Sunday, July 29, 2018

5 Random Atari ST Games

Something new, something unexpected

I thought it might be a nice idea to randomly select a handful of Atari ST games - something different from what I might normally choose. So I picked five games from the Dream Weavers menu disks catalogue. Everything is available on a floppy disk from Atari Legend but all can see be installed onto a hard drive thanks to D-Bug and 8BitChip.

Anyhow, this idea proved fun and with a few shocks too: I had a blast playing four totally new games (and Golden Axe!!). The video recording shows my first attempt at each game and I hope you enjoy watching it? Not a walkthrough ;)

Let's take a quick look at each of the Atari ST games I have just been playing...

 The Amazing Spider-Man 

Okay, the first up is The Amazing Spiderman by Empire Software. Now, I think that I remember playing this a few years ago but wasn't too impressed by the fiddly controls and lethargic pace? However, I must say that this "platformer" has genuinely shocked me because it's an incredible adventure which puts a different spin on the expected genre simply because of Spidey's mechanics. This means we have the expected superhero abilities along with being quite the sneaky saboteur - it's superb walking on the ceiling to creep by our enemies or punch switches with our webs.

There is also a fantastic 8-Bit vibe going on. Especially visually, which might not go down well for those looking for a classy 16-Bit quality, but I think it's perfect. Overall, this is now literally one of my favourite Atari ST games and I cannot possibly explain just how much I've loved being Spiderman!! Makes for a boring recording but this is an absolute GEM.

 Edd the Duck! 

Next up is Edd The Duck which was aimed more at kids and isn't really something I would normally choose anyhow. It's basically a poor man's Rainbow Islands but it does a pretty good job trying to live up to that class act. Actually, this is a cracking game and a lot better than I had expected but I found the jump mechanic a little off and the difficulty harder than it should be. Good, but it's probably a better idea just to load up Rainbow Islands?


Audiogenic's Exterminator was developed by The Assembly Line and is something I've wanted to play for a while - because it reminded me of Trashman!! This is all about pest control because an entire street is overrun with critters: wasps, spiders and many others. We won't be laying traps or leaving poison because we're quite literally a hands-on kinda guy.

Yep, using a BIG hand, we crush, pound or shoot the critters that emerge from the darkest corners of each room. It's kinda like a nightmarish mix of Klax and gets even sillier with support for two players - which is tremendous fun. This game is something pointless that every Dad needs to experience with his kids - they'll love it.

A good bug-crunching game that excels in two-player mode and I'm shocked at how much I enjoyed Exterminator. Finally, I must add that The Assembly Line did us proud by supporting the Atari STe with cool DMA sounds!!

 Golden Axe 

Golden Axe is a beat 'em up that needs no introduction from me. However, it's also one of those games I feel could have been a great chance to show off what the Atari STe was capable of. Sadly, there's no STe support and that was an opportunity lost [imho] but this is where my criticism ends. If you're after an awesome hack 'n' slasher then this is it.

I should make a proper article here on AtariCrypt for this amazing game. A superb game, play it!! :-)

 Ivan Ironman Stewart's
Super Off-Road 

Virgin's Super Off-Road is another game I wouldn't typically have considered because it looks like a shameless Super Sprint ripoff. However, I am kicking myself because this is great fun and I took to this bumpy racer immediately. It's so much fun tearing around its mucky tracks. It was odd being asked for my date of birth but the game has superb controls and the physics performed very well. Ripping up dirt with Ivan is absolutely brilliant and I had a blast!

What it lacks in originality is compensated by great gameplay and is the perfect end for a great run of ST games.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Cud Lee's Quest

A cuddly platformer?

I remember playing this quirky platformer by Robert Dytmire many years ago and I enjoyed its alternative style. It uses rather "odd" mechanics which are weird at first but wouldn't life be boring if every platformer played the same? Anyhow, Cud Lee (geddit?) was originally aimed at a younger audience with interesting child/tutor features but I also think there's something quite charming about this that appeals to everyone.

The aim is to fight our way through the hoards of baddies to rescue captured Pixies at the end of each level. It sounds easy but you better watch out for a range of enemies who are happily roaming through the screens. It's this mechanic that I adore because they are literally wandering the screens going about their business - whether you can see them or not. These suckers love to jump and many are really tough and can even fire weapons.

The joystick controls are the first thing that hits you because the thing feels low-gravity with super-weird movements. Collecting power-ups is a good idea to increase speed, jumping abilities, weaponry and extra lives. Keys will unlock doors and some walls can be climbed like Zool because of "strange knobby things"...

Gotta love the baddies and their freaky jumps but watch out for the little blue guy's arrows!!


