Tuesday, October 30, 2018


There are now 3 videos of ST Manic Miner which you can find on my YouTube Channel.

Let's go back to 1983...

It gives me the greatest of pleasure to present Manic Miner for the Atari ST!!! This has been InDev throughout much of the year by Peter Jørgensen and is a new remake with redesigned graphics and funky music (sound effects still to be completed). Each and every one of the twenty screens is included but there will also be a few surprising extras which I'm excited about. However, we’re keeping these under wraps for the time being!

Please note, this a WIP as there are still a few niggles to iron out and a little more, thus unfinished. Each level will faithfully follow the same mechanics of the original but, don't for a second think this means we have a boring ripoff. Willy's adventure has received a cool makeover with beautiful YMT audio and each screen has been designed with painstaking accuracy. Before you ask, yes the "feel of it" will remain authentic to the 8-Bit original.

Attempting to keep this project quiet from my friends has been tough - but beta testing over the last few months has been a joy. It's impressive to see how this transformed from a cruel joke into a fully playable game. The final version isn't far off completion, so you know where to come when that's released - watch this space :-)

Update - the latest *beta* is now available to download via the Demozoo website!!

A few words from Peter...

I wrote Manic Miner because I have a friend that was very sad that this platformer didn’t exist for the ST. So I thought that I would make him happy and began drawing the title picture which soon lead me onto designing the intro screen - but I only wanted to make a prank for April 1st. Sadly, I did not finish in time. Then the idea started to continue on with the programming and see what happens. However, I’ve not made a game in decades because life always got in the way but I wanted to do this remake just to stop my friend from crying. So you could say that this is a Manic Miner AtariCrypt Edition!

My goal was to make the gameplay feel as close to the original as I possibly could but still take advanced of the Atari ST's hardware. Thus, this is a remake rather than a conversion because I have not used a single piece of the original code. I have spent many hours analysing each level, and I’ve used the original sprites and recoloured them but some needed minor changes to work. The map graphics were changed in a big way, to what I think was the idea was behind each level. I played the MSX version so I could see how the game acts and I also think this is close to the Speccy original.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with the results and I hope people enjoy playing Manic Miner :-)

ST Screenshots

Friday, October 19, 2018


Much thought went into the title!

Dungeon is a role-player released in 1993 by TC Basset for legends, Budgie UK. It uses the Talespin adventure game creator engine which is something I've personally never experienced before. Upon loading, we are greeted by a creepy dude (with an obvious blood pressure problem) who has an incredible sense of humour. He warns of the adventure ahead and offers us the choice of character but listen carefully and heed his warnings...

Ultimately we must battle the evil necromancer, Malik Abdul Aziz, and recover something called The Great Orb Of Thoth. Who thinks of these names? Anyhow, the dungeons are pretty simple, but also infested with a wide-range of hideous creatures so tread carefully. Choose your character wisely but newcomers are best picking the Warrior or a Fighter as they come readily equipped to tackle most beasts. And who doesn't love a free weapon?

No sooner had I begun and the first nasty creature is a blood-dripping zombie. YEAH!!

A couple of steps deeper into the dungeon and these two ghoulish monsters fancy a piece of me.

Monsters, battles and blood!

Yep, you are not alone down inside the dark corridors, so stay frosty and be ready for anything freaky that's waiting to jump out: decaying zombies, barbarians, venomous snakes, gnarly bats, and many more hideous creatures are all lurking in the shadows. Fighting is crudely entertaining and far more frequent than you initially realise.

The metallic chinks of your weapons are great but battles can also be fought magically using potions and victory ensures a deathly scream - before hearing their bodies crump to the ground. Each defeated enemy (even a bat) will reveal a hidden treasure chest filled with random goodies so collect your loot and leggit!! Those that cluck like a cowardly chicken may wanna run away? Your choice but beware, there could be a price to pay...

The first dingy tunnel takes us into a medieval village and that Mr Muscles is actually me. Yes, me!

