Immortal ZX Spectrum games

The ZX Spectrum can boast some 15 thousand titles, which is about ten times more than what is currently available for either GBA or NDS alone. This is quite a lot of games to choose from. To put it into perspective, if you try out one title each day, it will keep you occupied for more than forty years. So, where do you start?

Fortunately there are many sites out there which list the best Spectrum games ever made. The only problem is that the rating often comes from people who played the games back in the day, which makes it somewhat biased and less relevant for users who have not even heard about the Spectrum before. Well, at least I honestly doubt that people today would really care to appreciate Deathchase, no matter if it is listed as number one in Your Sinclair's Top 100 list.

Therefore I have decided to create this little page, focusing on the games which might still appeal to ZXDS users today. The criteria judged here were mostly the quality of gameplay, decent graphics, ease of control, reasonable learning curve, and any suitable combination thereof. Of course, bear in mind that this is still all subject to my personal opinion, which means that everyone else is free to disagree with my selection. And while I think I have covered most of the must-see games, there are certainly hundreds of other excellent games out there which I have yet to discover myself. Still, the games listed here are usually the ones I can heartily recommend to anyone, and I hope it will help the newcomers to get some taste of the gaming of the past.

For your convenience, every reference and screenshot is linked to the corresponding World of Spectrum Classic page where you can download the games from and get further info. I particularly recommend reading the game instructions, otherwise you might have problems figuring out the controls and what you are actually supposed to do. However note that some of the games were denied from distribution, so you won't be able to get them from legal sites like WoS.

Finally, if you would prefer to see even more screenshots without my sidenotes, you can go here for an overwhelming amount of retrogaming goodness on one single page. Beware, though, it has been observed to have a strong emotional impact on some of the tested subjects.

Assorted goodies

Head over Heels Head over Heels Head over Heels Head over Heels Let's start with my personal favorite: Head over Heels. I think it still has a lot to offer, even compared to today's standards. The graphics are cute as ever, and the gameplay is truly excellent. You'll surely spend quite some time solving the puzzles in each room before you make the Head and Heels gather their upgrades, meet each other, reach the central room, liberate each of the five planets, defeat the evil emperor and finally escape to freedom.

Tetris 2 Tetris 2 Tetris 2 Tetris 2 Another Spectrum game I can play about anytime is Tetris 2 in Tetris 2 mode. In my opinion it plays for some reason better than all the mission based Tetris variations I have seen ever since. Spending long minutes trying to destroy the one final brick only to screw up immensely in the end... Priceless.

Batman Batman Knight Lore Knight Lore Alien 8 Alien 8 In case you liked Head over Heels, chances are you will like some of the other similar isometric games as well, like Batman, Knight Lore, or Alien 8. They all provide the same type of gameplay, which involves acquiring objects in a vast maze, each room presenting a little task or puzzle to solve.

The Great Escape The Great Escape The Great Escape The Great Escape Where Time Stood Still Where Time Stood Still Another isometric game worth trying is The Great Escape, which puts you into the role of a prisoner-of-war during World War 2. See if you have what it takes to escape from Nazi's prison camp... And in Where Time Stood Still you play as a group of an airplane crash survivors, lost in the midst of some mysterious prehistoric land...

Rex Rex Rex Rex Myth Myth Myth Myth And you definitely shouldn't miss Rex. Hard but brilliant game, and the graphics are simply jawdropping. Make sure you check out the demo first, as it explains the gameplay mechanics. The proper use of the shield is particularly crucial. Another game with similar graphics but different gameplay is Myth, a bit short but worthwhile action adventure taking place in several eras of human history.

Hammerfist Hammerfist Hammerfist Hammerfist Switchblade Switchblade Switchblade Switchblade The Hammerfist shall not disappoint you either, despite the graphics being only black and white. The goal is to breach the security of each room by breaking enough stuff in it, then proceed to another room. You can switch between two heroes, a strong man and an agile woman, so make sure you choose the one which is up for the task at hand. Figuring out the controls is important, too, especially the use of the space key, otherwise you won't get much far... And if you find the Hammerfist graphics appealing and you enjoy an exploration style of gameplay, consider giving Switchblade a whirl, too.

