Crap Games Competition 2018 Reviews

Here you will find the latest reviews of the very best entries

Table of Contents

Click to select the review to the game the you want to read.


Winter Neurobics Pentathalon

In a nut-shell: Unofficial Winter Olymics 2018 tie-in

Developer: Kweepa

Yawn Sinclair MegaGame

It won't surprise anyone out there that I wasn't very good at sports when I were a lad. Not one bit. Of course, I used to play a game of Footy over the park with jumpers for goal posts, but I just wasn't ever very Footy-ish, and always the last to be picked for any sporty-type thing, so when this sports sim landed I feared the worst. Would it be a joystick-breaking or keyboard-bashing affair? Yikes!

On loading Winter Neurobics Pentathalon though, my fears were quickly quashed; this is not just a mindless joystick-waggler or keyboard-basher, the task is to precisely time your interactions with the keyboard according to the on-screen prompt, so this is more of a celeberal workout than one which would quickly require a new keyboard!

Each of the five events, which are Ski Jump, Speed Skating, Downhill Slalom, Curling, and Luge increase in difficulty respectively. In fact, at the time of writing, I've not yet managed a successful Luge run. And on the original sumbission (let's call it V1.0), the Luge event couldn't be completed, so that alone gets it an extra point!

Make no mistake, Winter Neurobics Pentathalon is ACE! It's a new sort of sports sim for those of us who don't want to replace our olde keyboard membranes any time soon, whilst providing a significant challenge that'll keep you coming back time and again. Capture the Winter Olympic fervour with this fab game!

Shown working on a 16K Speccy

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Summary: A great mental challenge which unlike other sports sims won't bust your keyboard!

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16K users are not treated to the high resolution graphics that 48K users are

V1.1 is marked down to for Playability and Total by one point each due to it being a 'fixed' version

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Fortress

In a nut-shell: Strategy Board Game Simulator

Developer: Josef Schaaf of the ZX User Club Cooperation GmbH (original German version) and Volker Bartheld (this version)

Fortresses, eh? You can't whack 'em! They're great for creating near impenetrable inner-sanctums to defend against your mightiest foes, hoard treasure and protect those thing most important to you. In this case, however, the Fortress in question is presented as a multi-sided polygon, kind of a maths type thing that clever kids know all about, drawn beautifully and using a wise selection of the colours available on the ZX Spectrum.

This is for one or two players of opposing sides. Your protagonist is either someone in the same room as you in two-player mode, eagerly hovering around the Speccy, or you can play against your much loved and favouritest all-time super computer, the old Spectrum itself.

Moving around the game-world in attack mode reduces the routes available to you, or playing as the defender will only allow a movement of three places. Should either player be within one move of each other and... Bam! It's game over for one of you.

What we have is another skillo entry that's got everything you want! Great fun, especially on the super-difficult one-player mode.

Fortress for the 16K Speccy

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Summary: Deffo a game for those brainy kids out there!

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Works on a 16K Speccy (Yay!)

One player mode is super-difficult (or I'm constantly out-smarted by a 16K ZX Spectrum)

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Clive's Realtime Advanced Prognosticator

In a nut-shell: Turn your Speccy into a seer

Developer: Kweepa

Is it really possible to predict the future? This subject has fascinated humanity probably since its very beginnings, and something that Kweepa's Clive's Realtime Advanced Prognosticator deals with in this BERRRilliant little game.

You're greeted with a stunning title screen which has a binary representations of super brainy boffin' and all-around future seer Sir Clive Sinclair himself, though 16K ZX Spectrum see only text so you will have to use your imagination somewhat. Clive'll guide you through with cryptic hints such as "I prognosticate that the controls are 6,7,Enter".

The first thing to do is to enter your date of birth, and from there you'll be taken through many many scenarios, each of which will be prognosticated. There's a real variety in there that'll keep you entertained for hours. And hours. In fact, we love this so much at the CGC shed that I'm gonna give it another go. Download and enjoy, kids, yer won't be disappointed.

