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Your favourite 8-bit magazine..
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22 Votes - 2 Comments
Film licenses hugely varied in quality on the Spectrum; obviously the desire to squeeze huge Hollywood blockbusters onto a meagre 48k meant results could be anything from superb to disastrous.  They tended to be less common than nowadays when ev...

Posted by jdanddiet on Feb 3, 2011 21:39 (Feb 3, 2011 21:39)

Film licenses hugely varied in quality on the Spectrum; obviously the desire to squeeze huge Hollywood blockbusters onto a meagre 48k meant results could be anything from superb to disastrous.  They tended to be less common than nowadays when every single cartoon or major hollywood film gets one or more games, and as a result, expectation was always high.

The earliest one I recall is Ghostbusters, but I never understood the fuss about this game, at least not on the Spectrum. The gameplay was dreadfully slow in places (that driving sequence...) and the ghost-catching bit not a lot of fun. I suppose overall it wasn't the worst license by some way, and it was certainly a big hit for Activision.

Another was the run and gunner Rambo from Ocean, which was unusual in offering a very open play area to explore (rather than the set vertical scroll of games such as Commando). It was good fun, but like a lot of speccy games, rock hard. Another early one I recall is Mind Games' Alien, a tough strategy title that included many elements of what we would call today Survival Horror. I only ever managed to obtain a 2% success score despite my efforts mirroring the conclusion of the movie itself.

Electric Dreams' ambitious adaptation of the sequel Aliens was also a great game, although more of a shooter. Despite getting a slating in Crash, I also enjoyed Activision's version of the same film which was more of a multi-level game, something that would soon become very common.

As the Spectrum started the inevitable slide towards its demise, film adaptations became more and more common as the big software houses ate up the little ones and original games became too much of a risk with a dwindling user-base. The last knockings of the classic era included the opinion-dividing Robocop (is it hard, or is it easy?!), simplistic shooter Top Gun, Platoon and the gruesome twosome of Big Trouble in Little China and Predator, both games I managed to adeptly avoid thanks to my love of Crash Magazine.

Of course, Ocean were the Kings of the movie license and Joffa Smith's Cobra stands head and shoulders above most movie adaps.  As the 80's came to a close there were loads of top games such as Hudson Hawk, Navy Seals, Total Recall and Back to the Future 3 that rewarded anyone loyal enough to have held onto their Spectrum.

Ironically, as you can tell from some of the titles I have mentioned above, quite often the games were better than the films themselves!

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#3 Feb 4, 2011 21:27:54 ( Feb 4, 2011 21:27 )

Top gun was decent in two player , Gremlins was a close tie in and fun for a text / graphical adventure , great article by the way.
#2 Feb 4, 2011 19:39:59 ( Feb 4, 2011 19:39 )

 The screens show for me.

Cobra was great and I enjoyed Ghostbusters but I struggle to think of any other good film license games for the Spectrum.

In fact, even if I consider non-Spectrum games only Star Wars (arcade vector graphics  one) and Goldeneye come to mind.
#1 Feb 3, 2011 22:51:35 ( Feb 3, 2011 22:51 )

 Do the screens display for everyone?
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