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The YS Official Top 100 Part 3
Published in the Dec 1991 YS72 issue
World Of Spectrum links for:
Click the search icon in each game section to search WOS for that particular game
YS Scan
Search WOS50 - Enduro Racer (Activision)
I could do a Top 100 of motorbike racers alone. But in any genre there are standouts and this is this is the best one where you have to jump across rivers by wheelying into logs, and ride around on the backs of palm trees on a beach (ahem). Enduro Racer is the slickest and prettiest racer around, and it's the kind of game that still won't be showing its age in 20 years time. If you ever wanted to cross Out Run with Helter Skelter, this is the game for you.

Search WOS49 - Tetris (Mirrorsoft)
Yes, it's the game that makes Amiga ans ST owners look at your Spectrum with real jealousy, 'cos the Speccy version of this classic Russian reaction-tester out performs the 16-bit ports every time. In avoiding the temptation to dress the game up unnecessarily with complicated graphics and pointless shimmering backdrops, Mirrorsoft made sure that Tetris on the Speccy captured all the pure compulsion of the original without distractions. Eve though it's been done a dozen times on the big machines, the Speccy version is still the best Tetris you can buy.

Search WOS48 - Renegade (Imagine)
Never mind your Final Fights, never mind your Way Of The Exploding Fists, never mind your International Karates, this is comfortably (if thats the right word) the most brutal beat-'em-up there's ever been. Eye-watering knees-in-the-groin, sickeningly vicious headbutts, enemies ganging up to hold a player's arms while someone else punches the living daylights out of him, and the player retaliating with flying kicks at speeding motorcycle riders. (Don't try this one at home kids.) And all without the slightest danger of ending up in Casualty - what more could you ask?

Search WOS47 - Antics (Bug-Byte)
There's no shortage of games which call on you to rescue someone or other. Most of them simply ask you to battle through a hostile scenario and reach your goal, at which point everything magically becomes alright. However, in Antics when Barnabee (the bee) reaches his kidnapped cousin Boris (the, er, bee), the story is only half-complete. Barnabee has to guide the weakened and slow-moving Boris all the way back to the start again and, if he goes too fast, poor Boris gets all confused and lost. The frantic rush to go slowly (if you see what I mean) against a tough time limit makes this just about the most heart-wrenching game in the whole world. Aw shucks.

Search WOS46 - Bobby Bearing (The Edge)
Or Spindizzy with balls. This absolutely beautiful game never achieved the success it deserved for reasons which are a complete mystery mto me. It's another Marble Madness lookalike, but whereas Spindizzy was all sharp angles and sudden edges, Bobby featured properly rolling balls, round tunnels, curved surfaces, and much faster-moving gameplay. Funnily enough, it also called on you to act the good shepherd and herd other characters around. If pushing a marble across a curved slope with another marble (while contending with moving blocks, nasty enemies and sudden gusts of wind) sounds a tricky proposition to you, then you're halfway to understanding what made this game so addictive. Viciously loveable.

Search WOS45 - International Match Day (Imagine)
'There's only one International Match Day, one International Match Day, there's only one...' It doesn't really work does it? (No, not really. Ed) All the same, there is only one International Match Day, and its the best (but least well-known) of this incredibly popular series of incredibly popular series of Spectrum footy games. IMD was slicker than Match Day and more playable than Match Day 2 but unfortunately, it was only available for the 128k machine. It's still worth searching out if you're a 128 Spec-chum in search of the ultimate soccer experience. Kick Off? Gazza 2? Don't make me laugh!

Search WOS44 - Rescue (Mastertronic)
A classic budget game, there isn't really anything outstanding about Rescue at all. The graphics are great but not outstanding, the sound is zappy but nothing remarkable, the number of rooms and so on isn't anything out of the ordinary, and the runaround-arcade-adventure-zapping-collecting-and-rescuing (obviously) game design has been seen a thousand times before. So why do I love it so much? To tell you the truth I'm not entirely sure. Until I can put it into words, just trust me. I just know I'm right.

Search WOS43 - Midnight Resistance (Ocean)
These days coin-op conversions on the Spectrum tend to be production-line churn-'em-outs that are nothing but pale-faced mumbling shadows of their ST and Amiga counterparts. What a rare pleasure then, to see one turn out as good as this. Programmers Special FX refused to take the easy way out and do yet another monochrome yawnerama. Instead, they gave us an action-packed blaster which positively glowed with 8-bit pride, not to mention lovely colourful graphics stuffed with life and character. This is the game that proves the Speccy can still compete with anything.

