Sunday, July 31, 2016

Big Nose The Caveman

Big Nose is a fella from prehistoric times when it was perfectly normal to live in cave squalor. However, once a year he and his family strangely celebrate Thanksgiving and that means only one thing, a yummy Pterodactyl roast dinner. Fortunately, one was spotted flying by, so your Jurassic journey takes you through dangerous dinosaur-infested lands looking for that tasty bird. Kill, cook and eat it with your fellow big-nosed family.

Code Masters released this humble platformer back in 1993 and it's simply a case of clubbing anything that looks likely to cause you harm, make lots of jumps and then fight a lame end of level bosses. Controls are excellent, very responsive and with precise movement. I love the cartoon-like graphics but what I don't like are the bland backgrounds which desperately need a splash of rasters! Sound effects are sparse unless you jump or hit something but thankfully, the title music is fantastic so is an incredible shame that it doesn't play during the game...

Big Nose is a great budget platformer which certainly cannot compare to many other Atari ST platformers. It looks a little boring and is easy to complete with little challenge from those end of level guardians. However, it's always fun to play and that's what matters the most. I'm sure you can complete this within a couple of hours but I find myself still having good things to say. Yes, I have really enjoyed playing Big Nose The Caveman!

Okay... it's a little plain jane.. and it sounds drab.. plus it's far too easy.. BUT it's a bucket load of fun and I really enjoyed it. I think you should play this so grab it either for floppy or hard drive. Finally, here's a nifty little spoiler alert: this is how you can zip through the first two levels real quick: Level ONE and Level TWO - but why rush...?


Friday, July 29, 2016

Chicago 90

Hang on, an isometric GTA or DRIVER?

Let's start by saying that every kid played cops and robbers and now that we're grown-ups (aka BIG kids) we can do the same again using our favourite retro computer. This is thanks to Microïds and their 1989 hit, Chicago 90 that allows us to drive around the streets as either the good or bad guys. Easy choice, I say? Yep...

As a cop, it's our job to do the chasing but I didn't really click with this game type. However, I always prefer to be a bad guy which is much better and I love having a car full of swag whilst rushing to flee the city limits for my freedom! The controls feel a little flaky, at first, but you will soon be rip-roaring around Chicago in no time.

You could always be a good guy instead of running from the law? Yeah... that's what I thought!!

Read the flipping manual

Sadly, collision detection is often suspect and the car oddly bounces during a bump when going too fast. The cops are a little simple with naive AI that isn't exactly Einstein level but good enough to give you a good chase. If caught, you're presented with a rather dodgy looking image of the scene... I shall say no more about this lol.

Initially, the in-game user interface is rather complex, and especially confusing if you choose to be the police. Down the left are many icons - most of which I have no idea about! Along the bottom of the screen are two windows - the first an overhead city map which displays the location of the fuzz. The other is a first-person view (from inside your car) and should help avoid crashing into the law-abiding citizens. Well, in theory!

Success!! We've finally found the way out of this urban jungle. Now, HIT IT!!

The CryptO'pinion?

Chicago 90's downfall is its weak Police role which I personally found cumbersome and rather boring. So, that left me with the gangster role which is great fun! Driving through the city, avoiding cars and running from the cops, is surely an early glimpse into an early GTA experience? It's pretty much fantastic and I've loved every second!!

Overall, with a little thought for gameplay objectives, this could easily have been a fantastic venture into a life of crime. As it happens, we're just stuck in the Chicago maze frantically looking for an escape. However, racing away from the cops is always going to be a thrill and I enjoyed this a lot - so I ended up buying it!

Visit Chicago - Driver & GTA style!

8bitchip has a hard drive installable version
Old Games Finder has all the floppy disks!
Atari Greenlog now has a cool gameplay video.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Dungeon Master

I needed a picture of the Dungeon Master maps so I created this image to hopefully help stop me from getting lost. (right-click the image to view - it's huge!!). Also, I have zipped up an Atari ST folder which contains lots of files for maps along with help and information concerning various spells, etc... Clickety click to download it :-)
Also, it's worth taking a peep at issue six of ST Action (I loved that magazine!!) because they featured a fantastic five-page Dungeon Master guide. This can be viewed over on AtariMania.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Chronicles Of Omega

A game for all ST owners?