Graphically, this is no Hoog or pretty much anything else from the Atari ST's PD library. Backgrounds are a boring black and the environments aren't anything much to write home about. However, it's got a certain charm with the character sprites being the best thing. There are so many and very well-defined with tons of humour, I love 'em all!

Sound effects are made from a mix of chip and samples which works really well. The 'WORRR' when something dies is quite pathetic. So pathetic that I loved it to bits. Hey, it's a PD game... Come on!

Weapons are great and can be powered up to kill these hopping crazies with great efficiency!!

The CryptO'pinion?

Cud Lee's Quest is crudely entertaining but one I'm unsure will appeal to everyone because it's hardly a conventional platformer. What I love is the freedom we're given and the speed at which to explore our strange world. Also, the ability to float (err jump) with such great efficiency through the screens - that is superb!! Genuinely, one of the silliest yet most compelling games I've played - so why not have yourself a daft hour? Enjoy it!!

Grab the disk image if you're tempted?

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Hong Kong Phooey

A story about a mild-mannered janitor

Once again, I've been plodding through my YouTube channel and found another old video, Hi-Tec's Hong Kong Phooey. This is a scrolling beat 'em up that begins with a cool intro based on the 70s cartoon I watched as a kid - this certainly brought a smile to my face!! After Spot releases the unappreciated janitor from the filing cabinet, we begin our adventure searching for Baron Von Bankjob who has just escaped from jail.

Watch out for the thugs wandering back and forth who want to stop us from capturing the villainous Baron. Thankfully, we are an expert in kung fu which is very handy. The joystick controls are superb and we can punch and kick our foe in many different ways: pushing up (whilst walking) performs a killer Van Damme flying manoeuvre. To reach higher platforms requires a bigger jump and that means also hitting the fire button which is a little cumbersome.

For those old enough to remember this fantastic cartoon, check this out...

I love the title sequence. It's short 'n sweet but I feel like a kid watching it!

The moves are easy to learn but lots of fun. "Yee-ah that, sucka!" (say this in a Mr T voice!!!)

Hanna-Barbera magic?

The graphics are pretty nice and cartoony with an oldskool style that might not appeal to many looking for that gorgeous 16-Bit sex appeal. I must say, the scrolling is smooth but it's at the expense of screen size which has been reduced by a largely pointless status panel. Gotta love the crude character sprites and their pathetic animations but the worst of all is when we jump - it's more of a float through the air! Totally ludicrous, but who cares?

Musically, there are nice tunes which I loved and that are accompanied by sound effects for jumping and so on. Okay, they're just about good enough so it's the background music I enjoyed the most.

Yep, all pretty good but not great. Let's not let that stop a couple more screenshots from appearing...

Learning kung fu certainly didn't help this janitor to jump grace. More like floating!

One gets kicked into the air and then Flash Gordon turns up!

The CryptO'pinion?

I remembered making this video recording along with a lukewarm feeling afterwards - basically because I kept on getting lost. Perhaps I should have checked out the map first? Anyhow, back then, I wasn't sure if the game captured the heart of the TV show or not. And I must admit, I'm still not exactly sure now.

So, Hong Kong Phooey brings nothing new to the table. However, the lame Chuck Norris kicks are crudely entertaining and I enjoyed exploring a technicolour world. If you have a cat called Spot, and a cabinet to get changed in, then I suggest you boot it up. A good game but, there are better platformers available for the Atari ST.

Download the floppy or hard disk version.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Last Trooper

I'll be Danny Welinski

Last year, I spent several fantastic weeks enjoying Where Time Stood Still but was later left deflated because I also wanted to play The Great Escape, which is a truly outstanding affair. Alas, the Atari ST game was never meant to be, but wipe away those snowflake tears because there might be light at the end of this 16-Bit tunnel? Well, I hope so!

Here we have Mastertronic's very own The Last Trooper which appears to be more than a tad inspired by the previously mentioned Ocean classic! However, the historic storyline and adventure elements are completely gone in favour of four levels of brutal arcade-style killing so go and grab your big boy pants because this is going to be tough!

Wanna see some screenshots of this isometric Commando shooter? Yeah, of course you do...

Escape the POW Camp in true A-Team style using whatever you can find...

Now it's time to attack your foes but watch out for those GEM-Green mines!

Good but tough!

We're a muscle-bound Schwarzenegger trapped inside an isometric POW camp. Oddly, we already have a machine gun so must find a way to escape before attacking the enemy and destroying their base. The enemy will come after you constantly but they're not the most intelligent and can run around like headless chickens - a little annoying. Other soldiers will hide in trenches or operate gun turrets and you should also look out for other tricky traps, like camouflaged mines.

