Wednesday, August 31, 2016

BeGEMeD


BeGEMeD is a version of Bejewelled for the Atari STe by Alexander de Vries. It features gorgeous colourful graphics and incredible in-game music by Dma-Sc, both are an utter sensation to compliment the awesome gameplay. I've contacted Alexander, to thank him for his work, and it wasn't long before I was testing a new beta! I'm thrilled to report the latest version has numerous bug fixes and many more features with a final release due soon. I'm honoured to have played a (tiny) part in the production of what is a fabulous and addictive puzzler. Play this!!

LINKS

 - AtariMania has the download to the latest beta on their website.
 - Alexander has created his own web page for BeGEMeD w/ video recordings.
 - Here is my video recording and I reached level 7 but level 13 is my personal best - can you beat 'dis??

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Saboteur III - The Egyptian Mission


Saboteur 3 was released in 2012 by Shadow Team for the Atari STe and Falcon. It's an unofficial fan-game which is obviously based upon the 8-bit classics by Durell Software and is programmed in GFA Basic. Quite incredible!

This third mission takes us into Egypt looking for fragments of a key that will unlock a treasure-filled sarcophagus. However, somebody has rigged most rooms with killer spikes and lots of scary creatures are freely on the loose, like mummies, bats, and scorpions. Control is responsive and I'm impressed with the fluency of movement which makes the game very 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 the kicking mechanic. Curiously, falling off ledges will kill you instantly, rather than simply draining you of some replenishing strength. I also failed to see the point of the spikes that pop-up to impale me each and every time - even when I am in mid-jump - which is particularly annoying and not very fair.

The graphics are brilliantly retro in style and follow the original theme quite well with a familiar palette and lots of nicely animated creatures - which you will enjoy kicking to death. The in-game music is by Dma-Sc and is a beautiful example of his extraordinary chiptune talent, however, even I would have liked the option of sound effects.

Yes, Saboteur 3 is far from perfect and I feel hardcore fans will enjoy picking at it, just like I once did. But I regret that now because this is a good game in its own right, even if many expected Saboteur characteristics are missing or strangely altered. Give this a chance, it's a great platformer and I think Clive Townsend might even enjoy playing it.

LINKS

 - Demozoo has the download and I have recorded a video!
 - Here is the official homepage for Saboteur 3 which includes a French manual (use Google Translate!)
 - I've managed to find a map of the Saboteur 3 (sadly I do not know who to credit)
 - Clive Townsend has a website where you can buy Saboteur for your Mac / PC.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Creatures

Somewhere in the far reaches of the universe is a remote planet called Blot. Much like Eden, this is a wonderful place where everything is perfect and everyone is happy with their life. Its inhabitants and a little simple but very friendly, the Blotians.

However, for some peculiar reason, the Blotians have become a little bored with this paradise and desired to be cooler and thus came up with the daft notion of a brand new identity - on a different planet. They're now called Fuzzy Wuzzies! But what these sad creatures didn't realise was that evil demons already lived on this new planet and they are a very bad-tempered bunch! Needless to say, they should have been happy where they were because everyone has now been captured and awaits 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!

Clyde is the cutest little thing and the game employs this theme throughout for all of its critters, be they good or bad. He is equipped with a rapid firing weapon, which is handy because many of the baddies can take numerous hits before they die. Power-ups are available, I love the 'wriggler' effect the most and there are much more 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. End of level puzzles are particularly cruel (and very funny) with a harsh time limit to beat before a fellow Fuzzy Wuzzy meets their bloody death at the hands of a sadistic demon!

I love the aesthetics of Creatures. The artwork is stunning with beautiful colours and superb attention to detail. Everything looks amazing but is spoiled by rubbish push scrolling. Sure, this method works for other games but not Creatures that desperately cries out for proper scrolling! Audio is excellent and I believe all sound effects will use the DMA hardware on the Atari STe, what a shame they didn't go the extra mile and use the h/w scrolling or Blitter...

I was never a huge Thalamus fan and when Creatures was released in 1993 it left me feeling like it was a cheap Amiga port. Sadly, I still feel that way with regards to the lame scrolling but there is also a pretty good game lurking. Gameplay is well balanced and is always fun with a great sense of humour but there are better platformers...

LINKS

 - I made two video recordings for y'all to enjoy ( one ) ( two ) :^)
 - This screenshot sums up the artistic nature of Creatures - I love those ghosts!
 - Hard Drive games are available from 8BitChip and D-Bug and Old Games Finder has the floppy disks.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Annex


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.

I must admit, at first, I didn't think this would work using those 90° turns but it actually plays superbly 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 and that conveniently doubles as a good heads-up!! So give 'em hell and annihilate them into a gory blood splatter! Yes, this game fun and I love how it combines action with adventure. Far from perfect but first-person shooter fans should definitely take a look. Only available for ST/STe!!

