Monday, March 28, 2016

Highway Encounter


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 recently read an old post on Atari-Forum concerning the unreleased ST game, developed in 1990 by the late Mark Haigh-Hutchinson. However, Vortex was unable to find a willing publisher so that was that and it was left to gather dust for many years...

An iconic menu. The information screen is very handy but, hang on a minute, there's an editor?? YES!!

I always had a soft spot for Vortex and fondly remember playing Android, Cyclone and Revolution but Highway Encounter was definitely my favourite. Back then, isometric games were pretty much the in-thing and this was one of the most beautiful examples of that genre. 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 as they have very dangerous cargo!

Our droid colleagues are daft and will sometimes get stuck on an object left lying in the road. Actually, this can be a good thing because you can leave them behind - in safety - so you are 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.

 
However, this highway has been overrun by aliens that need killing. And I love killing aliens.

Listen up folks, we have an Atari ST conversion of Costa Panayi's amazing shooter and what's more - its marvellous with gameplay faithful to the original and accompanied by beautiful 8-bit retro aesthetics. Waste no more time reading this page and download yourself Highway Encounter for either floppy or hard drive(ultrasatan). Finally, AtariMania has an awesome map and this link contains a fascinating read of the History of Vortex Software. Highway Encounter will always be a Crash Smash and the Atari ST has received an exquisite conversion - 10/10.

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