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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Raiden


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 hate cats!

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?



Wolves are better than cats!

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.



The CryptO'pinion?

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! 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 to play this... but I still enjoyed it. A Bit ;)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

GEM Desktop



When wallpapers weren't a standard...

DeskFX is a GEM utility that I thought was pretty cool and entertaining, if annoyingly flawed. It replaces three parts of our beautiful GEM desktop - the default font, a choice of wallpaper, and an animated mouse pointer. As you can see, above, the wallpaper feature only updates every 2/3 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 - only in medium which is probably better anyhow? Not in the sense of available colours but in terms of functionality, who uses low to work? Who still works on their ST? ;-)

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

Grap


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 a puzzler which I'm sure will appeal to the brainiacs? It was originally sold through the publication as a "budget" mail-order 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 playing it :-)

LINKS

 - 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

Falcon


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?

LINKS

 - 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.

- DOWNLOAD -


- 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.



SubHunt

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!

LINKS

 - 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



Pogo the frog? This is gonna suck...

Nebulus was released in 1988 by one of my favourite gaming companies, Hewson and features an armed frog with big eyes called Pogo who isn't too happy by the thought of eight large sea-based towers and decides they need climbing and blowing up! Essentially, this is a platformer with some interesting pseudo-3D mechanics that 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.


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


Frogs love water, right?

Getting to the top of any tower isn't easy thanks to a barrage of unusual nasties to either shoot or avoid - and 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. Always consider the option of using these tunnels to quickly nip through, they might come in handy to avoid those flying obstacles!!

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 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 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.


16-Bit Sexy Appeal!!

Throughout our adventure, the visuals are utterly tremendous. Nebulus is programmed by legend, John M Phillips, who also helped treat us to a colourful display of great artwork and ultra-smooth framerates. It's amazing just what the Atari ST could crank out - when programmed by somebody with talent and commitment.

The audio is equally impressive with gorgeous sound effects, some of the best samples, and a beautifully unique chiptune. In fact, I can leave that running all day long... it's beautiful. Gorgeous audio!

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


The CryptO'pinion?

Nebulus can feel a little finicky with a learning curve much steeper than you expect. But, with lots of practice, I guarantee hours of addictive gaming because Nebulus is a real firecracker and I love how it integrates both arcade action and strategical thinking with a fascinating visual style. I think in many respects it's ahead of its time.

Nebulus is a tough, but wonderful shoot 'em up and is pure JMP magic. An icon of the 16-bit era.

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

Monday, January 09, 2017

Donkey Island



Monkey Island?

In 1997 Ed Cleveland (aka Eddie Cat) 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 onto the Mac/PC. Sadly, it appears he got little feedback from us all and thus, decided to call it a day. 

Well, that's my take on what I read. Whatever happened, it's a shame because his talent and dedication were on the way to creating something rather special. Yep, it's disappointing but at least he released this final/beta version which was very kind. And it's more-than-worth downloading...

Donkey Island is a graphical adventure that is 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 so life is obviously TOS-taSTic!

However, that changed when he found out that Donkey Island, a game he has been eagerly awaiting, had been cancelled. Fred is crushed and cannot accept it. So he powers of the little green desktop computer to begin exploring his hometown to find out why it was cancelled. (A feeling not new to ST gamers in the 90s!)


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


He looks familiar O_o

Fred is controlled using the cursor keys which is simple and effective. The keypad is used to interact with your surrounds and characters - who are are incredibly entertaining and interesting, to say the least. It's now that I feel even sadder that this game wasn't finished because the style and sense of humour gone into making Donkey Island is quite beautiful. Although incomplete, there is a large town to explore with some cute surprises.

In its current form, this is pretty much a broken adventure game but one we can fully play. Getting around Fred's town is a cinch and we have all the abilities to investigate this horrifying gaming incident. Roam, explore, and never forget to chat with the locals. They're nothing like you are expecting and their humour is often superb!

Although unfinished, full exploration is possible and many characters are available to knock up a conversation with. Some rooms are complete whilst others are in an unfinished state. Yet, they're there to use which is brilliant. I'm so happy this "beta" was released yet, at the same time, I am gutted. What a game this almost was!


Sadly, some areas of the game will never be finished but at least they're left in for us to play.


Aesthetics

Each location is depicted using a cartoon style similar to a comic book which Fred walks through in a rather crude but functional fashion. The artwork isn't exactly brilliant but the amateurish quality works wonders and the characters are superb. I love the way we communicate with others and our surroundings which is quite unique in style.

The sound effects are good but what I really love is the technique used for speech - it reminds me of Charlie Brown's teacher. Come on, tell me you can't hear that too? Well, I think it's superb :)


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


The CryptO'pinion?

Donkey Island had incredible potential and I imagine it would have ended up being a hugely fascinating adventure. It still is of course, albeit unfinished. I've enjoyed playing what is potentially a killer product that offers a different approach to the genre whilst being thoroughly entertaining with a wonderful sense of humour, strange locations and the silliest characters. Trust me, this is a hidden gem and something I wholeheartedly recommend!!


Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Motor Massacre



Mad Max with choppy graphics?

Motor Massacre was released by Gremlin Graphics and feels like a wicked blend of a number of 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 almost 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.


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


It's a Carmageddon out there!

Yes, this 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.

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.


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


Explore and have fun!

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).

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.


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


Aesthetics?

Visually, this is a basic affair with crudely-drawn graphics and jerky scrolling to match. However, I must admit being mightily impressed with the animation of those running men which reminded me of Impossible Mission. However, Motor Massacre is a visually sad attempt by the usual 16-bit standards we're used to. Quite poor...

Sadly, the sound effects are probably worse than the visuals. But, let's be honest, when did aesthetics matter to gameplay? Well, it's a good job then because it looks and sounds quite terrible lol!


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


The CryptO'pinion?

Motor Massacre has been a nice surprise. Sure, it's about as glam as a dog turd but I enjoyed the mix of arcade-style action with an adventure lurking below its surface. Being able to stop and enter buildings adds that extra dynamic which I loved. There's always something stupid waiting for you so don't take it seriously and have fun.

Overall, I have really enjoyed zipping around the city looking for my victims. It's crude but really enjoyable!!


Mel Gibson wannabes can download the floppies
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.