LINKS

 - 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


Floyd The Droid is a hectic shoot 'em up in a style similar to a Robotron clone. It was written in 1986 by Paul Lay for legends Analog Software and features a few features which I personally think are rather cool. This game is all about whacking enemies that fill the display to a point where little screen real estate is left over. These are some of the silliest sprites: like robots, spaceships and even a Commodore 64 computer. Floyd also contains speech which is excellent for a game released so early in the Atari ST's life. You know, I'm actually still impressed today for sentimental reasons. Whoever wrote the title tune is obviously insane - because it's just zany and wrong!! Yet I find myself loving it because it's absolutely brilliant and I often leave it playing in the background. Perhaps I'm mad?

Sure, it's a little rough around the edges but I love playing this frantic shooter with its relentless hoard of invading oddities! This is Atari[ST] retro gaming at its best so hit that fire-button and try to last as long as you can.

LINKS

 - I believe there was a hi-res version in the making but I'm unsure if it was ever released?
 - Demozoo has a Floyd The Droid list and Stonish has the download on Serenade #5.
 - AtariMania list in their database Floyd The Droid and also Missing One Droid.
 - Atari 8-bit fans may also wanna click here: Floyd the Droid Goes Blastin'.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Frontier - Elite II

After a worrying delay, Frontier Elite II was finally released back in early 1994 by Gametek and was unlike most other games due to its sheer size.

A whole universe of countless stars to explore which basically meant many long gaming nights are ahead (well, over the decades and through to the present day!)

Commander Jameson has sadly left this realm and you came along just in the nick 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 - so be careful and don't scratch it. You now have the means and opportunity to explore the heavens so jump into your shiny new spaceship and begin the journey of your lifetime!

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 which doesn't restrict you in the traditional sense because 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 contracting and trading. Everyone needs something, so this is where you come in to make your hard earned cash!

Frontier's universe has two major factions, and this is the Trekkie part, for me. Firstly, we have the Federation who are 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 and, outside the safety of their space, you chance a greater risk of running into pirates. Dogfights with these are probably the most difficult part of the game to master. Gone are the arcade style controls in favour of realistic Newtonian physics that affect the control of your spacecraft. Momentum first needs to be compensated in order for you to slow down, stop and change a direction. Perhaps now I should advise saving your game at regular intervals? Learn its physics because the pirates are tough cookies!

Ultimately, Frontier is about living a lucrative and adventurous lifestyle by means of trade across the heavens. Use your galactic map to explore a 3D perspective of creation and plan your first route, dig for information to find out what they need, buy in bulk and begin your journey (there is nothing quite like making your first hyperspace jump - very exciting!)

This will automatically end once you are within the vicinity of your destination, but the distance to your destination is still huge, so don't forget to use the Stardreamer buttons to pass the time quicker! Auto-docking is (finally) supported so once you're boarded get the goods sold and reap the profit. Before you begin looking for another trade route, remember to refuel your ship, otherwise, you won't be able to make another hyperspace jump! After earning lots of money, you might want to consider checking out the Bulletin Board where you can upgrade your ship or search for extra jobs like transporting passengers, help 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 and will almost certainly attract the attention of the law. Are you ready for that 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 restart playing? Frontier is all about progression and making the right choices to build up your own little empire. Do not expect to jump into the pilot's seat and see the entire universe in one sitting this will take time, money and commitment. Oh, and several months of your life because Frontier is quite literally one of the best games, ever.

LINKS

 - 8BitChip have a hard drive installable version to download.
 - AtariMania has this life-sucker within their ST database which includes scans of the manual.
 - Yikes Station has a web page of the Frontier manual.
 - Here are many YouTube videos by JimPlaysGames and they offer invaluable advice for new players!
 - Fancy a gander at the Frontier universe?
 - I've put this off for some time but I am considering buying Elite Dangerous for my Apple Mac. Any thoughts?
 - I've been talking with Marko @AtariMania and between us, we cannot decide if Frontier was released at the latter end of 1993 or the first weeks of 1994. Research is conflicting... I personally remember buying it early 1994.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Hector vs The Mutant Vampire Tomatoes From Hell


If there was ever a rival to probably the best titled Atari ST game, this is it. Hector vs The Mutant Vampire Tomatoes From Hell was released in 1993 by Pete Whitby and is a platformer with a fascinating retro gaming familiarity. It involves you, with your trusty spade, burying evil vampire tomatoes in the holes you've just dug out. Once those daft tomatoes fall in, don't panic, all you gotta do is bury the suckers and this is the fun part of any bonka bashing!

