Saturday, April 28, 2018

Fred




Let's get medieval

Ubi Soft's Sir Fred (aka Fred) was released in 1989 and is a platform/beat 'em up. It was programmed by Tuan Do Cao and Philippe Villain and I feel they were inspired by many older games I played back in my Spectrum days.

Our adventure begins with a fantastic intro animation depicting our fearless knight tragically zapped into a midget by an angry dwarf. Shocked by this, he shakes his fists at his foe but, they cannot help themselves and burst out laughing. Then, adding salt to Fred's wounds is a little gnome who completes Fred's ridicule. What a brilliant opening intro!!

That's the basis of the game, we need to heal our wounds. Wanna see some screenshots? I know you do...



Now come on, who would have ever expected rude gnomes to be our enemy?



Hang on, these are armed. They might be little but they're evil little b4s@£@s!



A garden centre platformer?

Beginning our life as a miniature warrior, we first explore the spooky forest to battle those cute garden gnomes. Other beasts lurk in the woods and castle grounds - skeletons, snakes, headless axemen, and ghosts. Everything wants you dead! So kill them with your arrows - these will even reach the baddies off-screen, which is kinda cool.

Fred is a nimble chap with the ability to walk, leap and roll his way through his quest. However, these controls often got me into trouble: turning around reminded me of Black Lamp feeling laborious and lethargic. This cumbersome method of turning around spoils the action somewhat because our ability to react is hampered by that speed.

The graphics are interesting beyond their looks, using a multi-layer arrangement. This effect is used to climb steps and bypass obstacles like rocks or trees, representing a 3D feel. At first, this will feel weird when you are too high/low (behind/in front of objects). It's a good idea but awkward in battles because both parties need to be on the same level.

Energy levels are indicated by three apples and, once they're gone, you're dead as a dodo. These don't last long but, your death produces a hilarious effect as our hero drops his sword in agony. This is just one more aspect of the visuals that is brilliant. There are lots of new and cool ideas in Fred, I just think some weren't needed for this game?

What was it with developers, didn't they play their own games? I know one thing, it's screenshot time...



I absolutely love the details and the murky palette which is perfect for the creepy scenario.



Check out that headless axeman and the gnome's facial details are astounding.



Aesthetics

Jean-Marc Torroella and Jerome Guerry should be forever proud of what they created. This is one of the best-looking games for the Atari ST using unique and colour landscapes with stunning attention to detail. The palette is eerie as it is comical with the cute sprites. The characters are animated perfectly, even the rude ones who stick out their tongues!!

The audio is (almost) as good as the visuals with a crunchy sampled tune playing on the title screen and intro. Charles Callet did great but, I'm more of a chiptune guy. In-game sound effects are sampled and I love these. From the firing of arrows, and clanging of swords to the silly screams of your enemies. Hardly high in quality but very enjoyable.

We've just enough time left to see a couple more screenshots. Keep on scrolling...



Those darn gnomes are a pest even the rude ones lol



Oh no, is that a skeleton or a zombie? Whatever it is, I should run away!



The CryptO'pinion?

Fred is a good game but it's too difficult thanks to the fudgy controls that needed to be quicker. Also, I feel more checkpoints were required to prevent restarting from the beginning. That is so annoying. Don't get me wrong, this is a good game but it looks better than it is. Am I right? Let me know in the comments below what you guys think.

Grab a sword and boot this up on floppy disk or for your hard drive.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Portal To Xenithor




Another STosser!

Portal To Xenithor is a brand new flick-screen platformer currently under development by Michael Keenleyside. The adventure begins with us having survived a crash landing on a monster-infested moon colony. Our job is to kill the nasties and search for a replacement spaceship before piloting it through to a victorious escape.

It's early days, but the storyline and map designs are nicely taking shape with end-of-level cutscenes also planned to be used as the adventure unfolds. The visual style is dark and moody and soon to be enhanced by eerie music. Michael is about six months into his project and is making nice progress with the possibility of using another engine for other parts of the game. And these will use the hardware scrolling and DMA Audio of the Atari STe.

Michael is nuts about STOS Game Creator and wishes to pay homage to Francois Lionet so all development will be done using this and Missing Link/Maestro. The estimated requirements are a 4MB Atari ST with support for hard disk installation. Personally, I'm reminded of Stryx and Baal so cannot wait to see this completed!


Update: Michael has started a STOS Coders group with Francois Lionet






Sunday, April 22, 2018

Zaptastic



Crazy gaming time!

