Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Spectrum Compilations: Return Fire - Ocean's Live Ammo

It was only a matter of time before mega-publishers Ocean dipped their toes in the compilation market, and this effort from 1986 was one of their first. Boasting 5 games, Live Ammo was obviously themed around shooting games (or War-based games) and whetted their appetite for more game collections - it was soon eclipsed by the magnificent, um, Magnificent Seven. But that's another story...

Green Beret
Joffa Smith's classic run 'n' stab was rock hard but superb fun. Everything about the game oozed quality from the lovely scrolling to the perfectly balanced controls and nicely animated graphics. Green Beret IS ridiculously tough in places, but it's good fun to practice!
Hit/Miss: HIT

The Great Escape

Whilst this Denton Designs classic didn't quite fit the ethos of the compilation (you didn't get to shoot anything, but I suppose you did get shot at...), you can't really argue when it's a game of this quality. Sporting the iconic hands on barbed wire by Ocean regular Bob Wakelin (apparently not one of his favourite pieces), the game's objective was to escape the prison camp whilst continuing the routine of daily life, IE roll call, meal times and bed time. It was very atmospheric thanks to the stark black and white graphics and an engrossing piece of software.
Hit/Miss: HIT

Rambo: First Blood Part 2
This game was one of the first I played on the Speccy and I used to love it. Unusually free-roaming for the era, the player took control of Rambo in his attempt to free his colleague from the dastardly red devils. It's reasonably good fun, but extremely tough and the non-linear aspect can ironically be a bit annoying as you wander around trying to find your next objective. The graphics are very sparse (as is the sound), but Rambo just scrapes a HIT status.
Hit/Miss: HIT

Top Gun
Expectations were low for this one but Ocean delivered a decent, if limited game, that scraped a Crash Smash (and cover) with 90%. Top Gun is unsurprisingly a flight simulator with little attention paid towards the "simulator" part - it's all about shooting down the vector-graphic
enemies before they got you. To be frank, despite a decent 2-player mode, it was overrated as it lacked enough variety to really warrant a score over 70%. Still, not a bad shooter to keep you occupied for a short while.
Hit/Miss: HIT

Army Moves
Oh Dinamic, Dinamic, those lovely screen shots hid such terrors for any young Spectrum gamer! Colourful, action-packed games were their speciality and they did indeed look great in screenshots. However almost all of their games were so hideously unbalanced in gameplay that I never bothered with any of them after this. They didn't worry too much about colour clash either!
Hit/Miss: MISS

Hits: 4
Misses: 1


  1. I got this one with my +3 all those years ago but I couldn't work out how to play half of them (and was too lazy to put the effort in, I guess!)

  2. I loved Green Beret on my Amstrad, but the years have not been kind to that little blocky beast. Joffa's scrolling is nowhere to be seen on the CPC replaced by hideously unfair flick screens that will see you face to face with an enemy's bayonet before you can say 'hoorah!'. Add this to the wonky collision detection and it's almost impossible to see why I loked it so much. I say 'almost' because it does have flame throwers in it. Aahh... the flamethrowers...