Chronicles Of Omega was released by ARC/Atari in 1990 and is probably the first commercial game to feature support for the enhanced Atari STe by making use of the hardware scrolling and DMA Audio. But that doesn't mean the STfm has been forgotten because this displays gorgeous rasters for the sky which aren't possible on the STe when using hardware scrolling. So each machine has something rather cool up its sleeve!

The lands of Omega have always been peaceful until the day came when a demon captured all of the children from the village. Play as either Alwin or Irma and battle your way through five evil infested lands, killing everything in your wake, defeating Demon Champions (aka bosses). Ultimately, be the hero and save the day!

Here's a handy map of Omega which I must admit looks like a lovely place to visit...

This map plots Alwin and Irma's journey through the lands of Omega.

Shoot, Shop and Kill

This is a cute platformer with interesting levels that aren't overly large and filled with many ghouls. Walking from left to right, you'll encounter many different monsters along your journey and they're all stuffed with cash. Kill as many as you can and collect their loot which can be used to purchase power-ups in the Good Witch's shop.

Yep, there's always someone willing to cash-in on any noble crusade and she pops up during each level to tempt you with her wares. Her prices aren't cheap so you should try and kill as many monsters as possible instead of running scared. Annoyingly, all purchased power-ups are lost after losing a life, which sucks! End of level guardians are rather lame and easily defeated even though they can frustratingly materialise right where you're standing!

Arghhh!! This is one of those moments where I can see the potential which wasn't taken advantage of in some respects. There are so many awesome ideas (and some ripped) but this is essentially a decent platformer. With a little fine-tuning, Arc could have had something very special on their hands.

The Atari ST has more background colours and gorgeous chipmusic!


So let's look at the graphics and audio which is different depending on which ST you use...

Visually, Chronicles Of Omega is a treat with lovely characters and lush landscapes. Both are rich in colour and the Atari STe gets to use its hardware scrolling for a smooth 50fps. The older ST hasn't been forgotten and what it lacks in framerate is compensated by extra background colours. However, the Atari STe wins by far.

For the audio, both computers take advantage of their strengths: the Atari STe uses DMA samples for the music and sound effects. The older ST uses its YM2149 for stunning chipmusic which I must say is a million times better than what the STe pumps out. This is too easy, the older Atari ST wins the audio battle hands down.

The Atari STe lacks the background colours but runs at a silky-smooth 50fps.

The CryptO'pinion?

I must admit to being disappointed by this weird enigma. It plays the same on both models of Atari ST but is spoilt by the magic wand's mechanics. This is due to its inability to fire more than twice at any given moment: which means walk...shoot...walk...shoot. If you forget then you're possibly left defenceless in tight situations.

I pushed myself through the fluffy-control pain barrier and (shockingly) found myself starting to enjoy this quirky game. In fact, I managed to reach the final level and I was genuinely having fun albeit with the awkward firing. This isn't a terrible game and is worth playing but there are better platformers out there for the Atari ST.

Downloads available for hard drive and floppy.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Enchanted Land

We are Kurgan the magician, who dresses like a weird and odd-looking Santa! He must retrieve the lost magic from the lands of Damiran and will need to battle all kinds of cutesy creatures through five lovely levels in order to restore things back to how they were. I have always considered Enchanted Lands to be an Atari ST showcase developed by the legendary Carebears who showed the world just what our favourite 16-Bit computer is capable of producing.

However, this is one of the hardest platformers I have ever played and it's how the game ultimately fails. We all love a challenge but this is ridiculous - the mechanics are so unforgiving. Just wait until you meet those jumping critters or the spiders, which are often annoyingly placed just off-screen, thus will suddenly appear when you get close and zap away your precious energy. Level one is incredibly hard but perfectly introduces you to the game’s wicked ways. I struggled to complete it before seeing the technical delights of the second stage, which are tremendous. Sadly, this is also hampered by unfair mechanics and therefore needs to be played over and over, if only we had more lives...

Visually, this game is a Christmas cracker!! Hundreds of beautiful colours, gorgeous sprites and eye-popping 50fps scrolling which is such a joy to experience. Musically, it is breathtaking and the sound effects also do their job perfectly. There is only one word for the audio and visuals - beautiful because my ears and eyes can find no faults!