Saboteur! Saboteur! Saboteur! Saboteur! Saboteur II Saboteur II Saboteur II Saboteur II Now if you thought that Sam Fisher was the first hero to run around in a neoprene swimsuit, you should better check out Saboteur and its sequel, Saboteur 2. The mission is to infiltrate the enemy base, do what needs to be done, and make it out again alive within given time limit. So, dare to see how do you fare as a ninja?

Last Ninja 2 Last Ninja 2 Last Ninja 2 Last Ninja 2 Speaking about stealthy ninjas, you might want to take a peek at Last Ninja 2 as well. Just make sure you press J in-game to switch to a more sane control scheme than the default one.

Laser Squad Laser Squad Laser Squad Laser Squad Rebelstar Rebelstar Rebelstar 2 Rebelstar 2 If you are fond of strategy games and ever get tired of Advance Wars, make sure you try out Laser Squad. The second scenario, Moonbase Assault, is my favorite one for a two player game, but the others are fine as well. In fact, two of the extension ones are tribute to the game's predecessors, Rebelstar and Rebelstar 2, which are good games as well, although the controls are less ZXDS friendly - nothing the bundled custom keyboard couldn't take care of, though.

Lords of Chaos Lords of Chaos Lords of Chaos Space Crusade Space Crusade Space Crusade Chaos Chaos You can also try Laser Squad's more complex fantasy based successor, Lords of Chaos, or its modern cousin, Space Crusade. The former is derived from Chaos, a game valued most by many. Don't let the simple graphics fool you, it is a very addictive game, especially if you have more friends around to play it with. Just make sure you read the instructions before you start playing, otherwise you might have no clue what you are supposed to do.

Nether Earth Nether Earth Shadowfire Shadowfire Shadowfire Shadowfire Then there are the Nether Earth and Shadowfire. The former puts you in the role of a controlling unit responsible for manufacture and guidance of battle robots used to defeat the enemy bases, while in the latter you command the Enigma squad on a rescue mission. To help you get started, equip Manto (the canine like creature) with one of the teleporters, as he is the only one who can infiltrate the enemy spaceship, then use that to bring in the rest of the squad. Oh, and don't forget to give them some guns, too, they'll surely need them.

The Lords of Midnight The Lords of Midnight Doomdark's Revenge Doomdark's Revenge And if you don't mind things getting a bit more hard core, look out for The Lords of Midnight and Doomdark's Revenge. Gather the army, crush the enemy and defeat the Dark Lord and then his daughter in truly epic masterpieces. Assuming you can figure out the bit more complex controls - however with ZXDS custom keyboards, it shall be no longer an issue.

Jetpac Jetpac Chuckie Egg Chuckie Egg Jumping Jack Jumping Jack Bomb Jack Bomb Jack Of course, a game doesn't have to be complicated in order to be fun. In fact, often the simplest games are the most addictive. Give Jetpac, Chuckie Egg, Jumping Jack or Bomb Jack a try and see what I mean.

Spy vs. Spy Spy vs. Spy Captain Fizz Captain Fizz Some games are most fun when played by two players, which takes them to an entirely new level. The fine examples are Spy vs. Spy or Captain Fizz. The former is for those who like torturing their friends with devious traps, while the latter features, despite the simplistic graphics, very nice coop mode. Thanks to the WiFi multiplayer ZXDS now supports, you won't even have to try to figure out how to map all the controls to the buttons of just one DS...

Nebulus Nebulus Deflektor Deflektor Anarchy Anarchy Games combining the action and puzzle elements and presenting it in original way like Nebulus, Deflektor, or Anarchy are my favorite as well. The goal is to reach the top of the tower, turn the mirrors to make the beam reach the target, or shoot all the destroyable blocks, respectively. The time limit can be somewhat annoying at times, but with ZXDS save slots you should be easily able to work around that.

Highway Encounter Highway Encounter Highway Encounter Highway Encounter Alien Highway Alien Highway Alien Highway Alien Highway Of course, I shall not forget Highway Encounter and its sequel, Alien Highway, another fine examples of action and logic mixture. Can you make it with your Vortons unharmed to the end of the highway?