Search WOS42 - The Hobbit (Melbourne House)
Oh goodness, it's an adventure! Well, it had to be done. The Speccy's first successful adventure is also, to this day, one of the best. Converted faithfully from the book with all the characters present and correct. The Hobbit perplexed gamers for months on end. Luckily, it was so rewarding that players stuck at it 'til the end. It's also the game that introduced the phrase 'Thorin sits down and sings about gold' into the national consciousness. No, I don't quite understand it either, but that's adventure fans for you.

Search WOS41 - Fantasy World Dizzy (Codemasters)
Of all the Dizzy games, I decided to put this one in the chart because of the character interaction, the well-balanced puzzles, the charming atmosphere, but mostly because of the broad Glaswegian accent on the speech sample at the beginning. (Are you trying to tell me you're Scottish Stuart? Ed). All the adventures of the world's cutest egg are great games, but this one mixes together the best attributes of each one to the best effect. It's also the game which finally made budget software (not to mention Codemasters themselves) respectable.

Search WOS40 - Highway Encounter (Vortex)
Costa Panayi was quite possibly the Speccy's biggest ever cult programmer. From humble beginnings with Android 1, he built up a catalogue of incredible games that took the Spectrum closer to its limits with each succeeding release. The stunning, colour-filled 3D graphics and game plot (in its basic concept) predated the 16-bit smash Lemmings by five years. So tricky that only the most dedicated of gamers ever saw the last of the 30 screens of zapping-and-puzzling action, but every second of it was a joy.

Search WOS39 - Mercenary (Novagen)
Jon Pillar recently reviewed this as a budget re-release and gave it 99%. I'm not arguing. Paul Woakes' epic of espionage, sabotage, trading and blasting has an atmosphere of electric tension and suspense which belies the simplistic look of the vector graphics. Mercenary is clean, sharp, fast and deep enough to keep you playing for weeks. What's more, it was visually indistinguishable from the 16-bit versions but with the kind of playability that you only ever seem to get on the older machines. Now, more than ever, don't miss it!

Search WOS38 - Gauntlet (US Gold)
Do I really need to tell anyone about Gauntlet? The arcade's four-player epic of dungeons-and-dragon slaughter-filled mayhem transferred to the Speccy better than anyone had dared to expect. US Gold managed to cram every last level of the original game in with the aid of the least intrusive multiload in history. As a recreation of the coin-op's feel, it hasn't been bettered to this day. As a game in its own right, it's as great as it ever was. One of the true milestones of Spectrum gaming.

Search WOS37 - Loderunner (Software Projects)
It doesn't really look like one of the greatest Speccy games ever, does it? What with those character-square red-and-black bricks with tiny little white stick figures running around it. What you probably don't know is that Lode Runner is just about the longest-running computer platform game in the world, with roots going right back to the Apple (ask your grandad), and all the way up to the GameBoy. A game doesn't last that long without being something special and Lode Runner's just that. Actually more puzzle game than platformer, it's just one of the most addictive things ever. That's all.

Search WOS36 - Cybernoid (Hewson)
Remember what I said about Costa Panayi? Well, forget it, because Raffelle Cecco was an even bigger cult. (Cult figures, eh? Here one minute, gone the next. Ed). The difference is that poor Raf only ever wrote one really good game, and this is it. It has to be said that flip-screen shoot-'em-ups with add-on weaponry aren't the stuff which legends are usually made of. But the imagination, playability and attention to detail of this one lifted it way above its origins and into the realms of the unforgettable. It's worth getting for the huge maces which swing around your ship and pulverise everything, but it's a fab game too.

Search WOS35 - I, Ball 2 (Firebird)
Originality is something you don't see much of in the budget world. Great though they can be, budgies tend to be simple rehashes of previous successes. This game however, broke the mould and later inspired programmer Tim Closs to write one of the best 16-bit games ever, Kid Gloves. Basically a puzzle game, I, Ball 2 gleamed with slick presentation and imaginative design, and all for £1.99. Don't blow 12 quid on this month's latest crappy licence, scour the bargain bins and find yourself a copy of this instead. I promise that you won't be dissappointed!

Search WOS34 - Deus Ex Machina (Automata)
Probably the most ambitious software project ever. Automata managed to stuff two loads full of stunning graphics and a synchronised audio soundtrack. (Which included real stars like Frankie Howerd and Jon Pertwee.) They added a madly over-the-top story of totalitarianism and genetic engineering to get Deus Ex Machina - to be an experience the like of which had never been seen before or since. Genuinely affecting and disturbing at times, this is software as art.

