Wednesday, December 30, 2015

R-Type Deluxe

R-Type for the Atari STe anyone?

An early beta of the new R-Type Deluxe has been released at STNICCC by Stephen Jones, aka Bod. It has been designed to make use of the STe hardware - Blitter co-processor, hardware scrolling and of course, DMA effects/music. It plays far better than the original game and the pictures you see here were kindly sent to me by Stephen. Thank you :)

I have really enjoyed playing R-Type Deluxe which has proven the Atari STe to be a formidable computer. The action feels smoother and much better plus the audio has a great affect at making this feel more arcade-like. This is looking to be an impressive project but please remember this is a Work In Progress. (update).


Update July 24th
I know this file is already on Atari-Forum but here is my backup of Stephen's precious R-Type Deluxe source code. I'm keeping it safe until another developer attempts to continue his hard work. <download>

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Thank you Lotharek

Shortly before Christmas, the hard drive inside my Mega STE died. Thankfully, I had only just backed it up the previous day (how lucky am I) but this did give me a big kick up the backside to invest in something better. After all, it was the original 47MB SCSI from 1991 so it was only a matter of time before it went BOOM!! ;-)

Lotharek is selling the Ultrasatan via their web store and I'm currently restoring everything I can. It's quite something to go from a noisy 47MB drive to a fast and silent SD card offering much more space. I must say, Lotharek are quick, as this arrived on Christmas Eve so I'm spending the holidays playing! The possibilities appear limitless because I am no longer struggling with meagre storage. Lotharek's UltraSatan is a brilliant piece of Jookie kit. Buy this!!

Why not use your UltraSatan to game or enjoy a few demos...

One of the most famous shoot 'em ups ever - Xenon II Megablast. This will always be a firm favourite of mine so it was exciting to hear Peter Putnik had doctored it back in January with his magic.

The game now streams 25Khz music directly using the Ultrasatan (sorry STFM guys - this feature requires the audio co-processor hardware of the Atari STe). What a jaw-dropping upgrade!! Such an unbelievably huge size for an ST game and worth it. I certainly hope Peter converts more games in the future!

Drone, an Atari STe demo which I would personally rank as a masterpiece. Stunning audio, artwork and presentation.... all far beyond excellent. It was released back in 2012 by the legendary Dead Hackers and is a whopping 11+MB. It was released for Sommarhack to pay special tribute to the Ultrasatan.

This is one of the best demos I've ever experienced.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

Mario on the Atari ST?

Super Stario Land was released in 1995 by Top Byte and might remind you of a certain game featuring a daft Italian plumber? Yep, it's pretty darn similar but this isn't merely a cheap clone but a great game in its own right that offers fantastic entertainment. It's a delight to play with controls that are both easy and responsive so feels authentic.

The graphics scroll by at a smooth 50fps with fine attention to visual detail, if small by ST standards. Sound effects are pretty chirpy and suit the console style but, if you press F9, then music will play by Big Alec. I love this game. It's like having a Nintendo with a keyboard! It's hard but it's also a brilliant platformer which is great fun.

What? You wanted more Italian plumber fun?

Stario's Christmas was released in 1996 and is basically more of the same - but within a Christmassy winter wonderland appearance. It's equal, in every way, to the first so if you enjoyed that then you're sure to love this.

Yep, two superb platformers to play over the holidays. Merry Christmas everyone †

Download hard disk versions via 8BitChip
and the floppies via Old Games Finder.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

3D con kit

I've always been interested in 3D from my early computing years as a kid with a ZX Spectrum and games like Ant Attack, Deathchase and then the mind-boggling Knight Lore/Alien 8. Those games just blew my mind, so when I came across 3D Construction Kit for the Atari ST I was delighted.

After a little googling, I found a fantastic web resource by a Stuart Wilson which I'm hoping will prove to be useful and help me get the best from this program. They also run a FaceBook community page too.

