Friday, April 21, 2017


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 makes 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!!


  1. Damn this looks impressive... Never played it!

    1. Please share anything you find and let the world know. And brace yourself for a challenge too. It looks cute but has a Lemmings side to it that frustrates the hell outta me lol