Rogue, Amstrad CPC

The Amstrad CPC version of Rogue is arguably the best of the 8-bit conversions from Mastertronic, although it’s not without its problems. It was developed by Icon Design and first published in 1988.

In the Amstrad version the arrow cursor moves quickly enough to make the game playable, which is a blessed relief. It also contains features that I didn’t see in the other 8-bit versions, but which are in the Atari ST version, like bear traps, sleep traps, and other types of traps. Which is an indicator that whoever programmed the Amstrad version was ahead of schedule and managed to fit in features that were cut from the other 8-bit versions.

Weirdly, unlike the other 8-bit versions of Rogue I found it fairly difficult to die in this… Your health increases as you walk around, which is authentic to the original Rogue, but the rate seems so quick that it rarely drops to dangerously low levels. Towards the end of my first game I deliberately tried to get myself killed, but couldn’t manage it. Which really left me scratching my head…

One thing I noticed was that the game will tell you that you cannot carry anything else, even if your inventory (on the right-hand side of the screen) doesn’t appear to be full. This isn’t a game-breaker, because many of the items you collect aren’t really of much use, but having a truncated inventory is an unnecessary issue to have to deal with for the player.

Something else that bugged me about this version was that, when searching for secret doors, it would sometimes not reveal anything from a specific location, but then when returning to that exact same spot later, and searching again, it would then suddenly reveal a door… Why would the game do this? Does it just like wasting my time, or is this a bug? I dunno, but things like that are enough to drive you potty…

Although the Amstrad version of Rogue might amuse you for an hour or two, it’s ultimately flawed, like all the other 8-bit versions. What is weird about these 8-bit conversions from Mastertronic is that they’re all knackered, but in different ways. It’s like the programmers of each version just did their own thing and didn’t communicate with each other to at least try to maintain some consistency. And then Mastertronic just released them unfinished, each with their own unique bugs.

More: Rogue on Wikipedia

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