Last update :- February 19th, 2012

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Amstrad CPC

Amstrad introduced their CPC (Colour Personal Computer) range in 1985 with the CPC464, to be followed by the CPC664, CPC6128, CPC464+ and CPC6128+. They were all based upon the following specifications:

The competition at the time was stiff from the Sinclair Spectrum, Commodore C64 and BBC Micro to name a few. It stood up well against the first two as a games machine and was on a par with the BBC for small business purposes and expansion capability.

Amstrad CPC6128 Keyboard Amstrad CPC6128+
Amstrad CPC6128 Keyboard Amstrad CPC6128+

PC emulators breathed new life into computers like this because of the ability to load and save games quickly from a PC's hard drive. Originally you had to load and save from cassette tape (slow and unreliable) or floppy disc (quicker but with limited storage space). In a lot of cases you didn't have the option to save a game in progress.

The vast majority of original games programmers and publishers have given their permission for the software to be released into the public domain, including Amstrad who released the system ROMs. Of the hundreds of games available, the Top 10 (according to GameFAQs from GameSpot) are:

  1. SimCity
  2. Street Fighter
  3. Blueberry
  4. Catch 23
  5. Friday the 13th
  6. Zarxas
  7. Cricket Crazy
  8. Prince of Persia
  9. Cyrus II Chess
  10. Spitfire 40

Some of my favourite games (of which there aren't PC equivalents except via emulators) are:

Emulator

The emulator I use for the Amstrad CPC is WinAPE by Richard Wilson (who was famous in the CPC world for writing the ParaDOS CPC disk operation system).:

The pictures below show the CPC Loader front-end, CPC boot screen (via WinAPE) and two games running - one disk based and the other cartridge (note that these WinAPE screenshots were taken with an earlier version of the emulator):

CPC Loader CPC128+ boot Switchblade (disk) Batman (cart)
CPC Loader CPC128+ boot Switchblade (disk) Batman (cart)

Tutorial

If you go the the CP Loader link above it includes a tutorial.

Cheats

Initially, if you were stuck in a game or level, the only way of cheating in a CPC game was to write a small loader program (or copy one from a magazine) to load the game and POKE values into specific locations - not much fun given the both the loading times from tape and unreliability. Obviously this was easier with a disk drive but the product that made a real difference was the Multiface II from Romantic Robot - probably the 3rd most popular add-ons for the Amstrad CPC range - after a 3.5" disk dirve and ROMbox.

It plugged into the expansion port of the CPC and once a button was pressed sat silently, invisibly waiting in the background until you pressed the red button before springing into action.

Romantic Robot's Multiface II Button pressed (F11)
Romantic Robot's Multiface II RED "STOP" button pressed (F11)

If you want to use it with an emulator (and most now support it) you'll need the ROM (original from NVG) and it'll be helpful to read the user guide (in PDF format). You'll also find a list of codes to use with it here. The following assumes you're using the CPCGamesCD (see below) and have configured it to use WinAPE as the emulator:

  1. Load up the CPCGamesCD and run any game
  2. Hit F12 to bring up the WinAPE Setup menu
  3. Select the Memory tab
  4. Make sure the "Enable Multiface" check-box is enabled
  5. Click on the small box to the right of ROM and point it to the location where you saved the unzipped ROM file from above and select OK
  6. Now, when ever you load a game in the future the Multiface features are always available by pressing F11 at any time. Note that some games may refuse to run or crash if the Multiface is enabled

Quite a lot of the games on the CPCGamesCD have already been modified to incorporate a cheat routine of some kind.

Controller

All you really need to play Amstrad CPC games on a PC is a gamepad or joystick with 2 buttons - or the keyboard.

Links

ROMs

You can get all the games currently available for the Amstrad CPC, along with the CPC Loader front-end and the snap-pack (containing 3500+ images) by MiguelSky on a single CD image which is only ~250MB - namely, the CPCGamesCD. You can then either burn it to a real CD or mount it in a virtual CD/DVD ROM drive.

Don't ask me for any games as I won't reply!

Games

For a comprehensive (but not complete) list of the thousands of Amstrad CPC games with their developers and release dates see the Wikipedia List of Amstrad CPC Games.

Screenshots from some of my favourites, categorized as I see them are shown below. Click on the thumbnails to see a larger version and the name for an external review. These screenshots are taken from the Snap-Pack included with CPC Loader and are included with kind permission from the creator - MiguelSky. These consist of the game loading screen and in game screenshot combined in a single image.

LATE
(some of the games developed late for the CPC)

Fluff Fres Fighter II - Turbo Phantomas Saga - Infinity Prehistorik 2 Super Cauldron Zap'T'Balls - Advanced Edition
Fluff Fres Fighter II - Turbo Phantomas Saga - Infinity Prehistorik 2 Super Cauldron - Cauldron 3 Zap'T'Balls -
Advanced Edition

PUBLIC DOMAIN
(written by independent coders and fans of the CPC - probably fore-runners of modern modder)

Axys - The Last Battle Bombuz 3D Call Bd10'n'oeuf Cubulux II Cyber Power Groops
Axys - The Last Battle Bombuz 3D Call Bd10'n'oeuf Cubulux II Cyber Power Groops
Logistic Puzznix RC-Quest Spots X-Contra Zaxon
Logistic Puzznix RC-Quest Spots X-Contra Zaxon

