Sunday, January 29, 2017


It's been almost a year since I first mentioned news of Raiden under development for the Atari STe by none other than our favourite Frogger dude, Scott Clifford. Sadly, his commitments forced the project to be put on ice temporally... But, good news, he has now restarted it and is making huge progress.

The initial work behind the scrolling, backgrounds, and sprites are all coming together. Also, the enemy sprite routines and placements are now being coded. Quite incredible for a one-man effort and it's a very exciting project to see in progress. I wish Scott well and cannot wait to see the next update. Watch this space!

Okay, here's the basic plan...

- Hardware scrolling is used for the entire screen - no status panel.
- DMA hardware for the playback of authentic arcade music.
- The Blitter will be utilised for the larger sprites.
- YM chip will be used for the sound effects.
- Support for the JagPad controller can be implemented.
- Please note that my video was recorded using emulation (better on my Atari STe)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Operation Garfield

I've been browsing through the Floppyshop archives and I've stumbled upon a game called Operating Garfield which was (shock) inspired by Operation Wolf. Developed by Dave Brankin, it sparked my curiosity because of its support for the Atari STe as it utilises the Blitter for 8-way scrolling and the sprites and audio is played using the DMA. Basically, he was tired of the commercial gaming companies ignoring the enhanced computer!

Okay, aliens are invading Earth but this time they've oddly disguise themselves as the fat lazy cat from the TV. Why I hear you cry? Well, because they have watched our broadcasts and felt that we would forgive them if they were cute and cuddly invaders. Yep, the storyline is a stretch but whatever works, right?

The game takes place over a cityscape littered with invading Garfield's that fire bucket loads of rockets!! Use the mouse to avoid or kill these whilst also looking for ammo caches, smart bombs, and even the England flag proudly flying. To help, there is a near-useless Defender-style map at the top/left of the screen - but I didn't care for this.

What lets the game down is the difficulty level which is extraordinarily high so rarely did I get the chance to fully appreciate the game before dying! I also thought the framerate should have been a lot better considering the hardware being used but most irritating of all was the T2 sample which grated after a while.

Of course, Operation Garfield isn't to be taken too seriously as it provides nothing more than a few minutes of stress-busting gun love killing a big fat cat! However, I fear the gameplay has little to offer other than a short, albeit gratifying, Garfield-killing spree. I cannot imagine any Operating Wolf fans switching but I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

GEM Desktop

DeskFX is a GEM utility that I thought was pretty cool and quite entertaining, if annoyingly flawed. It replaces three parts of our beautiful GEM desktop - the default font, choice of wallpaper, and an animated mouse pointer. As you can see, above, the wallpaper feature only updates every three seconds which is a little lame compared to DeskPic. However, the new fonts are superb and (like a big kid) I just loved playing with various animated pointers!

It appears the author had an STFM and DeskFX worked fine on my computer in both resolutions. Sadly, I couldn't get it to work on my Atari STe in LOW resolution but it worked okay in medium, which is probably what most people will be using anyhow. I thought this was a nice utility to share and you'll find it on disk UTL-4410 over at Floppyshop :-)

 --> Wanna read about more cool warez? Then check out our "Software" group :)

Monday, January 23, 2017


Marko Latvanen, of AtariMania, kindly sent me a game developed by Tangram programmer, Mark Luthe, for German magazine ST Magazin. Grap first appears a Tempest clone but is actually the tough puzzler which I'm sure will appeal to the brainiacs out there. It was originally sold through the publication as a "budget" mail order title back in 1990 but hasn't been available since then. I am very excited by this rare and fascinating find and I hope you enjoy play it :-)


 - The only place you shall find Grap is on the excellent AtariMania website. Get it now!
 - Computer Magazine Archive has more on ST Magazin (you'll need Google Translate)
 - Thinkers might wanna check out our "Puzzle" section right here on AtariCrypt :)

Saturday, January 21, 2017


It's very satisfying to finally complete a favourite collection of something we love and I have just managed to complete the Falcon trio. Sure, there are the limited and classic releases that bundle the lot but I've never been much impressed with many compilations as I've always wanted the original, individual, games. And now I finally have 'em!