Prognosticate with your Speccy

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Summary: Turns your Speccy into a fortune teller, of sorts.

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48K users are greeted with some great pixels, though 16K users need to use their imaginations.

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GO RACE!

In a nut-shell: Simulate a pocket LCD game on your micro

Developer: Simon Pitter

Vvrrooommm! Well what do we have 'ere then? A simulator of a LCD pocket game racing simulator for the 48K Speccy. Sounds ace, doesn't it, eh? So how does it work then?

It all begins with a back story that'll take many of certain age back to the glorious decade of the 1980s, when things were crap, but in a funky skillo sort of way. You are presented with a choice of buying three whole budget games, a Marathon bar and a packet of crisps (I miss Marathon bars - ed), or a pocket LCD game. The idea of having so much power in yer pocket is simply too much to resist, even at such a high price of a tenner!

GO RACE! has two game modes to try, a girly mode (which is set by default), and a more difficult one which is toggled by finding the right key on the rubber-cladding. It is then a case of manoeuvring your F1 alike sports car left or right to avoid the on-coming traffic! Great, eh? Well, not so much.

Whilst the premise of GO RACE! is a good one, there are some slight issues with the implementation. According to our tech boffins at the CGC shed, this sort of game would have probably been better implemented in powerful Sinclair BASIC, which would have balanced the responsiveness and other playability factors more appropriately. I don't know much about that stuff though, I'm more interested in train spotting these days.

Overall then an super concept let down in by too much care and attention in the wrong places.

Go race with, err... GO RACE!

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Summary: Great concept but let down by its implementation

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Requires a whole 48K of RAMs!

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Colours

In a nut-shell: See the world in full colour with this spiffy game!

Developer: Jevilon and thEpOpE

Yawn Sinclair MegaGame

Well here we go folks. Does it get much better than this? A game that fully utilises the superb ZX Spectrum colour palette, but in a minimalist way, so it's not just a great and addictive game that we have, but one that those trendy hipster-types will clearly love as well! Yes, I'm looking at you Chaosmongers.

This is a true game of skill, it's simplistic (like some reviewers on this 'ere website then, eh? - Ed), and, well, just brilliant. The task, once you've selected your skill level as appropriate by pressing a single digit number (presumabely to save typing) followed by the ENTER key, is to match the ever-changing screen colour (referred to as PAPER in BASIC), with the border colour (or BORDER in BASIC). To do so, you must press the any key at the appropriate moment, except of course for the BREAK key. Each time you hit a match, you score a point. Great.

This'll keep you entertained for hours, and even those techies can break into the listing and marvel at it's brilliance because this is a one-liner entry. A well deserved CGC MegaGame if there ever was one. I'm gonna give it another crack!

ZX Colours in a game called Colours

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Summary: Admire the sheer amount of colours on your Speccy, and this has only half of them!

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Works on a 16K machine you lucky people.

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Space Scarper 2

In a nut-shell: Scarper around Space with this collect-em-up

Developer: Kweepa

One thing that the 1980s had in abundance, aside from great home computers such as the Speccy (as well as crap machines like the Commode 64 - Ed) was well original games. I mean, things were so much more original, like Thrust, and... well I'm not able to think of any others right now, but lets imagine that there was nothing like Thrust before Thrust to keep things simple.

Kweepa's Space Scarper 2 is kind of like that in that you have to carefully move around some part of the Galaxy in order to collect things. Except you collect them by basically pointing your Space craft type thingy in the general direction of the collectable thingies. And you power it with enough thrust to do so without hitting any solid walls. Or something.

Before you start though, you're given some options that affect playability, which are Steering, Thrust and Damping. It asks for a number of zero or one (or maybe a floating point number between zero or one, there were no instructions that I remember). So much choice!

This is nothing spectacular, but just good-ish from a usually top developer. Deffo worth a few loads.

