Friday, December 30, 2016

Outrun New Year Demo


I'm going to end 2016 with a brand new release by a good friend of mine - Bionic Nerd - aka Peter Jørgensen. Outrun New Year Music Demo has just been released so I've recorded a little from each track as a teaser for you all. Clickety click to grab this cool musicdisk right now and enjoy it. :-) Here is a little background by Peter:

"Hi all, I made this little new year music demo because I always loved the music from outrun and I always felt that we Atari ST guys were cheated on. Firstly, there was a track missing. Secondly, it kept shifting between the two other tune every time one would die. Lastly, I do not think that David Whittaker did his best. The music files are YMT format running at 300hz and the reason the program file is so big. In the new year I will make a new sound format, still as fast, but be taking less space but you will need a 2mb Atari to run this. Thanks to everyone for listening and I hope you like this? Thanks, Peter."

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Droid


Droid is a platform-shooter for the Atari ST by M.P. Lord about a robot who needs to escape from within fortified catacombs. It's a simple idea which looks (umm) familiar and it was a very popular public domain game which had a sequel released in 1994. Sadly, neither made use of the enhanced hardware inside the Atari STe...

Well, rolling on in Jamie Hamshere who begun working on an upgraded version designed to use the hardware scrolling, Blitter and DMA Audio. The results are outstanding and there's an early beta available to download. As a WIP, this is starting to look amazing and I cannot wait to see future updates!! Watch this space...

- Update April 2020 -

* WooHoo!! A brand new beta is available to download!
* Jamie has also posted a couple of videos on his YouTube channel.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

SantaFly


It's got to that time again where I search for something Christmassy and SantaFly by the awesome Reservoir Gods was the best choice this year. Regular readers will remember I have previously featured its sister game but don't get the two titles confused, even if they are basically the same idea! Yes, SantaFly is every bit as frustratingly addictive but with a peculiar and silly Christmassy theme. It's great fun and I advise you clickety click and download it.

Thank you to everyone who frequently stopped by throughout the year to read the articles about our favourite (and best) 16-bit computer. I hope every Atari ST nutter has a fantastic time and I wish you all a Merry Christmas †
Luke 2:11
The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Sinclair ZX Spectrum


Artemis is a Z80/ZX Spectrum emulator by Ralf Hemsing. It features numerous options for the technically minded but sticking with the defaults seem to work well. Performance is more than acceptable but there appears to be no support for colour and only one game is included. Well, good job that it's a good one - Jetpac!

Strangely, that isn't in a snapshot format but ".PRO" which is something I have never heard of before. Can anyone please help me locate other games in this peculiar format? Thanks!

Artemis comes with no docs, lacks colour and doesn't work properly with any computer faster than the 8MHz Atari ST/e. But it's always great to discover "new" software and, whilst it might not beat the Speccy emulator, it did run Jetpac better than I imagined. I wonder what other goodies are lurking deep inside the ST archives! :-)

Download: Floppyshop disk "UTL-3025"

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Unheart


Unheart is something that I've been meaning to feature for far too long. It's actually pretty new and was only released in 2014 at Silly Venture by Masters of Electric City. It's based on the original PC game, Heartlight which happily mixes Sokoban with a dollop of Boulder Dash to produce a riveting and refreshing brain-teasing challenge.

In fact, Boulder Dash fans should look elsewhere because this is actually a Sokoban game and a brilliant take on that idea too. We are a dwarf who enjoys digging his way through caves looking for love hearts. Watch out for falling rocks that might block your path or worse, a head-crushing blow. You might even come upon a bomb as you crawl through the soft soil but be careful, because these will detonate when impacting something hard, like a wall or rock. Heck, there are even balloons that will float upwards potentially pushing whatever gets in their way...


Some levels look so simple yet they are not. Perhaps well-placed explosions will help here?


I spent ages on this level and yet it is so easy to complete!! Sometimes physics helps a bunch.

Don't worry if you get stuck, hit ESC will humorously explode our dwarf so we can restart. Also, a level-skip function is used to bypass those brain-destroying levels with the option of coming back later (yeah right). The difficulty remains a constant throughout - high - with cunning map designs causing the most intense problems!

The graphics are simple yet superbly detailed using a gorgeous C64-like palette. The status bar is displayed using overscan, which is always going to be a great thing for obvious reasons. The chip music is on another level. It is breathtaking and perfectly suits the gameplay - I just wish there was more.


Another level that appears so simple - and is - but that didn't stop me pulling out my hair!!


