Thursday, February 22, 2018

Supa Zazai Da!

Super... what?

Supa Zazai Da is another Gamopat conversion by Templeton, the same genius who graced us with the stupendous Crash Time Plumber. So I couldn't wait to get my grubby mitts on his latest work after reading the superb review by ST Graveyard on Atari Legend. Sadly, I admit to being more than a little disappointed with it because I failed to play more than a handful of - frustrating - games before rebooting my Atari STe with a massive portion of disappointment.

Now, I'll never knock anything powered by Maria Whittaker (yeah!) but this is rock solid and felt too difficult!! And having only one life certainly didn't help, especially when the enemy could fill the entire screen with bullets! Yep, this is a wolf in sheep's clothing and seemed like a bad joke. Dang, I was incredibly bad at it and also genuinely gutted too.

I know, I know, first impressions of a weak gamer. Yes, I think you better read on...

Trust me, this game will destroy you and all your expectations for success!

Don't judge a book by its cover

I later returned and anxiously grabbed my creaky old joystick, determined, but expecting the battle of my life. After many embarrassing failures, I eventually beat the first hoard of cute nasties and somehow even gained extra points thanks to the green particles. But, how I managed to dodge the enemy's bullets, well, it felt like a personal achievement!! The clue is how you navigate through the cloud of bullets, it's easier than you might think (watch the video).

Nevertheless, the scary boss instantly gave me a good drubbing and I was again greeted with the Game Over screen. I defeated him on my next nerve-racking attempt so was close to tears with ecstatic joy!! Once the second level begins you realise there's a familiar and repetitive pattern so I hammered it home and battled my way onto the third and fourth levels, with relative ease. The lesson is to stick with it as it can be conquered and enjoyed!!

Talk about a massive learning curve. Or at least for me? Wow, this game is so rewarding...

However, nobody said those bosses would be easy. Especially when they can fire so much!!

Pixels and Sonics

The visuals scroll along at an ultra-smooth 50fps but it's the outrageously cute sprites, from a wide variety of games, which everyone will adore. Your computer will require a Blitter coprocessor, which is not a problem for the Atari STe and Falcon, but the original ST models might be outta luck (unless you have a later revision or a Mega ST).

Musically, Supa Zazai is fantastic but also very different depending on your hardware: an unnerving chip rattles ST players, whereas the STe gets exhilarating streamed audio (both different and brilliant). As instructed, pump up the volume!

It looks and sounds fantastic is what I'm trying to say about this Blitter-boosted game...

50fps action through and just look at that huge sprite. Impressive, to say the least!!

The CryptO'pinion?

What a journey!! And nothing like I imagined yet it has lived up to all my expectations. Arcade fans are going to drool over their keyboards when playing this - it's fast, fun, thrilling and addictive. Quite simply, Supa Zazai Da is an exhilarating shooter with gorgeous aesthetics and I hope Templeton has many more Atari STe games in the pipeline, I really do.

It's zany, it's crazy, it's insane and I love everything about Supa Zazai Da. An excellent shooter. Please, play it!!

Download Supa Zazai Da! via AtariMania.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Mario's Quest

Mario's Quest was released in 1993 by Dean Sharples of Silly Software and is basically a Hunchback clone. However, this time we're an unofficial clone of that ridiculous Italian plumber but the gameplay remains pretty much the same. The screens feature lots of tricky jumps, pesky platforms or annoying arrows trying to kill you.

I adore the humble visuals which use a cool 8-Bit design and the music is superb too. However, the controls are far too sensitive so judging exactly where a platform ends - without falling to your death - is nigh on impossible.

Sadly, Mario's Quest is one of the most frustrating games I have played. An infuriating platformer!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Fractal Landscape Generator

It's time to be creative!

Fractal Landscape Generator was developed by David Billington who gave us an opportunity to develop mountainous worlds. Now, it's worth stopping to read the doc file on the disk before you do anything else - because there is an excellent mini-guide included. I know, I know, nobody reads the manual... but you should this time!

Making a brand new rugged landscape is extremely easy thanks to the fantastic user interface. Not only that, but results can be produced and viewed very quickly, even on an 8MHz computer. Thankfully, the program made great use of my 16MHz Mega STe which is superb and the versatile speeds of Hatari will be a huge bonus!

The 3D part was initially difficult to grasp but don't give up - keep on tinkering and you'll grasp it. Once you're happy, you can then add light-shading, alter various colour parameters, and increase the detail level. Heck, you can even animate a fly-by through your newly created world.

