Monday, 24 December 2012

Game Review – Street Hassle (1989)

Here’s another Melbourne House re-release that features brawling action, though it’s a totally different type of game to those reviewed a few weeks ago.

Game Review – P.O.D. – Proof of Destruction (1987)

This Shaun Southern offering is unpretentious, uncomplicated but undeniably fun – proof that the simplest ideas are often the best.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Game Review – Rogue (1988)

This enhanced version of the grandfather of all dungeon crawlers was retro even when released in 1988!

Game Review – Promo Cassette featuring Aqua (1984)

A look at the obscure Mastertronic promotional cassette (origin unknown) that features an exclusive Mr Chip software offering, and a lame Darling Brothers game slideshow…

Game Review – Jonah Barrington’s Squash (1989)

Another sports game that is probably much more enjoyable with a second human player!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

November in Review

After a few months of relative inactivity, November saw me getting back on track with 20 new game reviews. This included my ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ mini-series, taking a look at some Mastertronic games release on other systems. I also looked at five different fighting games in my ‘Fists of Fury’ mini-series.

Acquisitions-wise it was a slow month as expected, but I did pick up three more games, one of which I had suspicions didn’t actually exist!

During last months reviews I’ve discovered a few new decent games, most notably Rad Ramp Racer, and some more complete stinkers, including Jungle Story. So my three ‘top ten’ lists have been tweaked again slightly with two new entries in each.

Top Ten Original Mastertronic Games

  1. Street Surfer (Entertainment USA, 1986)
  2. Kikstart (Mastertronic, 1985)
  3. Big Mac: The Mad Maintenance Man (Mastertronic, 1985)
  4. Rad Ramp Racer (Mastertronic Plus, 1990)  **NEW ENTRY**
  5. Bomb Fusion (Mastertronic, 1989)
  6. Kane (Mastertronic, 1985)
  7. Hero of the Golden Talisman (M.A.D., 1985)
  8. Ninja (Entertainment USA, 1986)  **NEW ENTRY**
  9. Mindtrap (Mastertronic, 1989)
10. Night Racer (Mastertronic, 1988)

Top Ten Mastertronic Re-releases

  1. Ghostbusters (Ricochet, 1988)
  2. Rock n' Bolt (Ricochet, 1988)
  3. Rescue on Fractalus (Mastertronic Plus, 1989)
  4. Gemini Wing (Mastertronic Plus, 1989)
  5. Way of the Exploding Fist (Ricochet, 1988)  **NEW ENTRY**
  6. Aliens (Ricochet, 1988)
  7. Toy Bizarre (Ricochet, 1989)
  8. Alcazar (Mastertronic, 1989)  **NEW ENTRY**
  9. Tetris (Mastertronic Plus, 1989)
10. SpeedKing (Mastertronic, 1985)

Bottom Ten Mastertronic Releases (In reverse order, worst at the bottom)

10. Rockford: The Arcade Game (M.A.D., 1988)
  9. Molecule Man (Mastertronic, 1986)  **NEW ENTRY**
  8. Knightmare (Ricochet, 1988)
  7. Speed Zone (Mastertronic, 1989)
  6. Jungle Story (Mastertronic, 1984)  **NEW ENTRY**
  5. Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (Ricochet, 1987)
  4. Double Dragon (Mastertronic Plus, 1990)
  3. FA Cup Football (Ricochet, 1988)
  2. Sport of Kings (M.A.D., 1987)
  1. The Election Game (Mastertronic, 1984)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

‘Fists of Fury’ Game Review – Way of the Exploding Fist (1988)

Rounding off my ‘Fists of Fury’ mini-series with another game from the Melbourne House back catalogue, but this one is a bona fide classic…

‘Fists of Fury’ Game Review – Ninja (1986)

The second Entertainment USA release in this mini-series, and this is a vast improvement over Cage Match, although not without its own quirks.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Friday, 30 November 2012

Collection Update – One Game Found and One Removed

Edging ever closer to completing the collection, with another hard to find title knocked off the list...

The latest addition is the Ricochet re-release of the Lucasfilm Games classic The Eidolon. This was another Ebay purchase, costing £4.88.

Also, as I mentioned in my last collection update, I had a strong feeling that two of the remaining games I need to find were never released on cassette. Of those two, I am now 100% confident that Shogun was only ever released by Mastertronic on disk in the USA, and never received a cassette release. Therefore I am dropping that game from the list, leaving just seven to go for.

The other game I suspect only ever got a disk release is Five-a-Side Soccer but I’m not totally sure about that yet so it remains on the list for now.

Finally, this week I got my first glance at what is certainly one of the rarest Mastertronic releases – Ski Writer. This word processing package sold less than 2,000 copies on cassette, and a similar number on disk, so is sure to be one of the hardest titles to find. Unfortunately the one that popped upon Ebay this week is the disk version, but at least I now have an idea what the packaging might look like!

