Wednesday, August 31, 2016

BeGEMeD


BeGEMeD is a twist of Bejewelled puzzler developed for the Atari STe by Alexander de Vries. It features colourful graphics accompanied by incredible in-game music by Dma-Sc, both are an utter sensation to compliment the awesome gameplay. I've contacted Alexander, to thank him for his work, and it wasn't long before I was testing a new beta... I'm thrilled to report the latest version has numerous bug fixes and many more features with a final release due soon. I'm honoured to have played a (tiny) part in the production of what is a fabulous and addictive puzzler!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Saboteur III - The Egyptian Mission


Saboteur 3 was released in 2012 by Shadow Team for the Atari STe and Falcon. It's an unofficial fan-game which is obviously based upon the 8-bit classics by Durell Software and is programmed in GFA Basic. Quite incredible!

This third mission takes us into Egypt looking for fragments of a key that will unlock a treasure-filled sarcophagus. However, and this might not come as much of a shock, but somebody has rigged most rooms with killer spikes and lots of scary creatures are freely on the loose, like mummies, bats, and scorpions so don't expect this to be easy!!

  
Ohh what an intimidating title screen! Let's begin our mission by killing Mommies!

Controls are very responsive and I'm impressed with the fluency of our actions which help make this game feel authentically enjoyable. Movements are more or less what you would expect with a few changes - down/fire now makes our ninja hit under the belt without the using the old kicking mechanic. Each room is great and a pleasure for this oldskool gamer because I liked the design and kicking monsters the death is always fun. Looking at the map, Saboteur 3 is smaller than the previous game on my old ZX Spectrum but the adventure is still superb.

There are some changes to the gameplay mechanics which irk me a little if I'm being honest. Like falling off a ledge for an instant death rather than simply draining you of your replenishable strength - I miss that bar... I also failed to see the point of the spikes that pop-up to impale you each and every time, even during mid-jump!! However, the most annoying oddity are the ladders because some simply go nowhere and that's just stupid.

  
As you progress, things get odd and very difficult until death strikes with a blooded vengeance!

I love the graphics which are brilliantly retro in style and follow the original theme quite well using a familiar palette. Each nasty is nicely animated which makes kicking these creatures to death a joy! The in-game music is by Dma-Sc and is a beautiful example of extraordinary chiptune talent, but I still would have liked the option of sound effects.

Saboteur 3 is good but far from perfect and I (sadly) feel that the hardcore fans will enjoy picking at this. I think it's disappointing that many of the expected Saboteur characteristics are altered or missing but this is still a great game in its own right and I think even Clive Townsend would enjoy playing this alternative conversion of his wonderful games. I know I have but now I need infinite lives because I really want to finish it. Very enjoyable!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Creatures


Somewhere in the far reaches of the universe is a planet called Blot. Much like Eden, this is a wonderful place where everything is perfect and everyone is happy. The inhabitants are lovely little creatures called the Blotians. However, for some peculiar reason, these guys became bored with their paradise and desired it to be cooler. Thus came up with the daft notion of a brand new identity - on a different planet. They're now called Fuzzy Wuzzies...

However, what these sad creatures didn't realise was that evil demons already lived on this new planet and they are a very bad-tempered bunch too! Needless to say, they should have been happy where they were because everyone has been captured and awaits a cruel and bloody fate. You are Clyde Radcliffe, your breath stinks terrible but it is your job to rescue all of your simple-minded friends from these vicious fiends! So good luck - you'll need it.

  

Clyde is the cutest little thing and the game employs this theme throughout for all of its critters, be they good or bad. He is equipped with a rapid firing weapon, which is handy because many of the baddies can take numerous hits before they die. Power-ups are available, I love the 'wriggler' effect the most and there are much more to choose from. However, your superpower is the funniest weapon of all, press and hold the fire button to breathe bad breath over anything that gets too close. End of level puzzles are particularly cruel (but funny) with a harsh time limit to beat before a fellow Fuzzy Wuzzy meets their bloody death at the hands of a sadistic demon!

I love the lush aesthetics of Creatures with the beautiful colours and stunning artwork - the attention to detail is amazing. However, everything might look good but it's spoiled by rubbish push scrolling! Sure, this method works fine for other games but not here because it desperately needed proper scrolling. Audio is excellent and all sound effects use the DMA hardware [Atari STe] so what a shame they didn't go that extra mile to use the h/w scrolling or Blitter...


