Tuesday, April 25, 2017

ZombieCrypt




I have made a horror slideshow!

A few months ago I came up with the notion to create a slideshow based on a zombie/horror theme because I love George A. Romero and adore movies like Evil Dead and Resident Evil. Not to mention Milla Jovovich!!

I used Imagecopy 4 to convert several JPGs from various movies but that's where my artistic skills ended. I have none! So I asked a few friends if they'd like to donate some gruesome pics of their own. My thanks to the boys listed below for their images and Peter Jørgensen for his awesome slideshow. This program removes the lower border for a cool scroller, plays fantastic YMT music and can be launched from either a floppy or hard drive.

I've really enjoyed working on this project and I hope all of you ST nutters download it. Let me know :)



- The Credits -


Production ideas and childishly drawn images are by Meeeee!! :D
Artistic skills: Stuart Johns / Peter Jørgensen / Karim Mezaouri / Aurélien Vaillant
Also, credit to the "unknown" for the images I nabbed off the web!
Slideshow programmed by Peter Jørgensen.
Addams Family theme tune by Vic Wizzy (converted Peter)



- Sample Slideshow Pics -













Friday, April 21, 2017

Hoog





Prepare thyself!

The Atari ST is a computer with a huge public domain library, be it games, programs, utilities, and much more. In fact, our archive proves just how popular the ST was for both users and those creative folk with the talent to code and create art or music. This is what I love about the Atari ST and is something I've yet to "feel" from a modern computer.

Believe it or not, looking at the screenshots, Hoog is a shareware platformer released in 1994 by MP Lord - yes he of Droid fame. It's incredible to look at and feels quite similar to Creatures but with more of a puzzle theme. There are also elements that reminded me of Sleepwalker and Lemmings but whether or not that's a good thing I'll leave it for you to decide.

Okay, I think that's enough reading for the moment! How about some sexy screenshots to whet your appetite...



Using the balloons, we can float upwards to access places otherwise impossible to reach.



A bundle of stars and a cheeky grin make this platformer something extra special!




Aww little baby Hoogs!

The objective is very simple - we need to rescue baby Hoogs that are trapped inside cages! Sounds so cruel? Yes, it is and they're trapped, innocently waiting for us to free them. However, these little kiddies are pretty darn stupid and, when released, will blindly wander off through their dangerous new world - and die!! They can get trapped, drown, or fry in burning flames. Yep, there's a lot of strategic thought needed when guiding these little babies home.

Hoog himself can walk, jump and even chuck bombs at his foes. However, he's only a short, stubby fella so cannot do much without the help of his environment, like helium-filled balloons which offer a chance to reach any inaccessible areas. There are various other cool mechanics to aid our hero; look for springs to bounce high into the air, switches that unlock hidden ledges, and special gateways that transport Hoog long distances in the blink of an eye.

This is a game that is very easy to pick up and play. The controls are simple and responsive, without lag or finicky irritations. You're not thrown in at the deep end and gradually taught how to get the best from your environment to save those little babies. It plays great from the start and I was impressed with how each level becomes steadily and progressively harder. I personally get that warm, fuzzy feeling playing this game because a lot of thought went into its creation!

Fancy some more colourful screenshots? I know, I know, of course, you do so here ya' go...



There's that cute, happy face again! How can you not love the graphics :)



Things are hotting up now! Not only the difficulty but those flames will easily cook a baby hoog!




Amateur homebrew aesthetics?

Visually, this has got to be one of, if not the most, impressive "Public Domain" games that I have ever seen. The entire artwork is truly astounding and way beyond anything else that I can think of from the ST's homebrew scene. Each level features landscapes of stunning beauty, and I truly do mean stunning. Miles has made lovely use of colour because everything is so bright and cheerful. It's unbelievable and I recommend sunglasses before you play!

But that's not all, the sprites are also stunning and even have a Bitmap feel to them. Animations are lovely with neat attention to detail - like when Hoog smiles during a jump. He even wiggles his bum in flight. Finally, I cannot end without mentioning the smooth parallax scrolling. This is a commercial game, right? What, no you say?!!

The audio is a treat and proves that chiptunes will last forever compared to most tracker tunes. Sadly, there's only one in-game tune so it will get tiresome after a while. Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful tune that your YM2149 is knocking out but I'd have liked a selection. However, I love what we have and I cannot get it out of my head lol.

I can never bore of Hoog screenshots but we have to end sometime. So here are the final two screenshots...



Use the ledges but hang on a minute, I see two cute critters below that appear asleep?



