Friday, August 30, 2019

Fuji Boink ASCII

Always read the documentation!

I really enjoy digging through the ST's deep archives to see what forgotten goodies I can find and here is one of the best I've ever seen. It's called Fuji Boink ASCII and deceivingly appears to be nothing but a humble text file. Sadly, I've no idea who to credit for this piece of GFA Basic wizardry, but what I do know is that it's absolutely brilliant and definitely not what I expected to "read" after double-clicking the icon... I love finding stuff like this!!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Color Clash

To compensate for the lacking sounds, I decided to add a background tune - by The Phantom.

ZX Spectrum colour clash?

No, Colour Clash is a puzzler released in 1992 by AnimalSoft and stars Antonius the chameleon who has been captured by a mad scientist. Yup, there is usually some crazy fool trying to rule our world and this one has decided to force a chameleon to complete a maze. The task? To find dead flies - and eat them. I bet you didn't expect that, right??

The first room is easy and nicely demonstrates the game's basic mechanics whilst giving a feel of how to control Antonius. It's here we learn that he can jump but can only eat the flies from a horizontal direction. Also, there are always nasties to avoid which can cause our critter to explode into pieces with just a single touch. Ouch, this game is so unique!

You'll need to stop and think a lot so check out a couple of screenshots for an idea of what to expect...

(top) I found it easy. But (lower) is something that had me stumped for a *long* time... sigh!

My brain hurts!

It's not until the later levels that you realise we can gain a few extra abilities to help us out. These are enabled by collecting coloured cards that not only changes our chameleon's appearance but will also activate a new ability:

* Red allows us to reach high places by inflating ourselves like a balloon!
* Green is pretty cool because we can now use our tail as a weapon.
* Blue gives us a long and sticky tongue which is great for moving objects.
* Yellow turns us back to our default colour and we can also jump.

Trying to figure out how each room can be completed is very taxing on the old brain cells. This is the kind of game that will catch you out so many times with regard to planning the best route - and how best to use your special abilities. After all, any card can only be collected (and used) only once. This means that whenever you return back to default, you cannot switch to another colour unless there is a card to collect. Thankfully, there is no time limit!!

Colour Clash has a password feature - so blow on a trumpet whilst dancing naked in the streets!! Yes, this is a fabulous addition and something that I wish more games had because it makes your progression far more achievable. No longer will you need to restart from scratch each and every time. Well done AnimalSoft and top marks from me!

Fancy another couple of screenshots. Of course, you do so here you go...

(top) is easy and so obvious! But (lower) is the dreaded level 11 which has me stumped!!

Input & Output

The joystick controls are dead simple to move Antonius and the fire button performs a leap (or a special ability). Pushing upwards will pause the game where you can also access the menu bar at the top of your screen which provides three choices: DEF means default and will turn Antonius back to his default colour of yellow. NOT will do nothing and return you to the game. KIL explodes our loveable chameleon if ever you need to restart.

Aesthetically, we have a rather basic appearance with little audio. Now, that may seem a little naff to some, but no game needs spanky visuals to be playable, especially a puzzler. However, having said that, and in true AnimalSoft tradition, the sprites are gorgeous - so cute and beautifully drawn. However, I do wish there was a background tune...

It looks like an Amstrad game (with superb sprites) but I can't help but dump a couple more screenshots on you...

(top) is so frustratingly obvious, but (lower) is tricky and requires serious thought.

The CryptO'pinion?

I've really enjoyed this brain-blaster and that's not something I say often about many puzzlers thanks to my short temper! As I write, I still cannot beat level 11, which has me stumped and is driving me nuts! However, the game loses none of its appeal during these difficult moments. It's true, each day I've found myself staring at my monitor - baffled but happy.

A torturous puzzler and one I thoroughly recommended, even if they spelt colour incorrectly :^)

I would like to shout out a huge thank you to one of our kind Patreons who suggested that I should play something by AnimalSoft. Richard Davey, you were absolutely right about both AnimalSoft and this cunning puzzler!!

Level Codes - can you help??

Level 1 - Starring
Level 2 - Antonius
Level 3 - Coloring
Level 4 - Rainbows
Level 5 - Bestowed
Level 6 - With The
Level 7 - Enormous
Level 8 - Quest Of
Level 9 - Escaping
Level 10 - From The
Level 11 - EvilOnes
Level 12 - ????????

