Philips CDi A-C

Alien Brigade Ė By Atari

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 7th Guest - Virgin

7th Guest was one of the first ever games to use CD-ROM as a storage medium and with sales of over 2 million on the PC it was widely regarded as the killer app needed to get people to make the switch from floppy disks. It originally came out in 1993 with the Philips CD-I version close behind. I can't personally compare this version to the PC original but from what I have heard its far more impressive graphically than the home computer effort and was one of the first CD-i games to really impress people. You need the digital video cartridge to play this fine adventure game and you will see why when you get a look of the super smooth and highly impressive rendered graphics mixed with FMV. Everything about this game oozes class, its one of those games where you even find yourself looking at stuff just because it looks good! Explore the mansion, solve puzzles, listen to the spirits talk and try not to get too scared! If you like these big adventures games then you will love this and if you don't its still worth owning but the only bad thing is that I can't imagine the game having much replay value once you are done with it.

Review by The Laird

8/10

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 A Great Day At The Races - Total Vision

This very unique title is an interactive horse racing experience for the CD-i. It actually features the voice of well known Hollywood star Mickey Rooney. The Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor is one of the last survivors of the silent film era and has more recently starred in The Simpsons, The Muppets and the Night At The Museum movies. You start the game off with $2000 in your back pocket. Then you must study the form guides choose the race meeting and decide how much money you are going to bet and in what way. Are you going to go all out, each way or just take a punt on an outsider? Once you make your bets you can watch the race and listen to the commentary. You can also get ďhot tipsĒ from experts to help you along the way. Everything is done menus and itís very easy to navigate your way around. The game uses digitised sprites for the actual races with a colour on each horse to identify it from the rest. The horses then race across a FMV backdrop to the finish. I just didn't really get this game at all, it's a bit of a curiosity and one that would probably only appeal to fans of horse racing. The CD-i really does have some strange games in itís collection!

Review by The Laird

5/10

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 Alien Gate - SPC Vision

From the screenshots I had seen of this and the blurb on the box I thought this vertically scrolling shoot 'em up was going to be right up there with the CD-i's best but after playing it I couldn't help feeling a bit disappointed. It's not that Alien Gate is a bad game its just not what I hoped for. Each level starts with a floating head at the top of the screen and your ship at the bottom the floating head spits out a long wave of continuos enemies which must be destroyed, he then spits out some points and the level is over. The enemies are the same but the type of enemy changes with each level, one is even like Centipede! On some levels the enemy spits out a power up for you and you start with 3 lives, die and you start the level again. The graphics do look really nice with a lovely scrolling backdrop and detailed sprites. The sound is a real let down though with some weak effects and a noticeable lack of music that really lets the product down, the laugh when you die is a nice effect though. Shoot 'em up fans will enjoy this a little but I just couldn't help thinking this game should be so much more and I got a bit bored after a while. Yet another missed opportunity for Philipsí much derided CD console.

Review by The Laird

6/10

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 Apprentice (The) - The Vision Factory

When I finally snagged this great game I was pleased to find out that its every bit as good as I remembered it being. Coded by the Vision Factory who were apparently made up of ex-Codemasters staff this is not just the best platformer on the CD-i but also one of the finest games on the machine without any doubt. You can clearly make out its Codemasters roots for all the Spectrum fans out there especially this no bad thing. It plays much like a kind of Rainbow Islands style game but with a few more elements. The screen always scrolls upwards and you must collect coins, collect magic potions, power-ups and avoid the enemies! There are also hazards such as slime and fire that can kill you too. Some levels require you to get keys to open doors along the way and these are always hidden in hard to reach places, so precision platform jumping is the order of the day. The graphics look stunning with extremely well-drawn backgrounds, beautifully animated sprites and great intro screens. The sound is also spot-on with superb music and a host of great sound effects. What often lets platformers down is bad controls and collision detection, but none of that here as the gameplay is hard to fault too. This really is a CD-i essential and a real must have title for the machine.