Creatures is actually pretty good and the gameplay is well-balanced (with a great sense of humour) but a scrolling platformer needs to SCROLL otherwise it feels cheap and tacky. If I'm honest, I was never a big Thalamus fan but it's obvious this is a lame Amiga port, which is sad. I feel there are better platformers out there for the Atari ST.

If you fancy helping Clyde in his push-scrolling world then grab the floppies or install onto your hard drive.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Annex


Annex is a homebrew first-person shooter published by LAPD in 1995 and attempts to blend together the action of Doom using the mechanics of Dungeon Master. Nasty aliens have taken control of the science space station, Annex. Guess what? It's our job is to kill every last one of them whilst fixing the life support reactors.

I must admit, at first, I didn't think this would work using those 90° turns but it actually plays superbly well. Movement is performed using a combination of the keyboard and mouse: the keyboard to walk and activate switches with the mouse to aim and shoot. The graphics are great but lack variety in colour and texture, thus things do tend to get a little samey after a while. Sadly, there is no map function to help us out - the docs suggest making your own.

Thankfully, the baddies speak when they see you and that conveniently doubles as a good heads-up!! So give 'em hell and annihilate them into a gory blood splatter! Yes, this game fun and I love how it combines action with adventure. Far from perfect but first-person shooter fans should definitely take a look. Only available for ST/STe!!

LINKS

 - AtariMania has a download available from their Atari ST database.
 - Zogging Hell has a nice selection of the LAPD library.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Floyd The Droid


Floyd The Droid is a hectic shoot 'em up in a style similar to a Robotron clone and developed in 1986 by Paul Lay for Analog Software. It's all about whacking enemies who are crammed onto your screen and they are the silliest sprites: robots, spaceships, fuji and even a Commodore 64 computer. Floyd also contains speech which is excellent for a game released so early in the Atari ST's life but whoever wrote the title tune is obviously insane - it's just zany and wrong yet I find myself enjoy it and even leave it playing in the background. Perhaps I'm mad?

 - I believe there was a hi-res version in the making but I'm unsure if it was ever released?
 - Demozoo has a Floyd The Droid list and Stonish has the download on Serenade #5.
 - AtariMania list in their database Floyd The Droid and also Missing One Droid.
 - Atari 8-bit fans may also wanna click here: Floyd the Droid Goes Blastin'.

Sure, it's a little rough around the edges because it's an early title but this is also a piece of Atari ST history and loved by all, I'm sure of it. Well, personally, I enjoy frantically blasting the relentless hoard of invading oddities - it never gets old!! Yup, this sure is Atari ST retro gaming at its best so hit that fire-button and try to last as long as you can.


I managed to find the original of Missing One Droid and I just had to buy it!!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Frontier: Elite II


After a worrying delay, Frontier Elite II was released in early 1994 by Gametek and was unlike most other games due to its sheer size taking place in amongst the stars. Yep, that's right a whole universe of countless stars to explore which basically meant many long gaming nights are ahead (over the decades and through to the present day!)

Commander Jameson has sadly left this realm and you came along just in the nick time to reap the benefits of his will reading. Being his favourite grandson, he left you 100 credits with strict instructions to stay clear of Vegas. He also left you his pride and joy, an Eagle Long Range Fighter - so be careful and don't scratch it. You now have the means and opportunity to explore the heavens so jump into your new spaceship and begin the journey of your lifetime!

  
There are two basic starting positions and faster computers can even crank up the graphical details.

After watching the awesome intro, various menu options are available to begin your first adventure and I advise selecting Option 1 which places you safely in the Ross 154 System. Or more precisely, at the Sirocco starport on the planet Merlin. You have 100 credits and a rather funky piece of 3D called your spaceship so starting at Sirocco is a great place to learn the ropes of the GUI and basic trading skills along with brushing up on your piloting skills.

Frontier is an open world (space!) sandbox game which doesn't restrict in any traditional sense as you are free to travel almost anywhere and do almost anything you like. However, even gaming folklore doesn't come free and this style of living costs money. So use the spaceship to provide yourself with a good living by means of job contracts and trading because everyone needs something. This is where you come in to make your hard-earned cash.

  
First things first, let's check out the cool spaceships and find dodgy jobs on the bulletin boards.

