Unsurprisingly, none of the 8-bit versions of either Rick game will be as good as the 16-bit versions, and there are marked differences between the three versions. The Spectrum version is the only one entirely made in single-pixel graphics, but this is compromised by the way the Spectrum itself handles its graphics mode; only two colours (for foreground and background) are allowed per 8×8 square, so Rick can tend to blend into the background.

This notorious colour-clash can work for and against the gameplay. Movable walls are shown in markedly different colours to the surrounding scenery, and are far more visible than on the C64 and Amstrad versions; however, sometimes the background colour is used, and this also has a nasty habit of masking other hazards such as spikes. Check out the end of South America for proof.

Both Rick 1 and 2 made use of the 128K Spectrum's better sound quality over the 48K model; the sounds, in places, identical to those used on the Atari ST.

Whichever emulator you choose below, there is an almost bewildering array of file formats - at last count, there were four different snapshot formats, two tapes, one generic multiload format, one +3 disk and three TR-DOS disks, plus one further unidentified file format. Some emulators will support nearly every format, some only one or two, but those listed below can all handle the important Z80 snapshot and TAP tape files; most can handle the "perfect" TZX tape files and the Spectrum +3 DSK disk files.

Those familiar with the Spectrum's loading schemes will recognise Firebird's (very irritating!) Bleepload on the TZX version of Rick 1. It was useful, though, as if the tape stopped it could be reloaded from that point instead of having to start all over again...


There are fistfuls of Spectrum emulators available, some good, some bad. Now, here's a quick run-down of those to look for.

The latest champion is Jonathan Needle's Spectaculator, which runs under a variety of versions of Windoze, runs files directly with a double-click on the file icon, can load TZX tape files instantly, handles RZX action-replay demos, and generally does just about everything it was ever possible to do on any of the real Spectrums. The latest version of Spectaculator (6.1, 04.04.2004) includes support for the Russian Pentagon and Scorpion machines so it has pretty much every base covered. In fact, all I can think of that isn't supported by Spectaculator is the obsolete SLT file format. However, the tight-fisted amongst you may be dismayed to hear that Spectaculator 6 is now shareware, but I really do recommend buying it. I can't find any downloads of the last freeware version (5.3), but a search may reveal one.

There are three other point-and-start Windoze-based emulators I will mention. Vaggelis Kapartzianis' ZX32 runs in Windoze 95/98/ME, comes with its own set of icons, and can load TAP tape files at a rapid rate (but struggles with TZX). It cannot, however, handle RZX demo files. The best way to get hold of ZX32 is to download the self-extracting package of v1.03.97.1213, then download v2.00.04.04 beta and replace the EXE file of v1.03.97.1213 with this one. However, the website has not been updated since April 2000 and it looks unlikely that ZX32 will be developed further. Consider that Spectaculator's first release in December 2001 was no more than a 48K Spectrum emulator... shows how ZX32 has slid off the top slot.

Paul Dunn, Mark Woodmass and Mark Boyd's Spin was an emulator I used for a while to load files directly from tape into the emulator via the PC sound card, and was one of only two that I've managed that with. I discovered it for viewing and creating RZX files with, though I would now do that with Spectaculator. Apart from this, from my limited use of it, it seems to be quite similar to ZX32. UPDATE (30/8/2004): Allegedly, there is now a feature known as "Rollback", effectively an "undo" reature for removing mistakes when recording RZX demos. I haven't tried it yet, but this should allow the creation of perfect (or as near as) RZX demos of every level of Rick 1 and 2.

Gerton Lunter's Z80 is one of the oldest Spectrum emulators around, and has a Windoze counterpart, WinZ80. Unfortunately, it is not freeware, and the shareware version goes berserk after five minutes. It is the only emulator I know, apart from Spectaculator, to emulate the ZX printer, and I prefer its two-column output to Spectaculator's one-column version. This is not useful for playing Rick, though!

