• Three full games
  • Part two of Corya
  • One sprite demo
  • One “hidden” text file!
  • Commodore Format had a new look this month. More on that in our issue 33 retrospective here.
It says four games here, but it’s really three and a bit: Corya was split over multiple issues of CF. This month is part two.

I’ve got to break the fourth wall here for once and say hello, hi, it’s Neil here. I’m the person that writes most of this website. One of my fave things about doing the Commodore Format Archive is when somebody rediscovers the magazine after decades and they want to share how important it was to them. A few things always crop up: everyone loves Midnight Resistance and that demo on issue 3. There’s a Dick Tracy joke in all of us. And everyone, but everyone, says they loved the Power Packs – “or at least the first thirty or so anyway”.

It’s a bit unfair. The tapes did become hit and miss as the mag’s budget shrank and deals with Hewson and Gremlin struck at the start of CF‘s conception ran dry. But as we’ll see over coming installments in this series, there were also some brilliant moments: the first glimpse of Mayhem, a demo of the long-awaited C64 Lemmings and full versions of Fantasy World Dizzy and Stormlord. As C64 software vanished from the shop shelves, the Power Pack became one of the only chances kids got every month to mess about with something new on their computers. It was invaluable stuff and a massive part of CF‘s all-round wild appeal.

We’ll boot up ish 33’s covermount now – starting with something they don’t sim’ every day…


Water sports from Hungary, eh? (get out – Ed) Erm..this unusual sports sim’ splashed down on the UK via Gremlin in ’87, but its roots are Eastern European. The story of software out of Budapest is excellent, by the way, and we’ve unpacked how computer games tore a hole in the Iron Curtain for you over here.

What we’ve got with Water Polo is something that plays like a football game in the water. There are ten difficulty levels or you can dust off port one and play against a mate. Commodore Format‘s Clur Hodgson went as far as contacting “Linda” at the UK’s South West Sports Council to explain the sport’s rules properly, which is a cute move but you won’t need her help. You’re going to instinctively play this like a footy game and it works well that way: the cap of the player you’re controlling changes colour for clarity, and it’s a prod of fire to do anything. That’s about all you need to know except that a tackle from behind is a foul (get three fouls and you’re sin-binned).

Water Polo is really nicely done. The title screen has some moody choppy water, and every point scored gets an instant replay. The referee – surely resembling a Stormtrooper on purpose – waddles up and down the edge of the playing area camply, and the crowd cheers. None of this is needed to make the game work, but it hauls up the end product a good few notches.

And the downers? Well, it’s a bit jerky and there’s sprite flicker when the screen’s busy. The “no tackles from behind” rule is a bit annoying ‘cos it can be difficult to tell which way ’round a player is facing, too. But because it’s so easy to understand, you’ll get some fun out of Water Polo. It football games better than a lot of football games.

PACK FACT: If the game’s quirky looks seem familiar, it’s probably because you’ve played Alternative World Games back on tape 27. It’s by the same crew.


The first of two “public domain” games on this month’s tape wasn’t the first time a Pac-Man clone had been on the Power Pack (The Blob was a filler after a Days of Thunder demo didn’t arrive in time for issue 2). Er, and it isn’t even technically PD.

Snackman – not to be confused with 1983’s commercial Snakman – was written by American John McCarthy in the early ’80s. He’d learned to code in 1982 when he was 14, first attempting a Pac-Man clone on the Vic-20 before realising he could have some more fun with it on the Commodore 64. It took John eight months, with the teenager becoming so confident in his work that he figured he might be able to sell it and help to pay his Mom’s mortgage.

Unfortunately early copies of the game he’d passed around spread through the old bulletin boards. Like Sensitive back on issue 17, it made its way in to PD libraries where it was treated as such for decades and picked out by CF for this month’s tape.

There are a bunch of different Snackman versions knocking about, but the code is instantly recognisable from the square enemies. Those, says John, were temporary until they decided what to replaced the Namco-owned “ghost” sprite IP with. Pac would’ve changed form too, but it’s unclear whether such a blatant clone would’ve cleared the bar for commercial release. Still, nice game.

PACK FACT: John went on to work for Nintendo, EA, Atar and Sony. He’s never forgotten Snackman, though, and has made the source code available here.


The second PD offering is a slickly packaged Tetris game. It plays exactly as you’d expect it to and very well too. In the game’s scroller, the author says that he’d “tried to sell this shit for a long time, but no-one wanted it”. Unsurprising, really: if you want to play Tetris on the C64 there’s, er, Tetris for the C64.

PACK FACT: Author Daniel Krajzewicz’s game BrainBreak was released by Psytronik in virtual and physical form in 2022.


The middle bit of CF‘s three-part text adventure whisks us back to Tannan, a Lord of The Rings style world where pubs are called inns and forests are always mystic. We gave you a full solution and download last time with part one, but if you’re playing along in real-time then the password you’ll need to start playing is HAWK. After that it’s your usual N, S, E, W shizzle.

PACK FACT: The Guild put out some cracking adventures for the old micros. Here’s a good list of their C64 ones.


At the end of side two are a couple of programs that tie in to page 23 of the magazine. Or at least, that’s what the Power Pack instructions say. In fact, the magazine is running a month behind the tape here: Sprite Demo demonstrates a routine that could be found in next month’s magazine. It’s a simple “shoot bombs from the sky” thing.

It’s likely that the tapes were already manufactured and ready to go by the time CF realised the feature wasn’t going to be in issue 33.


If you haven’t got Pac-Man or Tetris, this is a good tape. If you have, you’re left with Water Polo, a techy demo and one third of a text adventure. Power Pack 33 is missing a headline act (like a higher-profile Hewson game) to soften the focus on everything else. But hey, we hate to end a feature on a downer. So here’s an Easter Egg. After Sprite Demo on side two, you’ll find a “secret” text file they stuck on the end of this cassette. It’s got loads of stuff about sprites they couldn’t fit in the magazine. Hooray! CF