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? Yup, it wasn't related to the Atari ST but I plan to feature more content for the Atari consoles.
Apologies for the speed and quality of the recording. The emulator struggled on my old computer but I still had loads of fun and now regret selling my Jaguar because I could play this all over again!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

No Buddies Land


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 lands are flooding and Bud (great name) is the hero of the day who must climb up into heaven to ask for help before everything is destroyed.

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

Five dreaded levels are all about to be flooded but our adventure strangely 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!!

It's a world of hurt from the very start when we encounter the game's cruel nature with a wicked environment that features 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, guns are allowed and we are armed with a pistol that can be upgraded in a shop. Yes, there are shops along the way to Heaven... as are hidden side-games and annoying puzzles(Grr!!)

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

The visuals are by Bram Leyten, aka Sense of Hotline, and are absolutely stunning with an 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. They are beautiful.

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

No Buddies Land is far from perfect. The controls are fast and smooth but jumping diagonally can be awkward unless Bud is already walking. Also, knowing which ledges to hop onto isn't always obvious because some will blend into the background scenery far too easily. Ultimately, No Buddies Land gave me deja vu as I felt I was playing another Enchanted Land: it looks and sounds beautiful but ultra-hard gameplay spoils what might have been...

Technically, this is a masterpiece and one that certainly proves what the Atari ST is capable of knocking out but there are better platformers. There's just too much going on that constantly hurts poor old Bud so I doubt he will ever reach Heaven unless a trainer is used. Download either the floppy or hard disk games and help stop those rising waters?

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 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 too soon. The ship appears recently abandoned and has been caught by an alien tracker-beam...

Text adventures aren't really my cuppa tea but I've enjoyed myself today if I'm honest. I often soon bore and struggle to get anywhere but the parser is easy to use with its two-word command system for Examine, Get, Open, Search, Move, etc. There are also shortcuts: I for Inventory and R to redescribe 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 that is a wonderful idea - thus play before you pay. Any text-adventurers lurking out there?

  
The adventure has a great personality and offers us some cheeky remarks using fun humour [click 'em]

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Time Bandit


I woke up today 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!!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

PONG


I love finding something "new" and only yesterday I saw a version of Pong on Atari Legend which I had never 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 just added into AtariMania for safe keeping!)

Firstly, 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. These brain-busting inverted movements are quite tough to fully master - but Pongtastic!!

Sadly, it appears Pong was never 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, all thanks to that cool image. However, finding new ST software is always superb and this certainly offers a neat twist on 70s table tennis.

  

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Thunder Jaws


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 young 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.

Firstly, grab something rubbery to wear because her base is deep underwater and you're not alone. I'm reminded 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

Once inside, the game changes to a scrolling platformer which is basically a ripoff of Rolling Thunder - I think every ST owner remembers that dreadful conversion!! Thankfully, this stage is far better and with many henchmen and other strange characters chasing you. Weaponry remains the same and can also be upgraded to a flamethrower, uzi, rockets, and more. Battle a boss and rescue yourself a few gorgeous babes - who will be extremely grateful.

Once completed, the game flips back to another underwater stage and we repeat for another mission. The difficulty level increases as we infiltrate another base but it's now that I really needed to activate a trainer because the later levels are crammed with an insane amount of baddies!! Also, end of level bosses are very tough but made worse by the fact that everyone else turns up for nothing more than screen littered with 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 fire women!

Visuals are okay with some neat sprites but nothing beats watching the girls falling to their feet for lots of comical kissing. Sadly, there isn't a chiptune bopping away in the background but the sound effects are quite good. Actually, no, they are crude at best. The grunts are deranged but I liked the haunting female's scream of death.

I must admit, I don't know what to make of Thunder Jaws. It's predictable throughout but the addition of two-player co-op is excellent. However, those later levels are impossible without cheating and gameplay is often sluggish so whiffs of a lame port. Having said all that, it's certainly not the disaster Rolling Thunder was and I have enjoyed myself pretending to be James Bond rescuing sexy girls and saving the world from a busty tyrant... Yep.

  
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!!

Thunder Jaws can be download for either floppy or hard disk but only if you look good in flippers! Please note, faster computers will benefit from better framerates but only when installing onto a hard drive - thanks to 8BitChip.

The end screen for all those unwilling to endure the agony of Thunder Jaws. Probably best I don't comment...

Monday, August 13, 2018

Ikari Warriors


Ikari Warriors came free with my first Atari ST and is something I've loved from the moment I loaded it up that Christmas morning back in 1987. Okay, it's not perfect but Elite delivered the goods with a brilliant arcade conversion which is still one of my favourite games today. Now, unlike my dreadful progress with Commando, I'm actually pretty good at Ikari Warriors and figured it a good idea to check out the Atari 7800 to see how it compares...

  
The 7800 has superb [if rather blocky] scrolling but I prefer the crisp ST display, except that naff intro!

After watching the intro swoosh by, I instantly began to wish that Atari would have released the STe back in 1985... Anyhow, once the game begins, the first thing that struck me more of that sexy smooth framerate but then crude sprites reared their blocky heads? Yikes, this took me back to a time when I first saw an Atari console!

But graphics aren't everything nor is the audio which happens to be as good and exactly what I expected in comparison. 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 watch out because those bad guys are very trigger happy!

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 must admit to struggling with this conversion because I found it shockingly difficult. Perhaps its just me and my lame joystick skills but, no matter how much I tried, my progress was always weaker in comparison to the ST game. YMMV...

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

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].

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Berzerk


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 -

The 2600 game actually looks and sounds a lot better for 1982 than I first imagined. The control mechanics are spot-on perfect with spritely movements which almost made me forget about the Chicken's one-shot weapon. However, I didn't see Otto during the recording so perhaps I did something wrong? The fat man showed up in later games and can even be shot. This is a limited conversion but extremely playable, even without the speech.

  


- 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 we all love. 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 and more like ruthless assassins who show 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 -

Of course, please don't forget the beautiful ST/Falcon game by Dave Munsie which was featured last year. Those robots might be a little too eager to smash into the walls but I fear this is the best version. What say you?

  

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...

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.

  
Ohhh just look at those gorgeous graphics... umm. Oi you, keep off the grass!!