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The YS Official Top 100 Part 2
Published in the Nov 1991 YS71 issue
World Of Spectrum links for:
Click the search icon in each game section to search WOS for that particular game
YS Scan
Search WOS75 - Wriggler (Romantic Robot)
There are of course, hundreds of games which ask you to swallow your biological pride and play a worm, but Wriggler is undoubtedly the No 1. Beautifully animated graphics, bright, lush colours, big scary beasties for enemies and classic arcade adventure gameplay made for a game which could have changed the public perception of hermaphrodite non-vertebrates forever, if only anyone had ever bought it. Wriggler had all this and heavy metal too. Why don't you ever get free soundtrack tapes with games any more?

Search WOS74 - Pang (Ocean)
While this curious Galaxians-meets-The Prisoner slice of harpoons 'n' balloons tomfoolery isn't actually as original as everybody thinks it is, what's undeniable is that it's one of the bets straightforward old-fashioned arcade games the Speccy's seen in a long time. A superb conversion of the coin-op, Pang is a game that will have you blowing (up) bubbles forever, not to mention punching out your friends if you play the infuriatingly novel two-player option.

Search WOS73 - Popeye (DK 'Tronics)
The Spectrum's straining technology was stretched to critical mass by this incredible game. The truely gorgeous graphics, which were half the size of the screen and packed with non-clashing colour, stunned everyone who saw them. But they were only part of the appeal of a tricky arcade adventure with more imagination than most of its contemporaries put together. Don Priestly, the programmer, took this style further with his subsequent (and brilliant) Trap Door games, but Popeye was still the original and the best.

Search WOS72 - Hijack (Electric Dreams)
Most of you should already know how good this strategy epic is, 'cos we gave it to you free on the covertape a couple of months back. Still it doesn't hurt to mention it for the benefit of any latecomers - this is a game which proves the Spectrum is more than capable of holding its own when it comes to games of depth and intellegence. Suprisingly atmospheric, Hijack was also one of the most original ideas in years. The fact that it didn't sell more is more an indict of game buyers than of the actual game. Take the padlock of your brain and give this a go. You'll be pleasantly shocked.

Search WOS71 - Frankie Goes To Hollywood (Ocean)
Remember Frankie - the most controversial band of the 80s? Parents said they were the classic example of a Catholic education gone wrong, but didn't the kids just love 'em? Ocean stunned everyone, first by buying the license and then by resisting the temptation to cobble together a quick rip-off platform game. Instead they presented us with one of the most insidiously charming and bizarre games they'd ever released. Only a bug which prevents it from being completed properly kept this one from the Top 20, but it's still a bona fide classic.

Search WOS70 - G-Force (Euro-Byte)
Of all the Tempest games available for the Speccy, official version or clones, G-Force is almost certainly the most obscure. This is a bit of a shame 'cos (as you've probably guessed) it's easily the best. Forsaking the tricky geometric shapes of the original for straight rectangular screens, Euro-Byte used the extra freedom this gave them to produce a game that looked like no other on the Speccy. It had big chunky graphics zipping around the screen in huge numbers and a level of speed that refused to let up no matter how much was happening on screen. This is a brilliantly frantic shoot-'em-up which recreates the spirit of the coin-op better than everything I've seen. Ever.

Search WOS69 - Match Point (Psion)
For some bizarre and unexplained reason, tennis has always been one of the most popular subjects for computer game writers (indeed, Pong, the first ever video game, was a tennis sim of sorts). Match Point is one the earliest attempts on the Speccy and it can still show all the subsequent efforts a thing or seven about natural, uncomplicated-but-flexible controls. Understated but beautifully animated graphics, a wide range of skill levels and other options ensure that players of all ages, talents and attention spans get never-ending enjoyment out of it. Unsurpassed.

Search WOS68 - Tapper (US Gold)
Or as it would have been had Codemasters had released it - Advanced Barman Simulator. Yep, the sole purpose in life for your character in Tapper was to serve drinks to a never-ending flow of thirsty punters who were apt to sling him the length of the bar if their (ahem) 'soda' wasn't delivered promptly. Cleaned up from the arcade original (where the glassses were filled with beer), this conversion nonetheless retained all the frantic fun of the coin-op, with a fair touch of humour to boot. Oh, and the dancing alien girls were worth seeing too...

Search WOS67 - Way Of The Exploding Fist (Melbourne House)
The first real Spectrum beat-'em-up and still the best. Fist's crisp, elegant graphics, instinctive control system, wide range of moves, precise collision detection and crunching sound effects make it more than a match for anything which has been released since. You really do wince when your fighter takes a punch in a sensitive area and crumples to the ground. It's this character that makes Fist stand head and roundhouse above all the competition. Inscrutably beautiful.

Search WOS66 - Splat! (Incentive)
Speech on the Spec, eh? Mostly it went 'mxchxtrrrbkstxtprrkkk', but in Splat! the joyous 'yippee!' your character Ziggy (an 'X' with legs) let out after completing a level was crisp and coherent. Amazingly, this was the least impressive aspect of this original and addictive scrolling maze game. Your character stayed put, the maze moved around and the edges of the screen were the game's main danger. Deceptively fast-paced, this is the kind of game that you just never see any more.