Falcon is a brilliant flight sim with awesome graphics and many interesting locations to fail its many missions! So here is my special 3x cover feature for our Box Art section. Why not take your own F-16 for a spin today?


 - AtariMania features every Falcon release within their ST database :
     ~ Falcon
     ~ Mission Disk 1 Operation: Counterstrike
     ~ Mission Disk 2 Operation: Firefight
 - 8BitChip has done it again and adapted a Falcon bundle for hard drive installation.
 - Old Game Finder has the floppies for those poor souls without the original disks or a hard drive! :p

Friday, January 20, 2017

Harris Went Skiing

Today we rewind the clocks all the way to 1982 for a skiing adventure with an odd 8-bit hero, Horace. Developed in STOS by a couple of brothers calling themselves OllySoft and released (I think) a whole decade after the ZX Spectrum original. However, for his Atari ST appearance, he didn't want to upset Psion so changed his name to Harris to avoid any confusion. Oh, and he "WENT" skiing instead of "GOES". Hmm, subtle...

Anyone old enough to remember the original will feel right at home with Harris who is once again looking to enjoy a skiing trip. However, it's not started off well... Harris finds himself in a pickle as he didn't bring along any skis so must hire replacements from the resort - who built their shop on the wrong side of a busy highway! The Frogger part is way too easy in comparison to what I remember! Simply waiting for a large gap in the traffic allows Harris to run all the way across the road - in one go! The skiing part is great and with many obstacles to avoid. Once the skiing is finished, somebody robs your skis so you head back to the hire shop to repeat everything...

The graphics and sounds are quite close to the original but (as an ST nutter) I must admit nothing beats the authenticity of the original. The audio effects are crudely entertaining but the music grates after a while. Overall, OllySoft has done a great job with Harris Went Skiing and playing "Horace" again has certainly brought back lots of warm and fuzzy feelings of nostalgia. It's simple, it's silly and it's highly recommended.


- And Even More OllySoft Games -

Who Maimed Roger Rabbit

Imagine Operation Wolf but set in President Trump's backyard which is overrun by weak rabbits! Aka lefties. So grab your gun and let's fix this once and for all. A successful hit turns those rabbits into a bloody mess of gore which I'm sure animal lovers will really appreciate. Overall, it's a simple game but also quite enjoyable, if repetitive.


A pointless two-player game so rubbish alone and possibly rubbish anyhow. Well, I didn't like it whatsoever if I'm honest. However, it does feature a cool hidden easter egg and that's worth the download. Brilliant!!


Ayatollah Invaders

An endless supply of angry ayatollah chaps running down your screen - straight into the path of your tank. It's mind-numbingly boring after a few minutes but I gotta admit that those somersault deaths are incredible.

Motorway Death

Perhaps it's time to lower the bar to the lowest of low extreme levels? Is that even possible? Okay, how about a game of hit and run! Yep, you heard me right. And, on this road, people appear glued down so drive into them and watch blood splatter as their bodies spin off into the air. It's really funny... well... for a few minutes!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Head Over Heels

I stumbled upon Head Over Heels by pure chance today. It's been donkey's years since I played this on my old ZX Spectrum and seeing it again is a heartwarming reminder of my 8-bit days. However, I shockingly cannot remember completing this tough isometric adventure and I certainly don't ever recall playing the Atari ST version!

Head Over Heels is far more complex than it first appears with two characters who each have their own skillset solve the puzzles. It's superb to see this again after all these years and anyone that loves the "filmation" genre will surely be in heaven. The graphics are Spec-tacular with superb details and more colour than my old rubber Speccy could ever have dreamt of. A huge and intriguing adventure offering many sleepless nights!


 - AtariMania features this within the ST database including an interesting tidbit too!
 - Download Head Over Heels from 8BitChip as this supports a trainer and hard drive installation.
 - An extremely interesting website for the ZX Spectrum version with maps, videos, and more...
 - Retrospec remade a number of Speccy games and Head Over Heels is one of them.

