Amstrad Action


Mega Pack

Author: Adam Peters
Publisher: Codemasters
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #76

Cowabunga joystick fans! It's that popular Konix Speedking thingie. But what's this? It's in a bundle with eight Codemasters games. What's all this about then...?

Mega Pack

The Mega Pack is quite a neat idea. There have been packs like this around for the PC for quite a while, but we reckon this is the first 8-bit package of its kind.

To save shelf space (i.e. make sure it is well stocked and available for all machines), the Mega Pack includes Amstrad, Spectrum and C64 versions of the games all in one box. There are six tapes in all, two for each machine (with four programs on each).

The Mega Pack is a good way to give a trusty old 'stick a new lease of life, and is basically a box containing a joystick and two Codemasters Quattro packs. All the games are Codies' back catalogue stuff, and each has featured on at least one (and in some cases, three!) Quattro pack(s).

In financial terms the pack gives you a joystick that retails at £12.99, together with £7.98 worth of games (the price of two Quattro packs), all for only £19.99. So that's, er... eight and nine is fifteen, carry the five, take away the penny, add the tens column, take away the seven... a saving of over £150!! [Er, about a quid actually - Ed] Oh.

If you need a new 'stick, and haven't got too many of the Quattros, then this could be the pack for you. Otherwise, the whole thing could be a bit of a dodo.

Major league waggling ahoy!

The Games

ATV Simulator
Pretty mediocre horizontally-scrolling racing game, featuring, believe it or not, ATVs (all-terrain vehicles - buggies, really). Naff graphics and dodgy sound, but playable.

BMX Simulator
Horizontally-viewed screech-'em-up, with tiny sprites and a standard dirt track (with banks and jumps and stuff) to hare round. Once again, you're better off with the real thing. It's not bad though.

Pro Tennis Simulator
The easiest tennis game to get to grips with, PTS, like most Codies 'sims', has 'budget' written all over it. But when so many full-price games are a load of trash, predictable and competent trans-mediocrity [You what? - Ed] becomes something to cherish.

International Rugby Simulator
Then again, this one is brilliant. Whilst no match for World Class Rugby, it's blissfully full-featured where most rugby games are a load of half-arsed tosh. Any rugby/footie sim that lets you pass accurately has to be worth a 'yahoo'.

MiG-29 Soviet Fighter
After Burner clone, but with crap scrolling, stupid enemies, and not a lot else.

Grand Prix Simulator
Supersprint/Supercars style racing game. You get an overhead view of the whole track, as your tiny car races against other tiny cars. The rotate-style movement (as with ATV and BMX above) takes a while to get to grips with. Quite jolly.

Advanced Pinball Simulator
Pinball is an odd sort of thing to try and 'simulate' on a computer. Some people might like it, but the sounds and effects you get on modern pinball games blows it away. And a bunch of pixels is no substitute for a metal ball anyway.

Fruit Machine Simulator
The single most pointless game in computing history.

The Konix Speedking

The Speedking is a joystick with a fearsome reputation. When AA featured its 'joystick jury' (issue 43), two out of the six judges plumped for it as their fave stick.

It's certainly very well designed. You cradle the 'stick in your left hand, with your middle or fore-finger resting on the fire button. The waggly bit can be waggled either with your right hand, or (better still) the bottom of your right thumb.

This makes it pretty darned responsive, and lets you change direction quite quickly. There are problems though. For a start, if you're left-handed forget it - there's no way you'll be able to use the thing. The 'stick is fairly "fat" too, so people with particularly small hands might also encounter probs.

The Speedking has been around for a fair while, and there are plenty of other handhelds available that have weirder designs and are more comfortable to use (the Navigator and the Bug for a start). It's a trusty old work-horse though.

The Verdict

A novel idea, but a joystick bundled with four or five good full-price games would be a lot better.

Adam Peters

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