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CPC Game Musings I

20 December 2018

I have decided to write a few things about some old CPC games I used to play.

Ghostbusters

After the film came out, computer games followed. It seems like something was created for every home platform possible, including the CPC, Commodore 64, Spectrum and NES. Most of them follow a similar idea, and the CPC version looks to me like a port of the C64 version. (The CPC tended to get ports of Spectrum and C64 games more often than tailored software.)

Ghostbusters screenshot.

The main hub screen.

The idea of the game is simple - earn money. You don't play as the characters from the film though, instead you are making a new "franchise" in your generic city. To begin with, the bank lends you an unsecured loan of $10,000 that you use to buy a car and equipment. If you earn more money than you started with, you are given an account number to use in the next game. The extra money can be used on a faster car, or better equipment. The shopping element of the CPC is a lot more limited than the NES version.

There's more than one CPC build as well. The final known build is the Richochet release, which is the one I have on tape as part of a compilation set. I spent many hours on this game when I was younger, despite the repetitive gameplay of drive to building, catch ghost, empty traps, and repeat. I just wanted more dosh.

Although I still have the codes from back then, I decided I would take a shortcut to the maximum and create an account number generator. With this, you can enter a name of up to 20 alphanumeric characters and a cash amount between $0 and $999,900 (rounded down to the nearest $100) to get the associated account number. The numbers only work on the CPC versions (so not the C64 version, which uses a different algorithm).

Molecule Man

This game is technically possible, but practically impossible without cheating. A port from the Spectrum, you play a rather round dude (Pacman's uncle?) who travels around a 3D maze trying to find the 16 circuits needed to activate the teleporter. In addition to a global time limit that works out at approximately 30 minutes, he needs to keep popping pills as well. He takes a pill every 2-3 seconds, and only starts with 20. More medicine can be purchased from dispensers, if you can find the coins scattered around the maze. However, you need those coins to buy the bombs required to gain access to the circuits.

Molecule Man screenshot.

The man himself, and a circuit behind the wall of diamonds.

It's a hard game, and I didn't get far back in the day. But it does also have a level editor, allowing you to make your very own mazes. Or you could do as I did back then, and edit the default maze to have a whole load of coins where you start.

Curiously, it seems that although several people have drawn out and uploaded their own maps of the game, nobody (until now) has done the obvious thing and load the default maze into the level editor, capture each of the 256 screens and combine them together into a master map. Which is what I have done. I have also added some colour to make it easier to work out what's going on. It does help to work out a strategy involving upping the coins as soon as possible. I didn't realise so many circuits were close to the starting point, either.

Molecule Man maze map thumbnail

Download: PNG (129KB)

If you want to cheat in this game, and you're using an emulator, you can poke this into memory:

POKE &9EBD,0

It will stop all deductions - the timer will stop, pills will not be used and you effectively get unlimited bombs and coins (but buy at least one first). Near the memory area where cheats can be made is this hidden message:

HELLO ELSPETH  !

I don't know who that is. I wonder if she ever knew?

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