The controls are simple and very responsive but I initially found it frustrating learning how to line up a shot to kill the frantic headless chickens - it's like they don't care about you being there!! Hmm, anyhow, your crusade won't last very long unless you eat the food that's been carelessly left lying about. Don't forget to top-up your weapon with fresh ammo.

There are other items that you will need to source that will help you out later in the mission. These are essential items that might not be obvious at first: ropes are always handy to have, for example. And there's oddly a huge supply of wire cutters left inside the POW camp. Hmm, that's two interesting pointers that you should remember.

Well, enough reading! Let's check out some more screenshots...

Things got a little tiresome by the third level which was more of the same but a lot harder!

But the fourth level is explosive and much better. Although it's a shame about the poor ending...

The CryptO'pinion?

I've quite enjoyed playing The Last Trooper - but only after activating a trainer for infinite lives. Without that, I failed to beat the second level due to the ridiculous difficulty that is primarily thanks to the headless chickens running about. They blindly shoot everything with extreme efficiency so I wonder if anyone actually bothered to beta-test before its release?

Overall, an above-average shooter that's quite flawed with high difficulty but it's still a bundle of fun for an hour or two. However, if I'm being brutally honest, then I'll stick with Fernandez Must Die and Elite's Commando.

Download the floppy or hard disk versions.

Monday, July 23, 2018


Help! What do I do? Everything wants to kill me!!

I've been going through my old videos and found this frantic 8-way shooter by legends, Hewson. Programmed by Chris Hinsley, who also made the awesome Onslaught and Verminator, it features stunningly fast visuals which whiz across your screen like lightning. It's crazy and these are all by Nigel Brownjohn who was behind one of my fave platformers, Beyond the Ice Palace. The audio is gorgeous, all thanks to the magic of Dave Whittaker.

We are a "custodian" of a massive tomb which has been infested by alien parasites. Obviously, we've gotta clean up this place which means killing everything! The best part is that we not only look like something from the demoscene [cough] but are also equipped with an armed jetpack. Zooming about this place is exciting stuff but the aliens are relentless and the basic mechanics just don't work well together, so it soon becomes a demented slog!

Chris sure knew how to program the Atari ST but I feel he has missed the mark here. There's just too much going on with gameplay that is confusing and relentless. But, perhaps I'm wrong? If you're feeling brave then Custodian can be run from a floppy or hard drive. Get ready and brace yourself for a rough journey!! Let me know what you think...

Attack!! Attack!! Attack!! Attack!! Attack!! Attack!! ARGHHHH!! Help me, somebody!!

Too much!! Too much!! What's going on? Everything wants me dead... Oh, I died!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Risky Woods

Spanish Games

I'm digging up another oldie video from my YouTube channel (please subscribe) and this time it's Risky Woods developed by Dinamic - the ones who gave us a Marine with his wiggly legs (lol fantastic!). This time we are Rohan, a young knife-wielding chap from a place called The Lost Land, a once-peaceful place protected by Monks. Yep, monks.

These monks once guarded the wisdom of the Lost Land until a rather nasty baddie turned up to ruin everything - Draxos brought his legions of evil armies and turned all the monks into statues. Nobody is safe, children are crying and evil roams the lands. What can we do? Of course, this is our queue to enter the woods and free the monks and defeat Draxos. It's gonna be a tough challenge - can you do it? Come on, kids are crying so it is time to kick some demonic ass!

I know, another silly story for another normal day in retro gaming land. So, let's play...

Hurry and free all the monks to save the land from the evil Draxos!

Sexy platforming!

Risky Woods is a scrolling platformer that has us leaping across platforms, frantically banging on the fire button to kill everything in sight. Each level is stuffed with many enemies who are only too eager to rush onto the screen but there are also lots of bonuses. Just don't forget why you're here as all monks need freeing before you can exit.

This game feels like a cross between something like Ork and Black Tiger much of the time. I love how responsive the controls are and they need to be - many enemies are constantly rushing onto the screen at a frequent pace. It's quite overwhelming, but great fun without ever crushing your spirit. Think Black Lamp and you've got the idea.

Each level is superbly designed and looks absolutely stunning with lush environments, high details and fancy effects. However, it's the sprites that I love even more because they are large and superbly animated - just look at those skeletons!! Slain enemies leave behind gold coins to collect for use in the shop to purchase much-needed weapons.

This game plays well and looks great. What, you need another screenshot to prove it? Okay...

There's no denying the stunning artwork which is some of the best I've ever seen.


Visually, this is one heck of a looker. A beautiful game with stunning landscapes, raster backdrops and many different spooky sprites. The level of artwork is impressive and I dare anyone to say otherwise. Scrolling is responsive and smooth for an STf game but a part of me cannot help but wonder why they didn't push the boat out for some level of STe support.

