Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

It's that time again when I try to find something Christmassy from within the Atari ST archives. However, this time I didn't want a game so went looking for a demo and I think I've found a belter: Xmas '88 which was released by Kenrick Productions. I hope you like my choice which I find so endearing with cute animations and a few appropriate chiptunes to get you in the festive mood. Merry Christmas everyone and I wish you all the very beST †

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Death Chase - The Remix

Yes, this is a STOS game. Stop, come back!!

I first thought this might be a remake of Mervyn Estcourt's awesome ZX Spectrum racer but alas it wasn't. Actually, it's a vicious top-down shooter developed in 1996 by Daniel Fielding and seems to take much inspiration from a variety of great games with support both solo and an incredible co-operative two-player mode.

This is sounding awesome already, either solo or with a friend. We begin armed with only a pistol and must explore several rooms which are inhabited by killer cyborgs. Come on, guns and bad guys to kill. Bring it!!

Each room holds so many possibilities for a whole new level of violence. It never gets dull!!!

Who enjoys guns and loud violence in their games?

Our armoury is huge with a possible 18 weapons ranging from pistols and shotguns to rocket launchers and lasers. Star Wars fans will probably enjoy using the lightsaber? Weapons, ammo and health are found in most rooms so inspect lockers or look on tabletops, but beware of potential traps like mines or even TNT crates.

The deaths are hilarious when you zap, sliced or blow up the enemy and there will usually be a bucket load of blood splattering the room! Heck, even your own death can be a fun experience when a shotgun-equipped Eliminator blasts you across several rooms. This leads me to the game's brilliant continue option so you can try again without restarting from the beginning. However, you lose the cool weapons but still have a pistol and your meaty fists.

Death Chase is insanely good fun and bucket loads of it too. Either solo or with a friend.

Each level has two types of killer cyborgs :

Security Guards - these are common and wear a blue uniform but have no intention to serve and protect. Their armour is quite weak but they can use a range of devastating weapons and will often attack in groups.

Eliminators - these are definitely the toughest and stand out like sore thumbs in yellow body armour. However, this is what helps to make them difficult to kill and they can even carry a range of advanced hardware, like a mini-gun or a rocket launcher. Also, they don't care who gets in their way and even unlucky Security Guards can be torn to shreds during their pursuit. Interestingly, these guys aren't restricted to the one room and love chasing you through the screens. So beware because running away like a chicken will be of little benefit.

Only one guy stood between me and that ammo. So I fried him alive. Mwahaha!!

WASD always works, right?

Similar to Rogue, movements are performed in steps but I would not recommend using the joystick which is far too sensitive. Initially disappointed by that, I tried the keyboard as suggested in the docs. This actually works better than I ever imagined: the A and D keys are used to turn anti/clockwise. W walks us forward with the Spacebar used to select from an array of different weapons (read the docs). Finally, banging on the Right Shift key is the best of all and provides an enormous amount of gratifying blood-soaked violence (love that double-barrel shotgun)

The graphics remind me of how today's developers seem to think "retrogaming" looked back in the day. Okay, it ain't no Enchanted Land but I'm really impressed by the blocky pixel art which is a style perfectly apt to its theme. The audio is equal to the visuals with a bunch of incredible Mad Max chiptunes played alongside crystal clear DMA samples. These were recorded using Microdeal's Stereo Master from movies like The Evil Dead.

Death Chase is almost like a nightmarish and blood-soaked version of Rogue. Love it!!

This is why we play Atari!!

I cannot stress how much of a thrill it is playing such a psychotic shoot 'em up which looks, sounds and plays brilliantly. The two-player co-op mode and the ability to continue after dying are killer features that guarantee hours of fun. I love this barbaric shoot 'em up and Death Chase is definitely one of the best games I have played.

Yes, I said that. Not only is this a brilliant Atari STe game but it's one of the best games I have ever played.

Stop everything - download now!!

Monday, December 04, 2017


Creepy is about to enter a castle owned by The Lord Of Darkness to find four pieces of the Necromancy Scroll. That should help to defeat this nasty man and restore peace to a land ravaged by all kinds of evil monsters. Released by Atlantis Software in 1991, it may sound like yet another predictable good vs evil affair but just wait until you play it! Some might say it's inspired but really it's nothing more than a shameless Atic Atac rip-off.

