Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Goldrunner



It's been a while since I posted into our Music section so I went looking for something extra special and then I remembered about this gem. It's a Dark Rock remake of the Rob Hubbard original and it blew me away!! Okay, I'll award 100 points if you can tell me the game? Just don't look at the title... or the image... Pah, never mind then.

All credits for this remake to Yoshitaka Hojo who you should check out right now on Soundcloud :)

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Atari ST and The Creative People


 

It was only back in August when I posted just how impressed I was with volume 2 and, within the blink of an eye, Marco has the third instalment up on Indiegogo. The first two volumes are beauties and I'm expecting more of the same from the final part of this outstanding trilogy. It's currently shy of 70% funded and only days remain...

L E T' S   M A K E   T H I S   H A P P E N !!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Yomo


Yomo is an oldskool shoot 'em up by Aaron Fothergill for Mandarin Software and a runner-up in The 1989 Games Writer Of The Year Award competition. I've always liked its 8-bit look and finally got around to booting it up. Firstly, don't get your hopes up too high because this ain't no glamourous Bitmap Brothers product: the graphics are pretty much lame with titchy sprites and ugly scrolling that had my Atari STe crying out in agony. However, I must admit that the sounds aren't too bad and those crunchy samples are quite nice - the lightning is oddly my favourite.

The world is viewed two-dimensionally with a landscape populated by many destructible buildings and whacky vehicles which use the most frustrating mechanics. Our character is a tiny stickman who's on a mission to recover a dodgy nuke dropped behind enemy lines. However, this won't be easy because the baddies are constantly attacking so why not fire off a few heat-seeking missiles before jumping inside something probably stolen from the 1960s? On foot isn't fun, but if you see other stickmen wobbling across your screen then hit fire and gun 'em down!!

Yomo is complete pants but its also surprisingly fun and the ability to jump into any aircraft is genius. However, there isn't enough given ammo and collecting extra supplies is laborious and quite tricky during the heat of battle. Overall, Yomo is frustrating and quite difficult but if you enjoy blowing stuff up then it's possibly worth downloading.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Rubicon


I've enjoyed Rubicon on and off for many years. It's quite simply my kinda game because it's a stupid mix of both platformer and shoot 'em up genres. However, I admit that I'm rubbish and often failed to reach the third level - sometimes I cannot get by the first!! So, today I've whacked on the trainer and played through to the end.

The Fingerbobs had a grim view of the future and by 2011 there should have been a nuclear accident which transformed the local wildlife into vicious mutations. Apparently, it's so bad that Finland and Russia were evacuated. It's our mission to kill everything and disarm the weapons before these creatures find a way to blow us all up!!

  
Level one introduces us to the unfair mechanics so it's not long before infinite lives is enabled!!

  
I love level two with its enormous enemies and trapdoors which are host something silly.

The first thing that hits you is the tracker music which is stereo on the Atari STe and very nice. Why couldn't other developers go that extra mile? Anyhow, the aesthetics keep on getting better with superb in-game graphics: smooth scrolling across gorgeous landscapes with a wide variety of mutated monsters. The attention to details is outstanding but animations are hit and miss because some are great whilst others are oddly void of any extra frames.

Sadly, slowdown occurs when particular (and ginormous) enemies are on-screen so I'm a little disappointed they didn't also utilise the Blitter along with the DMA. Curiously, this framerate drop occurs mostly for unanimated sprites like the Ceratopia which is rather surprising after battling a screen-sized skeleton and a giant squid!

  
Level three continues the theme but in the snow! That tank driver should have ducked down...

  
We're Pitfall Harry in level four with sinking stepping stones, spikes and lots of monkeys!

There are seven levels and each is pretty much the same but with different graphics. However, I absolutely loved the last two levels which reminded me of Thunder Jaws and, of course, Aliens. Our hero has access to lots of weapons and the single-shot gun initially does the trick well but it's not long before you need to upgrade to something with a little more muscle because those bigger enemies are nigh on impossible to kill with your peashooter.

The laser sucks but there are many other great weapons to choose from like the "Scatter" and "Napalm" (my fave). However, we start with zero ammo for everything other than our basic gun so must instead collect ammo boxes which are periodically dropped in. This isn't too bad but is made awkward because you must first press the required Function Key to choose your desired weapon before making the pickup. I would have prefered random types of ammo dropped which would save us from fumbling for the right key before it frustratingly disappears!!

