Has RetroBear bitten off more than he can chew ? Can he stomach yet more dodgy arcade conversions, twee tunes and multiloads ? What lurks in that large pile of tapes that needs loading ? Wouldn’t it have been easier to use an emulator ? Would he have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids ? No dammit he’s a retro gamer and playing games the old fashioned way is what retro gamers do. Either that or he’s a glutton for punishment….roll on games 25-30…..


PS Videos to follow again – they take a while to encode you know…


I could do with a large pile of these....

Wednesday 20th April 2011


Well the sun is still shining…….




Looks awesome, plays crap

In Renegade you got your girl back. In Target Renegade you avenged your brother’s death. So what’s new in Renegade III ? Well your stupid bint of a girlfriend has only got herself kidnapped AGAIN (what is it with these women ?) and in an interesting new twist has been transported back in time through the stone age, ancient Egypt etc (you get the picture). You have to follow her back and bring her home, otherwise she will remain lost in time forever.


Lost in time forever is something that should have befallen this game. What on earth were Imagine thinking, other than cashing in on the Renegade name ? While it all looks very nice and the music is again some of the best on the C64, this game has a broken control system and is SO hard that it is practically rendered unplayable. It’s a horrible mess of a game that really defies all the high scores it was given at the time of release.


GRAPHICS : 8.5/10 – Really good looking sprites and very good backgrounds

SOUND : 9/10 (MUSIC), 6/10 (FX) – Super music throughout, simple standard beat em up effects

PLAYABILITY : 2/10 – Broken controls, frustrating control system, almost impossible to pull off anything than a high kick or low kick – no evidence of play testing at all

LASTABILITY : 2/10 – 4 levels to get through but how do you do that if the controls are crap ?


OVERALL : 3.5/10 – One of the best looking games let down by one of the worst control systems I have come across. A shocking disappointment and a blemish on the Renegade series




Looks crap, plays awesome

Ah the joys of familiar plot lines. Here you are a US soldier with the simple task of infiltrating twenty enemy screens with the objective to clear all of them as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Along the way you’ll encounter tanks, munitions trucks, helicopters, foot infantry and end of level bosses after four screens have been completed.


Now Cabal doesn’t sound anything original and it does seem clear that it takes it’s idea from Operation Wolf. The controls are a little strange – although you can move your soldier you also control a cross-hair at the same time. Simply aim that at the enemy and open fire. It also allows you to collect machine guns, a super machine gun and extra grenades which are useful when faced with tanks and choppers.


Where Cabal excels is that it is incredibly easy to pick up and once you have mastered the controls is very rewarding. Having cleared six screens after a bit of practice I was suitably impressed by what was on offer. It’s hook on me was evident and I carried on playing. Whilst it lacks the two player co-op from the arcade there is no doubt that Cabal is one of the hidden gems lurking on the C64.


GRAPHICS : 6.5/10 – Typical army game graphics and backgrounds

SOUND : 6/10 (MUSIC), 6/10 (FX) – Nothing special but sufficient

PLAYABILITY : 8/10 – Once you’ve mastered the controls it is a very easy game to play and drags you right in

LASTABILITY : 8/10 – Twenty screens and five bosses to blast away so you’ll be playing this for a good time yet


OVERALL : 8/10 – Underrated game which is fabulous fun to while away the hours with


GAME 27 : TOOBIN’ (1989, DOMARK)


Floating down the river on a lazy Sunday afternoon

Here’s a novelty – an original gaming idea. Take two American surf dudes (I can’t believe I typed that), inflate a couple of large rubber rings, have them sit in them and let them go down the rapids. Along the way collect tin cans which act as missiles to throw at fishermen, natives with spears (well you’ve seen Deliverance haven’t you ?) and other objects on the riverside. You have to avoid twigs, fishing lines, rocks, oh and crocodiles as well. On later levels I swear you have to avoid toxic waste dumped in the river.


So an original gaming idea but is it any good. Actually when it comes to playing the game there is not a lot new on offer here. Simply moving the joystick up and down controls speed whilst left and right move your character across the screen. So no it’s not ground-breaking at all but I have always had a soft spot for Toobin’. I enjoyed the Amiga version a lot and this appears faster. The graphics aren’t up to much, though are colourful and the music really does get on your nerves very quickly. However it is not going to be a game you will play long and often, there simply isn’t enough in it to make it stand out from the crowd.