3D Construction Kit is an old but excellent application for making your own virtual worlds. This video is the actual VHS recording that was released back in the day which is fascinating and explains many aspects of the program nicely. There are lots of projects already created on the Atari ST and many are excellent :-)

At my request, Peter Putnik has graciously adapted 3D Construction Kit so it can now be installed and ran from hard disk - so download this instead of the floppies! Plus those faster computers can make use of their power and my own 16Mhz Mega STe runs beautifully! :-)

Monday, December 21, 2015


Sometimes you need a stress release from this strange world and today I did just that thanks to SWIV. Wow, what an exceptional shoot ‘em up this is. I blasted the living daylights out of those military bad boys using my massive chopper! Hang on... Anyhow, this game has great graphics, sounds and timeless action. Love it all.

Yup, this is a cracking shoot 'em up so I decided to record a video. Please subscribe to my channel - it appears 95% aren't :( Oddly, I felt the emulator was a little slower compared to my real Atari STe and the sound effects not quite as loud. Perhaps it's just me but I sure felt a difference? Then again, nothing ever beats the real hardware...

Klaz has a fantastic download that can even be installed onto a hard drive!

Just for giggles... Moments ago, my hard drive started to make strange whirring noises, almost like it was trying to spin-up, but couldn't. You know, I think SWIV killed it!! I shouldn't complain because it was the original drive and therefore about 24 years old. Now that's value for money!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

We Were @

Note - the video was recorded using an emulator and YouTube itself suffers the quality somewhat.
If you can watch it on a real Atari computer - the way it was meant to be enjoyed :-)

This is a brand new demo for the Atari STe and was only released 2 days ago by the mighty Leonard, of Oxygene. Yes, he has always been one of the most uniquely talented programmers but this production blew me away. Check out that Roto Zoomer! Do watch the end credits which feature many interesting details about the coding.

Truly amazing STuff. Beautiful production and certainly one of the best 16-Bit demos, ever!! [download]

Full credits: 
Clawz - Music
Leonard - Code
MoN - Graphics

Friday, December 18, 2015

Trans D-Bug Express

Save our floppy!

D-Bug's TDE is a program used to convert old floppies into MSA disk images. I know there are excellent apps already out like Jay MSA and Magic Shadow Archiver but TDE works at a technically lower level and therefore has more success with those crusty old floppies. In fact, even if TDE fails with a dead part of a disk, it still offers you the option to save a good image thus you're able to rescue the remainder. Such an excellent and essential utility!

Update October 2020
Version v1.05 is now out and with lots of changes: low RAM reqs, low-level FDC code, faster code, Drive B support and is compatible with all Atari computers. See the readme file within the download.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Fernandez Must Die

Let's kill everyone!!

ImageWorks released what is nothing less than a cool shoot 'em up in 1988 and is pretty much another Commando/Ikari Warriors clone designed to unleash our inner combat soldier. Every time I play, I'm reminded of those A-Team episodes taking place in a dodgy part of South America. Just like the tv show, an evil dictator is causing havoc but B.A. Baracus refuses to get on the plane! We're on our own so grab a weapon and head out to the killing fields, soldier!

The war zone is stuffed with enemy soldiers and their slow-flying bullets that we can easily dodge. Our weapon of choice is a machine gun with unlimited ammo but we have a rocket launcher for extra firepower. Some buildings can be plundered by blowing off the door with dynamite which is especially useful on ammunition depots! We're not only on foot as vehicles can be utilised very easily. And what's better than the option of mowing down a few soldiers?

The visuals are very 1980s using a clean cartoon-like style with nice details for the soldiers and buildings. It's always colourful and interesting to explore the terrain looking for enemies to blast. Not only that but ImageWorks didn't wimp out and employ smooth scrolling. The audio is great with nice sampled sounds used for the sound effects. No complaints from me.

This is one of those games I'm glad I bought because it's excellent - fantastic fun and highly addictive without ever taking itself seriously. Fernandez Must Die might have zero originality but it makes up for that with bucketloads of gun-love action. This is an awesome Commando shooter and possibly one of my favourites for the Atari ST!!

Get out on that battlefield using either a floppy or hard disk!

Bullets flying and armouries to loot. This is just like being part of the A-Team!!

Watch out for sneaky soldiers hiding in the trees and also those operating gun turrets.

The action comes thick and fast and the onslaught of soldiers never ceases. Oops, I died!!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Escape From The Planet Of The Robot Monsters

When gaming meets B-movie!

