Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Dear puzzle fans, brace yourself!!

Forget playing Candy Crush on your phone because there is something much better to play on your Atari STe: BeGEMeD. This is a twist on the Bejewelled theme and has been developed for the Atari STe and Falcon/TT by Alexander de Vries. BeGEMeD features amazing graphics in 16-colours by Carnivac.

In fact, it's hard to believe so few colours are used because the screen looks incredible. Accompanying those lush visuals is in-game music by Dma-Sc, one of my favourite musicians and it's mesmerisingly awesome.


Nice of you to visit this text, it will give you all the basic information you need to know to get started. Don’t worry it's easy so you will get the hang of it very soon!!

We are visiting Jack Bright, the castle lord of a medieval castle. He has already lived there for a lot of years and the castle needs some work. But his cash flow is a little bit on the downside so to earn some cash he has to swap gems for it.

He has lots of them hidden in his castle but it is a real mess. They are just piled on top of each other in no order at all. To swap them for cash he has to sort them out! But he can only do so if he has 3 or more of the same collection.

How does he do that? Well simple, just align 3 or more gems horizontal or vertical. For every successful swap, he earns those coins. Click the gem you van to swap with one of its neighbours and then choose the one you want to swap. Or even better just drag it over the other one by holding the mouse button, it both works...

As the coin meter reaches the top you have earned enough cash to go to the next level. The aim of the game is to reach the biggest high score of course.

Beta testing again!! Me?

I contacted Alexander to thank him for developing a great game and we got chatting. It wasn't long before I was beta testing a new version for him, which is ace. I'm thrilled to report this latest release has numerous bug fixes, and extra features and is due very soon. This has been a blast because Alexander is a cool chap and I'm honoured to have played a (tiny) part in the production of what is a fabulous and addictive puzzler.

I'm confident with the following statement: BeGEMeD is one of the best Bejeweled games I have ever played.

AtariMania has the latest version to download!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Saboteur III - The Egyptian Mission

Durell, on the ST?

Saboteur 3 was released in 2012 by Shadow Team for the Atari STe and Falcon. I'll start by saying that I was a huge fan of Saboteur 2 on my Spectrum 128 (not so much the first game oddly enough) so I'm excited to see this for my ST and I'm wondering how it will compare. Well, it's obviously an unofficial fan game based upon the original 8-bit games by legends, Durell Software. Incredibly, it was programmed using GFA Basic. Pretty cool.

This third mission takes us into Egypt looking for fragments of a key to unlock a treasure-filled sarcophagus. However, and this might not come as much of a shock, but somebody has rigged most rooms with killer spikes and lots of scary creatures like mummies, bats, and scorpions. So don't expect this to be easy!!

Ok, let's begin the mission... Yeah, that means killing Mommies!

Authentic or different?

Controls are very responsive and I'm impressed with the fluency of our actions which help make this game feel authentically enjoyable. Movements are more or less what you would expect with a few changes - down/fire now makes our ninja hit under the belt without using the old kicking mechanic. Each room is great and a pleasure for this oldskool gamer - I liked the design and kicking monsters to death is always fun. Looking at the map, Saboteur 3 is smaller than the previous game on my old ZX Spectrum but the adventure is still superb.

There are some changes to the gameplay mechanics which irk me a little if I'm being honest. Like falling off a ledge for an instant death rather than simply draining you of your replenishable strength - I miss that bar... I also failed to see the point of spikes that pop up impaling you each and every time, even during mid-jump!! However, the most annoying oddity are the ladders because some simply go nowhere and that's just stupid.

As you progress, things get odd and very difficult! Perhaps too difficult?


It was never going to look just like the 8Bit games but I still love the graphics here in the ST game. They are different in style yet still brilliantly retro and follow the original theme well using a freakishly odd palette. It takes some getting used to! However, each nasty is nicely animated which makes kicking these creatures to death - a joy!

The in-game music is by Dma-Sc and thus a beautiful example of extraordinary chiptune talent. I still would have liked an option for sound effects to play alongside the music. But I'm now being rather picky, I guess?

Sooner or later, I usually end all my games looking this good! ;o)

The CryptO'pinion?