The Sentinel The Sentinel The Sentinel The Sentinel And I guess The Sentinel falls into this category, too. You'll have to navigate a 3D landscape, teleporting between the robot instances you thoughtfully place around, harvesting trees for more matter, until you can finally consume the overseeing Sentinel and move on to the next landscape. Which brings us to the topic of 3D games. Mind little excursion to that genre history?

3D games

Academy Academy Tau Ceti Tau Ceti The amount of computations required for proper 3D seemed quite prohibitive for the Spectrum CPU. Some games elegantly worked around it by using simplified 3D model with fewer degrees of freedom. The Academy and its prequel, Tau Ceti, are nice example of such approach, and excellent games on their own. You play either as a space ship cadet, making your way through many various missions, or as a volunteer trying to shut down the nuclear reactor guarding the defense system of the entire planet. Flying around in your skimmer, you'll soon forget that the graphics is not fully 3D.

Elite Elite Starion Mercenary: Escape from Targ Mercenary: Escape from Targ Mercenary: Escape from Targ However, there were games which achieved decent wireframe 3D at reasonable speeds. You can try Elite, Starion, or Mercenary. Of course, the 3D is nowhere near to what we are used to today, but the gameplay is catching nevertheless. Luxury goods, few anagrams, or bottle of 12939 anyone?

Tomahawk Tomahawk Cyclone Cyclone ATF ATF The 3D was naturally well suited for simulators. Perhaps the most popular and quite realistic one was Tomahawk, but you can also have a go with pseudo simulators like Cyclone or ATF for that matter.

Ocean Conqueror Ocean Conqueror Carrier Command Carrier Command Going from the sky to the sea, the Ocean Conqueror and Carrier Command were quite fun to play with as well, and you didn't even get sea sick.

Driller Driller Dark Side Dark Side The latter shows that the Spectrum was even capable of drawing some filled polygons. The best known examples of this are the games based on the Freescape system, which started with Driller and continued in Dark Side. The frame rates are nothing stunning, but the gameplay quite makes up for that. Both take place on a moon of Evath planet which is in grave danger. In the former you have to prevent the moon explosion by placing several drilling towers at correct places to let the expanding gas out, while in the latter you have to shut down the Zephyr cannon by destroying the energy collecting devices located in planet's many sectors.

Total Eclipse Total Eclipse Total Eclipse 2: The Sphinx Jinx Total Eclipse 2: The Sphinx Jinx Castle Master Castle Master Castle Master II: The Crypt Castle Master II: The Crypt The Freescape was later further enhanced and used to produce more games, namely Total Eclipse and its sequel, Total Eclipse 2: The Sphinx Jinx or Castle Master and its sequel, Castle Master 2: The Crypt. They all involve solving puzzles while navigating the game's 3D maze. The maze games overall were quite popular back then, so let's explore some of them now.

Maze games

Atic Atac Atic Atac Starquake Starquake Equinox Equinox Actually dozens of Spectrum games involve exploring large mazes. If this is what you are after, Atic Atac, Starquake, or Equinox belong to the ones which are highly acclaimed.

Underwurlde Underwurlde Nodes of Yesod Nodes of Yesod The Arc of Yesod The Arc of Yesod Clearly the originality was not always the biggest concern back than. It's quite obvious that the latter two were both inspired by Underwurlde, and so were the Nodes of Yesod and its sequel, The Arc of Yesod, which many people would describe as Underwurlde on the Moon.

Robin of the Wood Robin of the Wood Firelord Firelord Sabre Wulf Sabre Wulf Likewise, the resemblance of Robin of the Wood and Firelord to the original Sabre Wulf is striking as well. In this case it is really mandatory that you read the game instructions, otherwise you'll end up just aimlessly running around with little clue on what to do.

