Games of Christmas Past 5 – Santa’s Christmas Caper
The final part of our Games of Christmas Past. A short series remembering the best festive games of yesteryear…
Santa’s Christmas Caper
C64 (also on Spectrum and Amstrad)
As the new decade ushered in a new era of hope, Zeppelin thought they would get in on the Christmas game lark and a quick look at the wintry themed efforts that had gone before showed a gaping hole in one genre – the shoot ’em up.
Not the most festive of game types you may be thinking, but as soon as load the game up and the wonderfully jolly SID chip remix of Joy to the World blasts out, all of that is forgotten. Capers is infact one of the most Christmassy games ever made and by the end of a few games you may well be on the verge of cancelling the fat one’s visit down the chimney and waiting for Easter!
Right from the off all the trimmings are literally thrown in your face. The elves you see are up to there tricks again (which seems to be a common theme in these games ) and they have kidnapped Santa and set all the toys against him. Luckily he managed to get a message to his chief helper (that would be you) and you must impersonate ol’ white beard and deliver the presents to the good folk of Britain. It is nice to hear that Santa is so biased towards our great land that he is happy for all other countries to miss out, just so we can get our Action Man and Mr Frosty.
The game is split into 2 distinct tasks, firstly you must fly the sleigh from the North Pole workshop to England (passing through Greenland on your way). Then as you fly above the English rooftops, you must deposit presents in chimneys ensuring that all the little kiddy-winkles on the nice list don’t have their faith in Christmas destroyed too early and spiral into substance abuse, petty crime and poverty.
As shmups go, the game stands up as a good fun budget title that is challenging enough to give you an hours fun, but not really challenging enough for any long term appeal. But that is the beauty of Christmas games, they don’t need the longevity of normal games. If we can get just an hours annual fix of tinsel adorned retro gaming goodness then we are more than happy to pack the games away like the baubles that they are and not give them another thought until next year.
We hope you have enjoyed our nostalgic look back at the festive games of yesteryear. If we have missed any of your favourite yuletide games or you have some anecdotes from your own Christmas past, then scroll down to the comments and let us know.