Search WOS65 - Batty (Encore/YS)
This is still the best Arkanoid-style game available for the Spec, better in my opinion than even the hugely popular Arkanoid 2. With fast smooth, clear graphics and a serious level of challenge you'd think this would've been a huge chart success. But (But!) Batty was never even released as a full-price game. It's criminal! First a covertape freebie with Britain's Brightest and Biggest Sinclair Magazine (you're reading it, you dolt) and then a budget game, Batty was the best game Elite never put their name to.

Search WOS64 - Buggy Boy (Elite)
Is this the biggest sprite ever seen on the Spec? Probably, but Buggy Boy had more to recommend it than a huge and colourful dune-hopper. A racing game without racing-game pace, Buggy Boy compensated with beaut graphics, lots of varied courses and imaginative and addictive gameplay. Steering a buggy across a precarious and obstacle-littered bridge on two wheels is a challenge for the most talented, but this game's main attraction is pure and simple sweetness. If that seems a bit of an intangible concept, try playing it. You'll see what I mean...

Search WOS63 - Scrabble (Psion)
This is really touching. Scrabble plays a great version of the classic word game with an 11,000 word vocabulary in just 48K. It's most endearing feature is that if you enter a word like 'QXWWVAR' on a triple word score box, it'll ask you if you're sure its a legal word, then if you reply 'yes', it actually believes you! Whats more, it adds the word to its vocabulary so, if you use it again, it won't even question it! Now that's what computers were always supposed to be about, none of this taking over the world nonsense. Play Scrabble and feel superior.

Search WOS62 - Thrust (Firebird)
Another budget-only classic, Thrust borrows heavily from classic arcade games like Asteroid and Gravitar and then adds some serious physics to produce a tense and tricky game of precision manoeuvering and panic-striken blasting. If you've never had the opportunity to battle against a Level 4 planet with reverse gravity and a heavy pod swinging beneath your spaceship threatening to slam you against a cavern wall in the blinking of an eye, then you just haven't lived, buddy. Can you believe that this lovely was released for just £1.99? I can't, and I've bought it!

Search WOS61 - Eric And The Floaters (Sinclair)
Crude graphics, simplistic gameplay, awkward controls and dull colour are just a few of the 'features' which completely failed to wreck the appeal of this brilliant little game. The only thing it really had going for it was the addiction brought on by its deceptively tricky nature and Tetris-style 'finish the screen or go for the big but risky bonus?' dilemmas. That it's still getting rave reviews (in a slightly revised form) on the console machines is proof of how timeless its appeal is.

Search WOS60 - Knot In 3D (New Generation)
New Generation were one of the first software houses to write for the Sinclair machines. For me, this is the very pinnacle of their achievements. A kind of Tron light cycles game (you know the type), but set in a 3D spherical cube (look, play the game, you'll understand), Knot looked incredibly bizarre. To play it though, all you needed was a keen sense of spatial relations and fast reactions, and your reward was a gameplay experience which could be nothing short of breathtaking. Completely unique and absolutely gorgeous.

Search WOS59 - Hyper Sports (Imagine)
Joystick-waggling (or keyboard-pounding) multiple-sports games were all the rage back in 1984, after the coin-op Track and Field gave millions of arcade athletes blistered and bleeding hands for weeks from attempting to recreate the Olympics with two fingers. Hyper Sports called for skill and timing as well as pure brute force - but that didn't mean your Spec wasn't going to take a fearful hammering as you strained to lift the 250kg bar in the weightlifting section. Violent but beautiful. (Just like Wild at Heart.)

Search WOS58 - Operation Wolf (Ocean)
More than anything else, Operation Wolf is a triumph of 8-bit practicality over 16-bit aesthetics. On the big machines, this is a great-looking copy of the arcade game made unplayable by disk swapping. But the Speccy version packs in all the arcade thrills in a fast-moving game of massive slaughter where the action never lets up. A mindlessly violent game, Op Wolf spawned a hundred clones, but none of them matched it for sheer brutality, speed and slickness. This is such a good game that you won't even miss the plastic machine gun.

Search WOS57 - Dun Durach (Gargoyle)
It was hard to pick just one of Gargoyle's series of games (which also include Tir Na Nog, Marsport and Heavy on the Magick). But the overwhelming atmosphere of Dun Darach won out. A whole city was yours to explore, complete with bars, gambling houses, and all manner of shops where you could even get a job to make yourself a bit of cash. Dun Darach was one of the most involving games ever written, and if you haven't got one I strongly suggest you get one. Then cancel all appointments for a week, and discover it yourself.

Search WOS56 - Bounty Bob Strikes Back (US Gold)
The sequel to the first ever platform-and-ladders game, although that game (Miner 2049'er) didn't appear on the Spec. Bounty Bob Strikes Back took a traditional approach to the timing-and-climbing style, but the screens were so ingeniously designed and the whole thing was so thoughtfully done that it transcended the formula to be one of the most playable games ever in the genre. Un-Speccy-like graphics gave it a unique look too, and there's no harm in that.

