Sunday, September 27, 2015


Behold, the best 16-bit game?

Hunter was developed by Paul Holmes for Activision in 1991 and many consider it one of the first open-world/sandbox 3D productions. Now, that's a pretty big claim when you think about it? It's also relevant to today's younger gamer who might assume there was nothing before the likes of GTA or Battlefield. As if. Bah, kids today...

So the game takes place within a huge three-dimensional world that's filled with danger. However, this is also a game of vehicles and gadgets. Yes, we are essentially a James Bond with various mission objectives (should you decide to play the game properly). All are far-reaching with the key to success being strategic exploration plus interaction and communication with everything. Oh, and common sense won't go amiss before heading out into the wild:

For example, I wouldn't drive off in a jeep without carrying a spare jerrycan! It might be a good idea to find a medkit? It's dangerous out there... Of course, it's a good idea to stock up on extra ammo. And use the maps!

Never will you play a game that offers so many different types of vehicles to drive, pilot, ride, etc...

I knew this was gonna be good and it wasn't long before I was Howling Mad Murdock!!

I start well, but it's going dark and I'm on foot. Then I got rundown!

No rules only fun!

Incredible is the word for Hunter's many options - I love riding a wonky bike or going for a stroll to enjoy the fresh air and watch birds fly. The hippie in you might wanna go for a swim with the fish? Or chase cute rabbits? But why would you do any of this when you can drive an army jeep, steer a speedboat or pilot a helicopter? Heck, you can even hop into a tank and blow stuff up, like somebody's house!! Yes, let's be a psychopath and terrorise the world lol.

I often boot up Hunter 'just' to drive around its fascinating landscapes - what's better than exploring the world and maybe even blowing stuff up? Life can be boring, so create mayhem and have yourself some fun? Actually, it's this freedom that is the best aspect of Hunter - because we are completely free to roam. Go anywhere you choose and do anything.

Hunter is limited only by your imagination. Be heroic. Be ambitious. Be an explorer. Whatever you like!

There's nothing quite like this game - jump into a jeep and be a Mud Muppet for a day?

Armoured cars are every bit as good as they sound. Love these so much!

Polygons and squeaks?

Visually, Hunter's world is fantastic thanks to a concise design by Paul and Christian Roux who have the Atari ST exhibiting fast and fluent visuals. The 3D objects look cool with a vast array of vehicles and buildings. I love the fine detail, which never disappoints, everything from the chequered landscapes to your bike looks and moves great.

Faster computers will benefit a bunch; like my 16Mhz Mega STe that performs brilliantly.

Sonically, we have sampled music on the title screen. Everyone knows I prefer Chip, but I quite enjoyed this tune. In-game sound effects are good with some funky booming effects. Along with hilariously silly ones - like those seagulls!

A lot of love went into Hunter and it shows with stunning aesthetics. So let's see more screenshots...

Forget the objective, I'm going sailing on the open oceans. It's up to you what you wanna do!!

Hangers are always worth checking out. Always.

The CryptO'pinion?

In some respects, this is years ahead of its time, with comparisons having been made to GTA and Battlefield 1942. It's remarkable exploring this strange place - heading out into the unknown never fails to please so who knows what you might find out there? Tread carefully and leave no stone unturned in this thrilling and dangerous world.

However, even when played properly (yeah I should do that more!) this is an immersive and engrossing experience with taxing missions that require a tactical and explorational approach. The emphasis is always on your freedom and this priority extends into how you choose to complete a mission - there are no linear paths to blindly follow. That, I find utterly exciting and enthralling, to say the least. Yes, they're difficult but never boring and always enjoyable.

An extraordinary adventure and I guarantee it's one of the best 16-bit games you can play. Hunter is epic.

Download FLOPPY and HDD.


