Archive for 'games'

So hello and welcome to all the new visitors who’ve come across this site from the recent Retro Gamer article (see previous post!), to say ‘hi’ to you all and give you a good overview of the GX4000 I made a fun new video where I attempt to play and review 25 GX4000 games in 25 minutes (ish)!

I’ve also made it to celebrate 25 years of the GX4000, and come September I’m sure there’ll be a bigger and better video for it.

Anyway, enjoy!

The lost cart – “Gazza II” on the Amstrad GX4000!

Gazza II GX4000

So what’s the deal with the long missing in action “Gazza II” game? For a long time people have talked about “Special Criminal Investigations : Chase HQ II” as the holy grail of GX4000 games to find, however with that at least two verified carts with boxes have turned up!! With Gazza II it appears no-one has found anything at all! The following adverts started appearing in magazines and it looks like the game was made by “Empire” and to be distributed in France by “Titus” at a best guess…

Gazza II Advert GX4000 Titus

Some may not be aware that it exists, most are aware that several magazines such as “Amstrad Action” (issue 65), “Mean Machines” (issue 4) and in France “Amstrad Cent Pour Cent” reviewed it as if it was a full game and took various screen shots! For example below here’s the Amstrad Action review (click to open the full review) below and AA were a magazine known for integrity and not reviewing un-finished games…

gazza2_aa_review_small

Further to this noted multi-format magazine Mean Machine’s review is below by respected gaming journalist Julian Rignall (again unlikely he would review an unfinished game) –

Gazza II Mean Machines Review Page 1

Gazza II Mean Machines Review Page 2

So do we have any further confirmation that this game was made and exists? Of course we know that a graphically cut down version was released for the CPC range, check out my YouTube video for footage (and also me discussing this mystery at the start of the video as I’m doing here!) –

But all the confirmation we need comes from the programmers John and Ste Pickford and their website –

http://www.zee-3.com/pickfordbros/softography/index.php?game=44

They write that Gazza II is – “A football simulator for the 8 bit home computers which was also ported to the virtually forgotten Amstrad video game console.” The latter of course meaning the GX4000! They list that John was the programmer, Ste did the logo and font, and Simon Butler did the graphics.

Ste then goes on to add – “I was still working at Rare Manchester (previously Zippo) while John was writing this at Active Minds. They needed someone to draw the logo for the game, so I took a sickie off work at Rare, and spent a day at Active Minds drawing the logo and other little bits. Looking at the game now I see that I used the Solar Jetman font, which was a little bit cheeky.

So we know that Empire had the programming done by a company called “Active Minds” which John worked for, I can’t find much about them seeing as so many companies use this name now for other things!

But there you go. We know the game was completed and we know at the very least review copy carts were sent out to at least 3 magazines. Was it ever manufactured properly to be sold in shops to the public? I’m guessing not. Amstrad had problems with delays in production of the carts and boxes, and it would be logical to presume that Empire pulled the plug on the game before manufacturing due to that and the poor sales of the machine. Therefore our only hope is to one day find one of the three review copy carts out there somewhere…

I’ll leave you with the French review in Amstrad Cent Pour Cent magazine…

Gazza II Amstrad Cent Pour Cent Review

Happy hunting!

Retro Gamer (Load 139) GX4000 article!

The latest issue of the UK’s “Retro Gamer” magazine has a nice little article on the GX4000 this month! Featuring a round-up of the games to try in a 4 page spread. Also in the issue some other nice bits for Amstrad fans with the making of “Batman” (the isometric game), a thorough look at “Operation Thunderbolt” with bits on the CPC and GX4000 versions and also a big feature on Titus software that heavily supported the Amstrad including the GX4000 with games like Fire & Forget II, Crazy Cars II, Dick Tracy and Wild Streets!

Anyway, I made a short video about the magazine (issue “Load 139″) on my YouTube channel –

Go buy it!!
Retro Gamer is definitely worth a subscription too!

http://www.retrogamer.net/
https://www.imagineshop.co.uk/retrogamer

For the first time in many years one of the rarest GX4000 carts surfaced on eBay, and sold for an impressive EUR 116.00 (approximately £95.75)!!

Dick Tracy eBay auction

Dick Tracy is a side-scrolling shoot-em-up with baddies appearing in front of you and from windows a bit like the classic Robocop game; but on a couple of stages involves some basic jumping and platforming styles. Overall though it’s not a very good game and hardly worth the value it goes for, but is now extremely rare and collectors will splash out! There’s a longplay video in my YouTube channel if you fancy checking out what your missing – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylQkJz8NNfo

The tape/disk original on the CPC range of computers was extremely poor which probably hampered sales of the GX4000 version which is a little shame given they completely re-programmed it to make use of the new Plus/GX4000 features like hardware sprites and scrolling, with the graphics also completely redrawn. So on the positive it looks and moves a lot nicer and ultimately this makes it a sought after cart – even if the game is still rubbish!

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Out of the blue, a YouTube user by the name of “TheOppositeOfJesus” has uploaded LIVE video footage of the holy grail of GX4000 games in action!!

http://youtu.be/r7fmHpbl85k

Nothing more is known about this user as of now, but we sincere hope that they assist us with dumping this cart, which can be done completely safely.

We will attempt to contact this person, hopefully they’ll be nice enough to respond and help us out here.

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Chase HQ 2 auction ends

Well folks, it was the day of reckoning for this saga and auction… and it’s finally been sold – auction ended.

