Saturday, 22 January 2011

Spectrum Compilations: All that Glitters - US Gold's The Gold Collection

Compilations only really started to appear from 1985 as publishers realised there was a gold mine in rehashing old titles together in one set for a bargain price. US Gold, after the mediocre Arcade Hall of Fame set, went to town with The Gold Collection, splashing out on an oversized black plastic box with the first of the ingot-style inlays. So did the Gold Collection live up to its name?

Beach Head
Beach Head was one of US Gold's first releases, and whilst not necessarily one of the most complex games ever, the variety of levels and superb standard of presentation certainly set it above other games of the time. I've actually always enjoyed it, from the tricky short-cut where you have to gude your fleet through a narrow channel laden with mines, to the final shoot out with the big gun.
Hit/Miss: HIT

Never had much time for the arcade conversion Tapper: think I was more interested in shooting things! It's different I suppose, but playing it now it seems very limited and lacking in long term value.
Hit/Miss: MISS

US Gold's conversion of the arcade classic was an ok job - nothing more. It was surely better than many of the poor imitations that were on the market and contained US Gold's already renowned excellent standard of presentation. As a shmup fan I liked it, but not as much as...
Hit/Miss: HIT

Blue Max

Blue Max is essentially a Zaxxon clone, with the action transposed to a World War 1 setting and the player in control of a biplane instead of a spaceship. I liked it a lot as instead of one hit dead, you had an energy bar; more playable and more realistic
Hit/Miss: HIT

Buck Rogers and the Planet of Zoom
Another shooter! This compilation really was one for action fans, and Buck Rogers, a maligned "3D" style shmup was one of my faves from back in the day. The graphics were colourful and impressive, the gameplay fast and frantic. Planet of Zoom hasn't aged well, but I still dig it out every now and then for a bit of shooting fun - flaws and all.
Hit/Miss: HIT

Spy Hunter
Again a game that has its critics - mainly the lack of a decent storyline and an old-fashioned lack of a proper ending - but this is defying the fact that Spy Hunter is huge fun. I used to play it for hours and hours, simply speeding around, ramming cars of the road and utilising the cool oil slicks before crashing off a bridge...
Hit/Miss: HIT

Hits: 5
Misses: 1 (a harsh one as well!)


  1. I'm a little surprised at your verdict for Tapper, as personally I'd put it right up in the top slot with Spy Hunter as the two games I'm happy to return to now.

    It has such a simple mechanic but is riddled with that risk/reward element that makes some games great. Should you pick up the tips, or just clear the customers as fast as possible? Can you risk letting customers get too far up a bar to clear glasses on another?

  2. Thanks for reminding me that we used to think about these games in terms of 'realism'. That gave me a chuckle.

  3. @antiriad2097, i did say it was harsh mate!