When everything is peachy and fire can't harm him. I'm too cute to burn........... honest!!! <evil grin>




The CryptO'pinion?

Hoog is something rather special but it isn't easy and will take a little practice to figure out what's going on. Not only that but also the best, most efficient way to solve the puzzle of rescuing babies. Well, unless you enjoy watching cute critters drown or burn? Perhaps you do? Who doesn't!! Or is it just me? Anyhow, whatever your preference, this is a great game that's going to keep you occupied for many hours with its humorously challenging and addictive gameplay.

Once again, Miles Lord has released a wonderful game and one that humiliates many commercial companies who rushed through sloppy Amiga ports. This proves what the Atari ST is capable of in the hands of talent; it's a magnificent example of great coding. Hoog is a mind-blowing platformer and one of my favourite ST games. Highly recommended!!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Starburst



Graphics never make the game

Starburst is a shareware game by Chris Skellern that grants us a gratifying opportunity to blow stuff up. In fact, we can blow up everything! This space-shoot 'em up is based on an old Sinclair QL game which is pretty cool when you think about it. The objective is to find six power bases and decimate them before attempting the ultimate goal of killing the super brain.

Oooooh, that sounds amazing, right? Pilot your spaceship through lots of rocky caverns, destroying everything that you come across. And, when I say everything, I really do mean everything so have yourself some fun!! Directional firing is available using the keypad, which I've demonstrated here in this simple animated GIF.

No screenshots? Okay, aesthetically, this game isn't going to blow your mind with its boring 8-Bit visuals. However, that's the era I grew up in so I don't need fancy graphics to enjoy myself. In fact, Starburst reminds me of Harrier Attack - remember that one? The chip music is superb with in-game sampled sound effects that aren't all that bad if I'm honest.

Starburst is dead simple and explosive fun so stop thinking and destroy everything. Yes, everything!!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Atari ST games


        


A one-floppy compilation

How many Atari ST games can you fit onto a single floppy disk? No, it's not a silly joke because Peter Putnik has already provided us with the answer: a whopping twenty-three Atari ST games!! These are all heavily compressed on one bog-standard double-density floppy disk. That is a hefty reduction so be prepared to wait for the decompression!

There are many classics - Arkanoid, Robotron, The Sentinel, Asteroids, Virus, Tempest, Head Over Heels, Pengy, Jet Set Willy, Crystal Castles, Major Motion, Xevious, Sentinel, Moon Patrol, Joust, and lots more!! (use the search top/right)

What, you don't believe me? Then you should clickety-click right now and grab the download for yourself.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Magicland Dizzy




I'm so dizzy, my head is spinning...

Being a bit of an odd bod, I've never taken much time to play any of the Dizzy games so figured I should choose one from this hugely popular series and see where it takes me. I've decided on Magicland Dizzy, probably because I was reminded of Stormbringer from my Spectrum 128 days. Amusingly, I've gone and picked one which wasn't designed by the Oliver Twins but by Neal Vincent and programmed by Derek Leigh-Gilchrist of Captain Dynamo fame.

Magicland has been infected by an evil wizard. Yes, another evil wizard but he's not banked on Dizzy who plans on saving the day. Dizzy must explore Magicland and rescue six of his friends being held captive. To do this he must solve many puzzles, trade items and talk to the natives. Basically, what you'd expect following the same format.

Wanna see a scary screenshot? Well, it's not that scary but there is a hungry ghost...



Okay, the first demoed puzzle is easy. This scary dude is hungry so, feed him something nice!



Oi! egg head O_o

The graphics are beautiful with cartoon artwork by Leigh Christian (Magic Boy) which includes lots of neat animations and effects. Just look at that mean-looking troll in the animation above - it's better than watching Nick Jr. Thankfully, the audio hasn't been forgotten with stunning chip music to enjoy throughout. It's YM-tastic and I loved it!!

I love mapping ST games but I didn't make this one which you can check out right here...




I found this map on a Russian Dizzy website. Click twice - it's pretty BIG!!



So far so good?

Well, having only played for a short while today, I can honestly say I'm shocked at just how superb this is. The controls are spot-on perfect and (thankfully) I'm getting the distinct impression that my old brain won't be frustrated by any stupid puzzles. From what I've seen, each character will need something, so it's a case of finding out what and where that might be located. Simple, but always interesting without the irritation that this lazy adventurer initially expected!

Fantastic gaming and something I highly recommend. Have a blessed Easter everyone †

- DOWNLOADS -

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Narco Police



Drugs... Guns... Violence!

