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Page 3


SWEET
SIXTEEN

No, this supplement doesn't
mark the start of regular
C16 coverage – it's a sort of
extended feature: a look at what
the Commodore 64's popular
cousin has to offer, which surpris-
ing as it may seem, is a lot for the
price.
Within these eight distinctly
separate pages e a mini-encyc-
lopaedia which isn't intended to be
a definitive guide to C16 software
– it's merely s fairly comprehen-
sive round-up of all the software
we could get our hands on, and it
represents a worthwhile read.
Getting to grips with the C16/
Plus 4 brought memories of my
VIC 20 days flooding back. The
VIC 20 was my first computer,
which cost around £200 then, and
the software was generally crude
in all aspects. But despite the limi-
tations and crudeness, it was
extremely entertaining. With only
3.5K to spare on the basic
machine, programmers couldn't
afford to mess around with slick
graphics – the gameplay and cod-
ing had to be tight and efficient.
Their were a few absolute gems on
the VIC 20 which still hold their
own in the world of today's
software – Jeff Minter's Laser
Zone, Matrix and Hellgate, Com-
modore's superlative Jelly
Monsters ROM (sadly removed
from sale due its uncanny similar-
ity to a well known Atari arcade

game) and Rabbit's Myriad to
name but a few.
The quality and quantrty of C16
software seems to be akin to that
for the VIC 20 – a fair amount of
playable dross exists, but there are
a few classy releases which seem
to lose something when converted
to more powerful machines – POD
and Voidrvnner being two
prime examples of games which are
more playable on the C16 than on
the 64. A few software houses still
support the C16/Plus 4, and sales
are apparently healthy. Master-

tronic and Anco seem to pay a
great deal of attention to produc-
ing quality products – in many
cases superior to C64 software.
Most of the poorer software
comes in the form of conversions
from more powerful machines,
which is sad as this tends to over-
shadow the more inspiring original
productions with virtually no pre-
tentions to being anything special.
So, what do tbe C16 and Plus 4
have to offer...?
Well, there's a superer BASIC
to that implemented in the 64,
although the user manual supplied

isn't particularty helpful – Commo-
dore seem to have difficulty in pro-
ducing decent documentation.
The BASIC features over 75 com-
mands, including a competent
range of graphics commands.
The C16 doesn't offer anything
significantly new – 121 colours
(well, 128 – but eight are shades of
beak) – no, if anything it's a
regression with its mere 16K mem-
ory. Which prompts one to wonder
why on earth Commodore
bothered to release it in the first
place, especially at its original
price. That said, since the C16
fated to make an impact until it
was significantly reduced in price,
it is worthy of consideration.
The Plus 4 has 64K RAM, with
60K availabh for BASIC program-
ming (the C64 only has 38K to play
with). There's a built-in machine
code monitor with 17 commands,
and a very useful HELP function –
should an error occur in a BASIC
program, pressing the HELP key
highlights the error.
Both machines are compatible
with the 1541 disk drive and 1571
monitor, however a special cas-
sette deck is required, as are spec-
ial joysticks – Konix's are recom-
mended as the Comrredore brand
isn't up to much.
Check out your local branches
of Dixon's, Curry's, Rumbelows
and Comet – you may find you can
pick up a C16 and cassette deck
for around £50, or the slighlty more
powerful but fully compatible Plus
4 for around £80 (with cassette
deck). Alternatively, you could try
telephoning Video Vault (04574
66555/67761) and ask them very
nicely if they have any Plus 4s in
stock.
GARY PENN
POD
Mastertronic, £1.99

Minter-inspired shoot 'em up
action, courtesy of Shaun South-
ern. More accomplished and play-
able than the 64 conversion, with
chunky graphics, meaty sound
and gallons of playability.
OVERALL 92%
BANDITS AT
ZERO
MAD, £2.99

Blast everything in sight, and
destroy the enemy's aircraft car-
rier in this addictive shoot 'em up
with excellent parallax scrolling.
OVERALL 75%
CLASSIC
SNOOKER
Anco, £6.95

Plays okay, but the screen tends
to flicker quite violently at times
and can prove most off-putting.
OVERALL 51%

DORK'S DILEMMA
Gremlin Graphics, £6.95

Help Dork to collect and reassem-
ble the pieces of his spacecraft in
this very playable game. The
graphics are clear and well
defined, and overall this is a very
good collect 'em up.
OVERALL 83%
PROJECT NOVA
Gremlin Graphics, £6.95

A below average vacation on the
Star Raiders theme - simple shoot
'em up action, with the tiniest
sprinkling of strategy thrown in for
good measure.
OVERALL 40%
HEKTIK
Mastertronic, £1.99

An accurate version of the dated
arcade game Space Panic -
simplistic platforms and ladders
action which provides a few hours'
entertainment, and a chance to
reminisce.
OVERALL 63%
BOUNDER/PLANET SEARCH
Gremlin Graphics, £7.95
BOUNDER
Move Bounder from slab to slab,
across the screen to safety, avoid-
ing the many and varied obstacles
in the way. The graphics are very
detailed and smooth moving, and
addiction sets in as soon as you
start to play.
OVERALL 89%
ROCKMAN
Mastertronic, £1.99

Ricky Rockman rushes around
caverns collecting diamonds, and
dodging deadly boulders. The lack
of speed ruins the playibility, as
avoiding falling rocks is more often
than not impossible.
OVERALL 26%
THAI BOXING
Anco, £6.95

This Anco release bears a signifi-
cant similarity to Thai Boxing on
the Sport Four compilation. The
combatants movements are
totally unrealistic and the back-
grounds are bland. It feels bad,
and offers little for the price.
OVERALL 20%
BERKS
The Power House, £1.99

Should actually be entitled Baby
Berks - the fourth in the Berks Tril-
ogy. Contains one single screen of
shooting, which isn't as interesting
or playable as its forerunners.
OVERALL 41%
DIAMOND MINE
Blue Ribbon, £2.99

Guide a pipeline through the mine,
collecting diamonds and avoiding
the walls and bugs. The pipe is
difficult to control, and not really
worth the effort of mastering. Poor
graphics and tedious gameplay
round off this sub-standard prod-
uct.
OVERALL 23%


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