Jet Set Willy Jet Set Willy Manic Miner Manic Miner Dynamite Dan Dynamite Dan Dynamite Dan II Dynamite Dan II However, perhaps no other game spawned so many look-a-likes as Jet Set Willy, a successor of very popular Manic Miner. Personally I was never too fond of either of them and would likely pick up Dynamite Dan or Dynamite Dan 2 instead if I had too, but you should check them out unless you want to be considered extremely ignorant about the platform's classics.

The Sacred Armour of Antiriad The Sacred Armour of Antiriad Heartland Heartland Sir Fred Sir Fred Of course, most games involving mazes incorporate elements from other genres as well, so it is more difficult to tell to which category they exactly belong. For example, The Sacred Armour of Antiriad would be rather classified as a platformer, Heartland as who knows what, and Sir Fred, although it features quite a big maze as well, perhaps as a graphics adventure. Which is the category we will talk about now.

Graphics Adventures

Pyjamarama Pyjamarama Everyone's a Wally Everyone's a Wally Three Weeks in Paradise Three Weeks in Paradise The point of all graphics adventures is to walk around, picking up objects and using them somewhere else. It all started with Microgen's Pyjamarama, which was later followed by Everyone's a Wally and Three Weeks in Paradise. To be honest, for some reason I never really felt much for this series, though.

Dizzy Dizzy Treasure Island Dizzy Treasure Island Dizzy Fantasy World Dizzy Fantasy World Dizzy Magicland Dizzy Magicland Dizzy Spellbound Dizzy Spellbound Dizzy Prince of the YolkFolk Prince of the YolkFolk Crystal Kingdom Dizzy Crystal Kingdom Dizzy The best of all graphics adventure series however undoubtedly started with the release of Dizzy. It's no surprise it had many sequels, namely Treasure Island Dizzy, Fantasy World Dizzy, Magicland Dizzy, Spellbound Dizzy, Dizzy: Prince of the YolkFolk, and Crystal Kingdom Dizzy, to name just the official ones. The second one scores as my personal favorite (I really like those underwater bubbles and the tree-tops village), while many people seem to like most either the third or the fifth installment.

Batman the Caped Crusader Batman the Caped Crusader Movie Movie Fairlight Fairlight Fairlight II Fairlight II Another graphics adventure which I found quite interesting is Batman the Caped Crusader. And Movie always attracted me, too, although I never managed to accomplish anything. The same can be said about Fairlight and Fairlight 2, both fine examples of 3D graphics adventures, even though they always felt somewhat empty to me.

Finders Keepers Finders Keepers Spellbound Spellbound Knight Tyme Knight Tyme Stormbringer Stormbringer Then there is the Magic Knight series, consisting of Finders Keepers, Spellbound, Knight Tyme, and Stormbringer. While the graphics may be little on the weak side in this case, it is the adventure part which it is well known for, so you might as well give it a try.

The Trap Door The Trap Door Through the Trap Door Through the Trap Door Popeye Popeye The graphics on the other hand is pretty interesting in The Trap Door and its sequel Through the Trap Door, and the games are quite fun to play, too, especially the first one. The same engine was first used in Popeye, but I have never got much into that one, though.

Role Playing Games

Tir Na Nog Tir Na Nog Dun Darach Dun Darach Marsport Marsport On the verge of graphics adventures and role playing games are Tir Na Nog, and its later released prequel, Dun Darach, by Gargoyle Games. Fine games based on Gaelic mythology, but personally I have spent most time playing Marsport, another game using the same engine but this time in sci-fi settings.

Heavy on the Magick Heavy on the Magick Hero Quest Hero Quest Bloodwych Bloodwych The Gargoyle Games are also responsible for Heavy on the Magick, an AD&D inspired game which I always liked. Pity the next parts of the series were never finished. Regarding the other games representing the RPG genre, the Hero Quest is quite popular as well. And if you like the classic square-based dungeon games like Dungeon Master or Black Crypt, and you have already had your go at Orcs and Elves, you may also find Bloodwych of some interest.

Gauntlet Gauntlet Gauntlet II Gauntlet II Ranarama Ranarama If you would prefer an action take on the RPG genre instead, try Gauntlet or Gauntlet II. The graphics might not look appealing at first sight, but the gameplay shall not leave you disappointed, especially in the coop mode. And if dungeon crawlers really are your thing, don't miss the excellent Ranarama either. Just make sure to read the instructions about how to use the runes and upgrade the spells.