Scarper around space

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Summary: Pretty damn good Gravatar Thrust clone

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Another solid 16K game from Kweepa

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Thermal Ski

In a nut-shell: Like Donkeysoft's classic MegaSki, but on paper

Developer: UNSATISFACTORY SOFTWARE

Yawn Sinclair MegaGame

Would you believe it - after the epic and totally addictive Colours reviewed above, Thermal Ski is a mega CGC MegaGame for sure, showing the true gaming potential of Sinclair's toilet-roll-holder-inspired but completely great thermal printer even though the legend that is Sir Clive Sinclair would never approve of using such serious hardware in such a trivial way. Or something.

So, what's it all about then? Well, imagine if you had remote control of a skier but could only see what was going on by viewing a real-time update on a bit of paper that is constantly feeding you information. Where is the Skier anyway? Are there hazards ahead? And is he/she nicely placed between the flags, one to the left and right? No? Turn left... no right... no!!! Such tenseness leads to highly addictive game-play. And the visual output leads to such wonder.

The player is denoted by a capital X and the flags either side are upper-case I. Oh and hitting a flag leads to instance death, so best keep your wits about you then.

Not only is this game thoroughly ace, it's also a great use of the hardware. But don't have a ZX Printer? Fear not, emulators like EightyOne will allow you to simulate it without wasting all of that paper.

Skiing just isn't skiing without Thermals

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Summary: Makes Horace Goes Skiing look like a game for simpletons

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A clean sweep for this mega skiing game

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Russian Roulette

In a nut-shell: A tense Russian Roulette simulator

Developer: Darío Ruellan

Darío Ruellan hits back with a great new Russian Roulette simulator imaginatively titled "Russian Roulette", which works on any Speccy.

The game has three exciting modes, single player (against the computer), two human players, and a demo mode, which will automatically begin if there are no keyboard interactions on the title screen.

In all modes, each player takes turns to pull a virtual trigger representing a hand-held firearm. The implication being that this weapon is loaded with blanks in all cases except for one bullet. If you're unlucky enough to pull the trigger and discharge the actual bullet then you die and the other player wins.

The demo mode is most exciting, as you won't know which of the two computer players will be the one to pop its virtual clogs, but there is always tension whilst playing. Will it be you next?

The graphics are very stylish, and the title music is superb. A real beeper masterpiece that any musician will instantly admire. Sound effects are good too. An excellent release. Go get it.

Hold your nerve in this excellent Russian Roulette simulator

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Summary: Dare you take your next go in this tense Russian Roulette simulator?

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A great one or two player game, but not for those of a nervous disposition

Not developed by Volker Bartheld

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Catch My Balls

In a nut-shell: An excellent one line ball catching action

Developer: Eq

Minimalist programming doesn't always mean minimalist gaming, and Catch my Balls proves this in abundance, as not only is there some excellent spot sound effects, but also colour-clash-free colour graphics (well, sort of) and even text in the bit of the screen that is usually home to the R Tape loading error, 0:1 message

This all-action arcade game requires you to move the ball catcher to the same vertical position of the on-coming ball. But be aware that the spherical object may not always stay the same course, moving randomly on the vertical plane as it gets closer to your glove. The game continues until you've missed a ball and to replay you will have to remember the BASIC command to re-run the program, so have your ZX Spectrum manual at the ready for that one.

Overall, a fast-paced and addictive game.

Can you catch my balls?

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Summary: Super fast-paced ball-catching action

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LD Snake

In a nut-shell: A gobble-and-grow game for all ages

Developer: djnzx48

LD Snake is a 100% Machine Code entry which is simulates the classic gobble-and-grow concept invented in the 1970s and popularised by Nokia's 3310 range of cellular mobile telephones.

This game suffers from slick execution of the running machine code, which is compensated for by a small symmetrical play-area. Collect a yellow food pellet and your snake will grow by the length of said pellet. Touch anything else within and it's game over.

LD Snake is a fairly good attempt at the 40+ year old genre, balancing great graphics with mediocre game-play and a tiny play area for extra toughness.