Review by The Laird

9/10

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 Arcade Classics - Namco

3 of the greatest arcade games ever on one disc for the CD-i, what more can you ask for? You can choose between Galaxian, Galaga and Ms. Pacman. The versions of Galaxian and sequel Galaga are arcade perfect with all the sounds, perfect controls and artwork. They also added borders to make the screen ratio correct (matching the arcade games), which most other console versions didnít do. Two shoot 'em ups that I have always loved playing and thanks to the games being done my Namco themselves they are very faithful indeed. But the star of the show however is Ms. Pacman! Namco have actually chosen to improve on the original with some fancy new graphics and scrolling mazes too! I never thought anybody would better the awesome 7800 version but I was wrong. This version of the classic pill muncher is by far the best. Just make sure you have one of the rare CD-i joypads to get the most out of it. This collection is a must have for the CD-i and one you will come back to over and over again. My only regret is that Namco didnít do any follow ups to this. It would have been sweet to have Dig Dug, Pole Position, Pac-Land, Mappy or Rally X on the CD-i.

Review by The Laird

10/10

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 Atlantis: The Last Resort - Philips Interactive

I had been looking for this game for ages after hearing so many good things about it and now I have it I can see why! Before playing it I am not sure I would have believed that the CD-i could have done a FPS of this quality but after playing it I was just left thinking wow. In fact the story goes that the gameís programmer only created because he was told there was no way the ďlimitedĒ CD-i hardware could manage a game of this type. When Philips saw the fruit of his labour even they couldnít believe it. Itís very similar to Wolfenstien 3D in many ways with comparable graphics that do get quite blocky close up but because they move so fast and smoothly this can be forgiven. There are nice and quite amusing cut scenes in FMV and well designed enemies too. Another great feature is the sound, you can either listen to the great game music or put your own CD into the console and listen your own tunes while you play! A great feature that maybe they should have used in more CD games. Overall I have to say that Atlantis: The Last Resort is easily one of the best CD-i games I have played yet and by far the most impressive one from a technical point of view.

Review by The Laird

9/10

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 Battleship - MB Games

I have to say I love Battleship, I have great memories of playing the paper version as a kid well before the great Spectrum version and the even better ST version which I still play to this day. For those that have never played Battleship I will briefly go over it. The game is played on a 10x10 grid, with one for each player. On one grid the player arranges ships and records the shots by the opponent. On the other grid the player records his/her own shots. Before play begins, each player secretly arranges their ships on their primary grid. Each ship occupies a number of consecutive squares on the grid, arranged either horizontally or vertically. The number of squares for each ship is determined by the type of the ship, from 2 squares up to 5. The ships cannot overlap, only one ship can occupy any given square in the grid. The types and number of ships allowed are the same for each player. The CD-i version is produced by the makers of the original board game and is the finest version I have played yet. The AI against the computer is excellent and the little FMV sequences that run in the corner of the screen are a really nice touch and thankfully don't detract from the gameplay or get in the way. Of course this game is played best in multi-player but there is still a lot of fun to be had on your own. A really nice little title for the machine and a must have for fans of the original!

Review by The Laird

8/10

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 Burn:Cycle Ė By Philips / Trip Media

Burn:Cycle was released in 1994 and is widely regarded as the CD-iís flagship game. Itís a title that encompasses puzzles and 3D graphics with live action footage. You play Sol Cutter, a small-time data thief whose latest steal comes with a nasty sting. The Burn:Cycle virus has been implanted in his head and has given him a two-hour real time deadline to find a cure before his brain deteriorates completely. The player must guide Sol out of Softech and into the Televerse in order to find the cure. There is the sudden realisation that the Burn:Cycle virus has been planted by someone with malicious intent. Find out what this is, along with the cure, within the time limit and you complete the game. As an adventure puzzle game, the styles of skill tests in the game vary from re-arranging wiring circuits to games of chance, such as roulette, and arcade mini games too like a version of Pac-Man. The game also comes with a fantastic music CD that features remixed versions of the techno-style tracks that feature in the game. Burn:Cycle might at first seem like just another FMV game but its much more than that. The interactivity and story driven gameplay actually make it an early version of the kind of fantasy story driven adventures you find on the current gen consoles. Burn:Cycle is without doubt an essential purchase for all CD-i owners.

