Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Megapede


After drooling over Sinister Development's Centipede, there seemed little reason for another so I skipped by Robert Dytmire's Megapede without giving it a second thought. Thankfully, I later went back to enjoy what is nothing less than a fantastic homebrew effort with bosses, extra swarms, level-select and support for adults or kids. Sounds are great but I adore the clunky 8-Bit style visuals with comically cute sprites and enormous mushrooms.

Don't be an idiot like me because this is a fantastic millipede conversion and I absolutely LOVE it to bits!!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Whirligig


Whirligig was developed by Maelstrom Games of Midwinter fame for Firebird and I've recorded a short video which I thought might be fun to share. Why? Simply because I cannot play Whirligig for love nor money and zipping about in space without ever being able to properly control my direction is agonising. If I happened to kill one of the baddies then it's pure luck because I usually end up killing myself instead!! Technically, Whirligig is impressive and I know I could have dug my heels in and mastered it but I just couldn't be bothered. Enjoy the video :o)

LINKS

 - Floppy disks can be nabbed of Exxos [Automation #10] and via Stonish [Klapauzius #1].
 - AtariMania has links to reviews and the manual. In hindsight perhaps I should have read this?

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Alien Blast


Our Atari world is buzzing with news of Matthieu Isorez supplying his own copy of Alien Blast!! Previous public releases crashed on level 3 due to data corruption and we've been after the original disks/files ever since. Finally, we have them and can play the later levels - which is exactly how I plan to spend the rest of my Sunday :-)

Thanks to Marko Latvanen @AtariMania for the heads-up. Today is a great day!!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

KLAX


Jamie Hamshere (aka junosix of Droid fame) has released an upgrade of Klax for the Atari STe. This new release uses the arcade game's sampled sound effects which beats the original's chirpy chip by miles.

The game is basically a 3D Tetris which Domark released in 1990. Once again, we're stacking piles of coloured tiles but this time they are travelling towards us and need dropping into a bin, making sure they stack vertically, horizontally or diagonally. It sounds simple but this is a brutal game that demands lightning-fast reactions.

What a fabulous upgrade to replace the drab effects with super-duper arcade sounds using the audio coprocessor. I'm sure Tetris and brainteaser addicts will love Klax but it isn't my cuppa tea if I'm honest. Tiny brain...

AtariMania hosts both the boring STfm original and this spanky new Atari STe update to download.
Need help? I know I did... just hit the '4' key to zip over to the final level. Good luck! ;-)

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Alien Thing


Alien Thing was released late in the ST's life by 999 Software for Top Byte and if you've ever played Alien Syndrome, Gauntlet or Storm then you'll know exactly what to expect from this overhead shoot 'em up set in space. It's the same old story: heading for Earth is a distant spaceship filled to the brim with a vicious alien hoard who are hungry for our blood. It's time to tool-up, sneak on board, and begin mercilessly killing anything that looks like it could bite.

Their spaceship is split into eleven levels with each requiring a particular mission to be completed. The first starts off simple (kill everything!!) with later missions being far more complex and if you happen to fail then you are immediately sent straight back to the beginning. This ship is huge, yet with a clear definition in design, so you won't lose your bearings. Almost every corridor has some kind of doorway which can be opened, one way or another. Key cards are a good idea and these can usually be found hidden inside the blue cabinets - along with other bonuses like a 1UP and ammo. However, use these cards wisely because not every door needs to be immediately opened...




Joystick controls are excellent and responsive so it's easy navigating this ship, even if I can oddly move quicker than the monsters! These beasts are everywhere - so stay frosty - because they can withstand several hits before you turn them into a splattered mess. Their eggs must be quickly blown-up before a new alien is born and pops-out to eat you! Some leave behind pools of poisonous slime and this need to be destroyed before you are able to pass. Each of your weapons has a varying level of effectiveness and the flamethrower is awesome so try searching the orange cabinets for yours. However, I'm not fresh on the laser which needs a recharge far too frequently for my liking.

  • I personally feel Alien Thing to be well-balanced but hardcore gamers might consider the revamped "Expert Edition". However, I found the changes made it ridiculously difficult thus frustrating.
  • The Director's Cut is the sequel that was due to be released in 1997. It featured a change in the visual perspective, complex missions, new enemies, and lots of DMA enhanced sound effects. A three-level demo is available but I'm unsure whether it was ever officially released. Can anyone help? Thanks.


Alien Thing (above) and the Expert Edition (lower)
This is an example of the differences: map changes, items, pools of gunk, etc.

The graphics are nicely drawn and I like the contrast of vivid colours against the spaceship's metallic build. The near-luminous green aliens really do stand out which works so well, even if they do move like squashed spiders! Sadly, the scrolling could be smoother so it's disappointing the ST'e hardware wasn't used to full effect. Sound effects might be crude but they're genuinely entertaining when an alien dies - almost as much as our own pitiful death cry! On an STFM the quality is quite fuzzy but on the STe they have put the DMA coprocessor to use for greater clarity.

