Latest Game Reviews

Stellar 7

Author: Manu - Published: 3 December 2021, 4:52 pm

Stellar 7 is a 3D sci-fi tank simulator created by Demon Slye for the Apple II and Commodore 64 in 1983. Clearly inspired by the classic arcade [Battlezone], Stellar 7 puts the player in the seat of a super tank, with the task of defending the solar system from the evil invaders. The hero should fight the enemies in 7 different systems (hence the title Stellar 7) until the final battle with the overlord Gir Draxon and his powerful tank. Of course, due to the limitation of 8-bit computers, the game was entirely rendered with wireframes.

Stellar 7 was followed by a sequel, [Arcticfox], released in 1986. A few years later, Dynamix decided to release a completely revamped version of the original Stellar 7 for PC and Amiga. The game graphics were completely redesigned, with the engine was now supporting 3D-filled polygons. Sound effects, music, and excellent cutscenes were added. The plot, merely outlined in the original game, is now fully explained, improving the player experience. At the same time, Dynamix decided not to change any element of the game design or even the map of the levels, the enemies, and the bosses. A great choice. I wish all remakes were like this.

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The Lords of Midnight

Author: Manu - Published: 20 November 2021, 4:52 pm

The Lords of Midnight is a mix of strategy and adventure games created in 1984 by Mike Singleton for the ZX Spectrum. In the following years, the Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC versions were also released.

Mike Singleton created a revolutionary engine called "landscaping" for this game, used to render a 3D world from a first-person perspective. The player could move in 8 different directions, with the scene changing accordingly. Despite not being a real 3D engine, the illusion was very realistic. The game was able to show up to 32000 different views. Quite impressive, considering that we are talking about 8-bit computers in 1984. The players and the critics appreciated this solution, and the game became a huge success.

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Author: E. Bolognesi - Published: 31 October 2021, 9:25 am

Choplifter! is a helicopter simulator/action-adventure created by Dan Gorlin for the Apple II and published in 1982 by Brøderbund. The game was converted to Atari 8-bit, VIC-20, Commodore 64, and later to many other platforms, including SEGA Master System and NES.

A programmer with a strong passion for helicopters, Dan Gorlin, started to develop his idea at the beginning of 1981. Initially, it was not a game but rather a helicopter simulator. He soon dropped the idea of the first-person 3D view, like Flight Simulator, and he opted for a more traditional side view. But despite the arcade look, he tried to replicate the physics of helicopter flight as much as possible. Then, inspired by the coin-up Defender, Gorlin added hostages to be saved, enemies, tanks, and planes.

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Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters

Author: Manu - Published: 21 October 2021, 2:57 pm

Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters is an Atari coin-up released in 1989, ported do Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, and other platforms.

The game was designed by Mark Stephen Pierce, also known for [Klax] and [Dark Castle]. This excellent Amiga conversion was developed by Teque, the same studio that made [Brutal Sports Football], [Shadowlands], [Laser Squad], and many other titles.

Escape is a shoot-em-up for two players (yes, single-player is supported too, but co-op is much better). Unlike other 2-players shooters like [Alien Breed], Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters uses isometric graphics. The sprites and background are detailed and colorful, in a lovely cartoon style, somehow similar to [D/Generation].

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Football Manager

Author: Manu - Published: 14 October 2021, 9:14 am

The first revolutionary Football Manager was created by Addictive Games in 1982 for the ZX Spectrum and then ported to many other platforms.

Kevin Toms created the first version of the game on a clone of the TRS-80. The official launch arrived only in 1982 when Kevin ported the game to the ZX81 and later for the ZX Spectrum, adding the animated highlights of the match. For the occasion, the author opened a new company called Addictive Games. A perfect title since the game was genuinely addictive!

The colossal success convinced the author to port the game to other computers. Two years later, the conversions for Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro, Dragon 32, Oric were released. There will also be versions for MSX, MS-DOS, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, Amiga during the following years.

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Power Strike

Author: Manu - Published: 3 October 2021, 6:52 pm

Aleste, released outside Japan as "Power Strike", is a popular shoot-em-up developed by Compile and released initially for the SEGA Master System in 1988. Later it was published for MSX2.

An evil virus will wipe out humanity, and of course, saving the world will be up to you and your ship. But the plot is not very important in this vertical scrolling shooter full of enemies and challenging end-of-level bosses. Technically speaking, the game is perfect, scrolling and animations are smooth, and the action is furious. This is not an easy game. If you die in the middle of the level, you will lose all your weapons, so beating the boss will be almost impossible.

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