Grow your Snake

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Summary: Fast pacey slithering action

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Advanced Election Simulator

In a nut-shell: An accurate simulation of how Elections work

Developer: Anonymous

Democracies around the world seem to be, to put it mildly, somewhat in meltdown whilst satirical writers are having probably amongst the best years of their lives with such easy targets as Theresa "Strong and Stable" May, Donald "Ronald McDonald" Trump and whoever the current Brexit secretary is. But not so for the flagship democracy of Turkey, as Advanced Election Simulator aka 2018 Turkey Presidency Elections Advanced Opposition Simulator allows you to explore.

Starting the game by selecting your political party to run for the Presidency of Turkey, of which there are five to choose, you must then guide it to success; the Patriotic Idiots Party is usually selection. After this, each of the five parties are put to the people in the form of an election, and this is where it gets interesting. You are then given options to influence the next election once the votes have been cast, including ways to commit electoral fraud. Yikes! Each choice will influence voters, and during the next election, purely random events might happen to stop you from winning. Not getting your hands on power will mean that you will eventually die from natural causes.

Advanced Election Simulator aka 2018 Turkey Presidency Elections Advanced Opposition Simulator is a politically intriguing game that'll have you hooked!

Advanced Electioneering

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Summary: Electioneering has never been so much fun!

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Advanced Lawnmower Simulator Vs Zombies

In a nut-shell: What to do when the Zombie Apocalypse happens

Developer: Ross Adkin

Yawn Sinclair MegaGame

One question that's often pondered here at the CGC towers is what to do if (or when) a Zombie apocalypse happens? I mean, it's an important question. Should we be stock-piling food and medical supplies? Or, as Advanced Lawnmower Simulator Vs Zombies suggests, keeping our mowers in good shape to keep the grass verges in trim.

ALS Vs Zombies is based on one of the greatest games in the illustrious history of our favourite rubber-clad computer, that being the redoubtable Advanced Lawnmower Simulator by Gardensoft. Rather than linear grass-pruning, you have a four-way mowing action. Invading each garden is one or more Zombies which take exception to your efforts. Avoid them at all costs and get the grass looking all loverly again. A brillo entry and super ace graphics, well worthy of your time!

Brains, brains BRAINS!

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Summary: Mow up with this excellent Zombie Lawnmower Game

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Totally smashing lawn mowing action

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Panic City

In a nut-shell: In case of Alien invasion, don't panic!

Developer: A.tomy Prez

Hola! Spec-chums. And don't be nervous, 'n all, but the City is under attack by those pesky beings-from-another-planet types in Panic City from A.tomy Prez.

Prez's game initially lulled me in to a false sense of security, in that I assumed that it would be an English language production; it isn't, but that doesn't distract from what is a mostly polished bit of software. In places at least. And it's 128K only, with the extra hardware and RAM fully compensated for.

After some (I assume Spanish sub-titled) introduction screens, you're thrown straight into the action. And action it certainly is! Find and capture the invaders in order for your craft to move closer to some sort of portal or something. And threat not, as the invaders are not mobile. But beware, each movement dissipate a limited supply of energy. Once you've gaoled a set quota of Alien scum, it's time to level up. Yikes!

Graphically, it's a mixed bag here, but the game-play is rather resplendent and quite addictive. You have the added bonus of learning some Spanish (or Portuguese, I don't know for sure) without Google Translate. Panic City is a shiny release that will tarnish over time.

Alien Invasion is much fun in Panic City!

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Summary: Thwart the alien invasion in this classy 128K production

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Don't invade anyone's space in Panic City (unless it's the Alien invaders, of course)

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Planet Survival

In a nut-shell: An exciting turn-based strategy game to stay alive

Developer: RetroStevenUK

Sometime in the future, space exploration will be just as it is in Speccy games for sure, and I imagine that playing such productions as this instant miss, Planet Survival, will put any future budding space pilot on a good footing for a crash landing on a strange, Iron-rich planet.

It's actually very simple, keep up supplies of the essentials, oxygen, food and water. To do this, your task is to mine iron, which may be converted to one of the aforementioned necessities (that being oxygen), but also consider that this mineral may be converted to fuel for your rocket so that you may escape the planet.