Nothing is perfect and Alien Thing provided me with enough to whine about - like when a corridor is blocked by a pool of slime and it's impossible to destroy it because it's too close to the wall. Also, one touch of this slime annoyingly means instant death! Plus it's silly having one sound effect when a shot hits the wall, regardless of the weapon...




My moaning aside, Alien Thing is a nice take on the Aliens scenario with a nifty balance of arcade-style action, exploration, and strategical thinking which is all thanks to a simple design and challenging missions. I love this game so stop your grinnin' and drop your linen because this is one seriously enjoyable and addictive shoot 'em up!!

Downloads are available all over the internet but I've bundled together all "three" Alien Thing games to download off my Dropbox. For those struggling, there is a genius password system (just press the "/?" key on the main menu) and here are the codes to use: PARTY,  WORK,  LARD,  WHEEE,  HELLO,  HARD,  GOSH,  NIGHT,  PEN,  RULER

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Grusel


Thanks to the insanity of Eckhard Kruse, I've been hooked on graveyards and their weird skeletons and ghosts for over 30 years. Yes, it sure looks silly but it's a timeless ST classic and something I just had to share. Grusel can be download from Eckhard's own website but don't forget Ballerburg, an outstanding turn-based strategic shooter!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

HangAbout!


HangAbout! was released in 1995 by John Hodskinson and is one of the oddest games I have played. Three (randomly generated) mountains need to be climbed by a little stickman with the first being relatively easy, the next is much harder, and the third is a killer! The mountainside has many ridges which our adventurer can cling to and use for his route to the top. However, if you fall too far then expect nothing more than a pixelated mess of death.

Our stickman can make use of his arm to reach those parts that are a pinch out of reach - without a good stretch. However, sometimes, the route to the top appears blocked by a gap simply too large to reach so a "megajump" can be used - but only the once so use it wisely. Overall, HangAbout! is one of those games that first appears rubbish but actually turns out to be incredibly addictive! In fact, it's gobsmackingly brilliant and all for less than 10Kb.

Download PD Games Compilation Disk #2 which also features another game by John called Haywire.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Turrican II - The Music


Turrican II The Music by Black (aka Scott Clifford). A musicdisk for both ST computers that shows just how great this game's tunes really are. Also included are a selection of stereo remixes for the Atari STe so what more could you want? I've recorded this video which plays about minute from ten random tracks but you should nab the download via Demozoo and hear all the tunes yourself. Best experienced with a real Atari STe - crank up the volume!!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Burger Dream


Burger Dream is Reisoft's spin on 'Clowns & Balloons' with a Ronald McDonald lookalike who is collecting flying burgers. Imagine Breakout with a dollop of Space Invaders - but replace the aliens with juicy hamburgers!

Ronald is left to feel the wind in his wig because we are in control of a couple of goons who move a trampoline contraption that allows him to bounce high in the air and collect burgers. These are scrolling across the screen to make it extra difficult. However, try not to drop Ronny otherwise he ends up in a crumpled heap.

The mouse is used for left/right movement and is perfectly implemented for smooth and precise control. However, the graphics aren't exactly 16-bit in quality, more like something I would have drawn! Only the blind will appreciate these pixels? Burger Dream is hideous and repetitive but I admit it was also surprisingly enjoyable.

Download a Big Mac right now!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

NIBE


NIBE is a Nibbler/Snake game by Marc Bourlon that features an ever-greedy snake who wants to chomp his way through lots of apples. However, this gluttony makes him grow longer with each bite so it becomes harder protecting him from bumping into walls or even his own tail. It's our job to help him eat his way through lots of screens - and many are pretty cruel in their design. You can even change the game's speed (if you dare!!)

Graphics are humble and suit the retro theme plus I love its title screen - which is actually a good intro. Sadly, there are no sound effects so Mad Max music plays throughout - never a bad thing!! Overall, Nibe is pretty straightforward and also extremely challenging thanks to a sinister design. Stick with it because the basic mechanics are spot-on and Nibe will certainly test your reactions, patience and concentration so prepare thyself to be tormented!!

Floppy disk downloads appear to be quite rare...
And if you enjoyed Nibe then try N.o.B.I. - Racing!!


This is a level that looks so easy but it's completely the opposite! So tricky so be warned.


Oh yeah, I definitely think this is going to be easy. Ask me if I ever completed it...

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Breakout


Breakout is an excellent GEM desktop accessory that lets us play the game of brick-busting at any time. I had this installed on my boot drive back in the day and remember marvelling at the multitasking capabilities of my lovely Atari ST computer!! It seemed like black magic, even if ACCs faked that illusion in TOS/GEM!

Of course, it works best in a real multitasking OS - just use MagiC, MiNT or Geneva!

The game is basic but great fun and also works in all resolutions too. However, I doubt anyone will choose this over the magnificent Bolo which is the best version on the Atari ST. Still, finding this little ACC has made my day once again 30 years later. So, thank you to whoever developed this - please, get in touch!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Holocaust


Holocaust is an (unreleased) vertically-scrolling shoot 'em up developed by Dattrax Software and later given away in ST Format. It's incredibly fast and features lots of enemies to kill, bonuses and bosses to annihilate! Heck, it has a couple of cool intros and even talks out loud which is something any Currah MicroSpeech fan will adore.

