Sunday, July 29, 2018

5 Random Games For The Atari ST


I thought it might be a good idea to select a handful of random Atari ST games and then see what happens. Most I have never played before but they're all completely chosen at random for a fairly broad selection. Of course, everything is available on floppy disk but I obviously used the hard disk versions (thanks to 8BitChip).

Overall, this was a lot of fun and with a few shocks. Yep, I certainly had a blast playing four totally new games (and Golden Axe!!). The video recording shows my very first attempt at each game and I hope you enjoy watching it?


  

Okay, first up is The Amazing Spiderman by Empire Software. Now, I think that I remember playing this a few years ago but wasn't too impressed by the fiddly controls and lethargic pace? However, I must say that this "platformer" has genuinely shocked me because it's an incredible adventure which puts a different spin on the genre simply because we're Spidey. This means we have the expected superhero abilities along with being quite the sneaky saboteur - it's superb walking on the ceiling to creep by our enemies or punch switches with our webs.

There is also a fantastic 8-Bit vibe going on. Especially visually, which might not go down too well for those looking for a classy 16-Bit quality, but I think it's absolutely perfect. Overall, this is now literally one of my favourite Atari ST games and I cannot possibly explain just how much I've loved being Spiderman!! An absolute GEM.


  

Next up is Edd The Duck which was aimed more for kids and isn't really something I would normally choose anyhow. It's basically a poor man's Rainbow Islands but it does a pretty good job trying to live up to that class act. Actually, this is a cracking game and a lot better than I had expected but I found the jump mechanic a little off and the difficulty a harder than it should be. Good, but it's probably a better idea just to load up Rainbow Islands?


  

Audiogenic's Exterminator was developed by The Assembly Line and is something I've wanted to play for a while - because it reminded me of Trashman!! However, this is pest control and an entire street is overrun with all types of pests: wasps, spiders and many other weird things. We won't be laying traps or leaving poison because we're quite literally a hands-on kinda guy. Yep, using a BIG hand, we crush, pound or shoot these critters which emerge from the darkest corners of each room to attack. It's kinda like a nightmarish mix of Klax and gets even sillier with support for two players. This is something pointless every Dad needs to experience with his kids - they'll love it.

A good bug-crunching game that excels in two-player mode and I'm shocked how much I enjoyed Exterminator. Finally, I must add that The Assembly Line did us proud by supporting the Atari STe with cool DMA sounds!!


  

Golden Axe is a beat 'em up that needs no introduction from me. However, it's also one of those games I feel could have been technically better but that's where my criticism ends because this is such a fantastic hack and slasher. I love everything about it so here ends my mini-review because you should stop reading and start playing!!


  

Virgin's Super Off Road is another game I wouldn't normally have considered because it looks like a shameless Super Sprint ripoff. However, I am kicking myself because I took to this bumpy racer straight away and enjoyed tearing around its mucky tracks. It was odd being asked for my date of birth but the game itself has superb controls and the physics worked very well. What this lacks in originality it makes up for in great gameplay.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Cud Lee's Quest


I remember playing this quirky platformer many years ago and I really enjoyed its alternative personality using some rather "odd" mechanics. Cud Lee (geddit?) was originally aimed at a younger audience with interesting child/tutor features but I also think there's something quite charming about this platformer that could appeal to all. Interestingly, this was actually developed by Robert Dytmire who also brought us the astounding Megapede, something I regret initially overlooking because it's a Christmas cracker stuffed full of oldskool joy!!

The aim of this game is to fight our way through the hoards of baddies to rescue captured Pixies at the end of each level. It sounds easy but you better watch out for a range of enemies who are happily roaming through the screens. Its this mechanic which I adore because they are literally wandering the screens going about their business - whether you can see them or not. These suckers love to jump and many are really tough and can even fire weapons.

  
Gotta love the baddies and their freaky jumps but watch out for the little blue guy's arrows!!

  
Weapons are great and can be powered-up to kill these hopping crazies with great efficiency!!