Oh no, evil Reptilons are hell-bent on destroying us and have taken hold of Planet X. They've enslaved the human population and forced them to build a robot army for an invasion. Jake and Duke are two heroes with a simple plan: destroy as many robots as possible, trash the computers, rescue every cute girl and save the day.

Robot Monsters is played in a fashion similar to other 3D isometric games; imagine a pinch Buck Rogers mixed with a dollop of Gauntlet and you get the idea. The goal is to rescue the humans, without forgetting those held in stasis pods! Along the way are traps designed for us soft fleshy humans: sharp spikes, rotating chunks of metal, and electric floor panels.

All this is going on whilst Planet X constantly spawns new enemy robots. Yes, the alien hoard is relentless so you better be quick on the trigger otherwise you will be overrun. It's insane, so let's check out some screenshots of the intro...

Grab a raygun and fight back!

We have a weapon which is a great tool for quick kills. But, refrain from overuse otherwise, it is less effective... Thankfully, it can be charged by collecting the green blobs that a dead robot might leave behind. There are also bombs - hit the shift key and they detonate killing anything within your vicinity. Even the captives so, be careful.

A canal stage appears after a few levels which offer extra bonuses but aren't essential to your overall progress and I wasn't too eager about it anyhow. The big Reptilon boss will first seem an impossible opponent but there is a cunning way to avoid it by using a few bombs and a little joystick waggling!! Just ask me if you need any help.

I know, I know, you wanna see some more screenshots from the intro. Well, you're in luck...

Next-Gen aesthetics!

Well, yes and no. Back in the day, I remember being blown away by the comical artwork, which still looks great. In-game, I love the isometric 3D styles which I think is perfect, and the entire environment has superb attention to detail. The alien hoard is varied and looks excellent - my favourite being the biscuit-looking lot. They're not biscuits of course, but I think they're cute! And that's this game to a tea, it's different and loves to be different. It works perfectly.

The audio is a blast with cool, zappy effects and gorgeous chip music. Click the arrow and listen for yourself...

Don't run away. Come back, there are girls to be rescued and robots to destroy!

The CryptO'pinion?

You know folks, I have really enjoyed playing this great game again after all these years. This is one of those shooters that is stuffed to the brim with originality and frantic metallic mayhem. Running around shooting everything is totally demented and all done with a comical personality using great characters. This is superb gameplay at its finest.

It's just as much fun to play today as it was back in 1990. An iconic 16-Bit shooter and I love it to bits!!

DOWNLOAD for hard disk and floppy

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Lupo Alberto

Stop the press!

Late last night I came across an interesting post on AtariAge by Philsan concerning an unreleased game called Lupo Alberto. This is a platformer that (I think) is based on a European comic or a TV show? Well, after 25 years of lurking in unreleased hell, the ST version finally gets to see the light of day (now listed on AtariMania)

First impressions are pretty good with cartoon visuals and cute sprites roaming about - just look at those chickens!! However, it's push-scrolling which is a severe shame because the game's mechanics demand proper scrolling. Well, it is unfinished so I shouldn't complain too much and the push technique is fast and zippy...

Gameplay is tricky for such a cute-looking platformer so I imagine lots of frustration ahead of me but I'm delighted we have a game rescued and I'm looking forward to giving Lupo a proper run for its money tonight!

Update: during a game press CTRL and type: otrebla. Thanks to Luca Stradiotto!!

Monday, December 07, 2015


Swords, guns and flying a horse

Satan has been a bad boy and turned the world on its head so it's our job to reverse his dastardly deeds before it's too late. Developed by Optimus Software for Gremlin, we are Percius and fly on the mythical horse, Pegasus. Our adventure is split into two parts: Firstly, a shoot 'em up which has us riding Pegasus and it flips into a platformer where Percius is free to unleash his wrath using a large sword (it flips between these two throughout).

The shoot 'em up parts are quite good - just imagine something like R-Type, but on horseback, and you have the idea. The baddies appear in the expected patterns so bang on that fire button and collect the crystals that they leave behind. These enhance weaponry and there are lots of power-ups that help brighten up this dull affair...

The platform parts are much better - run, jump and leap your way through, collecting crystals and killing baddies... Yup, hardly riveting stuff but I liked it the most. In fact, the mechanics are superb, so controlling little Percius is a cinch. I wish more platformers had great controls and fluent movement like this. This game had the potential to be great!