So you ready for the winning bid? I’m sure you’ve already been following the auction and know already but in case you missed it…..

FINAL PRICE – £908.67

Yikes!!!! That’s right guys, over £900 … so at last we know the top value for this game. Maybe this will spur a few other people out there to put their copies up for auction as there must be several more at least out there. At least we know that now. All that’s left is to hope and pray the winning bidder will dump the ROM for everyone in the Amstrad community to play this game via emulators. Over on the cpcwiki.eu forums a respected contributor there has developed the hardware to safely dump this cart without any danger of causing damage to the cart and avoiding the old/common method of cracking the casing open.

Please, we urge whoever won this auction to get in touch with us here and we’ll arrange delivery of hardware, instructions for use and an easy quick way to do this. Email me us here – xyphoe [ at ] gx4000.co.uk

Fire & Forget II Review Up

Just a quick update to let you all know that I’ve now added a review for Fire & Forget II to the gamebase and will be finishing off all the missing ones over the next few weeks.

Link to the review and gamebase entry here – http://gx4000.co.uk/gamebase/games.php?game=fireandforget2

Well after all the fuss we investigated nearly 2 weeks ago HERE which ended in the auction being withdrawn and seemingly the Ebayers account closed, nigel17031971 is back on Ebay again with a new auction for the same game – with proper photos taken this time and an explanation why!

So here you go – http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270649526052&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

Bidding starts at £200 finishing on Sunday 24th October at 6:21pm (GMT). With the new photos added of the game in action, the box and instructions which I’ve not seen being used elsewhere this does, after all that, appear to be a legitimate auction.

Nigel explains the situation around this especially as the original auction looked so dodgy considering what a rare item it is and also mentions this very site –

There it lay until early 2010 when I finally decided to move, and was clearing out my loft. Initially I was just going to chuck the lot away, but decided to keep it, after I discovered that the console and all the games still worked. Becoming bored with the few games I have I decided to try the internet to see if I could get any more, reasoning that as the console was so old, they would be very cheap by now. It was then I discovered the Amstrad GX4000 web site and found just how rare the game that I had in my possession was. It was around this time that my internet went down, and I had to wait three weeks to be reconnected. During this time I just wanted to list my game on e-bay and so used my sister’s computer to do so. I copied an image of the game from a web site (reasoning that it was exactly the same as the one that I wanted to sell) and listed the game).I was then overwhelmed with e-mails from people asking to see actual pictures of the game I had. I was unable to do this, as neither my camera nor scanner worked, I therefore decided to wait and sell the game when I could do so. The images (above) are actual photos of my game and I am now able to e-mail further images should you require to see them before biding.

Well happy bidding peeps, lets see how this one goes…

One final note however … PLEASE … whoever does win the auction do get in contact with the people on the CPC Wiki Forums and let them safely dump the game ROM – there is a method to do this safely without damaging the cart in any way. Please don’t get it for your collection and leave it collecting dust on a shelf somewhere and deprive thousands of Amstrad fans the opportunity to play this game. Thank you.

New Chase HQ 2 Pics!

First two courtesy of James Bridges, and others from the new Ebay auction (see new article) …

Well it looks like the holy grail of Amstrad carts, and indeed games across all the Amstrad platforms generally has surfaced for sale on Ebay!

Here’s the link to the auction –

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270644070376&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT

Unfortunately it looks rather suspicious – the seller “nigel7031971″ has zero feedback(!!) and no other auctions up, and there’s only one photo shown for the item that looks rather familiar….

Compare with – http://gx4000.co.uk/gamebase/games.php?game=specialcriminalinvestigations

Here’s the photo used on the auction –

http://i.ebayimg.com/21/!B4ecj4Q!Wk~$%28KGrHqUOKjkEyP+QVwDHBMqE,oUlmw~~_35.JPG

Now the photo we have on our site –

http://gx4000.co.uk/gamebase/images/specialcriminalinvestigations/pack1.jpg

Hmmm!!! Note that photo was put live on this very website in December 2008! The photo was originally taken by the only known owner of the game James Bridges several months previous which he posted on the old cpczone.net forums (now sadly defunct) – of course that is where we got it from.

Seems this Ebayer has then taken it from our site!

We will try and contact the seller to clear this up, but for the time being …. our advice is to be very cautious.

*UPDATE* 06/10/2010 09:10am

A forum member “ukmarkh” on the cpcwiki.eu forums has contacted Martyn Carrol of Retro Gamer magazine who wrote the article on the Chase HQ 2 cart and personally viewed the game that James Bridges owns. Martyn was able to contact James who replied -“Hi Martyn, it is not my one. I will be very interested to see how much it sells for! James

So at least we now know that it isn’t James selling the cart under a different name to protect his identity.

*UPDATE* 06/10/2010 20:30pm

The seller has replied to my email. It seems that he will allow collection in person and testing on his own GX4000 console – which is good news. The worrying part of his reply is that he appears unable to take any more, or should I saw ‘new’ photos. Come on … who at least doesn’t own a digital camera or mobile phone that takes pics these days??

*UPDATE* 07/10/2010 00:30am

The auction is no longer available and has been removed.

The seller is also no longer a registered Ebay user –

http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/nigel17031971

Draw your own conclusions. What a shame and waste of time, getting everyone hopes and expectations up! Oh well …. welcome to the murky world of collecting/trading rare retro games!

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