Dateline : 25th January 2012


After spending too long in the wilderness the Commodorathon makes it triumphant return for 2012. Retrobear still has one heck of a way to go before the end but with a semi-regular visit to this vaunted project at least he can chip away at it bit by bit. So here are games 31-36 with more of the same Commodore 64 games goodness.


Feel the's baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack



As fun as it is unfair, this is a pretty good entry into the platform game glut that the C64 has

Taking its influence from the Indiana Jones films, Rick Dangerous is a game based on the adventures of an adventurer. Travelling through 5 themed levels, along the way Rick must avoid enemies, traps, falling objects and things that pop out of nowhere in order to complete his quest and the level. He is armed with limited ammunition and bombs to help, which can be replenished along the way. Collecting all the treasure throughout the level will allow him to move on, but run out of ammunition and it will be curtains for Mr Dangerous.


When this was originally released it garnered very favourable reviews for its looks and its playability. What it suffered from, at the hands of the critics though, was its total unfairness and extreme difficulty. When I say things pop out of nowhere to get you, they really do. Jumps have to be inch perfect, dropping down levels also have to be inch perfect as being just a smidgen off the mark will result in instant death. There cannot be many games where pin-point accuracy is absolutely essential to keep one’s sanity going.


Rick Dangerous is not a bad game at all ; once you get into it you are hooked by the challenge and want to keep going. It’s just the unfair deaths which will have you throwing it at the wall in disgust. A sequel, the well named Rick Dangerous 2, was more of the same. It’s a rock hard platform adventure that is great on the C64 but will finish off the less able gamers amongst you.


OVERALL : A pretty good package, let down by a harsh level of unfairness due to all the hidden traps knocking about. With careful mapping and good memory recall Rick Dangerous shouldn’t put up too much challenge for the seasoned gamer, but is recommended.




Mexico go 1-0 up in one of the funnest and best footie games on the C64


Football games were of three breeds back in the day – the side on view, the text heavy based management games or the overhead view. Microprose Soccer, created by the team that would eventually form Sensible Software and bring us Sensible Soccer, went for the latter option. You could play in a league, cup or international competitions. Unusually, for an early football game you could bend shots (using the banana shot function) to score unbelievable goals. Playing on wet surfaces would see mistimed sliding tackles sending your player flying off the pitch. You also took control of your goal keeper, which could lead to some interesting moments when all of a sudden you realise the reason your keeper is off his line is because you had control.


There were not that many great football games around when this was released, but finally it actually felt like the creators had played every other football game and filled in all the blanks. The unique overhead view provided a new angle, the options to play around with the settings and the game options were great, the sheer variety of teams and cup options were fabulous but most importantly the game was wonderful. OK, so the banana shots weren’t realistic and the manual goalkeepers were a pain, but this was such a revelation you can forgive the game for that.


Realistic and unrealistic in different ways, Microprose Soccer certainly gave the Emlyn Hughes game a real run for it’s money – two of the best football games, available on the same system. Ironically, when the games went to the Amiga they were both poor incarnations of their 8 bit originals. Microprose Soccer is one of the best sports games for the C64 and one that must be in any collection.


OVERALL : It’s not as much fun to play as it was back then, simply because football games have moved on so much since 1988. However the wealth of options, great playability and speed and a sense of fun add up to a highly entertaining and recommended piece of programming.




It might not look like much but Stunt Car Racer is one of the best racing games ever


A cross between stock car racing, stunt driving and drag racing, Stunt Car Racer is a real mix of petrol based mayhem. Taking part in a league system, you simply race 1-on-1 round some of the most bizarre tracks ever created. Big, tough, steep climbs are mixed with insane jumps and long straights and you have to beat your opponent round a couple of laps of the track. Along the way you can use some limited turbo boost to catch up or increase your lead. The big jumps lead to hard landings which can damage your vehicle and if you lose control and fly off the track then you can easily end up wrecking your vehicle. Work your way through the league and keep gaining promotion to the top league so you can go for being Number 1 in the Stunt Car Racer league.


This is a very unique game of it’s time, mixing the thrill of high speed racing with the most insanely fabulous tack designs ever committed to a computer. The whole race cracks along at a fair lick, giving a great sense of speed even on a C64. The track design is amazing with the big jumps and sharp turns testing your abilities and daringness – after all the bigger the jump the less control you have, which can lead to some rather awesome crashes and some fairly decent air time. The league system simply adds more longevity to the game and the ability to practice all the tracks and set your own lap records completes a most impressive package.


This is one game which shows just what a C64 can do, in the right hands with the right ideas. It isn’t much to look at but the speed of the game, coupled with the great playability, make this an all time classic. Invest in a copy today of one of the best racing games on the system.