Chat and try your luck

Exploration is never a bad idea, so take your time and turn over every stone. Why not chat to the locals as there are some interesting characters with superly silly personalities, even if conversations are a little shallow. Communication reveals more than you realise and perhaps you might earn a bob or two and make friends?

Taverns are a safe place to rest and recuperate. Just as with Lure Of The Temptress, they are the perfect place for a chat and why not order yourself a beer and enjoy a flutter whilst here? Perhaps I had too many beers, but I loved this experience which entertains constantly with a wicked sense of humour. Those, outside this great island of ours, might not fully appreciate it but we Brits always had a daft sense of humour. Well, I had a great laugh!

Being a normal guy, I head straight for the tavern which opens up a world of new options.

I gambled with these likely lads but didn't do very well... Wait a moment, is that a trapdoor I see?


Graphically, we have a homebrew Dungeon Master wannabe. It's actually pretty good and I believe the funky images are taken from Deltronics' Fantasy Graphic Disk are quite well-drawn and often humorous. However, I was gobsmacked when the zombie appeared to eat my brains because I think this is superb pixel art.

Sadly, there's no atmospheric background tune but at least the sound effects are all made from samples. These certainly help to enhance the games humorous nature: footsteps, knocking doors, groans and the clang of metal, are all good. But it's those horrifying screams are amazing and really make me chuckle.

Abandon hope all ye who enter here as each step reveals something hideous lurking in the shadows.

Sometimes real hardware isn't the best!

I've never previously experienced the Talespin engine and, although I wasn't expecting commercial quality, it's obvious this creator had limits. The problem is that agonising wait between each and (almost) every action which is quite poor and spoils the experience. Oddly, installing to a hard drive didn't present much of a benefit.

Sadly, my Mega STe didn't speed up the gameplay as expected. In fact, it made things slightly worse because a few screens suffered palette corruption and sound effects didn't play correctly. So, (sigh) I find myself in new territory here and thus advise using an emulator like Hatari - I sped up those waits by hitting CMD X.

I should have spent more time in the tavern!! At least the great humour remains until the very end.

The CryptO'pinion?

I've enjoyed finding something "new" and this was most certainly an interesting adventure with silly characters and lots of battles against unearthly creatures. Sadly, it's let down by the Talespin engine which is very slow. However, if you can put up with it, then you have yourself something different to enjoy one quiet night in?

Ironic, isn't it? Having said that, this is a blummin' excellent dungeon crawler with much content. I enjoyed it.

Grab yourself the download right now.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018


It's been a while since I posted something cool into our Music section. So, I went looking for something extra special and then I remembered this gem: a "Dark Rock" remake of the Rob Hubbard original. And it blew me away!! Okay, I'll award 100 points to those that know the name of this game which the theme tune is from? (No, don't look at the title... Pah, never mind). All credits to Yoshitaka Hojo who you can check out on Soundcloud :)

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Atari ST and The Creative People


It was back in August when I posted just how impressed I was with volume 2 and, within the blink of an eye, Marco has the third instalment up on Indiegogo. The first two volumes are beauties and I'm expecting more of the same from the final part of this outstanding trilogy. It's currently shy of 70% funded and only days remain...

L E T' S   M A K E   T H I S   H A P P E N !!

Sunday, October 14, 2018


Yomo is an oldskool-styled shoot 'em up by Aaron Fothergill for Mandarin Software. It was runner-up in The 1989 Games Writer Of The Year Award competition which is pretty cool. I've had this on my bucket list for a while because I always admired its 8-bit feel which reminded me of games I played as a youngster back in the early 80s.

The world is viewed two-dimensionally with a landscape populated by many destructible buildings and whacky vehicles which use the most frustrating mechanics. Our character is a tiny stickman who's on a mission to recover a dodgy nuke dropped behind enemy lines. However, this won't be easy because the baddies are constantly attacking so why not fire off a few heat-seeking missiles before jumping inside something probably stolen from the 1960s? On foot isn't fun, but if you see other stickmen wobbling across your screen then hit fire and gun 'em down!!

