After a longer than expected hiatus but still managing to beat the Playstation Network in restarting, RetroBear goes back to mid April with the next 6 C64 games on his list. It starts badly but slowly gets better and takes in a couple of classics to ease the pain inflicted so far…..


PS Videos to follow


Load dammit !


Monday 18th April 2011


Outside the sun is shining. It’s another beautiful day but dammit I have Commodore 64 games to play. No rest for the wicked and these games will not play themselves…..



It's a maze Jim but not as we know it

You control one of the last humans to survive an alien invasion and it is up to you to save mankind and restore sanity to the world. First walk through a complex designed in the form of a maze, taking out aliens as you go in order to find the access codes to use the computer. Once done it’s then on to your fighter plane and finally into your jeep blasting the aliens before the Final Encounter and the destiny of the human race.


Sounds good doesn’t it ? Well it sound OK if for the fact you can get off the FIRST damn level ! The idea of a 3D-ish viewpoint is good but you have absolutely no idea where you are going, or where you have been. All the corridors and doors are the same, there is a lift somewhere down to the next level and you need to find the passcode to use the computer to get out. However the makers of this game clearly had no idea that most gamers would simply get too frustrated with walking around endless corridors with no idea at all what to do.


All the graphics and sounds are rather good for the time, with the music being an excellent accompaniment to the tense feeling of the game. All said and done though this is simply too much too soon into the game. This is a game that should have been pretty good but ends up almost being unplayable because of how steep the learning curve is set from the outset.


GRAPHICS : 7/10 – Good main and enemy sprites, but those corridors drive you mad after a while

SOUND : 8/10 (MUSIC) 5/10 (FX) – Great tune plays throughout with adequate sound effects

PLAYABILITY : 5/10 – Immersive until you realise it’s a total pig to get off the first level

LASTABILITY : 6/10 – 2 further levels to come but frustration may kick in well before then


OVERALL : 6/10 – Nice to look at and listen to, but perseverance of the highest order is needed




It's only fair you get to see as far as I did...

Wahhhhhhhhhh ! It won’t load so will have to come back to it at a later date. Or find another copy.




Looks dull, plays dull

It’s time once again to pick up a sword, a loincloth and swallow some Dutch courage. Dammit there are hordes of monsters, winged things and large guardians to kill out there and as Rastan that is your job. Along the way pick up armour, shields and new weapons to help you as there are plenty of beasties to banish. A hack-n-slash arcade conversion by Imagine (you’ll notice I have reviewed a lot of their stuff so far).


So is it any good ? Does it compare to Golden Axe (still to be reviewed at some point) in any way as the ultimate sword swinging game to end all sword swinging games ? Both the long and short answers to that is a resounding NO. The main problem with the game is that it is about as schizophrenic a title as I can remember playing. It goes from being ridiculously easy, lulling you into believing it to be a breeze and then suddenly becomes the hardest game in the world, asking you to perform leaps of faith that are nigh on impossible and require the precisest of precision.


While the music is rather splendid and the graphics are quite nice, everything else falls down through the sheer unpredictability of the game. It’s also incredibly dull and monotonous to play – their just isn’t enough variety to keep anyone interested. If you add to that the extra weapons make no difference then you wonder what all the fuss is about. Just as you think it’s going to be something you will whizz through you’ll be pulling your hair out and relegating it to just another mediocre gaming experience. It’s a shame because in there does appear to be a fairly good game trying to get out.


GRAPHICS : 6.5/10 – Nice to look at and very fitting for the game.

SOUND : 8/10 (MUSIC) 5/10 (FX) – Great soundtrack with the most basic of sound effects employed

PLAYABILITY : 6/10 – Up and down. Easy one minute, blazingly hard the next. It’s also too samey to play, with no variety at all and some ropey collision detection

LASTABILITY : 5/10 – If you are up to the challenge and have enough hair to pull out then this is for you


OVERALL : 6/10 – And that’s being a bit generous. It’s not a bad game, just not a particularly great one.




Looks like the invites were late for the Hells Angels convention

Take revenge on Mr Big for the murder of your brother, the original Renegade from the first game in this series, for which this is the sequel. Battle hard bikers with your fists, your feet or perhaps a baseball bat to the noggin ? It’s a simple beat em up side scroller with you out for revenge. Hey at least you aren’t trying to rescue your girlfriend this time (well until Part III that is anyway).


No doubt about it this is quite tough going. Initially it’s a pain to get the baseball bat off of the bikers but when you do there is no stopping you. The only down side to this is that being grabbed from behind by one biker and being pummelled by the other one does reduce your energy bar a lot (it’s quite a generous energy bar but you certainly need it). However despite that progress can be made with practice.