Like the visuals, the sonix doesn't disappoint thanks to the great chiptunes by Jose Martin. The sound effects are nice yet nothing remarkable, but, they do their job. Yeah, it's the music that works wonders. Absolutely superb.

A game that looks and sounds this good needs many levels as this mini-map so kindly displays...

Check out the map. This details your torturous journey through the Lost Lands.

The CryptO'pinion?

The problem I have with this game is its difficulty. The constant onslaught of invading enemies is often too much and made worse by having to bend down to collect dropped coins during the heat of battle - rather than simply walking over them. Also, bumping into a baddie makes you drop the loot, and you cannot fire for a brief moment. Irritating!!

Having said all that, I've had a blast with this gorgeous platformer! It's exciting, frantic, and devilishly addictive. If only Dinamic had balanced the gameplay mechanics better, then it would have been nothing less than a classic. I'm afraid old me found it too demanding - without a trainer. Am I wrong? I never am... but let me know in the comments.

Downloads for floppy and hard drive.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Magic Pockets

Fancy a game of pocket pool?

I thought it was about time we posted some more BoxArt from my own collection. Well, I finally re/bought Magic Pockets by the awesome Bitmap Bros and those guys sure knew how to program and never once settled for a lame Amiga port. Anyhow, the cover art is quite simple, especially when compared to others I've already featured. Hmm, it's a bit boring perhaps? Anyhow, I'm proud to own what is nothing less than another belting piece of hiSTory by the Bitmaps!!

So the story. Ah, yes... Okay, the Bitmap Kid (BK to his burger friends) has been given a brand new pair of magical trousers from an old man he met in the park one evening. No, not really lol!! Anyhow, he loves these trousers but then finds out that his toys have somehow disappeared into a fantasy world: PocketLand. Of course, this cool Kid is determined to get his toys back so enters via a black hole he conjured!! Boy, if there was ever a whackier storyline!

Anyhow, let's take a gander at one lovely - blue-tinted - screenshot...

There are lots of crazy monsters to kill but... hang on... what's that TV doing there?

Short arms, deep pockets

PocketLand is split over four enormous levels and BK is armed with different powers depending on the world he's currently in. There are so many awesome enemies and bonuses - heck, he even has extra abilities like the whirlwind to jump higher. Sometimes the route through can feel like a wild goose chase, but often you're led onto secret areas which contain lots of goodies. I admire their overall design because most levels never feel linear in the slightest.

Joystick controls are spritely with responsive action and movement. I have always liked the mechanics because - it feels less like a computer platformer and more like something a console would knock out. Neither is better than the other, it's just how Magic Pockets feels (to me) so I like it today as much as I did back in the 90s. In fact, it's quite surreal playing it again!

Well, it's time for yet another screenshot. Wow, gripping stuff...

The first level nicely introduces various aspects of the game with its trippy mechanics.


Visually, this has a Godly appearance with lovely colours splashed throughout every level. The scrolling is fast and fluent so always manages to keep up the pace. However, it's the sprites that are something else; so many incredibly cute critters all of which are nicely animated too. Why can't all games look this beautiful?

The sound effects are fantastic but I would have preferred an option for a background tune. Famously, the title music is by Betty Boo but, I'm kinda meh about that. I guess it's nice to have and the quality is pretty good.

Get on your bike and get ready for another screenshot of crazy gameplay...

Hey, I've found a bike? Weeee, come on, there aren't many games like this!!

The CryptO'pinion?

Well, I'm new (again) to Magic Pockets so haven't gotten very far, if I'm honest. But, what a gem this platformer is and it's wonderful to play it once again. I feel it hasn't aged badly whatsoever. In fact, it's still just as much fun and as entertaining as it ever was. You could say that I'm feeling like a big kid on Christmas Day here!!

Magic Pockets is an outstanding platformer and very easy to get into. This article might be a preview but, anything from the Bitmap Brothers is top-notch. So I know I'll be enjoying this for many moons. Highly recommended.

Downloaded for floppy and hard disk.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Bug Spray

Wot, no Robbie the Robot?

Pssst, wanna play a game bursting with frantic fun and originality? Then check out Bug Spray, developed by Philip Bishop which should please gamers with both green fingers and a natural love for killing nasty insects. In fact, it might look familiar if you're old enough to remember the 1983 Speccy original by Ultimate Play The Game (that ran in 16Kb).

Sunflowers need our protection from various hungry pests who love to nibble at them. To stop this, we use three different cans of bug spray as each type is designed to kill a specific creature. So spraying a bug with the wrong type will only stun them. Sadly, our gardener can only carry one at a time so it's a rush battling the critters as they swarm.