CLASSICS

Arkanoid Bomb Jack Bubble Bobble Commando Defend Or Die Donkey Kong
Arkanoid Bomb Jack Bubble Bobble Commando Defend Or Die Donkey Kong
Dragon's Lair Frogger Gauntlet Ghosts 'N' Goblins Moon Cresta Out Run
Dragon's Lair Frogger Gauntlet Ghosts 'N' Goblins Moon Cresta Out Run
Pac-Land Rainbow Islands R-Type Salamander Tank Busters Xevious
Pac-Land Rainbow Islands R-Type Salamander Tank Busters Xevious

3D ADVENTURE

Alien 8 Amaurote Batman Head Over Heels Knight Lore Meltdown
Alien 8 Amaurote Batman Head Over Heels Knight Lore Meltdown

ARCADE

Advanced Pinball Simulator After The War Alien Highway Astro Marine Corps Ball Bearing Beach Head
Advanced Pinball Simulator After The War Alien Highway Astro Marine Corps Ball Bearing Beach Head
Bob Morane - Science Fiction Boulder Dash 1 Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show Bumpy's Arcade Fantasy Codename Mat 1 Crazy Ball
Bob Morane -
Science Fiction
Boulder Dash 1 Buffalo Bill's
Wild West Show
Bumpy's Arcade Fantasy Codename Mat 1 Crazy Ball
The Duct Elite Game Over Garfield - Big Fat Hairy Deal I, Ball Incredible Shrinking Sphere
The Duct Elite Game Over Garfield - Big Fat
Hairy Deal
I, Ball Incredible Shrinking Sphere
Killapede Klax Reflex Spindizzy Starion Xyphoes Fantasy
Killapede Klax Reflex Spindizzy Starion Xyphoes Fantasy

BOARD

Cyrus II Chess Micro Scrabble Deluxe Monopoly Nemesis IV Trivial Pursuit - Genus Edition Who Said That?
Cyrus II Chess Micro Scrabble Deluxe Monopoly Nemesis IV Trivial Pursuit -
Genus Edition
Who Said That?

DIZZY
(a whole series of games based upon an egg called Dizzy (and friends) by the Oliver Twins)

Bubble Dizzy Crystal Kingdom Dizzy Dizzy Dizzy - Prince of the Yolkfolk Dizzy Down the Rapids Fantasy World Dizzy
Bubble Dizzy Crystal Kingdom Dizzy Dizzy Dizzy - Prince
of the Yolkfolk
Dizzy Down the Rapids Fantasy World Dizzy
Fast Food Kwik Snax Magicland Dizzy Panic Dizzy Spellbound Dizzy Treasure Island Dizzy
Fast Food Kwik Snax Magicland Dizzy Panic Dizzy Spellbound Dizzy Treasure Island Dizzy

MOVIE TIE-INS

Batman: The Movie Ghostbusters II Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom Licence To Kill Star Wars The Living Daylights
Batman: The Movie Ghostbusters II Indiana Jones &
The Temple of Doom
Licence To Kill Star Wars The Living Daylights

COMPILATIONS
(a sample of the collections of games available for the CPC)

4 Amtix! Accolades 6-Pak 6-Pak Volume 2 All Star Hits 2 Best of Elite Volume 1 Game, Set & Match
4 Amtix! Accolades 6-Pak 6-Pak Volume 2 All Star Hits 2 Best of Elite Volume 1 Game, Set & Match
Imagine's Arcade Giants Konami Coin-Op Hits Konami's Arcade Collection Les Collectors The Top 10 The Sold A Million
Imagine's Arcade Giants Konami Coin-Op Hits Konami's Arcade Collection Les Collectors The Top 10 The Sold A Million

PLATFORM

The Addams Family The Sacred Armour of Antiriad Beyond The Ice Palace The Blues Brothers Builderland Cavemania
The Addams Family The Sacred Armour
of Antiriad
Beyond The Ice Palace The Blues Brothers Builderland Cavemania
Flimbo's Quest Ghost Hunters Jet Set Willy Potsworth & Co Rick Dangerous Rodland
Flimbo's Quest Ghost Hunters Jet Set Willy Potsworth & Co Rick Dangerous Rodland
Space Froggy Starquake Stormlord Switchblade Titus the Fox Turbo the Tortoise
Space Froggy Starquake Stormlord Switchblade Titus the Fox Turbo the Tortoise

PUZZLES

Chip's Challenge Confuzion Deflektor Lemmings Puzznic Solomon's Key
Chip's Challenge Confuzion Deflektor Lemmings Puzznic Solomon's Key

SHOOT-EM UP

3D Starfighter Action Force Cybernoid Dandy Dark Fusion Dragon Spirit
3D Starfighter Action Force Cybernoid Dandy Dark Fusion Dragon Spirit
Exolon Flying Shark Into The Eagle's Nest Light Force Mag Max Megaphoenix
Exolon Flying Shark Into The Eagle's Nest Light Force Mag Max Megaphoenix
Mission Genocide Mr Heli Nemesis Q10 Tank Buster Robozone SDI
Mission Genocide Mr Heli Nemesis Q10 Tank Buster Robozone SDI
Silkworm Slap Fight Tomcat Ultima Ratio Xenon Zynaps
Silkworm Slap Fight Tomcat Ultima Ratio Xenon Zynaps

SPORTS

Basket Master Grand Prix Master Hyper Sports Match Day Microprose Soccer Nigel Mansell's World Championship
Basket Master Grand Prix Master Hyper Sports Match Day Microprose Soccer Nigel Mansell's
World Championship
Super Cars Super Monaco Grand Prix Track & Field The Way Of The Exploding Fist WEC Le Mans Yie Ar Kung-Fu
Super Cars Super Monaco
Grand Prix
Track & Field The Way Of The Exploding Fist WEC Le Mans Yie Ar Kung-Fu

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