Search WOS33 - Knightlore (Ultimate)
We're really getting into 'legend' territory now. Knight Lore pioneered the 3D isometric graphic style, later to be imitated into oblivion by a hundred lesser designers. It took Spectrum graphics into a whole new world, and up to a level which simply hadn't been believed possible, even by the machine's creators themselves. The game was (conveniently) brilliant too, and the traditional Ultimate polish gave the whole thing a shine which was almost blinding. Revolutionary.

Search WOS32 - Jet Set Willy (Software Projects)
This was probably the Speccy's most eagerly-awaited title ever. Impatient gamers besieged shops for months unti it finally appeared, and no-one was dissappointed. It's a superficially simple platform epic (set in Willy's surrealist mansion) with some of the most tortuous timing traps in the history of computer gaming and a genuine 'being there' feel which has rarely been topped. It looks a bit slow today, but the superlative gameplay will soon make you forget about that.

Search WOS31 - Lunar Jetman (Ultimate)
"We triumph without glory when we conquer without danger", said the French dramatist Pierre Corneille in 1636 and you know, I like to think that when he said it he was thinking about Lunar Jetman. (Don't be such a swot. Ed). Ultimate's incredibly tough moon-based alien-stomper was their first attempt at a game using the Speccy's expanded 48K (wow!) memory, and what a stonker it was too. Hugely clever and funny, it was also the game which you simply had to be able to play if you wanted to have any peer status at all in 1985. Funny how things turn out isn't it?

Search WOS30 - Nebulus (Hewson)
Here's another game which (with versions newly out for the NES and Game Boy) looks like transcending machine boundaries for years to come. John Phillips' beautiful tower-ascending game featured amazing rotational scrolling, but the truely staggering thing was that it was overshadowed by the overwhelming addictiveness of the absurdly addictive gameplay. Climb up, fall down, climb back up again and that was about it. It just goes to prove (if there's still anyone out there who doesn't believe it) that the simplest ideas are always the best.

Search WOS29 - Think (Ariolasoft)
"We all are born mad. Some remain so. Especially if they've been playing Think! for any significant period of time". So said top twentieth century playwright Samuel Beckett (sort of). And he was right too, because this 'board-game-you-couldn't-play-on-a-board' is one of the most brain-torturing ever devised by mere mortal. The whole balance of the game can alter with a single move, and if you can beat the computer you've done something you can be proud of. (Woo! Party time! Ed) Take on a friend though, and you've got something that can change the look of your face. If you're going to play this with a chum, take your boxing gloves...

Search WOS28 - Deactivators (Reaktor)
Most puzzle games rely on their simplicity to be instantly graspable, but Deactivators glories in complexity. Computer games have taken some strange approaches to bomb disposal, but having robots roving around in strange gravitational fields throwing the things through windows to each other has to be the most ridiculous yet. It was all so tensely gripping that players were completely hypnotised. If you're after some seriously weirdo cyberpunk thrills, give Deactivators a try.

Search WOS27 - Super Hang On (Electric Dreams)
Do you feel a need? A need for speed? Well, sod off. We don't need any of that Tom Cruise nonsense round here, we're all too busy having fun playing this immensely wonderful motorbike racing game to be bothered with any dim-witted macho posturing. Super Hang-On is even more thrilling than going for a ride with Andy O, and that's really saying something. Fast slick and stomach-churning, this is the real thing brought to life on a Spectrum with a vengence, and with some pretty spiffy graphics to boot. If you were born to be wild, grow up with this.

Search WOS26 - Lightforce (FTL)
Lightforce boasts the best use of colour in a Spectrum game there's ever likely to be. FTL managed to pack this brilliant vertically-scrolling shoot-'em-up with more colour than is actually physically possible on the machine, and made it one of the very few Speccy games ever to truely have the feel of an arcade game. Lightforce plays as good as it looks. Lots of games can claim such an accolade, but this is one of the few where it's actually a compliment.


