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What a horrible little game. The graphics are of the very wobbly variety, with 'poopy' sprites making epileptic movements across an even jerkier background. The sound is just as grotty -- a ' whee boom' sort of thing. If you want to see how awful American programs were on the 64 in the olden days then I suppose you can't find a much better example of this boring and ancient drivel. Ugh.



Monotonous, repetitious, boring, yawn inducing, dull, crap ...
Neutral Zone! I've seen better, but I haven't seen much worse. I'm surprised US Gold have bothered to release this game at all, even at a budget price. It's awful. Nothing to do but shoot ship after ship after ship after ship -- a sort of Space Invaders in 3D with only one alien. Blam! Blam! Boom! Boom! Zzzz...




Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Neutral Zone
1983 Access Software
Programmed by Bruce Carver
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the fifteenth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: June 12th, 1986).

Americana, 2.99 cass, joystick only

Dating back three years, this title has been given a new lease of life as part of the new Americana range. You are taken to the outer edges of the galaxy on a mission to protect Alpha IV, which is under attack from some xenophobic aliens who would appear to owe something of their philosophy to the Japanese Kamikaze pilots of the last war.

The game can be set on any of five levels (from easy to crazy) with a two-player option available. On the first level, ten ships attack the outpost, going up to fifty ships on the hardest level. Those vary in their size, speed and destructive capability. They not only attempt to damage the outpost but also fire shots at your weapons pod and the idea is to prevent them from achieving their goal by simply blasting them out of the sky. Play is also set against the clock, so you really have your work cut out.

Your missiles are fired at the enemy from the weapons pod which rotates through 360 degrees. A control panel at the base of the screen shows where the next alien attack is coming from, leaving it up to you to find the ship and destroy it. Only one ship attacks at any time and it continues on its attack run until it is either destroyed or the time limit expires. As damage is inflicted on the weapons pod, it becomes less efficient. Normally, when the 'Turret Damaged' message appears on the screen, it means that traversing is going to be slower until the self repair systems fix the damage, giving the aliens more chance to wreak havoc on Alpha IV.

If the mission is successfully completed you are returned to the title screen to select a new game. On harder levels or play, missiles spew forth from the enemy ships with disturbing frequency and precision.


Well Bruce and Roger Carver may well have gone on to write Beach Head, Beach Head II and Leader Board but this is where they started and they certainly started at the bottom. Neutral Zone is pish, and a large part of it is basic, so it's slow pish at that. Though some of the Americana range is good, it has its black spots and one of the blackest is Neutral Zone. The main cripple factor is its age, though even in its heyday I'm sure Neutral Zone would be regarded as far from inspiring. Avoid this offering at all costs even with the 2.99 price tag.


Presentation 31%

5 skill levels for up to two players -- wow.

Graphics 12%
Basic BASIC graphics.

Sound 13%
Better sounds from a cat being doctored

Hookability 7%
There sort of isn't any really.

Lastability 5%
Even less.

Value For Money 15%
Well, it is cheap . . .

Overall 9%
No comment.


Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (2 Mar 2006)

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