Saboteur 3 is good but far from perfect. Sadly, I feel hardcore fans will enjoy picking at it because many of the expected Saboteur-characteristics are altered or missing. However, this is still a great game in its own right and I think even Clive Townsend would enjoy playing this alternative conversion? Well, I know I did. A lot!!

Come and get the download if you think you're hard enough!

Sunday, August 28, 2016


Cute & Cuddly Gaming?

Somewhere in the far reaches of the universe is a planet called Blot. Much like early Eden, this is a wonderful place; everything is perfect and everyone is happy. The inhabitants are little creatures called the Blotians. However, for some peculiar reason, these guys got bored with their paradise and wanted something better so came up with the daft notion of a brand new identity - on a different planet. They're now called Fuzzy Wuzzies!!

Creatures was released in 1992 by Thalamus and programmed by Philip Watts of WJS Design. Yes, he of Leander and Ork, two decent scrolling games you should check out.

What these sad creatures didn't realise was that evil demons already lived on this new planet. And are a very bad-tempered bunch too! Needless to say, they should have been happy where they were because everyone has been captured and await a cruel and bloody fate. You are Clyde Radcliffe, your breath stinks terrible but it is your job to rescue all of your simple-minded friends from these vicious fiends! So good luck - you'll need it.

Actually, this is quite sadistic!

Clyde is the cutest thing and equipped with a rapid-firing weapon, which is handy because many of the baddies annoyingly take numerous. Power-ups are available, I love the 'wriggler' effect the most but there are many others to choose from. However, your superpower is the funniest weapon of all, press and hold the fire button to breathe bad breath over anything that gets too close. A bad-breathed hero must surely be a first?

A good tip for Creatures is to not rush it. The enemies can take more than a few hits which is a little weird and can often feel a little OTT. Try to kill what's already on the screen before moving on and being overrun by evil cute critters. Okay, that's a simple and obvious tip, but there ya' go. Take it or leave it!

Controlling Clyde is a cinch thanks to great joystick controls and fantastic level designs which are fun to navigate. The monsters come in all sorts and always manage to bring a smile to this ugly mug of mine thanks to great attention to detail and cruel personalities. End-of-level scenes are particularly cruel (but funny) but employ a harsh time limit before a fellow Fuzzy Wuzzy meets their bloody death at the hands of a sadistic demon!

Sexy Pixels & Smooth Audio?

I love the lush aesthetics with beautiful colours and stunning artwork - the attention to detail is amazing. However, everything might look nice, but is spoiled by rubbish push-scrolling! Sure, that method works fine for games like Rick Dangerous, but not here. It's almost like this game was developed backwards? Real scrolling should have been coded first, and then the appropriate aesthetics added afterwards. Priorities...

The audio is excellent with a cool theme tune that has you bobbing away to its funky beats. I love it. Also, the sound effects are making use of the DMA hardware - if you're lucky enough to own an Atari STe? They sound ace!!!

The CryptO'pinion?

Creatures is very enjoyable with well-balanced gameplay and a fantastic (and sadistic) sense of humour. However, it was originally designed as a scrolling platformer and a scrolling platformer needs to SCROLL. So, it sadly falls short of the mark as it's hampered by what appears a rushed port. Maybe I'm too fussy? Tell me!

Don't get me wrong, Creatures is worth downloading because it is a good game with a superb theme, humour, controls and audio. However, it's a massive shame they didn't make full use of the Atari STe or even push the STfm as there are far better platformers available for our computer which you can read all about here.

Help Clyde now and grab this on floppy & hard drive.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Annex is a homebrew first-person shooter published by LAPD in 1995 and attempts to blend together the action of Doom using the mechanics of Dungeon Master. Nasty aliens have taken control of the science space station, Annex. Guess what? It's our job is to kill every last one of them whilst fixing the life support reactors.

At first, I didn't think this would work using the old 90° turns but it plays very well. Movement is performed using a combination of the keyboard and mouse: the keyboard to walk and activate switches with the mouse to aim and shoot. The graphics are great but lack variety in colour and texture, thus things do tend to get a little samey after a while. Sadly, there is no map function to help us out - the docs suggest making your own.

Thankfully, the baddies speak when they see you which conveniently doubles as a nifty "heads-up" alert. So give 'em hell and annihilate them into a gory blood splatter! Yes, this game is fun and I like the way it combines action with adventure. Far from perfect but first-person shooter fans should definitely take a look. I enjoyed it a lot.


