Saturday, December 15, 2018

Reach For The Skies


It's time for some cool BoxArt and today we have a wonderful flight sim by Rowan/Virgin called Reach For The Skies. I've definitely landed lucky because the box is in superb condition and even the contents are in good nick: manual, keycard and disks. It's almost like I used a time machine and revisited 1993 ( sigh... just imagine... )

Reach For The Skies was released back in 1993 and attempts a recreation of the Battle Of Britain era between the Royal Air Force and the German Luftwaffe. It's obviously a crucial part of the entire war and the battle is split into four mammoth sections. If you're up to the task, you can be either a pilot or the controller for an entire squadron.

  
Awesome pixel art albeit with some freaky faces. The middle pic features Colonel Von Strohm?

Obviously, the first thing I did was skip the manual and read nothing more than the keycard. This humble sheet of paper displays an array of keys which are used to successfully pilot the planes. Don't be too scared because there is a practice mode which is great for newcomers, like me. Why not completely bypass the take-off procedure and pretend to be a stuntman like Colt Seavers whizzing across those lovely 16-bit skies? Well, I did...

Those that prefer to take things seriously are adviced to learn the cockpit and keep the keycard sheet at hand. As you get accustomed to flying the skies, you will note some great external views: I really enjoyed these and you can watch me messing about on my YT channel. There are other awesome features like video recording and even the ability to flip between each member of your squadron. Yup, this is a big game that will take time to master.

  
The missions are historically impressive and it's also incredibly tempting to play for the other side...

Overall, this is a demanding flight sim with some neat features that help a novice, like me, get the most from the very start. I love the authentic cockpits, and the external views are stunning, but learning to hunt down and destroy the enemy will take much practice. But that's definitely a good thing, right? Reach For The Skies is one of the best flight sims I own and something I will enjoy time and time again. Tally-ho and chocks away, old bean!!

Whatever plane you decide to pilot, make sure you run this from a hard drive if you can (floppies on Stonish).

  
The 3D is good and the various camera angles are really impressive for some cool screenshots!



Please note: the video recording is based on my own experience using a Mega STe (16MHz) and I've tried to show the game's basic features for both the German and the British sides. Perhaps I should have used the standard computer, but there are lots of other videos out there so I fancied putting those extra clicks to use for a smoother experience. However, it's worth noting the old ST does perform exceedingly well (no change there then!).

Friday, December 14, 2018

Ballerburg

[This is the wonderful Atari ST game because I have no way to record off my phone!]

Let me start by saying that I never play "mobile" games. However, I was in my car bored stupid (it didn't take very long) and I remembered that Eckhard Kruse's Ballerburg has been remade by a company called DonkeyCat. Well, to say I'm blown away is an understatement because this classic mono game looks and feels very authentic and is pretty much like having an ST in your pocket. Gameplay is just as you would expect with wind, angle and speed to decipher so chose your kingdom and get blasting cannons over the mountains. Jolly good fun!

Okay, I still prefer the ST original but get on the App Store and grab yourself some of this mobile artillery action.

  

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny


Atari Legend is having a fantastic run-up to Christmas by releasing something special every day throughout December. It wasn't until the 7th when they released a hdd-patched version of Ultima 5 did I become interested. For some reason, I've not played any Ultima but this one looks especially interesting so I had to try it!

The land of Britannia has lost its king, Lord British (lol) and is now ruled by a tyrant called Blackthorn. Okay, it all sounds rather corny and the visuals might not rock the Bitmap Bros off top spot - but when did great graphics ever matter to the gameplay? I mean, just look at Rogue which I found to be a breathtaking experience. Nuff said.

  
Looks like I'm in a pretty cosy place but let's get out and explore the lush countryside.

  
Oh no, a two-headed Ettin has found me when walking over the hills. I should have run away!

First Impressions

Creating yourself a character is an usual affair and something I didn't expect but this process got little Stevie configured and straight into the thick of it. Boy, are there a large number of keys to learn for each and every action and interaction within your surroundings. This place is huge and the battles are very hard so exploring Britannia is going to be lots of fun (or agony?). But I can take it!!

I've genuinely enjoyed my first couple of games: a lovely country walk through grasslands and forests until I came upon a small bridge - with a Troll. Luckily I made it across without him noticing me but I then ran into some red demons who decided that they wanted a piece of us. Yep, my first battle didn't go down well if I'm honest... Hang on, I think I've been resurrected for another bash!

  
Vicious snakes decide to spit venom at our plucky adventurers. A bad mistake!

  
Now I feel Ultima V is finally starting to open up to this old noob. What a game!

I plan on spending the Christmas holidays playing Ultima V - with whiskey, turkey butties and mince pies beside my keyboard of course! I'm really looking forward to learning more about Ultima V and have (so far) had a brilliant few games. I'm excited but now time to takes things seriously and see how this adventure plays out.

My thanks to everyone over at Atari Legend for these daily treats!! Keep up the great work and STay Atari.

Hey look, I've just found a map! Time for a drink before leaving...