It’s one of the nicer looking C64 games of it’s time and has a good soundtrack. It’s also one of those games that suddenly can see progress to later levels rewarded. That said, you’ll also hit the hard bits and be stuck for ages trying to get past it. A learning curve it is, but one that allows you to progress. A much improved sequel and far better than other games of it’s genre at the time (Vigilante, Double Dragon) that were converted to the C64.


GRAPHICS : 8/10 – Big bold looking sprites, well animated and some cool backgrounds

SOUND : 7/10 (MUSIC) 6/10 (FX) – Great main tune with standard beat em up effects

PLAYABILITY : 8/10 – An instant hook and the need to progress is strong with this one, although the controls can take a little getting used to

LASTABILITY : 8/10 – Plenty to get through with a curve that allows you to learn but not too soon


OVERALL : 8/10 – One of the best side scrolling beat em ups for the C64.




Yes that is running on a C64.....

The planet Mitral is in danger of blowing up. The cause : excessive mining. The solution : you and your drilling kit. By extracting gas from the planet you can make safe Mitral and save the day. It’s as close as you can get to space exploration and planet analysis without actually jumping on the nearest Space Shuttle and going up yourself. All this is done through the use of quite stunning (for the time) 3D graphics, something the C64 had not seen in this detail before.


When released this game was absolutely stunning with it’s stupendous graphics and an absolutely corking soundtrack to boot. Neither of these factors could be faulted. If one really wanted to point a finger of doom at Driller it’s is would only be because of the speed of the game. Back then it was rather on the slow side, now it simply plods along liken a pensioner on pension day at the post office. Should that detract from how good the game is though ?


Well if you are one to persevere then this is definitely for you. Played on a fast PC through emulation it could easily enhance the experience. These are not the sorts of games that I play but I did find Driller good fun. It’s not something that can be played quickly and so patience is needed as well as a good memory so you know where you have gone and where you have been. Saying that, for retro gamers to simply experience the thrill of seeing such a technological marvel of it’s time it has to be up there on the top games you must play a few times, at least, on the C64.


GRAPHICS : 9/10 – Today they don’t look anything special but back then – WOW !

SOUND : 9/10 (MUSIC) – Simply stunning, one of the best pieces ever on the C64

PLAYBILITY : 8/10 – Ignoring the slowness the urge to explore is easily satisfied. You will though need to read the instructions thoroughly before starting

LASTABILITY : 8/10 – A vast world to explore at a plodding pace – plenty to get your teeth into


OVERALL : 9/10 – One of the quality titles for the C64. A fantastic achievement for it’s day




Gaming does not get any better than this

Let us take a trip to the Cave Of Monsters and compete our way through 100 levels of top quality platform action in the guise of Bub (or Bob, or both). Our little dinosaur heroes must trap the evil monsters in the bubbles they blow before jumping on them and turning them into fruit. Along the way collect the letters to make up the word EXTEND for some bonuses as well as little icons such as shoes (to run faster) and an umbrella (to skip levels).


Bubble Bobble’s place in the Hall of Fame for platform games is more or less guaranteed, but what makes this conversion so special. Well, first of all, for a computer which loves the colours grey, brown and blue this is one of the most colourful games on the C64. The graphics are cute and cuddly which is exactly what they should be like. There is also a rather fabulous tune playing throughout which although looping, never actually grates on the ears.


However it is simply playing the game which is where it excels. It’s easy to get into, hard to put down and in later levels can be incredibly fiendish to get through. With 100 levels of bubble blowing madness there is plenty here for gamers of all ages and abilities. It was also a major coup for the Firebird label at the time as the main coin-op conversions were usually handled by Ocean (if you were lucky), US Gold (if you were happy with mostly bad games) and Activision (if you were happy with playing shit conversions that bore no resemblance to the arcade originals). Bubble Bobble is – bottom line – a timeless classic and a stand-out title of it’s genre.


GRAPHICS : 8.5/10 – Cute, cuddly and colourful – exactly what is needed in games like this

SOUND : 8/10 (MUSIC) 7/10 (FX) – Cracking little tune plays throughout and good sound effects

PLAYABILITY : 9/10 – So easy to play, so easy to get into – what more do you need ?

LASTABILITY : 9/10 – 100 levels await so plenty to get through


OVERALL : 9/10 – Simply one of the most addictive and fun games for the C64. It should be on your list of games to play before you die.


It’s always good to play the good games and see how bad the bad ones are. It’s also good to look at games I have never played before. I really thought I’d hate Target Renegade, but there you go.


Up Next : Renegade III, Cabal, Toobin’, Altered Beast, Puffy’s Saga and Badlands.