Friday, December 30, 2016

Outrun New Year Demo



Goodbye in STyle

I'm going to end 2016 with a brand new release by a good friend of mine - Bionic Nerd - aka Peter Jørgensen. It is the Outrun New Year Music Demo which has just been released so I've recorded a little sample from each track as a teaser for you all. Clickety click to grab this cool music disk 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


Out-of-date!
Update article here: Droid Special Edition


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 that looks (umm) familiar and it was a very popular public-domain game that had a sequel released in 1994. Sadly, neither made use of the enhanced hardware inside the Atari STe...

Well, rolling on in Jamie Hamshere (aka junosix) who has begun working on an upgrade 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 October 2020
  * WooHoo!! A brand new beta is available to download!
  * Jamie has also posted a new video on his YouTube channel.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

SantaFly


It's got to that time of year when I post something Christmassy! Here we have SantaFly by the awesome Reservoir Gods and regular readers will remember its sister game. Yes, SantaFly is every bit as frustratingly addictive but with a peculiar Christmassy theme. It's great fun and I advise you clickety click and download it.

Thank you to everyone who visited AtariCrypt throughout the year 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

Jetpac



Not the Speccy again?

I love it when you find something new - at least new to me. After decades of using an Atari ST, today I stumble upon something I've never heard of before - an emulator called Artemis. It's a Z80/ZX Spectrum emulator by Ralf Hemsing and features numerous options for the technically minded - and seems to perform very well indeed.

Feel free to tinker with the configuration but the overall performance -as is- is more than acceptable on the stock ST. That's actually a relief because Artemis doesn't work properly on faster computers plus there is no support for colour, meaning your game is in black and white. Even more peculiar is that we only have one game - Jetpac
The game comes in a format I've not heard of before --> .PRO
Can anyone help to find out more information or perhaps more games in .PRO format?
Playing Jetpac is never a bad thing and even though it's not as good as the real machine (or indeed the Speccy emulator) it is great to find something new. So, Artemis comes with no documentation, lacks colour support, and doesn't work properly with computers other than the stock 8MHz Atari ST/e. I loved finding this from 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...

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.

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.

- SCREENSHOTS & DOWNLOAD -


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.


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


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


Grab the download from Demozoo and Silly Venture!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Anduril



Wilf is back

Anduril is a high-resolution PD game by Markus Dheus from 1986 and features us as a flying hero. Like the ZX Spectrum game, Kokotoni Wilf, is also a flick-screen platformer with many cunning rooms to explore. Unfortunately, unlike Kokotoni Wilf, our hero cannot walk nor even touch the landscape scenery as that results in an instant loss of life. Thankfully, he can fly like a flappy bird using simple controls: use the SHIFT key to fly with H + J turning you left/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 it. 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 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 graphics are crisp and detailed but I noticed 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 but it will take some practice.

Download Anduril from AtariMania and this program will help those without a high-res monitor.

  
The ZX Spectrum version of Kokotoni Wilf vs Anduril is displayed in the crisp Atari ST monochrome.

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. Let me know what you think...

* 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



Another platformer? Yawn, let's check it out...

Potsworth & Co is a cutesy platformer developed by Ben Walshaw for Hi-Tec Software (1992) and is based on a Hanna-Barbera cartoon (which I'd never heard of). I've just learnt that Potsworth is a dog who happens to have a group of kiddy mates - The Midnight Patrol. The story is, someone has stolen a sleep potion and then broken it up throughout five worlds so, it's up to the kids to return it to a Grand Dozer. Whatever that is!!

We are different members of the Midnight Patrol depending on the level and each has different mechanics for powers and abilities. For example, in the first, we are a girl who looks stroppy and she begins underground in a place Rick Dangerous would love. It appears our heroine only has to open her mouth to kill most of her foes.

Sounds weird? You betcha! But I think you're gonna love it. Read on...



Each level is different and uses the other characters, who come with their own skillset.


Developers who care!

Potsworth & Co offers gaming styles similar to Doodlebug or Magic Boy but, don't let the comical visuals trick you, this game is not easy and is actually challenging. Each world features many hazards and, of course, a wide range of baddies who aimlessly walk back and forth doing their best to make life troublesome. There are also puzzles but these won't have you stumped, it's more like moving a block onto a switch panel (or a teddy bear!).

Actually, this isn't an easy-to-pick-up-and-play platformer, if I'm being honest. I think it has a testing learning curve thanks to a difficulty level famous throughout the 8 and 16-bit era. Personally, I think a lot more lives should have been given by default and there are some parts of the later levels that are quite irritating. But all this is solved by having more lives or (cough) a trainer which means you're then able to enjoy this game fully.

The controls are a joy and very responsive so exploring is a breeze without any sluggishness. When you finally move onto a new level, the game changes your character which is quite the twist. I especially liked the third world where we play as a dog in a candy land which is bursting with cool mechanics and is positively brilliant fun to explore.


No lame port here but there are... walking guns in a Ricky Dangerous world!


Model looks!

The visuals are stunning. Absolutely stunning and it certainly proves what a developer can do when they care about their product. This looks the business alright and feels quite console-y with fantastic environments, awesome sprites, and bundles of colour throughout each and every level. The scrolling is both fast and fluent which means we're being treated, rather than enduring a jerky lame Amiga port. Amazing, just amazing.

