Thursday, March 31, 2016

NetUS-Bee


I've just received my latest gadget from Lotharek, the NetUSBee. This awesome piece of hardware slots into the ST's expansion port to provide the option for fast ethernet networking and two modern USB ports.

I've connected a USB mouse (worked a treat) but sadly, at the moment, there are no more USB devices to do much more. I hope this changes soon because the potential is huge. Using a modern mouse is nice but I'm really looking forward to getting the ST connected to my home network. I've already been able to access my FTP file server. Later, I shall attempt to configure STinG and get my Atari ST on the internet using CAB - so wish me luck! :-)

I look forward to future drivers to get more from it! NetUSBee is a fantastic product and built like a tank.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Vaxine


It is time for another example of awesome box art from my own collection with US Gold's fantastic voyage into the human body. It's actually a familiar 3D shooter set within a unique environment and The Assembly Line always developed great games but with Vaxine they even made some use of the enhanced hardware lurking inside Atari STe: glorious [STE] technicolour visuals along with DMA samples, which are a substantial improvement over the ST. I've always enjoyed playing this game because it feels like a weird dream. Very different and a great adventure.

Floppy disks can be found using Old Games Finder and 8BitChip has a version for your hard drive!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Highway Encounter



1985 has come knocking!!

Here we have one of my all-time favourite 8-bit games from the brilliant mind of Costa Panayi, Vortex Software. It's an understatement to say I was flabbergasted when I read an old post on Atari-Forum concerning the unreleased ST game; developed in 1990 by the late Mark Haigh-Hutchinson. Sadly, Vortex was unable to find a publisher, so that was that and it was left to gather dust for years, which is terrible when you think about it!

I always had a soft spot for Vortex and fondly remember playing Android, Cyclone and Revolution but Highway Encounter was definitely my favourite. Set on a stretch of highway populated by crazy baddies, tricky puzzles and many other obstacles to get in your way. Aliens have invaded and our robot convoy has the task of merrily pushing a bomb down the highway in order to destroy their mothership, which is at the other end of the road.

Guide our little friends the best you can, they have very dangerous cargo!


Road rage!

Highway Encounter hasn't been changed with bloatware and remains pretty much the same as on the ZX Spectrum. The obvious improvements are with the graphics; gone are the monochrome visuals for a world of technicolour. The highway and your objective remain the same and lots of whacky aliens are roaming freely along this stretch of road. Our droid colleagues are still daft and will get stuck on objects but this can actually be good: leave them behind - in safety - so you're free to clear the highway ahead of the dreaded aliens.

I find joystick control the best and if you love isometric games then you'll be right at home - left and right rotates, forward to accelerate and pulling back slows you down [or stops you dead]. Your weapon is a type of ultra-cool energy bolt which can also be improved upon thanks to power-ups lying along your road trip journey. Can you manage to kill the aliens and make it all the way to the end of this motorway of madness?

There is also an editor to create your own highway. This is something I've yet to play with but I'd be interested if any of you guys have used it. Let me know in the comments below!


Some wobbly things are approaching! Let's kill 'em!!


Speccy aesthetics?

Visually, this is a joy and transports back to 1985 with an authentic style that's been updated and preserved using a gorgeous palette that isn't over the top. Back in the 80s, isometric games were pretty much the in-thing and this was one of the most beautiful examples of the genre. The sprites are as crazy as ever and makes you appreciate the finer details because the ST has taken the original and bettered it. Purists will disagree, I know. They are wrong.

Sound effects are samples and are perfectly futuristic for all the zapping that's needed. I love them!


Those guys are almost too cute to kill. But let's kill 'em anyhow. You see a theme here?


The CryptO'pinion?

Let's take an 8-Bit moment to think about this: we have an Atari ST version of Costa Panayi's excellent shoot 'em up. What's more, the original game has been bettered with marvellous, faithful gameplay and improved aesthetics. What more could you ever desire? This is how all 16-Bit remakes should have been yet sadly, so few are.

Highway Encounter will always be a Crash Smash and the Atari ST has an exquisite remake.

Download for floppy / hard drive (ultrasatan)

AtariMania has an awesome map!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter



Happy Easter everyone!!