Enchanted Land desperately needs a trainer and, even then, you will spend aeons trying to master its cunning nature. I personally think its difficulty level could sink the Titanic and this overkill sadly spoils what could have been an outstanding platformer. Technically, it's a masterpiece but there are better games to play on the Atari ST.


 - 8BitChip to have a hard disk installable game with the floppies found via Old Games Finder.
 - Okay, it's time to cheat your way through this cruel platformer:
          -> On the title screen, type in, "TCB RULES FOREVER" and the screen flashes to show its worked okay.
          -> Now you can press keys 1 - 5 to pick a different level.
          -> Also, pressing F2 - F10 for lots of different effects. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 23, 2016


Get ready for some great news!

Victor Bruhn has recently posted on Atari-Forum and kindly donated the full/registered version of his 1994 Atari STe shareware game, Winglord. This is based on the awesome Joust arcade game, of course, and features support for one or two players - either human or computer - and a few other neat features you aren't expecting.

Everyone knows Joust and Winglord is very similar in gameplay. The jousters will now enter the arena via sliding ceiling doors so it's a good idea to remain high and use Mister Ed to best your opponent. We are now equipped with missiles and the Atari STe is utilised for fast Blitted graphics and DMA sound effects.

Make sure you read the documentation because it includes handy tips along with instructions for adjusting flap power to finetune control and handling to your own preference.

Winglord might not look as pretty as Joust but I'm sure fans will love it. The gameplay is far more frantic and comes with a few nice "STe" bells and whistles to set it aside from the original, whilst remaining faithful. It's hard to believe this was once shareware and not commercial because Winglord is downright fantastic. Top marks!!

I also have a backup copy on my own Dropbox. Yup, I take no chances with quality ST games :)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Fernandez Must Die

This is a game I featured on AtariCrypt a while back and absolutely loved it. In fact, I loved it that much I went out and bought myself a near-mint copy of the game! Fernandez Must Die is one of the best commando clones out there because it's simply great fun and doesn't take itself too seriously. A fantastic kill 'em all game I am proud to own!!


 - If you have the hardware, then I advise you chose Peter's adapted version.
 - Otherwise, grab a floppy disk image from Old Games Finder.

Saturday, July 16, 2016


I love hearing about new games that are in development for our beautiful Atari ST and today I found out about a brand new Sokoban puzzler. It's written by Peter Lane and is a GEM-based program so it will work on every model of Atari computer and features 50 levels, a scale adjustable display and the option to load up extra levels. Absolutely brilliant and I've really enjoyed taxing my old brain cells with this cracking puzzler. Highly recommended.

Thursday, July 14, 2016


It is with great sadness I inform you of the death of Stephen Jones, aka Bod. More recently he was the gentleman behind the Atari STe game R-Type Deluxe, an eagerly anticipated upgrade to an already ace game and was highly regarded as the biggest STe project for years. He demonstrated to the entire retro gaming world just what this machine was capable of - when in the hands of someone with talent and commitment.

I remember talking to him last year and he kindly supplied several screenshots of his progress for R-Type Deluxe. I was excited to feature them on my little-known AtariCrypt website. Kindness I'll never forget. His commitment to the Atari ST scene is featured on Demozoo where you can view his entire Fuji portfolio. It's extremely impressive, to say the least. A great loss. Prayers and my best wishes to his family and friends at this time †

Monday, July 11, 2016

Atari ST demos

People often ask me if I know of any demos that can be run from their hard drive. Most are obviously designed for floppy disks but there are many which can and many more which have been recently patched. So I have added an "HDD" tag on Demozoo for all the demos I have installed onto my hard drive and there are lots! :)

Of course, this is a work in progress so let me know if I've missed any... Clickety Click to enter Demozoo.

Friday, July 08, 2016


I had a free hour today so decided to entertain myself with Rainbow Arts' Z-Out. Essentially this is a bog-standard horizontally shoot 'em up with nice graphics and (familiar) sound effects. The controls work well but it feels like a poor clone of Menace or R-Type but there is a nifty two-player feature which we really enjoyed. However, I found it extremely difficult and it fails to bring anything new to the table when compared to others. Overall, it's quite a good game and I did enjoy playing Z-Out but the Atari ST has a wealth of better shoot 'em ups to chose from.