Review by The Laird

9/10

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Caesars World Of Boxing - Philips Interactive

If anyone reading this remembers the excellent Evander Holyfield Real Deal Boxing for the Sega Megadrive/Genesis then you will have a great idea of what playing this game is about. The game is almost identical albeit with a smattering of full motion video thrown in to add to the experience. You must start off the game by creating your boxer then getting a promoter and a trainer. You can set up your boxer any way you like to focus on speed, power or technique and improve all your stats by working out in the gym. Once you pick an opponent and get into the fight you will just see the top halves of your boxers and can move left and right across the screen. You can perform an array of punches and blocks and watch your energy bar to make sure you don't get knocked out! The graphics are excellent and the sound is likewise and the FMV while cheesy really adds to the game. My only reservation about the game is that it does cramp your hand after a few fights with all the button bashing. But none the less this is a really solid product for the CD-i and one that should be near the top of any owners list.

Review by The Laird

8/10

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Caesars World Of Gambling - Philips

An interactive casino in your own home this title features; Craps, Blackjack, Slot Machines, Roulette and Video Poker. The whole casino is presented really nicely with loads of digitised graphics and you can even go on a guided FMV tour of Caesarís Palace itself if you so wish. Every single game is done very well indeed, you simply point where you want to go and it zooms in on that game using a series of still digitised shots. You can even have up to 12 players at a time gambling away making this a great game for parties. This title reminded me a lot of a fancier version of Lynx Casino (for the Atari Lynx handheld) and that is no bad thing as I liked that title a lot. The graphics are top notch throughout with a heavy reliance on photo realistic images. The sound in a similar vein with lots of realistic sounds being played from the CD. As limited as gambling games are this title does its very best to re-create the whole experience of visiting a casino. You may not be able to win any real money but at least you can't lose any either!

Review by The Laird

7/10

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Caricature - Philips

This title is not so much a game and more like a photo-editing tool with some funky features. You have a host of pictures/photos already stored in the game of such famous people as the Queen and Margaret Thatcher. Some are the real photo images and some are Spitting Image (for anyone who remembers that show) caricatures. Once you have loaded an image you can play around with it altering the images by stretching and skewing or by adding new features like noses and ears, both with the real images and the alternative cartoon like versions. Alternatively you can use your own photo CD's (remember those?) to alter pictures of friends and family. Its fun for a while and a very clever piece of software no doubt, but you can't help but think itís all a bit pointless when you can even save or print the caricatures you make. I suppose its less pointless than it was back in the say as we now have things like cheap capture devices and digital cameras. But we also have far better, not to mention free, photo manipulation software available at one click of a button on our home PCs. This is one for collectors and fans of interesting curios only Iím afraid.

Review by The Laird

4/10

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CD Shoot - Eagle Vision

This early CD-i game brings you a host of different styles of competition shooting to try out such as Clay Pigeon Shooting, Trap Shooting and Skeet Shooting. They are all done very well indeed and look wonderful with some superb digitised graphics and sound. There is also a selection of controllers you can use; the trackball, the gamepad and the remote but not the light gun!!! I mean WTF itís a shooting game but you can't use the light gun. This is a massive mistake, itís not like one wasnít available for the CD-i, although in fairness it may have come out after this game was produced. But in that case they should have just bundled one with it. Each shoot is represented using some very slick digitised graphics. When the target is released you have to move the crosshair quickly to shoot it. It really helps to know where each target comes from as you have very little time to move. It gets even harder when you have to shoot more than 1 in a row. Itís a fairly enjoyable game that is best played against a friend, although as you can imagine itís still fairly limited. If it wasn't for the one massive oversight of having no gun control I would have given this game a much higher rating.