Saturday, January 14, 2017


Nebulus was released in 1988 by one of my favourite gaming companies, Hewson and features an armed frog with big eyes called Pogo. He isn't too excited by the thought of eight sea-based towers and considers it his personal mission to climb 'em and blow 'em up! Essentially, this is a platformer with some interesting pseudo-3D mechanics which provide a pretty unique visual style within an ingenious design. This is class programming.

The world certainly revolves around little Pogo. During gameplay, he always remains at the centre of the screen with horizontal movements causing the screen to scroll in a "three-dimensional" circular motion, thus turning the tower around. All are cylindrical in shape with several platforms dotted all around the outside and nifty tunnels which offer a great way quickly access the opposite side whenever your current pathway is a dead end. However, getting to the top won't be easy! There is a barrage of unusual nasties to either shoot or avoid with one that flys by to conveniently get in your way. Access to the top will involve careful strategy because your route is broken thus forcing you to use opposite sides of the tower depending on where you are. So always consider the option of using these tunnels to quickly nip through to the other side... they might also come in handy to avoid those flying obstacles!!

A belting title screen before being chauffeured to the game by a rather spiffy water ship.

Nebulus may sound easy but it's actually very challenging and a brisk time limit allows little room for error. Bumping into an enemy will drop you down to the previous ledge, which is fantastic because that doesn't necessarily mean a frustrating loss of life, nor will it impede your momentum as you pick yourself up to try that part of the tower all over again. However, if there isn't a ledge to land on, then you might fall even further down thus requiring lots of hefty backtracking, which could prove too much if little time remains. Ohh the pressure!!

Falling further still (and into the water) is strangely fatal for this little froggy who is the only frog ever to have existed that can't handle it - so he loses a life! Also interesting is a bonus game featured in-between the levels - this has Pogo travelling to his next tower via a nice horizontal scroller. It's a shooter featuring lots of Psygnosis-busting smooth parallax scrolling and is quite humble so should have been longer because I really enjoyed it a bunch.

Talk about going the extra mile and NOT sticking to 16-colours! Absolutely superb.

Throughout our adventure, the visuals are utterly tremendous. Nebulus is programmed by legend, John M Phillips, who treats us to a colourful display of great artwork and smooth framerates. It's amazing just what the ST could crank out - when programmed by somebody with talent and commitment. All audio is equally impressive with gorgeous sound effects, some of the best samples, and a beautifully unique chiptune I can leave running all day!

Nebulus can feel a little finicky at first, with a learning curve that is much steeper than you would expect but, with lots of practice, I guarantee many hours of addictive gaming because this is a real firecracker!! I love how it perfectly integrates both arcade action and strategical thinking using a fascinating visual style which is far ahead of its time. Nebulus is JMP magic and an icon of the awesome 16-bit era. Hard but a truly wonderful shoot 'em up!

Okay, ignore my jerky capture because this part scrolls superbly and is great fun!!

Floppies are available on Stonish and 8BitChip has a hard drive game!

Monday, January 09, 2017

Donkey Island

In 1997 Ed Cleveland had spent many moons working on a comedy adventure called Donkey Island. However, the latter end of the 90s were bitterly cold days with most of us having sold up and moved on, so it appears he got little feedback, thus decided to call it a day. A huge shame but at least he released what he had done...

This is a graphical adventure that is very different from what I was first expecting. Think of something vaguely similar in style and content to Lure Of The Temptress or a Sierra On-Line game and you get the idea. But with a comical twist: we are Fred, a geek who loves playing games on his Atari ST and life is obviously TOS-taSTic! However, this changed when he found out that Donkey Island, a game he has been eagerly awaiting, had been cancelled. Fred is crushed and cannot accept this so powers off his beloved little green desktop computer and began exploring his hometown to find out why it was cancelled. (A feeling not new to us ST gamers in the 90s!)