Frontier's universe has two major factions, and this is the Trekkie part, for me. Firstly, we have the Federation who are based in the Sol system and then we have The Empire which is based within the Achenar system. Both offer a haven to live and trade but aren't exactly the best of friends. Also, outside the safety of their territory, you run the risk of running into pirates who want your precious cargo - and your life!! Whoever said life was gonna be easy?

These dogfights are difficult to master and possibly the hardest part of the entire game. Gone are the arcade style controls in favour of realistic Newtonian physics which will affect the control of your spacecraft. So, momentum will first need to be compensated in order for you to slow down, stop or change a direction. Perhaps it's now that I should advise saving your game at regular intervals? Learn physics because the pirates are tough cookies.

Ultimately, Frontier is all about trade and trying to earn yourself the means for a lucrative lifestyle through the adventures of space and exploring the heavens. Use your galactic map to explore a 3D perspective of creation to plan a route, dig for information to find out what they need, and then buy in bulk to earn lots of cash.

  
Check out your local solar system and then see what goods are best to trade in...

Enjoy your journey but prepare thyself because nothing beats making your first hyperspace jump - very exciting!! This automatically ends once you are within the vicinity of your destination, but the distance to travel is still huge, so don't forget to use the Stardreamer buttons to pass the time quicker! Auto-docking is finally supported and, once you're boarded, get details of goods sold to reap the biggest profits. Also, before you begin looking for another trade route, remember to refuel your ship otherwise you won't be able to make another hyperspace jump!

After earning lots of money, you might want to consider checking out the Bulletin Board where you can upgrade your ship or search for extra jobs like transporting passengers, help to find a missing person, mining, military work or information. Heck, there is even a black market for those without a conscience where you can trade slaves, weapons, narcotics, or even be an assassin. However, this dark lifestyle will definitely take you into dangerous waters so will almost certainly attract the attention of the law. Are you ready for that kinda heat, bad boy?

Frontier is one heck of a game and one with immense potential and I'm hoping this feature will regenerate your interest to play? Frontier is all about progression and making the right choices to build up your own empire. Don't expect to jump into the pilot's seat and see the entire universe in one sitting because will take time, money and commitment. Frontier: Elite II is jaw-dropping and quite literally one of the best games, ever.

  
What I love is exploring the universe... Hang on, what's that I see? Zoomed in and saw this beauty!!

Grab yourself a slice of creation and play this immense game right now which comes either on floppy or for your hard drive. The manual is available on AtariMania and you can catch a glimpse of the 16bit universe right now.

Pondering Time: I have been talking with AtariMania's Marko Latvanen and, between us, we cannot decide if Frontier was released at the latter end of 1993 or the early 1994. Sure, the other versions came out months earlier but our research is conflicting and I personally remember buying it in early 1994... We would appreciate any help :)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Hector vs The Mutant Vampire Tomatoes From Hell


If there was ever a rival to probably the best titled Atari ST game, this is it. Hector vs The Mutant Vampire Tomatoes From Hell was released in 1993 by Pete Whitby and is a platformer with a fascinating retro gaming familiarity. It involves you, with your trusty spade, burying evil vampire tomatoes in the holes you've just dug out. Once those daft tomatoes fall in, don't panic, all you gotta do is bury the suckers and this is the fun part of any bonka bashing!

The graphics and sounds are homebrew, and so very cool, I really do love both. Like a colourful Spectrum platformer with great sound effects. What I must rave about are the controls, which are spot-on perfect and I cannot stress this highly enough. Our little spade digger has perfect controls, without ever feeling wooden or awkward.

What an absolute joy to play with these monsters in hell. Today, I personally plan to spend lots of time digging holes and squishing tomatoes. I say Hector presents a fantaSTic challenge and is tons of fun. What a brilliant game!

LINKS

 - Watch the YouTube video by Wasabim which shows just how the game progresses through several levels and it also has an amazing intro - both the game itself (beautiful chiptune) and also the video intro. Which is incredible!
 - Stonish is literally the best website for Menu CDs and Hector appears on Adrenalin #12
 - Old Games Finder also has a list of downloads and it's worth noting that it can be installed onto hard drive!
 - Pete Whitby is featured on Demozoo and has made another game that might be familiar to the older gamer.
 - Update: Hector is now listed within the AtariMania database and includes the documentation!
 - Did you get any of my subtle retro gaming references? ;-)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Knight Lore


AtariCrypt is all about the Atari ST range of home computers but today I shall make an exception and feature something very special for the wonderful 32-Bit Falcon, KNIGHT LORE!!! That's right, you heard me correctly, this is a conversion of the classic ZX Spectrum game by Ultimate Play The Game. It appears to be complete and fully playable but I gotta wonder just why this couldn't have been developed for the Atari ST also?

