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

lotharek



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

SWIV


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




B-movie gaming

Oh no, evil Reptilons are hell-bent on destroying us humans and have taken hold of Planet X. They've enslaved much of the 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 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 enemy robots. Yes, the alien hoard is relentless so you better be quick on the trigger otherwise you will be overrun. It's insane, but it works. It's like you're living a B-Movie yourself!

Let's check out some screenshots I've taken from the intro...








Grab a raygun and fight back!

We have a powerful weapon that 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.

There are bonus stages along a canal stage that appear after a few levels to offer extra bonuses. Not 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 adore the isometric 3D viewpoint which I think is perfect, and the entire environment has superb attention to detail. The alien hoard is varied and excellent - my favourite being the biscuit-looking guys lol. 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 a superb isometric shooter.

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

Pegasus



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.