Sunday, 28 April 2013


By daveysludge
Genre: Scatform
GOOD GAME ALERT!  So good in fact that I’m reticent to review it as a CGC entry, especially as I know how much work has gone into it.  I’ve been following the trials and tribulations of davey’s machine code help threads on the World of Spectrum forums, and I get the impression he’s been having a lot of the same agonising bug fixing problems that I had.  Nevertheless, it has been submitted to the CGC, isn’t perfect and is called Thunderturds, so here goes.
In this game you are Scott Faece, and you must soil all the blue tiles while avoiding various dung themed baddies (oh and a laser beam).  So in principle TT is a painter game, though perhaps dirty protest would be more appropriate.

Given that it’s a wet Sunday afternoon, and davey provided me with WAV files it seemed rude not to load on it onto real hardware.  Firstly notice the lovely loading screen, which is an animated image that takes advantage of the Spectrums flash attributes (not only that, the intro screen has a rainbow effect!).

The game inlay describes the game as joystick only (but keys 67890 work fine) so for the first time ever I had a go with one.  I’ve never been a joystick waggler, and despite my unresponsive old stick (oh puhh-leees) it works ok .  All the sprites move in character steps, which enabled davey to put some fantastic colourful graphics together – these and the animations on collision are outstanding.

TT has a good difficulty gradient over the 20 levels, and gets quite frantic towards the end.  Very enjoyable.

The bad points?  A few times the baddies got trapped behind a block, which meant you couldn’t ‘get’ that square and complete the level, a small bug* when it loops around after level 20, and for me the scatological theme.
All in all though a really playable game, one that is now on cassette and in my ‘good’ games collection.  Thankyou davey!
WAV files here, here and here.
Inlays 1 and 2.
Tipshack: Keep a close eye on the dung fly -the only one that chases and can move on to you, if you stay still the other baddies will treat you as a block and move around you. Not sure if that’s a bug or intentional.

Keys QAOP:
POKE 64445,251                POKE 64416,253                POKE 64474,223                POKE 64501,223
POKE 64449,1                     POKE 64420,1                     POKE 64478,2                     POKE 64505,1

*daveysludge has uploaded a bugfixed version, which gives a 'sort of' end of game sequence and loops.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Ultimate Language Translator

(version 12.360)

By Yoshiatom
Genre: Holistic Utility

Hokayyyy, here we have an absolute clanger of a CGC submission!  A lot of work has gone into the Ultimate Language Translator, as illustrated by the fact that this is version 12!  I can picture Yoshiatom now, slaving away at his computer perfecting his algorithms, checking his spelling and shaving the flab from U.L.T until it was near perfect!

Note I say ‘near perfect’ though, as despite best efforts a couple of typos have slipped though and the text is an unreadable white on yellow (adjusted for the picture here).

Don’t let these small facts detract from this universal interpreter though: you will get an equally impressive result for any sentence you care to type in.

An absolute pile of CARP! and an auspicious start, we look forward to you next entry Yoshiatom.

Tipshack: Try not to think about what version 1 was like.

HACK SACK: Insert 5 NEW at the beginning of the program.

Download here

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Dastardly Dave

By Rebelstar without a cause

Genre: Arcade: Satire
Never trust a man called Dave, especially when he’s really a David.  Dastardly Dave wants to give tax breaks to his friends but there’s a fly in the ointment: poor people are getting in the way.  You must help Dave destroy the poor people, save a fortune and keep favour with business!

From the indirect references of gritty realism in games like Trashman to the more blatant parody of Denis through the drinking glass, many a ZX Spectrum game has a powerful political message.  I may be slow on the uptake, but I think Dastardly Dave has a subtle and cryptic political edge to it too.

The game itself is a good old fashioned shooter, but with a somewhat less aggressive foe than the advancing aliens of Space Invaders.  You are the UDG at the bottom of the screen, which represents either a pointing hand or an amorphous blob (my money’s on the latter).  You must move left and right zapping the meandering paupers, the longer you take to get them all, the more your support dwindles.  It’s a nice touch that each successful hit saves you a whopping 53 pounds, and also that your support can go into negative percent!
Poor key response, long soundless pauses when you shoot, no sound at all in fact, jerky slow char movement.  CARP!
Dastardly Dave proves that art is better during a recession, thankyou Rebelstar!

Tipshack: Don’t shoot the poor people!
HACK SACK: Large majority: Line 9050 LET SUP=10000
Download here.
And hells bells, this game has not even been on the web 1 hour and hacked versions are already appearing!  Nick’s Nightmare.  The author is as yet unknown, but I've uploaded this as a warning to others that cracked software is not, I repeat NOT welcome on this site, please do not take this as an invite to do more of the same ;-p.


Thursday, 11 April 2013


By Rebelstar without a cause

Genre: Arcade: Grassgoodwallbad.
I’m very pleased to see the second instalment of the Lawnmower Chronicles: Grassman.  Just pause a moment and let the gravitas of that title to sink in.  Ok?  On with the game.