Okay, I needed an egg-related game for Easter which usually means Dizzy or perhaps even Chuckie Egg 2 (Nah, I'll never play that terrible game again!). So, here is Heartland released in 1996 by Tony Greenwood of Stosser Software and later improved for the Atari STe by TOS-Crew with 50fps STe-scrolling. Fantastic stuff!!


Hey, what's Dizzy doing here in the land of whizzy scrolling!


Eggcellent!

This is a cracking (sorry) platformer but I admit that I struggled to play due to the sheer size of the map. This is a big game and something you either play properly or not at all - unless you enjoy running around for a few minutes just to enjoy the scrolling. What a brilliant upgrade and I really enjoyed those lovely graphics whizzing across your screen like silk. I wasn't so sure about the music though, gimme chip any day!

Move using the cursor key's: left & right
space: jump (or use the joystick or JagPad)
m: map
r: show processor time left rasters
s: toggle sample (STE, Falcon), sound chip, effects and no-sound
Esc: quit the game
c: to toggle between sizzy and sazzy
h: toggle 50/60 Hz (ST, STE only), on 8 MHz machines


Woo, this map is confusing at first. And boy, is this game big. Perhaps too big?


Play it

This sure proves the power of the Atari STe which the commercial gaming world chose to ignore. What a wonderful upgrade. In fact, I wish there were more Atari STe upgraded games - congrats @TOS-Crew for going that extra mile!! Grab the floppies or a hard disk installable version and I hope you all have a great Easter †

Friday, March 25, 2016

Operation: Zero-5



To boldly go...

I recently met Andrew Gisby, the creator of a distinctive shoot 'em up for the Atari STe (and Falcon) that takes place in the darkness of space. It's called Zero 5 released in 1994 by Caspian Software and is a rare gem so it wasn't long before I came up with the notion for an interview! (which you can read if you scroll down).

Set in the year 2044 with a silly fictional storyline of aliens who are about to invade Earth. Unsurprisingly, we are the only hope to save mankind so jump inside your spaceship and head out into the heavens because humanity is depending on you. I'm getting sick of saving the day but, I went on ahead being the hero that I am!



Come on, that warping effect is so stunning. Love it!!


There's always aliens. Kill them!

Set amongst the countless stars, with some missions taking place upon the surface of remote planets, Zero 5 is a first-person 3D shoot 'em up which feels like an artful mix of Star Wars and elements of Frontier. Our spaceship is a cool slab of old skool 3D called Perseus which must be piloted through several missions which might involve attacking an alien strike force, defending allied ships, and lots more exciting stuff.

Control is with the mouse, or a JapPad if you have one, and is precise, responsive and feels very natural. The natural feel of momentum provides a necessary learning curve but you'll soon get the hang of it very quickly. What's probably the hardest to learn is the game's GUI and the instruments which provide a wealth of information.



This game has some impressive 3D polygons which will take advantage of faster computers.


Aesthetics

Graphically, Zero 5 is a gorgeous 16-bit bombshell. The number of on-screen colours has been increased whilst also making use of the Blitter co-processor that helps produce those cool 3D visuals. Faster computers are supported, so anyone lucky enough to own a Falcon is going to enjoy smoother frame rates.

Audio is outstanding, for both music and effects, all of which use the DMA hardware ticking over at a sweet 25KHz. The effects during warp and other scenes are stunning. This is one of those games I wish would have come on CD as I wonder how limited Andrew was by floppy disks. Folks, this is one sexy-sounding Atari STe shooter.



Oh no, incoming enemies are identified and locked. Only one thing left to do - kill 'em!!!


The CryptO'pinion?

I've always enjoyed playing this space shooter because it's fast and thrilling with such a varied and wide range of interesting missions. Its style and presentation using cool menus are unique and I enjoy the range of missions which is the best part of all. Love the graphics and the booming sound effects are fantastic. Overall, a slick shoot 'em up that incorporates many astonishing technical achievements to put most game developers to shame.

Zero 5 is scattered all over the internet but I think Stonish has the best floppies thanks to Supremacy disks #61 and #62. Of course, installing to hard drive/Ultrasatan is better and 8BitChip has that funky download.


THE INTERVIEW - ZERO 5 CREATOR - ANDREW GISBY

Zero 5 has a wonderful next-gen feel yet is often unknown to many people returning to the scene. Tell us about your game and what it means to you.