So the quest continues. I’m hoping to at least pick up a couple more games before Christmas so if you can help, please send me a message!

Total games: 203
Average cost: £1.23

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Game Review – Hacker (1989)

Another Ricochet release, and another Activision classic. It may not be my preferred style of game but you can’t deny its originality and quality.

Game Review – Star Lifter (1987)

In an unusual twist, this review sees me change my mind about the worth of a game mid-way through playing it!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Game Review – Jungle Story (1984)

I think this sets the record for shortest review so far! To be honest you can see everything there is to see about this game in the first 20 seconds of gameplay...

Game Review – Molecule Man (1986)

An obvious attempt to replicate the success of isometric adventures like Knight Lore and Alien 8… which failed!

Game Review – Geoff Capes Strongman (1987)

This multi-event sports game has some interesting ideas but falls flat due to complex gameplay mechanics and poor graphics.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Game Review – Treasure Island (1987)

Return to Treasure Island, explore freely and, well, get rather lost in this innovative graphical text adventure.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Friday, 16 November 2012

Game Review – Phantoms of the Asteroid (1985)

It appears there was great confusion over the name of this game in the Mastertronic offices, but you can be certain that it involves one or more phantoms and one or more asteroids!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Game Review – Back to Reality (1986)

When the best thing you can say about a game is that the cover art reminds you of Star Wars, it’s not really promising is it?

Game Review – Alcazar (1989)

Back to the C64 reviews, and a look at the re-release of Activision’s 1985 free-roaming adventure game.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Collection Update – A ‘Holy Grail’ Discovered!

Nope, not the Quest for the Holy Grail game (I’ve had that for a while) but I have in fact found one of the few games in the Mastertronic line-up that is so rare it can be considered a Holy Grail of sorts…

Yes, as the video shows, I have picked up How to be a Complete Bastard (Ricochet) for £5.00 after spotting it in an Ebay bundle. This goes to show that it sometimes pays off to scan through all Ebay listings in case something you’re looking for is listed as part of a larger bundle.

The second title picked up recently is Frenesis (Mastertronic), which was also part of a bundle of four games, the other three of which I already had. Since I can’t see myself recouping any of the cost of these, I’m just putting this game down as costing £3.24, which was the price for the whole bundle.

That now leaves just nine games on my list to find, though I have a strong feeling that two of those were never released on cassette so may be dropped.

Total games: 202
Average cost: £1.21

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

‘Behind Enemy Lines’ Game Review – Hundra (1988)

Closing off this mini series with another Amstrad game, and another flick-screen action adventure. This one’s really nice looking but has some frustrating game design aspects!

‘Behind Enemy Lines’ Game Review – Terminus (1987)

There were no system exclusives from Mastertronic for the MSX, with almost every title being a conversion of a Spectrum offering. Terminus is one such game...

Sunday, 4 November 2012

‘Behind Enemy Lines’ Game Review – American Turbo King (1989)

Back to the Amstrad now for a look at a totally different style of packaging and a driving game that can be controlled with a lightgun!

‘Behind Enemy Lines’ Game Review – Galactic Patrol (1986)

Next up is a BBC Micro game, one of the few exclusives for the system from Mastertronic.

‘Behind Enemy Lines’ Game Review – The Apprentice (1986)

Something different for my latest mini series, as I take a look at Mastertronic games for other 8-bit systems, which never made it to the C64.

First up is an Amstrad CPC game called The Apprentice, a flick-screen adventure offering...

Saturday, 3 November 2012

October in Review

Well, not a lot to say about October as I’ve only just started reviewing games again after my Play Expo distractions. Those that I did review were pretty good though, with the exception of the dire Super Trolley!

So, it must be time for an updated ‘best and worst’ games chart. As mentioned a couple of months back, I’m splitting the original games from the re-releases so I now have two top tens, but am keeping a combined ‘bottom ten’. The most notable addition to these new charts is a brand new worst-ever Mastertronic game!

Top Ten Original Mastertronic Games

  1. Street Surfer (Entertainment USA, 1986)
  2. Kikstart (Mastertronic, 1985)
  3. Big Mac: The Mad Maintenance Man (Mastertronic, 1985)
  4. Bomb Fusion (Mastertronic, 1989)
  5. Kane (Mastertronic, 1985)
  6. Hero of the Golden Talisman (M.A.D., 1985)
  7. Mindtrap (Mastertronic, 1989)
  8. Night Racer (Mastertronic, 1988)
  9. Panther (Entertainment USA, 1986)
10. Protector (Mastertronic Plus, 1989)

