Have you ever wanted to take on the role of Guy Fawkes and change the events of 1605? Well this Sinclair User covertape game is just what you need! Released in 1988 by Redwood Designs Gunpowder, Treason And Plot is an arcade adventure game where you have to explore old London town and collect all the bits and bobs you need to blow up the Houses of Parliament and then escape by boat to France.
What is it with the poor Speccy missing out on official versions of arcade games? Asteroids is yet another game that fits this category. Originally released in 1979 by Atari, it was out and about in plenty of time for the arrival of the Spectrum in 1982 - luckily as always the bedroom coder army was around to fill the void, and this time we have a type-in (yes a type-in!) from Ian M. Collier published in Your Computer magazine in 1985.
In the early days of the Spectrum if we wanted to see an arcade game on it, the chances are it would be an unofficial clone - and as we saw from Space Invaders there would often be a few!
Missile Command was an arcade game released in 1980 by Atari, unlike Space Invaders which did finally see an official port for the Speccy, Missile Command never did. Both of the clones I am looking at today were released in 1983 and required only a 16K Spectrum.
As a child who would rather stay at home and play games on his Speccy than go to arcades sometimes the significance of games would pass me by. One such game was Tempest, which to me at the time was just some game that appeared on a Your Sinclair covertape once.
Ah Space Invaders, perhaps one of the most influential games of all time. Despite this the humble Spectrum didn't receive an official version until 1991 in the form of Super Space Invaders which, is an update to the original game (and also released on other platforms) and required a 128K Speccy.
Take a look on World of Spectrum and there are plenty of unoffical clones, I've picked a couple and along with Super Space Invaders I shall take a look at them now! The interesting thing about the two clones are they both only require a 16K Spectrum.
Ahh type-ins.. A type of game lost to time. Most of them weren't all that good (as someone who wrote several crap games in BASIC I'm allowed to say that!), but they were invaluable for learning how to code - almost like an 80s version of Stack Overflow, only without the questions and the snobbery.
Everybody loves a good blast 'em up! And for the Speccy there were plenty! Top down, usually space themed just shooting the living hell out of whatever happens to get in your way!
Megablast! (a 128k only title) released by Your Sinclair on a covertape in 1993 takes a different spin on the genre. Firstly, you have actual objectives! Yes, you need to rescue 16 hostages from the carrier ships that spawn along the way - but be careful, getting carried away with the firepower and you might accidently kill the poor person floating around waiting for you to pick him or her up! It's not all scrolling up either, you can actually move up and down the current area (of which there are 16) as you track down those pesky carriers.
What makes for a great car game? A fast-paced racer with lots of twists and turns? Or how about a top-down shooter full of explosive action? What about a top-down.... well driver? No guns, just driving in a straight line.. Should be easy right? Well, Numb Cars released in 2001 by Russian company Triumph Game Labs puts that theory to the test.
So you've managed to get yourself an old Speccy, but it's 2019 and you no longer have a cassette player kicking around - what do you do?
PlayZX (by Baltazar Studios, LLC) turns your Android phone or tablet into a replacement cassette player, allowing you to load games into your Spectrum in the way Sir Clive originally intended: using a standard audio cable, you plug your phone into the EAR socket on your Spectrum just as you would a cassette player!
If you read my Action Fighter review you'll know that after the Speccy, I got a SEGA Master System. I didn't have many games for it, but one game I did have was Alien Storm! And just like Action Fighter, I never knew a Spectrum port existed until recently.
The Spectrum port of Alien Storm was released in 1991 published by US Gold, and as ports go it's rather bloody good.
Welcome to Journey's End! This epic RPG was released as a budget title by Games Workshop in 1985. This fantastic little game holds the prestige of being the first ever computer game I played!
The game is split into 3 parts and to discover more read on...
UDG Plop is a small simple application for Windows, Mac OS X, FreeBSD and Linux that allows you to easily create User Defined Graphics (UDGs) for use in a Sinclair ZX Spectrum program.