Visually speaking, you better not have high hopes because this ain't no glamourous Bitmap Brothers product: the graphics are lame with titchy sprites and ugly scrolling that had my Atari STe crying out in agony. However, I must admit that the sounds aren't bad thanks to lots of crunchy samples - the lightning is oddly my favourite!

Yomo is pants but it's also surprisingly a lot of fun and the ability to jump into any aircraft is genius. However, there isn't enough ammo and collecting extra supplies is laborious and very tricky during the heat of battle. Overall, Yomo is frustrating and overly difficult but if you enjoy blowing stuff up then it's possibly worth downloading.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


Aren't 16-Bit games tough?

I've enjoyed Rubicon on and off for many years. It's quite simply my kinda game because it's a stupid mix of platformer and shoot 'em up genres. However, I admit that I'm rubbish and often failed to reach the third level - sometimes I cannot get by the first!! So, I've whacked on the trainer and played through to the end.

The Fingerbobs had a grim view of the future and by 2011 there should have been a nuclear accident which transformed the local wildlife into vicious mutations. Apparently, it's so bad that Finland and Russia were evacuated. It's our mission to kill everything before these creatures find a way to blow us all up!!

Level one introduces us to the unfair mechanics so it's not long before infinite lives is enabled!!
I love level two with its enormous enemies and trapdoors which are host something silly.

Right, impress me!

The first thing that hits you is the tracker music which is stereo on the Atari STe and very nice. Why couldn't other developers go that extra mile? Anyhow, the aesthetics keep on getting better with superb in-game graphics: smooth scrolling across gorgeous landscapes with a wide variety of mutated monsters. The attention to details is outstanding but animations are hit and miss because some are great whilst others are oddly void of any extra frames.

Sadly, slowdown occurs when particular (and ginormous) enemies are on-screen so I'm a little disappointed they didn't also utilise the Blitter along with the DMA. Curiously, this framerate drop occurs mostly for unanimated sprites like the Ceratopia which is rather surprising after battling a screen-sized skeleton and a giant squid!

Level three continues the theme but in the snow! That tank driver should have ducked down...
We're Pitfall Harry in level four with sinking stepping stones, spikes and lots of monkeys!

I need a big gun!

There are seven levels and each is pretty much the same but with different graphics. However, I absolutely loved the last two levels which reminded me of Thunder Jaws and, of course, Aliens. Our hero has access to lots of weapons and the single-shot gun initially does the trick well but it's not long before you need to upgrade to something with a little more muscle because those bigger enemies are nigh on impossible to kill with your peashooter.

The laser sucks but there are many other great weapons to choose from like the "Scatter" and "Napalm" (my fave). However, we start with zero ammo for everything other than our basic gun so must instead collect ammo boxes which are periodically dropped in. This isn't too bad but is made awkward because you must first press the required Function Key to choose your desired weapon before making the pickup. I would have prefered random types of ammo dropped which would save us from fumbling for the right key before it frustratingly disappears!!

Level five is incredible with many obscure enemies so upgrade your weapons!
Level six takes us in deep waters and I dare anyone not to love every second of this.

The CryptO'pinion?

Rubicon is great fun but doesn't break the mould and is also stupidly hard at times, especially on level two and three. Also, gameplay is pretty much the same regardless of the beautifully designed environments. Having said all that, I really love this quirky platformer with its freakish enemies and huge monsters - level six and seven are my favourites. Yup, Rubicon is far from perfect but it's still bucket loads of fun and is definitely worth your time.

If you fancy going shirtless and flexing those rippling muscles before bravely taking on the mutated hoard then you have a good choice: grab either the floppies or one of these versions for your hard drive: 8BitChip or D-Bug.

The final level has us battling Aliens, Facehuggers, giant eggs, and even the queen herself!!
The ending wasn't exactly worth the effort and hmm, where have I heard that line before? ;)