I don't know what it is, I really don't. But I've always had a soft spot for Dinamic. I think it might be because they were one of those companies releasing games during my twilight ZX Spectrum years just before playing their Atari ST games. Along with games like Army Moves, they went on to make some belters, one of which is their 1991 hit shooter Narco Police.

In the future... or rather... back in 2003 most of us were apparently heavily dependent on hardcore drugs and this addiction made the dealers rich and powerful. So the various nations of the world all got together to form an elite anti-drug unit: The A-Team. No, I meant NARCO POLICE who have been trained to rid this filth from existence. Yeah!!

Three Narco units are deployed to infiltrate the drug lord's hive which is located on a remote island, off Columbia. It won't be easy because they have invested in extra security, including lots of marines and combat soldiers. You start with the 'option' of choosing your team's equipment and weaponry which is important. Also, a map of the island allows you to view the landscape and chose the best entrance into its network of underground tunnels. If you dare to enter?

Of course, you do so let's take a look at some earlier screenshots...



Don't forget to visit the armoury before heading out into no-mans land!

There's little to actually plan but at least we get to tunnel in like killer worm cops!


Walk... Shoot... Kill

When inside the tunnels, it's now we encounter henchmen, security systems, and heavy artillery! And, as we venture deeper, the enemy will surprise you by jumping out from hidden sidewalls or falling down from the ceiling to ambush. So use the joystick to direct gunfire at their location and reign an onslaught of gun violence! Controls can take a little getting used to with movement first feeling awkward - but you will get used to dodging grenades in no time.

Other defences cannot be destroyed so easily and require a tactical approach. (It's now that you realise your team needed the correct equipment). A terminal is available to enter basic control commands, such as 'C' (which stands for 'chopper') to display information about your teams. The 'K' command is helpful in restoring vitality and the 'M1' command is rather entertaining in sticky situations. A command list can be displayed using 'DIR'.

Don't be fooled into thinking this is a simple shooter; hold down fire and blindly kill everything? No, it isn't. Far from it in fact and is something you will need to practice in order to make any kind of progress. The controls are great and the advancement you make is slow but very rewarding. I hate to say it, but you should read the manual O_o

All sounding a little too much for a 16-bit computer? Think again...



Come on, tell me you're not impressed by this floppy disk-based computer from 1985!!!


Aesthetics, long before Doom!

Visually, this is gorgeous with cool locations and huge sprites with great animation. Hang on, this is a 16-bit computer, right? Well, as impressive as it is there are some minor issues: it's quite tacky when you see a wooden-looking baddie waiting to be shot like a cardboard cutout. There are some soldiers who love to roll across your screen in slo-mo! Thankfully, we are superbly animated as we patrol the corridors - even if we have a suspect limp.

I've always had a passion for 3D shooters (especially the first-person variety) and, even though this is third-person, it's one I have enjoyed since the 90s. Narco Police actually uses a pseudo-3D engine that pushes our 8MHz CPU by using clipped graphics that increase as you walk, giving the illusion of movement. I remember drooling over my ST's keyboard the first time I got to see this in action!

The audio is fantastic and starts with a stomping title tune during the display of an 80s retro-styled title screen. All in-game sound effects are made from samples, which are impressive. However, it's odd walking without the sound of my team's footsteps? Maybe I'm being picky and perhaps our hero is just too stealthy for his own good!!

This game looks and sounds brilliant so, erm, here are a couple more screenshots...


Hands up who would love a job as a Narco Policeman? No, me neither! lol


The perspective used in this game is so impressive but that doesn't stop me from dying!


The CryptO'pinion?

Technically, this is a Christmas Cracker stuffed full of mayhem to get the blood flowing - all over the walls usually! Who doesn't enjoy killing henchmen and repetitive tunnel exploration? Sadly, Dinamic has made yet another game that is ludicrously tough and perhaps too tough? Maybe the Spanish are ultra-hardcore but I need a trainer!

Having said that, I'm always drawn back into the tunnels, time & time again because Narco Police is a seriously addictive shooter. Sure, it's always predictable but, in a good way and, even though it's insanely tough, I cannot help but recommend it to those who love guns, loud explosions and plenty of killing. A fistful of fun and I love it. An excellent shooter!!

Narco Police floppy disks and hard drive.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Ghouls 'n Ghosts



Ghouls? Ghosts? I'm outta here....!!!

