• Graeme Mason

The ZX Spectrum Hidden Gems Of Antstream Arcade

Updated: Apr 29

For our final post in a month-long festival of ZX Spectrum gaming on Antstream Arcade, we reveal six of those brilliant Speccy games you may have missed. These playable little gems are well worth seeking out on Antstream Arcade and are guaranteed hours of fun!


Star Wreck – Alternative, 1987

We begin this hidden gems feature with an adventure of the jocular sort. Created by adventure game stalwart Charles A. Sharp, Star Wreck is the tale of the U.S.S. Paralysed, on its mission to the planet Dandrox. Onboard the Paralysed are two dangerous creatures and the Thracian ambassador on a diplomatic mission. Star Wreck was created using Incentive’s Graphic Adventure Creator, so each location includes a neat visual representation of the surroundings. From ensign Guzunder, your average Starfleet moron, to the super-intelligent Mr Spark, there’s bound to be a hilarious crisis or two for you, Captain James T. Cake, to solve!


River Rescue – Alternative, 1984

OK, we know, we’ve gone on about this neat little game before, but it’s so good we can’t help but

include it again. At the heart of River Rescue is a brilliant risk-reward mechanic. A brace of red berths will appear every few screens, one to the north and another to the south. A scientist will stroll down if you dock to the north, anxious to board your lithe vessel. You can rescue him at the next set of berths by stopping at the southern berth, but for each scientist rescued, your score doubles when you deliver them back. With killer crocs, sturdy logs, and intricate islands peppering this dangerous river, how many explorers will you risk picking up to achieve that mega score bonus?


Sir Lancelot – Melbourne House, 1984

Forget Camelot, this is the real story of Sir Lancelot, the brave knight of the round table. Sir Lancelot has been sent to investigate a strange castle and collect any valuable items he may find. Unfortunately, strange ghosts and animals guard the 24 rooms of this spooky castle and must be dodged by this valiant cavalier. Operating in just 16K of memory (actually less once you factor in the Spectrum’s operating system), Sir Lancelot is a fast and furious platform game that was the last 16K game to acquire a Crash Smash back in the Eighties.


Ghostly Grange – Alternative, 1987

Initially published by Sparklers in 1987, Ghostly Grange is a haunting tale to chill you to the bone. But hang on a sec – you’re the ghost! Yes, in Ghostly Grange, you take on the role of Phil, a traditionally white spirit whose residence, Poltergeist Palace, has been overtaken by pesky squatters. Apparently, the only way of getting rid of these annoying party-goers is to collect their empties, thus persuading them to look for another place to litter. Unfortunately, only some first-class spooking – and clearing up – will give Phil his home back.


Robot Rumpus – Atlantis, 1985

Rory Robot is in a bit of a pickle. Terrorist robots have taken over the robo-complex where he works, making life very difficult for him and his colleagues. But there’s a way to defeat these despicable robots: each room in the complex contains s set of power gems. If Rory can collect these without being caught, the enemy robots will be powerless, leaving Rory free to make a beeline for the exit. Beware, though; by the final, fifteenth level, those terrorist robots will have become very angry indeed…


H.A.T.E. – Vortex, 1989

Our final Spectrum hidden gem is another classic from Vortex Software, aka Costa Panayi. H.A.T.E.

stands for Hostile All Terrain Encounter, and hostile is the right word! Using the same beautiful isometric graphics that Panayi employed in Highway Encounter, H.A.T.E. is a relentless shoot-‘em-up set in the year 2320. The game takes place on Stripworld, a challenging training ground that prepares pilots for the deadly war ahead. Whether in the air (starfighter) or on the ground (ground attack vehicle, or G.A.V.), simulated alien defences such as mines, intelligent missiles, ground skimming projectiles and more await you in this fabulous shoot-‘em-up.


Are you looking for more Speccy games that may have slipped under your radar? Why not try the tank-tastic puzzle-shooter Anarchy, also from Hewson? Or the credit card busting collect-‘em-up Bargain Basement? Check out these and hundreds more Spectrum games on Antstream Arcade!


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