Tuesday, 14 August 2012


The galaxy is a rough place and the overstretched Galactic Law Enforcement need as much help as they can get. They of course draw the line at vigilantes, but authorised Bounty Hunters are tolerated.

Bounty hunting is one of the careers with the shortest life expectancy and only drifters, drunks and mad men take it up with the hope of getting lucky.

Welcome to my new text adventure game Bounty.

Download Bounty here.

Bounty was reviewed in Micro Mart Sep 2012 - and given game of the week in the retro section!
The review is here:


Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Spectrum Show #7

Welcome to Episode 7 of The Spectrum Show.

In this episode we take a look back to September 1983 to get all the latest Sinclair news and latest Spectrum game releases.

We have a Spectrum arcade shootout – this time it’s Moon Patrol. Which of the Spectrum versions will come out on top?

We review some older games and take a look at some newer titles.

Hope you enjoy it.

Best viewed on YouTube...

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Moon Patrol Shoot Out

Released in 1982 under license by Williams, this fondly remembered game had many redeeming features and remains a firm favourite for retro fans.

By this time the graphics and sound capabilities of arcade machines had improved from the single coloured sprites and simple monophonic tones found emanating from the early cabs.

The bright colourful graphics with parallax scrolling and lovely animated buggy instantly drew players to it but the main attraction was the jolly tune that played as you manoeuvred along the moon’s surface.

So could any of the Spectrum clones match the arcade machine?

At the bottom of the list, the games that were really bad included Casey Jones from Blaby Computing (left). This game replaced the moon buggy of the original with a steam locomotive, and takes inspiration from the 60’s television show of the same name. Aliens are replaced with hamburgers and the whole thing falls flat on its face.

Several of the games were written in BASIC and because of this suffered from the usual problems of poor sound, jerky graphics and poor control. Escape From Alderon by Magnum Computing obviously goes for a Star Wars spin on things and is truly appalling. Return To The Moon (Tlauli-ran) and Terra Plen (Thrydhent Vision Systems) are also at the bottom of the list due to clunky graphics, poor or totally missing sound and terrible controls.

The mediocre games are at least in machine code and provide the player with a decent experience, mostly. Hoverkrat from Andreas Zallmann Software is a ‘nearly’ game. The pauses in between playing when you lose a life is annoying and graphics, sound and game-play just miss the mark.

Kamikaze Buggie by Tweety Soft moves away from the norm and gives us a weird hybrid between Moon Patrol and Space Invaders. Jumping is almost uncontrollable, the buggy flying around the screen in all directions regardless of which buttons you press. The aliens drop to the ground and scuttle across the land causing further hazards.

A game with great graphics but flawed game-play is Lunar Rover from Data Design Systems. Jumping is based on how long you hold down the jump key and proves very tricky to master, meaning despite the game looking good, it soon become frustrating. The aliens are also missing, being replaced by meteors that fly horizontally across the screen.

Still in the mediocre section we have several games with the same name; Moon Buggy. Anirog’s version (left) is very colourful and action packed but the jumping is tricky. How far the buggy jumps is based on how fast you are going, but there is no indication of this on screen. Guessing the length of the jump usually ends in disaster, causing frustration.

Vision Software’s version lacks many of the arcade features to the extent it is almost a different game. The landscape does not scroll there are just craters to avoid and the whole thing appears to be a variant of Space Invaders. Despite these problems though, it has fast, smooth graphics and decent sound.

Moon Patrol – the unknown game by an unknown author in an unknown year, has some of the arcade features and the game-play is quite good. Sadly it seems unfinished, which is a pity.

Now we have reached the top of the pile, and the two games that will fight it out for the crown.

Moon Alert from Ocean is a great game with large smooth graphics that sadly flicker sometimes. Most of the arcade elements are present, sound is good and game-play is spot on. The arcade’s tanks are missing, replaced by mines and for some reason the music from Indiana Jones is played when you complete a level.

This for me was the best version, but I had never played the other contender.

The official version, Moon Patrol from Atarisoft (left), proves to be excellent, as you would expect from an official conversion. All of the arcade elements are there, even the tune, and the landscape detail is great. Game-play is superb and the only bad point is the lack of sound effects. Despite this though, this is a quality game.

Which one is best?

All of these games are tested and played in Episode 7, with the winner announced at the end of the tests.

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