The Lord's castle is huge with every room constantly spawning a whacky bunch of evil monsters. Some are easy to kill but others are a lot harder, like the She-Warriors who ride on dragons. She might be tough but, if you defeat her, then Puff is left behind so hop on and take this magic dragon for a spin. Watch out for other nasties like the odd-looking Frankenstein and a ginormous spider - that had Mr Creepy running away like a big girl!!

We are equipped with arrows but these are slow so it's best to upgrade to something better in the castle's shop. Yes, this castle has a shop with which to buy various upgrades, like health and fireballs using the money collected during our quest. I really liked the fireball weapon and restoring health is always a wise purchase. Locked doors can be opened with the correct key and tiny yellow keys will unlock treasure chests that adorn many rooms. Gamblers will love these as you never know what's inside - something useful or something sinister?

Creepy isn't a carbon-copy clone of Ultimate's classic and plays a lot quicker with other subtle differences within a castle that is far more dingier than the colourful ZX Spectrum game. It did take me a while to feel comfortable with the extra speed but it wasn't long until I was zipping through the screens like a crazy medieval dude.

Monsters won't aimlessly wander around your screens because this time they sure love to play chase - at the expense of your energy level. And this is now displayed using a crunchy apple rather than the brilliant roast turkey health meter. Also, a life loss no longer leaves behind a Cross where we breathed our last breath. And I still haven't made up my mind which game has the best effect of falling between floors...

Okay, those old enough to have gasped in awe at Ultimate's 1983 classic will probably turn up their nose at this blatant imitation. However, I am incredibly impressed by the fast and furious oldskool gameplay, which is a lotta fun. Of course, Atic Atac wins this battle hands down but I still think Creepy has much to offer - because it's a great game in its own right. I enjoyed it a bunch and highly recommend you play this nostalgic 48K impersonator.


 - 8BitChip has a hard drive installable game which also contains a scan of the manual and infinite lives!
 - Floppy disks can be nabbed off Stonish and Zuul #140 is a fantastic disk to choose.

Sunday, November 19, 2017


Deathbringer is a horizontally-scrolling hack and slasher that reminds me of a bunch of different Atari ST games like Barbarian II, Golden Axe and, dare I say it, Shadow Of The Beast. You are Karn, a warrior who must kill an evil wizard using a sword possessed by a blood-hungry spirit called Abaddon. Our world is viewed side-on and can be travelled in either direction through a variety of landscapes but the gameplay remains pretty much the same which means wielding your huge sword whenever you see anything nasty.

Killing is the name of the game and this keeps Abaddon happily stuffed with souls - represented in the status bar by the sword's blood. The more baddies you kill, the happier our resident demon, so try not to starve him otherwise he might just get his fix elsewhere... There are many monsters that want to stop you from completing your noble quest: baby dragons, trolls, skeletons, bats, giants, and even birds who drop stinky eggs. A boss screen follows each level but they are rather easy and usually involve chopping off a snake's head or avoiding giant fists!

Karn can run and jump using three attack moves: fire + left/right for a jab that is handy against skeletons but useless for others. Pushing up performs an overhead swing which is great for flying enemies and pulling down will produce an underhanded swing that works well for the goblins and other peculiar nasties like rocks. Yep, rocks.

Deathbringer has fantastic graphics - truly fantastic - and regular visitors will remember I featured the game within our Pixel Art section because of its intro/boss stages and their outstanding artwork. The in-game multilayer parallax scrolling is legendary and proves the power of the Atari ST in the hands of a decent programmer.

The audio is on par with the stunning visuals and a great title tune along with lots of funny in-game sampled sound effects - I love the horrific screaming in the intro!! However, I can't help but be a disappointed Empire didn't make use of the Atari STe. Even so, we have sampled effects and smooth parallax scrolling. Eat that Psygnosis!

Deathbringer appears to have it all but I've not yet mentioned how this Conan wannabe actually plays. Surely running and hacking at slimeball enemies is guaranteed fun? Well, it should be but this is where disappointment rears its ugly head thanks to the unresponsive controls and that's the last thing you need during the heat of battle!

For example, pressing fire/up performs an overhead swing which plays out a split-second too slowly. There are other niggles: when Karn and a baddie are standing close together they are unable to hit each other.

Deathbringer's strong points are its beautiful graphics, great sound effects and an incredible array of interesting monsters. Well, I don't think I have ever seen a goblin on a sleigh before! Sadly, I'm left wondering if anyone at Empire actually bothered to play the game before releasing it. It can be repetitive after a while but then again I could say that about many arcade games? Ultimately, it's the laggy controls that ruin what might have been...