 - AtariMania has a download available from their Atari ST database.
 - Zogging Hell has a nice selection of the LAPD library.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Floyd The Droid

One of my earliest purchases

Floyd The Droid was developed in 1986 by Paul Lay for Analog Software. We're a droid who loves to explore but this trait got him into trouble so now he's stuck inside a (wait for it) topo-dimensional converter. So you're alone in the void of whatever this existence is and surrounded by weird enemies intent on our death.

This game is simple, shoot everything - robots, spaceships, C64's and more. We begin each game with 75% health and it increases with each enemy we kill. Sadly, it also decreases if you bump into them or if you shoot an Atari logo. Kill everything and move onto the next level to do it all over again at a faster rate. Don't panic!

Interestingly, you can hit F1-F6 to start on the following stages: 1, 10, 20, 30. 40 and 50.

The graphics are basic but it's all about the sprites which are huge and beautiful in their own weird way. The music is insanely awesome. Insane, because it's so zany and weird yet I also leave it playing as I love it. There is also speech which is quite superb for such an early ST game, and it's excellent. A lot of love went into this game.
 - I believe there was a hi-res version in the making but was it ever released?
 - AtariMania lists Floyd The Droid in their database and also Missing One Droid.
 - Atari 8-bit fans may also wanna click here: Floyd the Droid Goes Blastin'.
Overall, it's a little rough around the edges because it's an early title but this is also a piece of Atari ST history. Personally, I enjoy frantically blasting a relentless hoard of invading oddities - it never gets old and it's so addictive. This is ancient retro gaming at its best, so hit that fire button and try to last as long as you can!!

I managed to find the original of Missing One Droid and I just had to buy it!!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Frontier: Elite II

The End Of An Era...

After a worrying delay, Frontier Elite II was released in early 1994 by Gametek and was unlike most other games due to its sheer size taking place amongst the stars. Yep, that's right a whole universe of countless stars to explore which basically meant long gaming nights are ahead (over the decades and through to the present day!)

Commander Jameson has sadly left this realm and you came along just in the nick of time to reap the benefits of his will reading. Being his favourite grandson, he left you 100 credits with strict instructions to stay clear of Vegas. He also left you his pride and joy, an Eagle Long Range Fighter - careful, don't scratch it. You now have the means and opportunity to explore the heavens so jump into your spaceship and begin the journey of a lifetime!

There are two basic starting positions and faster computers can even crank up the graphical details.

The Universe Is Yours!

After watching the awesome intro, various menu options are available to begin your first adventure and I advise selecting Option 1 which places you safely in the Ross 154 System. Or more precisely, at the Sirocco starport on the planet Merlin. You have 100 credits and a rather funky piece of 3D called your spaceship so starting at Sirocco is a great place to learn the ropes of the GUI and basic trading skills along with brushing up on your piloting skills.

Frontier is an open world (space!) sandbox game that doesn't restrict in any traditional sense as you are free to travel almost anywhere and do almost anything you like. However, even gaming folklore doesn't come free and this style of living costs money. So use the spaceship to provide yourself with a good living by means of job contracts and trading because everyone needs something. This is where you come in to make your hard-earned cash.

First things first, let's check out the cool spaceships and find dodgy jobs on the bulletin boards.

Trouble at t'mill?

Frontier's universe has two major factions, and this is the Trekkie part, for me. Firstly, we have the Federation which is based in the Sol system and then we have The Empire which is based within the Achenar system. Both offer a haven to live and trade but aren't exactly the best of friends. Also, outside the safety of their territory, you run the risk of running into pirates who want your precious cargo - and your life!! Who said life was gonna be easy?

These dogfights are difficult to master and possibly the hardest part of the entire game. Gone are the arcade-style controls in favour of realistic Newtonian physics which will affect the control of your spacecraft. So, momentum will first need to be compensated in order for you to slow down, stop or change a direction. Perhaps it's now that I should advise saving your game at regular intervals? Learn physics because the pirates are tough cookies.

Check out your local solar system and then see what goods are best to trade in...

Trade, Respect, Fight!