Just like Jet Pac, this is so much like the original but it isn't an exact replica. However, it's close enough and brought back many happy memories for me. The graphics are pretty much ZX Spectrum standards and the sprites are cute, especially the spiders. Sound effects are adequate but there is an option for chipmusic which is a far better option.

Bug Spray is a blatant rip-off but it works so well. My only criticism is manoeuvring the gardener into the gaps which feel quite tight. That aside, I've enjoyed playing what is essentially a fantastic 16-Bit conversion of Ultimate's Pssst!

Monday, July 16, 2018


I was going through old video recordings and found this which is an absolute classic!!
Download available on Demozoo - just make sure you turn up the volume

Credits: "Alan, Bill and Dave"
(I wonder who these people were because there's little information out there!)

Friday, July 13, 2018


Bomberman sucks!

Ever since I first played Erik And The Floaters on my ZX Spectrum, I have enjoyed many different Bomberman clones and here is yet another one called Bombaman. Developed by Kevin Callahan for the Atari STe, this conversion is multiplayer for two-four people, with support for those enhanced joystick ports lurking on the side of the computer.

Blowing up stuff is superb thanks to light and responsive joystick controls. Tons of power-ups are available and contain some favourites, like a molotov cocktail and chucking bombs over a wall. Others can increase the number of bombs we are able to drop - but watch out for chain reactions during their explosions as that will detonate others. Roller skates speed up gameplay whilst flap jackets protect us but slower players better watch out for zombies. Fun is the name of this game!

Want a screenshot? Well, brace yourself and get ready to squint...

It starts tame but soon you're using power-ups and blasting everything!


The visuals are incredibly colourful but may require sunglasses to protect your eyes from all that glare!! Okay, the colour is completely over the top and looks like a child would have picked the colours but who said Kevin was an artist? Thankfully, everything runs smoothly at 50fps thanks to the Blitter and is displayed in overscan too I might add.

Chipmusic plays throughout, which I really enjoyed because it's downright awesome. Thankfully, it never overpowers the DMA sound effects bursting out of your Atari STe and that is how all games should be!!

Yeah, the colour palette is very trippy so let's annoy your eyes on final time with another screenshot...

All that colour could drive you insane - if it wasn't such a great game!!

The CryptO'pinion?

This is a brilliant multiplayer which has lived up to my expectations and I'm sure you will love gathering around the ST to play this. Okay, okay, I admit that I would have loved a single-player option but that's my only gripe as we have thoroughly enjoyed Bombaman - my daughter says it's her favourite Atari ST game [watch our video recording].

This is a cracking game for those who enjoy throwing bombs at their friends. Who doesn't? So download it. Now.

Update: Kevin has since found the floppy disk of the registered version. This is now safely stored on AtariMania. Go on and grab it now!

Monday, July 09, 2018

Ben Pritchard

It's interview time!

When AtariCrypt was just a little baby I came upon a scrolling platformer called The Curse Of Bolda which is such a fun game and one I really enjoyed playing. However, I was new to Hatari and figured I was doing something wrong because it seemed sluggish so I whacked it up to the dizzy heights of 16Mhz and everything was perfect.

Shortly afterwards, I heard from the developer who seemed chuffed that people were still playing his old games and (eventually) I got around to playing his other called Kev's World. This is a flick-screen platformer which I really enjoyed, probably because STOS coped better without trying to scroll the screen? Fantastic game!

Anyhow, I've since been talking to Ben who has found the original [registered] disks of The Curse Of Bolda which are now freely available from AtariMania. However, I couldn't leave it there. Yup, I had to ask a few questions for our interview section. My sincere gratitude to Ben for hunting down the disks and answering these questions. :-)

Ben Pritchard - The Interview

Hello Ben, please introduce yourself.

Well, first of all, my STory can't be told without that of my best mate Paul; he introduced me to the Atari ST and was my "sparring partner" in making games. We started out making text adventures at first - me on an Amstrad CPC at the time, and him using ST Basic - around 1988/89. Then he got his hands on the Shoot 'em up Construction Kit, which sold me on making the jump to the Atari. And then - just by sheer chance - I ended up getting the Discovery pack, through which we discovered STOS and start the voyage of discovery/development/geeky one-upmanship that ultimately led to Kev's World, the Curse of Bolda and indeed what I'm up to right now...

Which Atari ST were you using?

I started out with the 520STFM that came in the Discovery pack, then upgraded to the 1040STE Music Maker pack a couple of years later. I never had any hard drives or memory upgrades. Having attempted to solder adaptors into place, in a failed attempt to boost my 520 up to a 1meg, kind of put me off. And being in my teens, at the time, I didn't have the money for much else.

