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ZX Spectrum 48K

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Graham Kidd
Chris Bourne

C64/128, £9.99cs, £14.99dk
Spectrum, £9.99cs
Amstrad, £9.99cs, £14.99dk

Not six of the best, but ten of the best games launched into the world over the last couple of years by Gremlin Graphics. Well nine then, and one from Vortex. Picky, picky...


Gremlin's answer to scrolling-shooting dungeon games like Druid and Gauntlet sets an oriental hero on a quest to penetrate the lair of an evil overlord and rescue some scrolls. Inner force and endurance are depleted by the aggressive minions that try to thwart you as you kick and punch past them. A limited supply of deadly shuriken stars is available to hurl at the foe. Nothing outstandingly original here, save the moving sections of floor, but still a very playable dungeons derivative.

Future Knight

A slick platforms and ladders game set inside the hulk of a crashed spacecraft. The hero scurries round attempting to kill or avoid the berserk security droids as he hunts for extra weapons and keys and finally, the exit pass that gives access to the outside world. More spells have to be collected in the Great Outdoors before the imprisoned maiden (the cause of all this frantic activity) can be freed. A polished arcade adventure that should challenge a range of skills.


Breakout came back into fashion this year for an as-yet-unexplained reason, and bells and whistles were added to the basic concept by a host of software houses. Gremlin weren't going to be left out and so offered up this competent variation on the theme. Playable and fun, though arguably not the best of the second breed of Breakouts, but still stands up well, particularly on a compilation.


A maddeningly addictive platform game with one major difference - the player's viewpoint. Controlling a bouncing ball, you view the action from above, bouncing from one section of platform-paving to another as the vertical scroll forces the pace. Ten courses to negotiate with a bonus section at the end of each, all packed with twists and turns - like airblowers to drive you off course, impassable walls that have to be bounced around and extra-bounce paving slabs. Airborne hazards and volcanos make life that little bit more difficult. Addictive, frustrating and fun.

Footballer of the Year

A sort of "Football-opoly' in which your aim is to become, yes that's it, Footballer of the Year. Strategy is involved in deciding how to apply your financial resources and a spot of arcade skill comes into play when you get to shoot at the goalmouth. Gamble wisely, play well and you could end up as F... yes, we've got the picture. An interesting, and potentially very addictive game that is playable even if you aren't a football fan


Wowee! What a race game. Dispensing with the usual souped up bike or formula racing car. you roll a ball along a chequered pathway that scrolls out of space. Gaps in the pathway must be negotiated if a time penalty is to be avoided and colour-coded sections of track speed the ball up, slow it down or confer extra jumping ability. Desperately fast and furious, quick reflexes and a good memory for the track are called for if success is to be achieved. Great fun on your own, more fun with a friend.

Highway Encounter

The only non-Gremlin game in this collection, chosen no doubt on account of its masterly use of 3D. An alien mothership lurks at one end of a long, dangerous highway and the means to destroy it, along with a team of five subservient droids is parked at the other end. Your aim: to push the deadly lastertron down the road and destroy the alien craft. Only one droid at a time can be used to shove the weapon, and a host of aliens lies in your path Thought as well as shooting action is involved, as some patrolling aliens need to be boxed in by shoving barrels and boxes around the road.

Monty on the Run

The classic follow-up to the game that launched Gremlin. The hero mole is out of clink but wishes to flee the country - to do so money and an escape kit need to be collected by leaping round the platformed environment Monty finds himself occupying. Full of sneaky twists and tortuous puzzles, the game calls for pixel-perfect positioning and a cool head. A dastardly difficult platform-based arcade adventure.

West Bank

Gameplay couldn't be much simpler a door opens to reveal a goodie or a baddie. Shoot the goodie and lose, shoot the baddie before he shoots you and you win. Every now and then a little character appears in an open doorway with either a bomb or bags of money on his head. Shoot the bomb and you lose, shoot the money and you win. Move left or right to pan your field of view across the doors you have to defend, press fire to shoot That's it, but the game's great fun to play

Jack The Nipper

An arcade adventure with a fairly traditional find and move vital object to correct location' construction but featuring the added gloss of comic characters that Leo Baxendale (deviser of the Beano's Bash Street Kids) would have been proud of. Rather than being a hero, you are cast as a tiny villain, not yet out of nappies, whose aim in life is to be as naughty as possible. Chuckle at the graphics, puzzle over the fiendish riddles and find yourself absorbed.

Verdict: Essentially, 'The Best of Gremlin' - a collection of respectable games that represents excellent value and offers a wide mix of content and playing styles. A well-rounded selection that would form a good basis to a software library being started from scratch.

Not Rated