Friday, March 22, 2019

Time Slices


I sometimes receive requests for game reviews or demos which somebody's not seen since back in the day. Today, I was asked by STS to make a video of Time Slices by Defence Force for his awesome demoscene blog.

This is a monochrome demo for the Atari STe which was released at STNICCC 2015. However, emulation and my old Mac play a good part in destroying the quality so I apologise for that. Thankfully, after a few minor adjustments, the sound improved and the darn thing stopped flickering long enough to give you guys a good idea how cool it is, especially for something Commodore themed!! ;-) However, nothing beats real hardware so dig out your SM124 asap. You know, I really enjoy requests so thanks to STS and don't forget to check out his amazing blog.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Sam Nasty


It's always a pleasure to see something new in development for our beloved Atari ST but Sam Nasty is a little different. This cute puzzle-based platformer was developed back in the early 90s using STOS by Jerome Mahieux. Oddly, he never released it, but recently found the disks and here we are today in 2019 with a beta to play!

Upon loading, we're greeted by a nice title screen featuring help and other options to disable the sound effects/music. The game itself is a static-screen platformer and, with each level, we find ourselves trapped inside a prison so must find a way to escape. Now, this might sound familiar but it's also got some rather unique features too.

  
The first prison is a great start and I thought it played a lot like Panic. Which is cool.

Breaking out starts off easy but it's not long before Sam is inside prisons that put Alcatraz to shame. There are a variety of cunning pitfalls to avoid, so look out for things like laser beams that will zap you into an early grave! Also, there are patrolling coppers and some are even armed... Well, it's a good job our thug has the ability to punch!

Sadly, I've only had an hour to playtest Sam Nasty, but that was long enough to know what a fun puzzler this is. Escaping is different for each level so look out for anything that might help, like a switch for example. Today, my gaming skills excelled and I reached the demo's fourth prison - for the first time. A joyous occasion that sadly didn't last all that long, as you will see in my video recording, but it was fun finally reaching these dizzy heights...

  
The second is superb and introduces some new mechanics which I won't spoil for you...

The graphics are nothing like I expected and are crisp with tiny decals and superb attention to detail that gave this old retro gamer a wonderful 8-bit vibe. Each prison looks great with a clear and concise layout which didn't confuse my old brain as it attempted to figure out Sam's escape. However, it's the sprites which grabbed my attention the most: the laughing police, Sam sticking out his tongue, but the best are those punched faces with their broken teeth!! Fantastic pixel art and something that will make the most miserable retro gamer smile with joy.

Music is chip and great but Sam Nasty has the ability to disable it. So I did. Now, just listen to those sound effects and tell me you're not reminded of countless ZX Spectrum platformers!! Or is it just me? Anyhow, I like the music but I absolutely love those amazing sound effects. Yes, this is a happy day for me. Pure retro gaming gold!!

  
The third takes the difficulty to a whole new level so it's now I realise that I need infinite lives!!

I'm really impressed by the demo of Sam Nasty and never in a million years would I have imagined STOS could produce such a smooth experience. Sure, there are a few bugs which Jerome is in the process of fixing and I'd love for him to fix the sensitive controls because aligning yourself properly on a ladder is a pain in the bum. Also, there are niggles like the limited lives, glitchy music, and the title's cursor moves like it's high on drugs... [IMHO]

Overall, Sam Nasty is a cool concept but I'm gobsmacked he didn't release this back in the day. I'm sure it would have gone down a storm so please take the time to download the demo and send him your feedback. Sam Nasty was incredibly entertaining and a genuine surprise so I'm really looking forward to the next release!