The graphics are bland and I fear a lame port because as each game is sparsely populated so feels a little too empty. Plus that blue background could have been better. However, the scrolling is nice and smooth so at least that's something? The audio is feeble and it's only the firing that stops this game from being as silent as a ZX81!! Yawn...

Okay, let's not kid ourselves, this is lame Amiga port and a terrible one at that. It could have/should have been better so it's embarrassing to think Gremlin released this. However, I gotta admit that the platform stages are enjoyable with much potential. Overall, there are far better (shoot 'em ups and platformers) to play on your Atari ST.

The platform part is actually not bad and could have been made into something really good...

Collect those power-ups otherwise it's Zzzzzz!! Play R-Type instead.

Download and play Pegasus using a hard drive thanks to both D-Bug and 8BitChip. But those wanting the floppies can find 'em on Old Games Finder.
If the game is too hard (or boring) then here are some nifty cheats: press P on the title screen and type in this code: FRUITBAT
Now use the arrow keys to select your starting level.
F1 for extra lives.
F2 to select a power-up.
F3 for an extra special weapon shot.
F5 advance a level.
F7 for a nifty shield. 
 To view the greetings, enter this code as a password on the title screen: CATFOOD.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

The Ultimate Captive Guide

I recently bought Captive and anyone with half a brain (like me) knows this is an awesome RPG by Mindscape. We have been held prisoner for a couple of hundred years from a crime we did not commit - and the A-Team thought they had it bad! After such a long time, your freedom from the unjust hell is your only goal.

This RPG uses a unique user interface to configure and control droids - it's a briefcase. Why a prisoner has this I cannot tell you but operating it is like something from Mission Impossible! The graphics are excellent with stunning monsters but I was a little disappointed by the sparse audio. Which is made worse when finding out that the original released used DMA of the Atari STe whereas that was dropped for the v1.2 update!

Fans of this RPG should take a look at a website by Pierre Fournier called The Ultimate Captive Guide.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sleeping Gods Lie

Sticks and stones

Empire Software released this adventure game in 1989 and it's quite unlike anything I initially expected. I'd seen screenshots and was half-expecting something like Drakkhen with a typical dungeon-crawler storyline. Well, it is similar in some regards and with monsters and apt weapons including stones. I know, I know, stones? Yep, just read on!

We begin on Tessera, a world once rich and prosperous but now suffering famine, disease, and a crime wave that only Robocop could fix. Their god, N'Gnir, strangely seems to be in slumber so it's your mission to find him, wake him up, and put an end to all the madness. It won't be easy because you must battle your way through the numerous different lands and each has eight kingdoms. This game is huge so pack butties because it's unlikely you will be home for tea.

Our adventure starts from the comfort of our castle. From the outside, it's impressive but is rather sparsely decorated within. This is situated in a strange, chaotic world with most of its populace being completely barmy. All early encounters aren't welcoming but instead, a brawl without any provocation. They love to throw pebbles without any reason lol.

Okay, let's take a look at my grand castle and the second screenshot is from a peek inside...

From the outside, your home looks awesome.

But on the inside it's a bit bare, so obviously furnished by a guy!

However, the lands outside are populated by weirdos who seem to hate me?!

A game with character

Thankfully, some people are normal rather than fanatic psychopaths so, take time to talk for information. As the box says, this isn't just an adventure game, it's full to the brim with action and puzzles all set within a curious new world. In fact, there are many puzzles to be completed - such as feeding a giant mouse with mouldy cheese. These aren't brain-blasting puzzles, the information you acquire will soon fall into place for these rather odd-level guardians.

The gameplay uses a smooth first-person engine with simple controls. Use the mouse to guide the pointer: push that upwards and you walk. Push it downwards and you backtrack. As you can imagine, moving it to either side of the screen turns you around. You can use the joystick but I wasn't too keen on that. Also, if walking is too slow and you wanna run about then hit the F3 key. This isn't really "run" but speeds up time a little - not only for you but the entire game.