- Interesting Map Coordinates -

Security pass = 90, 153
Master key = 164, 169
Old man = 181, 197
Second man = 99, 61
Third man (In rock) = 195, 119
Professor = 49, 115
Prisoner = 135, 239
Injured man = 10, 36
Antibiotics and saw = 151, 121
Monk (in tree stump) = 85, 174
Scroll = 91, 173
Disk = 100, 225
Computer = 244, 199
General's bunker = 135, 239
Officer's red uniform = 190, 65

Friday, September 25, 2015


I don't think I've ever taken this (outstanding) racer very seriously. Never have I booted it up to play through as a champion challenger. I admit that I boot up this game whenever I'm bored and in need of a thrill... Madness, I know!!

Today I was bored.

Vroom is just the ticket for speed and thrills.

Enjoy the video :-)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Cannon Fodder


I've just stumbled upon a nifty program for Cannon Fodder. It's an intro that offers various cheats like infinite ammo and level select and was created by "Dr D" from The Casualty Dept. I've copied it over to my Atari ST and it works like a charm! Now, I'm not really bothered about the infinite ammo/men but being able to start on any level is superb so opens up this game. Highly recommended for those playing the floppy disk version - enjoy!! :-)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

App appreciation day

A time to celebrate!

There are some programs that don't get the credit or respect that they deserve. The ones that we use regularly, that never let us down, and get the job done perfectly. Yet, once their task is complete, they are TOSsed to one side without so much of a thank you. How cruel we are. Do you know a downtrodden app? Then shame on you!

Sadly, I am guilty of this sin. For me, it's called FastCopy (Pro) by Martin Backchat. This is an iconic copier/formatter for the Atari ST. In fact, you will be hard-pressed to find anyone who didn't/doesn't use this funky program? I think every ST owner has a copy of this on their computer? Rightly so, because it has several distinct features that I like:

   1) A brilliant backup tool.
   2) Essential formatting options.
   3) Actually, very smart formatting. Woo!!
   4) Nifty virus prevention.
   5) Can run either as a PRG or an ACC.

I personally format all my disks using Fastcopy Pro. It never lets me down (touches his wooden head). and I've used it since the 80s. How cool is that! So, dear FastCopy, I promise to start being nice to you appreciating your commitment to my ST floppies. Greetings to Mr Backschat for making such an awesome Atari ST program.

I hope this silly post made you smile :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Rick Dangerous

Indiana Jones platforming

Rick Dangerous is a brilliant platformer. Simple as that really! Anyhow, I almost fell over myself when I found this superb website which is dedicated to this incredible game. Go on, take a look at it - have a guess which is the best version of Ricky Dangerous!! :-) Before you go, here is my video recording of this excellent game to watch!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Addicted To Fun - Rainbow Collection

Addicted To Fun!

This is a compilation released by Ocean Software called Addicted To Fun: Rainbow Collection which features three classic Taito games: New Zealand Story, Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands. Now, I have already featured two of these games here at AtariCrypt but sadly I've never really "clicked" with Bubble Bobble. In fact, I kinda hated it if I'm honest!

New Zealand Story was literally one of the first 16-Bit games I saw when I was still a ZX Spectrum guy. Sadly, I got to see it on a mate's Amiga and months passed by before I manage to "source" the Atari ST game. It's brilliant too, although the difficulty increases a lot after the first couple of levels. You might need a trainer with extra lives?

Rainbow Islands needs no introduction because it's a fantastic arcade conversion with glorious graphics, sounds and gameplay. In fact, it's one of the best conversions I've seen and one I was proud to own. Yes, I bought it!

New Zealand Story & Rainbow Islands.

Okay, so what about Bubble Bobble?

Umm, I figured I should try the other disk inside the lovely Ocean plastic bag. Remember, I've never been a fan but I decided to give it my best shot. Well, the first thing I noticed is the music - it never stops! And I didn't see anything in the manual that says how to turn it off but it actually becomes enjoyably bewitching.