OVERALL : Put simply, a class act. The league mode is challenging and the margin for error is very slim. This though is quite simply a superb title that has to be played and owned by any C64 enthusiast.




It's a fair conversion but by 1990's standards C64 owners would have expected better


In true 1950’s B-movie style, it is down to you, and a friend if required, to adopt a Flash Gordon-esque persona and rescue lots of scantily clad women from the clutches of the evil Reptilons and their mechanical miscreants. The game takes an isometric view and armed with a ray gun you simply have to go around shooting the robots and destroying the alien’s equipment and machinery. Along the way you rescue the captured women with each level containing a number of platforms to visit. You have to avoid electrified flooring, smart bombs and robots that home in on your every move. At the end of each section you have to fight one of the Reptilons, a large dinosaur type monster, before moving on to the next section.


I had the pleasure of playing this on the Amiga many years ago and absolutely loved the look and feel of the game. However, and expectedly, the C64 version cannot compete. In fact, it is inferior on so many levels. The isometric view doesn’t really work on this system, the controls appear to be sluggish and unresponsive and the music and sound effects are pretty poor. The whole appearance of the game suffers from small sprites and the colours, appreciating the usual poor choice of coluring that the C64 can have, don’t suit the game.


All in all that makes for a rather disappointing package, a poor conversion of a rather fun and quirky original game. You might get some fun out of it with the two player option, but generally this is one game that should have been left alone when it came to converting from the arcade.


OVERALL : Pretty disappointing all round really. A fun arcade game is turned into a slow and oddly coloured romp which never lives up to the game’s premise. As much as I would like to, this cannot be recommended.




Plenty of multi player fun for all with the added bonus of frost, snow, ice and lycra


Slip on the lycra, do up the skates, dust off the skis and get ready to take part in a veritable winter wonderland of sport, courtesy of the long running Games series. You can figure skate, bobsleigh, speed skate and hot dog your way through a small selection of events. You can compete against the computer or friends in your battle for the gold medals. As always with this series, you can practice first before heading into direct competition. Just remember that cheats never prosper and that honesty and good sportsmanship will win the day.


This version of Winter Games is one of the better ones and, as with all games of this ilk, it is much better played with a few friends close by. After all, a bit of healthy competition never hurt any one. Some of the sections work better than others, with the Speed Skating and Biathlon sections being much better than Ski Jumping and Hot Dog Ski-ing. The Figure Skating section is very much an acquired taste. This isn’t one of those joystick waggling endurance games of that era, thankfully, so you can get through most of the events without breaking too much of a sweat. The whole thing is multiload though so expect some waiting time between events.


This is a very good package that kept up the tradition of the high quality titles in the Games series. It looks pretty dated now and the control system is pretty basic, but I am sure with the right company this could still provide plenty of entertainment today.


OVERALL : Grab some friends and rewind the clock to 1985, this is a quality sports game which will bring out the competitor in you. Throughly recommended.




Weird, cutesy, wacky, violent, bonkers - all words used to describe Creatures


On the face of it, Creatures looks like every other cutesy platform game. However lurking underneath the skin is a violent beast of a game that quite literally cuts that theory to pieces. You are Clyde Radcliffe. Your sole purpose is to rescue lots of creatures dotted about the level, which are then exchanged at the end where you meet a good witch who will give you extra potions and power ups. You are armed with the ability to spit fire and holding the fire button down also gives you a longer more powerful burst of flame. Destroy all the evil creatures along the way to the end of the level. That isn’t all though – at the end of each level you must solve a puzzle to prevent your friends being tortured and ending up as a bloody pulp.


It does sound rather barbaric and reminds you in a way of the Japanese cartoons you saw as a kid – yes they are cartoons but they are violent ! I am not sure how such a game would sit with audiences and censors alike today, but back then this was quite different. The whole premise and added cartoon violence definitely peg it a step above the average platformer, but there are times where the game does appear to plod. The multiload does slow things down and while the music and effects are funny, the much lauded graphics don’t look as sensational as they did back then. The same company Thalmus were behind other games like Mayhem in Monsterland and Summer Camp which graphically are both superior


Creatures was hailed at the time as one of the best ever C64 games. Looking back I think that is a little over the top, though there is no doubting it’s quality. It’s a big game to explore and by no means easy, so a big challenge to all gamers. Just don’t expect it to rock your world as if it was 1990 all over again.


OVERALL : A good solid platformer which certainly stands head and shoulders above other games of the time. Very much recommended, especially if you are a fan of the genre but it might be a little too much for others.