Exploring is a cinch thus making it very easy to get around and find helpful items, weapons, people, and enjoy a good fight. From the start, you will realise people aren't nice so practice and master your skills at throwing stones! Well, until you find something better like a sling or crossbow! I advise taking time to investigate your surroundings properly because there are many objects that you may think aren't important. Collect pebbles and why not check out those trees for fruit?

Sleeping Gods Lie attempts (very well too, I might add) to be an open-world adventure game. It kinda is with each area having full freedom to roam within each segment. Limited exits make it possible to leave and begin exploring the next area. However, it's worth looking everywhere to find helpful items or better weapons.

As you gain better weapons, you will note that each skirmish is easier but this is compensated for tougher enemies as you wander forth. The biggest tips are: rest regularly, explore thoroughly, and save your game like a paranoid madman!

Okay, it's time for some screenshots from this bizarre, yet enthralling, adventure game...

This ain't a peaceful land and most love to start fights by throwing pebbles at you!!

That pixelated mess is the first guardian. The graphics are better when you get closer!

The second guardian is freakishly cute (and hungry)


Visually, I have mixed feelings. The 3D engine is quite superb and allows full exploration of each landscape. However, sprites are a different matter - unless you get close to something, they are nothing more than a wobbly mess of a few pixels. Walk up and get closer for great scaling - this is something I really admired about this old engine.
Sadly, getting close to a guardian isn't a good idea because they are mean creatures and can slay you with extreme accuracy! So, stay back and use a range weapon - unless you're mad like me and want a better screenshot. I tired my best lol... Scroll on to see an image...
Each landscape features full freedom to roam but is sparsely populated and thus feels quite barren. I'd have liked more to "look at". Having said that, this is a great first-person engine and is very smooth and easy to explore.

The audio isn't as good as it should be simply because there's hardly anything to hear in-game. I'm sure something could have been done, even if it were footsteps! Anything would have been nice - even a delicate background chiptune. Talking of that, the title screen introduction has a fantastic tune which is nothing less than gorgeous!

I later returned to try and get a better screenshot but it's a vicious beast - this is the best I got!

Then it wasn't long before the stone-throw started again lol.

A wise old man restores my faith in humanity.

The CryptO'pinion?

Sleeping Gods Lie has some interesting ideas but it's not perfect. The character integration should have been more inclusive with more depth. This aspect is nothing more than a way to pass on information rather than any kind of interaction. Also, the weird pebble-throwing battles are initially amusing but soon wear thin. Thankfully, progression comes thick and fast therefore very rewarding because the game gets better once you've found better weaponry.

There's no denying that this is an enthralling adventure and I loved exploring the lands wondering what I may find. If you have lots of time to set aside, this is definitely something to dig your heels into over a weekend. A fast-paced adventure that's perfect for explorers who are looking for something different in a weird, new world.

I enjoyed this game a lot so don't forget your pebble stock and prepare yourself for lots of mindless squabbles!

Download HDD and FLOPPY.

Saturday, November 14, 2015


A brand new GEM game!

Yopaz is a new Sokoban-themed puzzler by Cedric Bourse that stars a happy chap who loves to collect stars. It's a GEM program but slick, very smooth and even features ambient sounds on 4MB Atari STe computers.

Taking place within the vacuum of space, all movement follows the laws of physics: once Yopaz begins travelling, he is committed to that direction until hitting an object. So think and take your time because you will need to use the ice blocks to manoeuvre and collect all the stars. There are other oddities, like blocks that aren't ice but will instead teleport you to a different place entirely. It always pays to study the screen before taking action. Think before you move.

Also, there is an advanced mode for those with a sadistic desire to punish their brains even more on levels that are incideously cunning. This is a brain-killing choice (I'm too scared!!). You have been warned!!

Cedric Bourse, aka Orion_ (not Orion), has a website where you can download a playable demo and he is only asking for $4 to purchase the full game. An incredibly cheap asking price for such a brilliant puzzler! A puzzler which is fun - love it.

Monday, November 09, 2015


A boot sector program that's useful

Bootsie, a utility by Stefan Krey that writes a boot sector on a floppy to perform nifty system init functions. These are useful for Atari's with a hard drive or those fortunate to own a MSTE, TT or Falcon. By default, my Mega STe boots up in an 8MHz "compatibility mode" which is great for gaming but pretty lame for everything else. After all, the entire boot process from start to end will be a lot slower than it could be if it was running at 16MHz.