  
Level five is incredible with many obscure enemies so upgrade your weapons!

  
Level six takes us in deep waters and I dare anyone not to love every second of this.

Rubicon is great fun but doesn't break the mould and is also stupidly hard at times, especially on level two and three. Also, gameplay is pretty much the same regardless of the beautifully designed environments. Having said all that, I really love this quirky platformer with its freakish enemies and huge monsters - level six and seven are my favourites. Yup, Rubicon is far from perfect but it's still bucket loads of fun and is definitely worth your time.

If you fancy going shirtless and flexing those rippling muscles before bravely taking on the mutated hoard then you have a good choice: grab either the floppies or one of these versions for your hard drive: 8BitChip or D-Bug.

  
The final level has us battling Aliens, Facehuggers, giant eggs, and even the queen herself!!

  
The ending screens aren't exactly worth all the effort. Hmm, where have I heard that kipper line before? ;)

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Frogs


Thomas Ilg, of Laserball and Anarcho Ride fame, has released an early beta of his next project: Frogs. This is an Atari STe conversion of the C64 original and features more of the same zany gameplay with up to four little froggies frantically hopping around ponds munching defenceless bugs. Older ST's are compatible to a degree but it's best on the Atari STe computer thanks to the Blitter graphics and DMA sound effects (chip music isn't yet complete).

Clickety click to read of other Atari ST games currently #InDev :-)

Each pond has various rocks and temporary lilypads which stay on the water's surface for only a short time. Hop around the screen looking for bugs and then press fire to stick out your tongue and feed your belly. Be quick and beat the other players but watch out because their AI is absolutely superb - it's great fun watching them brawl amongst themselves!! Oh, tongues have more than one use but don't let yourself be pushed around too much!!

Numerous ponds are available with three different gameplay modes and support for 2-4 players. Controls are rather unique using the keyboard, joystick, Jagpad or ST4PLAYER via the parallel port. Players can either be human or computer-controlled and there's even the option for a Midi link-up. Tell me you're not impressed!!

A boxed version is possibly in the pipeline with the option to include the ST4PLAYER adaptor - so watch this space. Overall, Frogs is a great conversion but is certainly best with friends. We've had a laugh playing it here and our 9yr old chatterbox thinks this is a wonderful game. Thus, this write-up needs nothing more said from me...

  
There are many ponds with which to feed and (in the third pic) you can even use C64 graphics.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Wings Of Death


Thalion's Wings Of Death is a vertically-scrolling shoot 'em up which even supports the extra bits 'n' bobs lurking within the Atari STe for a truly stunning production. Gorgeous graphics and beautiful audio are matched in equal measure by the killer gameplay. Yet, despite my joystick skills, I've recorded another video... I love this game!!

  
Later levels are gorgeous yet the insane difficulty remains. Death visits once again in the third picture...

Friday, September 14, 2018

Eye Of Horus

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I've been trolling through my old videos and found Logotron's Eye Of Horus. I remember this curious platformer thanks to the confusing labyrinths with many rather peculiar enemies. So it's time to revisit this one...

We're a hawk-god called Horus in search of his father's body parts. Yep. Apparently, these pieces can be put back together so we're able to avenge his death!! This ancient tomb contains many traps and even the decor appears angry, so finding the bits won't be easy. Being a demigod means we have the ability to morph into a hawk but do note that birds don't have hands to carry stuff... Keys and Amulets can be used from operating particular elevators to summoning other so-called gods. Okay, let's waste no more time talking and start rebuilding Daddy!

  

Looking back, I can see why I felt overwhelmed because the level design is pretty confusing at times which isn't helped by the repeating albeit nice backgrounds. The mechanics behind the elevators/coloured keys are unnecessarily rubbish plus I think that there are far too many amulets. All enemies are unique and it's peculiarly funny when the fixtures and fittings begin wobbling in anger. Well, at least our demigod is armed with a paper gun!

Graphically, this game is sweet and reminds me of Death Trap but the intro whiffs of Ice Palace. Scrolling is super-smooth with gorgeous animations and the hieroglyphic backgrounds are stunning. Sound effects are very zesty but with a whiff of familiarity and they're accompanied by gorgeous Whittaker music. Not his best but still superb.