Stonish has the floppies (Special FX (#53a / #53b)
But I would install to a hard drive if you can!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


I strangely felt the need to compensate for my gaming horror (which saw me embarrassingly struggling with Platform Capers) so Dave Munsie has rushed to my rescue with his adaption of the 8-Bit classic, Berzerk. However, I admit I had my fingers crossed when first loading, hoping it didn't suck compared to the great 2600/5200 games...

We are the wobbly stickman intruder running around randomly generated screens killing silly robots. These guys are a mixed bunch, some dumb enough to fry themselves on the electrified walls whilst others are amazingly accurate shooters. Try to kill them all and collect your bonus reward otherwise, you're called a chicken!! Otto is as fearless as ever and only too eager to rear his smiley mug and chase you across the screen.

Some (those under 40) might scoff at the blocky graphics. Yes, I appreciate that they aren't spruced up to ST standards but that would have ruined the authenticity completely. Also, I love the speech synthesis which is spot-on perfect and makes me grin like the Cheshire Cat. "Chicken, fight like a robot" -this is brilliant!!

Berzerk is fantastic and this is one of the best 8-Bit conversions I have ever played. Overall, an easy 10/10!!

- Download the floppies from Stonish -

Monday, November 13, 2017

Platform Capers

Platform Capers was released in 1992 by Kay Downes for Budgie UK and has obvious 8-Bit roots which is something I'm usually instantly attracted too. Aesthetically, I feel it's a cross between Clod Hopper, Jumping Jack and Donkey Kong with adorable authentic graphics and sound effects. These transport me back into the early 80s when I was a kid sitting in my cold room in front of an old portable tv waiting of my Speccy to finish loading from tape.

The objective is simple, collect the keys on each of the levels before exiting through the doorway. However, there is a myriad of frustratingly cunning enemies we need to avoid, otherwise, a life is lost and we go tumbling down the screen like a fat plumber. I believe there are 7 levels but I dare anyone to complete it without cheating: I can reach level 4 but rarely will I be able to complete level 3, if I'm honest. On bad days, I struggle to beat level 2 and usually end up throwing the joystick down in temper! Superbly programmed but the design is far too difficult (for me).

I love and hate Platform Capers in equal measure.

Sunday, November 12, 2017


I was bored and converted a picture I found on the net to 16-colours using Imagecopy 4. I figured it would make a great background so booted up Deskpic - which is on ST Format cover disk #60. Awesome sauce!

That's my rock and roll lifestyle, baby. Yep. Anyhow, STay Atari.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

The Lost World

The Lost World was developed back in 1989 by John Leather who sadly never managed to find a publisher. The game itself is complete but the audio was missing and he "only" managed to design half of the planned 100 levels. Since then, a tune has been added which suits the gameplay perfectly and, if dozens of playable levels aren't good enough for you, then why not try creating the remaining yourself using the in-game editor?

I have always loved platformers of this ilk and it's obvious the John was inspired by the Willy games from the Sinclair ZX Spectrum because every screen has a wicked title and even the main character walks similar mechanical fashion to Master Willy. This is an incredibly challenging platformer with a steep learning curve so, as with Mouse Trap, hit the F key (pause) and carefully study every inch of the screen to plan yourself a favourable route.

Just look at the intricate layout and design. You ain't gonna complete this on your first go!!

The first screen is tough and it took me more than a few attempts, but it's easier on the following level (although I failed miserably for my video recording). Then, the difficulty is cranked up for an amazing third level, the superbly titled: Pie Processing Plant. However, I've yet to beat The Locksmith so it's doubtful I'll ever be disappointed that John couldn't fulfil his desire to create more screens!! Perhaps I should try that level editor?

The Lost World is challenging, even for a hardcore fan like myself. Get used to the evil critters which come in an insane variety, and are not limited to moving back 'n forth or up 'n down. Watch out for sinking floors, sharp objects and lots of tricky jumps! Thankfully, it's quite generous with many bonuses littered throughout each level along with stickmen for extra lives. Pressing the spacebar displays a dialogue of potential spells and potions for effects like invulnerability. Yes, there is far more to this lost world then first meets the eye.

Whatever you do, don't forget the keys... What's the little man doing there?

The graphics are beautiful. A true 16-Bit take on the early 80s and stuffed to the brim with incredible decor and intricate attention to detail. Sadly, the original had no sounds but this was rectified a few years ago by Grazey (Psycho Hacking Force) so we now get to enjoy a fantastic Mad Max tune. This chiptune is a beauty and suits the gameplay perfectly. Sadly, I admit to missing sound effects, even if only for jumping or collisions...

