Personal Computer News

Colour Genie In Many Disguises
By Microbyte
Colour Genie

Published in Personal Computer News #060

Colour Genie owners have a fine selection to choose from, according to John Fairbairn.

Colour Genie In Many Disguises

Colour Genie owners have a fine selection to choose from, according to John Fairbairn

The antique trade in computer games has begun, judging by this sextet of machine code games for the Colour Genie. But yesterday's style of game still has much to offer, especially with a bunch as good as this.

A10 Bomber

This is an excellent version of Scramble from the newly-formed Ipswich Software Factory.

Though only a few months old, ISF has proved a worthy competitor in the games market partly because of the programming expertise of Richard Hamilton, who wrote the ISF games reviewed here.

Incredibly, Richard failed O Level Computer Science twice before leaving school in the middle of A levels to become a full-time programmer.

A10 Bomber shows he's got little to learn about graphics and sound on the Genie. Your fighter has to pass through seven different sets of nasties to accomplish its mission, but I haven't heard of anyone getting past level four. This challenge, plus the fact that if you lose a life you resume at the current level, not at the by-then relatively dull beginning, makes this a game worth playing again and again.


Circus is an example of the text-only adventure games from one of the most venerable micro software houses, Molimerx (which, fittingly, is the Latin equivalent to software).

Graphics-boosted adventures are the fashion, but I think text-only will stay with us.

Circus, by Brian Howarth, is one of a series of ten adventures. It was recommended as a good introduction to the latest, Ten Little Indians, and I found it a very satisfying game. It was easy to progress (or I think it was) but it's a long adventure and I didn't get to the end. Good value.

Martian Rescue

A posh version of Lunar Lander (how antique can you get?), but I'm not sure outstanding graphics and sound are enough to compensate for the simplicity of the game. In any event it's very, very hard (or there's a bug) because once your module leaves the mothership it plummets through the asteroid belt, apparently taking no notice of the retro-rocket control.

Still a good buy, but it shouldn't be top of your shopping list.

Galactic Attack

An exercise in semi-antiquity, this game is based on Galaxian. It is unashamedly for the high-scores and even includes the facility to freeze the game - overnight if need be. I got a rather good score but was rated a novice by the program. Someone I know got a score that looked like an Italian bank balance and was rated only Trainee Pilot.

But I rate this game especially highly, especially as the aliens seem to move at random and it is well programmed. It is the work of 17-year old Gary Pallett of Microbyte, who regrettably seems to be abandoning the Genie in favour of the BBC and Electron.

Ten Little Indians

"I'm in a railway carriage. I can see a leather belt and a window." That's how Ten Little Indians started... and that's how it finished. I just couldn't get anywhere - a few duff questions and you're dead. But even the wonders of computer-based resurrection didn't enable me to get any further. In frustration I read the machine code. I now know it has an extensive but unusual vocabulary, including swear words, but I'm still stuck in that railway carriage!

I suspect I might have to read the Agatha Christie original. But do I have to? That's part of the mystery!

I'm not in a position to say if this is good value, but I know which game I'd recommend.


More ISF nasties to kill but this time it's centipedes, scorpions and a lovely bouncing spider. Once again, exquisite programming makes this like the arcade Centipede.

The problem with this one is that once you've killed your centipede you start all over again, with only a colour change to denote progress.

Very good, but not likely to hold your interest unless you're a high-score fanatic - and I found some very young players were frightened by the graphics.

Mike GerrardJohn Fairbairn