Dabbling in 16-Bit creation was fun and it's impressive to see what wonders I could knock out and to think I found it by chance: Floppyshop ART-3647. It's a nice feeling to find something "new" and this is a great program to get started in fractal landscaping. Give it a go and let me know what you think in the comments below! Enjoy...

- My Own MEGA STE Creations -

Friday, February 16, 2018

Astro Marine Corps

Creepy ass monsters are coming to get you!

Sometimes a game doesn't need a longwinded storyline, cunning puzzles or life-sucking RPG elements. Sometimes all you want is a huge mother of a weapon (with unlimited ammo of course) and lots of baddies in need of urgent annihilation. Be happy because Dinamic's AMC fits the bill with lots of gratifyingly brutal violence!

This multi-level scrolling shoot 'em up involves nothing more than walking grim alien landscapes to hammer down the fire button and kill everything in sight. Upgradeable weapons use a directional-firing technique and our marine can also crouch and leap high into the air with wiggly legs. We are also equipped with powerful bombs, which are needed when the main gun isn't effective... Hmm, perhaps you should drop a few into the crater?

The aliens are an obscene bunch of misfits ranging from man-eating plants to mechanoids that even Robocop would run away from. Don't get too close to the unassuming caterpillars, these will suddenly grow in size - and teeth!! I think AMC has some of the best enemies ever and the monstrously huge Guardian proves it.

Technically, AMC could have been better. I got a whiff of a rushed port: the scrolling could have been more energetic, and the landscapes look unfinished, but the joystick controls are excellent. However, it is awkward reaching for the keyboard to throw a bomb - especially when mechanoids are chasing. Sigh, with a bit of spit and polish...

Overall, AMC is crude and predictable but it's also thoroughly entertaining with great baddies, crunchy sound effects and tons of action. I loved being an Astro Marine because it's fantastic killing alien scumbags. Superb!!

Waste no more time and install AMG onto your hard drive or grab the floppies.
Stonish has a couple of great Menu disks: Dodgysoft #81 and Flame Of Finland #25.

Even the plant life is out to get you in this crazy game so watch out where you walk!!

Awe look everyone it's a strange little worm... No... Wait... ARGHHH it's growing!!

This thingamabob is absolutely superb. Look at the detail in his eyes and teeth. Love it!!

AMG has some huge monsters but the bosses are even bigger. This beast is ginormous!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Put on your sunglasses!

Jake is a rather odd-looking fella who exterminates bugs in a fantastic fantasy world of weirdness. However, this is as much as I currently know - because I've never played this game before! Verminator is here because of it's pixel art - which is jaw-dropping. So it wasn't long into the first game that I wanted to make this post for our PixelArt section.

Actually, Verminator is granted VIP access because of Nigel Brownjohn's outstanding artistry. He used incredibly bold and rich colours with fine attention to detail for the sprites and backgrounds. This has to be one of the most gorgeous 16-bit games ever created? So perhaps I take time to play it? Yes, I think so too... Watch this space!

8BitChip has the hard drive version and Old Games Finder has the floppies.
Trusteft recorded a video and seemed pretty much impressed by this beautiful game.

Verminator took my breath away when I first booted it up. Ohhh, look at the sexy colours!

Ignoring the detail and colour, this reminds me of the Wally games on my Spectrum.

Hang on, is that a hammer? Let's beat the enemy like a psycho!!

Nigel Brownjohn knew how to use the palette to get the most from low-res. Impressive.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Gribnif Software

Today is a great day!!

Dan Wilga has kindly released NeoDesk and Geneva as freeware which you can download directly from the Gribnif website. I have quickly run through a test installation (within Hatari) and it worked without a hitch. My next project is to install this onto my Mega STe and get this amazing operating system & funky desktop running from an SD Card.

What a fantastic opportunity this is but please don't forget to donate whatever you can. I would love to see your NeoDesk screenshots! Let me know what you guys think of this freebie Geneva/NeoDesk in the comments below...

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Killing Machine

Killing Machine is a vertically scrolling shooter by Atlantis Software released in 1992. We're on a remote planet controlled by a giant brain that identifies you (and your sassy spaceship) as nothing less than an invading bacteria. Vermin, that needs to be wiped out!! The battlefield spans over three levels and is stuffed full of kamikaze enemies out for blood - so don't expect a cakewalk because it demands lightning-fast reactions. And plenty of luck.

The first thing that struck me was the graphics which are uniquely colourful using a sweet palette. The smooth scrolling is slow and steady with impressive enemy sprites zipping across the screen. Sound effects go beyond mere bleeps for some rather raspy samples. Okay, they're not the greatest but the grunge works well and suits the styles.

