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BAS Arcade Cabinet Restoration

After I built my arcade shed, I went on a bit of a buying spree, snapping up knackered old cabinets on eBay without much thought as to what I would do with them. I just knew that I had a space that needed filling with cabinets, and that I needed to learn how to restore them. I didn’t want to be just a player of old arcade games, I wanted to learn what made them tick and how to bring them back to life.  The BAS arcade cabinet was my first.

My initial purchase was a semi-working machine with a bootleg Mortal Kombat installed, this lovely old BAS branded cabinet, manufactured in the UK. I had seen a few of these knocking about on the UK forums, so I figured there would be enough people around that knew how they worked. Plus there might even be some spares available if I needed them. I managed to pick up this particular example for less than £100, a real bargain for an largely unmolested machine with what appeared to be a working monitor and PCB.

Martin the Van Man (UK king of arcade removals) delivered my BAS Arcade Cabinet along with a couple of others that I had managed to buy within a 2 week period. My first challenge was how to get them out of my hallway and down the garden before my wife came home.

Original eBay listing, and delivery day

Cunningly I managed to buy 2 virtually identical BAS cabinets, thinking that I might be able to make one perfect machine from parts salvaged from both, should it come to it. I also managed to acquire another Electrocoin Midi, a great little cabinet that may or may not include my favourite game, Phoenix. But that’s another story.

The 2 BAS cabs and the Electrocoin Midi make it down the garden to the arcade shed

Safely installed in the shed, my first job was to survey both the BAS cabinets and work out which one I was going to tackle first, and the problems I would need to address. I decided that I liked the look of my donor cabinet the best, as it was actually in better physical condition than the Mortal Kombat cabinet, albeit with an untested monitor and a botched control panel.

So my to-do list became:

  • Install a multi-game PCB
  • Test and fix the monitor
  • Repair or replace the control panel, joystick and buttons
  • Fix the damaged wood on the base
  • Remove all the metalwork and respray
  • Replace the rubber matting on the footrest
  • Replace the coin door locks (missing keys)
  • Find a replacement marquee light

This was going to take some time, but I was looking forward to a project that would give me experience of every aspect of restoration, not just the cosmetics but the electronics that power these old games.

BAS Arcade Cabinet Awaiting Restore
The BAS donor cab awaiting restore

Fixing the BAS Arcade Monitor

The cathode ray tube is the heart of these old machines, something that can’t be replicated with modern flat screens, and I was determined to keep this original monitor in place.  The other BAS machine had a working monitor but I wanted to find out what it would take to bring one back to life.

First job was to test the power supply, which was producing healthy voltages to both the JAMMA connector for the game PCB, coin door and control panel (5V) and to the marquee light (12V) according to my multimeter.  I had a working 60-in-1 game plugged in with flashing LEDs so I knew there was nothing wrong with the video signal being produced to the monitor.   The monitor was however showing no signs of life, and no “glow” in the neck, so I decided that the chassis would need to be removed and repaired.

This provided me with an opportunity to test out my new HV Probe, as the tube needed to be discharged before safely handling the monitor chassis due to the high voltages that can be retained by old CRTs. After donning my wellies and pink Marigolds (not joking), and with one hand behind my back to prevent my body becoming part of a circuit, I gently placed the probe under the anode cap.  Nothing.  No spark, no crackle of discharge, nothing.

Comfortable that I wasn’t going to kill myself, I removed the chassis from the monitor, making sure I took pictures of all the connections so I would be able to reverse the procedure later.

Hantarex monitor chassis
The poorly monitor chassis looking a bit worse for wear

I didn’t really know where to start with the repair of the chassis, so I cleaned it up with some cotton buds and some isopropyl alcohol, and sent it off to a contact on the UKVAC forum. Repairs to my Star Wars arcade machine have susbsequently taught me a lot about monitors, but at this stage I didn’t have the equipment or know-how. So I figured while the monitor chassis was being repaired I could focus on the cabinet itself.

Control Panel Repairs

The control panel on both BAS cabinets were less than ideal, one with a standard but weird vertical button arrangement, the other with extra buttons hacked on, presumably to play Mortal Kombat. Asking around the forums I found someone with a spare BAS panel, one with a button configuration that I was happy with.

BAS Control panel
Original BAS Control Panel with strange button layout

The control panel overlay had seen better days, so I decided that I would need to repair or replace it. Back to the forums, and although there was no off-the-shelf replacement available in the original design, I found a chap who was prepared to make a copy.

The wiring harness in the control panel was however complete and had a molex connector for easy replacement, so I documented the wiring layout taking lots of pictures, and set about carefully removing the old buttons and joysticks. The joysticks were mismatched and a bit worn, so I planned to replace with some stock 8-way items that had left over from a previous MAME cabinet project along with some shiny new buttons. The blanking plate that covered the extra joystick hole would be salvaged and cleaned up with some Brasso in leiu of specialist plastic polish.

BAs Control Panel Wiring
The wiring of the existing control panel before removing buttons and joysticks

A few weeks later and my replacement panel overlay arrived (thanks Olly from the Arcade Art Shop) looking fantastic. I treated the replacement control panel with some rust converter to tidy up any corrosion on the bare metal, and gave it a good wipe down with white spirit to remove any remaining adhesive residue and dirt that would prevent the new overlay from sticking. I then carefully applied the overlay, making sure I smoothed it down as I went and lining it up with the visible area of the control panel. Once applied, I then cut out the joystick and button holes with a craft knife, leaving some overlapping triangular sections to tuck into the hole.

BAS Control Panel
Applying the repro control panel overlay

Then the most satisfying part, pushing the buttons and the joysticks through the newly covered panel and securing with plastic nuts and shiny new chrome bolts. I was really pleased with the result, basically a good as new finish with every visible surface and component replaced, while keeping all the original internals. Now the control panel was perfect, I needed to address some of the problems with the cabinet itself.

Completed BAS Control Panel
The replacement control panel with repro overlay, new joysticks and buttons

Repairing the BAS Arcade Cabinet Woodwork

I had noticed when moving the cabinet around that there was some bulging in the cabinet edges, mainly in the bottom part of the cabin where the wood had possibly got damp and the glue holding the fibreboard together had decayed. So I tipped the cabinet onto its back (making sure the monitor and glass was secured correctly) to survey the damage.

BAS Cabinet with damaged wood base
The base of the cabinet before the damaged wood is repaired

Looking at the bottom it was fairly sound, but would need some work to stabilise the spread in the board and prevent further damage, as well as improving the looks. I removed the loose material with a file and then applied a wood hardener to the remaining surfaces to “glue” what was left together, with the help of some clamps to push the spread wood back into place. After drying, I sanded away any remaining protruding wood, and then filled with a high performance wood filler to level the surfaces and fill any holes. After a couple of rounds of filling and sanding I was happy enough with the base to prime and paint Matt black. As most of the base is hidden with rubber mat or metal plate, it didn’t have to be perfect, just tidy.

Repaired base of BAS arcade cabinet
Based hardened, filled and sanded ready for painting

While I had the cabinet on its back I took the opportunity to remove the t-molding and all the remaining metalwork including the coin doors so they could be treated for rust and cosmetic damage. There was a lot of visible rust and bubbling of paint so I decided to take back to bare metal rather just touching up. This is a job that many arcade restorers like to outsource, by sending the components off to a sandblaster and powder-coater for treatment, but I wanted to get my hands dirty on this first project. Which will be the subject of my next update, as this one is getting a bit long!

But before I finish this update, I thought I would share the most exciting part of the build, as at this stage in the restoration I received an important package.  The monitor chassis was back from repair, and after careful reinstallation, sprang back to life on the first power up without needing any adjustment.

BAS Cabinet with monitor
The BAS Cabinet with newly repaired monitor chassis installed

Up Next in Part 2

So next up in part 2 of this restoration blog will be the coin doors and other metalwork, the t-molding and bringing the marquee light back to life.  I’ll then assemble all the refurbished parts of this lovely old BAS arcade cabinet ready to play some classic games.

Huge thanks to gunblade from the UKVAC forum and Olly from arcadeartshop.com for their help with the restoration.

Grandstand Munchman 80’s handheld review

Anyone who has read my blog before knows I am a big fan of retro handheld games, and Grandstand made some of the best. Many of these games attempted to recreate the big arcade games of the time, which explains the proliferation of space invader clones, including the likes of Galaxy Invader and Astro Wars. The Space Invaders game format translated relatively well to the VFD handheld games, due to the relatively simplistic graphics, and that fact that the invaders and the player character didnt occupy the same space on the game screen.

When it comes to replicating a maze game, and of course we are talking about Pac Man, the graphical challenge is much greater using a VFD screen. As well as having to create a realistic looking maze, you also have a playfield that requires the player character, the enemy ghosts and also the pac pills to be represented in the maze at the same time.Grandstand managed to achieve this with the classic Munchman, delivering a great Pac Man clone that stays true to original despite the limitations of the format.

The game itself is large and round, like a dinner plate, in a bright shiny yellow, a clear reference to it’s Pac Man heritage. Rather than using a joystick, which would have stood out against the smooth surface of the game, 4 directional buttons were used to control your Munchman. The only other switches are the on / off switch, and a difficulty selector that dicates the speed of the chasing ghosts.

Mini Munchman

The gameplay is as you would expect, albeit with a smaller maze and fewer ghosts, with the objective being to clear the maze of pills before being caught by the chasing spooks. Eating a red power pill would make the ghosts flash, and allow you to eat them for bonus points. The one thing that does however stand put about the gameplay is that your Munchman always faces to the left, regardless of which direction he is travelling, and can only eat going left, resulting in some back tracking needed to eat all the pills. Helpfully there is still a short cut, so you can continuously travel right to left and reappear on the other side of the maze. To accompany the gampelay there is a great soundtrack, typically loud as all Grandstand games tended to be, with jaunty intro tunes and in game effects.

Much like the Grandstand Scramble handheld, Munchman also had a smaller LCD based sister, predictably titled Mini Munchman, which aped the yellow case if not the classic round shape.  Both games were very popular, and due to the rock solid build quaility can still be found in working order on ebay.  In fact its difficult to believe these games are 30 years old, and can still be played today.

A “must have” for any retro handheld collector.

Gunstar Heroes for the Sega Megadrive

The Sega Megadrive was never short of great games, but developer Treasure managed to create a smash with Gunstar Heroes, it’s very first commercial release in 1993. Back then the name Treasure was relatively unknown, well before they received worldwide acclaim for games such as Bangai-O, Sin & Punishment and Ikaruga.

gunstar heroes megadrive case
Gunstar Heroes for the Sega Megadrive

Gunstar Heroes uses the horizontal run and gun format familiar to players of Contra, Metal Slug and Forgotten Worlds, scrolling left to right with multiple platforms and routes through each level.  An over-complicated game intro establishes that your heroes “Red” and “Blue” have to cross deserts, aerial platforms, caverns and huge battleships on a mission to rescue Red’s brother “Green” from the evil “Black”.

Gunstar Heroes Gameplay

There are 7 levels to complete, each featuring unique locations and level bosses, and a whole bunch of minor enemies and mini-bosses to defeat along the way. In fact so many that the screen sometimes seems filled with sprites, projectiles and huge blooming explosions, all of which dont seem to incur any kind of slowdown from the 16 bit heart of the Megadrive.

Gunstar Heroes Megadrive screenshot
Gunstar Heroes – Explosions!

You can choose from 4 weapons, Force, Lightning, Fire and Chaser, which can be combined to make hybrid weapons, which give different perks and allow for different playstyles. In two player mode you can even work in tandam, throwing each other at weaker enemies being another way of destroying them as well as the huge bosses.

Bucking convention, you could pick from any one of 4 levels to start, allowing you to take different routes through the game should you get stuck, which due to the advanced difficulty levels, would often happen. Death would come when you took a certain number of hits and drained your power bar, giving you the opportunity to quit the game or return to the start of the current level.

As with all Treasure games to follow, the sprites were incredibly detailed, and they wrestled every last inch of processing power out of the Megadrive, with the kind of graphical scaling and rotation normally associated with the FX chip augmentented Super Nintendo.

Gunstar Heroes Bosses

Gunstar Heroes Cavern Level
Gunstar Heroes cavern level

Some of the stand out moments include the “sand” boss, created from shifting blocks of sand forming different shapes including a “running man”, a Treasure hallmark, with this character also featuring in later shmup Radiant Silvergun.  There is also a “boardgame” level full of bosses, and a mine level featuring an Indiana Jones style minecart chase.

Playing Gunstar Heroes Today

Getting hold of Gunstar Heroes these days is hampered by its relative rarity and cult status, but you can still obtain a copy on ebay for around £20, and you can also find it on the Sega Megadrive Classic Collection, with 3 other games – which bizarrely is cheaper.  360 owners can also download from XBOX Live Arcade.

There was also a sequel, Gunstar Super Heroes on the Nintendo Gameboy Advance, which had great reviews but didn’t achieve the same cult status as the Megadrive original.

Whilst not selling in the volumes it deserved, due to Treasures’ lack of previous form at the time, and any kind of marketing muscle – it just couldn’t compete with the kind of money being spent on the Blue Hedgehog.  For lucky gamers who did stumble upon it, they got to experience one of the great games of the 16 bit era, and the birth of a developer who would go on to be recognised as one of the greatest.

Strider Arcade Retro Review

Strider Hiryu – Capcom’s Arcade Hero

My first introduction to Capcom’s Strider was not through the arcade cabinet, but the excellent Megadrive port, which was like nothing I had seen before, with it’s huge sprites and fantastically varied levels and incredible bosses – it was an arcade revelation.  At it’s heart, Strider is a side scrolling beat-em-up, but that simple description does the game a huge injustice.

Strider - mechanical monkey
One of the more impressive bosses
Set in a futuristic world, your “Strider” Hiryu must leap and slash his way through 5 levels in order to defeat the evil Meio, whose army has taken control of several European states.  The mission begins with Hiryu flying in on his hang-glider, before he leaps into action in the first level, a Russia themed location.  The first thing that grabs you is the size of the characters and the detailed animation, with Hiryu able to leap directly upwards, or cartwheel left of right.  He can also grip onto platforms above him, grappling across chasms, and perform a sliding tackle move.  His main weapon is a light sabre that is used to perform rapid slash movements to dispatch enemies.

To help Strider Hiryu on his way, various power-ups can be obtained including wingmen in the form of a small robot, a big metallic cat and a mechanical hawk, each of which feature their own special moves and animations.

Stride Arcade Hill Section
Strider Arcade – Hill Section

The five levels include the Russian location, snowy Siberia, a flying warship, the jungle of the Amazon and finally Meio’s Moonbase.  Each level is distinctly different in terms of the format, the enemies and tactics required to complete, and within each level there are mini-bosses, as well as end of level bosses, depicted using hugely detailed sprites.  Stand out bosses include a terminator-style mechanical gorilla with a huge reach, and a looping snake monster that needs to be beaten by jumping on it back.

Strider Megadrive / Genesis Console Conversion

One thing you realise very quickly is that it is HARD.  Strider only has 5 levels, but to see all of them will have cost you a few 10p pieces back in the arcade, as death was frequent and certain points in the game were very tough to navigate.  Thankfully the Megadrive port was incredibly faithful to the arcade orginal, and allowed you to perfect your technique without costing you a fortune. In fact the console conversion was so good it made it into my list of Top 10 Megadrive / Genesis Games.If you haven’t had the chance to play Strider, I recommend this is the best way of sampling one of CAPCOM’s finest games and a real retro classic that represents the pinnacle of 2D arcade gaming.

Strider 3 – the Return of Strider Hiryu on PS4 and Xbox One

Due to the popularity of the original Strider games, the series received a reboot in 2014, entitled simply Strider, but for the purposes of this article I’d call it Strider 3. The game was launched for the latest XBOX One and Playstation 4 platforms, as well as the last generation XBOX and PS3, and followed the original Strider story, as Hiryu battles against the evil Grandmaster Meio.

I’ve yet to play this version, but it’s on my growing list, and it will be interesting to compare this version of the Strider universe with the fantastic arcade original.

Thanks to The Games Shed for recording this video specially for me, please pay the shed a visit at www.thegamesshed.co.uk.

Battlezone retro arcade game review

Battlezone: The Original Tank Game

Battlezone was a truly unforgettable game from the early days of the arcades, that saw you in control of a tank in a 3D battle against enemy vehicles and space ships, set in a dali-esque landscape of cubes and pyramids.

Battlezone Arcade Screenshot
Battlezone Arcade Screenshot
Battlezone used wireframe vector graphics technology, the same technology that was used in the classic Asteroids, and perfected in the original Star Wars Arcade game. Rather than using a matrix of dots on the screen to make up an image, as used in more common “raster” screen technology, vector screens drew lines directly onto the screen using the cathode ray. The phosphor on the screen glowed just long enough for the line to appear solid and the ray had a chance to redraw the next frame, hence the slight flicker associated with the technology. Due to framerate issues it was impossible to draw solid blocks of colour, hence the characteristic wireframe look to all vector games.

Whereas Asteroids was a 2D experience, Battlezone cretaed a 3D world where objects were continually redrawn based on the relative position of the tank, allowing you to drive towards and past them. Through clever use of parallax scrolling, where wireframe 3D objects in the foreground moved at different speeds to the mountains in the background, the Battlezone playfield also had a sense of depth and distance.

Battlezone Arcade Cabinet
Battlezone Arcade Cabinet

The control system was unique in that you had two parallel joysticks which controlled the two tank tracks, so pushing both forwards moved you forwards, push one to turn left or right, or opposite ways for a fast turn. The cabinet also featured a periscope-like hole through which you viewed the screen. This combined with the 3d had the effect of making the game very immersive, for a while you really were driving a tank.

The trick was to use the terrain to hide behind objects whilst waiting for the enemy to drift into your sights. To help with positioning you had a radar that showed the location of enemies, and due to the slow pace of the tanks, you often found yourself in a race with your opponent to rotate to the correct firing position and get your shot in first – too early on the trigger and you might miss, too late and you would be hit. Being shot yourself resulted in your tank being destroyed, indicated by an explosion and the screen being “cracked”, much better than just saying “game over”.

Reputedly used by the American military for tank training, this game was an instant classic and was converted into home ports for the Atari 2600 and also for PC (DOS) amongst others. I recently downloaded a great ipad port called VectorTankX which is well worth checking out.

Dec 2011 – Atari did eventually notice the similarity between Battlezone and the VectoTankX game, and have had it removed from the ipad store. Shame as this was a great app.

Top 10 Spectrum Games: the best Speccy games ever!

Games every ZX Spectrum owner should play

Every ZX Spectrum owner will have had their own personal favourites on Sinclair’s popular home computer, and I have drawn up a list of what I believe to be the best. My Top 10 is based on my experiences of innovative games, that even 30 years later will spark fond memories of the fantastic little machine.

You could claim that I have made some noteable exclusions, such as footballing classic Match Day, perennial favourite 3D Death Chase, and various games featuring the Spectrum mascot Dizzy. All I can say is that this is my list, and I have my reasons for every game included here.

I have also included a mix of 16k and 48k Spectrum games, as I owned both versions and early arcade titles that fit into the smaller memory could be just as good as the (relatively) memory hungry versions. Remember this is a time when their were no hard drives, every game had to be loaded from tape (or usometimes micro-drive) directly into memory whenever you wanted to play.

So in no particular order, my Top 10 Spectrum games…

Jet Set Willy

Every Spectrum owner will have played one of Matthew Smith’s classic Spectrum platformers starring Miner Willy. The first game, Manic Miner, was a sensation and its sequel, Jet Set Willy was even better.

Jet Set Willy ZX spectrum screenshot

Having made his money in the first game, Miner Willy has bought a huge mansion and held the mother of all parties. Before he can go to bed, the housekeeper is inisiting on him tidying up the place, requiring him to explore the many rooms of the mansion and collect various misplaced objects. The first really good attempts at a platformer on the Spectrum, these games featured many tricky hazards including conveyer belts, melting walkways, devious enemies and also required some pixel perfect jumping skills. Jet Set Willy improved on the linear nature of the first game by allowing free movement between the rooms of the mansion, creating a truly unique sequel.

Knight Lore

Knight Lore ZX Spectrum screenshot

This was the first game from Ultimate to feature the innovative Filmation graphics engine, which enabled rendering a game world in isometric 3d. This viewpoint was subsequently used in a number of classic Spectrum games including Head over Heels and Batman. Knight Lore itself was the third in the series of Sabreman games, this time our hero suffering from a nasty case of Lycanthropy, resulting in him spending half the game in werewolf form as he explores a huge castle seeking a cure. Each room of the castle featured puzzles and obstacles to overcome, in order to access the ingredients required to place in a central cauldron and create a potion. A smash at the time, it was a huge leap ahead in terms of graphics on the Spectrum, and set a standard for other games to follow.

Atic Atac

Atic Atac ZX Spectrum screenshot

At the time this “haunted mansion” themed game seemed epic, a colourful and action packed game like nothing before it on the Spectrum. Your mission was to play as one of three medieval characters, each with different skills and different routes that must be taken through the game. Find the various pieces of key, avoid or kill the numerous monsters, and fight your way to the exit. This game featured some great graphics, shown from a top-down perpective, and some well animated creatures – but my favourite component was the chicken based life-meter which shows your character’s health.

One of many Spectrum games that required you to draw a map as you progressed in order to remember your way the next time, often resulting in lots of bits of A4 paper selotaped together as your map grew ever larger and more complicated.

Click here for the full review


Underwurlde ZX Spectrum screenshot

The sequel to Sabre Wulf, Underwurlde transported the hero Sabreman to a underground world, which saw him turned on his side and become a platformer rather than a top-down adventure. Much like Atic Atac and Sabre Wulf before it, the gameplay required you to explore a complex series of rooms, avoid baddies, and find specific items (in this case weapons) in order to escape. Along the way Sabreman would be required to jump gaps, climb ropes and ride on bubbles in order to traverse the huge maze of over 500 screens.

Some might say 3 Sabreman games in the the Top 10 but each had a different graphical style and unique gameplay elements that merit their inclusion.

Skool Daze

School daze ZX Spectrum screenshot

Another game that could really only work in the UK, Skool Daze was the closest thing to a Spectrum version of popular 80’s TV show, Grange Hill. Your mission was to survive the various challenges that school threw at you, from grumpy teachers through to evil bullies, and uncover the combination to the school safe, which held an incriminating report card. Get caught using your catapult, or any other number of misdemeanors, and you will be given lines, too many lines and you are expelled.

Another game featuring classic British humour, this was a unique game concept that was platformer, simulation, puzzle and adventure in equal parts, and a firm favourite with many Spectrum owners.

Daly Thomson’s Decathlon

Daley Thomsons Decathlon ZX Spectrum screenshot

Famous for its ability to destroy joysticks, Daly Thomson’s Decathlon was a clone of the Track & Field arcade game, which required players to bash buttons and waggle joysticks furiously in order to make the on screen characters run, jump and throw their way to athletic victory.

Ocean’s version for the Spectrum featured popular decathlete Daley Thomson, and gave the player the opportunity to take part in all 10 events. The game featured some great animation, although slightly strange graphics in that the black Olympian was portrayed as an all-white sprite – probably more due to the limited colour palette and attribute clash issues of the humble spectrum than anything else. My personal favourite was the Javelin, which required maximum speed and just the right throwing angle in order to get a qualifying throw.

A great game and must feature in any Spectrum fan’s Top 10 list.

Click here for the full review

Sabre Wulf

Sabre Wulf ZX Spectrum screenshot

The third game from Ultimate in my Spectrum Top 10 game, this featured the first outing of Sabreman, reappearing in Underwurlde, in wolf form in Knight Lore, and finally as a wizard in Pentagram. Sabre Wulf was an adventure set in a huge flick-screen world of lush vegetation, back in the day when there were no maps on your head up display, if you wanted to find your way through the many screens you had to get busy with a pencil and paper. Avoid the jungle critters, collect 4 pieces of the amulet and you were free, but not without a long battle with numerous enemies and a lot of back-tracking through the game’s 256 screens. An obvious inclusion for my list of Top 10 Spectrum games.

Everyone’s a Wally

Everyones a wally ZX Spectrum screenshot microgen

Microgen released the much loved series of platform / adventure games featuring the affable Wally on a number of platforms including the Spectrum. All of these games featured large colourful sprites and challenging gameplay, culminating in this version which allowed players to adopt the personas of various members of the Week family. Each had special skills which had to be used to full effect in order to solve the various puzzles required to complete the game, and each had their own health bar which had to be independently maintained.

A novel game with some innovative features, most Spectrum owners will have at least one Wally game in their collection.

3D Ant Attack

3d Ant Attack ZX Spectrum Screenshot

Before Ultimate kicked off the craze for isometric adventure games, Quicksilva gave us 3D Any Attack. Set in a scrolling isometric 3D world (think Zaxxon with movement in 4 diagonal directions), the objective was to rescue your partner, boy or girl depending on your chosen character. Avoid the giant ants, and climb ever more complex structures to locate your mate and escape the city, armed only with a few grenades with which to stun the overgrown insects.

Another unique Spectrum game, this was a great retro memory for me and still playable today.

Chuckie Egg

Chuckie Egg ZX Spectrum screenshot

This game was available on a number of platforms, and everyone has their favoirite, but I loved the Spectrum version. As a farmer charged with collecting eggs from around a multi level henhouse, you used some fairly atheltic running and jumping skils to navigate the various levels and platforms whist avoiding the resident hens. Take too long to complete the level and the Boss Chicken would escape his cage and chase you around the level.

Some frenetic gameplay and excellent controls ensured that an apparently simple platformer became an enduring Spectrum classic and a dead cert Top 10 inclusion.