The very first issue of Amstrad Computer User published by Amsoft and distributed to members of the Amstrad User Club. This issue was not available for sale in the shops but thanks to the early popularity of the User Club, the magazine is still pretty widespread and frequently comes up for auction on ebay and the likes.
|Page 13||Printing Money|
|Page 15||Software Reviews|
|Page 16||The Surprise Listing|
|Page 25||CAD for beginners|
|Page 29||Competition Time|
The game consists of playing on an 18 hole golf course, with the aim of reducing your handicap. You can't cheat when the program asks for your handicap, since you are only given the first password, and must earn the rest by playing under par, and then being given the next level keyword.
There's a decent range of clubs to choose from, realistic strength shots (i.e. you cannot drive 800 yards by over hitting). If you land in the bunker or on the green, suitable screens await you.
Bounce off the trees at your peril, land in the water, in fact everything you might find on the local golf course without the expense or the exertion (or the danger of treading in the nasty reminders that the local dogs take their constitutionals on the course as well).
And if you wonder what the curious 'roar' is when you hit the green, that's only the crowd expressing their approval. Watch out for the 18th green, refreshment is at hand...
With titles like Jet Set Willy, Manic Miner, Atic Atac, it's not surprising that the inspiration for games naming is on the wane. There was a time when Codename MAT would have been called 3D-Hyper Mega Space Invaders - or worse. As it is, Mat stands for 'Mission Alien Termination' - not exactly the sort of sentiment to broadcast in case we are Not Alone.
That being said, the program itself is the classic space romp of all time. The solar system is being invaded by a bunch of unpleasant aliens who are gradually creeping through the outer reaches towards Earth. Your mission is to stop them.
This game combines the strategic skills of the classic Star Trek programmes that those of you with long memories may remember from the early days of CP/M S100 systems. In other words, you have a series of maps and tracking devices to help locate the little blighters as they wend their way towards Earth.
With these aids you must seek out and destroy as many of the aliens as possible (they are plotted on the Solar Chart for your convenience) by engaging them in one of the best 3D space fighter simulations you will ever see. When you get hit, sooner or later you will need to get repaired and refuelled, and docking with a planet or moon is one of the most delightful interludes in the game. Don't get too close, or gravity will draw you to your doom.
If you do nothing else in your first session, you must dock with Earth to see the detail that's gone into the game at every stage. Planets like Mars have their better known features on view - and although there isn't time or space to fit in all the known moons of planets like Jupiter, astronomers amongst players will not feel unduly cheated.
The only criticism is that the game takes a good evening to play properly. But if you 've had enough of the ten minute wonders then this is a must. Originals of Codename MAT may be changing hands in fifty years time in much the same way as the first editions of famous novels.
Micromega are further proof that for connoissuers of good software that its quality rather than quantity that counts in the end. If all they produce is one game every 3 months, and they're all as good as this, then you'll need three months before you are ready for the next one anyway!
One of the most original and brilliant games of all time has been further enhanced by the pixel precision of the CPC464. In the effort to scroll the most detailed screen of any CPC464 game, there is some evidence of the picture tearing at the edges - but this does not detract from the main action of the game.
The title screen is accompanied by a jaunty rendition of La Cukuracha (I know it's not spelt like that, but when you hear the tune you'll recognise it immediately anyway!) The tune then gives way to exactly the sort of noise you'd expect to accompany a leaping flea.
Followers of games where virtually every key on the keyboard is needed will be surprised to learn that the only keys needed for this game are the Z and /. The idea is to guide the agile Roland (who bears a striking resemblaance to a flea in this incarnation) up and out of the cave into which he has fallen.
Pressing the key for a brief time causes the hop to be restrained - although to get a full blooded leap you must time the depression carefully until the power has peaked, as indicated by a bargraph at the top left of the screen.
The only problems are the Roland-eating flowers that litter the cave ledges, and the hungry and ubiquitous pterodactyl whose unwelcome attentions you will do well to avoid.
One tip for the beginner - always start by jumping right, or you will end up leaping down the gizzard of the flying menace.
Function Keys Example
Load Screen Example
Save Screen Example
The Surprise Listing
Wire Frame Graphics Plotter
All of these programmes can be found on this Disk Image (with thanks to Ervin)