Yikes! Just how am I supposed to set about reviewing sixteen Codemasters' games in around 600 words? Or 572, by now. Do I attempt to summarise each one in a couple of brief but uninformative sentences? Or do I talk about the compilation in general, throw in a few comments on the state of the software industry, and reminisce about days gone by when rubber keys were considered an innovation and Richard and David were but a glint in the milkman's eye? Or then again, how do my chances look of contriving enough 'ors' so that all but the conclusion of this review consists of ridiculous suggestions of how I might actually write it? Not high, it has to be said.
Whichever way I choose, the burning question on my mind is whether or not I actually have to load up all sixteen games, or whether I can just look at the (C64) screenshots on the back of the box and guess? I know what my morals tell me, but that wouldn't be fair on you. So...
(Some time later). Phew, I'm glad... (Don't try that 'Some time later' business with me, Pelley. We know you. About thirty seconds later whilst you glanced at the packagin ', more like it. Now give me that box and do it properly. Ed) (A far longer time later than the passage of time conveyed between the previous two paragraphs.) Phew. I'm really glad that's over. Super Robin Hood still plays well after all these years, and I was actually quite intrigued to see if I could still remember what to do on Ghost Hunters. I couldn't.
Actually, you may well be wondering exactly what games you are getting for your money, and it's probably about here that I should tell you. In the straight one-directional shoot-'em-up department we have Sky High Stuntman (in a plane), Terra Cognita (in a spaceship), KGB Super Spy (in a helicopter) and Arcade Flight Simulator (in another plane).
On the slightly more innovative side, but still carrying forth the shoot-'em-up torch, we have SAS Combat (a sort of Commando/Ikari Warriors walk-a-little-man-about-and- shoot-things affair), Kami Kaze where you have to pick off each baddy in turn and keep returning to your base, Mig 29 providing some light relief in the form of a fly-a-plane-into-the-screen Afterburner clone, and Operation Gunship, which scrolls multi-directionally as you fly around attempting to rescue your men.
Then there are the arcade adventures - the aforementioned Super Robin Hood and the notably monochrome Ghost Hunters. Both games were around before the idea of an egg with legs as the main character had even been conceived. And in the miscellaneous section we have: Super Hero - a kind of obviously playing 3D isometric Head Over Heels clone, Super G-Man (a bit like Jetpac), Guardian Angel - a beat-'em-up (which was supposed to be Freddy Hardest 2, I think), Frankenstein Jnr (an almost-3D almost-arcade adventure), 3D Starfighter and our very own Adam 'Globetrotter' Waring's Ninja Massacre - a cheap and nasty Gauntlet rip-off.
And I'm afraid that in all fairness, cheap and nasty is the definitely the main theme of this compilation. Codemasters could have easily included sixteen, if not thirty-two. far better games from their back catalogue. But then again, they probably didn't want or need to; sixteen games for under a quid each seems quite appealing whatever their standard. And it's for this reason, and I would hope for this reason only, that I expect Smash 16 will indeed be a smash. It's a bargain, whatever way you look at it.
Warily, Magnus strode in to the dining room. Those mischievous parrots had caused him plenty of trouble in the past.
After considering the testimony of Doctor Froom's bald laboratory assistant Sneebs, I must say that I simply have to find in favour of the plaintiff.
Wesley suffered from a strange condition known as textile claustrophobia. If his collar was too tight, he had a panic attack.
Ohmigod! Look, Hortense - hust over there- it's that hunky Rich Pelley! Rich! Let us stroke your attractive hairstyle! (Swoon.)
The Civil War of 14 The Larches, Bolton was a bloodless affair. Brother fought against brother, but as both brothers carried plastic bow-and-arrows sets, it was all right in the end.
'Right, lad! Time for your PE exam. All you have to do is a couple of simple rolls. Oh, and avoid the hordes of walking dead.'