For a homebrew game, this is huge and I don't simply mean the number of levels. The creativity that has gone into its development is exquisite and there is always something interesting that catches you out. Don't be a wimp, learn the mechanics and beat its cruel learning curve because this is a tremendously addictive platformer!!

D-Bug has both downloads (with and without music) plus AtariMania has level editor help!

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

The Ultimate Arena

The Ultimate Arena was released in 1995 by STeam and ranks as one of the last commercial Atari STe games. Choose to play as Sandy or Terry before proceeding to the first match against a series of dodgy villains, each of whom has their own skillset and special abilities. Some might say it is Atari Mortal Kombat and why not because we must now fight in various arenas against several lunatics whilst watched by a bloodthirsty crowd.

Each arena offers a different environment and I chuckled to myself when I first noticed the electrified fence - just one touch and you're crispy burnt toast!! Each warrior has their own trippy personality with a varying degree of speed, talent and special abilities. Watch out for a T800 which I thought was really well done and there is also an Indiana Jones wannabe who is an incredibly tough opponent. Interestingly, your energy bar isn't fully replenished at the start of the following round, thus increases longevity for determined gamers to figure out all the moves.

Whether you're Samantha Fox or a Terminator - this game is kick ass!! Love it!!

Showing off some cool moves there? Or is he just defying gravity? You decide.

No beat 'em up would be worth its salt without fast and responsive controls to kick seven bells outta your opponent. The Ultimate Arena has what it takes and I found it easy to learn the various moves along with their special abilities. Two-player mode is great and even allows us to play as any of the other characters (all except the final guy). A turbo mode is optional but I found that rather pointless so I cannot say I was impressed too much... Blood can also be turned on/off but I figured it best to have that on and enjoy some of that 16-Bit realism!

Like Domark's Pit Fighter, each character is digitised and they try their best to look macho whilst kicking seven bells outta you. It's quite remarkable the amount of detail squeezed into each pixel with smooth animations and the backgrounds are always interesting: like the Terminator watching you on a large screen and the crowd with their silly movements. However, I'm not so sure about the colour palette which is too brownish. Okay, I was tempted to let this slide but then I remembered other Atari ST games which make great use of colour, ala Black Lamp!

Kick people to death while they're already being electrocuted. It's all allowed!!

Or just pounce from a great height until they are splattered. All good fun!

As I've said before, I'm no beat 'em up expert but I am genuinely shocked how much fun I've had playing this. I half expected it to suck but it's shockingly fun and has probably replaced Double Dragon 3 as my favourite? It's obvious a lot of hard work and love went into the production and during the twilight years which is impressive. I also love how it doesn't take itself too seriously and the fact I can try my luck against a Terminator. Beating the hell out of digitised people is a great way to spend a couple of hours of anyone's time!! Play this.

Floppy disks can be found via Old Games Finder. (but stay clear of the early beta because it is rubbish!)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Golden Dawn Mod Disk #14

The Golden Dawn released lots of Mod Disks and this one is extra incredible because it's a humorous hack of Cannon Fodder showing ST soldiers graffiti the Amiga HQ before it escalates into a mini-war. What a superb idea and one which nicely represents tensions between ST and Amiga users back in the day (has it ended?).

Well, this "mod disk" is stuffed full of tunes which supports various addon hardware gizmos. This also includes the DMA audio coprocessor within the Atari STe for stereo playback. Download this right away and enjoy the fantastic intro before listening to these super duper tunes. My thanks to STompy for telling me about this intro!

Friday, October 27, 2017


It's time for some more amazing #PixelArt with ImageWorks' 1988 hit Bombuzal. I remember seeing this in the magazines of the day, I couldn't believe the cartoon-like quality of the main character within a colourful isometric world. He is an odd potato-shaped dude who performs a funny expression as the bombs are exploding - it's almost like he doesn't trust himself!! There are some big names associated with this game but is it any good?

Well, this is quite a simple puzzler that requires us to explode a collection of red bombs. Each screen contains a number of squares we can use to help calculate our best route through but watch out for traps: crumbling tiles which can be walked on only once before they disappear forever, so don't get yourself stranded!

