During one of his usual patrols by Alexandra Land, Russian Army Officer Mihail Mashkov, picks up a transmission from his base informing him of some strange radio signals near his position. They want Mihail to check it out and obtain visual confirmation that everything is in order over there.
Upon reaching his target, Mihail discovers that these mysterious radio signals are coming from an old abandoned Nazi base. Before he is able to report back to base his finding, an unexpected snowstorm sweeps through cutting off all communications. Mihail has no choice but to sit through the storm by seeking refuge within the Nazi building until the storm subsides. However, it is not long before Mihail realises that he is not alone and that something no from this world has taken over the base.
Developed by the 4Mhz team, Operation Alexandra is a flick screen arcade adventure game featuring plenty of platform jumping action with some shooting elements. You play the role of Mihail and it is up to you to investigate what has overrun the building complex and eradicate the alien command center.
The game features bright, vivid and highly detailed graphics. They look stunning on a CRT monitor. Character movement is smooth and highly responsive and the action is accompanied by a great soundtrack that does a great job to relay the danger that lies ahead of Mikhail.
There are a number of different enemy types for you to combat, each with their own different characteristics providing some form of differentiation from screen to screen. The game features a few puzzle elements, though none of these are very difficult to solve.
As you progress through the game, you will come across a weapon upgrade the improves your shot range and makes it a little easier to combat the enemy ahead of you. To further help you with your mission, you will have the opportunity to collect medic-kits that will reset your health bar to full but it is advised to not pick these up as soon as you come across them as you are more likely to need them at a later stages.
Operation Alexandra screams quality all through out. The overall game play is a lot of fun. However, it is so unfortunate that the game resorts to re-spawning enemies when you revisit screens you have previously cleared. Annoyance easily sets in when you miss a jump or get knocked off a platform and you find that you have fight your way back to where you were, unnecessarily losing health points along the way. It’s a good thing that the game play on offer is so compelling to make your drive through this frustration but to me it feels like such an unnecessary design feature, given that the game is challenging without it.
Operation Alexandra is one tough game. Each screen requires you to take a moment to analyse enemy movement patterns and then use good skill movement in order to make your way across unharmed. Every screen is designed so that they can be overcome safely and without losing any health points but you will not have any success if you don’t apply the necessary patience and dexterity. The later screens in particular feel brutal and it is only with constant replay that you appreciate the clever level design that has gone into the game.
Eventually you will be able to make your way to the Command Center for the end game boss battle. This is surprisingly quite easy to defeat considering what you have had to go through to get there but it does provide a satisfying ending.
4Mhz have done a great job with producing Operation Alexandra, allowing the Amstrad CPC to further shine in the era of current generation retro gaming fun. The game was submitted for the CPC RetroDev 2018 competition, where it deservedly came in first place. I look forward to seeing what 4Mhz is able to come up next for the CPC.
In the meantime, check out the video review below and than head on over to the 4Mhz site to download a copy of the game.
Re-spawning feature aside, Operation Alexandra is a quality game for the Amstrad CPC. The overall production level is quite high and makes for an absorbing but very challenging experience.
Retro gaming journalist promoting NEW C64, Amiga, Amstrad CPC & ZX Spectrum games. Runs the Retro Gamer Nation YouTube channel and is a contributor to RVG and Vintage is the New Old blog sites, Komoda & Amiga Plus magazine and various other publications.