Text Adventures

Red Moon The Worm in Paradise Lords of Time The Price of Magik Snowball Return to Eden When it comes to text adventures, the Spectrum has quite a few on the offer. Basically, anything by Level 9 is worth playing. Personally I have spent most time playing Red Moon and The Worm in Paradise, but the other games from the Time and Magik and Silicon Dreams trilogies, namely Lords of Time and The Price of Magik, and Snowball and Return to Eden, respectively, are considered to be pretty good too. Not to mention the vast Knight Orc trilogy, which I like as well.

Rigel's Revenge Rigel's Revenge Kayleth Kayleth Kayleth Slaine, the Celtic Barbarian Slaine, the Celtic Barbarian Slaine, the Celtic Barbarian Another game I enjoyed a lot is the Rigel's Revenge. The kind of humor used in there reminds me the Infocom games a lot. Just make sure you read the story displayed during game load, otherwise you might have problems figuring out what to do at the very beginning. The Kayleth is quite nice science fiction as well. Don't let the loading screen graphics confuse you, the in-game graphics is in fact quite fine, sometimes even animated. I also always liked Slaine, the Celtic Barbarian, if only for the interesting way of issuing the commands. It sometimes becomes quite tricky, especially if you get drunk (in the game, I mean).

The Hobbit The Hobbit Lord of the Rings Lord of the Rings Shadows of Mordor Shadows of Mordor Sherlock Sherlock Of course, for a real classic, you shall check out The Hobbit. One of the first adventures released for the Spectrum, and perhaps the most famous one. If you can stand the slow graphics fill routine, you will be rewarded with a unique experience. You can also try the remaining games in the series, Lord of the Rings and Shadows of Mordor, although neither of them reaches the fame of their predecessor. On the other hand, Sherlock, another game by the same author, is pretty good, despite of the various quirks it has.

Indiana Jones: A Chram Zkazy Indiana Jones: A Chram Zkazy Indiana Jones 2 Indiana Jones 2 Indiana Jones 3 Indiana Jones 3 If you can read Czech, there is a lot of adventures to choose from as well. My favorite ones are from the Indiana Jones series written by František Fuka, namely Indiana Jones a Chrám Zkázy, Indiana Jones 2 and Indiana Jones 3.

Podraz 3 Podraz 3 Hacker Hacker Hacker II: The Doomsday Papers Hacker II: The Doomsday Papers They Stole a Million They Stole a Million Franta also wrote Podraz 3, a neat game about computer hacking. If you like this kind of challenge, I can also recommend Hacker and Hacker 2, or somewhat related They Stole a Million. Not exactly text adventures once you get far enough, but who cares anyway...

Logic games

Quadrax Quadrax Quadrax Quadrax Fire & Ice Fire & Ice Fire & Ice Fire & Ice Now if you like to strain your brain even more, there is a plethora of logical games to choose from. The good thing about these games is that they usually age well, meaning they are about as good today as they were back in the day. Nice game I have discovered only few years ago is Quadrax, and it's quite mandatory that you check out Fire and Ice, absolutely brilliant and extremely polished game which will keep you entertained for quite some time, too.

Boovie Boovie Boovie 2 Boovie 2 Sokoban Sokoban If you like the idea of crate pushing, you might want to check Boovie and Boovie 2, or one of the many available Sokoban clones.

Xor Xor Atomix Atomix Atomix II: Hexagonia Atomix II: Hexagonia If you haven't played this game before yet, you might find this version of Xor of interest. And some people claim that my own Atomix clone and its sequel, Hexagonia, are not entirely bad either. I only wish we had used the black background, like for the SAM Coupé version we did later.

Shooting games

R-Type R-Type R-Type R-Type Zynaps Zynaps Uridium Uridium If mind twisting is not exactly your cup of tea and you would rather go on the shooting spree, help yourself. There are many excellent shoot'em'ups, the best ones being perhaps R-Type, Zynaps, and Uridium. It always amazes me how well these still play today.