Review by The Laird

5/10

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 Chaos Control Ė By Infogrames

Chaos Control is one of the more unique light gun style games for the Philips CD-i, in essence itís an on-rails shooter where you are trying to stop an alien invasion. The plot is all explained by some nice cheesy FMV in true over the top ďGod save America!Ē style, before telling you it is your job to stop them once and for all. You have no control over your actual craft here, your ďco-pilotĒ does all this for you, and all you have to do is use the light gun to shoot down the enemies. The background graphics are basically full motion video with rendered sprites layered over the top. I am usually not a fan of FMV in games but this is actually one title where it works really well. The way the game is constantly moving and chucking enemies at you means you end up getting really engrossed in the action. The graphics really are a joy to look at with the ever changing scenes and convincing looking enemies laid over the top. Itís great in the sound department too with equally movie standard music and effects. If you want a change from the usual shooting gallery style light gun games then Chaos Control will be right up your street, I for one found it very enjoyable indeed. For me this is one of the best titles available for Philips much maligned machine.

Review by The Laird

9/10

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 Cluedo Ė By Waddingtons / 3T Productions

Cluedo, known as Clue in North America, is a popular murder/mystery-themed deduction board game originally published by Waddingtons in Leeds, England in 1949. It has been a favourite board game of kids everywhere since the moment it was first sold and I am sure many of you remember finding it under the Christmas tree as a kid. The object of the game is for players to strategically move around the board, representing the rooms of a mansion, in the guise of one of the game's six characters. From here you must collect clues in order to deduce which suspect murdered the game's perpetual victim, Dr. Black, with which weapon and in what room. This video game version of the classic is pretty much the same as the board game only with some fancy visuals and voiceovers. The game also has a cast played TV actors that are proudly listed on the box, although the only one I had heard of was the great Joan Sims Ė star of the brilliant Carry On movies. The board is viewed isometrically so that you can see the characters walk around and interact with each other. The extra large box even includes pens and card in order to note down your clues as you play. But this does kind of lead into thinking why donít I just play the board game instead? And that is the main problem with this game. The fancy graphics and sound just donít make it any more engaging that the brilliant original was, which had one big advantage over this Ė you could watch TV while you played it!

Review by The Laird

7/10

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Connect 4 - MB Games

Connect Four (also known as Captain's Mistress, Four Up, Plot Four, Find Four, Fourplay, Four in a Row and Four in a Line) is a two-player game in which the players first choose a colour and then take turns dropping coloured discs from the top into a seven-column, six-row vertically-suspended grid. The pieces fall straight down, occupying the next available space within the column. The object of the game is to connect four of one's own discs of the same colour next to each other vertically, horizontally, or diagonally before your opponent. The original version of the game was first sold under the famous Connect Four trademark by Milton Bradley, who also released this CD-i version, in February 1974. I still really struggle to see the point in converting this game to a console other than the fact you can play it against the computer. There are difficulty levels and you can choose your colours too (apart from the usual yellow and red) but its still just Connect 4 and if this hadn't have come with my CD-i when I bought it I certainly wouldn't have gone looking for it. What next Noughts & Crosses or Etch-A-Sketch?

Review by The Laird

3/10

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Creature Shock - Virgin

This one is especially interesting for me as it was also scheduled for release on the Jaguar CD, as a launch title no less, and this was the system I owned when the Philips machine was also in the stores. Sadly that version never came out despite being shown on the systemís box and it was many years later that I finally got to play it when I bought a CD-i. This was one of the games that really started the CD revolution and wowed audiences everywhere at the time. For those unaware Creature Shock is a first person shoot 'em up that uses pre-rendered graphics to display the action, much like the adventure game Myst. The graphics in this game really are wonderful and the movie like intro sequence is quite impressive too but where this game really excelled for me was in its atmosphere. As you search through the alien ship the creatures just pop up from nowhere and really do scare the life out of you! I don't jump easily but did when I played this game and some of the creatures are truly horrible indeed. Sound and music fits the game perfectly and although you don't have a massive amount of control over the game due to its nature what is there works well. While this game will not win any awards for its gameplay it will for its visuals and atmospherics, you can do a lot worse than picking up this swanky 2-disc title.

Review by The Laird

7/10

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