The levels are all on the one screen and first appear humble in their design, but somehow I get the feeling this is exactly how it's meant to be for maximum progressive effect. There are a few monster cuties and killing them is easy - hit fire to blow a bubble and turn them into fruits! Don't dare bump in the baddies or you'll lose a life but there are lots of power-ups and I got another shock on level 5 when water poured in and washed me away!

Overall, and, in all honesty, I still prefer Rainbow Islands over Bubble Bobble but this is an excellent and faithful conversion. I loved it because it's simple yet insanely addictive and has bucketloads of fun. So, I now wonder why I didn't enjoy playing this back in the day? Madness!! I admit that I was stupid because it is a brilliant Atari ST game.

Bubble Bobble


8BitChip has Bubble Bobble ready to be installed onto your hard drive!
But if you need a floppy disk image then look no further than Old Games Finder.

Fancy a couple of juicy tips. Of course, you do!

          -> Stand beside a wall, close enough to blow a bubble that instantly pops, for extra points!
          -> When you lose your last life, hold down the fire button and you can continue playing.

StrategyWiki that has a helpful guide which explains the basics for us Bub/Bob noobs.
Here is a cool web page and it's easy to see that the Atari ST has the best version.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Exxos (aka Chris Swinson) is pretty much a hardware genius who repairs and improves our favourite computers with different upgrades. He never seems to stop and will certainly be the guy I'll trust to upgrade my Atari ST (when I can afford it!).

It's not only hardware repairs/upgrades - he has also rescued old websites like Atari Music, UVK and also hosts ST Format coverdisks along with the entire FloppyShop archive. Chris is a genuine guy with technical knowledge of the internal workings of Atari computers.

I have zero hardware skills myself so admire people that do. So I thought it was time that we all got to know more about this soldering-iron geek. Okay, this is a big interview so go and grab yourself a coffee, sit back, relax, and read. I hope you enjoy this as much as I have?

My thanks to Chris for taking the time to write (waffle on!) and produce one heck of an interview!

Mr Exxos, please tell us about yourself.

Hello Steve :) Well my real name is, as most know, Chris Swinson aka exxos. I should point out that I am not the company EXXOS who some confuse me for :) My handle is all lower case as not to confuse ;) I used to work in electronics repair for about 10 years. This was the leisure industry, So all kinds of fruit & arcade machines to jukeboxes I have repaired over that time.

My main area was Audio systems, From CD players to higher power amplifiers to electromechanical jukeboxes. I also ran the company BBS system, which was a dial-up network for depot's to download software updates. That system sucked, so I re-wrote the software in VB6.

Which Atari computers are you using?

The odd thing is, I don't actually use any working Atari at least currently anyway. I just don't have the time :( My trusty STFM had a video fault a year ago, so its been in bits. That was really 1MB RAM and my 1.44 floppy upgrade. It was a really old machine. Though once I get some time I plan on updating it and bringing it back to life. That machine was at my girlfriends were we mostly played games.

What is your own Atari hiSTory?

I got a 2600 way back, it was my first "computer". I loved that thing. I still have it with 4 or 5 games I think. I remember playing pole position to the point that it wasn't so much what score I could get, but how many times I could loop back around to 0000000. After while I wanted something better. I was probably around 14 at the time. I saved like crazy to buy an STFM. I found it was on offer at a local computer shop, so managed to buy it. Thanks to my father for putting the last few quids!

Later I brought my Falcon 030 and that was pretty much it, I think. A long time after buying my STFM, I got distracted into wanting to do hardware for it. My first design was a 1.44 floppy kit. Basically, it resulted in me killing that machine. Though as ST's were flooding onto eBay I could buy machines for less than 10quid and fiddle that way. That's pretty much what I still do all these years later :)

Are you a gamer?

