Friday, August 31, 2018

Alien Vs Predator

Rebellion's Alien Vs Predator is a 64-bit masterpiece and also the main reason I bought an Atari Jaguar. It offers a fascinating first-person experience set in outer space onboard an alien-infested spaceship. Rarely did I play as either the Alien or Predator because I almost always chose the Colonial Marine, Private Lance J. Lewis.

This marine is a bad boy who awakens from stasis in the Brig. Wondering what's going on, he conveniently finds a dead body and picks up a shotgun before speaking the line: "What on earth got hold of this guy?". Lance is very hungry and heads to the canteen on sublevel 3 only to find the place is swarming with vicious aliens!!

Original and gripping storyline? Well, at least the artwork is gorgeous... Hang on, is that a pink ship?

Don't be scared - the ship might be overrun but we have a shotgun and there are plenty of supplies to pick up. Sadly, your clearance level is pretty lame but fumbling dead bodies could reveal hidden treasures and possibly better keycards. When all seems lost, follow in the footsteps of Gordon Freeman and use the vent shafts for a sneaky way to get around. Finally, don't ignore the computer terminals as they often contain helpful information...

This adventure is yours to enjoy how you see fit but it will be hard unless you make a map - especially for the vent shafts which are tricky to navigate. Upgrading to the Pulse Rifle is a must and it sounds superb. I love the Motion Tracker which is really handy but don't dawdle because reports suggest of another alien ship docking!!

Who do you wanna be? A cool chappy, a sleek alien or a big wimp who hides behind his gadgets?

These are nasty times so find the keycards, kill as many aliens as possible and activate the self-destruct. I highly recommend this wonderful fps - just don't forget about the escape pod otherwise it's "Game over, man"!!

Did you enjoy this? It wasn't related to the Atari ST but I hope to feature more for the Atari consoles.
My apologies for the speed & quality of the recording. The emulator struggled on my old Mac but I still had lots of fun and now regret selling my Jaguar... I could play it all over again!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

No Buddies Land

When the demoscene and gaming industry join forces!

Eternal's No Buddies Land was released in 1991 by Loriciel and is programmed by David Boshoven who is possibly better known as Lair from the group Hotline. Okay, the story is silly but let's roll with it: the land is flooding and Bud is the hero of the day who must climb up into heaven to ask for help before everything is destroyed.

Five dreaded levels are all about to be flooded but our adventure begins in a dingy castle before heading outside to hop his way through the trees and then up into the clouds. As each level begins, the waters begin to rise just as in games like Flood, Goin' Down With The Captain or Killing Game Show. So, be quick and get moving!!

Level one is pretty cool but it also introduces you to the cruel mechanics and an overpriced shop!

Prepare thyself!

Yes, prepare thyself for a world of hurt because this is cruel with wicked environments and lots (and lots) of traps and frustrating jumps. We must also contend with moving platforms, acid droplets, spikes, disappearing ledges and much more. Not only all that, but the local wildlife is never friendly and will zap your energy with a single touch.

Thankfully, there's nothing better than arming yourself with weaponry. It's perfectly natural to see a kid carrying a pistol in any 16-bit world - we love that! Best of all, this can be upgraded (along with health and more). Yep, you heard me, there are actually shops on the way up to Heaven. Who would have thought that? Well, brace yourself because I'm told there are also hidden side-games and annoying puzzles (Grr!!). Something for everyone.

I liked level 2 the most which also reminded me of Elf but I found level 3 a killer and really annoying!!

Platforming never looked so good!

The visuals are by Bram Leyten, aka Sense of Hotline, and are absolutely stunning with incredible attention to detail for both the environment and its cute sprites. Animations are also pretty nice but Bud walks like he's rushing to the toilet - gotta laugh at his zippy legs!! Not only do these graphics knock you for six but they slide down your screen at a graceful 50fps using sync-scrolling. This method screws up my VGA monitor each time it attempts to scroll, but it works dandy using a standard CRT monitor/TV. So, I guess it must be a VGA issue?

Audio has not been forgotten and if you remember Monster Business' outstanding tunes then you're in for another treat. Laurens Tummers, aka Lotus, has done it again to provide the most stunning examples of timeless chip music. In fact, I would say No Buddies Land has some of the best tunes I've heard in any game.