I can imagine Boulder Dash fans loving the first level, but not so much the others!

Unheart is so much fun and pushes you to think differently than you would imagine. Its difficulty remains a constant throughout - high - with cunning map designs causing the most intense problems to overcome. Thankfully, with unlimited retries - and the ability to skip troublesome levels - you aren't distracted and will keep on coming back for more. Unheart is challenging, distinctively brilliant and one of the beST puzzlers on the Atari ST.

Grab the download from Demozoo and links to Silly Venture!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Anduril


Anduril is a high-resolution PD game by Markus Dheus from all the way back in 1986 and features a winged hero stuck inside a 2D world of object collecting. Like the ZX Spectrum game, Kokotoni Wilf, this is also a flick-screen platformer with many cunning rooms for us to explore on our item-collecting journey. Unfortunately, unlike Kokotoni Wilf, our hero cannot walk nor even touch the landscape scenery as it results in an instant loss of a life... Thankfully, he can fly like a flappy bird using simple controls: use the SHIFT key to fly with H + J turning you left or right.

I imagine Anduril is beginning to sound rather easy? You couldn't be more wrong and anyone that loves a challenge will certainly get that. The first couple of screens are easy but it isn't too long before the game's true sadistic nature is exposed. Most of the map is made up of incredibly tight spaces with which to guide our hero. If that wasn't tough enough, once gravity is factored in, Anduril becomes a distressing adventure for all but the patient player.

   
The colourful ZX Spectrum version of Kokotoni Wilf vs Anduril displayed using crisp Atari ST monochrome.

The graphics are crisp and detailed but I noticed odd collision detection, which often worked in my favour so I shouldn't complain. Sadly, sounds are almost void with only a low-volume spot effect for an item pickup. However, I can live with the quirks if gameplay measures up and (after mastering its vicious learning curve) it does so, if you're willing to put in the time, Anduril is one seriously addictive game which I recommend - stick with it.

You can download Anduril from the AtariMania website and this program will help if you've no high-res monitor.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Pung


Pung is an old Atari STe game which has been released after years of lurking in software purgatory. It's obviously based upon the 1972 classic and currently stands at v0.30 which means it suffers a few bugs that might lead to those infamous bombs across your screen. Just reset and keep on playing! I'm glad this got a release as we have enjoyed playing it over the weekend - it's different with a few neat ideas and I recommend you take a look.

LINKS

 - Demozoo website has a download with all the credits and more.
 - I nabbed the MOD music file off Demozoo and made a recording. Love it!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Potsworth & Co


Here we have a cute platformer released in 1992 by Hi-Tec Software, based on an old Hanna-Barbera cartoon (which I'd never heard off until today). Okay, so I've learned that Potsworth is a dog who happens to have a group of kiddy friends called The Midnight Patrol. Well, someone has stolen a sleep potion and conveniently placed the pieces within five silly worlds. So, now it's up to these kids to return it to the Grand Dozer, whatever that is!!

This means we get to be each of these kiddy characters from the tv show. First up is a rather stroppy looking girl who's adventure oddly places her underground in a place that reminds me of Rick Dangerous.

Ahh... when developers go that extra mile. No lame port here!!

There is a wide range of baddies that aimlessly walk back and forth doing their best to make life troublesome but it appears our heroine only has to open her mouth to kill (most of) them. You'll get used to this... It's a typical platformer in most respects but with the twist of changing character for each new level. Which is shockingly cool.

There are lots of puzzles to solve but don't worry too much because rocket scientists need not apply. These simple puzzles might require dropping a heavy block (or teddy bear!) onto a switch... but they always add a spark of interest to your adventure. Each new level has us changing character and I especially enjoyed the third - we're a dog in candy land as this is bursting with cool mechanics and is positively interesting to explore.


Another level and we're another character from the cartoon!

The one thing which remains a constant throughout is the superb controls that are precise, responsive and without lag. The visuals are truly superb with fantastic locations, awesome sprites, and loads of colour with scrolling that is both fast and fluent. Audio is sadly the mirror opposite and appears to be nothing more than an afterthought with only a few spot effects and no background chiptune. The theme tune is even worse and should be skipped as quickly as is possible, just like in Alien World which is another humongous audio disaster!!

So, ignoring the audio, what didn't I like about this amazing platformer? Well, more lives would have been a bonus. Especially when learning the game's cruel nature and finicky jumps. There's not an awful lot to moan about.


Each level is different and gets progressively harder too!