My sincere thanks to Janez Valant (Swe, of YesCREW) who enlightened me about this unreleased beauty!

Friday, August 19, 2016

What's wrong with this picture?


Look at my GEM desktop... can you spot two things which are wrong?

Okay, I've been experimenting with various GEM programs that allow larger resolutions or an increase in the desktop area. Some offer interlace to double the vertical resolution (use 60Hz if possible!) whilst others created a virtual screen powered by the Atari STe's hardware scrolling. Interestingly, there are also programs which enable overscan and it was this that sparked my curiosity. Overscan works perfect on my computer but I did have a slight flickering during disk activity on my Mega STe - but only when running in 16MHz. It wasn't much of a problem but no matter how I tweaked the settings it was never quite as good as the stock 8Mhz computer.

Each tool I found is bundled into this download. (please let me know if there are others I've missed)
BigScreen, DBL2STE, DBL2ST, Remove, MonSTEr, NoBorder, Big-Y

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Magic Boy


Empire released Magic Boy late in 1993 and is one of the cutest platformers ever released. It reminds me a little of Rainbow Islands in both quality and style. You are little Hewlett, a young boy with a magic wand who accidentally turned all the animals into freakishly cute monsters. So it's your job to restore everything back to normal and that can only mean venturing forth through many beautiful worlds to tag and bag all of these little nasties.

There are four massive worlds to explore (Sand Land, Wet World, Plastic Place, Future Zone) with each offering eight levels. They start off relatively easy before introducing you to lots of cunning tricks and traps that keep you on your toes and most certainly keep you coming back for more. Collect the power-ups to aid your progress and there is a mild learning curve but Magic Boy is such an easy game to pick-up and play you'll be leaping for joy in no time!

  

This is literally one of the most stunning 16-Bit games I have ever played. Such gorgeous bright, radiant graphics with so many comical characters and with ultra-smooth vertical scrolling. Sound effects are brilliant and best experienced using an Atari STe. Accompanying music is so perfect with a fun-themed high-quality tune that stays in your head all day long! Yes, Magic Boy is most definitely one of the sexiest Atari ST games, ever.

It's not often I say this, but Magic Boy is perfection. Personally, I cannot find any faults with this fascinating platformer which plays as good as it looks and sounds. So stop what you're doing and PLAY THIS GAME!!

LINKS

 - 8BitChip never fail to impress and once again have adapted this game for hard drive installation.
 - If you instead need a floppy disk image then Old Games Finder is for you!
 - How do you fancy a few sneaky cheats to get you onto those later levels? Yeah, of course you do! When you are about to start a new game, first, you must press and hold down one of these combinations to choose:
     -> Sand Land......(part 1)  =  S + 1
     -> Sand Land......(part 2)  =  S + 2
     -> Future Zone....(part 1)  =  F + 1
     -> Future Zone....(part 2)  =  F + 2
     -> Plastic Place..(part 1)  =  P + 1
     -> Plastic Place..(part 2)  =  P + 2
     -> Wet World......(part 1)  =  W + 1
     -> Wet World......(part 2)  =  W + 2

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

AtariCrypt box art?



Over the last few months, I have been taking pictures of my own games and featuring the best box art right here on AtariCrypt. Yesterday, I got quite a shock when a good friend of mine, Jose.Ant, created this fake box art for me using my avatar. There sure are some awesome people in Atari ST land and I love this so much. Thank you mate!!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

MIG-29 Fulcrum


Mig-29 Fulcrum was developed by Myomantic for Domark in 1991 and has excellent (fast!) vector graphics with lots of exciting missions. However, if I'm honest, I think I just enjoyed the experience of flying rather than completing the mission tasks. The Soviet box art is superbly designed and the contents are also quite outstanding - incredible value for money. I really wanted to hang the poster on the bedroom wall above my monitor, sadly the wife said NO!! :/

LINKS

 - 8BitChip have adapted this for hard drive installation, which is just cool!
 - Floppy disk images are listed on Old Games Finder.
 - ST Format reviewed it back in issue #20 and gave it a cracking 92%
 - There was a sequel called "Super Fulcrum" but I never played this. Perhaps a cash-in?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Days Of Thunder


I'm a big NASCAR fan and today I finally got around to playing Mindscape's Days Of Thunder which, (I think) is the only stock car game out on the Atari ST? Firstly, I must first thank Peter Putnik of 8BitChip who adapted this game for hard drive installation, at my request. Sadly, I wish I'd never have mithered him because I feel I have discovered the worst Atari ST game ever made!