The graphics and sounds are homebrew, and so very cool, I really do love both. Like a colourful Spectrum platformer with great sound effects. What I must rave about are the controls, which are spot-on perfect and I cannot stress this highly enough. Our little spade digger has perfect controls, without ever feeling wooden or awkward.

What an absolute joy to play with these monsters in hell. Today, I personally plan to spend lots of time digging holes and squishing tomatoes. I say Hector presents a fantaSTic challenge and is tons of fun. What a brilliant game!

LINKS

 - Watch the YouTube video by Wasabim which shows just how the game progresses through several levels and it also has an amazing intro - both the game itself (beautiful chiptune) and also the video intro. Which is incredible!
 - Stonish is literally the best website for Menu CDs and Hector appears on Adrenalin #12
 - Old Games Finder also has a list of downloads and it's worth noting that it can be installed onto hard drive!
 - Pete Whitby is featured on Demozoo and has made another game that might be familiar to the older gamer.
 - Update: Hector is now listed within the AtariMania database and includes the documentation!
 - Did you get any of my subtle retro gaming references? ;-)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Knight Lore


AtariCrypt is all about the Atari ST/e range of home computers. However, today I shall make an exception to feature something very special for the Atari's wonderful 32Bit Falcon, KNIGHT LORE!!! That's right, you heard me correctly! Here is a conversion of the original ZX Spectrum classic by Ultimate Play The Game which appears complete and fully playable. My sincere thanks to Janez Valant (Swe, of YesCREW) who enlightened me about his humungous yet unreleased game. However, now I must admit that I'm gutted that no Atari ST/e version was ever developed :/

LINKS

 - I'm sure all you lucky Falcon owners wanna download Knight Lore right now? Enjoy!!
 - Janez Valant's portfolio is listed at Demozoo (I love GemPLAY)

Friday, August 19, 2016

What's wrong with this picture?


Look at my GEM desktop... can you spot two things which are wrong?

Okay, I've been experimenting with various GEM programs that allow larger resolutions or an increase in the desktop area. Some offer interlace to double the vertical resolution (use 60Hz if possible!) whilst others created a virtual screen powered by the Atari STe's hardware scrolling. Interestingly, there are also programs which enable overscan and it was this that sparked my curiosity. Overscan works perfect on my computer but I did have a slight flickering during disk activity on my Mega STe - but only when running in 16MHz. It wasn't much of a problem but no matter how I tweaked the settings it was never quite as good as the stock 8Mhz computer.

Each tool I found is bundled into this download. (please let me know if there are others I've missed)
BigScreen, DBL2STE, DBL2ST, Remove, MonSTEr, NoBorder, Big-Y

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Magic Boy


Empire released Magic Boy late in 1993 and is one of the cutest platformers ever released. It reminds me a little of Rainbow Islands in both quality and style. You are little Hewlett, a young boy with a magic wand who accidentally turned all the animals into freakishly cute monsters. So it's your job to restore everything back to normal and that can only mean venturing forth through many beautiful worlds to tag and bag all of these little nasties.

There are four massive worlds to explore (Sand Land, Wet World, Plastic Place, Future Zone) with each offering eight levels. They start off relatively easy before introducing you to lots of cunning tricks and traps that keep you on your toes and most certainly keep you coming back for more. Collect the power-ups to aid your progress and there is a mild learning curve but Magic Boy is such an easy game to pick-up and play you'll be leaping for joy in no time!

This is literally one of the most stunning 16-Bit games I have ever played. Such gorgeous bright, radiant graphics with so many comical characters and with ultra-smooth vertical scrolling. Sound effects are brilliant and best experienced using an Atari STe. Accompanying music is so perfect with a fun-themed high-quality tune that stays in your head all day long! Yes, Magic Boy is most definitely one of the sexiest Atari ST games, ever.

It's not often I say such things, but Magic Boy is perfect. Personally, I cannot find any faults with this fascinating platformer because it plays as good as it looks and sounds. Stop what you're doing and PLAY THIS GAME!!

LINKS

 - It's that time of your day to witness some awesome gaming skills and to watch me play Magic Boy!
 - 8BitChip never fail to impress and once again have adapted this game for hard drive installation.
 - The mighty D-Bug have also patched Magic Boy to run from hard drive.
 - If you instead need a floppy disk image then Old Games Finder is for you!
 - Do you fancy a few sneaky cheats to get you onto those later levels? Yeah, of course you do! When you are about to start a new game, first, you must press and hold down one of these combinations to choose your starting level:
     -> 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 have been taking pictures of my own games and featuring the best box art right here on AtariCrypt. Yesterday, I got quite a shock when a good friend of mine, Jose.Ant, created this fake box art for me using my avatar. There sure are some awesome people in Atari ST land and I love this so much. Thank you mate!!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

MIG-29 Fulcrum

I'm not the biggest fan of flight sim games but I do own a couple which I enjoyed playing back in my long lost youth. 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 over any mission task!

