Geek Dave looks back at 10 of the best ZX Spectrum Games from 1985.
The Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k may have been three years old, it may
have already been superseded by the Quantum Leap and 128k version, but
1985 was an amazing year for game releases, featuring some essential
purchases. In alphabetical order, here are 10 of the best...
In the first half of the 1980s Ultimate: Play The Game were consistently releasing must have Spectrum 48k titles (Atic Atac, Saber Wulf, Underwurlde to name but three), and this isometric perspective platform game was no exception. In Alien 8 (the follow-up to Knightlore) you take control of a robot, Alien 8, whose job is to ensure that all of the cryogenically frozen passengers on a spaceship remain viable during the ship's voyage. A complex adventure which resulted in hours of fun.
Back To Skool
An enhanced sequel to the equally brilliant Skool Daze, Back To Skool was one of the pioneers of the sandbox genre of gaming. You take control of a schoolboy named Eric with the objective to sneak your school report back into the headmaster's safe (the report stolen in Skool Daze), but you have the freedom to go anywhere, including the nearby girl's school. It's even possible to commit suicide by jumping out of the top floor window!
An awesome platform/maze budget title from Mastertronic, in Finders Keepers Magic Knight has been sent to the Castle of Spriteland by the King of Ibsisima in order to find a special present for Princess Germintrude. If Magic Knight is successful in his quest, he may have proved himself worthy of joining the famous "Polygon Table", a reference to the mythical Round Table from the legends of King Arthur.
Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Shakin' Stevens, The Thompson Twins and Paul McCartney had already featured in their own Spectrum games before Frankie Goes To Hollywood arrived in 1985. But nothing, and I mean nothing, had been seen like this before. It's surreal at best, plain weird at other times, but one I couldn't stop playing. The goal is to become a 100% complete person and reach the Pleasuredome, along the way there's a murder to solve and you're given clues like "The killer is an atheist" - this was not The Shaky Game!
An early marble madness clone, but replacing the marble with a gyroscope. This game had excellent 3D graphics for the time, and featured some fiendishly tricky courses to navigate - the catwalks always got me. The controls were a little tricky to master but once you got there this was a great fun game to play.
Little Computer People
The original tamagotchi, there was no 'winning' in Little Computer People, just interaction with a small animated character as he goes about his everyday life. It seems ridiculous now, but without Little Computer People we may not have had The Sims.
Monty On The Run
On the run from the authorities after his intervention in the Miners' strike, Monty the mole must escape from his house and head for the English Channel and freedom in Europe. In traditional platform game fashion, along the way he needs to collect various objects and solve puzzles to complete his escape. I have to put my hands up and say here's a game that was actually better on the Commodore 64 (boo, hiss). Not because of gameplay, but down to the amazing soundtrack created by Rob Hubbard.
The first video game to ever simulate theme park rides saw you take control of the park's owner, Colonel G. Bogey, whilst he makes his way around the park after closing time, collecting bags of money which a disgruntled employee had scattered. It's a platformer, and you'd have to work your way up to the top to reach the roller coaster, passing the big wheel ghost train, log flume, carousel and many other theme park rides.
Ninja time! Punch, kick, throw shuriken, and locate a floppy disc, Saboteur was out and out action. The best part about it was being able to improvise weapons, like using a house brick or a stick of piping. And there was something satisfying about attacking the guard's dog! Or was that just me?
The Way Of The Exploding Fist
Melbourne House's classic beat-em-upfeatured some nice smooth animation and visceral sound effects. With so many different movements to master to achieve two complete 'yin-yangs' and defeat your computer controlled opponent, The Way of the Exploding Fist provided many hours of gaming entertainment, and the addition of a two player mode made this a Spectrum essential.
Did you have any of these classic ZX Spectrum games?
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