Hmm. Another compilation? What's on this one then? Oh, Space Harrier eh? That got a Megagame first time round if I remember right (and I do cos I'm Ed). Blimey, so did Overlander. And two of the others scored eight out of ten. So, skipping quickly past Live And Let Die (the clunker of the set, but still not too bad), let's catch up on The Story So Far Volume 2.
A simple but addictive little thing this. It's a self- confessed cutie, in which you control a set of four bouncing balls travelling across a horizontally scrolling Wonderboyesque landscape. Your balls bounce one at a time in a wave pattern (oo-err) and your job is to lead them safely through the landscape particularly avoiding hazards like hedgehogs, cactii, bumble bees, eagles, sharp rocks and venus fly traps. Blimey! You eat apples for energy and pop any balloons you come across - get ten of the blighters and you're sproinged up to the next level. It's one of those games that, despite only workmanlike graphics, is as addictive a anything - dead easy to get into and almost impossible to pyut down. You can slow down the forward movement of your inflatable chums, but you can't stop it, so when you've more than one hazard coming at you at once, you're in big trouble, matey. Yep, a birrova corker all right.
'89 Rating: 81
This is a very fast and frantic little number and a brave attempt at a tricky conversion. You know the one - you play a little flying man with a big gun (great grand-daddy to the 'two cool dudes' in Forgotten Worlds), zooming along a chequerboard rolling road (except it's not a road) and blasting everything in your path. Your obstacles take the form of flying dragons, giant stone heads and fire-spitting flowers amongst other 'supernatural phenomena'. Like Afterburner, you can't really see what's going on, and it doesn't take too much skill 'cos it's totally uncontrollable. Hmm. Still, for all that, it was a totally brilliant bit of programming when it first came out and is still worth having. But with hindsight I wouldn't megagame it.
'89 Rating: 77
Best of '88's road racing games. Your job is to smuggle stuff across country in your souped-up motor. Mad Max style gangs on cars and bikes and even grenade dropping mega-trucks get in your way though. Before you set off you must buy some petrol and some of the cheaper weapon add-ons (turbo charger, flame thrower and stuff), though you can add more later on. There's not much more to say. It's your basic rolling road game. It's not that hard (you can't steer off the road and shooting the other cars is pretty straightforward) but it shows how a simple, unoriginal idea can work if well though out and competently programmed.
'89 Rating: 80
Beyond The Ice Palace
This is yer standard platforms and ladders jobbie, but it is big (Big! Big!), which is the first thing in its favour. It's also got four way scrolling, big colourful sprites and lots of icky baddies like giant moths, ogres and even a swirly dragon who looks like he's escaped from Space Harrier. Weapons-wise you get a choice of a couple of different swords or a spiky ball thing before you start, but can pick up others along the way. Best of these is the 'Spirit of the Wood', a flying face jobby that can be used as a smart bomb. There's lots to it, the only problem being the difficulty level, which is pitched rather hard. Even with ten lives, progress is slow and I kept continually starting again only to get killed a few seconds later. Where's that 'Spirit of the Wood' when I need it? Oh, I've used them all up. Drat. So, to sum up. Beyond The Ice Palace - it's pretty tricky, but it's pretty good.
'89 Rating: 85
Live And Let Die
Last and least, this one may be interesting for its origins (Elite did the programming but Domark donated its James Bond licence and marketing skills), but it really is a very, very ordinary game. Loosely based on the old 007 film, drug baron Dr Kanaga is trying to take over me world and you are sent to stop him. Apparently the best way to do that is to drive up and down four rivers in different parts of the world, shooting everything that moves. Hmm. There are nice touches - like the speedboat hitting a log and jumping out of the water - but the collision detection is a bit iffy, rocks and mines are very hard to tell apart and it gets very samey after a while. The addition of a James Bond licence can't disguise the fact that it's yet another Road Blasters clone, and hardly a good one at that.
'89 Rating: 58
And there we have it. Not too bad at all, though Live And Let Die lets the side down a bit Don't know why the Speccy version is called The Story So Far Volume 2 though 'cos a) there was never a first volume on 8 bit machines and b) Elite is pulling out of the Speccy market (sniff). So it's more like The Story Full Stop. What a shame.
A good compilation and great value. Elite may not have done much for the Speccy lately, but this final bow spells a sad day for Spec-chums.