Saturday, August 18, 2018

Thunder Jaws


I'd seen pictures of this underwater shoot 'em up but didn't really know what to expect from what seemed a pretty naff James Bond wannabe. Released in 1991 by Domark, our villain is the busty Madame Q who desires nothing less than to rule the world. She's gone and kidnapped lots of gorgeous young girls who are to be experimented on and turned into monsters. Okay, so our task is to find her secret base, kill all the baddies, and free the hostages.

Firstly, grab something rubbery to wear because her base is deep underwater and you're not alone. I'm reminded of Scuba Dive on my old ZX Spectrum, but these dangerous waters are patrolled by armed guards and robotic sharks. Harpoon everything that moves and destroy the automated defences before blowing open an entrance to her lair.

  
A cool loading screen but where's the intro gone?? Still, at least 2-player co-op is still included.

  
Lots of baddies and some great weapons to pick up - listen to those punk girls scream lol

Once inside, the game changes to a scrolling platformer which is basically a ripoff of Rolling Thunder - I think every ST owner remembers that dreadful conversion!! Thankfully, this stage is far better and with many henchmen and other strange characters chasing you. Weaponry remains the same and can also be upgraded to a flamethrower, uzi, rockets, and more. Battle a boss and rescue yourself a few gorgeous babes - who will be extremely grateful.

Once completed, the game flips back to another underwater stage and we repeat for another mission. The difficulty level increases as we infiltrate another base but it's now that I really needed to activate a trainer because the later levels are crammed with an insane amount of baddies!! Also, end of level bosses are very tough but made worse by the fact that everyone else turns up for nothing more than screen littered with many brawling sprites!!

  
Yikes, our evil villain looks freaky but rescuing the sexy girls produces kisses and hugs for our hero!!

  
Later on, we're in dirty waters which leads to scary rock monsters and naked fire women!

Visuals are okay with some neat sprites but nothing beats watching the girls falling to their feet for lots of comical kissing. Sadly, there isn't a chiptune bopping away in the background but the sound effects are quite good. Actually, no, they are crude at best. The grunts are deranged but I liked the haunting female's scream of death.

I must admit, I don't know what to make of Thunder Jaws. It's predictable throughout but the addition of two-player co-op is excellent. However, those later levels are impossible without cheating and gameplay is often sluggish so whiffs of a lame port. Having said all that, it's certainly not the disaster Rolling Thunder was and I have enjoyed myself pretending to be James Bond rescuing sexy girls and saving the world from a busty tyrant... Yep.

  
The end boss battles are rubbish which is basically because there are too many enemies...

  
Finally, we get to meet the flame-haired temptress but then she morphs into something ugly!!

Thunder Jaws can be download for either floppy or hard disk but only if you look good in flippers! Please note, faster computers will benefit from better framerates but only when installing onto a hard drive - thanks to 8BitChip.

The end screen for all those unwilling to endure the agony of Thunder Jaws. Probably best I don't comment...

Monday, August 13, 2018

Ikari Warriors


Ikari Warriors came free with my first Atari ST and is something I've loved from the moment I loaded it up that Christmas morning back in 1987. Okay, it's not perfect but Elite delivered the goods with a brilliant arcade conversion which is still one of my favourite games today. Now, unlike my dreadful progress with Commando, I'm actually pretty good at Ikari Warriors and figured it a good idea to check out the Atari 7800 to see how it compares...

  
The 7800 has superb [if rather blocky] scrolling but I prefer the crisp ST display, except that naff intro!

After watching the intro swoosh by, I instantly began to wish that Atari would have released the STe back in 1985... Anyhow, once the game begins, the first thing that struck me more of that sexy smooth framerate but then crude sprites reared their blocky heads? Yikes, this took me back to a time when I first saw an Atari console!

But graphics aren't everything nor is the audio which happens to be as good and exactly what I expected in comparison. Those grenade throws are excellent but I missed the sound of the tank. Background music is okay but I don't think anything compares to the legendary ST tune by Jason C. Brooke which is bleeping excellent.

  
The 7800 might look less defined but watch out because those bad guys are very trigger happy!

