Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 125 / JANUARY 1991 / PAGE G8

Reviewer's choice. (Gazette - Commodore 64/128)
by Russ Ceccola

Everybody has a favorite game, and Gazette reviewers are no different. During the past year they've seen practically every major product released for the 64 or 128--and a lot of the smaller ones, too. Since they've had the opportunity to evaluate so many new games, we wanted to know which ones have impressed them most.

During the past year, we've printed reviews of most of these favorites, and some of the just-released products mentioned will be covered more thoroughly in upcoming issues of COMPUTE. While the top choices of our reviewers may not be everyone's favorites, you're sure to find some outstanding games on the next few pages that you'll want to try yourself.


The latest in the SSI line of AD & D games, this role-playing epic is the best of the gold-box games so far. Your goal is to defeat the monsters emanating from a mine shaft that leads to a city frozen long ago and eliminate the source of these monstrosities.

The early games in this series were too difficult to play because of the many battles you had to fight. Champions of Krynn corrected this problem, and Secret continues what Champions started and adds several outstanding features of its own.

In particular, there are new monsters like Umber Hulks and Golems in the game. Secret also has the largest 3-D area of all the AD & D games from SSI. There are many new spells, too, and characters can rise to the 15th level (18th for thieves). Put this all together with great graphics and documentation, and you can see why it's the best of the year.

Strategic Simulations Distributed by Electronic Arts 1820 Gateway Dr. San Mateo, CA 94404 $39.95


How can you not like a game that uses zombies, ghouls, and monsters as players for a football team and a giant eye as the ball? That's what Grave Yardage has to offer and more, including play selections, lineup choices, and numerous options found in more conventional football games. Graphics and sounds are great and make this one a perfect choice. Here's a tip for you: Use the Elvis Lives play!

Activision/Mediagenic 3885 Bohannon Dr. Menlo Park, CA 94025 $24.95


This game comes from Europe's UBI Soft and is the most addictive level game since Zoom! hit the shelves. Choose Puffy or Puffyn as your character, and travel through mazes to find weapons that will help you to escape. With excellent graphics, digitized sounds, and a lot of levels, Puffy's Saga is great fun. It's also the best European import of 1990.

UBI Soft Distributed by Electronic Arts 1820 Gateway Dr. San Mateo, CA 94404 $29.95


Continuing the popular series of educational games that are a hit with children and adults alike, Broderbund has armed Carmen with a time-travel machine. To help you track down Carmen and her gang and find clues, The New American Desk Encyclopedia is included with the game. Colorful graphics and an easy-to-use interface make this a fun mystery game. Plus, it has great educational value.

Broderbund 17 Paul Dr. San Rafael, CA 94903 $39.95


Give me a game that takes months to complete, and I'm a happy guy. Call it getting value for your buck or perhaps just wanting to ponder over complex situations. Search for the Titanic offers those of us who enjoy taking weeks to mull over long-range strategies an involved and involving role-playing adventure/simulation

Finding the elusive 46,000-ton Titanic deep in the Atlantic is the culmination of many hours of exploration, beginning with smaller and easier-to-find wrecks. A player accumulates and must maintain a reputation as a master treasure hunter by locating, salvaging, and delivering to his or her investors smaller booty in order to earn the clout to finance bigger operations.

Actual digitized pictures of the Titanic wreck, taken by the Bob Ballard expedition, are your reward for locating her, plus knowing you're the baddest salvaging dude on the high seas.

Capstone Software Distributed by IntraCorp 14160 SW 139th Ct. Miami, FL 33186 $29.95


Talk about spending major amounts of time at the keyboard and losing yourself in an alternate universe--this baseball simulation lets you manage and play against the greatest baseball teams of all time.

Have you ever wondered how the great Yankee teams of legend would fare against today's "boys of summer"? Change the rosters, keep stats, trade players, and create series that could only take place in your imagination--or in an Iowa cornfield.

Micro League Sports Association 2201 Drummond Plaza Newark, DE 19711-5711 $39.95


Seven types of mutants spring from monster-generating machines, acid puddles surround you, and deadly traps and force fields confound your every move. This could ruin your whole day if you could not assume the role and abilities of Thor the Warrior, Thyra the Valkyrie, Questor the Elf, or Merlin the Wizard. Two players have the option of selecting the heroes they wish to be and then seek out glory and treasure within the 100 mazes.

Mindscape Distributed by Software Toolworks 60 Leveroni Ct. Novato, CA 94949 $29.95


Any nation that can muster an air force wants to buy the General Dynamics F-16 Falcon fighter. It is the most complex and deadly machine in the sky, and so is the simulation.

After training, a player takes to the air on five different missions, from tank busting to bogey interception. The final and most challenging multimission, Operation Conquest, is assigned only to those successful pilots who have mastered all the others.

Digital Integration Distributed by Electronic Arts 1820 Gateway Dr. San Mateo, CA 94404 $34.95


At first glance it would appear strange to choose a board-game crossover as the top game rather than an action-packed racing program or flight simulation. The choice wasn't easy, but Leisure Genius put the same cutthroat attitude that most competitive sports programs feature into its official version of Scrabble.

Faced with up to three computer opponents that know no mercy, all of whom are armed with word lists taken from The Official Scrabble Player's Dictionary and Chamber's Words, even the most mild-mannered player will learn to come to the computer armed with a dictionary and a military assault rifle.

Scrabble is a great game to bring home, whether you play against your friends or use it to hone your skills. In no time, through the practice of competition alone, you'll be ready to take your rightful place in the Scrabble Hall of Fame, right next to Leisure Genius.