I had been trying to get published in one way shape or form for several years. Back in the day, I lived the life of the Indie / hobby / night owl developer. Holding down a job during the waking hours and coming home to hack away on my much loved (at the time) Atari’s.

I remember buying my Atari 512STFm in the late 80’s. I spent hours teaching myself to program in 68K Assembler. Bulletin boards, books, magazines & chance discussions at shows to pick up game dev knowledge. I’m no mathematician, but a series of articles in (I think) ST World on transformations and 3D math gave me so much. I could finally make the leap into 3D.

Everything had to be done in assembler to keep up the speed and finally reading something that explained techniques to turn formulas into assembler was a revelation. To this day, I still keep a pocket “Signetics S68000 User’s Guide” - It was my Bible for machine code programming. An awful lot was learnt the hard way through trial and error (no instant online answers).

I used to look at the latest effects in games (and film) and try to do something similar. So I think Zero-5 marked a highpoint for me. The peak of understanding of what I could personally do with (by then) the STe to make a game. I had built up a large library of routines & techniques to achieve some of the visual and audio effects.

So, in summary, Zero-5 was the realisation of a couple of dreams:

  • I really wanted to see a game I had written myself published.
  • My fascination of 3D sim & bring to life things you can only dream about.

Was Zero 5 inspired by anything else from your gaming history?

Everything I had developed was an inspiration for the game. A cheap answer, but my whole gaming exploits (to this day) are a sequence of inspirations. However, if I was to list a few things that inspired the game.

  • Elite (who wasn’t). But for me, I learnt programming on an Acorn Electron and playing Elite planted the seed for wanting to understand game writing and 3D.
  • Carrier Command (an amazing game with a level of automation and sophistication that I was just in awe of)
  • Captain Blood (The art, galactic expanse and imagination was just brilliant)

Sci-fi films and TV programs had a lot of influence. I’m a bit of a science fiction addict. But to list a few that helped inspire ideas in the game:

  • The Last Starfighter (I recall a sequence when the hero ship flies through a swarm of enemy ships ... That was the start of Zero-5).
  • Forbidden Planet (big influence for me, generally)
  • U.F.O. (Fundamentally, I used the same threat mechanic in the game)

What was your background prior to working for Caspian?

See above ... Self taught hobby game dev trying to get published!

Most commercial companies had left the Atari ST by 1994 so what inspired you to carry on during those dark days?

At the time, I thought the Atari Falcon030 and Jaguar was going to save the day. I only knew how to make games on the Atari’s and thought that if Zero-5 was a success, I’d move on to these platforms properly. The Falcon030 enhancements in Zero-5 were done in the last few months. I didn’t really do it justice (but the extra CPU speed helped push the content level up).

Zero-5 really was a labour of love and I was under my first proper gamedev contract - Inspiration enough right !?!

Did Zero 5 live up to your expectations?

Technical Stretch: Yes (I used every chip/trick I knew in the STE!)
Creative Achievement: Yes
Critical Acclaim: Yes (at the time)
Commercial Success: No

I put so much effort and creativity into the game. The landfall sequences were a personal triumph. Turning a bitmap (height map) into a 3D landscape on an STe ... yes!) - One of those 3D simulation dreams realised.

The lack of commercial success was tough to take - We had lot of trouble with piracy (it was rife by then). I spoke to a lot of people that had played the game and loved it. As you say though, the sun was setting on Atari home computers - a shame for me at the time. Thinking back, I think the sheer effort involved did burn me out a bit.

Looking back, would you do anything different?

Launch the game 2-3 years earlier?

What happened after Zero 5 and how come you didn't continue on after Caspian's demise? (freelance, etc)

Newly married, we started a family soon after Zero-5. I couldn’t commit to working on the Jaguar version of the game (my daytime job in IT paid the bills). Creatively, the console wasn’t a copy of the original other than souped-up manic fighting sequences (arguably something I was trying to do when I first started developing the STe version). I was involved on a consultation basis but the Jag was new and it was a steep learning curve for the guys at Caspian. It was pretty exciting to be working with Atari though.

How long did it take you to code this game, what tools did you use, and was it on an actual Atari?