Other tiles might be too slippy to walk on whilst some can transport you to another location. Slotted tiles allow us to move selected bombs to a different location, usually to avoid being caught up in an explosive chain reaction. I like Bombuzal, it's a fun game to tax the old brain cells and it's got fantastic pixel art too!

Floppies can be found via Old Games Finder with HDD versions by 8BitChip & Klaz.

Wow, this must be one of the brightest and happiest games on the Atari ST.

This is interesting and being able to flip POVs is neat. But I prefer it in 3D myself...

I love its pixel art. Isometric styles always look cool but this one also uses the palette perfectly.

Oh no, watch out for crumble tiles and (so many) other hazards. This 3D world is dangerous!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


A nasty virus has infected the automated machines on Mars so the robots have captured our scientists and are holding them captive. We have no anti-virus program so it's our job to destroy any robots that get in our way and help lead the boffins to safety. Jump inside your spaceship and get ready to save the day, again!

Rebellion is a top-down shoot 'em up similar (ish) to a Gauntlet game and each screen has a number of trapped hostages which are often located in different areas. Some are behind a forcefield which can be partially deactivated by disabling a section of its wall - but you won't have long before a repair droid appears so don't dawdle. Others can be in locked rooms which require a key card which a robot may reveal when killed. Every level has a minimum number of hostages to rescue within a set time. Miss it and the spaceship will leave without you!

Okay, so how are you going to break into that complex, rescue everyone and get out in time?

Enemy robots have a range of different abilities: some are slow whereas others are much faster and another can even lay down explosive mines. Some have no projectile weapon but others are only too eager to turn you into a blood splatter! Also, watch out for gun turrets, trapdoors, and large tanks. Interestingly, when you do lose a life, the robots are paused for a few seconds thus giving you some extra time to whack 'em full of lead. Our machine gun can be upgraded with more power and a faster action - just try not to kill any humans in the crossfire! There are a variety of other power-ups to enhance shields, invincibility, a radar scrambler and even a supply extra lives.

I don't normally enjoy games that have me worrying about the safety of computer-controlled characters whilst being hunted by the foe. I panic too much and everyone usually ends up dead! However, Rebellion works very well even though the hostages are lame at following so will often get stuck behind a wall... I'm never too happy about time limits and this one seems to have a mind of its own and may prove troublesome on later levels?

As you can see, each level is swarming with enemies and folk to rescue. It's never easy!

Rebellion is a simple game and has been perfectly executed. I've really enjoyed this shooter which I've found to be anxiously-entertaining because each level has an intricate and interesting design with gameplay that is progressively entertaining. So it's very addictive and one of those games that keeps dragging you back for more!

It's a fantastic rush killing the baddies whilst guiding the scientists back to safety. Yep, I love Rebellion!!

Floppy disks can be found via Old Games Finder
A cool hard disk version by D-Bug.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

9 Lives

It's time once again for some Atari ST box art and today we have 9 Lives. Like most Arc games, this has a simple box design but is also pretty comical with a laughing cat that reminds me of Tom And Jerry. I must admit, I laughed at the glowing reviews plastered by three popular magazines! This has to be a great purchase, right?

Sadly, they were wrong because 9 Lives is incredibly difficult, bordering on impossible! At first, I thought this might be because of the controls, which do take some time to fully master. Once you have, I personally think they are perfect and find it easy jumping up through the platforms and those long leaps are guided by a meter for fine control.

What a massive and unique variety of characters this game has.

Just look at those funny faces! I'm sure these were designed by insane people!!

What I feel is wrong are the gameplay mechanics which present a number of awkward flaws that irk me. The enemy sprites are far too big so each screen is overly cluttered, thus Bob cannot help but touch something nasty. Sure, I can knock them out with my woolly yo-yo but it's not long before they get up to zap more of my lifeforce!

Also, the level design is incredibly unfair and requires a psychic gamer that previously is aware of every off-screen trap. Argh, those darn spikes!! Oddly, for a cat, Bob cannot fall very far without dying!! However, this does produce a hilarious animation effect not too dissimilar to Wile E. Coyote from the Road Runner cartoons.

Another life lost... Well, at least I'm going up and not DOWN!! Phew.

Oh dear, another life lost at the hands of the frustrating and over-crowded level design...

The animations throughout are absolutely brilliant and I love how Bob struts his stuff walking across my screen. I love it when he clings onto a ledge, just before managing to pull himself up. In fact, the graphics are always superb with every screen highly detailed, beautiful landscapes and characters. Audio isn't left behind, the most gorgeous YM Chipmusic plays and it's a belter. Yep, 9 Lives certainly looks a sounds superb for a gorgeous 16-bit title.