 - 8BitChip has adapted this for hard drive installation w/ a level skip feature.
 - Floppy disks can be downloaded using Old Games Finder.
 - Here are some nifty cheats :
          > pressing J + K together gives infinite energy.
          > pressing J and a number between 1 - 6 (on the main keyboard) to skip levels.
          > pressing K and a number between 1 - 3 (on the keypad) to jump stages.

Monday, July 04, 2016


You'll need a 25MHz PC for this one...

I remember those days when the ST was getting on, and my Falcon didn't quite cut it. All my mates had left their Atari ST and Amigas for expensive PCs and boy were those computers bulky and incredibly very ugly! Yet, I also remember being so gutted when they booted up Wolfenstein. I always died the first time I saw Doom.

Anyhow, we had our moments and the Atari ST had a great number of first-person shooters by the early 90s. And in 1995 along came a company called Unique Development Sweden who decided that our old 16-bit computer wasn't dead yet! They graced us with Substation which was about to change everything. Read on...

Mitushi Industries have developed a new type of energy that is extracted from under the seas. All seemed well for a few years until communication was lost with their underwater substation base. So they contracted the help of a Multi-Environment Marine from the American government. In case you are wondering, this is you so suit up!

When a 1985 computer blows you away!

Upon starting, ditch the knife and hit key "2" which switches to a rather sweet pistol. Now, collect all the goodies you see and open the door; outside, is access to more goodies but there's also a couple of ghouls lurking! They're gonna try and stop ya so will you risk a fight or run away scared down that seemingly empty corridor?

The baddies are an intelligent bunch who won't stupidly head straight for you. Nope, expect some to use evasive tactics as they shoot a few rounds and then run to take cover! So use that pistol to protect yourself, remembering to sidestep oncoming fire. The chain gun is absolutely amazing and Arnold Schwarzenegger would be proud to carry it. In fact, the weapons are superb - I only wish it didn't take so long to find them all.

Movement is actioned with the keyboard: arrow keys to walk/turn around with Insert and Clr Home keys for convenient sidestepping. Control key fires all weapons, the Spacebar opens doors, and punching the TAB key drops a bomb. Don't forget to make use of the map which is located at the bottom of your screen: this automatically tracks your movements and the keypad can be used to examine the already explored areas.

16 Colours is all you need!

Graphically, I'm both impressed and unimpressed in equal measure. I love the eerie atmosphere and the use of light-sourced sprites with great visual effects and all within a minimum framerate of 25fps on an 8MHz Atari STe!! However, the walls have no texture mapping because UDS opted for faster Gouraud shading to maintain a smooth framerate. This is disappointing because games like Destruction Imminent and Wolfenstein 3D prove the ST is more than capable. I feel UDS missed an opportunity for optional textures on faster computers.

Audio is spot-on perfect. Substation uses the enhanced hardware so we're able to hear distance and directional sound effects. This helps to identify where the baddies are lurking surprisingly well. Equally impressive are the tunes, also played at 25Khz for excellent quality. You're gonna love this so crank up the volume!

The CryptO'pinion?

Technically speaking this is one of the most impressive games released on ye olde Atari STe. Think about it, a first-person engine that is capable of maintaining a brisk 25fps. Not only that but it also features distance and directional stereo sounds with light source sprites and intelligent enemy AI. There are over 30 colours on-screen and you can even play others over a network. Heck, even faster computers support smoother framerates...

However, if you're expecting Substation to be like Doom then you will be disappointed because it's more like Wolfenstein. Don't get me wrong, this isn't bad and it is brilliant but shouldn't be compared to Doom at all. Gameplay is challenging and the missions are tough but interesting and keep you coming back for more. Substation is one seriously awesome first-person shooter so pick up your guns and have yourself some fun!!


Download on floppy or best of all for your hard drive.

ST Format featured a basic preview level on cover disk #72.
They also held a competition and the winning game is on cover disk #75.
Fancy a trainer? ST Format cover disk #76 has all the answers!
[ all ST Format coverdisks can be downloaded off Exxos ]

Substation tips and maps can be found in ST Format issues #74 / #75 / #76 / #77.

We all love cheat codes and to get all weapons just type "PUNK"
"NIRVANA" gets you health and "PFLOYD" unlocks doors.
"SKRAPAN" credits extra bombs and "FALUKORV" allows extra time.