Ultimately, Frontier is all about trade and trying to earn yourself the means for a lucrative lifestyle through the adventures of space and exploring the heavens. Use your galactic map to explore a 3D perspective of creation to plan a route, dig for information to find out what they need, and then buy in bulk to earn lots of cash.

Enjoy your journey but prepare thyself because nothing beats making your first hyperspace jump - very exciting!! This automatically ends once you are within the vicinity of your destination, but the distance to travel is still huge, so don't forget to use the Stardreamer buttons to pass the time quicker! Auto-docking is finally supported and, once you've boarded, get details of goods sold to reap the biggest profits. Also, before you begin looking for another trade route, remember to refuel your ship otherwise you won't be able to make another hyperspace jump!

I love is exploring the universe. Hang on, what's that dot? Zoomed in... and saw this beauty!!

But Is It Any Good?

Stick with it and, after earning lots of money, you should consider checking out the Bulletin Board. It's here you can upgrade your ship or search for jobs like transporting passengers, helping to find a missing person, mining, military work or information. Heck, there is even a black market for those without a conscience where you can trade slaves, weapons, narcotics, or even be an assassin. However, this dark lifestyle will definitely take you into dangerous waters so will almost certainly attract the attention of the law. Are you ready for that kinda heat, bad boy?

Frontier is one heck of a game and one with immense potential and I'm hoping this feature will regenerate your interest to play. Frontier is all about progression and making the right choices to build up your own empire. Don't expect to jump into the pilot's seat and see the entire universe in one sitting because will take time, money and commitment. Frontier: Elite II is jaw-dropping and quite literally one of the best games, ever.

Grab yourself a slice of creation and play this immense game right now which you can find for either floppy or for your hard drive. The manual is available on AtariMania and you can catch a glimpse of the 16bit universe right now (which is still quite unbelievable for a 16-bit game. Incredible STuff!!)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Knight Lore

AtariCrypt is all about the Atari ST/e home computers but today I shall make an exception to feature something very special for its big brother: the wonderful 32-Bit Falcon. I was recently contacted by Janez Valant (Swe, of YesCREW) and he said there was a little-known release of Knight Lore available for the Falcon.

Yes, that's right!! Ultimate Play The Game's KNIGHT LORE!! It appears complete with gameplay that feels spot-on perfect. In fact, it's better because the slowdown isn't as bad here. However, the colours are a little suspect: the original's monochrome display may have been because of limited hardware but it looked cool. Not so here. It's good but it's often ... too much. Watch the image above and tell me Sabreman doesn't look camp!

Well, what a shock to find Ultimate's Knight Lore available for the Falcon but it's a huge shame that it doesn't work on the Atari ST/e. Still, it's brilliant to play - even if somebody like me needs an emulator. Fantastic game.

Download Knight Lore and relive 1984 ZX Spectrum - style!! :D

Friday, August 19, 2016

What's wrong with this picture?

Look at my Atari ST desktop. Can you spot two things that are different?

Okay, I've been experimenting with a few GEM programs that allow larger resolutions and more. Some support interlace to double the vertical resolution but that can look a little odd and hurt the eyes! (use 60Hz!!). Others can create a virtual screen by using the hardware scrolling of the Atari STe. But do you really wanna scroll?

Interestingly, there are also programs that enable overscan and it was this that sparked my curiosity. I managed to activate this and using the border worked perfectly. There doesn't appear any slowdown or problems when using most GEM programs. In fact, it's cool so why didn't Atari push the boat a little further back in 1985?

I've made a bundled download of these programs - please let me know if there are others I've missed.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Magic Boy

Prepare to be amazed!

Magic Boy was released in 1993 by Empire and is one of the cutest platformers I've ever seen. Personally, it reminds me of Rainbow Islands in both its quality and ravishingly charming styles. We are Hewlett, a young boy with a magic wand who accidentally turned all the animals into freakishly cute monsters. Seems plausible to me...

How do these things keep happening? Not to worry, it's our task to restore everything back to normal, so that means venturing forth through many beautiful worlds to tag & bag the nasties. Sounds a little odd, you might think? Well, perhaps you should brace yourself for a shock because it's often the silliest idea that works.

Firstly, check out this screenshot I've taken. Wear sunglasses and take a deep breath...

