The comp.sys.sinclair crap games competition 2015 -

it's crap! In a funky skillo sort of a way.

Tag: remake

Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Shelf Challenge

MykeP joins the CSSCGC Remake Challenge with this re-imagining of Derek Jolly‘s cult hit, Top Shelf Challenge.

Top Gear Challenge!

Top Gear Challenge!

For those of you living under a rock for the past fifteen years, the original TSC had you playing as a spotty teenager in your local branch of John Menzies, trying to get a shufty of the jazz mags without the built-like-a-brick-shithouse of a newsagent catching you and throwing you out of the shop by your ear. Should you succeed you were rewarded with some gratuitous 8-bit nudity which we can only assume Derek didn’t enjoy searching for on Altavista.

The game was such an unexpected success that Derek released a number of cash-in sequels, the last of which had you searching for porn stashes in the bushes. The other sequels nobody remembers anything about. One of them may have been in colour.

Menu screen

Menu screen

Needless to say, Myke has upped the stakes with this remake and tried to make it into the game it should have been. Rather than the original text-adventure style, we now have the entire shop layout graphically presented, with the shopkeeper reading the Racing Post between checking for shoplifters and spotty oiks. Other customers come and go through inter-dimensional time portals. The layout of magazines on the shelves are randomly generated, although alas it’s not possible to walk around – I assume you’ve already figured out where the magazines of interest are and if you wander off you’re likely to only end up flicking through Gardener’s World or Your Sinclair or something. (I normally hide Sinclair User in the pages of Playboy to avoid embarrassment – Ed)

Come on Birdseye, clear off!

Come on Birdseye, clear off!

You also play as Jeremy Clarkson. Yes, this is called Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Gear – erm, I mean Shelf – Challenge for precisely that reason. Instead of browsing through Razzle you’re checking out the hotties standing next to a highly-polished supercar. Quite why the newsie frowns upon this is not explained, as it’s not 18-rated stuff. Perhaps the young Jeremy gets his cock out or something.

Anyway, once the coast is clear merely pressing a key is enough to whip What Car? Magazine off the shelf, and get an eyeful of the glamorous scantily-clad leggy blonde draped over the bonnet of a Ferrari, in glorious Chunk-o-vision.

This girl is rather overdressed for the game.

This girl is rather overdressed for the game.

Yes, it may be a bit of a shock, but Myke has gone for high colour chunky pixels comprising non-naked ladies, as opposed to the excessive higher definition albeit monochromatic everything-on-show visual feast of the original. As a result, even if everything was on show you wouldn’t be able to tell what it was that was being shown – it’s like Myke has employed Mary Whitehouse to pixellate the naughty bits and, of course, she’s determined the entire picture is objectionable.

This is what you see if you activate "safe mode".  Filth!

This is what you see if you activate “safe mode”. Filth!

Despite this, there’s even a “safer for work” mode. As an employee in a modern office, I can assure you that every desk these days is equipped with a ZX Spectrum. You wouldn’t want to get caught playing MykeP’s UDG Strip Snap, but this – oh, yes – it’s as office-friendly as you can get.

I’m not entirely convinced about the historical accuracy of this game. Jezza’s getting on a bit now, and it seems likely that he was well into his twenties by the time these cars were released. Also there’s a National Lottery logo on the door of the shop, which sets it in the 1990s at the earliest.

Get out of my shop!

Get out of my shop!

Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Shelf Challenge is everything the original should have been, and less. The original worked, because it was a game that promised risqué content without the tedium of playing poker against Sam Fox. This improves the core game, but manages to remove the main reason why you’d want to play it.

Score: 1 nipple out of two (if you squint a bit)
Download: .tzx

R-Type for the Blind

Another game from sunteam, who seems to be going for the record number of games submitted in a year which is currently held by… checks old threads on WoS… phew, it’s not me.

This time he’s very thoughtfully remade the classic arcade shooter R-Type for the enjoyment of blind and partially sighted people. This may seem a bit tasteless to some, but I think it’s a nice thing to do. Crap Spectrum games should be enjoyed by everyone, not just those with 20-20 vision!

It’s another .dsk image – boooo! – but at least this time it makes use of the 128k machine’s PLAY command, so don’t try loading the converted tap on a 48k machine unless you like seeing the C Nonsense in BASIC error. Although you won’t notice if you’re blind, of course.

Oddly the first line of the game contains a REM statement with the title R-TYPE FOR THE DEAF. I can only assume this was sunteam’s original idea, before he realised that a version of R-Type with no sound already exists. It’s called R-Type.

I must admit I was expecting this to be a lazy one-line program along the lines of 10 BORDER 0: PAPER 0: INK 0: CLS: GOTO 10 – but all credit to the programmer, a quick delve into the BASIC reveals he’s actually written a playable game here! Following the now-customary bleeps and bloops, a menu appears (sadly not in Braille)

RTypeBlind1

Ah, now that’s clever. The game follows the “fly about and shoot stuff” narrative of R-Type, but with one crucial difference – with no graphics, it’s down to your ears to interpret what’s going on in the game. This could well be the perfect game for large-lugholed Sir Clive Sinclair impersonator, Alexander Armstrong.

On selecting your level you hear another short tune followed by a series of steady beeps. Press up (Q) and the pitch of the beeps decreases, down (A) and the beeps get higher in pitch. Which is a tad confusing, but no more so than those flight simulators back in the day that required you to press down to fly up and vice versa, because of nosecone mechanics or something. After a while the beeps start to alternate with some differently-pitched beeps – this means the enemy has appeared! So if you can get your beeps in the same pitch as the enemy’s by flying up or down, then you can get a pot-shot at them. Confused? This screenshot of the game might help:

RTypeBlind2

Being a musical chap whose one and only talent is having perfect pitch, I actually quite enjoyed this – the lack of graphics didn’t stop me from winning the game on my very first go. Or at least that’s what I gathered from the bleepy tune I heard before being dumped back to the main menu. I wonder if with a bit of polish and perhaps the odd speech sample via a Currah interface it’d be a genuinely playable game – I hope this doesn’t mean sunteam is losing his crap touch!

Score: ▉▉ out of ▉▉▉

Download here: .dsk (type LOAD “rtype.see”)/.tap

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