Monday, July 24, 2017

Whitewater Madness


Whitewater Madness was under development in 1989 by Scott Williamson and Ed Schneider for Atari themselves and designed specifically for their new Atari STe computer. Just imagine what would happen if you took the Toobin' idea and added a whole load of violence. Whitewater Madness would be the result, a vertically scrolling shooter which has us sailing a down a bizarre river through time using a small Pod in search of green energy cells.

Collect as many as possible to raise your Warp Energy levels to maximum capacity which will allow us to travel further in time. If successful, we are presented with an information screen telling you just how good (or bad) our performance was before warping onto the next level. However, if you failed to collect the required amount then you're sent back to the start again to do it all over again. The controls are superb and I love the directional method which works well for a fast and responsive guidance along this insane river raid. Picking up green "L" pills will re-charge the Pod and stop it from going BOOM but these are few, so try and collect as many as possible.

Our dinky is equipped with a rapid firing mounted-gun and it's a good job too because we are under a constant onslaught of hazards and weird creatures. Try and avoid the many dangers such as rocky rapids, mines, artillery and other crazy stuff like kamikaze dinosaurs who love to leap from the shores! There are lots more which you can try and kill during the mayhem; cavemen, something that resembles a pterodactyl, a giant turtle, and centaurs. Love it!!

Scott tells me that the Blitter was used for the brisk scrolling which smoothly whizzes by and nicely keeps up with the hectic action. The sprites are small yet nicely detailed with one exception, those massive kamikaze dinosaurs who love to leap from the shores - superb!! The DMA coprocessor is used to play the sampled effects and is super-duper but I must admit to being disappointed with the (albeit nice) title tune which sounds "STFM" in quality...

Whitewater Madness has the hallmarks of a fantastic oldskool styled game which I would have expected to see for something like an Atari 5200. I love its style and the frantic, challenging gameplay which is perfectly balanced thus doesn't frustrate and is always a joy. I'm gutted that I never saw this for sale because I would have saved up every penny to afford a trip down this crazy river. What a brilliant arcade adventure - top marks from me!!

LINKS

 - This download contains the official disk images kindly supplied by Scott himself (w/ source code)
 - I've recorded a silly video and only on the last part did I try to play it properly - but died lol
 - Whitewater Madness is now safely archived in the AtariMania database!