Once upon a time, Spectrum computers didn't have 128K memories. Some had 48K. Some even had only 16K.
And in those dim and distant days programmers were still discovering how best to use those limited kilobytes. Now some slaved away in their bedrooms, churning out those old invaders in Basic, while others pushed forward, producing new and exciting programs.
It was about this time that Ashby Computers and Graphics became a legendary name. "Ashby who?" you ask. Agreed, it is a bit of a mouthful, which is probably why they changed it to Ultimate, a word which became synonymous with Quality!
Now newcomers to Spectrum computing (Hi - what kept you so long?) and veterans possessed of short memories can re-live those pioneering days with two compilations of the Ultimate hits.
Unbelievable Ultimate I takes off with Jet pac the game that transformed Spectrum software. Now it looks rather old-hat with the plot of picking up objects while blasting the nasties, and it's restricted to single screens. However, it's fast and furious, so it should fill an hour or two.
Tranzam is a driving game, and again it's no doddle. You steer your car, which is seen from above, around the good ol' US of A. avoiding obstacles and the Deadly Black Turbos while picking up petrol and cups which litter the landscape.
Lunar Jetman sees the return of the hero from the earlier game, and when it came out many reviewers thought it was just too difficult. I'm inclined to still go along with that, though die-hard dodge and shooters should have a field day.
Finally, Pssst! No, I'm not being crude. That's the sound of the aerosol bug killers in a shooting game where success, in the shape of a blooming bloom, depends on choosing the right coloured spray.
The four games may look a little unsophisticated now but they were state-of-the-art way back when. Go grab yourself a piece of programming history.
Reviewer: Jerry Muir
Stepping back in time with four of the early Ultimate greats. includes Jetpac the program which started it all.