So the moment finally arrives. RetroBear reviews the first games in the C64 collection and encounters a dodgy coin-op conversion, two crappy film tie ins (and we all know how much he loves those) and a few technical problems….



Rumble In The Jungle


Ridding the streets of scum

Rambo First Blood Part II

Jungle Fever


Tuesday April 12th 2011


The Commodorathon begins. Armed with little more than a pint of orange squash and having surveyed the task ahead this show is officially on the road. This does mean starting with a lot of film tie ins which from previous columns you will notice are not my favourite genre. However they were first out of the drawer…..




You are Rambo armed to the teeth with weapons and your tasks are simple – rescue the POW’s without engaging the enemy. That is easier said than done as the enemy are quite happy to engage you. Escaping the first task in a helicopter, you then return to the camp you just visited to rescue some more POW’s before then taking on an enemy helicopter. Beyond that, well it’s difficult to say because that is as far as I got.


At the time of release it went head to head with Elite’s conversion of the arcade smash Commando. The two games are very similar except with Rambo you go up the screen, then back down it and then back up it. I’ll get to Commando at some point in the future but having played it a few months ago I do prefer it, though it is far from a good game.


When this game was originally released though it sold well, it was generally met with fairly average reviews. Time has not improved that and as a result the game is nothing more than a retro memory. The fact it comes with a kick-ass soundtrack does little for the game’s reputation. Sadly this is one you remember for the audio rather than the game. I should at this point mention Martin Galway the composer of the music in this game. His name is legend in C64 circles for the quality of the music he produced in the 1980’s. We shall encounter much more of his work in the future.


GRAPHICS : 6/10 – Adequate for the time. Nicely animated and atmospheric.

SOUND : 9/10 (Music) 4/10 (FX) – Martin Galway’s music on this game is highly impressive, if not some of the best work done on the C64. The in game effects however leave a lot to be desired.

PLAYABILITY : 7/10 – Controls are good, fluid and responsive.

LASTABILITY : 7/10 – Tough enough for bad gamers like me, but more seasoned veterans might breeze through this quite easily.


OVERALL : 6.5/10 – Good enough for a short blast but it may prove a bit too tough for some.






Based on the crappy Stallone film, you take the role of Cobra who tries to rid the streets of scum in this formulaic side scroller. The idea is to work your way across the streets disposing of the bad guys on your mission to rescue and protect a glamorous model from evil. See, just reading that back makes it sound truly awful doesn’t it ?


The game itself is utterly horrible. It takes all the worst elements you can imagine – poor visuals, even worse sound effects, poor collision detection, sprite glitches, unresponsive controls. There is one slight redemption in the soundtrack which I quite enjoyed. However that is the only thing it has going for it. The enemies move ten times faster than you meaning you don’t have a chance.


When originally reviewed it was regarded as one of the worst examples of gaming on the C64. That the Spectrum version was far superior speaks volumes. The game looked dated back in 1986 when it was released and the original asking price of £8.95 would have turned any good natured C64 owner into a street vigilante hell bent on getting revenge on the programmers who produced this drivel.


GRAPHICS : 2/10 – Badly drawn, possibly by someone who had never designed a game before. Unimaginative backdrops too.

SOUND : 6/10 (MUSIC) 1/10 (FX) – Main music is ok, sound effects amount to farting noises

PLAYABILITY : 2/10 – Literally a five second delay between moving the joystick and the reaction on screen makes this pretty unplayable

LASTABILITY : 1/10 – In the old days you could have recorded over it. Most probably did.


OVERALL : 1/10 – And that’s being generous. An absolute shocker. You’d have more fun stabbing yourself than revisiting this turd of a game.





From Stallone to Schwarzenegger. My God what have I done to deserve this ? Mind you, Predator was a cracker of a film and here you take on the role of Arnie in the jungle. Your crew members are being killed by a mysterious force and it is up to you to find out why. Along the way you’ll be sniped at by enemy soldiers and attacked by vultures, all the while avoiding the big red triangle of the Predator. Later levels see less emphasis on gunplay and more hand-to-hand combat.


For those of you who hate multiload games, then this simply is not for you. After loading the entire first side of the tape, for which you get a rather nice introduction showing the Predator’s spacecraft heading to Earth, you then have to load the levels as you go along. Death means you have to rewind the tape and load it in again. It was a sign of the times back then, so revisiting this requires a lot of patience. Quite how it received rave reviews on release I am not sure, as the reviewers in Zzap actually admitted they had trouble getting off Level 2, but awarded the game 90% !


Graphically the game looks good, with the jungle very well rendered. The main colours being green, yellow and brown do not an attractive game make, and although the sprites are well animated they look quite blocky now. There is minimal sound too, limited to gunfire, squawking vultures and a humming sound when the red triangle representing the Predator appears. As a game though it is very tough and quite unforgiving. The controls take a lot of getting used to, and by the time you have it’s too late and you’ll have to rewind the tape and load in the level again.


GRAPHICS : 7/10 – Nicely drawn, well animated and captures the jungle well

SOUND : 5/10 (MUSIC) 3/10 (FX) – Pretty poor across the board

PLAYABILITY : 7/10 – Tough to crack, the controls take some getting used to and enemies popping up all over the place make this quite a challenge

LASTABILITY : 8/10 – Like the Predator – one tough son of a bitch.


OVERALL : 7.5/10 – Too hard for the likes of me and the multiload is a right pain in the bum, but not a bad little game.





Well it should have been next but it failed to load. In all cases where games do not work or fail to load they will be revisited at some point in the future. Remember – no game left unturned !




Picking up where The Empire Strikes Back left off, the Rebel forces are making the final push on the Dark Side. Through a variety of levels including the forest landspeeder chase, the assault on the Death Star, the blowing up of the base on Endor and the final push to destroy the reactor of the Death Star you take the roles of Princess Leia, Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian.


This was converted some four years after the original arcade machine came out, and it shows. The graphics are quite dated and although recognisable as Star Wars are quite poor throughout. The sound has a rather disappointing rendition of the theme, none of the arcade’s speech is evident and the sound effects are quite sparse. It is the controls that let the game down though – they are simply too sensitive. Pushing the joystick one way will see you fly across the screen at breakneck speed. Not a game for the twitchy of hand.


Sadly the faults lie with the original arcade machine and are quite evident. The previous two Star Wars games were vector graphics based. They worked quite nicely, but this is a very poor departure from a successful formula. It can only be that, by 1984 simplistic looking games were out and a proper full blown graphical game was needed. However while that may have been the case, they forgot to include the gameplay.


GRAPHICS : 6/10 – It looks like Star Wars but drawn by an 8 year old

SOUND : 4/10 (MUSIC) 3/10 (FX) – Nothing of note and the rendition of the Star Wars theme is pretty ropey

PLAYABILITY : 4/10 – 3 different starting levels add some variety, but the controls are nothing short of shocking

LASTABILITY : 5/10 – Seasoned gamers will get no challenge from this and there is very little repeat value


OVERALL : 5/10 – The original coin-op is to blame but it is still quite a rough and shoddy piece of software





Again a non-loader. This was quite a relief as I had quite enough of Stallone-based games by this point.


Up next : Batman The Movie, Trivial Pursuit, Run The Gauntlet, Shao-Lin’s Road, WEC Le Mans and Enduro Racer.


NOTE : Daley Thomson’s Decathlon would be on that list but I am lacking a sturdy joystick, so this shall be revisited at some point in the future.