1 - 2 years to develop. I pulled in a lot of previously developed libraries and routines. Interesting memory about this. I used one of the first routines I’d ever dev’ed in assembler to simulate a 3d starfield. Development of the game went to the wire. I had this intermittent bug where the machine was (every so often) crashing! What felt like a few hours (day or so I think) before the game went to press, I found the cause ... That starfield routine (Randomly, I was managing to plot the odd star just outside memory reserved for the screen - d’oh!).

I used a 1Mb STe and laterly Falcon030 to develop the game. I got an HDD sometime through the project that saved doing the floppy / ram disk shuffle (speeded up game dev no end).

I recall using the blitter chip and new audio chip enhancements to great effect. Certainly without them, there was no way I could have thrown so many things around on screen and in your ears. Although it makes me chuckle at what we thought was a reasonable frame rate back then! Recalling the game audio engine I developed as part of Zero-5 - It give me multiple stereo Left / Right channels and a scripted approach to sound effect generation. The upshot was I could chain, stretch, compress and generally mess around with samples without eating too much precious CPU. 8bit samples of course, so sound pretty harsh nowadays.   

Main tools I used:
  • Devpac (I think that was it’s name) for Assembler dev
  • TCB Tracker (although I didn’t do the music in the end)   
  • Degas Elite (Graphics)
  • A sound sample editing programme (can’t recall name)

Were you active in the ST scene elsewhere or was it just Caspian / Zero 5?

No, not really, I had a brief flirtation with demoscene but game dev was always my interest.

After our chats on Twitter, I'm aware you now see an Atari ST scene which is still very much alive and kicking. What do you think about this and will rejoin in some capacity or have you left forever?

Never say never. Honestly though - I’m well into Unity 3D and what spare time I have goes into that.

Do you still own an Atari computer? What is it and how often are you using it / what for?

I still have an Atari STe and Falcon030 tucked away alongside a massive trunk of floppy disks (Oh and a back catalogue of ST World). I haven’t really used them since the 90’s. I had a gamedev break late 90s till the 00’s really.

Tell us about your future plans and what you're working on today?

I’d like to bring something made with Unity to the masses. My current project is a game called “Konjitto”. With my family more or less grown up, I’m now steadily been drawn back to game dev more and more. A dream would be to give up the day job and spend my days writing games! I get a kick out of doing the coding, graphics, sound and music (although this is my weakest area).  

Anyone can keep an eye on my game dev twitter feed or youtube channel to see what is on the boil.


Thanks for getting in touch, it has been fun reminiscing. Seeing people still appreciate those efforts back in the day is wonderful. Certainly made me and the family smile! Keep up the good work on the site.

Answering the questions has been pleasure!

Thanks
Andy

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Master CAD



A day in the life

I have far too many boxes of serious programs gathering dust on my ST-shelf... So I figured I should make an effort to learn 'em or bin 'em!! First up is Master CAD, by MichTron and after brushing away a thick layer of dust I opened it up and lifted out a weighty manual. "Time for a good read", I thought. However, I almost fell into a coma because it's so dull and really confusing - so I figured it was best to drop that idea and just boot it up.

Installation was my first stumbling block: it insists on being stored onto Drive C, which is doable but cluttering up my boot partition isn't something I was happy about. The next problem was a lack of examples to work from (and yes, that does mean steal). So, my journey into the serious side of the ST wasn't exactly off to a great start...

With little guidance, I continued on the best I could. However, it was instantly clear MichTron wrote this for the established designer rather than somebody like me - and being thrown in at the deep end wasn't going to work. However, later on, I tried my best to map a crude plan of Doom's E1M1 which soon ended in a mess of clutter.

It was long before I gave up! Click here to see just how Master CAD affected me!!

Master CAD is great but it is way too darn powerful with a baffling interface to a noob (like me). I'll stick to playing games but if you've enjoyed this silly post and wanna try it yourself then let me know what happened :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Stormlord



Muscles, fairies and lots of kisses...

Set within a wonderful world of myths and legends, you are the Stormlord! He is a muscle-bound viking dude with the responsibility of rescuing trapped fairies from the clutches of a wicked queen. Occasionally you might even find yourself blowing romantic kisses at the scantily clad fairies and, in return, they grace you with their fallen tears. Aww, this sounds far too girly, right? Well, prepare thyself because you couldn't be more wrong...