Personally, I think 9 Lives had the potential to be a great game but I doubt it was produced (nor tested) by actual gamers. Sadly, I imagine most will play this once or twice before giving up - which is a shame? To think I bought this... but it's still a piece of ST history I will cherish. Just make sure you enable the trainer option!!

Go on I dare you to play!! Floppies are found via Old Games Finder with a HDD version by 8BitChip.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Mystic Realm

Mystic Realm is an arcade adventure that feels like an old skool mash of Gauntlet with RPG elements. It may scream 1985 but this was released later in the ST's life by developer John Lince for STart Magazine in 1990. Impressively, it's programmed this in GFA Basic, a powerful language which has produced many games over the years.

An evil vagrant has kidnapped the Princess (or Prince if you prefer to switch) and now she requires a valiant rescue. Whatever character, we are (once again) crawling through monster-infested dungeons fighting zombies, ghosts, bats, and more. Obviously, I chose to play as the prince even though I think he looks like a gingerbread man!!

There are 14 levels to plunder with the objective of finding keys to venture through and ultimately rescue our beloved. Each is made from a number of separate rooms and navigation is aided by directional arrows displayed at the top of the screen. These show us the sides of the screen that will lead us through the dungeon.

Wait, don't run away!! Remember that golden rule? Gameplay matters - not the graphics.

All 14 levels are mapped and included on the floppy disk (see below). Each is designed to increasingly challenge, but, never to a point where you feel bewildered or bored. Battle against a range of monsters and also solve puzzles that are slowly integrated into the gameplay. For example, a wooden gate may block your path but that isn't a strong obstacle against a couple of hits. However, later puzzles require more thought than simply brute force.

Various weapons can be collected and each translates into a specific number of knives for our adventurer to throw like a ninja. Do note that no other weapons are actually used but collecting a high ticket item - like an axe - will reward your inventory generously. The firing method will instantly feel familiar to Berzerk fans: just hold down the joystick button and tap the direction you wish to throw a knife. It's apt and works superbly well.

Health points are displayed top/left of the screen and detail our vitality from 0 (you're dead) to 999 (the maximum). It's hungry work being a heroic gingerbread man so chomp on whatever you find to keep yourself alive. If you are already near the max then it might be worth leaving food behind until later? Sadly, health isn't regenerated at the beginning of a brand new level and you will transform into a skeleton if you foolishly starve to death!!

Prince or Princess, here are the details for power, weapons, your enemies and everything else. Take notes!

Don't be fooled by the humble graphics, I find Mystic Realm quite fascinating as it reminds me of the games I played as a kid. The sprites are nicely drawn with comical details: I love the wobble of a zombie walk and the ghosts are fantastic. Even the meagre sound effects transport me back to the 80s as I hear the knife skim through the air on its way to hit a fiend. Yes, I'm not ashamed to admit that I adore its authentic 8-Bit atmosphere.

Tips? Easy: be a savvy adventurer! Beware not to waste your ammo because you never know how long it will be before you can top-up your arsenal. Remember to eat only when hungry. Finally, there are lots of locked doors - but use your collected keys wisely because not all doors need opening. Use your brain, Rambo!!

Mystic Realm proves jazzy graphics and sonic boom effects aren't required for a great game and that is exactly what we have. I've really enjoyed the arduous task of rescuing another damsel in distress! A great game.


( Don't be a dummy!!! Click on each thumbnail to see the larger level maps displayed )

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ghouls 'n Ghosts

There's an interesting thread over on Atari-Forum about a new version of Ghouls And Ghosts under development for the Atari STe by Sascha Springer. He's teased us with images and videos of lush sprites/landscapes and smooth scrolling but has just released an early beta. This was a jaw-dropping moment and proves the potential of the Atari ST - when in the hands of talent. I cannot wait to see more and wish Sascha much success!

This download is available via Atari-Forum [requires a 4MB Atari STe w/ hdd]

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Floppy Image Runner

Image Runner, by Peter Putnik provides a fantastic way to boot your ST with a disk image in Ram - without the hassle of finding a real (and working) floppy! Yep, it's basically a software Gotek and works with most disk images (.ST and .MSA). Obviously, it has been designed for real Atari STs with >2MB Ram and a hard drive/Ultrasatan.

