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ZX Spectrum 48K
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Duncan MacDonald
Chris Bourne

In the beginning, Ultimate saw the Sinclair Spectrum and it knew that it was good, and so it said unto itself, "Let there be games, and let the games be good too."

And, lo and behold, the games were good. Very good in fact. And now they re all out again in one box. Hoorah!!!

If you've had your Speccy for absolutely yonks and yonks, then the chances are that you'll own all these games already. So what are you reading this for? Go away at once! This is for people who haven't seen these games before! Go on, scram... Pronto!

Have the scoundrels gone? Good then I'll begin.

Once upon a time there was a software company that made 2D games that everybody talked about. The games were crisp, slick, simple and downright addictive. Quite a good formula really, wouldn't you agree chum-bos?

Anyway one bright sunny day - when everybody thought the Speccy had been pushed. graphically, as far as it would go - this software company released a stunning new game. The game was called Knightlore, the company was called Ultimate and the game view was called 'Isometric Projection'. Yaaah-hooooooo!! 3D had happened! You could walk in front of things, behind things, in fact you could even move things around and stand on them. It was the game that spawned a squillion copy-cats - a new genre had been created. Well done Ultimate!

So from Ultimates cheerful 2D dawn to its climatic 3D sunset, there are 11 of its games bunged together in this one package. Have they stood the test of time? Let's have a butchers.

Cookie: You control Cookie, a little chef (not a Happy Eater). Zoom around the screen shooting the floating ingredients into the bowl at screen bottom. Avoid the nasties. Totally simple, nice to play and hair-raisingly addictive

Pssst: You want your seed to grow into a nice big juicy sunflower. Trouble is that worms, wasps and all manner of bug-things want to eat it. Keep the heinous pests at bay with the sprays, poisons and swatters you have at your disposal. Again, totally simple and addictive.

Tranz-Am: A 'view from above' car game/collect 'em up. Whizz around the USA collecting goblets while avoiding the ground features (cacti and so cyri 1 and the enemy motors. Erm, not the best game on the compilation actually.

Jet-Pac: Single screen with three platforms. Collect the falling fuel cannisters and take them to your space-rocket. Vape anything that moves, or it will vape you. Simple, fun and addictive.

Lunar Jetman: Jet Pac with knobs on. Scrolling landscape, vehicles to enter and drive, things to collect and loads to avoid. I found it incredibly difficult to play, and preferred the simplicity of Jet-Pac. But that's just me... simple.

Atic Atac: Run furiously through a giant maze-like complex of rooms in your search for the three parts of the golden key (which allows you to escape from the castle). A viewed from above zapping/avoiding/mapping/collect 'em up. Fast and furious and great fun, although a bit dated.

Sabre Wulf: Atic Atac in the jungle.

Knight Lore: One of the most important (and best) games ever written for the Speccy. Move through the 3D castle collecting orbs, chalices and such like. When ('if' more likely - haw haw), you've got them all, bung them in the wizard's cauldron. Just getting through some of the rooms seems almost impossible. Brainblendingly brilliant stuff. The game that inspired Head Over Heels. Graphically superb. Still stands up today (fnar).

Alien 8: Knightloreish 3D lolly japes, but this time set on board a giant spacecraft. Kill roving aliens and re-activate the many de-activated things that you need to bring the ship into a safe planetary orbit. Even harder than Knightlore!

Nightshade: Another Knightlore clone, this time set in an enchanted village. Everybody here seems to be very poorly. Evil Spells have been cast - and guess what, chum... you've got to uncast them and clean the village of evil. Blimey.

Gunfright!: Yeeee haaaaa! Its wild west time. Guide the sherrif around the town looking for the baddies on the 'wanted dead or alive' posters. Graphically, again, in the Knightlore mould, and jolly fun too.

This compilation offers many things, but I think the overall emphasis has to be on playability - there's enough here to keep you chained to your keyboard for several millenia. Okay so there are a couple of slightly duffo games but that still leaves nine good ones. For my money it's almost worth buying this for Knghtlore alone - so with all the others it's got to be a steal. Go get it.

Wazzy compilation of some of the best games written for the Speccy. If you've never seen the Ultimate games, then get this!