Back to Reality by Mastertronic

backtorealitygamePublisher: Mastertronic
Developer: Mastertronic
Release Date: 1986
Code: Steve Elward
GFX: Steve Elward
Music: Steve Elward
ZZAP64 Game Rating: n/a
Our Game Rating: 59%
Completed & Reviewed by Neil Collins

> CLICK HERE to Download emu file
Back to Reality by Mastertronic is a game I remember playing briefly on the Amstrad CPC464, but never on the C64. The thing I remember most about it was the cover, which shows a character that looks a lot like a biker scout from Star Wars.
The aim of the game is to stop a black hole from crushing the universe. You play the part of a scientist called Alward stationed on Ganymede, and you need to find a solution to prevent the impending disaster from happening. The game consists of numerous single screens that contain irritating aliens that drain the fuel from your jetpac, which in turn makes you lose a life. Scattered around the place are various items you can collect, which you must use in combinations to create new items in order to progress through the game. The graphics are very poor, the animation is terrible and the sound is awful. The game itself isn’t actually too bad once you find your way around and work out which items combine. There’s a half decent game here but unfortunately it’s well hidden beneath terrible visuals and game play…
The End!
HOW WAS IT COMPLETED?:  I played it for quite a while and things suddenly fell into place. To get the ending it took quite a bit of trial and error with various items.
SO WHAT HAPPENS?:  Once you have created anti-matter, you need to combine it with the curse of immortality. This ends the game and saves the universe. Alward vanishes off the screen and a message appears in the info panel at the top of the screen. The message reads ‘YOU HAVE BEATEN THE BLACK HOLE. WELL DONE!’
Neil: Not a great shock. Having seen the end message in the game code, I knew this one was going to be quite poor. 1/10.
Vinny: It was obvious that I was going to buy this game back in the day because I was a collector of all Mastertronic releases – no matter how cack they were. Unfortunately, Back to Reality was one of the cackiest Mastertronic releases around with shoddy graphics, non existent sound, and lacklustre and infuriating game play! It’s inevitable that the ending is going to be utter cack too…
Yep – it’s cack 😦 0.5/10 from me.
Andy Vaisey:  Grrrrr…. Firefox just bombed and lost my lengthy comment on this ending…
Basically, I said: rubbish.
Gaz Spence:  The best part of this release was the cover, with a shameless clone of a Star Wars’ Stormtrooper featuring in the artwork. Everything about the actual is creaky – from the ropey visuals through to the discordant music and pedestrian gameplay. A duffer pure and simple.
Andrew Fisher:  The reality is, I never played this and it has a terrible ending.
I do remember some POKEs in ZZAP! for changing sprite sizes, a precursor to Vinny’s crazy hacks. One was “adventures of a drainpipe” (Y expansion), another “adventures of a donut” (X & Y expansion)…
Brendan Phoenix:  After the high of the Olympics, it’s ‘Back to Reality’ looking at this ending! Rubbish.
FINAL SAY:  A really poor ending to a badly programmed game. This game needed better graphics and smoother animation to get it more attention.

G.E. RATING:   1 / 10

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3 Responses to Back to Reality by Mastertronic

  1. Gaetano says:

    This ending looks different from the one I saw (you can read a review with map and solution – in italian – here: I played an original tape dump without trainers. Apart from the background graphics (which should appear like this:, in the picture shown in your article I notice that the player is still in the “parallel” world (upper-left corner of the screen), rather than in the “real” one, where the game should normally end… I think this should be investigated a bit more…


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