Reviews Archive

The 100 Best Spectrum Games

Welcome to our Top 100 Best Spectrum games. Now, for anyone new to the site we follow a set of rules for all our lists. We aim to represent the best of all genre's, we try to limit the number of sequels included to allow more underrated games to shine, and also tend to avoid games that have been ported from earlier systems that don't use the hardware to its full potential. The best Import games are allowed, but only when they're import friendly and don't require an FAQ to play.

Thanks and enjoy the list!

Hyperaction on Spectrum
  Starting out the top 100 we have this fun puzzle game that's kind of like a mix of Pengo and Pac-Man. You move around the map collecting objects or hoovering up colours whilst trying to avoid the enemies. The only defense you have is the ability to push the blocks around, you can't run the enemies down with the blocks like you do in Pengo, but you can fence them in and create protective barriers. A smart game that requires quick thinking and improvisation.
World Series Baseball  
World Series Baseball on Spectrum
  One of the best sports games on the system for its time, World Series Baseball represents the sport well, has nice graphics for the time and its gameplay mechanics are involved enough to hold the player's interest. The game is quite an underappreciated release, mainly as baseball is not a very popular sport in the UK (and sadly there was never any standout Cricket games on Spectrum that I know of) but its definitely worth giving a chance.
Scuba Dive  
Scuba Dive on Spectrum
  Here we have a big flick screen arcade game from early in the computer's lifespan. The game has you swimming around picking up pearls and taking them back to your ship, making sure to avoid the detailed, excellently animated marine life out to make a meal out of you. The braver player can swim deeper and navigate undersea caverns for bigger treasures, making sure to check their oxygen at regular intervals lest they suffocate. An original game that's tricky to master but rewarding.
Codename MAT  
Codename Mat
  Codename MAT was a cool update of Atari's Star Raiders. The game has you scanning for enemy ships and traversing the stars shooting them down and defending vulnerable planets from attack. You can also give orders to your own fleet of ships to block the alien's path and slow their attack, which leads to an extra layer of strategy to the game. A classic concept updated excellently.
Highway Encounter  
Highway Encounter
  Popular Spectrum coder Costa Panayi provides another interesting gameplay idea here with a puzzle/shmup hybrid set in an isometric view. In Highway Encounter you need to protect auto-scrolling droids as they try to push an advanced weapon into the heart of enemy territory. You scout ahead shooting the bad guys and moving objects around to make it safer for you comrades to progress. A memorably different experience.
Ring of Darkness  
Ring of Darkness
  Unfortunately, owing to its games being made almost entirely in Britain and Spain (neither of which were big into the genre), as well as memory and media limitations, the 48k Spectrum had very few traditional RPGs on it. Fortunately it did at least get this early release though, a clone of one of the most important RPGs ever made, Ultima 1. The game has all the hallmarks of the genre, you travel the overworld getting into random battles and accumulating experience, visit towns to buy equipment, and descend into dungeons which take place in 3D perspective. It's basically just a Lord of the Rings themed Ultima 1 with colourful graphics and the odd new item, but it's done well and the game actually arrived before many of the official Ultima ports came out.
Worse Things Happen at Sea   Worse Things Happen at Sea
  This has you playing as a maintenance robot working on an accident prone cargo ship. The main aim of the game is to keep the ship afloat until you reach the destination. You start off only having to worry about patching holes, but as the game progresses new objectives are added that need to be managed, such as making sure the ship is on course and that the engines have oil. The robot can walk around the ship opening and closing doors, or teleport by using its energy (leading you to have to recharge more often). Its a smart game that keeps you on your toes and fully concentrating.
Motos   Motos on Spectrum
  Puzzle game where the idea is simply to push all the other enemies off the platform. As you play you pick up power-ups which make you stronger or give you the ability to jump for the duration of the stage, and the main crux of the gameplay is in deciding on the wisest time to use these power-ups, making sure not to waste them unnecessarily. A nice and colourful port of Namco's arcade game.
Viking Raiders  
Viking Raiders
  This is a fun and accessible little 4-player strategy game with very simple, makeshift graphics. The game gives everyone a pool of money to spend on soldiers, boats and catapults. The factions take turns buying and moving their troops, and if one of the factions is killed his surviving troops fall under the victorious player's control. More money can be earned by getting one of the treasure chests and bringing it back to base. Its an early game, and admittedly doesn't look like much but was a ton of fun to play with friends.
  Exolon is a simple platform shooter from a programmer named Rafaelle Cecco, a well loved Spectrum coder often considered one of the best programmer's working on the system, known for his programming skills, detailed colour graphics, and high difficulty games. Exolon is one of his more easier going titles, you basically trundle along shooting at the enemies and firing off powerful missiles, and every now and then you come across a pod to improve your weaponry. A playable game with great graphics.
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