The joystick controls are the first thing that hits you because things feel like you're on a low-gravity world with super-weird movements. Collecting power-ups is a good idea to increase speed, jumping abilities, weaponry and extra lives. Keys will unlock doors and certain walls can be climbed like Zool because of "strange knobby things". Yep...

Cud Lee's Quest is a crudely entertaining shareware release but one I'm still unsure it will appeal to everyone because it's hardly the conventional platformer. What I love is the freedom we're given and the speed at which to explore our strange world. Also, the ability to float (err jump) with such great efficiency through the screens is superb!! Genuinely, one of the silliest yet most compelling games I have enjoyed - why not have yourself a daft hour?

We are limited only by our own joystick skills so grab the disk image if you're feeling tempted?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Hong Kong Phooey


Once again, I've been plodding through my YouTube channel and found another silly video, Hi-Tec's Hong Kong Phooey. This is a scrolling beat 'em up that begins with a cool intro which is based on the cartoon I watched as a kid - this certainly brought a smile to my face!! After Spot releases the unappreciated janitor from the filing cabinet, we begin our adventure searching for Baron Von Bankjob who has just escaped from jail.

  
I love the title sequence but knowing kung fu certainly didn't help this janitor jump with any grace!

In this beat 'em up are many thugs wandering back and forth and all want to stop us from capturing the villainous Baron. Thankfully, we are a kung fu expert and the joystick controls are simple: we can punch or kick our foe in different ways and pushing up (whilst walking) performs a killer Van Damme flying manoeuvre. However, to reach higher platforms requires a bigger jump which means also hitting the fire button and is a little cumbersome.

The graphics are pretty nice and cartoony with an oldskool style that might not appeal to many looking for that gorgeous 16-Bit sex appeal. I must say, the scrolling is smooth but it's at the expense of screen size which has been reduced by a largely pointless status panel. Gotta love the crude character sprites and their pathetic animations but the worst of all is when we float through the air during a jump. Totally ludicrous, but who cares?

  
The few moves are easy to learn but lots of fun. Yee-ah that, sucka! (say it in a Mr T voice)

I remembered making this old video recording and also the lukewarm feeling I had afterwards because I got lost (and fed up) so perhaps I should have had a gander at the map first? Back then, I wasn't sure the game captured the heart of this old TV show and I'm pretty much feeling the same today. However, as a beat 'em up platformer in its own right, there is something neat about this old pup which I really enjoyed. I'm just not sure what it is, yet!!

Hong Kong Phooey sure brings nothing new to the table but those lame Chuck Norris kicks are crudely entertaining and exploring the massive technicolour world is fun but without being overbearing. If you have a cat called Spot and a cabinet with which to change, then I suggest you download either the floppy or hard disk version right away.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Last Trooper


Last year, I spent several fantastic weeks enjoying Where Time Stood Still but was later left deflated because I also wanted to play The Great Escape, which is a truly outstanding affair. Alas, the Atari ST game was never meant to be, but wipe away those snowflake tears because there might be light at the end of this 16-Bit tunnel? Mastertronic's own The Last Trooper appears to be more than a tad inspired by Ocean's 8-Bit classic, however, the historic storyline and adventure elements are completely gone in favour of four-levels of brutal arcade-style killing.

  
Escape the POW Camp like the A-Team before attacking your foes. Watch out for the GEM-green mines!

We're a muscle-bound Schwarzenegger trapped inside an isometric POW camp. Oddly, we already have a machine gun but must find a way to escape before attacking the enemy to destroy their base. The enemy comes thick and plentiful but will run around like headless chicken which can be very annoying. Other soldier's hideout in trenches or operating gun turrets but you should also look out for other tricky traps, like camouflaged mines.

The controls are simple and responsive but I initially found it frustrating lining up a shot to kill these frantic headless chickens - it's almost like they don't care about you being there!! Anyhow, your crusade won't last very long unless you eat food left carelessly lying about and top-up your weapon with fresh ammo. Lots of other essential items are available: ropes are always handy and there's oddly a huge supply of wire cutters left inside the POW camp...