Killing Machine is brutal and requires lots of practice before you begin to get close to beating the first level. This is a painful learning curve but collecting the power-ups and learning the enemy attack patterns is a must. Don't die a suckers death! Overall, this isn't the best shooter but it's good fun and I've really enjoyed playing it. Recommended.

Stonish has floppy disks (Pure Energy #53)
8BitChip has a version for hard disk installation.
AtariMania has this listed along with scans of the manual.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Rambo III

Everyone loves 80s Action heroes!

Rambo III was released by Ocean Software and is an overhead shoot 'em up not too dissimilar to other "Gauntlet" games like Into The Eagle's Nest. I'm incredibly excited to finally own my own copy which I proudly add in AtariCrypt's Box Art section thanks to the tremendous Hollywood artwork. This is also one of few that has both a great front and back cover so I decided to take a piccy of both and double-up on our love for movie legend Sly Stallone!

Sly is our musclebound action hero and is about to infiltrate a Soviet base that has Colonel Trautman held captive. Our mission spans over three levels and the first being the rescue before fleeing for our escape in an over-head game similar to a Gauntlet. The final part is a shooting gallery stage that feels a little like an Op. Wolf.

I can't help but admire this superb screen. Yes, it is superb.

Okay, we're in. Grab your knife because it's time to kick ass!!

Run. Shoot. Kill everything!

Gameplay style on the first two levels is the same. Ironically, you shouldn't run around pretending to be just like Johnny Rambo - this will get you killed! Instead, carefully explore the complex and look for the best route through and any useful items like health, ammo and Infra-Red goggles to detect otherwise invisible boobytraps!

Enemies occupy each room but they feel more like automated drones than the Soviet elite as they robotically patrol back and forth. I imagine these guys also suffer tunnel-vision because they are completely unaware of your presence until you stumble directly in their line of sight. If that happens, an alarm sounds and nearby soldiers begin attacking - but at least you have an awesome health meter! An idea that looks kinda familiar ;) Don't be put off by these silly soldiers because it actually works well to distinguish itself from being a mere Gauntlet clone.

I love the careful tactics that are needed - so play more like the real US Army Special Forces instead of the fake Hollywood claptrap. My only quibbles are trying to memorise the humungous map size. It's easy to lose your bearings plus each room will be blindly entered so try and learn where the soldier's patrol otherwise those Ruskies will gang up to give Sly a good kicking. This is what brings me onto pick-ups, there should be more health packs!

Tread carefully because most rooms are heavily guarded with many tunnelled-vision soldiers!

These guys will patrol back and forth so be slow and make sure you don't set off the alarms.

But is it any good?

Graphically, Rambo has a pretty place to covertly explore - perhaps too loud and colourful? There is no scrolling, which is a shame, but this might actually give a close and more confined feeling - which I prefer. I love the sprites and their movements reminding me of a certain WWII shooter!! Music is gorgeous and suits the gameplay.

I understand why Rambo III failed to capture the hearts of most reviewers back in the day. It's Marmite so you'll either love or hate it but I think it's a belting game albeit with the niggles mentioned above. It's not Gauntlet so use a stealthy approach and prepare thyself to spend many hours sneaking about and mapping the level.

Tear your shirt off and grab Rambo 3 on floppy from either Stonish or Old Games Finder (Automation #47). And for those weirdos who don't enjoy making their own maps: Speccy Screenshot Maps / Hall Of Light.

The back of the box is absolutely awesome. Gotta love Sly!!

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Atari ST

My new Atari ST merch!

I have just received my latest "Atari Games" mug by Peter Jørgensen (Enduro Racer / YMT). No, they're not all the same, just scroll down for the reverse side, below. These cups are superb and it's so kind of Peter to send me these. The mouse mat was a gift from my mate Tom, another ST nutter. Both Peter and Tom made the ZombieCrypt mug - probably because the slideshow I released last year was so awesome? Hmm, probably not lol.

There's now't better than suppin' coffee from an Atari ST mug. Hmm, which one shall I use? :-)

Monday, February 05, 2018


It's killing time!

KillThings, by Orm of Digi Tallis, is a 3D first-person shoot 'em up in a similar vein to something like Wolfenstein. Alas, it was never finished, but it is still very playable and I'm impressed by the speed of its 3D engine which is both fast and fluent. What's more, is the mapping screen which works just like the one seen in Doom - love it!!

