As programmers become more and more ambitious with their expectations of our beloved Speccy, it's nice to treat the old Sinclair to a bit of a break every now and then. Codemasters' Smash 16 package does just that. In fact it's a lot like an adventure holiday when all's said and done: A bit of climbing here, a spot of exploration there and some flying around in a MIG 29 fighter plane, battling it out with crackpot enemies elsewhere.
OK, so you won't find that last particular option this side of a Hoseasons holiday camp but the point is that Codemasters' arcade hits offers more variety than you'd care to wave an M16 at!
There's a long list of titles here, some of which you may already be familiar with. 'Sky High Stuntman' is typical of Codies' odd sense of humour, casting the player as a luckless, airborne stuntman trying to earn a living. The cameras roll as the player soars skyward to make the most exciting cinema possible. In the name of realism the merciless director has had all the aircraft equipped with real ammo! Should the stuntman make a fatal mistake the director shouts ‘CUT' and the poor guy must start all over again.
Dangerous business is where you find it, though, and the pilot of the helicopter in ‘KGB SUPER SPY' knew he was facing death the moment he took the controls. His mission? To rescue as many hostages as possible, blast the enemy away in time honoured tradition and reap the rewards (ie new bits and pieces for his trusty whirly-bird). And they criticise Al' for his long-time devotion to playing his bass!
Remaining air borne for a few more Russian moments (Codies really do like Ivan don't they), ‘M1G29' must rank as one of the bettertitles available for the Spectrum, ridiculous budget price-tag or not. Screaming over a variety of landscapes In 'G-Loc' mode, in mortal combat with enemy fighter pilots, this is one exciting ride end it isn't easy!
The trials and tribulations endured to become a true Ninja Master are many. The potential Shadow Warrior must suffer years of aggravation if the ultimate goal is to be obtained. So, in order to release some of the pent-up frustrations built up over the years, the average Ninjitsu devotee might well venture forth on a 'Ninja Massacre'. Although this game is one of the least visually impressive of the bunch it still offers a few hours of shuriken shenanigans to keep avid beat-'em-up fanatic going.
Of course the most revered masters of stealth in the world are our own SAS. In 'SAS Combat' the Code Masters have opted for an overhead perspective, much in the style of the classic Commando coin-op. The action here is much slower and not nearly as frantic but is a good excuse for an all out, Gung-Ho, budget blaster if ever there was one!
'Terra Cognita' is a bit of a strange one, at first it's difficult to understand just what the heck is going on but it looks good. 'Guardian Angel is quite an adequate attempt at a Final Fight style beat-em-up: Kami Kaze, as the tile suggests, is a shoot-em-up aimed at the terminally self-destructive amongst us as the fighter plane under control is required to dive bomb itself into various buildings to complete every mission.
The other titles, namely: 3D Starfighter. Arcade Flight, Ghost Hunters, Super G Man, Super Hero, Super Robin Hood and Operation Gunship are of similar quality to those mentioned in a touch more detail above. Are the words VALUE FOR MONEY passing through peoples' skulls yet? They should be! At a little over one sov per title there's no doubt that Codemasters' Smash 16 package is an offer most cannot afford to refuse unless, with such old games, you already have quite a lot of them!
Lorks! You can always rely on the Codemasters. These games represent a nice slice of history and if you're not familiar with them I'd say you're missing out on some great value fun for modest outlay. Nothing very modern but still far better than a poke in the eye, and no mistake!
Crivens! What can I say, apart from that this is a real barg peeps! It's winter time folks and, in case you don't already know, this means lots of dreary days spent indoors as the winds howl and the rains pour. I reckon you could while away sixteen Sundays, more than adequately with this lot!