  
Things got tiresome by the third level but the fourth is explosive!! Although it's a shame about the ending...

I've quite enjoyed The Last Trooper - but only after activating a trainer for infinite lives. Without that, I failed to beat the second level due to the ridiculous difficulty thanks to those headless chickens that blindly shoot everything with extreme efficiency. I do wonder if anyone actually bothered to beta test this before release?

Overall, an above average shooter but I'll stick with Fernandez Must Die and Ocean's original Speccy game. However, if you have a green vest and wanna flex those muscles then grab either the floppy or hard disk version.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Custodian


I've been going through my old video recordings and found this frantic 8-way shooter by Hewson. Programmed by Chris Hinsley, who also made the awesome Onslaught and Verminator, it features stunningly fast visuals by Nigel Brownjohn with absolutely outstanding audio all thanks to the magic of Dave Whittaker.

  
Attack!! Attack!! Attack!! Attack!! Attack!! Attack!! ARGHHHH!! Helpl me, somebody!!

We are a "custodian" of a massive tomb which has been infested by alien parasites. Obviously, we've gotta clean up this place which means killing everything! The best part is that we not only look like something from the demoscene [cough] but are also equipped with an armed-jetpack. Zooming about this place is exciting stuff but the aliens are relentless and the basic mechanics just don't work well together, so it soon becomes a demented slog!

Chris sure knew how to program the Atari ST but I feel he missed the mark this time. It's silly because I remember playing this to death but today, it seems far too whacky with too much going on. Perhaps I'm wrong? If you're feeling brave then Custodian can be run from a floppy or hard drive. Get ready and brace yourself for a rough journey!!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Risky Woods


Another oldie from my YouTube channel and this time it's Risky Woods developed by those Dinamic fellas who gave us a Marine with wiggly legs. This time we are Rohan, a young knife-wielding chap from a place called The Lost Land, a once-peaceful place protected by Monks. Well, it was a nice place to live until the demon Draxos came along and imprisoned each monk as a stone statue! The entire place is now overrun with evil creatures so it's our job to kill them all and free the monks before Draxos takes full control. Just another day in retro gaming land...

  
There's no denying the stunning artwork which feels like a cross between Strider and Jim Power.

Risky Woods is your typical scrolling platformer that has us leaping across the numerous platforms, frantically banging on the fire button to kill everything in sight. Each level is stuffed with enemies and lots of bonuses to collect but you must also remember to free every monk before attempting to exit a level. Each level is superbly designed and looks beautiful but it's the sprites that I love the most which are both large and detailed - just look at those skeletons!! Slain enemies leave behind gold coins to (quickly) collect and use in the shop to purchase weapons.

I love platformers and this has some great attributes for enjoyable gameplay but it's very difficult too because of a constant onslaught of so many enemies. The controls are good but the game suffers from annoying mechanics like having to bend down to collect coins - awkward during the heat of the battle. Bumping into the bad guys forces you to drop some of your loot and you cannot fire for a moment. These collisions are annoying [especially on level 3]

The world of Risky Woods - game maps over on Hall Of Light.

Risky Woods is good, it's just not great and there are better platformers to play. I think that with a little more thought, this could have been a cracking arcade adventure but it feels like a rushed port and looks better than it actually is. But if you fancy using a trainer to see each of the levels, then grab either a floppy or install to your hard drive.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Monitor Switch Box


Okay, okay, it's not exactly the modern option compared to what's available these days but I love my old monitor switch box. If there's one thing I dislike about the ST (no, it's not the joystick ports) but swapping the cables when going from colour to mono. So, this little device works wonders for me but perhaps it's time I looked to upgrade?

However, next on my wish list is a graphics card for my Mega STe. Can anyone help me out? Hmm...

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Magic Pockets


I thought it was time for more cool BoxArt from my own collection and today, I've finally bought Magic Pockets by the awesome awesome awesome Bitmap Bros. These guys sure knew how to program our Atari ST and never once settled for a lame port. The cover art is a quite simple, especially when compared to other games I've already featured. Anyhow, I'm proud to own what is nothing less than another belting piece of hiSTory from the Bitmaps!!