The gameplay is initially very frantic and makes Wings Of Death look easy! It's disappointing that we're given only one life (without bonuses) which is lame and I would have expected at least three to tame this rabid beast!! The graphics might not look ace but they move at a brisk 50fps which is ultra-cool. Music is gorgeous!

Brace yourself for a breathtaking shoot 'em up. Only the strong need to apply for this one... sheesh!!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Sector One Music Disk


Sector One is a music disk by Denis Huguet (ST Ghost) that pushes the DMA audio hardware to the limits with many cool stereo tunes - some feature 8/16-channels. Quite mindblowing and certainly proves the power lurking underneath that grey plastic case. We also have options to chose the various playback frequencies and also control the volume, treble, bass and more. Yep, this is a technical masterpiece and I love the Just Buggin' tune!!

Brighten up your evening and enjoy my recording or download this beauty for yourself!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Special Forces


Look what the postman delivered: Special Forces which is the sequel to Airborn Ranger, released in 1992 by gaming gods MicroProse. Actually, I've wanted to buy this for a very long time so I'm extremely excited and eagerly looking forward to getting my teeth into it over the coming nights - I'll try not to ruin the box. Ha!!

Update: I've made a silly YouTube recording of my unboxing which includes lots of pointless yapping by yours truly. It's a "special" video that I felt I needed to make for the people who are generous patreons of AtariCrypt (direct link).

If I remember, there was only one patron back then, but we've since increased in numbers - which is gobsmackingly awesome STuff. It's my hope to create more videos/etc/etc/ throughout the future for our patrons :-)

Special Forces is incredible and something I hope to cover soon in detail. Until then, you can enjoy my photograph - but ignore the sexy girl and play this yourself. Floppies (FOF #109A/#109B) or hard disk version.


- INTRO SCREENSHOTS -

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Frankenstein


Let's kick the new year off with some awesome box art from my own collection. I bought Frankenstein for only a couple of quid and instantly fell in love with the comical artwork plus I don't own anything else by Zeppelin so it's a sweet addition to my personal collection. This platformer was released in 1992 and is horror-themed and reminds me of a selection of games, like Warlock and Horror Zombies. We're basically a slave to the bad-tempered doctor who needs several chilling items that should help him regenerate life into a dead corpse. Fun times ahead!

Egor - Half man... Half creature... All idiot!

Yes, we are Egor. A fella who, not only has he a hump the size of Texas but is also the doctor's unappreciated lackey. He suffers his demand to find several gruesome items and to complete this he needs several oddities ranging from a pillow to a hanged man's body which is left abandoned in the woods. Ohh very B-movie!!

The play area is huge and you begin in the mad doctor's castle but we are free to explore wherever we choose. That includes the dungeons or going outside into a spooky forest and into the local village with its creepy morgue. There are many creatures along the way like spiders, skulls, wolfmen, ghosts, rats and even animated body parts. Now, Egor isn't exactly the bravest guy and hates these creepy things so there is a fright-o-meter which displays his current state of mind. This ranges from "okay" to "panic" and will degrade every time he touches something nasty. So once he's a blithering wreck Egor will drop whatever he's carrying to rush back to the Doctor and loses a life. Also, he gets a 5-ton weight dropped on him while suffering verbal abuse before being punched in the face and sent back out again. Yes, it's a harsh life being the servant of the insane Doctor Frankenstein. However, it's rumoured that a young serving wench is the one kind soul who may help to reduce his anxiety issues...


No platformer is worth its salt unless the control mechanics are smooth and precise. It always saddens me when a potentially great platformer has been ruined by controls which don't quite feel right - just look at Chuckie Egg II right here on AtariCrypt as a cruel example of how to spoil a great 8-Bit conversion! Thankfully, Egor's walking speed is just right and he also jumps with ease and effortless control. Spot-on perfect joystick controls, I say.

Graphically, this is a mixed bag for me. Each screen has extraordinary cartoon-like artwork, especially in the Spooky Forest with the scary trees, ghosts, bats, and funny zombie-like men. I am constantly amazed by the attention to detail and their nice animations - I love that pitchfork guy! Sadly, the programmer decided to implement the push-scrolling technique which is far too slow for my liking and I feel the flick-screen method would have been better. Sound effects are fine but limited to collecting items, bumping into monsters and strange lightning weather.


This is a cracking platformer with progressively challenging gameplay and I adore its spooky theme. Each screen is incredibly detailed and interesting without ever being impossibly hard to beat. I can spend hours exploring the huge map which constantly reminds of my 8-Bit days playing games like Chiller, Chuckie Egg 2 and others.

A positively simple platformer that doesn't push the Atari ST technically nor needed too. Gameplay is on top form here and this is superb fun - which is that matters. One of the best platformers I've played. Love it!!

If this game gives you the hump then grab it on floppy or hard disk!