Although technically inferior, I personally thought Kev's World was a cracking platformer.

Tell us a little about your two games.

Both Kev's and Curse are very special to me - Curse because it was the first game I had actually released (despite it actually being the sequel to Kev's!), and because it had the 8-way scrolling and all the stuff I had originally wanted in Kev's but couldn't get working at the time. But I had a very special moment with Kev's - a few weeks after releasing it, I got a letter from a chap in Scotland (this is about 1995, before broadband and home internet/email became a thing) saying how much he enjoyed the game and asking for a hint on getting past the boss. That really struck a chord - someone was so into something I had made that they had taken the time to write to me and let me know...

What's so special about Kevin?

Kev was kind of an evolving design... Originally he was a spaceman - believe it or not - for another game which I was working on called "Galanium". Then his space helmet was replaced by the face and red baseball cap for another game called "AstroKid" (again, abandoned). Finally, he got made over into the black t-shirt, blue jeans and big white trainers you see it in the games. As for the name - well, I was an unashamed metaller back in those days, and the trendy guys - who wore baseball caps and big white trainers were known as "Kev"s - so there it was: he was called Kev because he is a Kev!

Kev's World is only a demo and I'm desperate to play the full release.

Did either game live up to your expectations?

Both games blew me away - again, Curse by virtue of being first, and Kev's due to that letter I mentioned before. Plus the fact they made a few hundred quid between them - given that I had just started at university when I released Curse, extra cash was an amazing bonus. But the big thing was that both games got reviewed in both ST Format and Atari ST user - I never saw that one coming!

What happened to game no.3??

"Odyssey Island" was the working title of the third Kev game, and it was going to be bigger than Curse, with more complicated puzzle elements, impromptu boss battles, other characters to interact with, and a weapon system based on earth/air/fire/water elements, that also fed into the puzzle system. But by this time, it was 1995, and not only was I deep into my university course, but I had also been very ill, and everything seemed to be heading towards the PC and 3D, so it just stalled in the end.

The Curse Of Bolda is perfect using a 16Mhz computer to give STOS that little extra help!


Because it came with the Discovery pack, and was better than SEUCK - or indeed anything Paul or I had used until then. Of course, we started using extensions - Curse owes its very existence to The Missing Link, and towards the end, we also learned how to use little assembly language snippets to improve performance, but STOS was the backbone of what we did.

What was it like working with Floppyshop?

Floppyshop and their "floppyware" scheme was a great experience - Steve (Delaney) was great to work with and full of enthusiasm, despite some teething issues with corrupted disks! He gave both games a great write-up in the catalogues - if memory serves, he said that Curse was "better than a lot of the £25 off-the-shelf titles" of the time! Looking back, licenceware worked well for both titles.

The Curse Of Bolda is a massive game to tax your brain and reactions.

Why so little love for the Atari STe?

The STE version of Curse does actually use the DAC to play samples (hence why the STFM version is music only). As for the scrolling, we did not really understand enough about the guts of the STe to be able to do much (we were working largely in STOS and its extensions. Looking back, maybe we depended on that too heavily).

Secondly, from what we could tell of the market by looking at other games released, magazine coverage etc., it felt like the vast majority of ST owners had STFMs, so we coded to accommodate the widest possible base. Heck, Kev's World was cut down for half-meg STs - although we did do a 1meg version with extra sound effects!

Would you upgrade either game with more STe support?

I must admit - much to my shame - that since Odyssey Island stalled in '95, I haven't really thought about developing for the ST/STE. "Real life" got in the way too much - first university, then getting a job and a flat, and various other life events. In fact, I pretty much dropped out of game writing altogether from then right through to 2005 due to lack of time, money, hardware etc...

The Curse Of Bolda is cruel. Flipping a switch caused a fire and the platforms evaporated!

What are your favourite Atari ST games?

Back in the day, I was a huge platformer fan (as my own games may indicate!) - I loved Turrican 1 & 2, Rainbow Islands will always have a special place in my heart, titles like Ozone and Prehistorik that showed just what was possible with STOS... but my all-time number one has to be "The Killing Gameshow" by Psygnosis - now if ever there was a title that deserved an STE version it was that, for the music alone!

What are you and Ledasoft doing today?

These days, I am usually playing "being a Dad"! To be honest, I'm really not into playing games as I don't have the time to dedicate to the mainstream mega-titles, and the "indie" scene is just so full of shovelware it takes too long to even look for something to play! To be honest, these days I prefer to spend my time making games than playing them... which brings us neatly onto:

LedaSoft has undergone two major re-inventions since the ST days - the first was back in 2010 when we resurrected the "Leda" name as "Leda Entertainment" in an attempt to break into the mobile game market. We released about a dozen games over five or so years, but it really didn't work out.

