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Games are rated relative to other games for the same system.

Commodore 64 Reviews T-Z

All Commodore reviews were submitted by special VGC correspondent The C64 Critic

Who Dares Wins II
Grade: C+
Publisher: Alligata Software (1985)
Posted: 2016/11/20

screenshotContinuing my binge of Veterans Day shooters, I decided to go with the Commando-inspired import Who Dares Wins II. After all, it wouldn't be right to ignore our SAS brothers overseas. So why start with the second in the series? Because I don't own the original - that's why. From what I've seen online however, there isn't much of a difference. There's no doubt Who Dare Wins II is a Commando (Data East, 1985) rip-off, as both play nearly identically.

You're a soldier armed with a rifle who must travel up the screen avoiding enemy combatants while trying to rescue fellow soldiers and capture outposts. There are eight levels to clear and if you finish them all you start back over at level one. Yes, being a foot soldier is a thankless job! "In gratitude of your unflinching and dedicated service, you're now going back to the front to do it all again soldier!"

I must confess I prefer this to the arcade port of Commando. Who Dares Wins has a slower and calmer pace, so you can be thoughtful and strategic instead of straight run-and-gun. Additionally, they managed to implement a functional method of grenade throwing. You simply hold the fire button a second longer than you normally would. While this sometimes causes you to throw a grenade inadvertently, it's far better than having to hit the spacebar like Commando.

Several levels begin with a man tied to a pole about to be executed, and you can save him if you can shoot his executor in time. That's pretty cool. The game also put a lot of thought into the vehicles, incorporating ground-strafing fighters, trains, boats, bombers, and robotic tank things. Who Dares Win II is a fairly easy game as C64 shooters are concerned but I appreciated its deliberate pace and so did my thumb. © Copyright 2016 The Video Game Critic.

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1 player 

Winter Games
Grade: C-
Publisher: Epyx (1985)
Posted: 2014/3/4

screenshotContinuing my trend of reviewing games just past the point of anyone caring (baseball after baseball season, football after football season, the WNBA at any point in time), I figured a solid week after the Sochi Olympics would be the best time to review Winter Games (No IOC trademark here! Any resemblance to actual Olympic events is purely coincidental.) Building on the success of Summer Games, Epyx takes the action to the colder climates and challenges the player to achieve the best score in any of seven winter-themed events.

You enter your name, choose a country to represent, watch the opening ceremony, and then it's off to the slopes. The graphics do a great job of conveying the feeling of playing winter sports and playing in my basement on a real life "snow day". I swear I felt a few degrees colder from looking at the screen than I did before I booted the game up. You begin with a trick-ski event called Hot Dog, where the object is to leave a downhill ramp, do as many varied tricks as possible, and then stick your landing.

Like most events, the timing of your joystick movements is crucial and landing correctly is an absolute bear! This event is followed by the biathlon (much better) and the incredibly weak and ponderous figure skating (just like the real Olympics!) Then there's the ski jump, speed skating, free skating, and finally bobsled.

You can compete in any single event, practice one event, or play through all seven in order. As I mentioned previously, the timing of your joystick is crucial to doing halfway decent in all of the events. Then again, if you're playing by yourself you're bound to get at least six gold medals no matter how poorly you perform, as there are no computer-controlled opponents. You can still shoot for "world records" though, and best scores get saved to disk for future generations to admire and worship you over.

Despite playing this during "the winter that doesn't want to end" and fresh off the actual Olympics, I had a hard time getting into Winter Games. The controls were just awkward and the weakest/lamest event (figure skating) effectively makes up two of the seven events. Why not include hockey or curling? I'd go back to see if I can get my name saved to disk for at least one event (preferably the biathlon), but there isn't much draw beyond that. Like most sports games of its time, Winter Games is much better if you have a human competitor, which would probably bump the score up to a B-. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.

1 to 4 players 

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Screen shots courtesy of Video Game Museum, MobyGames.com, RetroGamer.net, Old Games Club, Lemon 64, Wired.com, C64 Preservation Project, Gamebase 64, Hooked Gamers, My Abandonware, Stadium 64, Games Database, Retroplace

All Commodore reviews were submitted by special VGC correspondent The C64 Critic