Today I thought that I would entertain myself with a few games of Ghouls 'n Ghosts, a classic platformer and a fantastic Atari ST conversion by Software Creations for US Gold. However, I only ended up laughing out loud whilst I suffered numerous deaths in utter frustration! For those that have been living on another planet, this is the sequel to Ghosts 'n Goblins, another game which I'm not particularly great at. Sigh... when will I ever learn?

This is a beautifully crafted conversion faithful to the original with rock-solid gameplay that will take many moons to master. The visuals are lovely with nice scrolling and superb sprites - who doesn't love it when Arthur bumps into a baddie and somehow loses his clothes? It sure doesn't make any sense but it has our 7-year-old laughing her cotton socks off which is a win in my book. In fact, all sprites are beautifully drawn with gorgeous details - just look at the buzzards as a wonderful example. Musically, Ghouls 'N Ghosts features captivating tunes and some of the most memorable I've ever heard. Just listen to the first level's music. Wow, it doesn't get better than this!!

Ghouls N Ghosts is such a tough game and also an arcade classic. The Atari ST received a fantastic conversion which looks great, sounds incredible and offers you the chance to enjoy the most frustrating action. Dare you accept this challenge? Of course, you do and those brave players can grab either the floppies or a hard disk version.

Check out these screenshots while you decide how brave you really are... Good luck!!







Thursday, April 06, 2017

Clod Hopper




Big feet, big... shoes!

Clod Hopper was released through the Budgie UK label back in 1992 by scener Goth, aka Gary Wheaton. It's a platformer that features a fella called Bill who's in search of his girlfriend. She foolishly wandered off into the nearby plutonium mines which are inhabited by crazy creatures, numerous whacky puzzles, and dangerous hazards. Women, uh? Luckily, she left a convenient trail of footprints that we can use to track down our beloved. And save the day, of course!

Bounty Bob fans will love this game: each screen contains platforms that need walking over before we can exit and progress deeper into the mine. Anyhow, this isn't as easy as it sounds thanks to tricky level designs and cunning puzzle elements - and these often need completing in a particular order. Watch out for those slippery slides, dangerous falls, and the nasty inhabitants who seem to love getting underfoot. Thankfully, there are magical items we can collect that will render these creatures defenceless, if only for a short period of time (so think tactical before picking them up)

The third level features working machinery, necessary to operate to help you clear the level. It's a fascinating concept and that works well but I doubt I'll ever see the fourth... Sadly, as with many older games, there is a time limit so don't dawdle for too long as Bill has about five minutes of air supply. I must admit, I hate them but this time limit is decent.

I would have loved to have shown you many more screenshots but Clod Hopper is a tough cookie alright. I managed to get onto the third level - which is a killer. I know how to complete it but there are many slides and ... just ... one ... wrong ... move!! ARGHHHHH this platformer is incredibly tough. But I'm blaming my wonky joystick! Ahem.

On that note, let's see some screenshots of this Bounty Bob platformer...


Level one breaks you in gently to paint those platforms with your feet...


The second level is far trickier and needs to be completed in the correct order.


The devilish third level. I know how to complete it but my skills deny me the pleasure!



Looks and Sounds?

Graphically, I really admire Clod Hopper. The look and design are reminiscent of those early 8-bit days and this style works very well. Plus everything moves as smooth as silk with a console-like feel with awesome animations. The level designs took me right back to when I was a kid and without looking like a cheap or tacky ripoff. A superb 8-bit vibe throughout.

Along with the 8-bit feel and smooth performance, Gary uses overscan for the score/timer display!!

As for the audio, well, brace yourself. Music is absolutely beautiful using an Atari-Console quality that I loved. The effects are great, from the raspy level intro to all the other in-game sounds. A lot of effort went into how this game sounds!

Do you want more screenshots? How about a video recording and screenshots? Here ya' go then...


Check out this intro!


Can you make the hi-score table? Not on your first go, you won't lol


Would you believe it? Gary only lives up the road from me...



The CryptO'pinion?

Wow, have I enjoyed playing this olde platformer!! Of course, it will appeal to fans of Bounty Bob and indeed any console owner from the early/mid-80s because this quality platformer is reminiscent of the era for gameplay, sounds, and visuals. The effort and dedication that's gone into this shine through, to think it wasn't commercial. Outstanding!

However, there's always something to moan about, and my only gripe is the measly three lives - which aren't enough for such a challenging game. A game this tough needed many more because it's so damn difficult. I managed to reach level three but those slides are insanely tricky - one wrong move and there's no way back up again.

Having said that, this is a brilliant platformer and a freakishly outstanding old-school romp. Oh yeah, I loved it!!

