Friday, February 08, 2019

Missile Command

[ my video recording shows both colour and monochrome games ]

Straight out of the golden age of Atari's retro gaming archives is Missile Command, a phenomenal shooter I played a lot but possibly more so on my old Speccy thanks to Ocean's Armageddon, a fantastic conversion.

This cold war era shoot 'em up was all about protecting the cities of Zardon from a constant ballistic missile attack: aliens from Krytol noticed how prosperous Zardon is so want to free-roll in and take everything for themselves. You are Zardon's only hope so grab hold of the mouse and use your arsenal to defend us all from annihilation!

 
Yeah, baby!! You heard that correctly, Missile Command supports colour AND monochrome.

This game has always been darn cool and the ST has received a faithful conversion that feels just as good as I hoped. There's support for one or two players which can also be configured to enable/disable other features like the enemy's multiple warheads and smart bombs. Initial attack waves start at a slow and sedate pace (can be skipped) but this war soon gets crazy when the Krytolians start using faster missiles and dreaded smart bombs. Trying to detonate these is so tricky, especially during the heat of battle when you don't wanna run out of ammo!

Unlike other home conversions, the ST game makes convenient use of its tank mouse which is just perfect for precise control. Both mouse buttons are used to fire a limited supply of ammo - the left button fires from the left base and, well, I'm sure you've guessed what the right button does? The controls are simple and genius.

 
The action soon gets hectic and it's a panic trying to hit everything. Yeah, I fail pretty quickly...

Visually, don't expect to be blown away. The graphics are typically crude for such an early arcade game - most of the screen is simply a blank canvas. However, that's the charm of early retro games when gameplay mattered most and I feel they've captured this (ahem) very well. You know, I do admire those blocky cities (which I'm supposed to save from an explosive death) but I also love the whacky colours and font. Yep, it's silly but so am I :)

Sound effects are fine but I am a little disappointed Atari didn't roll their sleeves up and go that extra mile as we've all heard (far) better from the old YM chip. Also, this isn't exactly pushing the Atari ST to its limits, so why not use samples? Hmm, it's a little bland in the audio dept and definitely needed a something with a little pizzazz.

 
You're almost done when the missiles explode far too close for comfort [my old man reactions!]

Missile Command is such a simple game and one of the best from that early era. Fans of the original should appreciate what is an authentic arcade conversion and one which certainly brought back lots of great memories for me. This is fast, frantic and bucket loads of fun so that's a thrilling win in my book. A timeless classic.

Okay, this was hardly a mind-blowing review as I'm sure everyone knows this great game so grab a floppy or the hard disk version and defend Zardon from its inevitable annihilation. I hope you last longer than I did in my video!!

Monday, February 04, 2019

TOS Legends


After checking out Hibernated 1 This Place is Death, I did a little surfing and ended up finding something called TOS Legends by S├ębastien Claret. Now, I've never seen this before but thought it was pretty darn cool from the moment I first tried it. There is a download for both Mac/PC or you can play it inside your web browser... (Nah!)

Okay, here are some nifty links you should try: Ludum Dare and S├ębastien's own website.

Friday, February 01, 2019

Hibernated 1 - This Place is Death


I've just taken delivery of what is possibly my last purchase for the Atari ST, Hibernated 1 by Stefan Vogt. You know, I feel like I've waited years for this to pop through my letterbox but it is here and I'm ecstatic to report a brilliant product. I'm unsure whether or not to remove the plastic seal... bah!! Of course, I've already unwrapped it!! :D

Hibernated was reviewed back in August (how time flies) and I included an animation to demonstrate the game's awesome sense of humour during the exploration - all links and a download/purchase are available here.

You know, I think I might be getting back into the swing of things here... Atari ST #ftw !!