Darius+ Darius+ Darius+ Darius+ Xecutor Xecutor Zanthrax Zanthrax It comes as no surprise that these games inspired quite a few lookalikes, as you can quite clearly see for example from the looks of Darius, Xecutor, or Zanthrax, despite the fact that the last two scroll vertically.

Terra Cresta Terra Cresta Light Force Light Force Silkworm Silkworm SWIV SWIV I also always liked Terra Cresta, and others seemed all rave about Light Force. Although not entirely as good as their Amiga versions, Silkworm and SWIV play pretty well, too.

Firefly Firefly Cybernoid Cybernoid Cybernoid II: The Revenge Cybernoid II: The Revenge But if you rather prefer something with a twist, try Firefly, Cybernoid or Cybernoid 2 instead. These require not only fast reactions, but some thinking as well. Kalokagathia.

Jet-Story Jet-Story Starfox Starfox Inferno Inferno Inferno Inferno Of Czech ones, I always liked Jet-Story and Starfox, as they both require a bit more thinking and planning, too. The latter might seem a little bit lacking technically, but the planet minigames make up for that. The Inferno is quite an interesting attempt as well, once you get into it. Just make sure you first switch to the quantum drive on the equip screen and avoid the clouds in the game, and you should be fine.

Flying Shark Flying Shark Dragon Breed Dragon Breed St. Dragon St. Dragon Thanatos Thanatos Now if you would like to try different settings than the ubiquitous sci-fi, check out Flying Shark, Dragon Breed or St. Dragon. And talking about dragons, have a look at Thanatos. Not exactly shoot'em'up, but interesting game nevertheless. Unless you don't like eating virgin maidens for breakfast, that is.

Commando Commando Rambo Rambo Ikari Warriors Ikari Warriors Of course, there are other types of shoot'em'ups as well - you don't always have to play as flying something. The classics are definitely Commando and Rambo. Did you notice the first one is based on the arcade version by Japan Capsule Computers? Sounds familiar? Yes, it's the original name of Capcom, authors of some of the best games of the past few decades. Elite also did conversion of SNK's Ikari Warriors, which is fine but really shines only if you can grab a friend to play with you.

Into the Eagle's Nest Into the Eagle's Nest Rambo III Rambo III For the indoors top-down view, there's Into the Eagle's Nest or Rambo 3 (at least its first part). No doubt where the inspiration for Alien Breed comes from.

Cobra Cobra Green Beret Green Beret Midnight Resistance Midnight Resistance RoboCop RoboCop For side scrolling action, don't miss the masterpieces Cobra and Green Beret. Some people are all excited about Midnight Resistance as well, although I quite never got why myself. And if you are kind of masochistic, you might find RoboCop appealing as well.

Exolon Exolon Mask III: Venom Strikes Back Mask III: Venom Strikes Back Mask III: Venom Strikes Back Astro Marine Corps Astro Marine Corps Astro Marine Corps And if you still don't have enough, try Exolon, Mask 3: Venom Strikes Back or Astro Marine Corps. That should really test your skills.

Savage Savage Savage Savage The latter uses the style of graphics which first appeared in Savage by Probe Software. Savage consists of three different games, each one giving you a code for the next part upon completion, and is most remembered for its large colorful sprites and explosions. Not to mention that the 48k tunes, especially from part 2, are among the best ones ever heard on the Spectrum.

Trantor: The Last Stormtrooper Trantor: The Last Stormtrooper Smash TV Smash TV Extreme Extreme Extreme Extreme Probe wrote several other shoot'em'ups using the same style of graphics, the most worthwhile being perhaps Trantor: The Last Stormtrooper, Smash TV or Extreme. The latter two are a bit on the hard side, though.

Dan Dare III: The Escape Dan Dare III: The Escape Dan Dare II: Mekon's Revenge Dan Dare II: Mekon's Revenge Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future In fact, Probe also used the same style in the third installment of the Dan Dare series, Dan Dare 3: The Escape. I quite liked that, although most people seem to think it is much worse than the second one, Dan Dare 2: Mekon's Revenge, which I never really got into. However, no one denies that the first one, Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future, is certainly the best one of the whole series.