Beginning in a spooky forest, this eerie platformer is host to lots of creepy monsters like man-eating plants, wibbly worms, bees, egg hatching demons, and more. Thankfully, you're equipped with a magical weapon that can also double as a super huge sword, if you hold the fire button. Interestingly, springboards are scarcely scattered about the levels and act like a crude wormhole flinging you far into those distant places - lots of fun!!


Completing the first level produces lots of fair love - and kisses!


Girls, puzzles and boobs!

Stormlord features a massive puzzle factor that involves collecting objects: like a key for a door, sweet honey for angry bees, or an umbrella for the pouring rain. However, the most difficult aspect of this entire part of the game is figuring out the order to complete these basic puzzles. So that means lots of trial and error...

However, I'll help you out with my walk-through off level one as also shown in the video recording...

     -> From the start, head left passed the boobs and pick up a key.
     -> Walk right and hop onto the jump pad.
     -> Use this to whiz by leftwards so you can free your first fairy.
     -> Once freed, use the pad to jump back.
     -> Next collect the honeypot and walk right.
     -> Don't use that jump pad!
     -> Continue on passed the pad and walk right.
     -> Swap honey for key and the bees move away from the fairy.
     -> Rescue her.
     -> Walk left a little and grab the umbrella.
     -> Now use the jump pad which is now to your right.
     -> Once you've whizzed across the sky, walk right.
     -> Free the fairy.
     -> Walk all the way back and use the jump pad.
     -> Grab the key to your left.
     -> Turn around and walk right and free the fairy.
     -> All done. So now it's time to accept lots of fairy kisses!


The second level has some aggressive monsters but the object remains the same.


Sexy Hewson aesthetics

Graphics are awesome thanks to the talents of Mark K. Jones. Everything looks tremendous, from the gorgeous landscapes to the intricate detail of the scenery and the smooth scrolling. It has to be said that the sprites are equally stunning with some rather sexy pixels too and throughout, the animation is simply lovely.

The music is monumental. In fact, it's quite a showcase for just what the Atari ST can knock out when in the hands of talented musicians. Sound effects are excellent but you need to make a choice which you prefer before the game begins, which is a shame. Yeah, I know, perfect audio and yet I still find something to moan about...


However, it's a lot harder learning the design thanks to the nasties. They're nasty!


The CryptO'pinion?

Stormlord is awesome but sadly, nothing is perfect: I feel that the time limit really wasn't necessary at all. Plus the ability to carry only a single item at once is understandable - but annoying. However, this quirky adventure still offers a gruelling quest with a massive replay factor so it's as addictive as it is challenging and rewarding.

Well, they did it again! Yes, we have another Hewson mega-hit that is sexy and stylish. Highly recommended!!


Download for hard drive or floppy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Ultimate Virus Killer



Ugh, bugs!

Since getting my UltraSatan, I've been stuffing the SD card with lots of Atari ST files (okay, I mean games!!). Now, I don't wish to compromise my collection of ST goodies so I check for errors and viruses quite regular.

There's only one real Atari ST virus killing program worth its salt and that's Ultimate Virus Killer by legend Richard Karsmakers. Well, thanks to Chris aka Exxos, we have the complete and last edition freely available to download but is it still worth it after all these years? Surely the dreaded ghost virus is now extinct?

Sadly, I feel this program is still needed because most ST software is now archived online which means there's a chance so are the various nasties. It's like they're frozen in time just waiting to thaw and inflict their curse all over again. So let's kill 'em all using this amazing program which I highly recommend, even today!!

Waste no more time and get Ultimate Virus Killer downloaded right now :-)

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Wolfenstein 3D


You are B.J. Blazkowicz, an all-American hero battling his way through the dreaded Castle Wolfenstein killing every evil Nazi baddie along the way. No, you're not dreaming. Rub your eyes in disbelief all you want because it really is happening - Wolfenstein 3D is running on the 8Mhz Atari ST and enhanced for the STe too.

Yes, this classic ID game has been converted to the Atari ST/e by Reimund Dratwa (The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation) and features 32 on-screen colours, authentic texture mapping, and a high-detail mode (activated by hitting the asterisk key on the numerical keypad). Chipmusic is by Mathieu Stempell and thus truly outstanding as you would expect. Sound effects are fantastic and played using the DMA hardware on the Atari STe.

