Computing with the Amstrad
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POWER Plays is a compilation of eight games you're unlikely to have seen before -and some of which you probably won't want to see again.

Wrath of Olympus is the first of two adventures. It uses the traditional verb/noun parser which would be no great disadvantage were it not so painfully slow in responding to your input. Several of the locations you visit are accompanied by simple, but colourful, illustrations.

As the title suggests, the adventure is set in ancient Greece Awakening at the foot of a mountain, with a lump on your head and no recollection of past events, your quest is to remember your name and what crime you have perpetrated.

The story is a tangled tale of centaurs, nymphs, and golden apples, sadly let down by a lack of speed.

Program two is a ladders and levels game by the name of Nakamoto. Each screen is constructed from a series of girders, some of which are linked by horizontal chains. These can be used for swinging ape like between adjacent girders.

Your aim is to collect all the goodies and make a bee-line for the nearest teleport. Progress is hindered by the presence of a samurai bat, several snowmen, and numerous TNT mines.

Nakamoto is dated, yet refreshing and enjoyable to play.

Nocturne is the second adventure game, written by the author of Wrath of Olympus. Thankfully this is much more responsive, and contains a far higher proportion of pictures.

You awaken to find yourself imprisoned in a steel cell. Your first task is to escape and disable the guard who bars your exit. The room turns out to be part of a spaceship, and further investigation reveals the presence of many different species of animal - a regular Noah's ark. Nocturne is a big improvement on the first adventure.

Corridor Conflict is an arcade challenge in which you compete against a human opponent or the computer.

Using a split-screen technique, both competitors play simultaneously. There are no instructions, but I deduced the following: You must both search six levels of the same spaceship looking for six sections of a starbomb. Shooting your opponent has no effect, but a collision results in your ship being returned to the lift.

Apart from the clever splitscreen effect, this game has very little going for it.

Game five is an arcade/ adventure in which you make a bid to become a Time Lord. Dressed in your regulation space suit, you wander from screen to screen, avoiding or shooting the swarming aliens. You have three lives, their duration determined by the state of your oxygen reserves.

Very little margin for error is allowed when moving though gateways to the next screen, with much time and energy expended bumping into walls. Time Lord has plenty of colour, but poor control, and no excitement.

The ocean depths play host to game six, Barrier Reef. Trapped in a maze of caverns beneath the reef, you must use your skill, agility and intelligence to make your way back to the surface.

Even Jaques Cousteau would have had problems in these waters - the reef is poisonous, the fish are poisonous, and even the little blue bottle is fatal.

The exit from each cavern is blocked by a rockfall. By locating a bomb and detonating it in the correct place, you can escape to the next cavern. Once again, an extremely colourful game - but tedious.

The Amstrad Shuffle is not a new dance, but a collection of card games. The thought of playing Patience on the micro wasn't my idea of excitement, yet this turned out to be one of the best programs on the compilation.

You can choose from six types of Patience: Column, clock, row, carpet, raglan and sultan. There are also versions of Blackjack and Pairs. This is one of the most comprehensive collections of card games I have seen.

The final game is an all-out zap-and-blaster. Freedom Fighter is in the Space Invaders/Galaxians mould - blast the living daylights out of swarms of hostile aliens without colliding with one of the many bombs they have dropped.

This very old formula would have failed miserably were it not for the use of large colourful sprites, a variety of different screens, and the clever use of-software speech.

Power Plays is a compilation of games which fall fairly and squarely into the budget category. As such it still represents good value for money -just don't expect to find any Accolades hiding among them.

Steve Brook, CWTA

COMPILATION: POWER PLAYS [Nocturne+Corridor Conflict+Timelord+Barrier Reef]

Cover art: Tim White

★ YEAR: 198X


  1. Barrier Reef
  2. Corridor Conflict
  3. Nocturne
  4. Timelord


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L'Amstrad CPC est une machine 8 bits à base d'un Z80 à 4MHz. Le premier de la gamme fut le CPC 464 en 1984, équipé d'un lecteur de cassettes intégré il se plaçait en concurrent  du Commodore C64 beaucoup plus compliqué à utiliser et plus cher. Ce fut un réel succès et sorti cette même années le CPC 664 équipé d'un lecteur de disquettes trois pouces intégré. Sa vie fut de courte durée puisqu'en 1985 il fut remplacé par le CPC 6128 qui était plus compact, plus soigné et surtout qui avait 128Ko de RAM au lieu de 64Ko.