Magic Boy must be one of the most colourful games on the Atari ST.

Shoot, jump, bag & grab!

Looks great, doesn't it? Well, there are four massive worlds to explore (Sand Land, Wet World, Plastic Place, Future Zone) and each offer eight levels. Things begin relatively easy before lots of cunning tricks and traps are introduced. This is staggered nicely and certainly keeps things interesting - and the player on their toes.

This mild learning curve is nothing much for the easier levels. It's very easy to pick up and play, so you're instantly leaping your way through in no time. Make sure you collect all the power-ups which will aid your progress. Just watch out for anything that looks oddly cute - it's not really. It's very nasty so shoot it and then bag it. Great stuff!!

However, the later levels are tough and I mean really tough!! Those cute critters are actually deceivingly mean and seem to know just when to strike with a perfectly well-timed shot. Also, the level layout increases with the usual moving tiles and others might dissolve or randomly disappear. Infuriatingly difficult which can be a shame sometimes as these later levels are impossible for a guy like me to complete.... without a cheat!

Things are now starting to get serious with cunning level designs for a tough challenge!


This is literally one of the most stunning 16-Bit games I have ever played which is thanks to John Dale and Leigh Christian. They have created a game with bright, radiant visuals and so many comical characters. Nothing has been sacrificed and you will see your Atari ST looking this good AND that includes ultra-smooth scrolling.

Sound effects are brilliant and best experienced using an Atari STe. Yes, I said STe but that doesn't mean the ST is lacking. Not one bit. Accompanying music is perfect with a fun-themed high-quality tune, that remains in your head all day. Yes, Magic Boy is most definitely one of the sexiest Atari ST games I have ever played.

Future Zone has some incredible levels to hop through as does the quirky Plastic Place.

The CryptO'pinion?

You won't be shocked to hear that this is one seriously addictive platformer and I loved it. Yup, it's almost perfect and a genuine pleasure to play because it's so much fun and I really cannot think of something negative to say. Okay, okay, that difficulty in later levels is really tough but something weirdly reminiscent of games from the era.

The controls, game mechanics, visuals, sounds ... I love this game so much because it's fun and a thrill to play. Doesn't this just go to prove what the Atari ST/e is capable of when in the hands of talented people? So stop what you're doing and load it up right now because it's one of the best 16-bit platformers ever released.

Grab yourself either the floppy disk or a version to install onto a hard drive/Ultrasatan thanks to Peter over on 8BitChip. For those who wanna flick through directly to the later levels then you will enjoy these codes. On the menu screen, press and hold down the desired keys before pressing fire to begin:

     -> Sand Land......(part 1)  =  S + 1

     -> Sand Land......(part 2)  =  S + 2
     -> Future Zone....(part 1)  =  F + 1
     -> Future Zone....(part 2)  =  F + 2
     -> Plastic Place..(part 1)  =  P + 1
     -> Plastic Place..(part 2)  =  P + 2
     -> Wet World......(part 1)  =  W + 1
     -> Wet World......(part 2)  =  W + 2

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

AtariCrypt box art?

Over the last few months, I've been taking pictures of my own ST games to feature within our box art section right here on AtariCrypt. Yesterday, I got quite a shock when a good friend of mine, Jose.Ant, created this fake box using my old avatar (a photo I took in Tombstone, Arizona. Just see the flickr link near the bottom of this page).

You know, the ST world sure has some awesome people and I absolutely love this image!!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

MIG-29 Fulcrum

Mig-29 Fulcrum was developed by Myomantic for Domark in 1991 and has excellent (fast!) vector graphics with lots of exciting missions. However, if I'm honest, I think I just enjoyed the experience of flying rather than completing the mission tasks. The Soviet box art is superbly designed and the contents are also quite outstanding - incredible value for money. I really wanted to hang the poster on the bedroom wall above my monitor, sadly the wife said NO!! :/


 - 8BitChip have adapted this for hard drive installation, which is just cool!
 - Floppy disk images are listed on Old Games Finder.
 - ST Format reviewed it back in issue #20 and gave it a cracking 92%
 - There was a sequel called "Super Fulcrum" but I never played this. Perhaps a cash-in?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Days Of Thunder

Boogity, Boogity, Boogity!! Yes, I'm a big NASCAR fan and I've finally got around to playing Mindscape's Days Of Thunder which (I think) is the only stock car racer for the Atari ST. I did wonder how the sport might appear in 16-bits and it started off well with a fantastic title tune by David Whittaker. However, it was soon all downhill...