Enter Bootsie that can set the processor speed to steroid mode and it will also do lots more cool stuff, such as CPU caching, activate the Blitter chip, 60Hz display, and much more. What a fantastic utility that helps make a computer as zippy as is possible. Download it right now from Atari ST Essential Software List.

Sunday, November 08, 2015


Artillery gaming!

Whilst enjoying my cuppa joe this morning (in my cool Atari ST mug) I stumbled upon a tweet about Ballerburg, an old turn-based artillery game by Eckhard Kruse. This is an ST classic and offers addictive and strategical gameplay to blast our enemy to smithereens and all using basic maths to calculate speed and direction.

However, Ballerburg requires the ability to read German and a monochrome hi-res monitor. But let's be honest, as ST users, we are familiar with translating on the fly plus there are programs that fudge the ST's high-resolution mode. As I type, my Atari STe is running Ballerburg and I'm (trying) to teach our 6-year-old daughter the basics... Sadly, that ain't going well and I know she will be an easy victim, so I'm going to destroy her. Muwhahaha!!

 * A download is available via Eckhard Kruse's website and also Ballerburg has a wiki page!
 * I use MonoPack to enable ST High Res on my colour monitor.
 * So, you didn't believe me about my Atari ST mug, uh?

Friday, November 06, 2015

The Immortal

A thinking man's Diablo!

I have always found something quite appealing about exploring a monster-infested dungeon and this is one of the best and most unique there is. Designed by Will Harvey and programmed by Brett G. Durrett, The Immortal offers a challenging experience of solving puzzles and surviving long enough to see what's around the corner.

We are a wizard who has been asked to help another wizard that's in a spot of bother. He is called Mordamir and somehow thinks your name is Dunric, which it isn't. Will you still help him? Of course, you will, even though we later find out this means exploring creepy dungeons infested with hideous nasties intent on your demise.

Are you still feeling brave? Stop. Don't lie. Be absolutely sure before accepting the challenge of this brutal adventure. Okay, you're still here. Then it's time for clean underwear as we venture forth into the realms of myth, sorcery, and brutal violence. Let's check out a few screenshots of the sinister troubles that lay ahead...

Do you think it's safe walking around down here? Well, you shouldn't!!

Learn how best to battle to defeat your foe. And why not chat with the locals?

That's some drop there. Best watch your step or come back later?

Welcome to a dark place with monsters and lots of traps!

The Immortal is a scrolling isometric adventure set within a creepy labyrinth of unforgiving pitfalls and ghastly horrors. I cannot stress that enough, right from the start too. These harsh characteristics will torment even the most experienced adventurer so you will witness the bloodiest of deaths at a most frequent rate. Never have I played a game like this with so many hidden traps so grab a pen and paper to make notes.

Lurking within the labyrinth are trolls, goblins and lots of scary creatures that want you dead. Some have exquisite names like The Shades which you encounter early and are a life form that hides in the darkness, only casting a faint shadow under a firelight. Are you scared yet? You should be, this game is callous and ruthless.

As you can now imagine, The Immortal isn't a game you can rush and complete quickly. Its design dictates a need for a determined player with patience. One who will fall victim to many gruesome deaths in order to learn the ropes. Don't underestimate it and grab that pen and paper to make notes, you'll need them. Trust me.

Hey, I hear there's a prince over in Persia that would love one of those carpets!!

You will die and die and die!

Each room is unique and has its own battles, treasures, and pitfalls - so think first, be vigilant and always on your guard. The good news is that you can often avoid a confrontation by being stealthy, but brave warriors can always use their weapons or conjure magic spells to beat their foes. Expect your endurance to be tested to the full by each level's cruel traps which are often hidden. Argghh, there are so many bloodthirsty traps!

Careful exploration is the key to success. Take your time but also make sure to examine everything. Who knows, that item may help later on and a slain victim is a great place to find what you need. Hey, what's better than plundering a dead corpse? Finally, don't forget to rest, if you see a straw bed then take the time to catch up on your sleep and enjoy forty winks. This restores health and might even produce an enlightening dream...