Sadly, the audio is the mirror opposite of those lovely pixels and appears to be nothing more than an afterthought. There are only a few spot sound effects and, even worse, no background chiptune which would have been perfect. Oh, and don't even ask about a title theme. That is absolutely terrible and should be skipped - quickly!!

Why is that? So much effort was spent on the visuals and gameplay yet little on the audio...



Another new level and another different character to master.


The CryptO'pinion?

Overall, this is superb and provides a fantastic venture through several interesting worlds. Each is a vibrant and fascinating experience in its own right and, not only that but a testament to the power of the Atari ST when in the hands of a talented programmer. Prepare thyself for a game that is as challenging as it is beautiful.

This is one of the best 16-bit platformers I've played. I have loved every second with The Midnight Patrol so, if I can pass on a piece of advice, it would be this: Don't be a knob and download this fantastic game right now. There ya go.

Downloads for floppy disk & hard drive.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

MonoPack



The most exciting screenshot ever!

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!

Clickety-Click to download MonoPack and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Escape From The Planet Of The Robot Monsters


It's time to share another Atari ST game from my collection and this probably has the best name ever? Just look at the a-m-a-z-i-n-g box art which is both colourful and comical. I'm proud to have this wonderful game in my collection. Not only that, but it's also a zany shooter unlike most other genres - and something we featured about a year ago on AtariCrypt.

Check out that link above for our review and also the download links...

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Super Space Invaders




It's Space Invaders!!

How could anyone ever contemplate the idea of improving Space Invaders? How about supersizing it with lots of cool ideas!! This is exactly what Domark did 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 you should watch. I can't stress that enough!

When a game begins, a stage needs to be selected and these are presented in groups, similar to Blasteroids and offer a different path. As a new attack wave begins, it's quite slow to start off with and gradually speeds up with each kill. These new invaders will attack using a wide variety of tactics - some will bloat after being shot, thus requiring extra effort. Don't expect the same attack formations, this time they use various styles with some breaking away - Galaxian style!

Hey, let's take a peep at a screenshot of a guy struggling in his daily job. Some have it tough...



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



Can't knock the classic formula

An easily targeted mothership frequently passes by and, if destroyed, drops a power-up in true Arkanoid fashion. These power-ups make the game. They sure enhance the entire experience and I love the laser which slices through the alien hoard like a hot knife through butter. 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. Super Space Invaders attempts to break that by introducing bonus rounds, different stages, and boss levels. One bonus is the flying saucers screen which shows them hovering in the rural countryside. They're trying to abduct cattle, of all things. The groovy end-of-level bosses are in urgent need of a good hiding!! I am especially impressed by the boss after level three which (I thought) was beautifully animated.

Here is a screenshot from one of my games. Looks a bit awkward but playing it is miles better...



Some aliens balloon when hit which is funny but also means more shooting!!



Aesthetics

Throughout, the graphics are generally excellent with nicely detailed invaders and I especially liked the huge insects. Framerates are great but the game will appear sluggish without collecting power-ups. So, come back and properly play using the power-ups!! Finally, the End-Of-Level bosses are a fantastic example of cool pixel art.

Musically, very interesting and I was immediately reminded of Escape From The Planet Of The Robot Monsters. The effects are good but I was disappointed not to hear the famous cannon sounds from the arcade. A huge loss!

Okay, let's see a cutscene and this one has helpless cows wanting a quiet life...



Oh no, now those pesky aliens are after cattle. I need burgers so shoot them down now!



The CryptO'pinion?

I think purists will turn up their noses in disgust at this abomination and enjoy picking at what they consider faults. However, it's a terrific game in its own right and the power-ups are key to getting the most from this shooter. They really are as they transform what would otherwise be a predictable clone into a freakishly entertaining experience.

It's still Space Invaders but with many extras that bastardise the original game. It starts off slow but soon becomes a blast. Thus, I feel this is a very addictive and entertaining take on the original idea. Great fun and highly recommended!

Can you protect humanity from 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...

Regardless, I LOVE IT!!! :-)

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Collaboration One


 


A new demo group is on the scene!

The Atari ST/e demoscene has entertained us with some incredible productions over the decades. Predictably, these are often by the talented people that made our jaws drop from the late 80s onwards. Well, today we have something different and 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 people from all walks. Along with the images, there is chip music and a lamer's scroll to read. Let's hope this is the start of something great!

Not tempted? Check out our theme tune by Cornervizion. It's awesome...

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Zool



Whoosh! Zool is here!!

Zool was released in 1993 by one of the most acclaimed gaming companies, Gremlin Graphics who have gone the 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, is littered with traps and countless baddies to contend with.



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


Run and leap like crazy!

The first is "Sweet World" which could be a child's favourite dream: an entire planet made of candy. But these 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 that allows me to play on the later levels (and I must admit to being laughably impressed by the Meccano-styles in Tool World)

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!!



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


Input & Output

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 of the colourful nasties in this crazy world.

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 that can be replenished during play but it can survive only three hits before you're as dead as a dodo. I would have like more!

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!!


The CryptO'pinion?

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!!


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 type in PANDA on the 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 from work, so I fancied a game of Wolfenstein 3D. Sadly, it didn't go as well as I'd hoped!! But, I must admit, it makes a funny video recording. Well, it made me laugh! ;^)

Here ends my silliness......