Never have I seen a game look so bad. Not only are the visuals shocking on the eyes but the framerate is diarrhoea. The sound fx are worse - and I truly do mean that. But I could forgive how a game looks and sound for great gameplay. Sadly, this has none. Nope, not even a hint of enjoyment oozes out of this release.

Funnily, I did wonder how my 16MHz Mega STe might perform and perhaps save the game? So I contacted Peter Putnik and asked for a hard drive adaptation and he was so kind to develop this. But even the extra MHz cannot save this awful game. But thanks for trying mate!

The worst Atari ST game ever released? Well, put it this way, I could not stand to play more than a couple laps before rebooting in anger and disappointment. And that's my final thoughts about this disgusting stock car racer.

Monday, August 08, 2016


Oi, big ears!

Elf was released in 1991 by the mighty Ocean Software and is a platformer with simple adventure mechanics for lots of cumulative puzzles. Each level is impressive and it looks grand, so let's take a look...

We are Cornelius, a cool looking dude who's girlfriend, Elisa, has been kidnapped by the evil Necriliousr. Armed with his magic ring (stop it!!) you must travel eight incredibly gorgeous landscapes, avoiding strange and wacky creatures and solving puzzles in order to rescue the love of your life. Yes, that's Elisa and not your Atari ST!

Finders Keepers?

Playing Elf is never boring, thanks to the world we have to explore and everything in it. That includes the puzzles which must be figured out logically and in some sort of order. Oddly, I'm reminded of the old ZX Spectrum games by David Jones. You know, trading items with NPC characters who require the silliest of items before providing something you require. It's brilliant but only experience and perseverance will grant success.

However, that's not easy thanks to a barrage of critters constantly invading the screen, think Black Lamp. They are often relentless and will try to stop you from solving the puzzles. So look for anything that might help along the way? Heck, items and even animals, to collate as "pets" that will be used as currency to purchase an assortment of power-ups - including firepower, extra lives, the ability to fly and much more.

Elf is a fascinating and longwinded game that won't be easy to finish. The quest is massive but it will entertain you every step of the way with humour and cool ideas: like when you are chased up a ladder, an impressive mechanic. Finally, and in true Atic Atac style, a tombstone is erected when dead and is rumoured to be haunted!


The graphics are tremendous with outstanding attention to detail for both the scenery and characters. The baddies are some of the most detailed sprites I've seen and killing them almost makes me feel bad (almost). Some have cute expressions and there are many integrated novelties, like rocks that watch your every move.

Sound effects are excellent but it's the music I love, by Matthew Cannon (remember Navy Seals?). Awesome chiptunes throughout!! They are quite bewitching and I prefer playing a game with the music on!

The CryptO'pinion?

Here we go, nothing is perfect... yadda yadda yadda! Well, that's true and it applies to Elf. I felt that the number of lives was far too restricting considering the task at hand. I also found it a little annoying when some critters would walk onto the screen just as I was about to walk off, thus zapping valuable energy. Arghh, irritating!!

However, Elf is brilliant. It will sap away the hours whilst you enjoy shooting the cuties, trading and trying to figure out how to bribe your way off the first level. This is something that you need to experience as I feel this is one of the best platform/adventures there is. It's excellent and I cannot recommend it highly enough.


8BitChip has a version for hard disks
Floppy disks can be found via Old Games Finder.
Here is a walkthrough but don't spoil this awesome game!!


Tweet Tweet, that cute little bird is hungry. Easy!
Red Indian's love feathers...
Toilet paper? Ahem, surely too easy to solve?
That big guy? Well, he just loves roast chicken. Yum!!
If you must, type in CHOROPOO during gameplay for 99 Pets.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

1632 ATARI podcaST

It's always nice to see someone doing something creative for the ST scene and here is Atari 8-bit legend, Wade with a new podcaST. Obviously, this is about the Atari ST and by a guy that didn't originally care for it. Interesting? Maybe, so let's check this out and his re-discovery of the best 16-bit retro computer! <clickety click>