More recently, we have changed direction again - this time we have kept the Leda Entertainment name, but changed what we are all about. Over our time in mobile, we met a lot of people trying to get into the games industry but always stuck behind the "lack of experience/no published titles" wall. So we changed direction - Leda is still firstly about us enjoying making games, but instead of hoping to make money, we have teamed up with a number of these talented artists and audio designers in the hope that the game we make and release together will help at least one of them on their way to their dream job!

The game we are working on is called "Bullion - The Curse of the Cutthroat Cattle" - it's a local multiplayer brawler based around a crew of pirate bulls. There are currently eight in the team, including Paul and myself, so Leda has grown a bit since the ST days! If you want to check out Bullion, go to

So the plan for the future is to keep making games and, hopefully, help some people kick-start their career - ultimately to have fun! That said, I must admit that it's tempting to crack out the Atari STe once Bullion is done, just to see what I can still do - and I also have a half-finished PC remake of Curse somewhere I might finish up...

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Into The Eagle's Nest

'Allo 'Allo!

Into The Eagles Nest is an overhead Gauntlet-like shooter set within the enemy's castle, heavily occupied by thousands of Nazi soldiers. Our orders are simple: infiltrate the castle, rescue three allied soldiers and then detonate the hidden explosives. Leaving without blowing the place to kingdom come would just be rude!!

As soon as the game begins, the battle is on! And it's against an onslaught of soldiers who eagerly patrol the castle's dingy corridors. Sneaking into the enemy's lair was the easy part, now we've gotta bust out of our safe room with guns blazing and rescue our fellow Allied soldiers before General Von Klinkerhoffen orders their execution.

Look for keys, health and ammo because you never know what's gonna happen next!

Search, Shoot, Kill

As you explore, look for anything that may assist in completing your mission: health packs help repair hits you've endured and an ammo stash will replenish your Nazi killing abilities. Elevator keys need no explanation - but don't be too quick to use these because you should fully explore the current level a lot more than you might realise! Don't forget to disable the messages telling what item has been collected... so annoying!!

Collect keys and use them wisely to unlock parts of the map otherwise out of limits. But some doors were bought from Ikea and need only a little gun love to bust open!! Some soldiers have had too much beer and fallen flat-out cold drunk so an easy target - but unnecessary if low on ammo. Remember to watch the status panel because you can withstand 50 hits, which sounds a lot but even Rambo would die without stealth and a tactical approach.

Shoot the barrels and make your way to a secret area with items to collect.


I've always enjoyed overhead shooters but I oddly didn't care for this at first - the push-scrolling technique isn't ideal for this type of game. So my first impressions weren't good if I'm honest. However, it does grow on you and I've gotta say that I love the general 8-Bit feel with the superbly drawn sprites and a point of view which truly is "overhead".

The title screen music is flunky but pretty good all at the same time. I'm more of a chip guy but I still liked it. In-Game sound effects are all samples and really nice too but I miss a background chippy tune if I'm honest.

Sneak by and pinch their food [oddly on the floor]. Hang on, they're asleep? BAM BAM BAM!!

The CryptO'pinion?

This is an easy one to rate because it's a freaking brilliant shooter. A classic and the Atari ST got a fantastic conversion. I think most of us have played this incredible game so I'm positive everyone has happy memories and should play it again.

As fun as it is challenging. A totally engrossing adventure for the most persevering player. Enjoy it!!

Grab this cracker on floppy or hard drive.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Kev's World

Another GEM lurking within the ST's library!

Kev's World was developed for FloppyShop by Ben Pritchard and is the prequel to The Curse Of Bolda. In this flick-screen platformer, we explore many rooms, grabbing stars and shooting monsters in order to rescue our beloved Katherine from the clutches of Bolda. Okay, I know what you're thinking but stay with me on this one!

This platformer features many pitfalls and even the odd puzzle to solve using keys and teleporters before eventually battling the deranged-looking Bolda in a rather crude end-of-level boss fight. Okay, remember this wasn't commercial, so you should forget Magic Boy or Rainbow Islands when you take a gander at my screenshots...

There are many different baddies but watch out for the little green alien thing - I hate those!

It's time to be a 2D hero again!

Any platformer needs good, responsive controls which blend well with the basic mechanics of the game. Think something simple like Manic Miner. Well, the joystick controls are perfect and I love how agile Kevin's movements are which is brilliant. This is a typical game but there are a few neat touches that I love: keep this Krazy Kid busy otherwise, he complains that he's bored using a speech bubble which isn't new but a fun characteristic.