Sadly, there is no instant save function. Instead, at the end of each level, successful wizards are awarded a certificate ie level password. Yes, this might appear disappointing but the levels aren't overly massive plus it forces you to tread carefully and be a better adventurer. Cheaters skipping levels will soon realise the error of their ways.

Even the monsters appear to hate each other. Let's watch them fight!


All visuals are by Michael Marcantel and Ian Gooding and are absolutely excellent. They've helped to create a dungeon of horrors using a dark and creepy design that works well. Each room looks the part plus all monsters are ghoulishly drawn with good animation. I wonder how much inspiration was later taken from this old game?

Spot effects are used for lots of actions and various pieces of chip music by Doug Fulton feature throughout the levels. Some dislike the tunes for a game like this whereas others enjoy them. You can run with sound effects only but I fear you will be missing out on much atmosphere if you do. Personally, I'd leave the music on.

I never expected a boat ride - whitewater madness style!!

The CryptO'pinion?

The Immortal is groundbreaking due to its gripping storyline, eerie atmosphere and captivating deeds. Mix that in with a style employing adventure, action and RPG and it's apparent why I love it so. An extremely excellent game offering hours of agonising pleasure as you uncover its secrets. The Immortal is cruel, yet highly addictive!!

Download for floppy or hard drive.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Rana Rama

We. Are. A. Frog. Really?

Most action games have you playing as something cool, like a wizard or a warrior or perhaps even a Hollywood hero with a deadly automated weapon that never runs out of ammo. Well, not so with Ranarama. You're a novice magician called Mervyn who has accidentally turned himself into a frog? That's right, you're a frog!

Wizards have invaded and brought with them a horde of monsters who killed everyone, although luckily they ignored this unassuming frog. So it's time for you to leggit and deal a hefty dose of revenge on these evil beings! Played through an overhead view, you crawl a dungeon battling the minion slaves of the powerful wizards.

Wanna see who you are up against? Check out these minions of evil...

Take time to check out your foe and find out who you're battling against.

Not only that but a chance to view the gorgeous artwork!!

An amphibian gauntlet?

My first impressions are of another action-packed Gauntlet clone and, although it looks aesthetically similar, it's quite different. Beginning in the upper area of this 8-level dungeon you must kill the baddies and defeat the wizards. Interestingly, only the places you have explored are visible and the baddies themselves are only seen when you’re in the same room. This makes entering new rooms an anxious moment and who knows what surprises lurk!

Monsters come in various scary shapes and sizes, starting with the humble Dwarf (I love those) and leading up to the mighty Gargoyles. All can be killed with increasing efforts and wizards need to be defeated in a Countdown-style sub-game that has you rearranging letters to form the word "Ranarama". It's not easy and later wizards are very tricky, but once won, he dies and leaves behind his rune goodies.

Magic plays its part in Ranarama and can be a little confusing at first but good ‘ol Mervyn has four categories at his disposal: offensive, defensive, effect and other powers. All movement and monster hits will reduce energy but fear not because you can cast a spell or collect the energy cells which are frequently available. Finally, use the floor-based glyphs to activate special features like a map, status and casting powerful spells. Quite confusing at first but don't give up!

Check out this screenshot. Looks a little like Gauntlet but it's... not...

As you can see, the rooms are displayed only when they have been explored.


The graphics are superb with fine attention to detail and great use of colour plus the sprites are beautiful. Also, I love how each screen isn't instantly viewable in full - not until you've actually explored that region. This is a great idea and makes the journey far more interesting because you have no idea what's around the corner.

The in-game Sound effects are extremely good using a style that shows just what the ST's Yamaha chip is capable of. All chip music is by Dave J. Rogers, of Exolon and Zynaps fame, so absolutely superb stuff. Basically, the audio is wonderful and certainly proves that chipmusic will live on forever. Gorgeous sounds.

Ranarama was one of the first Atari ST games with speech (that I owned).
Thus I adore the fuzzy girl speaking. It's historically humourous but also very epic!!

I love the red eyes of Mr Froggy and each tiny character has fascinating attention to detail.

The CryptO'pinion?

If you're expecting a run-of-the-mill Gauntlet clone then you will be disappointed. Ranarama is different and offers a long-term mix of arcade action with hints of role-playing whilst venturing through the cunning levels. Yes, it's difficult but also very rewarding so expect lots of late nights - if you're brave enough to accept the challenge?