Sunday, July 03, 2016


DOS? Did he say DOS?? O_o

I was recently reading through Atari ST Review #32 and I came upon an interesting tidbit for a public domain tool called PowerDOS. I had never heard of this but it sounded interesting and potentially very useful.

The slowest part of any computer is the hard drive and, whilst this might not matter quite as much for Ultrasatan, there is still a benefit to be had: PowerDOS is for GEMDOS what NVDI/QuickST/Warp9 are for the VDI components of TOS. That means all those inefficient bits 'n bobs that go together to make up the disk operating system are replaced by "newer" routines that improve system performance (TOS) and also adds a few new features within a multitasking environment. It even comes bundled with lots of system utilities also.

Installation is as simple as copying the program into your AUTO folder and rebooting. I'm using TOS 2.06 and had issues with NVDI but everything else worked fine. The speed improvements are most welcome for example, load up CAB or JAM (with all their plugins enabled). Sweet!!

I do love tinkering with my Atari ST and utilities like PowerDOS are amazing. Give it a try and see how you get on, let me know in the comments below. Download links available from Atari-Forum (with credit to Mark_G & bj)

Friday, July 01, 2016


Let's go into space...

Little iddy biddy Oids are our robotic friends but they are currently being mistreated in a terrible way by their evil creators, the Biocretes. Innocent oids are now being held prisoner on various remote planets located in the deepest parts of space without any noticeable atmosphere - yet strangely trees still managed to grow! ;-)

Oids was created by Dan Hewitt and was unleashed in 1987 by FTL. For years it remained an Atari ST exclusive title until 2002 when the Apple Mac received a conversion. (the older PPC Macs and not the newer Intel or ARM Macs, sadly). Anyhow, this is a bid deal for the ST because it's exclusive and I hear it's pretty good too. Let's see...

Hurry up and rescue little stickmen from that prison!

In space, no one can hear you scream!

In a similar fashion to Thrust, you need to navigate a spaceship through caverns searching for our metal friends. Use weapons to destroy the buildings holding them captive and find a place to land so they can get on board. Now, sit back and watch as the superbly-animated stickmen make their way towards your ship. Simple and elegant. Once all are found, your mothership appears high in the sky to whisk everyone to safety.

Controls are so simple to turn, thrust, fire and so on. It might sound a little strange to rotate and turn your ship in the right direction before thrusting. But it works perfectly well and in tune with the physics and gravity of each planet. It feels real, without being fiddly or difficult.

Don't expect the Biocretes to sit back and wait for you. They're darn evil and armed each planet with hazards and artillery defences: rocket launchers, gun turrets, repulsers, gravity bases, etc. Everything can be destroyed, but don't expect a mothership or ground base to be easy. Sometimes it's best to fly away like a cowardly chicken!

Hang on, so trees can grow just fine on rocks without an atmosphere?

Sound & Vision?

Visually, this game might first appear simple and without much to it. Well, you would be correct is in some ways. However, stop right there buddy boy, because this game is bang-on awesome. The outline of each planet's landscape is represented by a rough terrain which looks perfect. Buildings, turrets and all other objects are detailed so nicely. However, it's the excellent animation of those stickmen that makes my grin very wide!!

Audio is lacking in the chiptune dept - there isn't any! But we do get to hear the boing...boing... of the ball in a cool 3D intro. In-game effects are for your ships thrusters and guns - I love the firing sounds and other explosion effects are nice. There isn't anything more required and music would kill the dead-of-space atmosphere.

Roaming around planets is fun but later levels are very, very hard to master. Learn to pilot!

The CryptO'pinion?

Every ST nutter loves this game because well, how can I put this? Hmm, Oids absolutely brilliant!! The idea isn't original but its execution is spot-on with superb mechanics, realistic physics and interesting levels. It's not only an Atari ST exclusive but it's one which is so enjoyable and extremely challenging too. Although there are several other alternatives (all of which are excellent) Oids easily remains the best of the bunch.

One of the most outstanding games ever released - Oids is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!!


UPDATE: 8BitChip has updated Oids with faster framerates!! *

8BitChip has a download that can be installed to HDD.
Klaz Hideaway has a great download for both floppy and HDD.

Read the Oids manual (Apple Mac but relevant)