There might be a few frustrating quirks but I feel Potsworth & Co is one of the best platformers I've played on any computer and is also a testament to the power of the Atari ST. Get ready for an incredible venture through immensely interesting worlds and I'm sure all platformer fans will love this hidden GEM as much as I have. Superb game!

Play this cracker using floppy disk or hard drive.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

MonoPack


MonoPack was released by Shrimp of NewCore and allows the Atari ST (w/ colour display) to run in the high-resolution mode without the need for the correct monitor. Yes, there are already programs that do this but I think this is better because it saves itself onto the boot sector of a floppy disk. This means a fast way to activate. Plus it supports the Blitter coprocessor for faster rendering. Yup, this is an excellent utility!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Escape From The Planet Of The Robot Monsters


Probably the best titled Atari ST game!! Not only that, but this is a fantastic game and one I featured about a year ago and found it to be one of the most frantically zany shooters I have played but just look at the a-m-a-z-i-n-g box art which is both colourful and comical. Yep, this is certainly one which I'm proud to have in my collection.

Grab yourself a download on either floppy or for hard disk and kill those aliens!! Enjoy :-)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Super Space Invaders


How could anyone ever contemplate improving Space Invaders? How about supersizing it with lots of cool new ideas!! Which is exactly what Domark with the imaginatively titled Super Space Invaders, an authentic take on the original idea with an array of next-gen invaders to quench our two-dimensional alien-zapping thirst.

From the start, we're treated to a superb intro which you should watch. When the game begins, each stage is presented in groups, similar to Blasteroids offering a different path through with each wave starting slowly to gradually speed up with each kill. However, these new invaders attack as a wide variety of targets for our gun love - some will bloat after being shot, thus requiring extra effort for the kill. Don't expect the same attack formations, this time the aliens will use various styles with some breaking away - Galaxian style!


The intro is legendary. I absolutely loved it and it's definitely something you don't skip!!


An easily-targeted mothership frequently passes by and, if destroyed, drops a power-up in true Arkanoid fashion. These power-ups make the entire experience something very special - I love the laser which slices through the alien hoard like a hot knife through butter. And, I must admit, to taking a liking to that rapid-fire power-up!

If Space Invaders ever had a flaw then it's gotta be repetition. But Super Space Invaders attempts to break that by introducing bonus rounds - flying saucers will invading the rural countryside abducting cattle, of all things. Finally, groovy end of level bosses are on guard and in urgent need of a good hiding!! I am especially impressed by the boss after level three which I thought was beautifully animated.


Some aliens balloon when hit and bonus rounds are pretty cool trying to protect moo cows!


Throughout, the graphics are generally excellent with nicely detailed invaders and I especially liked the huge insects and End Of Level bosses - brilliant examples of cool pixel art. Audio is great, from that incredible intro video to the game itself. However, I was a little disappointed not to hear the famous cannon sound effect... Musically, very interesting and I was immediately reminded me of Escape From The Planet Of The Robot Monsters.

I think purists will probably turn up their nose in disgust at this abomination. However, it is a great game in its own right and the use of power-ups transports what might have been a predictable clone into a freakishly fun game. Far more addictive than I first imagined and I love the game so much I bought myself a copy!

Can you protect humanity from the Space Invaders?
Help is stored ready on hard disk or floppy.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

a real wallpaper!

Look at what came in the post today from Chris Swinson (aka Exxos). Designed by Darren Doyle for the release of AtariCrypt Magazine and today it's in print and on my bedroom wall like I'm 15 again! There are some ace ST folk in our community - thank you so much Chris. I'm wondering how long the wife will allow this to remain up...

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Collaboration One


 
 

The Atari ST/e demoscene has entertained us with some incredible productions over the decades. Predictably, these are often by the same talented people that made our jaws drop from the late 80s onwards. Well, today we have something different by a brand new group called STatariART who have released their first slideshow!

It's called Collaboration One and features tons of pixel art created by many different people from all walks. Along with the images, there is chipmusic and a lamer's scroll to read. Let's hope this is the start of something great!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

The AtariCrypt Magazine!!



I am extremely proud to announce the availability of AtariCrypt Magazine!! That's right folks, a brand new magazine STuffed to the brim with 16-bit gaming goodness. It was designed by none other than Darren Doyle so I'm sure you will appreciate his creative talent that promotes our reviews, interviews, and much more.