GRAPHICS : 6/10 – Cartoony and colourful if a little garish at times

SOUND : (MUSIC) 5/10, (FX) 3/10 – Grating music and sparse sound effects

PLAYABILITY : 6/10 – Easy to play but the lack of variety in the game-play lets it down

LASTABILITY : 6/10 – Fun for a while but boredom will set in before long


OVERALL : 6/10 – Floating down the river might sound fun but this game may leave your inner tube deflated




Rise from your gave....on second thoughts please don't

Ahhhh Activision, can you perhaps send me a game which actually gives me some joy instead of the foul stench of bile I usually experience ? So this game is all about a man eh ? Oh and he can change shape through collecting globes. Hmmm change into what ? Oh a wolf, a bear and a winged serpent amongst others. OK sounds alright I guess. Oh and I have to punch zombies, 3 headed dogs and end of level bosses too ? Well that sounds plausible I suppose.


OK let me load it up…..hmmm it appears to be a multiload. That’s not good you know ? It better be worth the wait……Cripes those graphics look a bit ropey. And where is the sound ? Some of the other versions had speech – did you know the C64 could do speech ? You did, so where is it ? You’ve made a game that takes almost two sides of tape to load AND I have to rewind to the start if I die. It doesn’t appear all that responsive either…..press button……..kick. Wow a three second delay. Dammit this is driving me up the wall.


Once again Activision you have excelled yourselves. This is tripe of the furriest and smelliest kind there is. It looks horrible, doesn’t sound horrible because there are bugger all sound effects and as for playing the game – would it hurt to have put in some responsive controls for a change ? I tell you what, take your ropey arcade conversions, go away and leave me in peace. Our paths shall cross again and next time I shall be ready to be for you !


GRAPHICS : 3/10 – Blocky, crude looking sprites but the backgrounds are quite nice

SOUND : 1/10 – Non existent except a few grunts and explosion effects

PLAYABILITY : 2/10 – Playing it once will be enough

LASTABILITY : 1/10 – Seriously ? Why anyone would want to wade through this is beyond me


OVERALL : 1.5/10 – Atrocious. We know the C64 can’t produce arcade perfect conversions but for goodness sake give us something closer to it than this pile of tosh. Oh, and by the way the Mega Drive version was a shocker too.




The name says it all

I am going to come back to this one because I was having problems with the multi-load. Initial impressions are it looks good in a sub-Gauntlet type of way and the music is very good. However the way it loads each level in is a pain, so when I have a bit more patience I will revisit.




Na na na na - BADLANDS !!!


Remember Super Sprint, the top down viewed racing game ? Well this is a more futuristic version of that with your car armed with missiles and guns to take down the opposition. The premise is still the same – beat the other two cars to finish first in each race to progress. Along the way collect the wrenches that appear on the track to allow you to upgrade your vehicle.


Released shortly after Super Off Road, which had made quite an impression on gamers, Badlands looked cruder, duller and a lot less fun to play. Looking back it’s a little harsh but in some ways quite true. Yes the game looks horrible and the sound is limited to basic car effects and the droning engine noises. However whilst not as polished as Super Off Road it is is still good fun to play. Having to finish first in every race is a challenge and some of the courses are quite taxing.


All in all, Badlands got unfairly ignored when released and is definitely worth an hour or two of your time.


GRAPHICS : 5/10 – Crude, dull dated looking graphics and tracks

SOUND : 4/10 – Average title track and the usually humming engine noises

PLAYABILITY : 7/10 – Eases you in but gets difficult quite quickly. The angle takes a little getting used to but on some of the harder tracks you do get arrows telling you which direction to go

LASTABILITY : 7/10 – A few tracks to get through which will keep you busy but nothing to drag you back long term, only to beat your lap times


OVERALL : 6.5/10 – A strong and sturdy, if unspectacular, driving game. If you liked Super Off Road this will be for you.


As we cross the finish line for the first 30 games, we can look back at some good ones and some utter dross, proving that once again revisiting old games can be a bit of a minefield. Still I reckon that’s around 7-8% of the games cleared……only the rest to go.


Up Next : Avenger : The Way Of The Tiger, Bionic Commando, Stiff Lip & Co, Jack The Nipper, Marauder and Blasteroids.