  
There are lots of crazy monsters to kill but... hang on... what's that TV doing there?

The Bitmap Kid (BK to his burger friends) has been given a brand new pair of magical trousers from an old man he met in the park one evening... No, not really!! Anyhow, he loves these trousers but then finds out that his toys have somehow disappeared into the fantasy world, PocketLand. Of course, our cool Kid is determined to get his toys back so enters PocketLand via a black hole he conjured!! Boy, if there was ever a whacky storyline...

PocketLand is split over four enormous levels and the BK is armed with different powers depending on the world he's currently exploring. There are so many awesome enemies, bonuses, and he even has extra abilities like using the whirlwind to jump higher. Sometimes the route through can feel like a wild goose chase, but often you're lead onto secret areas which contain lots of goodies. I admire their overall design because most levels never feel linear.

  
The first level nicely introduces various aspects of the game with their trippy mechanics.

Visually, this has a Godly design with lovely colours, but the sprites are something else. So many incredibly cute critters all of which are nicely animated. Sound effects are fine but sometimes I feel an additional background tune would have been a good option to have. The title music is by Betty Boo of course... I'm meh but I guess it's okay!

So far, I've played the first couple of levels from Caves and it's like Christmas Day here. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into this platformer and hoping I'll enjoy it just as much as I did back in the day. This might be a preview but, like anything from the Bitmap Brothers, Magic Pockets is top-notch and highly recommended. Wish me luck...

Help out the Kid and download this funk platformer for either floppy or use the superb hard disk version.


AtariMania has a huge scan of the instruction sheet  [ and it saved me from photographing mine! ]

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Bug Spray


Pssst, wanna play a game bursting with originality? Then check out Bug Spray, developed by Philip Bishop which should please gamers with green fingers - especially those old enough to remember the 1983 Speccy original.

Lots of sunflowers need protecting from various hungry pests who love to nibble. To stop our sunflower from slowly dying, we have three different cans of bug spray. Each one is designed to kill only one specific creature but spraying others (with the wrong bug spray) will stun them for a few seconds. Sadly, our gardener can only carry one at a time and this is what makes the gameplay such a rush battling against the critters as they swarm in for to feed.

Just like Jet Pac, this isn't an exact conversion but plays great and brought back many happy memories. The graphics are pretty much ZX Spectrum standards but the sprites are pretty cute, especially the spiders. Sound effects are adequate but there is also the option for chip music which is a far better choice. My only criticism is manoeuvring our gardener to pick-up a can of bug spray which I personally found finicky walking into this tiny area...

Yep, Bug Spray is a blatant rip-off but I've still enjoyed playing what is essentially the Atari ST version of Pssst!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Scanners


I was just going through old video records and found this which is an absolute classic!!
[ Download available on Demozoo - just make sure you turn up the volume ]

Friday, July 13, 2018

Bombaman


Ever since I first played Erik And The Floaters on my ZX Spectrum, I have enjoyed many Bomberman clones and here is yet another called Bombaman. Developed by Kevin Callahan for the Atari STe, this conversion is multiplayer for two to four people, with support for those enhanced joystick ports lurking on the side of your computer.

Blowing up stuff is superb fun with light and very easy controls. Tons of power-ups are available and contain some favourites, like a molotov cocktail and chucking bombs over the walls. Others can increase the number of bombs we are able to drop - but watch out for chain-reactions during their explosions as they will detonate the others. Roller skates speed up gameplay whilst flap jackets protect us but slower players better watch out for zombies...

The visuals are incredibly colourful but may require sunglasses to protect your eyes from all that glare!! Everything runs smoothly at 50fps thanks to the Blitter and is displayed in overscan too I might add. Chip music plays throughout, which I really enjoyed, but it never overpowers the gorgeous DMA sound effects. Spot-on perfect.

What a brilliant multiplayer and one which lived up to my expectations even though I admit to missing a singleplayer option. We have both thoroughly enjoyed Bombaman and my daughter says it's her favourite version [watch our video recording]. So, if you fancy throwing a few bombs at friends, then I suggest you play this right now!!