Both level 4 and 5 feature disappearing platforms which I really, really, REALLY hated!!

The CryptO'pinion?

Technically, a masterpiece and one that certainly proves what the Atari ST is capable of knocking out when in the hands of a talented programmer. However, No Buddies Land isn't perfect. The controls great but jumping diagonally can be awkward unless Bud is currently walking. Also, knowing which ledges to hop onto isn't always obvious when some blend into the background scenery. Ultimately, No Buddies Land gave me deja vu as I felt we had another Enchanted Land: it looks and sounds beautiful but has ultra-hard gameplay that spoils what might have been.

I really enjoyed the range of levels and their different environments which are as interesting as they are gorgeous to look at. Overall, a great game spoilt by silly design mechanics but also very enjoyable, if you have the time.

Download the floppy or HDD versions.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Hibernated 1 - This Place is Death

Hibernated 1: This Place is Death is a sci-fi text adventure by Stefan Vogt and released for a variety of different platforms along with our beautiful Atari ST. We are Olivia Lund onboard the intergalactic spaceship, Polaris-7 who has awoken from stasis. The ship appears abandoned and has been caught by an alien tracker-beam...

You know, text adventures aren't often my cuppa tea - the brain needs to be fed visual wonders before I wander off dazed... But, I gotta say, I've really enjoyed myself with this rather splendid adventure which has a fantastic sense of humour. The parser is easy to use with a two-word command system using Examine, Get, Open, Search, Move, etc. There are also shortcuts: I for Inventory and R to re-describe the current location. Medium resolution is supported but oddly not monochrome... The docs advised making a map and that is a very good idea!!

Hibernated 1 is possibly the first of a new trilogy which can be downloaded and bought right now. Name your own price - which I think is a wonderful idea - thus play before you pay. Any text-adventurers lurking out there?

UPDATE: You can now purchase a physical boxed release! :-)

This adventure has a great personality with cheeky remarks using buckets of humour!

A droid is punching me and I try to examine it. What was I thinking? A nice response though!!

Yikes, what is on that computer? The last thing we need is to be quarantined for four weeks!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Time Bandit

I woke up wanting to play Microdeal's awesome 1985 cracker, Time Bandit. I recorded this video and had myself some fun but now I should enable that trainer and finally get this beauty completed. One of the beST!!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for lots of great Atari ST videos :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2018


I love finding something "new" and only yesterday I saw a version of Pong on Atari Legend which I'd not played before. It's by Construct Developments but I couldn't source a download from anywhere until ST Graveyard, aka Maarten Martens, kindly sent me the disk image. (Download added into AtariMania for safekeeping!)

Pong works only on the Atari STe thanks to the stereo tracker music, but the gameplay isn't exactly what I assumed. Forget your friends and family because this is a one-player conversion which uses your joystick to control both paddles at the same time. So, as you guide the left paddle, the right will automatically move in the opposite direction for a brain-busting experience! It's quite tough to fully master - but Pongtastic!!

Sadly, it appears Pong wasn't finished so there are a few minor niggles. The only thing that bugged me was how the ball becomes difficult to follow when it passing over an area of similar colour - thanks to that cool background. However, finding new ST software is always good and this offers a neat twist on the format.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Thunder Jaws

Big guns and a pervy boss!

I'd seen pictures of this underwater shoot 'em up but didn't really know what to expect from what seemed a pretty naff James Bond wannabe. Released in 1991 by Domark, our villain is the busty Madame Q who desires nothing less than to rule the world. She's gone and kidnapped lots of gorgeous girls who are to be experimented on and turned into monsters. Okay, so our task is to find her secret base, kill all the baddies, and free the hostages.

Grab something rubbery to wear because her base is deep underwater which reminds me of Scuba Dive on my old ZX Spectrum! But these dangerous waters are patrolled by armed guards and robotic sharks. Harpoon everything that moves and destroy the automated defences before blowing open an entrance to her lair.

A cool loading screen but where's the intro gone?? Still, at least 2-player co-op is still included.

Lots of baddies and some great weapons to pick up - listen to those punk girls scream lol

Wear your best flippers for the girls!