It's simple to use: firstly, assign either ST or MSA file types in GEM. Dead easy - just watch the video recording. Now you can double-click on any image file from your collection to load Image Runner - this copies it into Ram and reboots. Your ST will start up as if it has that disk physically inside its drive - powered by black magic!!

The download contains PRGs for the different versions of TOS.
(I used "IMGRF162.PRG" for my Atari STe w/ Ultrasatan).

I must say Image Runner worked rather well and I enjoyed a good success rate on the whole. This program is a Godsend for us without a Gotek or CosmosEx and has certainly allowed me to enjoy Menu disks again! However, please remember that this is software so YMMV. Nobody can deny that this is genius so enjoy!!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Enduro Racer

Enduro Racer is one of my favourite Atari ST racers so I was excited to find out that Peter Jørgensen has begun development of an Atari STe enhanced version!! The latest beta uses a far-faster framerate compared to the commercial original - it flies!! Also, there are more on-screen colours and Blitter-powered graphics. Music will be taken from the arcade using YMT and the sound effects will be powered by the DMA hardware.

Good luck Peter. This is looking so promising and I cannot wait to see more. Watch this space!!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

STrange roboTS

Strange Robots was released in 2013 for Silly Venture by BlaBLa and Mandarin. It's one of those demos I've had on my Ultrasatan since the very beginning and is a personal favourite of mine. I love the presentation styles that also display an incredible range of colours with a funky 505 tune enjoyed throughout. What's not to love?

Demozoo has the download which will require an Atari STe with a jaw-dropping 4MB Ram. If you like this, then I suggest you take a look at Circus back²STage, JAPAN beauties and troubles and STreet Art - all excellent demos!!


Sunday, October 08, 2017

Horror Zombies From The Crypt

I've always been fascinated with Astral's haunted house platformer which I feel has a charming and great comical character. No haunting would be the same without lots of frightful creatures and this game has everything from witches, zombies, werewolves, vampires, ghosts and even the odd weird statue that sticks out its tongue at you!

Each level has a particular task which is described to us during a mini-intro at the start. The objective is to hunt down and collect all the skulls and lay their souls to rest. However, this is one tricky platformer through, it's a maze of creepy screens which often contain infuriating traps to catch you out. This is no arcade-style platformer, more of a Fire And Brimstone so keep your composure and wear your patience head, Worzel.

The artwork is beautifully creepy and I love the attention to detail - look at those eyes!!

The first level introduces us nicely to the game's personality with some puzzle solving along with a variety of classic baddies: zombies, headless ghosts and a Morticia Addams lookalike. Puzzles are quite easy and shouldn't tax the grey matter too much: move a table to reach an item, find keys to unlock doors, and wear cute booties to creep past something scary. Things hot up on the next level with tougher monsters and trickier level designs.

Level passwords: WolfmanHammerLugosiNosferatu and Garlic.

I must admit to taking a liking to the wolfmen but I hate the old hunchback witch who can drop rocks with great accuracy! Always look for hidden rooms or secret objects that may need a different type of key. Every level has a password so there is never a need to restart from the beginning each time which is an excellent idea and one I wish more games would have supported (I'm talking to you Navy Seals!)

Oh no, ZOMBIES!!! Kill 'em all but watch out for traps...

The visual style is perfectly apt for the 1950's cinematic theme with smooth scrolling, incredible artwork and freaky characters who are also superbly animated. Just wait until you die and see yourself shudder before violently suffering a Scanners-like headache, no matter the actual cause of death! I must say that I am impressed with the palette used, each level is its own mini-movie and looks absolutely tremendous. The horror is typically cheesy and I love it!!

Audio is nothing short of incredible with a chippy rendition of Montagues and Capulets which couldn't have been a more perfect choice. I'm sure I'll be humming this all day long! All sound effects are high-quality samples with the wolf howls being my favourite. However, I'm disappointed there is nothing for my head-exploding deaths?

Some monsters are really hard to pass and I hate it when witches drop objects on my head!

This is one of those games that will eat away the hours but also requires practice and plenty of patience because it can be so cruel. In fact, it's often infuriating on later levels, just try Family Chapel if you don't believe me... Horror Zombies From The [Atari]Crypt is the perfect title for such a cheesy platformer. I wish it was a little easier but killing wolfmen, zombies and running scared from piercing vampire glares is right up my street. Gory fun!

A hard disk download can be found on D-Bug and floppies can be sourced using Old Games Finder.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

River Raid

Today I fancied a quick blast of one of my favourite ZX Spectrum games - RIVER RAID!!