I used to be years ago. Not so much lately as all my time is taken up with work or hardware development. I loved games like, Super Cars 2, Termodroid, Squareoff, Starquake, Xenon, Vroom, Chuck Rock, Castle Master. That game took me 25 years to finish, my girlfriend helped a bit ;) Back in the day, games were expensive and cash was limited, so mostly I was doing swaps with menus like automation. Though I had very few games back then and a lot were on cover disks.

Your website is huge!

STOS is the main section on my site, I try to keep everything STOS related all in one place. The games, I could do more pages, but with larger indexes and others hosting them, then I don't think it's worth taking up the drive space with re-hosting the same stuff. My site is around 35GB!

I wrote the Floppyshop site as a searchable index where people could search and download PD. Almost everyone will have a copy of the collection, but just having a copy isn't using the stuff. I felt a lot of PD was simply "lost" so The Floppyshop page was born. Recently, I hosted the UVK2000 site and took over which was a mess and I barely got it running on my server. Its a wonder it ever worked at all, I spent much time debugging that site, getting it in some form of working order.

Why the STOS fascination?

The main reason I wanted a computer was to write my own games. I remember looking through Argos, seeing a few pages of Atari ST's in various "packs". I went for the discovery pack as it had STOS "the game creator" so its the one I went for. Oddly there were only 1 Am*ga for sale, which looked a bit "dull" software-wise so I never went into Am*gas. So you could say if Argos never had the discovery pack with STOS included, then I may not have stayed with Atari's.

I did do some programs. Though they got rejected by the PD houses, basically because there was too many typos or spelling errors in stuff. They were programs like "Data Card" which was an address book program. The only stuff which saw light was MEGA Diskzine where I did 4 issues, with help from a few others. When STOSSER vanished, I wanted to do my own zine and keep the programming aspect in STOS, but also add Tesla coil type stuff, sci-fi or anything odd strange or cool. So, MEGA was born. I barely got issue 4 out and contributions were next to zero. I was doing most of the work myself and about that time I had started full-time work, So I simply didn't have time to do the coding or write articles. I have an epic amount of STOS projects I started but never finished.

Do you have a favourite upgrade?

I think my favourite must be the 1.44 floppy kit. It marks the first kit I designed and got working and it's even still produced today. While most of my work is in the boosters, I of course like the V2 for example. But once something is designed and finished, I somehow start to hate the thing. It's old, I could do better, I want to add more features. So Its design pretty much goes out the window and I am always thinking 2 or 3 steps ahead into the future.

As many know, I am still working on the CPU boosters. I recently went into production with the V1 STE booster which runs at 32MHz. I've basically hit the limit speed wise of the 68000. So I have drifted over to the 020 and 030 CPU now. Ultimately I want something along the lines of a 50MHz 030 CPU, with 32bit access to ROM & Fast-RAM.

England's own Jookie/Lotharek?

I don't really know why I do this stuff lol. I guess I love to design stuff and seeing it working on a computer just gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. I think it's an addiction. Like when I produce the first 16MHz booster, I though yayyyy I've done it, now onto 32MHz... It never ends. Just seeing those benchmark results pushing up higher and higher just wants me to push them up evermore.

I'd like to get the super speed hard drive working properly that I have been working with PPera for a while. Also the STE booster going into production along with the new PSU's. The V2 booster sales funded the ST PSU project, The ST PSU funded the Falcon PSU etc. So you can see how it all works. If it wasn't for those guys buying my items, then likely I would have given up and closed shop a long time ago. So big thanks to those customers as they really help fund more productions which at the end of the day, helps more people and gives me motivation to continue.

Your girlfriend deserves a medal!!
How many Atari ST's are dismembered?

Well, I don't live with my girlfriend, it's why I am not around on weekends. I've taken over her space with all the Atari stock, she doesn't mind one bit. She has the stock which is for sale, and she packs the orders and posts them for me. No surprise I just don't have enough time to pack orders and make trips to the post office. So everyone in Atari land should be thankful she posts the stuff for me.