An utterly engrossing Atari ST game once again by legends Hewson. Absolutely fantastic, in every respect.

The best download from 8BitChip (hard drive)
Old Games Finder should suffice for floppy dudes!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015


Unreversable demo (2013) by M.E.C for Atari ST
Credits : bob_er (code) | Dhor (music) | gwEm (code/music)

I came across this rather mesmerising demo the other night on Demozoo and I just had to record it. Unreversable is an ASCII art sensation accompanied with a funk and dunk of ace chipmusic for an outstanding experience. Perhaps most amazing is that it's only 64kb, quite incredible... I hope you enjoy it as much as I did?

Unreversable is by a group of talented 8Bit'ers called Masters Of Electric City.
 (creators of Unbeatable - a monochrome Atari ST demo!!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Let's hack and slash!!

Gauntlet is an arcade masterpiece with a basic design that is simple, yet genius. It's a combination of a dungeon crawler with an extreme kill-em-all mentality which results in an unstoppable solo or multiplayer experience. Yep, 1-4 people can enjoy hacking and slashing their way through tons of hellish underground levels!! Absolutely gaming heaven.

We are offered an opportunity to play as one of four groovy characters: a Warrior, Elf, Wizard, and Valkyrie. Each has its own characteristics for strength and battling the nasties. I personally go straight for the Warrior because he's bound to be the Samson of the group, and thankfully there is no Delilah. Each character needs to be fed, so don't be doing anything daft like shooting food which will have a serious effect on your health. Come on, you know how to play this great game!

A timeless arcade classic. Simple as that really.

Four heroes against millions of monsters?

The monsters are some of the most varied I have seen which adds so much to the dungeon feel. We have ghosts, demons, grunts, lobbers (I hate those!) and more. They all have their own evil attributes and are born from something called a Generator - so destroy these first to cease the onslaught of hatred against you.

The object is always simple - kill the monsters and escape. We're trapped in a 100-level creepy dungeon and everything lurking here wants to eat you. So it's up to you (and any potential co-op players) to kill everything and find the exit in order to escape the hellish catacombs. Keys are littered everywhere which unlocks access to restricted areas and you shall also note the booty which is conveniently left for you, and collect it for extra points.

Finally, Death is here. Yep, literally Death himself and he is almost impossible to kill so try to avoid him if possible. This brings me nicely to the magical potions you can discover scattered about most levels. By collecting these your chance of survival is greatly improved and will certainly help during an encounter with Death. Hint: do not assume he is a single individual making a single appearance so be wise with your potions.

Whether demons or ghosts are attacking - this game is always freakishly GREAT fun!!!


Graphically, this conversion looks the business with authentically crafted levels that look excellent. The monster sprites are just as good and this must count as one of the best-looking arcade conversions for the Atari ST. However, there's a price to pay for all that glam and it comes at the cost of framerate. This will drop when there are dozens of monsters on-screen at once. Of course, faster computers like my 16MHz Mega STe (and emulators) have no such issues...

I love the audio, from the moment we hear the Da-Da-Da-Daaa begin playing. I'm hooked. This is superb and good quality too which is enhanced further with in-game sampled effects. Oh, I absolutely love Gauntlet!!

Argh, they're attacking from all corners of the dungeon!! Heeeeeelp!!

The CryptO'pinion?

Okay fellow ST nutters there are two conclusions to draw here. If you're using an upgraded ST or have something fancy like a Mega STe, TT, etc/etc then you're gonna love this beautiful game. However, there is some slowdown (on the stock ST) and it will get sluggish if the screen is crowded. Can you handle that? I hope so because this game is a Christmas Cracker.

Whether you play solo or mp, this is an awesome shooter as Gauntlet is one of the best arcade games ever made, and the Atari ST has another winning conversion under its belt. It's pure retro gaming gold and I love it!!

Stop whatever you're doing and download this wonderful game from Klaz' Hideaway (both hard drive & floppy versions). Klaz has implemented support for faster Atari computers and my own Mega STe (16MHz) delivered a far better framerate! Which transforms the game completely - it's now mind-bogglingly ACE!!