Sunday, June 02, 2019


One thing I love is trolling the ST's massive archive of menu disks and Golden Dawn #44 features quite a few unexpected crackers. The first is Pop! by Manuel Castrillo of Bit Culture, a 1993 shareware game. The instructions are quite difficult but we're on Skuiskie Island and armed with a gas gun to kill lots of nasties!

Pop! is a platformer which feels kinda like a weird mix of Pang and Monster Business. Actually, it's rather odd if I'm honest and certainly not what I expected to play. Right from the start, you're thrown in at the deep end which means instant death. Why game developers think something like this is a good thing, I do not know.

Stick with it and, after many pointless deaths, you will get the hang of things. Use your gun to gas these critters to Hell - they take a few hits! Enjoy their cute expressions but hurry up because they need to die before the time limit expires. The controls feel nice but are too slow, especially when trying to turn around in the frantic heat of battle. Interestingly, there is support for two-players which adds a whole new level.

So what about the graphics and sounds? Well, I couldn't ever be too judgmental about the aesthetics of any shareware game but Hoog has already set that bar impossibly high. However, Pop! does have nice graphics and there are some neat touches - like your death. Colours are a little off so I think a better use of the palette should have been made, especially when monsters blend into the scenery and your gun's bubbles are invisible against the background sky. Music is DMA and in stereo but sadly very little audio is heard during gameplay...

This is a shockingly silly game but quite addictive too. With a little more thought, I'm sure Pop! could have been far better but it's spoiled by sluggish controls and a terribly harsh time limit. Having said that, I obviously thought it was good enough to feature - so either I'm going soft or I had myself some fun on this rainy morning?

Go on, grab yourself Golden Dawn's disk via Demozoo and take a look at this screenshot...

Instantly eaten alive by something oddly cute. Must try harder...

Kudos to for putting most commercial companies to shame by making use of the STe!

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