Rick Dangerous Rick Dangerous Rick Dangerous 2 Rick Dangerous 2 Another nice series, which is more of a platformer than a shooter, is Rick Dangerous and Rick Dangerous 2. You play as the eponymous Rick, making your way through a selection of various levels, ranging from caves inhabited by primitive cavemen to highly protected futuristic factory.

Operation Wolf Operation Wolf Operation Thunderbolt Operation Thunderbolt But if you like plainly shooting anything what moves on the screen, Operation Wolf or Operation Thunderbolt is about as close as it can get on the Spectrum. Although nowhere near the first person shooters we know today, the action is fierce nevertheless.

Fighting games

Renegade Renegade Target: Renegade Target: Renegade Sometimes it's best to get close and personal, though. When it comes to fighting games, it is mandatory that you try Renegade and its sequel, Target: Renegade. You can almost feel the pain when you get kicked or stabbed in your belly, so better get ready to throw some punches yourselves.

The Way of the Exploding Fist The Way of the Exploding Fist Sai Combat Sai Combat Barbarian Barbarian Barbarian Barbarian If you prefer it one-on-one instead of the gang-way, you can try The Way of the Exploding Fist, or, depending on the weapon of your choice, Sai Combat or Barbarian. Regarding The Way of the Exploding Fist, I recommend pressing 0 during the demo to switch to the joystick controls first, as the default keyboard controls can't be mapped to D-pad well enough.

Bruce Lee Bruce Lee And you might have some fun completing Bruce Lee, fine example of a fighting game combined with a platformer. Many people consider it extremely easy, but personally I think it's example of one of the best ways how to approach the game difficulty - not easy enough to make it through on your first try, while easy enough once you learn how to pass each room.

Sports games

Daley Thompson's Decathlon Daley Thompson's Decathlon Daley Thompson's Supertest Daley Thompson's Supertest Hyper Sports Hyper Sports Winter Games Winter Games Some fighting games could be considered sports games as well. In this regard, there is a quite a lot of games as well, however most of them require just a rapid button smashing and proper timing - if you have seen any of Daley Thompson's Decathlon, Super Test, Hyper Sports, or Winter Games, it's like if you have seen them all.

Match Day Match Day Match Day II Match Day II Emlyn Hughes International Soccer Emlyn Hughes International Soccer But there are certainly exceptions which are well worth mentioning. The Match Day and Match Day 2 are definitely such fine examples. Very good soccer simulations, these games stood unrivalled for many years to come. Well at least until Emlyn Hughes International Soccer came out.

Match Point Match Point Ping Pong Ping Pong About the same can be said about Match Point. If you compare it to Wii Sports Tennis or Mario Tennis, you'll see that not that much has really changed since then. And the Ping Pong is about as good as well.

Racing games

WEC Le Mans WEC Le Mans Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge Although technically it's a sport too, racing certainly deserves a category of its own. For the fans of the hot wheels and burning rubber, I would recommend WEC Le Mans or Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge. Ok, so it's not Gran Turismo, but it can get quite addictive nevertheless.

Chase H.Q. Chase H.Q. Out Run Out Run Turbo Out Run Turbo Out Run For even more arcade-ish style of racing, check out Chase H.Q., Out Run or Turbo Out Run. The former two feature some pretty famous 128k tunes, by the way.

Enduro Racer Enduro Racer Super Hang-On Super Hang-On Super Scramble Simulator Super Scramble Simulator ATV Simulator ATV Simulator The motorbike addicts can have a look at Enduro Racer, Super Hang-On, Super Scramble Simulator, or ATV Simulator. The latter is in fact a quad bike, but who cares about such details anyway...

Stunt Car Racer Stunt Car Racer And if you feel like doing something really crazy, you may have fun with Stunt Car Racer. Brilliant conversion of the Amiga and Atari ST game.