So, the joy of Christmas has come early for the Atari ST nutter but, best of all, this magazine is a free download. My way of saying a Mega ST thank you for supporting my website over the years. So I hope you all enjoy flicking through the world's latest Atari ST magazine? Here's to more retro gaming in 2017 and beyond - Merry Christmas!

Although the magazine is completely free there is an option to support us via Patreon :)

Clickety Click & download AtariCrypt Magazine.

Here is a little more for all you ST nutters: an A1-sized poster for your bedroom wall!!

And perhaps a little Power Without The Price to finish off this great day.


 

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Zool


Zool was released in 1993 by one of the most acclaimed gaming companies, Gremlin Graphics who have gone that extra mile to support both models of Atari ST computer. At first, this appears to be a Sonic clone and does indeed have many similarities but, Sonic it ain't. This disappointed many back in the day (like me) but I figured enough time had passed and I really should give this zippy insect another second chance...

Our little protagonist is a rather odd critter. A badly-disguised ninja ant (well, I think it is!) who is from the "Nth Dimension". He can run, climb, leap and even perform a silly airborne pirouette. His mission is to travel six worlds and prove himself worthy of earning the black belt accolade he so richly desires. Each world is split into three segments of progressive difficulty and, of course, are littered with traps and countless baddies to contend with.

The first is "Sweet World" which could be a child's favourite dream: an entire planet made of candy. But these sweets are killer sweets: like wobbly jelly and a cute rapidly-firing dolly mixture! The second is musically themed and features angry instruments like bongo drums and even some nice ones that play helpful musical notes. However, this is about as far as I've managed to get so I'm extremely grateful for a handy cheat mode which allows me to play on the later levels (and I must admit to being laughably impressed by the Meccano-styles in Tool World)


The first level is great and has a little iddy biddy Sonic vibe to it...


Watch where you're walking! So many dangerous places in this world of weird.

Collecting the items is the name of the game and, in Sweet World, that means candy. Look at the bottom/left of your screen which displays how many are required with an arrow pointing you in the right direction to find more. Thankfully, there are restart points from which to continue your adventure but it will never be easy as each level has such a cruel layout littered full of traps - and a huge number of baddies. Beware, lots of practice is required!!

Controls are absolutely superb - intuitive and very responsive - with an option to use inertia, which I personally leave disabled. Keep banging on that fire button for rapid firepower and if you tap it again (during a jump) then a pirouette manoeuvre is actioned to kill even more. Power-ups are also frequently available to ease your hectic adventure like Two Zool - your very own doppelganger. Like all ninjas, Zool has an energy shield which can be replenished during play but it can survive only three hits before you're as dead as a dodo.

Visually, Zool rocks and I'm sure they've used every colour they could for a weirdly gaudy display with beautiful sprites - I love the purple dolly mixture. Atari STe users will be thrilled to witness more colours and their screen scrolling along at an alarming 50fps. However, there is a slowdown in places which is a shame. Audio is superb with sound effects and optional chiptunes. It would have been nice to hear DMA effects, especially noticeable in world two - with its oddly silent musical instruments. A missed opportunity, I thought.


Right, hands up who wants a lollipop now? What... Just me? Darn it!!


This ninja is nimble and makes use of the Atari STe hardware. Why couldn't more have done this?

Zool is great but far from perfect mostly thanks to frustrating mechanics that can ultimately spoil what would have been a cracking game. For example, don't expect to whizz great distances like that spiky hedgehog because Zool's levels are oddly designed to contradict his spritely Ninja abilities. There are far too many deadly objects, many off-screen, and the enemies are constantly respawning which is annoying... Arghh, less is more!!

However, ignoring the negatives, I admit to enjoying Zool. It's fast, crazy and it is stuffed with an insane personality. This is a great platformer - especially when played using the Atari STe. Now, gimme some Chupa Chups!!

LINKS AND CHEATS

 - 8BitChip always has the best download for those with a hard drive/Ultrasatan.
 - For those stuck with floppy disks, then Old Games Finder will ease your pain!
 - AtariMania not only feature Zool in their ST database website but also have the manual and code wheel!
 - To cheat simply type in PANDA on the main menu and you will see a flicker. During a game press:
          -> Spacebar 1 - will make you invincible.
          -> Spacebar 2 - to skip forward onto the next stage.
          -> Spacebar 3 - to skip forward onto the next world.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Wolfenstein 3D


I had an hour to spare before the boss was due home and I fancied a quick game of Wolfenstein 3D. Sadly, it didn't go as well as I'd hoped but, I must admit, it made for a funny video recording which made me laugh! ;^)