Friday, September 29, 2017

Biomechanoid Locomotion

I spent some time last night listening to many incredible tunes from the SNDH Archive. Biomechanoid Locomotion, by Shinobi (aka Marcus Andre Rousseau) was probably my fave of the night so click the green arrow to hear it :-)

Turn up the volume and use these Atari ST programs to play everything from this amazing archive. 🎧

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Pole Position


Pole Position is an arcade conversion developed by Jonathan Thomas for the Atari STe. Minimum requirements are 1mb Ram, a good joystick and an addiction of this beautiful old racer which looks, sounds, and plays almost exactly like the original game that ate all of our 10 pence coins. Downloads are available via Atari-Forum (backed-up on my Dropbox). Stop right there!! Please don't be an idiot: play this awesome game using a real computer!!

The latest 'release candidate' has major improvements and delivers a near arcade-busting conversion:
Runs at a 60fps to bring the speed and difficulty in line with the arcade game.
You can thank the Blitter chip for whizzing the graphics so furiously!
Sprite scaling utilisied for that arcade feel for ultra-smooth results.
Even good 'ol Mount Fuji is displayed in all its glory!
The sky gradient is back along with numerous fixed graphical and audio glitches.
Sound effects are taken from the arcade machine and played using DMA coprocessor.
Code compiled with GCC 7.1 for a significant performance increase.
Many optimisations are made, mainly around text rendering for authenticity.
  

Friday, September 22, 2017

Space Monsters


Space Monsters was developed by Darren Ithell for Goodman PDL and I'm sure you've already guessed it's a Panic conversion. Each screen has the expected platforms and ladders with lots of horrid nasties roaming. It's instant death if you bump into one so Spaceman has discovered the best way to kill these critters is to dig holes to trap them. Once they've foolishly got themselves stuck (for a few seconds) he has the opportunity to whack 'em hard with our spade. This sees them fall to a splattery death. Spaceman is a gruesome fella but whatever works, right?

  
Oh, the nasties in this game are so... well... nasty!! The Boss is tough but Don is a killer!!

There are three types of monsters with the first being pretty gullible and easy to kill but the others aren't quite so dumb and possess freakishly cunning AI. These are also much stronger and need to fall a greater distance to die. If any manage to climb out (or fail to fall far enough) then they will only come back faster, stronger and extremely angry!! There's also a time limit so don't dawdle and get them killed before your oxygen runs out...

 
Creature is a cute but gullible guy. However, temporally falling into a hole makes him so angry!!

Space Monsters is fantastic. The controls are superb and the difficulty level gradually increases for a stressful experience: tactically digging the holes whilst worrying about what might creep up on you is truly a PANIC!! My only moan is that I cannot fall down the holes otherwise, the authenticity for both style and gameplay has been perfectly captured. Finally, the sound effect for the "ROAR" that the monsters make will scare you to death!! o.O

Space Monsters is nothing short of retro gaming at its finest and is a brilliant version of Panic!!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Sabre Team


Sabre Team was released in 1992 by Krisalis and is a turn-based isometric war zone of pure hardcore strategy. I first featured this game back in July simply because of its incredible (and freaky) pixel art. We're in control of an elite SAS squad and enter the lion's den to kill all the bad guys, rescue hostages and save the day. This ain't no fake arcade action affair but instead, tries to be realistic thus requires stealth and tactical thought so one wrong move could end with team members being killed and there are no second chances in this game.

Firstly, we need to select a 4-man team from eight of the best warriors. Equip them with the right weapons for each mission whilst taking into consideration their type, rate of fire, ammo, weight, and even noise. The range is superb with lots of fun hardware: machine guns, assault rifles, a sniper rifle, stun grenades, and gas canisters. However, some weapons may need a reload action after each shot... Also, it might be advisable to wear a bulletproof jacket and I hear there are a limited number of medkits which certainly helps for faster recovery when suffering an injury.

 

It's now that you should put aside any ideas you may have had of quick arcade-style action for one of careful, calculative and strategical thinking. Your assault should be executed with a stealthy approach to protect your men from potential dangers, such as standing near an open window! The terrain isn't just something nice to look and can be used for cover, the enemy won't know you're there if they cannot see or hear you. Slow and steady wins this race.

The battlefield is viewed isometrically with gorgeously detailed environments and our soldiers are controlled through the use of action points which means each of your men are allowed a specific number of possible moves before the computer gets its turn. This is performed using a superb user interface stuffed with lots of cool animated icons which help to identify their purpose (just hover your mouse over them). They offer the basic options to turn, walk, shoot and fun stuff like searching dead bodies! The compass not only controls the soldier's direction but will display the number of action points required for each particular task along with alerts for what a soldier might see (red) or hear (blue).

