Wednesday, December 30, 2015

R-Type Deluxe


An early beta of the new R-Type Deluxe has been released at STNICCC. This is a game that means so much to me for a couple of reasons: it's such a great shoot 'em up and my parents bought me this for my 17th birthday!

This new Deluxe version isn't merely a lame Amiga port but one designed to make use of the extra hardware lurking inside the Atari STe. This means the Blitter, hardware scrolling and stereo sounds. The pictures you see here were kindly sent to me by Stephen and I have also recorded a video for y'all to drool over! (from the previous beta)

Today has been an awesome day as I've played R-Type Deluxe for several hours and loved every second of it! Please remember, this is a Work In Progress. Well, its high time I stopped writing and played some more...

    

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

lotharek

Shortly before Christmas, the hard drive inside my Mega STE sadly 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!! ;-) and I needed to sort myself out with the only mass-storage option I fancied... That meant Lotharek to purchase their Ultrasatan which comes with an 8GB SD card capable of silly storage! Fancy going from 47MB to 8GB :)

Ultra...WHAT? Okay, for those that don't know, the Ultrasatan is a tiny piece of hardware that utilises common SD Cards as a mass storage device. Hardly a ground-breaking idea in today's world, but the old Atari computer will see it has an ordinary hard drive (but silent!)

Lotharek are quick! They delivered it on Christmas Eve so I've spent the entire holidays playing and 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!!




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

The game now streams 25Khz music directly off the Ultrasatan - sorry STFM guys - this feature requires the audio co-processor hardware of the Atari STE. It's a jaw-dropping 32MB upgrade, which is an unbelievably huge size for an ST game and I certainly hope Peter converts more games in the future!








Drone, an Atari STe demo which I would personally class as a masterpiece with music, artwork and presentation are so far beyond excellent. Released back in 2012 by the legendary Dead Hackers. Drone is an 11+MB demo and 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

Stario!!


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 feel authentic.

The graphics scroll by at a smooth 50fps with fine attention to 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 on your desk, but with a keyboard! A brilliant platformer.


Stario's Christmas was released in 1996 and must rank as one of the last commercial games ever for the Atari ST. It basically offers more of the same but within a Christmassy winter wonderland and is equal in every awesome respect to the first game. Look, if you loved Super Stario Land then you're gonna drool over your presents for Stario's Christmas. Yep, two incredible platformers to play over the holidays. Merry Christmas everyone †

LINKS

 - Hard disk installable games can be found over at 8BitChip.
 - Old Games Finder has access to every floppy disk.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

3D con kit

I've always been interested in 3D from my early computing years as a kid in the 80s using the ZX Spectrum.  Games like Ant Attack, Deathchase and then later on the mind-boggling Knight Lore. That game just blew my mind, so when I came across 3D Construction Kit for the Atari ST I was delighted.

After a little googling, I came across a fantastic resource by a Stuart Wilson that should be very helpful to get the best from the program. They also run an active FaceBook community that you should join.

3D Construction Kit is a wonderful application for making your own worlds and I hope this web resource is of some help to any of you guys that fancy trying it out? This video is the actual VHS recording that was released back in the day as a trainer. Fascinating stuff and it does explain many aspects of the program very nicely. There are lots of interesting projects already created on the Atari ST and many are blimmin'' excellent too!

At my request, Peter Putnik has graciously adapted 3D Construction Kit so it can now be installed onto a hard drive rather than being run from floppy disk, so download this version! Plus it will also run on all Atari's - the better your computer then the smoother your experience. My 16Mhz Mega STe runs it beautifully!  :-)

Monday, December 21, 2015

SWIV


Sometimes you need a release from this strange world and today I did just that with SWIV, an exceptional shoot ‘em up released in 1991 by Storm. Yes, I blasted the living daylights out of those military bad boys using my chopper!

What a cracking game this is, and extremely well developed too. So, I then went one further and recorded a video (under emulation) and noticed it felt a little slower compared to playing on a real Atari ST. Also, the sound effect are not as pronounced. All this is very odd but NOTHING ever compares to the real hardware.

SWIV is excellent. Certainly, an ageless shooter which I highly recommend. Download it from Klaz because this version supports installation to hard drive, cheats, and more. Of course, 8BitChip has an equally excellent download you should play with Old Games Finder having all the floppy images.
And just for giggles... Moments ago, my hard drive started to make a strange whirring noise, almost like it was trying its best to spin-up, but failing. I think SWIV killed it but I cannot complain because it was the original drive and therefore about 24 years old. Now that is quality and value for money, folks!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

We Were @

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. A beautiful production and certainly one of the best 16-Bit demos, ever!! [download]

Please note - this 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 :-)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Trans D-Bug Express


TDE is a program to convert your old floppies into MSA disk images. Yes, 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 far 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!

Those D-Bug'ers have the latest release of TDE to download so go grab it now!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Fernandez Must Die


ImageWorks gave us this cool shoot 'em up in 1988 and it's a 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 which took place a dodgy part of South America and, just like in the tv show, an evil dictator is causing havoc! However, B.A. Baracus refuses to get on the plane, so pick up your weapon and head out to the killing fields for some fun.

This war zone is stuff with enemy soldiers and their flying bullets so it's a good job our machine gun has unlimited ammo. Also, we have a rocket launcher for extra firepower and some buildings can be plundered by blowing off the door with dynamite and is especially useful on ammunition depots! Vehicles can be utilised, so why not mow down a few enemy soldiers along your journey? The visuals are very 1980s with a clean cartoon-like style and smooth scrolling. Sound effects are nice with various sampled sound effects too.

This is one of those games I'm glad I bought because it's incredibly good fun and highly addictive. Fernandez Must Die might have zero originality but it makes up for that with bucket loads of action. An awesome shoot 'em up!!