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 won't allow me... :/

LINKS

 - 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

I'm a big NASCAR fan and today I finally got around to playing Mindscape's Days Of Thunder which, I think, is also the only stock car game out on the Atari ST. (?)

I must first thank Peter Putnik of 8BitChip who adapted this game for hard drive installation, at my request. Sadly, I wish I'd never have mithered him because I feel I've discovered the worst Atari ST game, ever!

It actually started off well with a cracking Dave Whittaker title tune but soon went downhill, very fast! Upon my first game, I was shocked (to say the least) at just how badly it looked, sounded and played. I couldn't stand more than a few laps before wondering if I was missing something glaringly obvious. So off I went to the ST Format website and read their almost glowing review. Their only minor grumbles were the sound effects (I get that) and an "unexciting" title tune. Incredible chiptune ignorance!

They gave it 88% overall score and I cannot understand why. I've since played several times and suffered every minute in utter agony! I don't think I shall be keeping a copy on my hard drive somehow (sorry Peter!).

Whilst they might not be stock car racers, I shall be sticking with VroomLotus Turbo ... Boogity, boogity, boogity!

LINKS

 - Visit 8BitChip right now if you feel brave enough to take a spin around Daytona!
 - Or be safe and watch a video recording instead. I couldn't bring myself to making my own...
 - The floppy disk images are available from Old Games Finder.
 - ST Format #16. Were they right or simply insane? Let me know!
 - Fancy a big fat juicy tip?
          > When in the qualifying race, press pause (P key).
          > Type in COMEFLYWITHME
          > Now press keys F1 - F8 for some silly views!
          > However, it won't make the game any better! (and untested by me)

Monday, August 08, 2016

Elf


You are little 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 simple puzzles in order to rescue the love of your life. Yes, that's Elisa and not your Atari ST!

Elf was released in 1991 by the mighty Ocean Software and is a beautiful platformer with simple adventure elements and takes place over several massive levels.

Gameplay is stuffed full of relentless action with an onslaught of baddies constantly popping up to cause you grief and slow you down as you search for pieces of the puzzles. It's these puzzles which remind me of the David Jones games on my old ZX Spectrum as they involve trading items with the silly characters, which is an interesting aspect used here.

There are other items, even animals, to collate as "pets" which is essentially your currency used to purchase an assortment of power-ups including firepower, extra lives, the ability to fly (click on the image) and much more. Each is superb and certainly help to increase longevity.

Elf is jammed packed with humorous touches. Some animals have cute expressions and there are also many integrated novelties, like rock eyes that watch your every move. I like how one of the baddies followed me, by using a ladder, a simple but impressive mechanic. Also, in true Atic Atac style, a tombstone is erected when you lose a life and it is rumoured to be haunted! If Elf has a weakness, it's the number of allotted lives which is far too few and should have been greater 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 but this is minor.

   
Just look at those cute critters and lovely colours but dawdle and they'll kill you - but at least your death is superb!!

The graphics are tremendous with such an outstanding attention to detail for both the scenery and characters. The baddies are some of the most detailed sprites I have ever seen, killing them almost makes me feel bad (almost). Sound effects are excellent but it's the music I love, by Matthew Cannon who also worked on Navy Seals. Awesome chiptunes throughout, which are quite bewitching and (for once) I prefer playing a game with the music on!

Elf is a game you need to experience. It's not one to pick up and play for a few minutes. Shoot and kill everything that moves, trade with characters and, hopefully, you shall discover how to bribe your way onto the next level... I feel this is one of the best platform/adventure games I have ever played and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

LINKS

 - 8BitChip has a version for hard disks and the floppies can be found via Old Games Finder.
 - Here is a walkthrough but don't spoil this awesome game. Use only when absolutely necessary!!
 - Type in CHOROPOO during gameplay for 99 Pets.
 - Fancy some of my handy hints to get you started on the first level?
          -> Tweet Tweet, that cute little bird is hungry.
          -> Red Indian's love feathers.
          -> Toilet paper... ahem.. surely too easy?
          -> That big guy just loves roast chicken. Yum!

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

1632 ATARI podcaST


It's always awesome to see someone doing something creative for the ST scene and here is Atari 8-bit legend, Wade with his new podcaST. Obviously, this is about the Atari ST and by a guy that didn't originally care for it. Interesting...

So check this out my fellow ST nutters. Follow his re-discovery of the best 16-bit retro computer! <clickety click>