Monday, July 09, 2018

Ben Pritchard


When AtariCrypt was just a little baby I came upon a scrolling platformer called The Curse Of Bolda which is such a fun game and one I really enjoyed playing. However, I was new to Hatari and figured I was doing something wrong because it seemed pretty sluggish so I whacked it up to the dizzy heights of 16Mhz and everything was perfect.

Shortly afterwards, I heard from the developer who seemed chuffed that people were still playing his old games and (eventually) I got around to playing his other called Kev's World. This is a flick-screen platformer which I really enjoyed, probably because STOS coped better without scrolling the screen? Fun, with an oldskool charm.

Anyhow, I've since been talking to Ben who has found the original [registered] disks of The Curse Of Bolda which are now freely available from AtariMania. However, I couldn't leave it there... Yup, I had to ask a few questions for our interview section. My sincere gratitude to Ben for hunting down the disks and answering these questions... :-)


Ben Pritchard - The Interview


Hello Ben, please introduce yourself.

Well, first of all, my STory can't be told without that of my best mate Paul; he introduced me to the Atari ST and was my "sparring partner" in making games. We started out making text adventures at first - me on an Amstrad CPC at the time, and him using ST Basic - around 1988/89. Then he got his hands on the Shoot 'em up Construction Kit, which sold me on making the jump to the Atari. And then - just by sheer chance - I ended up getting the Discovery pack, through which we discovered STOS and start the voyage of discovery/development/geeky one-upmanship that ultimately led to Kev's World, the Curse of Bolda and indeed what I'm up to right now...


Which Atari ST were you using?

I started out with the 520STFM that came in the Discovery pack, then upgraded to the 1040STE Music Maker pack a couple of years later. I never had any hard drives or memory upgrades. Having attempted to solder adaptors into place, in a failed attempt to boost my 520 up to a 1meg, kind of put me off. And being in my teens, at the time, I didn't have the money for much else.


Tell us a little about your two games.

Both Kev's and Curse are very special to me - Curse because it was the first game I had actually released (despite it actually being the sequel to Kev's!), and because it had the 8-way scrolling and all the stuff I had originally wanted in Kev's but couldn't get working at the time. But I had a very special moment with Kev's - a few weeks after releasing it, I got a letter from a chap in Scotland (this is about 1995, before broadband and home internet/email became a thing) saying how much he enjoyed the game and asking for a hint on getting past the boss. That really struck a chord - someone was so into something I had made that they had taken the time to write to me and let me know...


  
Although technically inferior, I personally thought Kev's World was a great platformer. So watch it, Bolda!


What's so special about Kevin?

Kev was kind of an evolving design... Originally he was a spaceman - believe it or not - for another game which I was working on called "Galanium". Then his space helmet was replaced by the face and red baseball cap for another game called "AstroKid" (again, abandoned). Finally, he got made over into the black t-shirt, blue jeans and big white trainers you see it in the games. As for the name - well, I was an unashamed metaller back in those days, and the trendy guys - who wore baseball caps and big white trainers were known as "Kev"s - so there it was: he was called Kev because he is a Kev!


Did either game live up to your expectations?

Both games blew me away - again, Curse by virtue of being first, and Kev's due to that letter I mentioned before. Plus the fact they made a few hundred quid between them - given that I had just started at university when I released Curse, extra cash was an amazing bonus. But the big thing was that both games got reviewed in both ST Format and Atari ST user - I never saw that one coming!


What happened to game no.3??

"Odyssey Island" was the working title of the third Kev game, and it was going to be bigger then Curse, with more complicated puzzle elements, impromptu boss battles, other characters to interact with, and a weapon system based on earth/air/fire/water elements, that also fed into the puzzle system. But by this time, it was 1995, and not only was I deep into my university course, but I had also been very ill, and everything seemed to be heading towards the PC and 3D, so it just stalled in the end.


  
The Curse Of Bolda plays perfect using a 16Mhz computer to give STOS that extra grunt!


