

Turn based system:

You start in a defensive stance, but you can use multiple actions in one turn, if you’re feeling brave, you can opt to miss a turn, this is a highly risky move, but should your shields hold, this builds up, even more, power, nine times out of ten, this will deal a deadly blow to an enemy vessel. Mess this up, though, and you’ll damn near lose everything. You won’t go back to the start, but you will have to go back to the last saved waypoint losing any upgrades you acquired during that mission.

Every time you defeat an enemy ship, you can choose to salvage crew and use ship for parts, destroy the enemy ship or let them go. The latter can be used as a bargaining chip should you run amuck with a sworn enemy of theirs, you can call upon them to help out, but this is not guaranteed. This can prove especially useful against tougher ships or more than one opponent.


This game will play out as the original series, each character including Kirk will become stronger and more proficient in their respective roles, and the more you progress. For example; Spock will give you logical explanations and differing levels of advice, but you will only be able to use the abilities of each character once for each section, if you proceed through a section without aid, the crew carries over an extra turn for the next section, but no more than two. Using the computer to scan or for advice is also classed as a move within each turn.

Game progress:

Unfortunately, I’m starting with zero game programming skills. I’ve been given lots of tips and advice on how to get started, but now have to decide on what programming language I will need to use in order to get there. I believe the code will need to be as tight as possible and 128K only in design. My first job will be to learn as much as possible over the next three to six months, sorry but this will be a long drawn out process. However, in between, I will draw out all of the graphics needed for the game, this bit I should be able to do on my own, hopefully.

So far it looks as though my head is leaning towards learning to program in ASM, harder I’m told, but I feel that long term, this will give me more control. I’m also a bit apprehensive about asking questions, feels a little embarrassing, but you know what, people have been really helpful, can’t believe it.

Next update in two weeks from now, until then… "second star to the right, and straight on till morning".

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Lightspeed: How can I make this game happen?

MODE 0 graphics showing how things might play out... 
For as long as I can remember, the Amstrad CPC was starved of a decent Star Trek game, we had a few games trickle through, but nothing that set the pulse racing. I believe I have a really good idea for a Star Trek game on the CPC, it would probably need 128K of memory, a starfield effect similar to that used in 'Tin Tin on the Moon' during the rocket ship sequence, but without the need to actually move the ship from side to side, just give the illusion that the ship is moving forward. The game would actually play out similar to a JRPG, you would make your way to a location or planet, and battle Star Trek aliens on your way to seek out new worlds and civilisations. Once you reach a certain point, you would then battle an even bigger enemy. The bad news is, you would start out in a massive battle, that would see your ship damaged and limping away for survival and much-needed repair.

Action panel to help you throughout your mission... 
As you progress, so do opportunities to repair, level up and buy new items, such as food for the crew, away missions and more, for a bit of fun. As you can see from the above panel, torpedo's, phasers, evade and shields would help you to stay alive, with the scan option providing valuable information about the enemy and objects you come across, especially useful in detecting a Klingon warbird that might be cloaked. The teleport option, if online can be used to take over an enemy ship, salvage, capture or use for parts where compatible, this can technique would be used in battle, once an enemy ship falls below a certain percentage. I think the unique thing about this game is that each level would play out like a tv episode.

Where I'm at so far:

It really is early days, I'm just playing around with graphics. I really want to do this for the CPC, despite being told that I should use GameMaker and other such PC tools to bring the idea to a bigger audience. I've already looked at some of the programming tutorials in old Amstrad books and magazines, and at this point, it looks fairly daunting. So for now, I'm thinking I need to do more research, stick with these books for some time and practice as much as possible where time permits.

I dabbled back in the day, but this never came to anything serious, instead I played games more than I care to admit if my parents knew how much effort I put into gaming vs homework, they'd have disowned me. So far, this has been a solo effort with help from my wife, and honestly, I'm not even sure how much help I can get from other people. Hopefully, someone out there will take pity on my efforts thus far and give me some guidance on the best way to get started. My hope would be to one day turn my idea into a prototype of sorts.

A question to the Amstrad community? 

What are the best tools, books and emulation I should use? I've purchased loads of books over the years, especially geared towards programming new games on the CPC, and I've tried to believe me, but these lines of code are somebody else's blood, sweat and tears, helpful none the less, but the dream for me is to ultimately play something the likes never experienced on the CPC before. I know there are quite a few tools available for the ZX Speccy, I bought one of 'em, 'The shoot-em-up construction kit' but is there anything worthwhile on the Amstrad CPC?
I was hurtling through the cosmos one day, in the merry old... De, dum, de, dee 

Maybe you could help? 

Please let me know your thoughts? By all means get in touch, I'm all ears. If you've programmed a game on the CPC and wouldn't mind providing me with a guide as to how best to approach this, then I would be eternally grateful, maybe share your story? 

For those interested in making a game on the CPC, I will try to collate as much information as possible and share within these pages or by raising the subject using Amstrad CPC communty forums... Wish me luck and thanks for reading.


Saturday, 4 February 2017


Here we have a bullet hell shooter for the humble CPC, it's been in development for quite some time, it features full-screen scrolling, up to 256 enemy bullets on screen at any one time and works across all CPC model of computers.

What does it handle like?

You can shoot in two different directions using a separate left or right key configuration, it works really well and independent of moving the character left or right in the traditional sense. Holding down the fire button slows character movement to a snail's pace, making it next to impossible to keep your finger pressed on the trigger, as you need to move quickly when faced with a certain type of enemy, especially when embroiled in a boss fight. It doesn't help things when needle-like bullets fly all over the place, I can't even tell if I'm being hit half the time and the player character is far too big to manoeuvre out of the way. You'll be seeing the "you're dead again" screen a lot, I mean jeez, the difficulty feels completely ridiculous, if you thought Dynamic games were difficult back in the day, then this one makes 'em feel easy in comparison.

How does it look?

Enemy sprites look alright, there's definitely a variety on display, in fact on one of the boss levels, a submarine races into view, it almost takes up the entire bottom half of the screen, it looks really good, especially as the animation shows the damage model increase the more you hit the target. The graphics are well defined, but at the same time look and feel a bit messy. Unfortunately, the game suffers from chronic slowdown as the screen fills up, but despite this, the pace still remains respectable. It is difficult to tell if I'm actually hitting the bad guys or not, the game just gives me the impression that bullets are passing through enemy objects.

Music and sound?

Music just sounds like pots and pans banging together on a loop, I'm not even sure I could hear the in-game sound effects.

Good, bad or ugly?

My expectation was high, screenshots looked terrific. A horizontal bullet hell shooter on the CPC for the first time. Unfortunately, those hopes were dashed quickly after my twentieth death inside of ten minutes of play. Never in the history of the CPC has such a great looking shooter been so unplayable due to difficulty. Whilst the game looks promising from the outset, it delivers an utterly dismal playing experience.

This is more of a tour de force in graphics than a game, a technical demo at best, with interactive elements thrown in for good measure. Kudos to the programmers for all the technical and visual splendour, but let's hope the creative juices behind this can give us something more in the playability department for the next game.

Despite everything above, we still have to remember that this is a new game, running on an Amstrad CPC in 2017 and for that, I should be thankful.

The game can be downloaded here: