What were the games bundled with the CPC464??

Britain. 1984. Christmas approaching. I didn’t want a Sinclair Spectrum or a Commodore 64. I wanted the Amstrad cpc464, with its choice of a monochrome green or colour monitor (£199 or £299 respectively in 1985), and it had a tape deck (the vital media device of the day) integrated with the keyboard. It also had a few games (including the dreaded ‘educational’ type) and ‘apps’ thrown in. the big question has to be ‘but what were the games and apps thrown in free with the Computer?’. Well, wait no more! Here they are in no particular order. All were produced under the ‘Amsoft’ banner, but were mostly produced by other developers.



Harrier Attack

One of the best of this freebie bunch, and the first game I saw demoing on an Amstrad. You are the pilot of a Harrier Jumpjet as it goes across a bleak (for bleak, read ‘Falkland Islands’) landscape. Yes, it is meant to evoke the spirit of the war against the Argentines. This game was developed soon after that war had ended. It is a bit like Scramble, but it is no great shakes today. This game does stand up better than any of the other games in this list though.

Roland on the Ropes

‘Roland’ is an anagram of ‘Arnold’, and ‘Arnold’ was the name of the first CPC prototype. Anyway, like Sonic was to Sega, so Roland was to Amstrad. With his ‘…on the ropes’ adventure, he was an Indiana Jones-type. Climbing ropes, shooting ghosts, in a pyramid. It was originally called ‘Fred‘ and was released on both the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64, but then got re badged under the ‘Roland’ banner when it went onto the CPC464. That would explain why ‘Roland’ is both an intrepid explorer and an intrepid bug (see ‘Roland in the Caves’). The game, if you are interested, has been emulated here and is free to download. I have played the game on the Amstrad emu WinApe, but it plays terribly. I used to love it when it came with the free bundle, but time has not been kind to it.

Roland in the caves

This was the one that really sold the CPC464 to me. I saw it in Radio Rentals in Tamworth Town Centre, on the Amstrad colour monitor, and looked fantastic.

Trust me – I had an Atari 2600 and had mates who had C64s and Spectrums, but ‘Roland in the caves’ looked so full of colour and detail. Pity they forgot to include any game play with the thing. It was very boring. You play a flea, stuck in a cave on another planet. The objective is to get out of the cave before a pterodactyl gets you. Then do the same again in another cavzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. No. Just. No.

Oh Mummy!

Basic stuff. A bit of dig-dug and pac-man thrown together into an unspectacular game. You are an archaeologist digging around some tombs. You have to pick up some artefacts and avoid mummies.

Bridge-it

There was one very good reason this was bundled in amongst several others – it was cack. Guide men across bridges from one house to another. That’s it.

Animal Vegetable Mineral

Bourne Educational Software. They produced software versions of games you could play with pen and paper. There was no need for them to exist as software. Let us move on.

Easi-Amsword

Didn’t even get it out of its case.

Fruit Machine

Played with this a fair bit – get the vicarious thrills of Fruit Machines without the cash haemorrage! Probably not as good as the Palitoy Pocketeer version.

The Galactic Plague

This was the Space Invader-type shooter. It was, by all accounts, impossible, though I cannot recall it. Someone does though – the excellent CPCGameReviews site

Sultan’s Maze

Up there with the worlds worst cover art. Heavy on the felt tip pens by the looks of it. The game was slow and a throwback to the early ZX81 maze type games. Forgettable (and the artwork is regrettable).


Wordhang

Hangman on a computer. That’s it.


Timeman One

The words ‘Bourne Educational Software’ say it all. Its an educational game. About time – not as in ‘about time they made an educaitonal game’. It is an educational game on the subject of time.

LINKS!!!

The best Amstrad CPC resource out there;

http://www.cpczone.net/

As many Amstrad game covers as you are ever going to want to look at (French Site);

http://www.phenixinformatique.com/notices.php?lettre=A#A

The history of Harrier Attack;

http://www.durellgames.com/harrierattackii/history.shtml

7 thoughts on “What were the games bundled with the CPC464??”

  1. Personally I feel 'Oh Mummy!' was and still is the best game in the pack. I still load it up on my CPC emulator on my PSP when I'm on the train or whatever and play it. I find it extremely addictive even now.I liked Harrier Attack but mostly because it's sparse low color graphics actually added a strange gritty realism to it in my opinion. Hard to explain why but I've seen a couple remakes of the game which have bright colorful graphics and they just don't have the same feel at all.My mom and sister kept stealing the CPC from me to play that damn Fruit Machine game. Those sound effects are still there in my brain annoying me every so often.Never seen that Wordhang before. My pack came with another word game called Xanagrams. Which my sister also loved…

  2. It has been a while since I played them, but I still have a soft spot for Roland on the Ropes and Harrier Attack. Fruit Machine is still a pretty good simulation.By the way, checked out your site – love what your doing there! I am going to give your Cosmic Prison Commando demo a whirl.CheersTWLB

  3. Hi, I wonder if you know the name of a game in which you flew around on a magic carpet (if my memory serves – it was a while ago) in caves. You would fly off the screen and come back on another one. I think you could unlock areas that you had gone past and not been able to get to before, I think by getting an item or something. There would be enemies flying around as well. There was another one where you stood on a grid of tiles and had to avoid certain lines, time your movements or you would die. Have any idea? I remember all the games on this webpage. Thanks a lot.

  4. I'm sorry but you are so wrong about 'Animal, Vegetable, Mineral'.The genius of the game was the fact that if you chose an answer the computer didn't know then you were asked what it was and what question could be used to figure it out, this was then saved and used in later games.Thus, after a week my copy was full of questions like: "Does it have a massive dildo?" If you chose 'yes' then the computer would ask: "Is it Stevie's mum?"(Stevie was my mate when I was 8)Excellent fun for rude minded kids.

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