- DOWNLOAD -

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Army Moves




Reliving Christmas 1987

The last time I played Army Moves was probably on my Spectrum +3 before moving onto the Atari ST. I remember this coming as part of Ocean's Live Ammo and what a great compilation that was. However, it was extremely sluggish and very hard plus I was rubbish at it too. Yep, so I never managed to beat the first level (stop laughing).

Army Moves was developed by Dinamic, the same guys who brought us After The War, and this is a scrolling shooter with many ingredients 'borrowed' from a variety of great(er) games. It begins with us happily trundling over a damaged bridge in a surprisingly well-armed jeep. Firing the infinite supply of rockets at the constant flow of enemies whilst hopping over potholes in the hope of safely reaching the other side ...cough...Moon Patrol.. cough...cough!

I think we need a screenshot of this opening level so here it is...



The jeep is brilliant with realistic handling and fantastic leaping abilities! Yeah!! ;)



When variety isn't the spice of life!

The following level has us flying a helicopter over enemy territory that is protected by planes - who blindly shoot whether you're in their sights or not. The controls are agonisingly lethargic and it makes avoiding the enemy rather difficult. Oh, and don't forget to manually land on the helipad at the end - otherwise, you suffer a suckers death!

The next part is more of the same theme, ie nothing-you-haven't-seen-before. The final levels take us through the jungle avoiding grenades and silly buzzards before it flips into something resembling Joe Blade. Oh all the levels, I oddly enjoyed the first the most whereas others are far too tough with too many enemies.

Wanna see another screenshot? How about one that feels wrong as it scrolls in the wrong direction...



Reversed scrolling is pretty weird and doesn't feel right so makes stage two quite frustrating!!



Speccy aesthetics?

Visually, I quite liked Army Moves but that's probably because I'm fondly reminded of my colour-clash days on the old 128K Speccy? The graphics are barebones for the Atari ST but, I must admit, everything scrolls along nicely and I do like the detail in the sprites. The helicopter levels feature parallax scrolling, which is a neat touch I appreciated.

David Whittaker's music plays throughout and isn't his best work but is still good. Nuff said.



Honestly, I swear that jeep doesn't fly all the time!



The CryptO'pinion?

I like some of Dinamic's ideas here but it tries too much so doesn't seem to be great at anything. Plus they spoiled it with ludicrously-long levels which is made worse by being sent back to the start after losing a life!! Ignoring the nearly-fun Jeep stage, I find it difficult to recommend this game - just play Moon Patrol, Silkworm or Joe Blade instead.

Army Moves could very easily have been great but feels like a rushed 8-bit conversion offering little fun and a massive fist full of frustration. Unlike the Spectrum game, our conversion feels like a glammed-up quick port and one that lost much playability thanks to faster mechanics; scrolling, enemies, etc. I don't get it, what was Dinamic thinking?

Overall, the first level is the best but the rest of the game is far too difficult to be entertaining.

Wear camo and grab the floppies or hard disk version!

Monday, April 03, 2017

Jinks



This looks sucky!

Jinks appears as a horizontally scrolling 'Breakout' but is technically one of the worst Atari ST games ever released. A shameful port by Rainbow Arts with incredibly jerky scrolling that is enough to make your eyes bleed after only a few minutes of horrendous gameplay. Honestly, it's that bad and I pity whoever spent their cash on this!

Thankfully, Peter Putnik has begun work on an Atari STe version that makes use of the enhanced hardware for far better results, which you can see in the video above. However, as with Son Shu Shi and After The War, all current copies of Jinks contain bad data so Peter is looking for somebody to supply an image of the original floppy disk. Then he is able to repair this piece of hiSTory for the enhanced STe version. Can you help?

* This work-in-progress is available for both floppy and hard drive installation (Atari STe / TT / Falcon)
* If you want to torture your eyeballs then the original game can be found via Old Games Finder.
Trusteft has a humorous recording of the original jerky game...

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Collaboration Two





Oh no, not another disk?

Following on from last year's success, Collaboration #2 has just been released. The STatariART gang have been very busy and created even more funky pixel art - by many different people who kindly submitted their Degas dabbles. Heck, you will even see a few images from yours truly - brace yourself for the horror!! Don't get your hopes up :o)

A lot of hard work went into this production and it's always fantastic to see so many people coming together like this. People, like us, aren't often associated with the "scene" so let's hope we see many more disks. Any ideas? Contributions? Get in touch. Until then, Clickety-Click and download Collaboration #2 via Demozoo. Enjoy it.

Let me know what you guys think in the comments below...


- SAMPLE IMAGES -













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