Fred is controlled using the cursor keys which is simple and effective and the keypad is used to interact with your surrounds and the characters. It's these strange "people" who are incredibly entertaining and interesting, to say the least. Each location is depicted using a cartoon style like something from a comic book. The sound effects are quite good but what I really love is the technique used for speech - it reminds me of Charlie Brown's teacher.

Donkey Island had incredible potential and I imagine it would have ended up being a hugely fascinating adventure. It still is, albeit unfinished. But I've enjoyed this and found myself in strange locations talking to the silliest characters - which was ace. Trust me, this is a hidden gem and something I wholeheartedly recommend playing!!

The cartoon design works really well and some drawings are superb!

Whilst other areas are sadly left unfinished... but at least we can still see 'em!

Exploration is always the key to success and there are lots of (hidden) locations.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Motor Massacre

Motor Massacre was released by Gremlin Graphics and feels like a wicked mix of a number of my favourite games. The action takes place in a grim post-apocalyptic future where each city is suffering from the devastation of war and resembles a Mad Max movie! All food stores were destroyed in the holocaust so people were starving until Doctor A. Noid came up with a substitute called "SLU" to help the waning populous...

Why are these masterminds always qualified doctors? Anyhow, it was all a trick because SLU tastes like poo and turns the people into zombies! So it's up to you to rescue the city from its psychotic drivers, explore buildings, and then battle in a demolition derby event to ultimately find the doctor and end this misery.

Yes, Motor Massacre is more than one single game: the cities are explored from the comfort of an ATV - top/down similar to Chicago 90 but when inside buildings, it changes to something like Time Bandit or Gauntlet.

Pandy's Pork Palace sounds a lot better than it actually is!

It's demolition derby time where we can shove other cars into the dark oblivion.

Driving around the city is tremendous fun because you are completely free to roam these streets and that also means blasting at anyone who might get in your way. All other drivers are out for blood and want you dead by any means and their road rage antics are vicious so defend yourself using your cannon fitted to your vehicle. Use this to blast the suckers into oblivion but also watch out for hazards such as oil spills and explosives carelessly left lying in the road. Do note the gun turrets which line many streets and are annoyingly highly accurate.

An interesting "mechanic" is how your vehicle's appearance alters the more damage it endures, so I'm grateful the holocaust didn't destroy the repair shops which also offer a wide range of other services like fuel, weapons, and ammo. The mechanic working here scares me, but I like his T-shirt! There are some more places and these offer a good opportunity to collect goods like weapons and health, so look out for their location using the road markings (Pandy's Pork Palace is available right from the start and contains a handy ATV upgrade).

The mechanic is freaky. It's almost on a Chucky level here... shudder...!!

However, we need him because the roads in the future are just terrible.

You soon discover that these various places are thriving with ghouls and other creatures lurking in the shadows. Nowhere is safe, but you're armed with a pistol so shoot first and ask questions later! Keep searching these areas and you should find an arena pass to the demolition derby. This event is pure Carmageddon and nothing beats pushing your opponents into a chasm! Success here, grants you access to the next city.

Visually, this is a basic affair with crude graphics and jerky scrolling to match. However, I must admit being mightily impressed with the animation of the running men which oddly reminded me of Impossible Mission. Sadly, the sound effects are as poor as the visuals but, let's be honest, when did aesthetics matter to gameplay?

Motor Massacre is crude but plays like a beast and is very challenging. This racing adventure is bursting at the seams with action and I have really enjoyed zipping around the city looking for my next victim. Each part of this game is fantastic and so addictive in its own unique way and keeps dragging you back for one more game.

Mel Gibson wannabes can download the floppy disk and tear up the roads like Mad Max!

Monday, January 02, 2017

Lure Of The Temptress

I wanted to kick off the new year with something special and that means cool BoxArt for one of my favourite Atari ST games, Lure Of The Temptress. First featured on AtariCrypt last spring, it remains one of my most popular posts and for good reason. However, I doubt I would ever be able to find the right words to fully explain how much I love this superb and humorous adventure with its amazing characters and fascinating storyline. Just play it!!

Downloads are available on either floppy disks or best of all a hard disk.