LINKS

 - The boys of D-Bug have a superb download which can be installed to your hard drive.
 - Pause your game and type in "SPINYNORMAN" for extra lives :-)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Escape From The Planet Of The Robot Monsters


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 to other 3D isometric games, just imagine a pinch Buck Rogers mixed in with a dollop of Gauntlet and you get a general idea. Your main goal is to rescue the humans, without forgetting those held in stasis pods, and along the way are numerous 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 creates new enemy robots. The hoard is relentless but I do love the biscuit-looking models which are actually quite cute!

  

We have a laser weapon which is great but refrain from overuse otherwise it becomes less effective... Thankfully, it can be charged by collecting the green blobs that a dead robot can leave behind. There are also bombs - just hit the shift key and they detonate straight away killing anything within your vicinity - even the captives - so be careful. A canal stage appears after a few levels which offer extra bonuses but isn'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 using a few bombs and a little joystick waggling... Just ask if you need any help.


  

I've really enjoyed playing this great game which is full to the brim of originality and frantic metallic mayhem. It's a demented game and I love its comical personality, characters, and superb gameplay. An iconic 16-Bit shooter!

Escape From The Planet Of The Robot Monsters can be installed to hard disk or ran from floppy.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Lupo Alberto


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

Graphics are nice with a gorgeous cartoon design with cute sprites - just look at those chickens!! However, it lacks scrolling and the mechanics of the game demand that instead of push-scrolling which could easily have been done, just look throughout the catalogue of great games. With this in mind, it still plays good enough but I found some of the jumps rather tricky because of the push scrolling methods. Okay, I cannot say it's up there with the best, but it's great to see something recovered after many years and it definitely warrants some of your gaming time tonight. Play it.

The download is available via Philsan's post on AtariAge forums and now also AtariMania.

Friday, December 11, 2015

XENON

If I was to select one game which perfectly describes my exciting entrance into the (then) new world of 16-Bit computing - it's gotta be Xenon!! Such an iconic release and, because I came from the colour-clash world of ZX Spectrum, this blew me away with its amazing mind-boggling visuals/audio.

Literally, one of the first floppy disks that I carefully slid inside my new Atari ST, but I didn't know what to expect as the drive made its infamous click..click..click. Moments later my jaw hit the floor when I first saw those incredible graphics along with the zesty chiptunes by Dave Whittaker.

I had truly left behind the 8-Bit world and entered into another realm which is a feeling I shall never forget. Well folks, today is a good day, because I have just taken delivery of the original which is extraordinarily well preserved and feels almost brand new. I'm impressed and overjoyed to finally re-own this masterpiece. Gorgeous box art (click the pic)

Xenon is every bit as good as I remember. The gameplay starts off so well balanced with many baddies to encounter over a short area. We then there get to battle against a weird ball-like Alien ship. This takes a lot longer to kill than you first realise. (Well, for me anyhow!). Don't forget to waggle that joystick and flip your 'tank' into an aircraft at any time.

Xenon is pure brilliance. A true, and timeless, Atari ST classic which I urgently suggest you load up right now!

LINKS

 - Both D-Bug and 8BitChip have converted this great arcade game to run off hard drive!
 - Those needing a floppy disk can find Xenon on Timewarp #51 thanks to Stonish.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Pegasus


Satan has been a bad boy again and has turned the world on its head so it's our job to reverse his dastardly deeds before it's too late. You are Percius and fly the globe on a mythical horse called (wait for it) Pegasus and our adventure is split into two parts. A shoot 'em up has you flying on Pegasus and also a platformer where Percius is free to unleash his own hell using a rather large sword (it flips between these two gaming modes throughout).

The shoot 'em up parts are exciting and challenging, just imagine something like an R-Type but on horseback and you've got a general idea. Collect the crystals left behind from a kill to enhance your weaponry and there are also awesome power-ups to use. Plus you control Pegasus, a flying horse, how freaky cool is that? Graphics and sounds are a little bland but the scrolling is smooth and it plays well.

The platform levels follow and these are probably my personal favourites. Collect the crystals and kill baddies once again... but it plays good and scrolls along nicely to keep up with the action. Sadly, once again, it's a little bland in the audio department and needed far more enemies for better action.

Each stage is fun to play but it fails to stand out from the crowd. I fear Pegasus is a lazy port because it needs excitement, music and pizzazz sound effects so feels somewhat flat, which is a shame. The potential is staggering yet Gremlin didn't feel like getting the best from the Atari ST. An okay game but there are far better to choose from.

LINKS

 - Download Pegasus from the D-Bug and 8BitChip, both with hard drive support.
 - Floppy disks versions can be found using Old Games Finder.
 - You need to cheat? Then press P on the title screen and type in this code: FRUITBAT
          -> 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 a brain knows this to be an awesome RPG game by Mindscape. The Ultimate Captive Guide is a website created by Pierre Fournier and I'm sure you'll find extremely useful.

Captive's story is simple, you have been held a prisoner for a couple of hundred years for a crime you 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 in this RPG not too dissimilar to the Dungeon Master ilk. Playing through a fantastic 3D first-person perspective with a creative UI that has you configuring and controlling droids from a conveniently placed briefcase! The graphics are excellent with beautifully drawn monsters that add perfectly to the futuristic realism. Sound effects could have been a little more ambient but that doesn't spoil the captivating (sorry) atmosphere. This is truly an amazing adventure and one which will certainly eat away the spare hours. It's an experience to love living through, an outstanding RPG.

LINKS

 - I've found a neat video which should help Captive newcomers tremendously.
 - ST Format published this piccy in their magazine which I think is very helpful.
 - TIDBIT: the original release supported DMA audio but this was dropped for the v1.2 update. How odd :-(