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CodeMasters * £7.99
Not previously reviewed.

Four games, each packed with horsepower, apparently. Let's see which can be burn off the rep-laden Sierras at the lights.

Violator
More of a SWIV-style blaster than a car game this. It's pretty diverting is Violator. Once you start to play, you'll find it hard to stop. The grpahics aren't magic, but the difficulty is set just about right.
Rather an enjoyable game. It has a slight PD feel, but if you can live with that, you've got a game to ejoy at least until EastEnders is on.

Grand Prix
Aha. A Badlands/SuperSprint-style game. There's a circuit on each screen, and some microscopic cars to race round them in. Nigel Mansell would never have retired from F1, had he had these sort of circuits to drive.
Not particularly edifying, but not rubbish. Not worth a great deal more ink than this, though.

Pro Powerboat
Pretty essential to the powerboating fraternity, this is a bit of a laugh. It's a scrolly sort of steer-around game, and it's not going to see the world on fire, primarily because it's set on water, which, as every chemistry student knows, doesn't burn. Despite being made up of hydrogen and oxygen, apparently.

Nitro Boost Challenge
This is basically more of the same. You didn't really expect anything else did you? It's a bright, colourful scroller in which you nitro your way through the levels, posing as a stuntman. Or boost your way through them, it's up to you. Either way, it's simple and it must be pitched at those blessed with a terminally high boredom threshold.



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Vier Spiele für insgesamt bloß 29,- DM, da kann es sich doch nur um Budget-Soft handeln, oder? Natürlich, und was die Codemasters hier zusammengetragen haben, ist für sich genommen auch alles andere als berauschend: Grand Prix, Powerboat, Violator und Nitro Boost Challenge sind allesamt kleine Rennspielchen - mal aus der Vogelpespektive, mal in 3D, mal zu Wasser und mal zu Lande.

Weder in punkto Präsentation noch in Sachen Gameplay darf man sich von diesem Quartett allzuviel erwarten, doch das darf man bei neuerer Budget-Soft ja auch nicht.

Und wegen des ausgesprochen moderaten Preises könnten zumindest Leute mit Schwindsucht im Geldbeutel für das Angebot dankbar sein, zumal die fehlende deutsche Anleitung hier nicht weiter stört. (ml)



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We haven't seen one of these little Codies compilations for a while, as they've been concentrating on big-money efforts like Dizzy's Excellent Adventures. After the debacle of Crystal Kingdom Dizzy, it's nice to see that they haven't given up totally on the cheapies that made their name.

Quattro Power Machines gives you four games for less than two quid each, so you'd have to be a pretty mean-minded and nasty sort of individual to pick fault with it. Hey, someone call my name?

Grand Prix is a Super Sprint clone that looked fairly respectable when it first appeared, er, quite a while ago, but its slippy-slidey control and stop-start gameplay look really poor now when set up alongside something like Carnage. There are a lot of options to fiddle with to extend the game's life (well, you can race lots of different kinds of vehicles, anyway), but, sadly, none of them make it very much fun to play any more.

Nitro Boost Challenge is one of the Codies' first-ever Amiga games and it shows. It's a vaguely Spy Hunter-ish game about a stuntman performing impressive feats of driving against the clock, but that's about where it turns out of good points. There's very little control, very little gameplay, and no variation to speak of, despite the different scenarios. A bit nob, even at two quid.

I really liked Pro Powerboat when it was first released about two-and-a-half years ago, and I msut admit I've still got a bit of a soft spot for it. It's even more Spy Hunter-ish than Nitro Boost Challenge, except set on water, and while it's very basic and none too fast, it's got some really nice ideas and there's many an hour's simple fun to be had. Sweet, and for two quid it's possibly the bargain of the month.

...Or maybe that honour should go to Violator, since it's the best for the four games collected here. A vertically-scrolling shot-'em-up borrowing heavily from Flying Shark, this is a top example of what Code Masters do best - no nonsense, no frills, just good old-fashioned arcade japery - and I like it, so there.

So, in time-honoured compilation-reviewing style, here's the bit where I sum - NO! NO! FIGHT THE ROUTINE! BUCK THE TREND! SMASH THE SYSTEM! WE DON'T NEED NO THOUGHT CONTROL! I SAY, I SAY, I SAY! WHAT DO YOU CALL A MAN WHO'S REALY USEFUL TO HAVE AROUND THE OFFICE? ANDY! WHAT'S PINK, FLUFFY AD UNEMPLOYED? BAR - (Take two of these and go and lie down in a darkened room forever. - Ed)



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CODEMASTERS OUT NOW £9.99

On the surface, four games for £10 sounds like a good buy, doesn't it?! Well, don't be conned, as there isn't a good game in this Codemasters compilation. The closest that comes to games playing respectability is Violator, yet another in a long line of Apache gunship sims which owe more than a doff of the hat to classic blasts such as SWIV and Sidewinder.

Yes, you guessed it, it's a vertically scrolling shoot 'em up but without the panache of the above mentioned titles. The idea is to blast your way up the screen, taking out all the hostile planes, 'copters, tanks and gun emplacements which clutter up the screen whilst taking care not to soak up too much in-coming enemy fire.

Starting with five lives, there are numerous bonus weapons scattered around each level, including Sidewinder and Cruise missiles, as well as smart bombs which are released after a spot of frantic joystick waggling.

But it's a derivative blast all the same and merely reminded me of one of those interminable SEUCK games that clog up the PD scene.

Super Grand Prix looks a little like a Super Sprint or Super Cars clone at first glance, until you come to play it. With all the responsiveness of a lump of granite, you can choose to drive a Formula One car, a 500cc motor bike, a super charged dragster or one of a number of different vehicles which take part in an Open Championship.

These range from a JVC digger (!) and Chieftain tank through to a Big Foot truck and cop car. The action takes place over a number of different single screen tracks, but there's very little variety, and although there's an option for up to four players to take part, I doubt whether you'd want to show this off to your mates.

The third and fourth games in the set are fairly similar. Pro Powerboat Simulator puts you in control of a speed boat as you race up a vertically scrolling screen avoiding enemy boats and obstacles whilst laying mines to take out some of your competitors.

Nitro Boost involves a similar challenge, only this time you get a choice of taking control of a sports car or a power boat. Nitrous Oxide canisters are scattered around the course which help Turbo charge your vehicle and other cars do their best to ram you off the road.

Both are fairly dire affairs and better examples of this type of game exist in the Public Domain. Don't waste your money!