Presentation is good-ish, but one for the brainy kids out there as it involves some thinking and maybe even the ability to count and add up, so needless to say that we struggled with it here in at the CGC Shed.

Planet Survival by RetroStevenUK

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Summary: Above average turn-based game which provides more than minutes of entertainment

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Plan your survival with limited supplies of life's essentials

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TODOS

In a nut-shell: Our first ZX81 entry will help you to organise your life

Developer: J. D. Smith

Yawn Sinclair MegaGame

Despite clearly being able to run a power-plant, the mighty monochrome ZX81 wasn't well-known for its productivity usages, outside of programming, of course. But now, you may at will organise your whole life with TODOS, which requires a wobbly 16K RAM Pack!

This super application allows you to add up to 20 whole entries of your most important tasks for the day, week, month or even year ahead. These may be marked as current, tagged, erased, removed, prioritised and time managed.

Not being a game, playability and addictiveness is set to zero, however the native character set is beautifully used, and it's a great tool for us unorganised types.

Todo - add ALT tag

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Summary: A great application that'll sort yer life out

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A great application for your favourite monochrome micro computer

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One Kick

In a nut-shell: A skillo but simple Footy sim.

Developer: Alexandre Colella

Yawn Sinclair MegaGame

Right-oh, who's for a kick-about? Maybe a game of Kerbie? Anyone? Eh? Oh hum, maybe I'll load up One Kick instead then, as I was never very good at Footy anyway.

Alexandre Colella's 16K masterpiece has basically stripped the somewhat popular game of Football (that's actual Football, for any North American dwellers, it's not called Soccer please) to it's, err... absolute basics. Which means that there's no off-side rule to explain. Huzzah! And there's only one player as well.

Facing an open goal without even a keeper in sight, the idea is to 'kick' the 'ball' (in this case, represented by a square) into the the back of the net. Easy, I hear you say. You'll soon have a hat-trick bagged, eh? Think again, as there's plenty of skill involved

Firstly, the ball is constantly moving left to right and then back again, each time it completes one width of the play area in either direction, your 'score' counter decreases. Somewhere below this on the screen is your player, represented by a binary square type thing. Ready to shoot? Press the 'k' key and, with a swift run up, our would-be striker sprints goal-wards. If our goal-hog meets the ball then it is hurled into the back of the net and you win!

One Kick has great life-like graphics; the only things missing, aside from any other players, or a crowd, or line markings, or a ball, or anything that resembles the popular sport, is the disappointment of a dull, no-score draw by two teams, neither of which you support.

One Kick will have Footy fans of us all!

One Kick to success

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Summary: The closest you're likely to get to being a top centre forward

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He shoots... HE SCORES!

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Stercore

In a nut-shell: A blaster that's worth a blast

Developer: Jason "TMR" Kelk

Yikes! A shoot 'em up entry by none other than Jason "TMR" Kelk in the form of Stercore, who is well known for his blasteramas, so this one should be blummin' brilliant, eh? Alas, what could have been a shiny shooter shinier than Patrick Stewart's shiny head is somewhat dulled by a lack of presentation and, in places, fairly poor graphics and music and stuff.

So where to begin then? Well, as the back story was unreadable (our tech boffins say that the accompanying digital document was corrupt), let's just assume that that someone at some Space Force HQ, probably called the Ster Core or something, has decided the best way to destroy some malevolent alien invaders is to send in a single armoured manned craft. And who's gonna volunteer for that mission, you may ask? Well, yep, it's you. No good hiding from this; step forward and take the glory!

Despite my reservations about the graphics and presentation generally, the game-play is just about below par in this horizontally scrolling scrolly type game. Which means that it should keep yer entertained for a bit, and dedicated shoot 'em up fans a bit longer. Not a bad effort but could do better.

Pee-yoo pee-yoo zap zap etc...

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Summary: Bullet hell? More like bullet smell...

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