This bubble can also be used to indicate when Kev's hurt along with any items/power-ups he's collected. Floor panels are randomly placed and stepping on one will reward you with extra points or a smart bomb that kills everything on-screen. However, this is totally random so may instead cause a rockslide, alert the baddies to your location or reverse the controls. Are you ready to take a chance? I know right, it's something different and I love that!!
Lots of bonuses are scattered throughout and offer a variety of features:
QuintStar contains the value of five individual stars.
Aurora Of Invincibility provides temporary invulnerability from everything but spikes.
Hero Head ... well, don't get too excited because it's a 1UP!!
Power Heart boosts Kevin's health.
Sands Of Time adds to the ever-decreasing time limit.
Oh, and Kevin's also partial to playing arcade games, if you happen to find one...

Shoot Bolda in the face to save your girlfriend from this fiend!


A platformer needs to have a clear and concise design and one that not only looks nice but isn't too obtrusive -  the enemies need to be clearly visible, objects aren't easily missed, nor will you accidentally bump into something deadly. Well, Kev's World might not look as good as Magic Boy but its design works superbly so appears interesting and eye-catching. When I say eye-catching that's because of the extremely insane colour palette!

The sprites look ace and very comical. Some of the nasties are very cute and I think it's obvious Ben spent most of his time getting these looking just right. Sadly, no Atari STe hardware is being utilised so STOS is struggling somewhat. I'd have loved to see Ben utilise the Blitter for a slightly faster feel.

The audio is excellent with tons of samples used throughout. However, like the visuals, Kev's World isn't using the DMA so it not only sounds rough but the playback is pushing STOS to its limits. Don't get me wrong, I love the effects but I think the YM chip would have been best. Can we all chip in and buy Ben an Atari STe?

Argh, that damn Bolda. My girlfriend is (slowly) whisked off once again!!

The CryptO'pinion?

What I love about Kev's World is its traditional oldskool gameplay which is just downright excellent and so enjoyable. The joystick controls are superb! The additional bonuses, along with smart bombs and other surprises, really makes this game stand out from most other PD/Shareware platformers available for the ST.

Sadly, it's a little sluggish so I'm sure the Blitter would have helped along with the DMA for the samples? (Sadly, no Atari STe features are being used). Anyhow, I have enjoyed playing this two-level demo and it's definitely something I would have bought back in the mid-90s because it's great fun. We need the full registered game!!

The two-level demo of Kev's World can be downloaded for either floppy or a hard disk.

Completed!! I made 12th place and even beat Metallica. Can you beat me?

Tuesday, July 03, 2018


Look, the Atari ST cannot scroll!!

Logotron's StarRay is a Defender wannabe developed by a trio of incredible talent. Programmed by Steve Bak, a man who always knew how to get the very best from the Atari ST without resorting to any lame excuses. The graphics are by Pete Lyon which are superb from the moment we see the futuristic Monument Valley. David Whittaker created all the jaw-dropping funk you hear (anyone with extra Ram has sampled music on the title screen - but I prefer chippy tunes).

StarRay is so much fun and boosts the original Defender format with great gameplay styles, beautiful sounds and gorgeous multilayer parallax visuals. This is how all retro gaming should be, so if you fancy taking to the skies then download either the floppy disk or use your hard drive. Enjoy what is nothing short of an Atari ST classic. Read no more and play this game!!

Monday, July 02, 2018


Feeling the need for speed, I booted up Overdrive by Ross McNaughton which he developed in 1996 using STOS. It's an overhead racer similar to Super Cars or Power Up and features 25 GEM-green tracks!

After listening to the horrendous title music [nails on a blackboard] you're asked for your initials before viewing a diagram of the first track. The physics are pretty dodgy but controls are easy to learn so it's not long before you're tearing up the asphalt. However, that's about as deep as it gets because your opponents are like laid back Sunday drivers! Plus there are no differing road surfaces, weather conditions, car repairs, etc...

Okay, I'm probably being too harsh because Overdrive isn't commercial and there is a level of fun to be had here. Sadly, it's too easy so gets repetitive very soon and that green colour hurts the eyes. It's not long before things feel monotonous and hence why I abruptly ended my recording. Enjoyable for a few minutes but nothing more...

Go on!! I dare ya to download Overdrive and play it. Let me know what you think!

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Crash Time Plumber (longplay recording)

> Update: Read our review featurette about this beautiful game!!

Crash Time Plumber is an astounding platformer but I struggled to beat level 6 with my joystick skills. So that meant there was only one thing left to do - cheat! The later levels are killers!! Even with a cheat, all I would do is die-die-die!! But, eventually, I did it, as you can see in the recording. I dare anyone to complete it without extra lives...

This is most definitely one of my favourite platformers. It's nothing less than infuriatingly awesome!!