Saturday, April 28, 2018


It's time we posted more cool pixel art and today is Ubi Soft's Sir Fred (aka Fred) which is a medieval scrolling platformer featuring the most beautiful visuals by Jean-Marc Torroella and Jerome Guerry. In fact, I'd go as far as saying that this contains some of the most unique styles with stunning attention to detail using a colourful, yet eerie, palette. The sprites are wonderful and nicely animated - even those rude ones who stick out their tongues!!

I feel sorry for our once fearless knight who was tragically zapped into a midget by an angry dwarf. Shocked by this, he shakes his fists at his beaten foe but they cannot help themselves and burst out laughing! Adding salt into Fred's new wounds is a naughty gnome who ends his ridicule in what can only be described as a brilliant opening intro.

Click on any image to see the larger size. Impressive 16-bit pixel art!!

So, we're a miniature warrior who begins his quest in a spooky forest and battling cute garden creatures? Well, there are many other beasts lurking in the woods and castle grounds like skeletons, snakes, headless axemen and ghosts. All want you dead, so kill them with your stock of rapid arrows - these can often reach the baddies off-screen! Fred is a nimble chap with the ability to walk, leap and roll his way through his adventure but the cumbersome controls often got me into trouble. Turning around reminded me of Black Lamp feeling quite restrictive and lethargic.

I absolutely love the details and the murky palette which looks so perfect for a creepy scenario.

Interestingly, we have multiple platform layers to climb steps or bypass obstacles like rocks or trees. Battling your foe also requires that both are on the same level but this was a little confusing and didn't work well when being attacked from all sides... Energy levels are indicated by three apples and, once they're gone, you're dead as a dodo. Sadly, they don't last very long, but death his produce a humorous effect as our hero drops his sword in agony!

Those darn gnomes are a pest even the rude ones lol

Fred is a good game but it's simply far too difficult thanks to the fudgy controls that ultimately spoil what might have been. Also, more checkpoints are needed to prevent you from restarting at the beginning, which is extremely annoying. Overall, I felt Fred fell somewhat short of the mark, which is ironic, uh? If you fancy helping out Fred in this beautiful 16-bit adventure then pick up a sword and boot up this floppy disk or run this hard disk program.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Portal To Xenithor

Portal To Xenithor is a brand new flick-screen platformer for the Atari ST currently under development by Michael Keenleyside. The adventure begins with us having survived a crash landing on a monster-infested moon colony. Our job is to kill the nasties and search for a replacement spaceship before piloting it through to a victorious escape.

It's early days, but the base storyline and map design ideas are nicely taking shape with end-of-level cutscenes also planned to be used as the storyline unfolds. The visual style is dark and moody but soon to be enhanced by eerie music. Michael is about six months into his project and is making great progress with the possibility of using another engine for other parts of the game using the hardware scrolling and DMA Audio thanks to the Atari STe hardware.

Michael is nuts about Mandarin's STOS Game Creator and wishes to pay homage to Francois Lionet so all development will be done using this product - along with Missing Link and Maestro. The estimated requirements are a 4MB Atari ST with support for hard disk installation. I'm personally reminded of Stryx or Baal and cannot wait for what comes next. It is brilliant to see another new game in development so watch this space!

Update: Michael has created a new STOS Coders group with Francois Lionet. Sign up!!

Sunday, April 22, 2018


When I first loaded up Zaptastic, I immediately assumed a cheap Robotron ripoff but it's actually based on an old Jeff Minter game called Ancipital. Lee Burrows not only coded this conversion but did all the graphics and sounds too. I believe it runs on both models of ST but was actually intended for the Atari STe as it features animated Blitter sprites and DMA sounds. Sadly, I couldn't get it to work on my STFM without getting two nasty bombs popping up!

We're in control of a Dolph Lundgren dude with spiky hair and cool shades who must frantically clear 64 rooms infested by an incredible array of nasties. He gets around using the screen's four sides and can escape the hoard by quickly leaping across to the opposite side - but be careful because your shield won't last forever! Firing is constant and in the direction last used but can be temporally frozen by holding down the fire button <cough> Llamatron.

Visually, this isn't a game to blow your socks off but I cannot deny the creativity with tons of silly sprites. Audio goes beyond mere chippy sounds thanks to the DMA pushing out funky samples to keep everything loud and exciting. However, I still missed a background tune especially nearing the end of a level when there ain't much left to kill.

Okay, I admit it! I wasn't too impressed, at first, because I thought it was a bit rubbish and something I would never normally consider loading up. However, I'm so glad I did because never did I feel this was a cheap clone but rather a weird psychedelic shooter offering a unique experience. Zaptastic is superb and I loved every zany minute of it!!

Friday, April 06, 2018

Half-Life Slideshow

After last years amazing demoscene mega-hit, ZombieCrypt [sarcasm], I have now made another slideshow based on my addiction for the incredible Half-Life games. Once again, I have used Peter Jørgensen's awesome program with a super tune by TAO called Line of Fire and each pic was converted to Degas format using Imagecopy 4.

This collection took about six months to compile so I really hope you all enjoy my lame slideshow? [download] :)

A few thumbnail samples. Sadly, a couple didn't make the cut as I ran out of floppy disk space... Doh!

Monday, April 02, 2018

Enhanced Games

Everyone knows that Peter Putnik has adapted hundreds of games for hard disk installation which includes extras like bug fixes, TOS compatibility, patching for 4MB machines and other goodies like better controls, level select, cheat codes, maps, trainers, etc, etc. However, some are super-charged with cool coding to utilise the Blitter coprocessor or that hidden hardware lurking inside the Atari STe so we thought it might be nice to offer a brief round-up of games with the most impressive enhancements. I hope you guys find this compilation of his fuji-dedication useful?

 Xenon II - updated for the Atari STe and features DMA streamed background music. Turn up the volume!
 Cannon Fodder - enhance this lame port with your chosen DMA streamed background music.
 Prince Of Persia - allow the DMA hardware lurking inside the Atari STe to replay the game's sounds.


 Dungeon Master - far cleaner samples are heard thanks to the DMA hardware within the Atari STe.
 Chaos Strikes Back - Again, the DMA hardware allows cleaner sample playback for this awesome sequel.
 Oids - the potential for double framerates delivering a smoother experience when rescuing the stickmen.


 Jinks - this jerky game is weird but at least it now uses the smoother STe scrolling [original disks still required]
 Menace - I cannot thank Peter enough for replacing that horrendous yellow ship with a white one!
 Uridium - Blitter-boost that sluggish ship and add DMA streamed background music while you're at it!


 Giana Sisters - this Zamuel_a enhanced game now also comes with optional DMA streamed music!!
 Hard 'n' Heavy - gone is that embarrassing flip-screen gameplay, all thanks to cool Blitter programming.
 Road Runner - Improved and also Blitterized for faster scrolling - but it's still a rubbish game (sorry Peter!)


 Goldrunner - Some might not like this, but I love hitting the F3 key to disable that fuzzy speech!
 Gauntlet - this sluggish hack 'n slash arcade game gets big improvements but still needs extra CPU grunt.
 Wolfenstein 3D - Ray's jaw-dropping FPS now has bugs removed with decent save game support.