Having said all my moans and groans, this is a cunning platformer with lots to offer. It's different and I loved exploring the tomb but the ability to flip into a hawk is a genius move. Just have a pen and paper ready to make a map until the right amulet is found... Overall, if you're willing to put in the time, then Eye Of Horus is an excellent adventure.

Okay, Okay, let's keep things simple: Hall Of Light has awesome maps, which I feel are essential. Enjoy!!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Jet Set Willy


I came home from work today and fancied a game of JSW. Okay, I'll never complete it but what a game!!
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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Strider


I remember reading the review of Strider in ST Format who made it appear so brilliant and even explained how the ST may have had smaller sprites but the gameplay was faster and better than the Amiga. I foolishly believed them and wasted my cash on a game I could not play. Boy, was I terrible lol!! In fact, I recently gave it this silly mention but wasn't too kind as I remembered about its jerky scrolling and that ridiculous difficulty level.

Since then I've mellowed - and come to realise my gaming skills suck - so I figured I should give it another go. You know, being older and wiser. Ahem, anyhow Strider was surprisingly developed by Tiertex and is one of many arcade conversions requested by a good friend. So, almost three decades have passed... let's see what I think today...

  

I can't lie. I played several games but still found it extremely difficult and failed to beat the first boss, a Flash Gordon wannabe. Eventually, I did it but then fire rained down and halted my cries of joy!! Thankfully, I beat him on the next attempt and proceeded to a whacky place which I enjoyed and wished was longer. Sadly, no matter how much I tried, I couldn't beat the next boss so that was that and I gave up [watch the first part of my recording]

For some odd reason, I felt brave and loaded up Strider once again to enjoy my greatest success. I even beat the worm thingy to make it onto the next stage which I've never played - ever!! This starts off great with big cats that wanted to eat me before a giant mechanical creature thing tried its luck. Banging on the fire button proved profitable and I beat him quite easily but I died later by a circular saw which came outta nowhere. Quite unfair because it's impossible to see it approaching off-screen... [all within the second part of my recording]

  

Dear ST Format, I've hated your review for years but today I hold my hands up to apologise for all my nasty thoughts!! Please forgive me because you guys rocked and my gaming skills SUCKED ;p

Yeah, Strider is absolutely superb so now I'm tempted to whack on the trainer and play to the end? Okay, I still think that the scrolling could have been better (ala Turrican) but the gameplay is furious and makes the Amiga conversion look dull as dishwater. Strider is sleek and bucket loads of fun so don't be a fool and load it up right now.

Klaz has a spiced-up version for both floppy and hard drives which has a fascinating option for faster gameplay!!

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Aaargh!


Sometimes I just wanna smash up stuff and then eat lots of annoying human beings. So today I loaded up Aaargh! by Melbourne House which is basically Rampage where we can either be a giant ogre or a fire-breathing dragon.

Destroy buildings, kill attacking critters, eat stupid humans and then collect an egg trophy. Watch out for the angry yocals and various dangerous critters so conserve energy by eating what you find - or those tasty humans!! Once you have the egg, it's time for a (terrible) battle with your beastie opponent before plundering the next village.

The controls are a little clumsy because our beastie must be facing in the right direction to pick up items and perform specific attack moves. Sadly, we can be knocked to the ground far too easily which is very frustrating when waiting for him to get up - and that gives other nasties more than enough time to creep up on you once again...

Sure, it's not Rampage but it's still fun for half an hour and who doesn't enjoy burning homes to the ground before eating the angry villagers? Aaargh! might be utter rubbish but I still enjoyed playing it. Of course, I'm mad.

  

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Gobliins 2


The newest addition to my collection goes to Coktel Vision's Gobliins 2. The box art is so cheesy - just look at those silly expressions. Funny, but also a little scary too!! Okay, a demon king has kidnapped The Prince, who's a bit of a Buffoon, but the gruesome twosome will save the day: Fingus and Winkle. This sequel is an incredibly unique "co-op" adventure and one I'm dying to boot up later today. [grab yourself the floppy or hard drive downloads]

  
Update: this is certainly living up to my expectations. Having a blast playing this cracker!!

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Rainbow!!


I've just been laughing my little ST socks off at one of my oldest video recordings. Rainbow might not mean much to many around the globe but here in dear old Blighty it was one of the most popular TV shows for about 25 years - I really miss Zippy lol. Enjoy what is an amazing demo that pushes the Atari STe to its limits. Honest...

