It’s day two of my tribute to the ZX Spectrum on this it’s 30th Birthday week. Continuing on from yesterday I bring you a few more of my favourite games. When I was originally trying to put together my personal top 30 list of ZX Spectrum games I started by listing the games I fondly remembered playing and enjoying and then trimmed the list down, slowly and painfully, to 30 games. I hated doing this as every game I’d listed deserved to be on the list I had.
I decided to bin that list and forget about what was good, bad, better, worse and look at what I found fun. I hope that you’ll agree that my continuing selection proves to be fun games.
Skool Daze & Back To Skool
The original and the sequel in one post! Two classic games that fully deserve to be a part of any Spectrum owners collection. Two devious games that were highly inventive and difficult to crack.
In both games you play as Eric who, in Skool Daze, has got some bad reports from his teachers. It’s your job to get the reports from the Headmasters safe so that he doesn’t see how bad you are. In the sequel, Back To Skool, you’ve spent the school holidays rewritting the reports and forging signatures so you’ve got get the revised reports back into the Headmasters safe!
One of the brilliant, genius, touches of the game was the ability to rename all of the main cast – this included the Teachers and the Pupils! I tended to rename the teachers with the nicknames we’d given our own teachers – for example (hello if your reading!!) Mr Rogers was Nookie Bear as he looked a bit like Roger De Courcey (Nookie was his Ventriloquists puppet).
These were great games to play and the instructions told you exactly what you needed to do (a quick summary);
- Hit all the shields on the walls,
- Knock over the teachers once the shields are flashing,
- Write the history teachers date of birth on a blackboard,
- Write the safe combination on a blackboard,
- Open the safe
Easy as 1-2-3!! But it wasn’t as hitting the shields was really tricky as you needed to bounce your catapult shots of pupils and teachers or knock them over and climb on them! It was maddening. Back To Skool was similar but with more to do and you had the addition of the Girls School next door!
Amazing games. Go and play them!
A cracking arcade adventure and the best and last of the ‘Wally Week’ game series. The game is a puzzling arcade adventure that see’s you once again playing Wally Week as he tries to rescue his wife, Wilma and his son, Herbert from the savage natives on a desert island. This was full of colourful screens and maddening puzzles that needed to be solved in order to rescue your family.
It’s a game that had me scratching my head in frustration at many of the puzzles as they just seemed to be no logical solution but once you’d worked them out you smile and realise that the logic needed is definitely one of slightly warped humour. Great fun to play and very satisfying to complete.
Another game that I would recommend playing – it will have you playing for weeks trying to solve the game.
As an interesting historical note, this game was written by Dave Perry who’d later go on to form Shiny Entertainment and release Earthworm Jim.
With out a doubt the greatest isometric 3D arcade adventure ever created. Jon Ritman and Bernie Drummond crafted a gaming masterpiece. Ultimate might have started the isometric 3D revolution with Knight Lore and the Filmation Graphics Engine but people like Bo Jangeborg and his Fairlight games took isometric 3D games further but it was Jon Ritman’s coding and Bernie Drummond’s graphics that put Head Over Heels on the top of the pile.
The game sees you play as Head and Heels – two spies sent to overthrow the Blacktooth Empire. At the start of the game Head and Heels have been captured and it is your job to get them out of the prison they are in and reunite them. This was a key thing. Head and Heels both have different abilities but can be united to form one entity, Head on top of Heels.
Many of the puzzles in Head Over Heels to rely on both of them being together but there are sections where they need to split up and explore on their own. For example, Hush Puppies don’t like Head and will vanish whenever Head is around so to move through the screen Head can not be there and Heels must progress on his own. In other sections you can use Heels to gain extra height for Heads jumps so that you can reach some objects.
Just getting Head and Heels back together was a task in itself let alone trying to grab the crowns to liberate each planet. I managed to liberate a couple of planets but failed to actually complete the game. It is very tricky but it’s just such an enjoyable game to play. Another highly recommended game.
Stay tuned all this week as my tribute to the ZX Spectrum continues!