You are Grassman, and for some reason or other you have to mow the grass (though you look a bit like Action Biker in UDG form to my eye), until the exit appears.  While the obvious thing would be to have the player mow all the grass, Grassman is different: you must mow until you reach the score of 150 or so.  So Grassman can be pleased to have a gentle, if strange, boss who is content to have a lawn that looks like it has mange.  Sounds easy you say?  Well Mr cocksure, what if we throw in some LETHAL WALLS?! and when moving at 8 pixels per main loop, even on a lawnmower, any solid collision will be dangerous.
I find this game good fun, and quite rewarding if you mow each screen in its entirety.  If this game had 10 levels or so I would happily play them.  Don’t get me wrong though, it has a most welcome place in this crap games competition.

Hidden away in the code (well sort of) is another UDG designer, and after questioning it transpired that Rebelstar’s plan was to include this feature and more levels but got bored.  Perfect CGC material all round really!

Thankyou Rebelstar! 

Tipshack: Get so familiar with that damn mower you can turn it on a sixpence.

HACK SACK: Inwincibility: Change Line 5050 to LET SEDGE=1:GRASS=SEDGE

Download here.
And because Rebelstar hidden away a UDG designer, I couldn’t stop myself from changing a few bits and doing a cracked version: HayfeverHerbert.  Sorry!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Noah and the Mower

By Rebelstar without a cause
Genre: Arcade: Gardening
I should start off by saying that I received this game late on April 1st, so apologies for not reviewing it on the day which would have been more appropriate.
Spot the difference: L-Advanced Lawnmower Simulator, R-Noah and the Mower.
Some of you may notice that Noah and the Mower bears a passing resemblance to Duncan MacDonald’s Advanced Lawnmower Simulator, an April Fools covertape from Your Sinclair 1988. I’m pleased that Noah uses the same control keys, sorry – key, as ALMS as it might be confusing otherwise.  What it lacks in lawnmower choice it makes up for with a message of encouragement as you near the end of the quest.  It also boasts a larger house and faster screen draw, so Mr Lawnmower has clearly gone up in the world.
The Lawnmower Chronicles….part 1?  Oh carp.
Spring is here, the grass is getting long, here is an ideal opportunity to get some practice in.  Shut those curtains tight and get mowing!
Thankyou Rebelstar!
Tipshack: Press key ‘m’ to mow.  The task at hand may seem insurmountable but do not lose your resolve.

HACK SACK: Increased Mowing Speed: Line 160 change to FOR Y=20 TO 21 STEP -1

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Advanced Piano Simulator

By Lost

Genre: Utility: Bloody racket
Finally!  We are getting some software that proves the Spectrum is not only the best games machine on (or off) the planet – A.P.S is a utility that would make Uncle Clive proud.

Credit must be given for getting both ‘advanced’ and ‘simulator’ into the same title.

Now everyone loves tinkling the ivories, but for some the cost of space taken up by a grand piano can often prove prohibitive (for the proles anyway)  – that’s where A.P.S comes in.  You can have all the joy of a real piano without any of the hassle.  You can preset the note length (to the point where it’s possible to get an ‘Integer’ out of range error!) and octave, and there is a rather nice sheet music option for ‘ode to joy’.  The music keys are reassuringly unresponsive and all I could manage was a structureless string of beeps and farts.
Though I am hopeless at music anyway so couldn’t get a decent tune out of even a good piano, so here’s a call for musical types to have a go with it, and if you manage to record an RZX of something that sounds vaguely like music then please send it in and I’ll post it.

So what are you waiting for?  Fire up your Spectrum, download A.P.S, get your friends around and give them a rendition of ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ they’ll never forget!
Download here.

And as per the comments thanks to Lee Spoons who managed Ode to Joy! (RZX file)

Monday, 1 April 2013

Rosco the Cat Burglar in: Cyprus Extraction

By Lost
Genre: Arcade: canine cash pursuit 
First off we must give bonus points to this lovely inlay and loading screen that makes Rosco the Cat Burglar the complete package.
 Not actual in game graphics?  Ah I get it, that pic must be the Amiga version.

Poor Rosco the cat, he has been wise enough to invest his money in a bank account (and for a cat 80 spond is quite a lot) but unfortunately it’s locked up in a Cypriot bank until the financial crisis is sorted.  What’s a cat to do?  Break in of course!  But with police response times as they are you have 60 seconds to get your money back, as long as you can evade the angry dog. 
A winning formula here, moving around the screen being pursued by a slightly slower object.  Lost has clearly put some thought into this as the allotted time, reappearance of the dog and the next money wad seem finely tuned for frenzied gameplay.  If the dog gets you once, then your score is depleted and you may as well restart the game.  Even if you can evade the rabid dog it is still not guaranteed you will be able to get the full £80, it all depends on where the cash reappears.
This one ticks all the boxes for me, slightly iffy UDGs, crap keys (wasd) and a substantial reliance on chance.  Good fun and I hope it’s not the last in the Rosco the Cat series.  Thank you Lost!
Tipshack: Be especially vigilant after collecting some money, the dog can reappear in a location very close to you.
Line 301, change 60 to whatever time you fancy.  65 makes for a slightly easier game, but I think Lost has tuned it right with 60.
Lines 330-360, change the stinky wasd keys to something a bit better (for example a sane person would choose qaop).