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Monday, September 03, 2018

Joust

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Joust is a cracking game either solo or with a mate and all you need is medieval chainmail and a flying ostrich. I also think this is one of those titles that everyone loves so I figured that I should record a video demonstrating various conversions - which includes Winglord, an awesome alternative (best experienced using the Atari STe).

Note: I used OpenEmu to emulate the Atari 2600/5200/7800 and Hatari for the Atari ST/e computers. My recording is probably better viewed directly on YouTube as each section is linked within the description. Happy jousting!!


- A T A R I  2 6 0 0 -

Okay, first up is the Atari 2600 which I'm saddened to report I didn't enjoy that much. I don't know what it was, but I just didn't click with this... Something just didn't feel right with the controls so I never felt comfortable playing it. Perhaps it's just me as I know many love it and the old console does it's flickery best I'm sure. I will say that the sound effects are raspy and I loved that but ultimately I came away feeling cold. Not one I'll play again.

  


- A T A R I  5 2 0 0 -

The Atari 5200 never seems to disappoint and it's delivered the goods once again with a fascinating conversion. The graphics aren't the best but I liked the sound effects and this isn't really a game with much variety in the audio department... Gameplay is balanced with dandy controls that feel perfect. Best console version? I think so.

  


- A T A R I  7 8 0 0 -

Next up is the obscure Atari 7800 and what a tough game this brought to the game table. It looks, sounds and plays well but boy is it a hard nut to crack. Like the 5200, I found the controls perfect even if I failed to progress that well. Watch the video for a hilarious end to my game - I think this sums up my luck rather well with this conversion.

  


- A T A R I  S T -

Onto the glorious Atari ST and the boys did a fantastic job. After the peculiar title screen, we're greeted with detailed sprites and their lovely animations. This sure looks the part and the gameplay is spot-on perfect thanks to the gorgeous control mechanics. I had the most fun with this game and cannot recommend it enough!! Perfect.

Floppy disks can be found using Old Games Finder but install Joust to your hard drive if possible.

  


- A T A R I  S T e -

Finally, I wanted to include Winglord by Victor Bruhn as it's possibly something that many have missed? It works on both computers but is best on the Atari STe thanks to Blitted graphics and lots of funky DMA sounds. There are a number of changes, like unicorns and yellow jackets but I think everybody should download this clone because it's an excellent alternative. I love how the unicorn struts its stuff when walking... Oh, did I mention we have missiles :D

  

Friday, August 31, 2018

Alien Vs Predator


Rebellion's Alien Vs Predator is a 64-bit masterpiece and also the main reason I bought an Atari Jaguar. It offers a fascinating first-person experience set in outer space onboard an alien-infested spaceship. Rarely did I play as either the Alien or Predator because I almost always chose the Colonial Marine, Private Lance J. Lewis.

This marine is a bad boy who awakens from stasis in the Brig. Wondering what's going on, he conveniently finds a dead body and picks up a shotgun before speaking the line: "What on earth got hold of this guy?". Lance is very hungry and heads to the canteen on sublevel 3 only to find the place is swarming with vicious aliens!!

  
  
Original and gripping storyline? Well, at least the artwork is gorgeous... Hang on, is that a pink ship?

Don't be scared - the ship might be overrun but we have a shotgun and there are plenty of supplies to pick up. Sadly, your clearance level is pretty lame but fumbling dead bodies could reveal hidden treasures and possibly better keycards. When all seems lost, follow in the footsteps of Gordon Freeman and use the vent shafts for a sneaky way to get around. Finally, don't ignore the computer terminals as they often contain helpful information...

This adventure is yours to enjoy how you see fit but it will be hard unless you make a map - especially for the vent shafts which are tricky to navigate. Upgrading to the Pulse Rifle is a must and it sounds superb. I love the Motion Tracker which is really handy but don't dawdle because reports suggest of another alien ship docking!!

  
Who do you wanna be? A cool chappy, a sleek alien or a big wimp who hides behind his gadgets?

These are nasty times so find the keycards, kill as many aliens as possible and activate the self-destruct. I highly recommend this wonderful fps - just don't forget about the escape pod otherwise it's "Game over, man"!!

Did you enjoy this? Yup, it wasn't related to the Atari ST but I plan to feature more content for the Atari consoles.
Apologies for the speed and quality of the recording. The emulator struggled on my old computer but I still had loads of fun and now regret selling my Jaguar because I could play this all over again!!