When I first loaded up Zaptastic, I immediately assumed a cheap Robotron ripoff but it's actually based on an old Jeff Minter game called Ancipital. Lee Burrows not only coded this conversion but did all the graphics and sounds and runs on both models of ST but was for the Atari STe because it uses the Blitter for the sprites and DMA for all the crazy effects. Sadly, I couldn't get it to work on my STFM without getting two nasty bombs popping up!

We're in control of a Dolph Lundgren dude with spiky hair and cool shades who must frantically clear 64 rooms infested by an incredible array of nasties. He gets around using the screen's four sides and can escape the hoard by leaping across to the opposite side - but be careful because your shield won't last forever! Firing is constant and in the direction last used but can be temporally frozen by holding down the fire button <cough> Llamatron.

Visually, things are quite amateur but it works great with lots of silly sprites filling up the screen. The audio is insane thanks to the DMA coprocessor pushing out funky samples to keep everything very loud and exciting. Overall, this is one incredibly addictive and psychedelic shoot 'em up and I loved every zany minute of it!!

Zaptastic can be downloaded of ST Format (disk #81)




Friday, April 06, 2018

Half-Life II Slideshow



Half-Life 2 for Atari ST!

Well, no it isn't but this is the next best thing I think. Well, no it isn't lol. However, you guys might like this if appreciate slideshows of digitised pixel art? I hope so! After last year's mega-hit, ZombieCrypt [yes, sarcasm!], I have made another slideshow. Of course, this time for the incredible Half-Life II games using the engine created by my friend Peter Jørgensen. I've added a superb chiptune by TAO called Line of Fire, which I think suits this production just perfectly.

Each picture is a screenshot from my own gameplay - I then converted each one to Degas format using Imagecopy 4. The entire process took me about six months to compile so I hope you enjoy my lame release? [download]

If you wanna see more of my various Atari ST creations then there's a link on the right and also back there  👈


- A Few Sample Images -








Sadly, a couple didn't make the cut as I ran out of floppy disk space... Doh!

Monday, April 02, 2018

PP's Enhanced Games




New game updates!

Everyone knows that Peter Putnik has adapted hundreds of games for hard disk installation. These often include extras like bug fixes, TOS compatibility, 4MB patching, and so on. However, some are also super-charged with cool coding that utilises the Blitter coprocessor and other hidden chips lurking inside the Atari STe. Are you interested? You should be!

So I thought it would be nice to offer a brief round-up of these enhanced games as a compilation here on AtariCrypt. Oids and Uridium are particularly impressive because both updates improve tremendously upon their original counterparts. I also enjoyed playing my own music during a game of Xenon 2 (read the docs and convert music from your library). There's something here for everyone and I hope you find this useful. Enjoy this and let me know what you think...





Let's play...

Okay, let's take a look at some of these enhanced games that you can download and play right now...

 Xenon II - updated for the Atari STe and features DMA streamed music. Turn up the volume!
 Cannon Fodder - enhance this lame port with your chosen DMA streamed music.
 Prince Of Persia - allow the DMA hardware lurking inside the Atari STe to replay the game's sounds.

  



Did you enjoy that? Well, here are three enhanced FTL games that are nicely improved...

 Dungeon Master - far cleaner samples are heard thanks to the DMA hardware within the Atari STe.
 Chaos Strikes Back - Again, the DMA hardware allows cleaner sample playback for this awesome sequel.
 Oids - the potential for double framerates deliver a smoother experience when rescuing the stickmen.

  



Right, let's take a peek at three more which aren't exactly favoured well by the average ST gamer...

 Jinks - this jerky game is weird but at least it now uses the smoother STe scrolling [original disks still required]
 Menace - I cannot thank Peter enough for replacing that horrendous yellow ship with a white one!
 Uridium - Blitter-boost that sluggish ship and add DMA-streamed background music while you're at it!

  



Now let's take a little run-around with these three you might never have expected to boot up...

 Giana Sisters - this Zamuel_a enhanced game now also comes with optional DMA streamed music!!
 Hard 'n' Heavy - gone is that embarrassing flip-screen gameplay, all thanks to cool Blitter programming.
 Road Runner - Improved and also Blitterized for faster scrolling - but it's still a rubbish game (sorry!)

  



Okay, let's end in style! Here are two ST classics and (wait for it) a PC classic too! Ooh, nice...

 Goldrunner - Some might not like this, but I love hitting the F3 key to disable that fuzzy speech!
 Gauntlet - this sluggish hack 'n slash arcade game gets big improvements but still needs extra CPU grunt.
 Wolfenstein 3D - Ray's jaw-dropping FPS now has bugs removed with decent save game support.