We spin forward a bit now and Beau-Jolly's 1988 Computer Hits 4. After abandoning the "video-cassette" style case used with 10 Computer Hits, Beau-Jolly adopted the standard plastic double cassette boxes and with it the quality of games dipped. After the mediocre Computer Hits 2 and 3, they were redeemed somewhat with a solid collection of titles on this compilation and what's more they bunged in two free games, hence the dropping of the "10" from the title. So what did you get?
City Slicker - Hewson
A Hewson game generally meant quality, but this was one of their weaker efforts. Graphically fine, and playable enough, its basic platformery was simply a far cry from the majesty of Cybernoid 1 and 2, Rana Rama, Uridium etc etc....
Starquake - Bubblebus
Steve Crow's classic may have been getting a little long in the tooth by 1988, but it was still a prime example of level design and playability. Colourful, well-defined sprites and graphics, natty sound and tight controls sealed the deal.
The Sacred Armour of Antiriad - Palace
This beautiful platform/arcade adventure offered up a novel plot with the original release from Palace games including an exclusive comic. Sadly all extras were absent here, but TSSOA was still a classy, if difficult, game.
Bride of Frankenstein - 39 Steps
Without doubt one of the major duffers on this compilation, Bride of Frankenstein was a monochrome side-on flip screen game which offered very little variation or indeed fun.
Deactivators - Reaktor
Deactivators is the hidden gem on Computer Hits 4, and indeed on the Spectrum in general. Yes, while you were busy playing awful platform clones and staid shoot 'em ups, there were original and addictive games like this that you should have been playing instead. The player takes control of a team of robots who's job it is to dispose of several bombs within a certain time limit. Various hazards stand in their way as well as some crazy gravity changes. Deactivators was a great game that boasted lovely 3d (ish) graphics and should have sold a lot more copies than it did.
Uchi Mata - Martech
The other major clanger to go with Bride of Frankenstein, Uchi Mata boasts such unbelievably poor graphics that it's hard to see past them to ascertain what the game actually plays like. In truth: like a dog.
Contact Sam Cruise - Microsphere
With a graphical style along the lines of the famous Skool Daze games, CSS already had a solid pedigree in place. Transplanting the scene to a 50's style gumshoe plot was a stroke of genius as the player tried to solve the mystery of the woman with the big tits. Or am I thinking of another game?
Spindizzy - Electric Dreams
The first of the "free" games, and another classic, this time a Marble Madness clone. I spent hours discovering new screens in Spindizzy without coming even close to completing the game (it was tough), but still enjoyed it hugely.
Dandy - Electric Dreams
The other free game, and another brilliant one. In spirit a Gauntlet clone, Dandy offered similar gameplay with colourful backdrops and plain black sprites. It was frantic and fun, although you only got to choose between two characters. Naturally, 2 player was included and much more interesting.
Pyracurse - Hewson
I was never a particular fan of isometric games, but Hewson's Egyptian-set arcade-adventure was one of the better efforts. Trickier than the Great Escape, yet still an absorbing game.
Revolution - Vortex
There was a spate of "ball" games following in the trail of Marble Madness; I liked Gremlin's Trailblazer and Bounder best, but this isometric take on the genre was an addictive game, with smart graphics and a steep difficulty curve.
Pulsator - Martech
I never played Pulsator back in the day. Its reputation is of an average maze puzzler that tries hard to emulate the C64 classic Paradroid and comes nowhere near.