Artic Computing by Dinky Productions (David McGee, Neil Jones, Robin Hall)
Whoever you are, you come back from a hard day's work, and you decide to pass that hard day's night at the theater, only, you're so tired that you fall asleep, and when you wake up, you find yourself in the midst of the movie, inside of it, which, by the way, is a horror movie! In short, this is a single screen platform, with each level paraphrasing some cinematographic title, the first being "Raiders of the Lost Ork", and, as it happens in this genre, your aim is to collect all the flashing objects in the screen, which, in this case, are crosses, because, overall, you're deep in a vampire flick, and eventually you'll have to face the vampire itself, The Master. A nice touch, which slightly differetiate it from the other specimen of the genre, is that the item aren't takable all the time: they regularly burst into flames, making the contact deadly. The execution of the game is on the sluggish, clumsy and flickery side, the humour silly, but insisting I found a more or less playable little game, which I sinisterly played with the West of Memphis documentary in the background. It was a poor final release for Artic Computing, and rather dear under the price aspect [almost 6£], and even now that's it's free it's got a very low average vote in WoS [around 3.50/10]. I don't dislike it nonetheless. Some cute old style beeping in the presentation, composed by Bach.
I don't know exactly who and what this K'Soft were, but one thing is sure, they seem like a 1983 software house that discovered a time machine, reached 1986 and released not so good 1983 games. An astute tactic. Besides these four action games, they even released a couple of text adventures which seem better, and someday I'll review them.
A-Maze. In this a-mazing game you're a paintbrush trapped in a grid composed by dozens of squares, and you're chased by another something. It's like a chess game without turns: you must wait, but you can move when sliding holes passes along the lines around you. You must reach the colour can at the other corner of the screen, and once you sweated all your way until there... you have to visit every single square of the grid in order to paint it and finish the level. Which is very paintful, because this kind of gameplay, with the grid and the holes, makes it rather intricate, and it's easy to grow impatient - a painting game is usually something fast and frantic, and that's its most suitable shape [for example, An'F Software's Painter, released in 1983]. 2/5
Galactic Mechanic. Ok, you control a starship in a single screen environment, and you must, of course, collect the pieces of an automobile, falling from the sky, one by one, each time beaming the piece to the toolbox below, a toolbox intelligently moving left and right all the time at ground level. At the same time there are a whole lotta nasties trying to make your job more difficult, including birds, nonetheless, but you can shoot them. I don't think there's much else to say. It looks terribly dated and the gameplay is simplistic and based on a silly premise, but 1986 blockbusters from big software houses like Ocean Software, namingly Knight Rider, Highlander or Miami Vice, though more modern on the graphics side, were even less playable or fun. 2/5
Nightmare is just another Manic Miner clone, and one of the more unoriginal, besides being at least a couple of years late. 1,5/5
While Wind Surfer is, suprisingly, a wind surfing game which I don't exactly understand how it works, besides the fact that you must avoid all the rocks, and there are more rocks in this sea than in any cave. Seems almost unplayable to me. 1/5
Let's entartain ourselves with this seasonal game, although the title gets me very confused about the season it's about. Anyway, today is Christmas and this is the only official commercial release with a Christmas theme from 1986. You're Santa Claus and you must deliver the presents. You start in your white grotto, as a funny shaped black sprite, you switch a lever, you pick up a gift, and you throw yourself onto some rooftops [no flying reindeers and sleigh, this time], where you turn white against the black night. Now you can wander in domestic environments searching for a sock to insert the gift in, avoiding dogs and objects, leaping all around, accompanied by an obsessive and clumsy jingle that stops only to make room for a sound effect or two. I delivered a present at the bottom of an occupied bed, and then I descended into the floor underneath because I wasn't able to go back to the rooftop, and from there to my grotto, which seems to be somewhere in the sky, in order to take another packet. Down there, once turned cyan against a blue background, I met an insomniac aunt or some acid spinster, which killed me again and again - and that's how I spent my Christmas. Whoever in 1986 received this remarkable budget game as a gift, must have passed a very memorable Christmas day, in a sense. But you're still in time to experience the thrill today. Play it now.
It was 1986, but still Jet Set Willy clones were popping out, from the radioactive undegrounds of budget labels. Consequently you have to collect the crystals avoiding the mutants, while exploring what's hiding under the earth surface, after a nuclear experiment gone wrong. Two features differentiate it from its source: the possibility of jumping on certain monsters, in a certain way, using them as trampolines to reach troublesome spots and platforms, and the fact that picking up the crystals may open walls and barriers, unblocking the way to new areas [like in Bug Byte's Antics]. The rest is almost exactly like a 1984 platform with pixel perfect requirements, almost UDG sprites, scarce animation, and buggy instances in which you die forever in the same screen, once fallen from a ledge. So, it may be of interest to Jet Set Willy fans [which I've never been].