Everyone knows Wolfenstein helped change the gaming world back in the early 90s - in favour of the PC. Our version is incomplete but what we have is polished and every bit as good as you'd hope. In fact, there's a part of me that still cannot believe this is real and I can only imagine what witchcraft was used for its development! Reimund stayed up most nights coding until 5am and I'm positive he scraped together every last droplet of Atari ST power.

Wolfenstein 3D for the Atari ST - take a moment to think about that. Now, get it downloaded right away!


Download Wolf 3D via 8BitChip.
Update: I've recorded a silly video ;-)



The menu system is clear and concise with incredible details and colour.


Please do remember that Wolf 3D is unfinished and thus not every scenario is playable.


I had to laugh at these drawings which are truly superb, especially the first one!!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Happy box art day!



It occurred to me that the Atari ST has some great examples of outstanding box art so I thought that I should start taking pictures (from my own collection) and start a brand new section here on AtariCrypt. The first is Corporation, by Core Design. Wow, this is a belting game and the artwork is creepy as it gets! A hard drive installable download is available from 8BitChip (highly recommended) with the floppy disks via Old Games Finder.

Interesting tidbit: the artwork design was based on my own mother in law. I bet you never knew that?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

fatal aTTraction


Yerzmyey has released a new album this week called aTTraction which was produced entirely using Atari computers. This includes an Atari TT with Hex Tracker, a Falcon with Digital Home Studio and then he decided to make a couple of bonus tracks in Cubase using an Atari ST. The final shocker is the extra track that was done in Chaos Music Composer and NeoTracker on the Atari 600XL.  Don't miss this from da scene - download it now!!

Take a gander at his website because he's created even more. As I type, I'm listening to "Wake Up" from the "Chiptunes" album which is another absolutely fantaSTic album!

aTTraction tracklist

 01. aTTraction (ATARI TT)
 02. Globular Cluster (ATARI ST and Roland MT32)
 03. Amai (ATARI FALCON 030)
 04. Time Machine II (ATARI TT)
 05. Inside a game (ATARI FALCON 030)
 06. uTTerly unseTTling transmiTTal (ATARI TT)
 07. Purple Galaxy (ATARI FALCON 030)
 08. Bizarre creature (ATARI ST and Roland MT32)
 09. Brutal attack (ATARI FALCON 030)
 10. The missing piece (ATARI 600XL) / Bonus Track

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Race Drivin'


Lots of games have cool intros but Domark's Race Drivin' must surely rank high as one of the best? It may only last a minute or so but it's a zany mix of Wacky Races with a dollop of Carmageddon thrown in for good measure. A brilliant intro to what is one of the toughest racers. Can you drive in a straight line? Well, I know I can't!! O_o

LINKS

 - 8BitChip has the hard disk installable game.
 - Stonish has Race Drivin' (the game) on floppy disk menu Adrenalin #10.
 - Stonish also has the intro on the floppy disk menu Sigma #1.

Monday, March 07, 2016

The History of ULM

I saw a real stupid tweet the other day concerning the Atari ST demoscene from someone that was obviously an Amoeba user and, rather than rise to the bait, it inspired me to write this post!  Besides, we all know the ST has a belting scene which is very much alive & kicking! (view recent masterpieces like We Were @ + Strange roboTS)

I've chanced upon a web page, obviously written by Georges Kesseler, of ULM. It details his interesting ST-history which I thought was pure gold and wondered if it was part of an older website? An intriguing read of a great ST coder.


Sunday, March 06, 2016

Page 6


Page 6 is a great slice of Atari history and they now have a website for the magazine and even their PD Library software is available to download. I remember buying stuff from Page 6 when I first became an Atari ST addict but their magazine had been going long before then and continued until 1998, true enthusiasts. Happy days!
"Page 6 is remembered fondly by many Atari owners as a unique and invaluable resource, supporting true enthusiasts in the heyday of Atari home computing- I'd say that sums up Page 6 rather well :-)

Saturday, March 05, 2016

SuperFly


Superfly is a cunning "avoid 'em" scroller controlled with just the one button. As the screen automatically begins to scroll, just press the joystick's button to increase your height. This stops you from crashing into the oncoming objects along with preventing gravity from crashing you into the ground. This might sound familiar to that Flappy Bird but Superfly is a lot faster, slicker and was released way back in 2002!!