Why STOS?

Because it came with the Discovery pack, and was better than SEUCK - or indeed anything Paul or I had used until then. Of course, we started using extensions - Curse owes its very existence to The Missing Link, and towards the end, we also learned how to use little assembly language snippets to improve performance, but STOS was the backbone of what we did.


What was it like working with Floppyshop?

Floppyshop and their "floppyware" scheme was a great experience - Steve (Delaney) was great to work with and full of enthusiasm, despite some teething issues with corrupted disks! He gave both games a great write-up in the catalogues - if memory serves, he said that Curse was "better than a lot of the £25 off-the-shelf titles" of the time! Looking back, licenceware worked well for both titles.


Why so little love for the Atari STe?

The STE version of Curse does actually use the DAC to play samples (hence why the STFM version is music only). As for the scrolling, we did not really understand enough about the guts of the STe to be able to do much (like I said, we were working largely in STOS and its extensions. Looking back, maybe we depended on that too heavily). Secondly, from what we could tell of the market by looking at other games being released, magazine coverage etc., it felt like the vast majority of ST owners had STFMs, so we coded to accommodate the widest possible player base. Heck, Kev's World was cut down for half-meg STs - although we did do a 1meg version with extra sound effects!


  
The Curse Of Bolda is cruel. Flipping one switch caused a fire and some platforms evaporate!


Would you consider upgrading either game with STe support?

I must admit - much to my shame - that since Odyssey Island stalled in '95, I haven't really thought about developing for the ST/STE. "Real life" got in the way too much - first university, then getting a job and a flat, and various other life events. In fact, I pretty much dropped out of game writing altogether from then right through to 2005 due to lack of time, money, hardware etc...


What are your favourite Atari ST games?

Back in the day, I was a huge platformer fan (as my own games may indicate!) - I loved Turrican 1 & 2, Rainbow Islands will always have a special place in my heart, titles like Ozone and Prehistorik that showed just what was possible with STOS... but my all-time number one has to be "The Killing Gameshow" by Psygnosis - now if ever there was a title that deserved an STE version it was that, for the music alone!


What are you and Ledasoft doing today?

These days, I am usually playing "being a Dad"! To be honest, I'm really not into playing games as I don't have the time to dedicate to the mainstream mega-titles, and the "indie" scene is just so full of shovelware it takes too long to even look for something to play! To be honest, these days I prefer to spend my time making games than playing them... which brings us neatly onto:

LedaSoft has undergone two major re-inventions since the ST days - the first was back in 2010 when we resurrected the "Leda" name as "Leda Entertainment" in an attempt to break into the mobile game market. We released about a dozen games over five or so years, but it really didn't work out.

More recently, we have changed direction again - this time we have kept the Leda Entertainment name, but changed what we are all about. Over our time in mobile, we met a lot of people trying to get into the games industry but always stuck behind the "lack of experience/no published titles" wall. So we changed direction - Leda is still firstly about us enjoying making games, but instead of hoping to make money, we have teamed up with a number of these talented artists and audio designers in the hope that the game we make and release together will help at least one of them on their way to their dream job!

The game we are working on is called "Bullion - The Curse of the Cutthroat Cattle" - it's a local multiplayer brawler based around a crew of pirate bulls. There are currently eight in the team, including Paul and myself, so Leda has grown a bit since the ST days! If you want to check out Bullion, go to www.bulliongame.com

So the plan for the future is to keep making games and, hopefully, help some people kick-start their career - ultimately to have fun! That said, I must admit that it's tempting to crack out the Atari STe once Bullion is done, just to see what I can still do - and I also have a half-finished PC remake of Curse somewhere I might finish up...

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Into The Eagle's Nest


Into The Eagles Nest is an overhead Gauntlet-like shoot 'em up set within the enemy's castle which is heavily occupied by thousands of Nazi soldiers. Our orders are simple: infiltrate the castle, rescue three allied soldiers and then detonate the hidden explosives. Leaving without blowing the place to kingdom come would just be too rude!! Sneaking into the enemy's lair was the easy part, now we've gotta bust out of our safe room with guns blazing and rescue our fellow Allied soldiers before General Erich von Klinkerhoffen orders their execution.