Search WOS55 - Saboteur (Durell)
Famous (well, it depends on how old you are) for being The Game That Didn't Give You Any points For Shooting The Dogs. This was a masterful piece of psychology, as the dogs (guard dogs on the installation you were trying to sabotage) snapped at your heels so annoyingly that you really wanted to kill them, but couldn't because your conscience wouldn't let you. This of course meant that you got yourself killed with embarrassing regularity, but you just couldn't bring yourself to do anything about it. Damn sneaky. (Oh, and it was a great game too, incidentally).

Search WOS54 - Rastan (Imagine)
One of the best-looking Speccy coin-op conversions ever, with big, sharp graphics and atmospheric backdrops giving it a real feel of the epic arcade game. Rastan was the classiest of a whole load of generic muscle-fantasy orc-slashers which were popular a couple of years back and it retains all the elegance (and violence) of the original. It's not the most inovative piece of design ever, but the best of any genre is always worth having, and thats exactly what this is.

Search WOS53 - Ping Pong (Imagine)
Ping Pong? Great idea for a computer game, I must say! Actually, this Konami coin-op conversion is one of the most playable sports sims ever. Your bat follows the ball, leaving you only with the playing of the actual shot to worry about. This frees you from all that tedious trogging around and makes the game an exercise in tactics and reactions. Slick presentation and brilliant music add to the enjoyments of this simply beautiful piece of software. Ping Pong is an object lesson in How To Do it Properly.

Search WOS52 - Jumping Jack (Imagine)
Jumping Jack is every bit as simple as it looks, but the simple graphics hides a game of almost frightening addictive qualities. All you have to do is jump through moving holes to the top of the screen, but miss one and Jack falls stunned to the ground. While he regains composure, you can be sure that another hole will sneak up on him, until he ends up back at the bottom of the screen, leaving even the most hardened gamer in tears of frustrated rage. This is a game that's practically unputdownable.

Search WOS51 - Robotron (Atarisoft)
You might have read that Williams' Smash TV prequel Robotron never made it to the Spectrum, but that's only half true. It was never released, but it was written and even reviewed but never saw a shop shelf! A superb conversion, with huge numbers of enemies on screen at a time completely failing to slow down the action. Nothing was missed out except for the chance for zap fans to actually buy the thing, and that's nothing short of criminal.


    Go on to Part 3


    Go back to Part 1


    

Many thanks to Stewart Edgar for typing this up



YS Cross-references
R
pBatty/EliteYS22
UNR
C
pBatty (in Six-Pak Vol 2)YS23
9
 
pBatty/Hit-PakYS24
NEWS
 
pBatty (in Frank Bruno's Big Box)YS38
 
 
pBatty/EncoreYS43
89
R
pBounty Bob Strikes Back/US GoldYR20
9
G
 Bounty Bob Strikes Back (in The 50 Best Speccy Games Ever!)YS94
No.19
R
pBuggy Boy/EliteYS31
7
C
pBuggy Boy (in Fists 'n' Throttles)YS38
7
 
pBuggy Boy/EncoreYS51
47
R
pDun Durach/GargoyleYR17
UNR
R
pFrankie Goes To Hollywood/OceanYR19
UNR
 
pHijack/Electric DreamsYS8
NEWS
R
pHijack/Electric DreamsYS9
8
 
pHijack/SummitYS56
71
R
pHyper Sports/ImagineYR18
8
P
pOperation Wolf/OceanYS31
PRE
R
pOperation Wolf/OceanYS36
9
C
pOperation Wolf (in The Biz)YS51
90
G
pOperation Wolf (in The YS Complete Guide To Shoot-'em-ups Part II)YS56
94
 
pOperation Wolf/Hit SquadYS63
87
 
pPang/OceanYS59
FUT
R
pPang/OceanYS62
94
R
pPing Pong/ImagineYS6
8
 
pPing Pong/Hit SquadYS50
80
R
pPopeye/DK'TronicsYR19
7
 
pPopeye (in Kids' Pack 2)YS87
 
C
pPopeye (in Popeye - The Collection)YS87
87
 
pRastan/ImagineYS25
FUT
 
pRastan/ImagineYS27
FUT
 
pRastan/ImagineYS28
PRE
R
pRastan/ImagineYS30
9
 
pRastan/Hit SquadYS59
87
R
pSaboteur/DurellYS1
9
C
pSaboteur (in Big Four)YS13
UNR
r
pSaboteur/Encore YS34
8
 
pSaboteur (in Frank Bruno's Big Box)YS38
 
 
pSaboteur/EncoreYS38
9
 
pScrabble (in The Triple Pack)YS50
 
 
pSplat! (in 4-Most Thrillers)YS89
 
R
pTapper/US GoldYR17
UNR
R
pThrust/FirebirdYS12
8
R
pWay Of The Exploding Fist/Melbourne HouseYR19
UNR
C
pWay Of The Exploding Fist (in Karate Ace)YS34
7
G
pWay Of The Exploding Fist (in The YS Complete Guide To Beat-'em-ups)YS53
83
R
pWriggler/Romantic RobotYR14
4
Some info from Sinclair Infoseek+SPOT*ON

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