Pac-Man Pac-Man Mad Mix Game Mad Mix Game Pang Pang In fact, you might have already noticed that many of the Spectrum games originally appeared on other systems first. The arcade conversions were the most common. The original ones were not necessarily the best, though. Take the infamous Pac-Man for example. I would pick up Mad Mix instead any time. On the other hand, some official conversions did quite well, for example Pang is still extremely playable today.

Arkanoid Arkanoid Arkanoid - Revenge of Doh Arkanoid - Revenge of Doh Batty Batty Krakout Krakout Some arcade games were not ported in the real sense of the word, but inspired tons of Spectrum versions anyway. Nice example are the ball and paddle games - there is at least a dozen of them. Most people are all excited about Arkanoid and its sequel Arkanoid - Revenge of Doh, however I personally always preferred Batty or Krakout for that matter.

Lemmings Lemmings North & South North & South North & South North & South However, not only arcades were the source of inspiration. Many games originated on 16-bit systems like Amiga or Atari ST. While some ports are somewhat beyond me, like Lemmings, which you can't really tell much apart from the background, or North & South, which keeps loading from the tape all the time (unless you use the disk version), there are ones which did quite well.

Rod-Land Rod-Land Prince of Persia Prince of Persia Sim City Sim City Rainbow Islands Rainbow Islands The ones which play as well as the original include Rod-Land or Prince of Persia. The Sim City conversion is pretty impressive as well. And Rainbow Islands seem to be praised by lot of people, too. It certainly looks fine, but as I was not really keen of the original either I can't really tell.

Turrican Turrican Turrican II Turrican II Turrican II Turrican II What I can perhaps judge are the ports of Turrican and Turrican 2. While technically they are definitely great accomplishments, the maps being the same and everything, they lack little something which made the originals so great. If you have not played the originals before, go ahead and give these a try, but if you did, I am afraid you'll be somewhat disappointed.

Turbo Esprit Turbo Esprit Skool Daze Skool Daze Back to Skool Back to Skool Trashman Trashman Interestingly enough, the Spectrum games inspired the other systems as well. And I am not talking only about games which were later ported to PC, like Quadrax or Boovie. Chances are that if you name a modern game, something similar has been done on Spectrum before. Take Grand Theft Auto, for example. Driving around a city, wreaking havoc and running over pedestrians? Bah, we have done that in Turbo Esprit, didn't we? Kicking someone's crotch and beating the living daylights out of them on the floor - is it Warriors or Renegade? Shooting at school teachers with a sling? Is it Bully, Skool Daze or Back to Skool? Considering the latest Rockstar game is Table Tennis (see Ping Pong), I just wonder when we can expect something inspired by Trashman. The main hero of GTA IV perhaps?

Scuba Dive Scuba Dive Stop the Express Stop the Express Cannon Ball Cannon Ball Even the seemingly original games like Endless Ocean remind me of the old classics like Scuba Dive. And whenever I played Viewtiful Joe, the episode five made me wonder whether someone from the team was somehow related to Stop the Express by Hudson. A company which is by the way responsible for Cannon Ball, a game which inspired the above mentioned Pang about seven years later. The circle comes full circle.

Other games

Quazatron Quazatron Ok, so you have tried all these games, now what? You may have a look at lists of favorite games created by other people. Different people have different tastes, so I am sure you will discover more gems in there as well. Like Quazatron, a game hailed by many as their most favorite game ever. I used to play it a lot as well in the past, but these days the jerky scrolling really brings it down and the subgame remains fun for only so long, so in the end I didn't put it on this page (uh, now actually I just did, didn't I?). Anyway, I am sure there are more games like this. So go ahead and see for yourself.

The lists you might want to start with are the World of Spectrum's Top 100 Games and Adventures, Your Sinclair's Top 100, The Best of Spectrum Games, The Spectrum Golden Years, or The Rubber Beermat. The latter ones even feature game reviews, so you can read more about the games themselves than you can here. And in the end, remember that the Sinclair Infoseek or Spectrum Computing search are your friends. They can find games according to various attributes of your choice. To get you started, here are the links for listing the best games of each year:

1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
2020 2021 2022 2023

And that's about it. From there on, you are on your own.