Sadly, it's unfinished and there is no audio effects and also little to do other than wander stark corridors looking for a bug-eyed stickman to kill. Still, the potential is staggering when you think about what's completed for this development release. I wonder how it might have ended? Oh, there is a level editor if you're feeling bravely creative? Go on, I dare 'ya.

Whilst the gameplay is whizzing about above, let's check out a couple of screenshots of the map and editor...

The mapping tool works like a dream, much like we saw in Doom!

Why not design your own levels using the editor?

The CryptO'pinion?

KillThings was never going to replace Wolfenstein or Substation but I'm fascinated by oddities like this lurking within our archives. Plus I'm impressed with the hopes and dreams of what this developer wanted to create back in the day. But that makes it worse when these ideas die before getting completed. The 'readme' explains a great deal.

But fear not, at least we have this demo which is rather neat and certainly shows what might have been if completed. It's rather cool and can be downloaded from their website, along with the level editor and much more.

I hope that one day, Orm gets back to this project because it's funky cool with massive potential. Enjoyed this!

Sunday, February 04, 2018


UltraSatan? More like UltraGOD!

When my hard disk decided to kick the bucket I replaced it with an Ultrasatan. It's built like a tank and incredibly versatile and (obviously) silent - the old hard drive sounded like a Vulcan Bomber!! Of course, I could have bought CosmosEx/Gotek route but I'd rather attempt open-heart surgery than risk breaking my Atari ST.

But what about games?? Not to worry, there are runnable disks thanks to Floppy Image Runner by Peter Putnik who has also adapted hundreds of games to load directly off the Ultrasatan. The D-Bug guys have converted loads of games with stunning menus and cheats - I wish they'd continue on as these are amazing.

Yep, I sure love my Ultrasatan which is a superb clump of hardware and one I cannot recommend highly enough. So visit Lotharek's website for more information and lots of other goodies - get yourself one of these beasts!!

Friday, February 02, 2018

Goin' Down With The Captain

Wait, don't go... Come back!!

Goin' Down With The Captain was developed in GFA Basic by Terry King of Ninth Wave Software and must have one of the silliest titles since those robot monsters invaded our screens! Or is it just my mind? Anyhow, imagine yourself as the unlucky cabinboy onboard a sinking ship who is running around looking for the lifebuoys to save him. Can you help?

Collecting the lifebuoys is easy but you will need to venture deep into the waters to find most because they are all scattered about the ship. Fetch them back to their hangers up on the top deck but you are only able to carry a maximum of two at a time and later levels will require multiple trips into Poseidon's realm. This is a frantic race against the clock!

Sounds interesting, right? Okay, let's take a look at a screenshot...

Leaky pipes, rising water and now a crab has spotted sent us to heaven, ala Monty Mole!

This ain't no killing gameshow!

The flooding is constantly rising due to leaky pipes spurting out water. These can be patched with a sticky plaster but some decks have pump levers to reduce water levels. Flooded decks can still be accessed if you hold your breath and use the air bubbles to top up your oxygen. Any treasures you find are yours to keep but beware of snippy crabs roaming the lower decks who are itching to nip at your toes. There's so much going on but never to a point of being OTT.

The joystick controls are incredible with responsive movements and no learning curve. Brilliantly done. Oh, and using the levers is an entertaining moment that brought back memories of Decathlon albeit waggling up & down!!

It's fun and it's very hectic - trust me! Hey, I think it's time for another screenshot...

Some levels are a little more puzzling with lifebuoys hidden behind locked doors...

Cheap & cheerful

The graphics aren't exactly Bitmap Bros standard but they do their job good enough, albeit with the occasional slowdown. It all looks nice, scrolls great and I must say I've admiration for the palette - especially when underwater.

Audio is in stereo on the Atari STe but I'd much rather have heard the crisp YM chip over poor-quality samples any day. Yep, the music and sound effects are made from low-quality fuzzy samples which I didn't care for. Hence, this is one reason why chiptunes are timeless compared to many MODs. Flame me all you like but it's true.

Sounds like I'm trying to start a fight? Bring it on Commies! For now, let's chill with another screenshot...

Remember, not every door needs to be unlocked - so use your keys wisely before you drown!

The CryptO'pinion?

This is an oddball game with more than a hint of certain other action platformers we've all played before. But I really enjoyed the style of gameplay here, it's fantastic fun with loads of interesting ideas. In fact, it's downright silly at times but you won't mind one bit. Ignore the bland visuals and fuzzy audio because the gameplay is top-notch and that's what matters.

Going Down With The Captain is a great platformer, very challenging, addictive and one of the best PD games there is.

Goin' Down With The Captain can be grabbed at AtariMania