BRAINACHE 1987 – AMSTRAD, ZX SPECTRUM

Terrible is the best way to sum up Brainache. The graphics will make
you want to tear out your eyes; the awful sound effects will convince you
to perforate your eardrums; while the gameplay is so stodgy and glitchy
that you’ll soon wish you had a time machine to stop yourself from ever
playing this. Exploring a gigantic cave might sound like an interesting
premise, but the actual execution is awful. Budget in every way.

GHOST HUNTERS 1987 – AMSTRAD, C64, SPECTRUM

Ambitious is the best way to
sum up the Oliver Twins’ followup
to Super Robin Hood. It
runs on a modified version of
the same engine and features
similar platform mechanics. The
difference however is that pressing
fire moves control over to an
onscreen cursor, which you use to
shoot enemies. It’s a neat idea but
too clunky in practice.

SUPER ROBIN HOOD 1986 – AMSTRAD, C64, SPECTRUM

Super Robin Hood is notable as it
makes the first of many Codemasters
collaborations with the Oliver twins.
Originally created for the Amstrad, it
features digitised speech, a sprawling
castle to explore and plenty of
enemies to kill. Robin takes enemies
out with arrows and must run around
searching for hearts to restore his
health. It became the Oliver twins’
first number one game and was soon
ported to other systems, including
an eventual NES port. It’s a little
basic nowadays, but still proves to
be entertaining.

BMX SIMULATOR 1986

This gem of a game was coded by Richard Darling and would be the first of many simulator titles  that Codemasters would churn out in the following years. It’s essentially a clone of Super Sprint, but  with a BMX theme and a thumping good tune from David Whittaker. The lack of power-ups is a pity, but it features a fun two-player mode and a neat slomo option.

TERRA COGNITA 1986 – AMSTRAD, C64, SPECTRUM

In this shooter you have to travel as far as possible, whilst
shooting down enemies. There are numerous tiles in the game that
destroy your ship, extend its dwindling fuel supply or add bonuses
like points and speed-ups. Just watch out for the annoying time shift
tiles as they send you back to the start.