Okay, I know it's lame compared to the Atari 2600/5200 games but I have many happy memories playing it during my school years. So I figured I should put some of that Mega STe muscle to good use and boot up the Speccy emulator for some colour-clash action. Sadly, there was never an official Atari ST release. #gutted

Obviously, I cannot record directly off my Mega STe so I duplicated the setup in Hatari to make this video: a stock 16Mhz Mega STe with TOS 2.06 runs the game very well. It's almost at the same speed as a real ZX Spectrum which ain't saying much, but it was still great fun to play. Hey, perhaps my recording might fool people into thinking it's a real ZX Spectrum? Well, until they see the GEM desktop right at the end of the video! ;-)

Friday, September 29, 2017

Biomechanoid Locomotion

I spent some time last night listening to many incredible tunes from the SNDH Archive. Biomechanoid Locomotion, by Shinobi (aka Marcus Andre Rousseau) was probably my fave of the night so click the green arrow to hear it :-)

Turn up the volume and use these Atari ST programs to play everything from this amazing archive. 🎧

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Pole Position

Pole Position is an arcade conversion developed by Jonathan Thomas for the Atari STe. Minimum requirements are 1mb Ram, a good joystick and an addiction of this beautiful old racer which looks, sounds, and plays almost exactly like the original game that ate all of our 10 pence coins. Downloads are available via Atari-Forum (backed-up on my Dropbox). Stop right there!! Please don't be an idiot: play this awesome game using a real computer!!

The latest 'release candidate' has major improvements and delivers a near arcade-busting conversion:
Runs at a 60fps to bring the speed and difficulty in line with the arcade game.
You can thank the Blitter chip for whizzing the graphics so furiously!
Sprite scaling utilisied for that arcade feel for ultra-smooth results.
Even good 'ol Mount Fuji is displayed in all its glory!
The sky gradient is back along with numerous fixed graphical and audio glitches.
Sound effects are taken from the arcade machine and played using DMA coprocessor.
Code compiled with GCC 7.1 for a significant performance increase.
Many optimisations are made, mainly around text rendering for authenticity.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Space Monsters

Space Monsters was developed by Darren Ithell for Goodman PDL and I'm sure you've already guessed it's a conversion of the arcade classic, Space Panic. I'm often a little dubious of 16-bit conversions for old arcade or 8-bit classics. Quite often they don't work or it feels like something is missing. So I had high hopes...

This looks good with each screen has the expected platforms and ladders with lots of horrid nasties roaming. It's instant death if you bump into one so Spaceman has discovered the best way to kill these critters is to dig trap. Once they've foolishly got themselves stuck (for a few seconds) he has the opportunity to whack 'em with his spade which for a splattery death. Spaceman is a gruesome fella but whatever works, right?

- Watch out for this trio -

Oh, the nasties in this game are so... well... nasty!! The Boss is tough but Don is a killer!!

Yup, there are only three types of monsters but that doesn't mean their numbers are limited. The first is a "Creature" and is pretty gullible and easy to avoid or kill. However, the other two aren't so dumb and even possess a freakishly cunning AI. "Boss" is hard and "Don", well, he's the real boss. Try not to anger any monsters!!

Also, it takes a greater falling distance to kill the stronger nasties but you are rewarded with lots of extra points. However, if you fail to smash in their faces in with your spade, then they climb out very angry and looking for blood!! Finally, watch out for that time limit. Don't dawdle and get these beasts killed before your oxygen runs out.

The controls are superb which is a relief as I've played a few similar games which would require pixel-perfect alignment with the ladder before you're allowed to climb it. That's always a pain which I'm happy to say doesn't exist here. Digging holes and caving in the heads of aliens is easy and so much fun. My only quibble is not being able to fall down a hole otherwise, the authenticity for both style and gameplay has been perfectly captured.

'Creature' is a cute but gullible goon and temporally falling into a hole makes him very angry!!

Visuall, well, it's Space Panic so is everything you should expect it to be with a clean-cut design and cutesy sprites. It won't win any awards but who cares? The audio is far better with nice sampled sound effects throughout and that ROAR a monster makes when it climbs out a hole will scare you to death!! I just miss a background tune...

Overall, Space Monsters is fantastic and perfectly captures that oldskool vibe in both look and style. The gameplay itself gradually increases for that expected stressful experience and trying to tactically dig the right holes whilst worrying what could creep up on you is truly a PANIC. Yep, this is the best conversion I have played.