It actually started off well with a cracking Dave Whittaker title tune but soon goes downhill, and very fast too. My first game didn't go very well and I was incredibly shocked just how bad it looks, sounds and plays. Talk about bland and boring - I couldn't stand more than a few laps before wondering if I was missing something glaringly obvious...

I've since played several races and sadly suffered every minute in agony. I don't think I shall be keeping a copy on my hard drive somehow (sorry Peter!). Boogity, Boogity, Boogity probably the worst ST game ever??

LINKS

 - Visit 8BitChip right now if you feel brave enough to take a spin around Daytona!
 - The floppy disk images are available via Old Games Finder.
 - ST Format seemed to love this game! Are they right or simply insane? Let me know!
 - Fancy a big fat juicy tip?
          > When in the qualifying race, press pause (P key).
          > Type in COMEFLYWITHME
          > Now press keys F1 - F8 for some silly views!
          > However, it won't make the game any better! (and untested by me)

Monday, August 08, 2016

Elf


You are little Cornelius, a cool looking dude who's girlfriend, Elisa, has been kidnapped by the evil Necriliousr. Armed with his magic ring (stop it!!) you must travel eight incredibly gorgeous landscapes, avoiding strange and wacky creatures and solving simple puzzles in order to rescue the love of your life. Yes, that's Elisa and not your Atari ST!

Elf was released in 1991 by the mighty Ocean Software and is a beautiful platformer with simple adventure elements and takes place over several massive levels.

Gameplay is stuffed full of relentless action with an onslaught of baddies constantly popping up to cause you grief and slow you down as you search for pieces of the puzzles. It's these puzzles which remind me of the David Jones games on my old ZX Spectrum as they involve trading items with the silly characters, which is an interesting aspect used here.

There are other items, even animals, to collate as "pets" which is essentially your currency used to purchase an assortment of power-ups including firepower, extra lives, the ability to fly (click on the image) and much more. Each is superb and certainly help to increase longevity.

Elf is jammed packed with humorous touches. Some animals have cute expressions and there are also many integrated novelties, like rock eyes that watch your every move. I like how one of the baddies followed me, by using a ladder, a simple but impressive mechanic. Also, in true Atic Atac style, a tombstone is erected when you lose a life and it is rumoured to be haunted! If Elf has a weakness, it's the number of allotted lives which is far too few and should have been greater considering the task at hand. I also found it a little annoying when some critters would walk onto the screen just as I was about to walk off, thus zapping valuable energy but this is minor.

   
Just look at those cute critters and lovely colours but dawdle and they'll kill you - but at least your death is superb!!

The graphics are tremendous with such an outstanding attention to detail for both the scenery and characters. The baddies are some of the most detailed sprites I have ever seen, killing them almost makes me feel bad (almost). Sound effects are excellent but it's the music I love, by Matthew Cannon who also worked on Navy Seals. Awesome chiptunes throughout, which are quite bewitching and (for once) I prefer playing a game with the music on!

Elf is a game you need to experience. It's not one to pick up and play for a few minutes. Shoot and kill everything that moves, trade with characters and, hopefully, you shall discover how to bribe your way onto the next level... I feel this is one of the best platform/adventure games I have ever played and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

LINKS

 - 8BitChip has a version for hard disks and the floppies can be found via Old Games Finder.
 - Here is a walkthrough but don't spoil this awesome game. Use only when absolutely necessary!!
 - Type in CHOROPOO during gameplay for 99 Pets.
 - Fancy some of my handy hints to get you started on the first level?
          -> Tweet Tweet, that cute little bird is hungry.
          -> Red Indian's love feathers.
          -> Toilet paper... ahem.. surely too easy?
          -> That big guy just loves roast chicken. Yum!

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

1632 ATARI podcaST


It's always awesome to see someone doing something creative for the ST scene and here is Atari 8-bit legend, Wade with his new podcaST. Obviously, this is about the Atari ST and by a guy that didn't originally care for it. Interesting...

So check this out my fellow ST nutters. Follow his re-discovery of the best 16-bit retro computer! <clickety click>