Anyhow, enough of this talk about aesthetics because what we all want is great gameplay and the 7800 certainly produced the goods. Okay, my console might very well be virtual, but I'm still able to use BOTH joystick buttons which means the machine gun and grenades are separate and that beats the ST's one-button method hands down.

Also, firing can be locked in any specific direction thus rapid - independent - shooting is possible until you decide to release the button. This takes a little getting used to but it's certainly worth mastering because it works extremely well - especially when making use of the superb power-ups always being offered. Sadly, I must admit to struggling with this conversion because I found it shockingly difficult. Perhaps its just me and my lame joystick skills but, no matter how much I tried, my progress was always weaker in comparison to the ST game. YMMV...

  
Whatever platform you prefer to use, the mission always remains the same - Kill everyone!!

Ikari Warriors is a class act on almost all platforms and both the 7800 and ST succeed in delivering a great arcade conversion which is so much fun. All that's required are quick reactions and a love for guns and oldskool violence so enjoy what is nothing short of a cracking shoot 'em up for either your 7800 or Atari ST [floppy or hard disk].

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Berzerk


I figured an expansion to AtariCrypt was in order because there are many great games to play and we already have sections for the Atari STe and Falcon030 why not also the consoles? The Jaguar has many superb titles but I must admit I'm an 8-bit noob which means I'm excited to see what's out there in console land... Okay, first up is an arcade conversion which I adored playing last year on the Atari ST: Berzerk by the mighty Dave Munsie.


- A T A R I  2 6 0 0 -

The 2600 game actually looks and sounds a lot better for 1982 than I first imagined. The control mechanics are spot-on perfect with spritely movements which almost made me forget about the Chicken's one-shot weapon. However, I didn't see Otto during the recording so perhaps I did something wrong? The fat man showed up in later games and can even be shot. This is a limited conversion but extremely playable, even without the speech.

  


- A T A R I  5 2 0 0 -

Things feel familiar from the go, possibly because it's an authentic conversion and also reminded me of the ST game - both visually and with that funky digitised speech we all love. I enjoyed it but the speed feels a little slow and it's extremely difficult, to say the least. The robots are way beyond accurate and more like ruthless assassins who show no mercy. Yep, I fear my old-man reactions found this the hardest of all... Chicken, fight like a robot...

  


- A T A R I  S T -

Of course, please don't forget the beautiful ST/Falcon game by Dave Munsie which was featured last year. Those robots might be a little too eager to smash into the walls but I fear this is the best version. What say you?

  

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

RVF Honda


It's time for more Atari ST box art from my collection with MicroStyle's RVF Honda. I can't lie and say this is the prettiest cover I've featured but the bike is a beauty so let's open it up and take my new Honda for a ride...

First things first, RVF Honda isn't an arcade racer but more a simulator with semi/realistic mechanics like manual gears and opponents only Barry Sheene could beat. The graphics are barebones but move fast and there's even the option for 60Hz, which is something all games should have. I must say, having to push the bike is a neat touch but one that soon wears thin when struggling to master those corners thus slamming into yet another tree... Yep, the learning curve is hell on two-wheels which I think is successfully demonstrated in my video recording!

  
Make sure you're in the right gear for the corners otherwise you hit the tarmac before pushing...

I'm not normally a racing simulator fan but RVF Honda is certainly addictive and offers a tough challenge. Arcade fans should walk away right now but those looking to flick through the gears and burn rubber to ultimately master each track will enjoy this. Another cool piece of hiSTory safely preserved within the AtariCrypt archives... ;-)

Those easy riders willing to master this old classic can grab RVF Honda on either floppy or hard disk.

  
Ohhh just look at those gorgeous graphics... umm. Oi you, keep off the grass!!


Wednesday, August 01, 2018

The Atari ST And The Creative People


 

Marco Breddin has done it again!! After unleashing the jaw-dropping Breakin' The Borders we finally have volume two, Beyond The Borders. I have only just received my copy which is a wonderful work of art detailing yet more hiSTory about the creative folk who made us gasp in awe. For once, I am (almost) lost for words by what is nothing less than a beautiful and professionally produced product and is certainly worth every penny.

Take a gander at both volumes on the Microzeit store and see if they don't get your demoscene juices bubbling with excitement. I know mine are so I'm very excited to carefully begin flicking through each page from volume two!!