I'm not sure how many ST's I have. Probably about 10 STE's, maybe 30 STFM's and then about 30 various motherboards. In general, it seems to cost about £35 for each machine as a general figure. So around £2,500 probably in machines alone. If you priced up all the upgrades as well, that would be tough. Things like the V2 booster, they are about £65 each, If I have 20 of them its £1,300 worth of stock. Similar to the 4MB MMU RAM upgrade kit, they are about £65 as well. I think I totalled that stock to over £2,000 a while ago. So if you factor in I have on sale around 40 different items, some are not expensive parts though, then you could probably take a guess of what the stock is worth In total. I would guess somewhere around £15,000 of current stock.

Where did Atari go wrong?

Oh gosh. I think this has been a huge debate for a long time. Lack of expansion seems to be popular. Though the ST did have the cartridge port which could do a fair few things. Atari knew expansion was needed as they produced the MEGA with an expansion port. While the ST wasn't born with PCI slots to easily update it (PCI wasn't invented for some years later aka sarcasm) I think Atari limited the ST's design too much. Everything is just so tangled up that if Atari had some forethought and built the ST with the idea that one-day people might want a faster CPU, then maybe there would have been a lot more hardware add-ons produced by 3rd parties such as Fast-technologies etc.
I think Atari fell into a type of "trap" which is something I try to avoid myself actually. Why do an ST 030 booster when we can have a whole new machine? Why stop at that, let's spend more time on updating the video hardware. Why stop at that? Let's add a DSP to help those audio guys out, let people play tracker tunes on it without taking up CPU time. Let's updated this, and that and take several years doing so until we get an awesome machine that we want. The fundamental problem is, waiting too long to produce hardware, and producing hardware on an "as perfect as possible" basis.
Overall, the Atari couldn't easily be upgraded which was the first nail in the coffin. Then, when Atari did start with the 030 CPU, the second nail was that they never produced it as an add-on kit. I think the geeks of the day would have loved to hack in a 030 into their ST's. Nobody has a crystal ball as to what will sell and what doesn't. Atari made the best choice they could probably make back then. They gave us the ST line of computers and they are still around even today. If you asked an STE user do they want a “super STE” with an 030 CPU and no other upgrades or a Falcon with lots of enhancements, but this would take 10 years longer, then you can probably bet people would want the “super STE” as they could always upgrade to a Falcon at a later time anyway.

What do you think of the current scene?

I think The Atari world hit a bit of a slump until fairly recently. There has always been a community, though it's not like the peek of the computer boom in the 80s kinda thing. There are more hardware guys about today like jookie developing hard drives for us. I think that has helped as people can download games images and play thousands of games.

I think websites like AtariCrypt are good to have. Review games on there, there is like a billion games to which who knows what they are or if they are any good. So games being reviewed with videos and images I think really will help people out in the long run. For me, I have seen some interesting games which at some point I would like to have a go at. (Wow!! I never expected to read that. Thanks - Steve)

I think as people buy their First Atari ST if the first couple games they play are just random, and the chances are they will be, let's just say bad games. Just not enjoyable to play. It's likely going to put that person off and they may not bother with the Atari ST again. Though if there are sites reviewing games, good ones which are fun to play, then chances are those new Atari people will keep coming back for more and more games. But it's not just games, there are music people out there using MIDI stuff. I'm not sure if people would bother to do word-procession or print letters out these days, so I think Games and Midi are what people would most likely to use their machines for.

Does the Atari ST have a future?

I started a thread on just that on a forum not long ago. My concern is: as the ST's are failing, due to bad PSU's etc, in 10 years time there is not going to be any working Atari ST's. If they are maintained, then the machines life is greatly extended. I think it's important to keep these machines running, which is why I build things like new PSU's as its one of the most common things to fail.