                            

Sabre Team has such an awesome title screen that depicts a sinister SAS soldier emerging out of the darkness - ready to assassinate. I love its post-apocalyptic/Who Dares Wins feel and I think Phil Hackney did a superb job. However, the creepiest artwork belongs to the half-naked soldier statistics screen. I shall say no more... 🤣

Okay, I've really REALLY enjoyed playing Sabre Team. However, I'm a little perplexed by the time it takes for the computer to calculate its move during the 'Enemy Turn Screen'. Perhaps I'm missing the point here but sitting around, waiting 3 or 4 minutes seems like overkill to me? Sure, it's relevant when an enemy takes a pop shot at one of my soldiers but I really don't want to watch a hostage wander around his cell... Thankfully, this agony can be "eased" somewhat by holding down the mouse button which feels quite odd but does speed up the whole process to a more acceptable minute or so. But... all that time... with your finger on the mouse button... waiting... Not too great!

 

Ignoring my quibbles, never have I enjoyed such a game of tactics, stealth and careful strategy. This is a fantastic game but one that will take some time to master and you shouldn't expect a cakewalk as your first attempts will surely end with many casualties. However, stick with it because this is an innovative experience with massive attention to detail and very rewarding. Expect to lose many, many hours of your life - a truly brilliant game.

Overall, covertly eliminating terrorist scumbags is always satisfying and Sabre Team is nothing short of a classic.


DOWNLOAD LINKS

 - 8BitChip have a hard drive installable game and floppy disks can be found via Old Games Finder.
 - Trusteft has recorded an incredible video from unboxing to gameplay!

Friday, September 08, 2017

PouifOuf


PouifOuf is a platformer written in GFA Basic for the Atari STe by Le GLod. Don't go off the visuals because this is nothing like you're thinking... This time, the Kid must run around like a headless chicken collecting pointless items left lying around the familiar-looking screens. Of course, we can only move onto the next level once all are collected.

Movement and control of the cool kid are both fast and energetic with a playability style reminding me of Roger. We are only able to walk left or right which means there is no way to jump or to use any weapon with our magic pockets... However, each level has several platforms with "springboards" that will propel us upwards to reach items. It's now you realise the cunning thought needed to beat the maze-like design because there is usually a specific route.

  
Hang on, is that the Bitmap Kid I see? The little fella is running around collecting everything!

Beware of silly enemies who love to get underfoot, they aren't lethal but will humorously bounce your around the screen like a pinball. Also, fruit items will fall from the top of the screen but don't appear to do much more than to offer a little visual diversity for extra points. I'm not sure but I can only assume PouifOuf is an unfinished project but I would love to know more about this GEM - so I've contacted Le Glod but heard nothing back as yet...

The visuals are lovely and incredibly smooth to compliment the ultra-fast gameplay. However, and I cannot stress this highly enough, please forget about emulation and play using a real Atari STe for the best experience. Sound effects and music can be activated at any time using the Function keys but I preferred the gorgeous chiptune myself.

  
Use the springboards and watch out for the baddies who will make you tumble!

Well, that was nothing like I first imagined but it had me smiling like a Cheshire Cat thanks to fantastic playability. I might not be able to pronounce PouifOuf but I know a fun game when I see it and this is a blummin' furious platformer and one I highly recommend. Yep, I've really enjoyed playing this game which I found a refreshing surprise.

You really don't wanna miss this cracking platformer. This is superb, so grab the download right now!!!

Friday, September 01, 2017

Jumping Jack'son


Jack is a fella who simply wanted to chill out and listen to a few of his favourite records but he never got the chance because the soul of Rock 'n Roll is somehow trapped and now manic classical instruments roam the land looking for blood. Of course, your blood... Yep, if ever there was ever a strange idea for a game then this is it!

Jack's world is viewed top-down and made up of square tiles which he can hop on. There are also special groups which can produce a record if you turn them all the same colour. This must correspond to an unused turntable so, for example, a red record for a red player. The song will gradually compile as each record player is activated and the level is complete once all are working.

Each level is like a jigsaw and isn't always continuous so the use of a transporter is required. However, this can be dangerous as it's often not always possible to see the destination so you might bump into a baddie. These angry instruments love to chase and if you get too close it's a life lost, but at least you witness a humorous "Pif-Paf" cartoon-like effect! There are many items to collect for extra points and other features to look out for - wear a pair of cool shades or rest and safely gather your nerves on a chequered tile. Also, why not try dropping a couple of your old cassettes on the floor to block an instrument dead in his tracks. Well, for a few seconds but it gives you that break you desperately need and nobody needs those old tapes anyhow! As you progress, the maps become far more technical to offer a great challenge in this insane musical world which makes no sense. This game is not easy but is always superbly entertaining.

Aesthetically, Infogrames have worked their magic and produced another jaw dropper. The music is great and the sound effects are hilarious, I love it when instruments violently bash out their sounds if you get too close. Graphics are constantly rich in colour with smooth scrolling and fantastic animations. Heck, even the high-score table is funky, but can you beat my first attempt? -->

This is actually pretty simple puzzler but presents itself well to feel fresh and innovative with such addictive gameplay. Jumping Jack'Son is superb and has lots of unique humour - come on, there's nothing like an angry trumpet chasing you down the screen! It's obvious a lot of love went into making this game and I cannot recommend it highly enough. A personal favourite of mine.

LINKS

 - 8BitChip has a cool download that can be installed onto your hard drive.
 - Floppy disk dudes should try Reanimators #11 from Stonish or Automation #239 via Old Games Finder.