Without giving away the storyline, you are in control of a submarine and must rescue your kidnapped girlfriend. Please make sure you read the funny write-up included within the download!!

Running at 50fps, Superfly is extremely smooth and the audio is tremendous with gorgeous tunes. I believe the STe's enhanced hardware is detected and successful players can unlocked features like a gallery and jukebox. This is an insane game which will have you swearing like a docker! Superfly is wicked, yet with an addictive charisma that compels you to play more. Forget frustrating flappy birds and play Superfly instead.

LINKS

 - Downloads are available for both floppy and hard drive users.
 - Want more? Try the follow-up Santafly!!

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Who needs Chrome?


You in need a fully featured web browser for your Atari computer then NetSurf is an excellent choice and something I've enjoyed using for well over a year. You will need a decent spec and one that runs MiNT OS (check out my own virtual Falcon). To download NetSurf (click here) and for the bleeding-edge builds (click here). Enjoy!!

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Leaderboard Birdie



A good walk spoiled?

Well, maybe but here is Leaderboard Golf which was released in 1986 by Access Software and is undoubtedly one of the least technically impressive games to grace the Atari ST. But let's not too hasty as this was released all the way back in 1986 when the ST was a baby and the 8-bit computers reign was at its peak.

The main menu is rather crude but functional and used to begin each new game. Each hole is rendered in front of your eyes and played via a third-person perspective so we can see ourselves ready to take each shot. You shall note the golfing jargon on the right and also basic information like weather, clubs and distance and a shot meter.


Select each club carefully and watch out for those high winds!



Slow down and think about it...

With each and every shot, is a unique distance to the hole so a different club is always required. Long distances will require a 'wood' and (from what I can gather) and they're rated W1-W9 and a 1W will achieve the greatest distances whereas the 9W might produce a more acute shot albeit with less power. The 'irons' feel similar to this golfing noob here at AtariCrypt but you might choose a 9I for a more acute shot when in a troubled rough spot.

Finally, the 'PW' is the pitching wedge and is used for those final moments when accuracy is needed to get that little white ball into the hole. Yes, what a golfing connoisseur I am. You shall also note a little pole in the ground that is casting a shadow of varying angle and length? Use that to help determine the current conditions.

Sadly, Leaderboard has no save game feature built-in but there are scorecards inside the box and mine (see the picture below) has pages filled in by the previous owner. I love finding stuff like this which I think is excellent as a tiny piece of ST history is preserved. So, here is an interesting tidbit for y'all...


I wonder who David is and how much he enjoyed the game?



It's all about whacking a ball really hard?

Leaderboard is actually quite simple to play and is all about choosing (and using) the best club for the shot at hand. Correctly hitting each ball is a balance of lining it up and mastering the power and snap meter. That determines how far you wish your ball to travel and whether it should go straight or curved to the left or right.

Weather will affect the direction and conditions your golfer must face. Plus he also has many of the usual pitfalls to contend with, like the rough, trees, puddles of water and those nasty bunkers. It might be an idea for novice golfers to disable those weather conditions whilst you learn the game's controls and basic mechanics.


Get that power and snap meter just right for the current shot and weather conditions



Next-Gen visuals!

Visually, I'm sure many will find Leaderboard far too unrealistic and extremely minimalistic, especially when compared to certain other ST games. However, Leaderboard has a nostalgia I love; the way it draws each scene so methodically brings backs happy memories of a time when this would have impressed everyone.

Sound effects are on par (see what I did there?) with the visuals. In fact, they're more than enough for this quiet stroll through the countryside using a spot-fx for hitting the ball or selecting the clubs. Hearing the ball drop into the hole is crazy but my favourite is that mushy effect when it falls into the water. So lame, it's genuinely brilliant!


Oh dear, there are lots of pitfalls to avoid on this hole. Can you do it?



The CryptO'pinion?

This was great fun yet I think most golfing connoisseurs might foolishly turn up their noses at such an old game in favour of something better? I would say stop and think about that because this is one of the most charming and entertaining moments you can experience with an old computer. It's so easy to pick up and play and incredibly addictive. And I usually hate sports games and I don't even like golf yet I adore this Atari ST game!!

Take a swing and download for either floppy or hard disk.