Released in 1987 by Mastertronic Added Dimension Voidrunner is a good ol' fashioned arcade shoot'em up, with one major difference... It'll give you a massive headache!
Sports.. What's the point? Why would you deliberately go and get yourself all sweaty and out of breath? Why are footballers paid so much? Why is a rugby ball shaped like an egg? These are all questions I couldn't give a monkeys about! The only sport I've ever enjoyed (and was any good at) was darts. Back in the good old days: in the pub with a fag in my gob, chucking 'arras from the oche, with my accuracy strangely improving the more pints I had!
Speaking of the good ol' days 180 was released by Mastertronic in 1986 is probably the definitive darts game. It's got round the clock, it's got 2 player and it's got a particularly challenging single player mode aswell - so challenging infact I don't think I've ever managed to get past the quarter finals!
Well, I knew the time would come when I finally had to take a deep breath and look at a platform game. I'm sure many of you are pondering why this is an issue, well the truth is: me and platformers - we never really got on. I don't know why this is but as a genre platform games didn't like me and I didn't really like them.
But what about platformers in the year of our Lord Bacon 2019? Well, one of the goals of this website was to showcase modern Speccy games aswell as look back at some forgotten oldies but a good chunk of games made since 2000 are platformers and a good chunk of those have the difficulty ramped up to 11! So, for my first platformer review I am going back to 1992 and taking a look at Turbo the Tortoise.
It may suprise you to find out that I have an older sister, and this sister had a boyfriend, and this boyfriend had a Mega Drive. Unlike my older brother who wouldn't let me anywhere near his ZX81 or Spectrum, this boyfriend was all too happy to let me have a go on his Mega Drive (aslong as I kept away from his Atari ST!).
This is all fascinating, but what has it got to do with Block-Dizzy I hear you cry! Well, one of the games he had on his Mega Drive was Columns - SEGA's answer to Tetris. And I found myself hooked on that little game. So much so, that fast forward to 2006 when I decided to get myself my very own Mega Drive from a popular auction website I made sure to pick up that game aswell.
What I never realised is that I could have played almost the exact same game on my good old Speccy! Block-Dizzy is a game inspired by Columns released by Your Sinclair in 1992. And it just so happens that Your Sinclair was my magazine of choice (which you probably guessed already by my chosen name) and I had the actual covertape this game came on (and possibly still do). So why didn't I play it? I don't have a clue! Well, 27 years later when I finally decided to go hunting for a Speccy version of Columns I didn't miss Block-Dizzy and will tell you all about it now.
Before things escalated into Streets of Rage in 1991, there was Street Hassle released by Melbourne House in 1988.
The streets are a mess, and armed with nothing but his bare fists our hero has decided to clean up wearing nothing but a pair of speedos and wellies!
Even though the Spectrum itself was discontinued in 1992 people have never stopped making games for it and today I am going to look at a game made in 2013.
Mazogs was originally released for the ZX81 in 1981. It's a fun game that still suprises me it managed to fit into just 16k of RAM.
So, what is Mazogs? Well, it's a maze game where you have to go and find the hidden treasure. However the maze is riddled with mazogs which can stop you in your tracks! Throughout the maze you will find swords which greatly improve your chances if you happen to find your path blocked by a mazog. Once you've got the treasure you've then got to make your way home - which isn't as easy as you think. The mazes are impressive in size and it is easy to get lost - luckily there are mysterious flashing eye things (which are actually prisoners - according to the instructions) that when approached will guide you on your way.
At some point in the early 1990s, my Spectrum +2 was mostly retired and I had instead a Sega Master System for which I only ever had a handful of games - going from £2.99 to £14.99 was a bit of a jump! Action Fighter was however one of the games I did get - what I didn't realise until recently was that Action Fighter was released on the ZX Spectrum in 1989.
How's that old brain of yours doing? If it's anything like mine, then you're probably starting to forget things at a worrying rate. Well nevermind, Master Brain is here to save you!