    Go on to Part 4


    Go back to Part 2


    

Many thanks to Stewart Edgar for typing this up



YS Cross-references
R
pAntics/BugByteYR7
6
C
pAntics (in 30 Games)YS6
UNR
 
pBobby Bearing/The EdgeYS7
NEWS
R
pBobby Bearing/The EdgeYS8
9
 
pBobby Bearing (in Classix 1)YS23
 
 
pCybernoid/HewsonYS28
FUT
R
pCybernoid/HewsonYS29
9
C
pCybernoid (in Space Ace)YS38
UNR
G
pCybernoid (in The YS Complete Guide To Shoot-'em-ups Part I)YS55
92
C
pCybernoid (in Cecco's Collection)YS56
90
 
pDeactivators/ReaktorYS10
FUT
R
pDeactivators/ReaktorYS11
9
R
pDeus Ex Machina/AutomataYR10
UNR
G
 Deus Ex Machina (in The 50 Best Speccy Games Ever!)YS94
No.23
 
pEnduro Racer/ActivisionYS13
FUT
R
pEnduro Racer/ActivisionYS16
9
C
pEnduro Racer (in Fists 'n' Throttles)YS38
9
r
pEnduro Racer/Hit Squad YS48
86
G
pEnduro Racer (in The YS Complete Guide To Driving Games)YS59
85
 
pFantasy World Dizzy/CodemastersYS52
88
G
 Fantasy World Dizzy (in The 50 Best Speccy Games Ever!)YS94
No.25
 
pGauntlet/US GoldYS10
NEWS
P
pGauntlet/US GoldYS13
PRE
R
pGauntlet/US GoldYS14
9
 
pGauntlet/KixxYS35
8
C
pGauntlet (in History In The Making)YS38
UNR
r
pGauntlet/Kixx YS38
9
G
pGauntlet (in The YS Complete Guide To Shoot-'em-ups Part II)YS56
83
 
pGauntlet (in Multimixx IV (Gauntlet Compilation))YS76
 
R
pHighway Encounter/Vortex SoftwareYR19
UNR
 
pHighway Encounter (in The Best Of 3D)YS23
 
 
pI, Ball 2/FirebirdYS28
NEWS
R
pInternational Match Day/OceanYS9
8
R
pJet Set Willy/Software ProjectsYR4
UNR
 
pJet Set Willy/Software ProjectsYS12
NEWS
G
 Jet Set Willy (in The 50 Best Speccy Games Ever!)YS94
No.6
R
pKnight Lore/UtimateYR12
9
 
pKnight Lore/UtimateYS25
NEWS
C
pKnight Lore (in Ultimate: The Collected Works)YS33
UNR
G
 Knight Lore (in The 50 Best Speccy Games Ever!)YS94
No.2
 
pLightforce/FTLYS10
FUT
R
pLightforce/FTLYS12
7
C
pLightforce (in Six-Pak Vol 2)YS23
8
 
pLightforce/Rack-itYS37
8
C
pLightforce (in Christmas Collection)YS47
67
C
pLunar Jetman (in Ultimate: The Collected Works)YS33
UNR
 
pMercenary/NovagenYS21
FUT
R
pMercenary/NovagenYS23
9
C
pMercenary (in Command Performance)YS41
95
r
pMercenary/Novagen YS67
99
 
pMidnight Resistance/OceanYS55
PRE
R
pMidnight Resistance/OceanYS56
92
 
pMidnight Resistance/Hit SquadYS78
94
R
pNebulus/HewsonYS25
9
C
pNebulus (in Heatwave)YS44
92
 
pRenegade/ImagineYS17
FUT
R
pRenegade/ImagineYS22
9
 
pRenegade/Hit SquadYS50
82
 
pRescue/MastertronicYS25
7
 
pSuper Hang On/Electric DreamsYS23
FUT
R
pSuper Hang On/Electric DreamsYS26
8
C
pSuper Hang On (in Game Set and Match II)YS38
UNR
G
pSuper Hang On (in The YS Complete Guide To Driving Games)YS59
91
 
pTetris/MirrorsoftYS27
FUT
R
pTetris/MirrorsoftYS28
9
C
pTetris (in Supreme Challenge)YS35
9
 
pTetris/MastertronicYS43
96
G
pTetris (in The YS Complete Guide To Puzzle Games)YS57
93
 
pThe Hobbit/Melbourne HouseYS7
NEWS
 
pThe Hobbit/Melbourne HouseYS8
NEWS
 
pThe Hobbit/Melbourne HouseYS19
NEWS
C
pThe Hobbit (in The Tolkien Trilogy)YS49
UNR
G
pThe Hobbit (in Adventure All-Time Greats)YS76
No.1
R
pThink/AriolasoftYS2
7
 
pThink/AriolasoftYS2
NEWS
Some info from Sinclair Infoseek+SPOT*ON

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