Inside, the game changes to a scrolling platformer which is basically a ripoff of Rolling Thunder (yikes, we all remember that dreadful conversion). Anyhow, this stage is better and with henchmen and other strange characters chasing you. Weaponry remains the same and can also be upgraded to a flamethrower, uzi, rockets, and more. Finally, battle a boss and rescue yourself a few gorgeous babes - who will be extremely grateful.

Once completed, it flips back to the underwater stage and we repeat for similar missions. The difficulty level increases as we infiltrate through the base but it's now that I needed to activate a trainer because the later levels are crammed with an insane amount of baddies!! Also, the end of level bosses are tough and made worse by tons of other bad guys turning up to help out their boss. Argh, my screen is littered with too many brawling sprites!!

Yikes, our evil villain looks freaky but rescuing the sexy girls produces kisses and hugs for our hero!!

Later on, we're in dirty waters which leads to scary rock monsters and naked firewomen!

Graphics & Sounds

Visuals are nice with gorgeous backgrounds and different artwork styles. I really liked how each level looked and the sprites were always superbly drawn: nothing beats watching the girls falling to their feet for lots of comical kissing. Scrolling is smooth but feels a little lethargic, especially on later levels when there are lots going on!

Sadly, there isn't a chiptune bopping away in the background but the sound effects are quite good. Actually, no, they are crude but the grunts are deranged - I loved the haunting female's scream of death.

The end boss battles are rubbish which is basically because there are too many enemies...

Finally, we get to meet the flame-haired temptress but then she morphs into something ugly!!

The CryptO'pinion?

I must admit, I'm a little unsure what to make of Thunder Jaws. It's predictable but fun and the addition of two-player co-op is excellent. However, the later levels are impossible without cheating and I got a whiff of a lame port when things slowed to a sluggish pace. Having said that, it's not the disaster Rolling Thunder was and I enjoyed pretending to be James Bond, rescuing sexy girls and saving the world from a busty tyrant... Oh yeah!!

Yep, I really enjoyed playing Thunder Jaws. It's not perfect but I played through to the end. Good game!!

You can download for floppy or hard disk but only if you look good in a wetsuit! Note, faster computers will benefit smoother framerates when running of hard drive - thanks to 8BitChip.

Here is the end screen... it's probably best I don't comment? :)

Monday, August 13, 2018

Ikari Warriors

- The battle of the Atari's? Yes, the 7800 vs ST -

Ikari Warriors brings back many special memories for me because it came free with my first Atari ST and was something I loved from the moment I loaded it up that Christmas morning (yikes that was 1988). I don't think anyone forgets the first time they saw how superior the ST was compared to their old 8Bits...

Anyhow, I admit it's hardly perfect but Elite certainly delivered the goods for a brilliant arcade conversion which is still one of my favourite ST games. Now, unlike my dreadful progress with Commando, I am actually pretty good at Ikari Warriors so figured it a good idea to check out the Atari 7800 game alongside the classic ST version.

Now, before you moan, this isn't a MCIBTYC comparison! I just wanted to see how the game itself compares...

The 7800 has superb scrolling, albeit surprisingly very blocky.

The Atari ST intro might not scroll but it looks crisp and has two massive coconuts!!

Graphics or Music?

After watching the 7800's intro swoosh by, I instantly wished Atari would have released the STe back in 1985... Anyhow, once the game begins, the first thing that struck me was its sexy-smooth framerate. However, the sprites themselves are rather crude in comparison with blocky heads? Yikes, what's wrong with the resolution?

But graphics aren't everything nor is the audio which happens to be as good and exactly what I expected. Those grenade throws are excellent but I missed the sound of the tank. Background music is okay but I don't think anything compares to the legendary ST tune by Jason C. Brooke which is bleeping excellent.

The 7800 might look less defined but I really like it's chunky look.

The ST can chug along when things get busy but the gameplay is solid.

Pros And Cons?

Anyhow, enough of this talk about aesthetics because what we all want is great gameplay and the 7800 certainly produced the goods. Okay, my console might very well be virtual, but I'm still able to use BOTH joystick buttons which means the machine gun and grenades are separate and that beats the ST's one-button method hands down.

Also, firing can be locked in any specific direction thus rapid - independent - shooting is possible until you decide to release the button. This takes a little getting used to but it's certainly worth mastering because it works extremely well - especially when making use of the superb power-ups always being offered.