As soon as the game begins, your battle is on and against a constant onslaught of enemy soldiers who eagerly patrol the castle's dingy corridors. Look for anything which may assist in completing your mission: health packs help repair hits you've endured and an ammo stash will replenish your Nazi killing abilities. Elevator keys should need no explanation but don't be too quick to use them - exploration is as important as the killing albeit not as much fun. Just don't forget to disable the pointless messages telling you what item has been collected... [so annoying!!]

  
Look for keys, health and ammo because you never know how many soldiers are waiting for you!

Collect all keys and use them wisely to unlock parts of the map otherwise out of limits. Some doors must have been bought from Ikea and need only a little gun-love to open them up. Some soldiers have had too much beer and fallen flat out cold drunk so an easy target - but unnecessary if low on ammo. Remember to watch the status panel because you can withstand 50 hits, which sounds a lot but even Rambo would die without stealth and a tactical approach.

I've always enjoyed overhead shooters but I actually didn't care for this at first because the push-scrolling technique isn't ideal for this type of game, so my first impressions weren't good. However, it does grow on you and I've gotta say that I love the general 8-Bit feel with its superbly drawn sprites and our point of view which truly is "overhead". Title screen music is flunky but pretty good at the same time. I'm more of a chip guy but I really liked it. In-Game sound effects are all samples and really nice too but I miss a background chippy tune if I'm honest.

  
Sneak by and pinch their food [oddly on the floor]. Hang on, they're all asleep BAM BAM BAM!!

This is an easy one to rate because it's a freaking brilliant shooter and a true classic which the Atari ST got a fantastic conversion. I think most of us have played this incredible game so I'm positive everyone has happy memories but should play it again. An engrossing adventure that offers a huge challenge for the most persevering player.

If you fancy joining the Allied forces then grab this game on either a floppy or for your hard drive. Enjoy!!

Friday, July 06, 2018

Kev's World


Kev's World was developed for FloppyShop by Ben Pritchard and is the prequel to The Curse Of Bolda. In this flick-screen platformer, we're off to explore many rooms grabbing stars and shooting monsters in order to rescue our beloved Katherine from the clutches of Bolda. Along the way are many pitfalls and even the odd puzzle to solve using keys and teleporters before eventually battling the deranged-looking Bolda in a rather crude end-of-level boss fight.

  
There are many different baddies but watch out for the little green alien thing - I hate those!

The joystick controls are perfect and I love how agile Kevin's movements are but keep this Krazy Kid busy otherwise hs soon moans that he's bored using a speech bubble. Also, this can be used to indicate when Kev's hurt or any items/power-ups he's collected. Floor panels are randomly placed and stepping on one will reward you with extra points or a smart bomb that kills everything on-screen. However, this is totally random so may instead cause a rockslide, alert the baddies to your location or reverse the controls. Are you ready to take a chance?

Bonuses are scattered throughout and offer a variety of cool features: QuintStar contains the value of five individual stars. Aurora Of Invincibility provides temporary invulnerability from everything but spikes. Hero Head ... well, don't get too excited because it's a 1UP!! Power Heart boosts Kevin's health. Sands Of Time adds to the ever-decreasing time limit. Oh, and Kevin's also partial to playing arcade games if you happen to find one...

  
Shoot Bolda in the face to save your girlfriend before she's (slowly) whisked off once again!!

What I love about Kev's World is its traditional oldskool gameplay which is just downright good fun. Joystick controls are superb and the addition of bonuses along with smart bombs and other surprises really makes this game stand out. Okay, it's a little sluggish and I'm sure the DMA lurking within the STe would have helped but overall, I have really enjoyed playing this two-level demo and it's definitely something I would have bought back in the mid-90s.

The two-level demo of Kev's World can be downloaded on either floppy or for your hard disk.


Completed and I made the 12th place to even beat Metallica. Howzat!!