Until finding ZX32 I recommended James McKay's X128 emulator. It's the only one (apart from the forthcoming Spectaculator 5.3...) that can run Russian TR-DOS files, but we don't need to bother with that here, unless you're a fan of Russian Dizzy games. X128 is DOS-based and is surprisingly easy to use, and as long as you keep your game files in the X128 directory, you can run the files from Windoze. X128 needs the DOS/4GW extender.

Finally, Zeljko Juric and Samir Ribic's Warajevo is another DOS-based emulator, which is harder to use than X128 and can only use the PC speaker. However, given that it was written in Sarajevo while the Serbs were busy reducing the whole city to rubble, it's a fantastic effort. I used Warajevo to transfer my old Spectrum tapes to Z80 memory snapshots, so it's worth considering. X128 claims to be able to do this, but my version couldn't. Warajevo could be a useful emulator for slower PC's (i.e. those of you still with a 486...)

A full list of Spectrum emulators is available at World Of Spectrum.

Spectaculator v6.1: Go to the site
Spin v0.504: Go to the site Direct download
ZX32 v1.03.97.1213: Go to
the site
Direct download
ZX32 v2.00.04.04 beta: Direct download
Z80 and WinZ80 v4.00: Direct download
X128 v0.94: Go to the site
Warajevo v2.51: Go to the site Direct download
Rick 1: (TZX, DSK, TAP) Go to the site
Rick 1: (128K Z80 snapshot) Direct download
Rick 2: (DSK, SLT, TAP, TZX) Go to the site

There is also a version that is playable online at: www.ciunga.it/jxspeccy/rickx2.html, in the Java-based JXSpeccy emulator. It has the unfortunate disadvantage of being unplayable with the keyboard controls, though, as the "X" key (right) does not work!


The Speccy version, as usual, had several control options; keyboard, Sinclair or Kempston joystick, and cursor keys. The keys were:

O = up, K = down, Z = left, X = right, ENTER = fire, P = pause, Q = quit.

Whether your can use a joystick or not depends on the emulator but X128, ZX32 and Warajevo can all handle it (I think)...

For those of you unfamiliar with the Spectrum, the cursor keys were: 7 = up, 6 = down, 5 = left, 8 = right, 0 = fire. Anyone who had a Speccy in 1982 probably had to use these keys for a lot of games, but with up & down next to each other and between the left and right keys, I don't recommend it because they're terrible to use.

The Sinclair SJS1 joystick was little more than another numerical keypad, in effect. The keys which substitute for the Sinclair joystick are:

Port 1: 9 = up, 8 = down, 6 = left, 7 = right, 0 = fire
Port 2: 4 = up, 3 = down, 1 = left, 2 = right, 5 = fire

See the "How to play Rick Dangerous" page to see how to use Rick's arsenal of weapons.


The following pokes in Rick 1 may be useful, if you can get them to work. Both Spectaculator and ZX32 have a "Poke Memory" option in the Windoze menu where these can be used; also X128 and Spectaculator both emulate the Multiface peripheral (press F2 to activate it on X128, CTRL+M on Spectaculator) which was very useful for entering pokes, amongst other uses. Press T to enter the Tool menu, then SPACE, enter the address to be poked (i.e. 58359), then the value (0), Q to quit the menu then E to exit the Multiface.

POKE 58359,0: infinite lives
POKE 65075,0: infinite bullets
POKE 64166,0: infinite dynamite

The downloadable version of Rick 2 on this page comes with some built-in cheats: it is possible to select infinite lives, infinite shots, infinite bombs and invulnerability. Use this last option with caution: it allows Rick to pass unharmed through all the traps and enemies, but if Rick falls into a spike pit which he can't jump out of, he won't die and the only way out is to abort the game. Also, it doesn't protect Rick from the Fat Guy's ammo at the end of the game.

Those of you who want to cheat the traditional way and use pokes, these are the codes for Rick 2:

POKE 35376,0: infinite lives
POKE 34541,0 and POKE 38303,0: infinite shots
POKE 34574,0 and POKE 39745,0: infinite bombs


Hit the thumbnail to see a full-size version of the screenshot.