Sadly, I admit to struggling with this conversion because I found it shockingly difficult. Perhaps it's just me and my lame joystick skills? But, no matter how much I tried, my progress was always weaker in comparison. YMMV of course, but I personally found this excess difficulty only promoted just how balanced the Atari ST game is.

The console struggles with visual definition but this is a beast of a port!

Whatever platform you prefer to use, the mission always remains the same - Kill everyone!!

The CryptO'pinion?

Ikari Warriors is a class act on almost all platforms and both the 7800 and ST succeed in delivering a great arcade conversion which is so much fun. All that's required are quick reactions and a love for guns and oldskool violence! So, enjoy what is nothing short of a cracking shoot 'em up for either your 7800 or Atari ST [floppy or hard disk].

I hoped you enjoyed this sway from being dedicated to the Atari ST... let me know what you guys think in the comments below (because I was actually quite smitten by the Atari 7800 if I'm honest. A hidden gem!)

Saturday, August 11, 2018


I figured an expansion to AtariCrypt was in order because there are many great games to play and we already have sections for the Atari STe and Falcon030 why not also the consoles? The Jaguar has many superb titles but I must admit I'm an 8-bit noob which means I'm excited to see what's out there in console land... Okay, first up is an arcade conversion which I adored playing last year on the Atari ST: Berzerk by the mighty Dave Munsie.

- A T A R I  2 6 0 0 -

This actually looks/sounds a lot better than I first imagined albeit without speech. The control mechanics are spot-on perfect with spritely movements that almost made me forget about the Chicken's limited one-shot mechanic. However, I didn't see Otto during the recording so perhaps I did something wrong? But the fat man did show up in other games and he can even be shot. What? Overall, a limited conversion but extremely playable.

- A T A R I  5 2 0 0 -

Things feel familiar from the go, possibly because it's an authentic conversion and also reminded me of the ST game - both visually and with that funky digitised speech. I enjoyed it but the speed feels a little slow and it's extremely difficult, to say the least. The robots are way beyond accurate - more like ruthless assassins. They're quick so expect no mercy. Yep, I fear my old-man reactions found this the hardest of all. Chicken, fight like a robot...

- A T A R I  S T -

Finally, we shouldn't forget the beautiful ST/Falcon game developed by the legend that is Dave Munsie. Those robots might be a little too eager to smash into the walls but I fear this is one of the best conversions out there. Well-balanced gameplay, authentic and incredibly playable. Check out our feature from last year.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

RVF Honda

It's time for more Atari ST box art from my collection with MicroStyle's RVF Honda. I can't lie and say this is the prettiest cover I've featured but the bike is a beauty so let's open it up and take my new Honda for a ride...

First things first, RVF Honda isn't an arcade racer but more a simulator with semi/realistic mechanics like manual gears and opponents only Barry Sheene could beat. The graphics are barebones but move fast and there's even the option for 60Hz, which is something all games should have. I must say, having to push the bike is a neat touch but one that soon wears thin when struggling to master those corners thus slamming into yet another tree... Yep, the learning curve is hell on two-wheels which I think is successfully demonstrated in my video recording!

Make sure you're in the right gear for the corners otherwise you hit the tarmac before pushing...

Oh just look at those gorgeous graphics... umm. Oi you, keep off my grass!!

I'm not normally a racing simulator fan but RVF Honda is certainly addictive and offers a tough challenge. Arcade fans should walk away right now but those looking to flick through the gears and burn rubber to ultimately master each track will enjoy this. Another cool piece of hiSTory safely preserved within the AtariCrypt archives... ;-)

Those easy riders willing to master this old classic can grab RVF Honda on either floppy or hard disk.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

The Atari ST And The Creative People


Marco Breddin has done it again!! After unleashing the jaw-dropping Breakin' The Borders we finally have volume two, Beyond The Borders. I have only just received my copy which is a wonderful work of art detailing yet more hiSTory about the creative folk who made us gasp in awe. For once, I am (almost) lost for words by what is nothing less than a beautiful and professionally produced product and is certainly worth every penny.

Take a gander at both volumes on the Microzeit store and see if they don't get your demoscene juices bubbling with excitement. I know mine is so I'm excited to carefully begin flicking through each page of volume two!!