Top Ten Mastertronic Re-releases

  1. Ghostbusters (Ricochet, 1988)
  2. Rock n' Bolt (Ricochet, 1988)
  3. Rescue on Fractalus (Mastertronic Plus, 1989)
  4. Gemini Wing (Mastertronic Plus, 1989)
  5. Aliens (Ricochet, 1988)
  6. Toy Bizarre (Ricochet, 1989)
  7. Tetris (Mastertronic Plus, 1989)
  8. Speed King (Mastertronic, 1985)
  9. Brian Jacks Superstar Challenge (Ricochet, 1987)
10. Erebus (Ricochet, 1988)

Bottom Ten Mastertronic Releases (In reverse order, worst at the bottom)

10. Super Trolley (Mastertronic, 1988)
  9. Munch Mania (Mastertronic, 1984)
  8. Rockford: The Arcade Game (M.A.D., 1988)
  7. Knightmare (Ricochet, 1988)
  6. Speed Zone (Mastertronic, 1989)
  5. Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (Ricochet, 1987)
  4. Double Dragon (Mastertronic Plus, 1990)
  3. FA Cup Football (Ricochet, 1988)
  2. Sport of Kings (M.A.D., 1987)
  1. The Election Game (Mastertronic, 1984)

I’m hoping to ramp up the frequency of reviews again over the coming weeks, so expect to see new additions to all the charts in a month’s time!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Game Review – Super Trolley (1988)

Now then, now then, what do we have here? A shelf-stacking simulator, which is just as interesting as it sounds!

Game Review – Hero of the Golden Talisman (1985)

Mr Chip Software comes up with the goods once again with this early M.A.D. release, coded by the always-reliable Shaun Southern.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Collection Update – Two Ton Up!

Well I’ve had these two games for over a month now and the video has been on YouTube for ages but I forgot to post here for my legion of 3 or 4 adoring blog followers! ;-)

Two relatively easy finds from Ebay this time in Leviathan (Mastertronic Plus, £2.99) and Kentilla (Mastertronic, £2.75) which take my overall total to an even 200 games.

Total games: 200
Average cost: £1.18

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Game Review – Octoplex (1989)

This M.A.D. offering is somewhat derivative in the sound and graphics stakes, but it’s a pretty original and playable game nonetheless.

Collection Update – Two More Titles

Just a quick update here for my latest Ebay purchases.

So two more of the rare titles obtained - Die! Alien Slime from Mastertronic Plus cost £3.20, and Starforce Fighter in second-wave Mastertronic packaging was £2.49.

That’s pretty much it. The search continues for the remaining 13 games!

Total games: 198
Average cost: £1.16

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Saturday, 11 August 2012

‘Olympic Sports’ Game Review – Bump Set Spike! (1986)

I rather enjoyed the Beach Volleyball at the Olympics – the women’s version that is! The same can’t really be said for this Volleyball simulation on the Entertainment USA branding however...

‘Olympic Sports’ Game Review – Sailing (1989)

Mastertronic raided the Activision back catalogue once more for the latest game in my Olympic-themed series. Warning: if you suffer from sea sickness you may want to give this one a miss!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

‘Olympic Sports’ Game Review – Superstar Ping-Pong (1987)

The next Olympic sport I’m looking at is Table Tennis, and this M.A.D. release is a pretty good simulation of the game with plenty of options.

‘Olympic Sports’ Game Review – Advanced Basketball Simulator (1989)

As the country is gripped by Olympic fever, what better time to do some reviews of games based on Olympic events? Kicking things off we have this Basketball game from Sculptured Software...

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Game Review – Dynamix (1989)

Ever want to play a game featuring a kinetic activator? No, me neither, but now I have, and Dynamix is it!

Collection Update – Edging Closer!

My latest acquisitions from Ebay add another five games to the collection...

One bundle consisted of three relatively hard to find games that worked out at £2.00 each – Alcazar (Mastertronic), Octoplex (M.A.D.) and Psycho Hopper (Mastertronic Plus). A good haul for the price!

The other two games in this update were individual purchases. Actually one of them isn’t a game at all - Make Music with Mistertronic was a relatively early release and has unique white grid-style packaging. Finally for this update is the last of the Mastertronic Plus games in the yellow packaging, Super Stock Car.

I now have just 15 titles left to collect, which are as follows:

Ballblazer (Ricochet)
Barry Mcguigan's Boxing (Mastertronic Plus)
Die! Alien Slime (Mastertronic Plus)
The Eidolon (Ricochet)
Five-a-side Soccer (M.A.D.)
Frenesis (Mastertronic)
How to be a Complete Bastard (Ricochet)
Kentilla (Mastertronic)
Leviathan (Mastertronic Plus)
Pigs in Space (Mastertronic)
Shogun (Mastertronic)
Ski Writer (Mastertronic)
Starforce Fighter (Mastertronic)
Trailblazer (Ricochet)
UCM: Ultimate Combat Mission (M.A.D.)

If you can assist with any of these please let me know!

Total games: 196
Average cost: £1.15

Friday, 6 July 2012