Sunday, June 16, 2019

Bugziacs




1983 has come knocking!

A brand new remake of Don Priestley's Maziacs is being released by Bello Games with coding by George Nakos (aka GGN) and graphics by Niels Kleine (aka Tinker) and Kevin Dempsey (aka SH3). At the moment, this is an unfinished port but I loved the ZX Spectrum original so much that I couldn't wait to get my grubby mitts on this...

I expected differences but, right from the start, this feels authentic and with a remake of the old DK'Tronics loading screen. Surprisingly, there is a good reason Bugziacs feels so much like the original - "This version actually runs the original Spectrum code translated to 68000 using a custom tool and then some routines replaced with ST specific code". Wow. Extremely interesting and I hope many more Spectrum conversions are in the pipeline?

Check out the first few screens! I feel like I'm 12 again looking at these Speccy delights...



Ohh, the menu system is just like the original. Even the font...

...and these silly sprites too. Comical and I love it.

I wish more games had an intro detailing what to do. Brilliant idea.



Wow, it really is Maziacs!

Once the game begins, things feel familiar but look (and move) are a lot better than my favourite Z80 computer could ever manage. The goal remains the same: explore a maze looking for hidden treasure and escape. It sounds easy - but it's not - especially as you cannot carry both a weapon and the treasure at the same time.

Like the original, each maze is randomly generated which means a different game each time. But the one thing that remains constant is those angry Maziacs who roam the corridors looking for a scrap with our plucky hero. Thankfully, some kind soul has left swords scattered throughout. However, these can oddly only be used once per battle! So this is where the map feature comes in handy along with your memory for those you walked past.

This might sound a little weird and rather limiting but it works perfectly and keeps you on your toes. The ST game plays like I remember and, unlike most 16-bit updates, this game doesn't feel like it's lacking that certain 'je ne sais quoi'. It's authentic and also an improvement, which is very unique. Don't believe me? Scroll down...



The Atari ST version looks amazing. Authentic, yet a cracking advancement too.

Of course, you could step back in time and use the original Speccy graphics?

Whatever you decide, it's always best to use the map. Don't get lost!



Don Priestley would love this!

One thing to remember when playing is that you're not superman! Keep an eye on your energy (displayed using a vertical bar) as this ticks down as you explore. But fear not because whoever left the swords has also left energy drinks... I advise chatting with the prisoners who are willing to aid you on your travels. Although it's odd they know so much yet never ask to be freed? Finally, use the map which will be more than helpful at crucial times!

I'm enjoying Bugziacs as it's well-balanced and incredibly playable. Sure, it's got some quirks/bugs as those randomly generated maps can sometimes be rather unfair: more than once, I began with a Maziac standing beside me!! But let's not forget this is a work-in-progress so I'm extremely eager to see the final product.

As you can imagine I'm thrilled that such an iconic game hasn't been ruined (ala Chuckie Egg 2).



Maziacs... oops!! Bugziacs has the most helpful prisoners you could ever imagine.

The swords are necessary but probably made in China - they don't last very long!

Hang on a mo, three monsters and only one sword? Oh no!!



The CryptO'pinion?

Bugziacs has taken me back to my roots in the earlier 80s. What an absolutely fantastic game this is and being able to switch between Atari ST and ZX Spectrum visuals is just too good for words. It's always great to see a "new" game InDev for our computer and I hope GGN can put this tool to use in the future and get other Speccy games converted? GGN - please develop Chuckie Egg 2 next as this is my favourite 8-Bit platformer :-)

Whether you're old enough to remember the original or not, Bugziacs is a bundle of frantic mayhem. It's a simple idea that has been perfectly executed. What a rush to find the treasure but then you need to escape which is tough and so much fun. This is a brilliant game and one I cannot help but highly recommend.

Maziacs is brilliant on the ZX Spectrum and guess what? So is Bugziacs for the Atari ST. It is superb!!

Both AtariMania and Demozoo have Bugziacs to download.

2 comments:

  1. Wow that is really nice. I remember we played Mazogs with my friend on his ZX81.
    Then when I have got my first ST I found there is ST version called Maziacs for monochrome monitor http://www.atariuptodate.de/en/4039/maziacs
    And now this cool one :)

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    1. Yeah that ZX81 game rocks :D
      https://ataricrypt.blogspot.com/2016/02/black-white-fun.html

      I did play that high-res game the other day. It's pretty umm okay but this is far better. Thanks for your comment, really appreciated :)

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