Leisure Genius Distributed by Virgin Mastertronic 711 W. 17th St., Ste. G9 Costa Mesa, CA 92627 $29.99


This program is one more in an evergrowing list of simulation games that set Accolade apart. Participate in SAC's annual Bombing and Navigation Competition to see just how well you can handle any of four fighter/bombers. Accept your mission, load your munitions, and pilot your aircraft over realistic 3-D scrolling landscapes of the South Dakota Badlands. Sweaty-palm entertaining to sweaty-palm educational--that's what we call this excellent adventure!

Accolade 550 S. Winchester Blvd. San Jose, CA 95128 $39.95


Checking out a sports car was never so much fun! Sitting behind your realistic dashboard, pitting your car against another car or against the clock, traversing tremendous graphic scenery, eluding road hazards and police, and parrying clever jibes from the computer are all part of this tension-filled, adrenaline-pumping road run called The Duel. Grab this slick package of programming that supports multiple-car and scenery disks.

Accolade 550 S. Winchester Blvd. San Jose, CA 95128 $29.95


An odd choice, to be sure, but who said games can't be educational? World Geography is an elegant package that appears simple but represents hard work and some fine programming. Superb eye-catching graphics of maps and globes and flags; snatches of music that entertain and stimulate; and facts about capitals, language, currency, and population make learning geography a challenge and a pleasure instead of a dull and boring chore.

Bobco 200 Seventh Ave., Ste. 111 Santa Cruz, CA 95062 $24.95


>From the land down under come six sports that will never make the Summer Olympics. These beat but entertaining events do, however, make for a lot of fun.

In the Belly Whack, your overweight diver needs as many good breaths as possible so he can spring off the board, go into a horizontal position, and land flat on his tummy.

Equally zany are the Dry River Race, in which you and a friend run with a boat over your heads down a dry river bed, and the Beer Shoot (a.k.a. the Soda Shoot), in which your buddies toss empty bottles from your jeep while you pick them off midair with your trusty shotgun.

Less bizarre--but also entertaining--are the Boomerang Throw, Marlin Fishing, and Beach Footy, a kickball game played with two-man teams.

Aussie Games provides attractive graphics, tuneful music, appropriate sound effects, a lot of variety, plenty of challenge, and a tongue-in-cheek attitude that's infectious.

Mindscape Distributed by Software Toolworks 60 Leveroni Ct. Novato, CA 94949 $29.95


MacArthur's War presents eight varied, entertaining, and historically accurate battles from the Korean War. As field commander, you issue orders to regiments, whose battalions carry out your directives.

You can modify existing scenarios or create new ones by using Warplan, SSG's war-game construction set, and the WarPaint graphics editor.

An easy-to-learn menu system guarantees that you'll be up and playing in no time. Defeating a tough and resourceful enemy won't be as easy.

Strategic Studies Group 1747 Orleans Ct. Walnut Grove, CA 94598 $39.95


Hidden in an Egyptian pyramid is a sacred shrine that carries a deadly curse. To save the world, you must destroy the shrine before the next eclipse of the sun.

Avoiding pitfalls and traps, maintaining your health, replenishing your water supply, defeating enemies, solving puzzles, discovering hidden rooms, negotiating illogical mazes, traversing multitiered chambers, and locating the shrine will keep computer Egyptologists busy for quite some time. You'll have some fun, too.

Spotlight Software Distributed by Cinemaware 4165 Thousand Oaks Blvd. Westlake Village, CA 91362 $29.95


As a member of the Centauri Alliance, you tackle a series of missions that entail traveling to twenty-third-century worlds, combating aliens, avoiding deadly traps, and negotiating mazes.

Success requires that your party of eight become expert in wielding weapons, maintaining mechanical and biological systems, changing shapes, and focusing brainwaves.

Entirely menu-controlled, Centauri Alliance features a helpful automapping feature and attractive 3-D graphics. Check this one out.

Broderbund Software 17 Paul Dr. San Rafael, CA 94903 $29.95


Of all the computer games published as tie-ins with popular movies, Batman comes closer to following the actual plot line than any other I can remember.

Divided into several episodes, which can also be considered as levels of difficulty, the game takes you through the vertical maze of the chemical warehouse, lets you race the Batmobile though city streets, and builds toward the final confrontation with the Joker.

This action-adventure game is the best of a long line of movie-related computer products from Data East. Don't confuse this game with Batman, The Caped Crusader, an earlier release from the same company. Jumping Joker, computer gamers, this one's a winner!

Data East USA 470 Needles Dr. San Jose, CA 95112 $29.95


Although somewhat improbable even for a computer game, Hostage Mission wins important points for its creative use of perspectives. As the action of a hostage rescue mission ensues, you switch from a third-person to a first-person viewpoint. While considered sloppy in novels, the technique works well here and adds to the fun of an otherwise ordinary combat game. Just hang on to your bullet-proof vest; you're going to need it.

Mindscape Distributed by Software Toolworks 60 Leveroni Ct. Novato, CA 94949 $29.95


Although the wrestling action is no better or worse than that in many other personal combat/contact sports simulations, the preliminaries to the matches explore new computer gaming ground. In suggesting that wrestlers are bought and sold, that matches can be bought, and that side bets are as important as the purse, Mat Wars lets you partake of the seamy side of sports without ever losing its sense of humor.

Mindscape Distributed by Software Toolworks 60 Leveroni Ct. Novato, CA 94949 $29.95