The Atari community needs new blood, new young blood that is to keep going. Gamers shouldn't need fancy high resolution 3D graphics to have fun. The Atari ST has a huge games list and I think there is far more variety than on today's PCs. Most games just seem to be running around shooting things but on the ST we have Pushover, Chuck Rock, Xenon and so many more which are still fun to play even after 30 years. I think the younger generation needs to see that they don't need a powerhouse to have fun gaming. Somehow think the Atari games will live on for a long time yet :)


I'm sure you all want to check out his website right now!
Itching to see what he sells and is currently developing? I bet you are, then clickety-click right here.
Take a look at his FloppyShop website which is simply an AMAZING resource!!
Don't forget to keep your Atari ST clean and free of those horrid virus' with the latest UVK!
Here is a TV appearance which nicely follows up on the amazing interview with Chris Swinson!
MEGA ST thanks to Chris for this interview and we have many more to read right here. :-)

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Son Shu-Shi

Can you help?

Son Shu Shi was released back in 1991 by Expose and is a platformer that reminds me of Elf or Enchanted Lands. However, the downloads available on the internet are NOT complete and contain bad data which eventually rears its ugly head later in the game. We are hoping someone has the original disks so we can make a copy and keep it safe forever!! Son Shu Shi is a wonderful platformer and we need the original disks - can you help? :-)

Visit the 8BitChip website to read more and download what we currently have available.

I've scrapped my plans to write a review as Atari Legend have cool plans. Watch this space...
Update: check this out and thank you to The Replicants!!! (click here) :D

Monday, September 07, 2015

Satan Stole My Atari

Here we have a brand-new demo that has just been released & ranked 1st for the "oldskool" combo at Riverwash 2015 party. It requires a juicy 4MB Atari STe and will blow you away! Truly amazing and best viewed using real hardware.

Satan Stole My Atari by Lamers
At0m - Graphics
MKM - Code
VLX - Music

Download from Demozoo or Pouet.Net

Wanna see more Atari STe demos? Well, there are loads on our YouTube channel.

Saturday, September 05, 2015


PARCP running on my Mac (the Mac is shown on the left side and the Atari ST on the right)

Get your Atari ST talking!!

After all these years, owning an Atari ST is still such an amazing joy - plus I feel like a teenager again!! However, this now means I have the problem of how to get games and other programs running on my ST. After all, it's not like I can pop to the shops or swap disks with friends like we did back in the day. If only I had a time machine...

Anyhow, the internet is stuffed with ST disks but we're still left with the problem of getting these from my Mac (or PC) over onto the ST (whether it's using floppies or a hard drive). Heck, it might be the most awesome 16-bit computer on the planet but it sadly has no ethernet, USB, or WiFi. Argh, how can we get files over to use on my ST?

Well, there are a few options but one of the best is ParCp-USB by Petr Stehlik. This little device plugs into the ST's parallel port and features a Mini USB socket so we can connect any Atari computer to either a Mac or PC with little effort and hassle. The only decision to make is which of your computers you want to act as either a master or slave (I run my ST as the master whilst the Mac acts as the slave). Just watch the video recording I've made for a better idea of how this works...

ParCP-USB is a fantastic product that makes the job of transferring files a doddle and is highly recommended.

Atari computers with only a floppy drive will be too slow. You need a hard drive or something like the Ultrasatan. However, you can easily use a Ram Disk if you have upgraded.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Captain Dynamo

I'm a superhero!

Captain Dynamo was released by Code Masters in 1992 and is something I instantly fell in love with. This is actually a wicked platformer that transforms you into a superhero, flying up through the most craftily-designed maps. Derek Leigh-Gilchrist did a great job because it feels new and is enormous fun. Let's wear spandex and be Captain Dynamooooooo!!

Graphically, this is excellent with gorgeous cartoon visuals designed by Leigh Christian. But it not only looks the part but scrolls smoothly too for a fluent feel. The music is lovely with fantastic chiptunes by 4mat. I mean, wow!

If you wanna be a superhero then grab either the floppy or a hard disk installable version right away.

Even More ATARI ST Articles

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