Monday, August 19, 2019

Ironman Challenge III

Running The Gauntlet!

A couple of years ago, I asked Mike (of The New Retro Show) to play some Atari ST games. An alternative selection that I knew would push this bloke to his limits - it was especially fun watching him endure Fire And Brimstone!!

Two years is long enough, so I challenged him to a third "Ironman" video which he agreed to! So I picked games from the PD/Shareware scene, four platformers and three conversions of arcade classics: Clod Hopper, Crapman, Frogger, Hector vs The Mutant Vampire Tomatoes From Hell, Hoog, Space Monsters and Winglord.

I would like to thank Mike for this fun challenge, which I have really enjoyed. Oh, and this video is actually an early screening just for Atari ST gamers and it will not be made public until this Wednesday!! One more thing... Mike, I've got some cool (and cruel) ideas for a fourth challenge if you're interested? Go on, I dare ya!

Three belters: Winglord (Atari STe), Crapman and one of the latest games released for the ST, Frogger!

Hoog is one mightily impressive jaw-dropping platformer and Clod Hopper feels so authentically 8Bit.

Hector... must be one of the best titles ever and who doesn't love a fantastic conversion of Panic?

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Stunt Car Racer

Astonishing racing!

Stonish are having a fantastic year with a ton of additions to its database. I downloaded a few of these crackers and ended up loving the goods of Supremacy #7: James Pond, a Steve Bak classic. Action Fighter, hey this is pretty good. The Mystic Well, one for geeks! But it was Stunt Car Racer that had me hooked so, here we are!

I remembered friends telling me about a 3D racer by Geoff Crammond which was like Evel Knievel meets (a playable version of) Hard Drivin'. However, I simply couldn't control my buggy for love nor money so failed to see what the attraction was and placed it in the same category as Powerdrome - nice but impossible to control...

Okay, let's take a peep at all the drivers. A weird bunch although High Flyer looks pretty cute...

Genius track design with incredibly cunning tricks and a motley crew to race against!


30 years later...

Well, thanks to Stonish and this floppy disk, I booted up Stunt Car Racer and attempted a couple of practice laps like it was 1989 again. To my genuine surprise, I didn't crash or fall off the track!!! So I played another game and even took part in a league challenge - which I won. Now I was gleaming with pride because this wasn't like me at all. Yup, this success went straight to my head and I started to get very excited - not easy at my age!

So I dared myself on and practised several different tracks, with a varying degrees of success. Well, I'm being kind to myself here: The Stepping Stones is a killer which I think everybody should foolishly attempt, Kamikaze style!! The Draw Bridge looks easy but has a nifty trick up its sleeve... and The Big Ramp features a ginormous monster gap which can only be jumped by going over 200mph. There might only be 8 tracks but they are all beauties!

I love the way you are dropped in! Now the fun begins against a blocky opponent.

I thought I was catching him up but I skidded off into the dirt - only to watch him zoom off...

Weeeeee!! This is fun fun fun!!

Stunt Car Racer is controlled using the joystick: pushing up accelerates whilst fire enables turbo boost for added speed. Pulling down breaks and can reverse, which comes in handy after falling off the tracks. Turning left or right isn't overly sensitive but precise and feels just right. Natural and very comfortable from the very start. Thus instantly playable and mastering the buggy's controls isn't tedious at all but rather very rewarding.

Practice mode is great for learning the ropes and mastering those difficult parts of most tracks but I found myself jumping straight into the league to compete against a computer-controlled opponent. They are well-balanced - so the computer ain't no slouch nor is it Jimmie Johnson. Also, you have the option to compete against friends and even hook up your ST to another glorious Atari computer. Oh, or maybe an Amiga, if you so desire! Nah, I didn't think so ;)

You win some, you lose some... Stick with it and you'll be their hero - with a giant egg cup!

The CryptO'pinion?

Graphically, this racer lacks the flair and pizzazz of Lotus 2 or Crazy Cars 3 but this is actually a good thing because the framerate doesn't suffer from unnecessary aesthetics. Sadly, the sounds aren't exactly the best I've heard from my ST: there are numerous effects but that engine noise could have been better (I found myself turning the volume down a bit). In fact, I'd love to see this game improved with STe DMA effects [subtle hint directed at Jon or PP!!]

Stunt Car Racer is fast and furious with wonky tracks which are a thrill to compete on. Whether you choose to master those tricky stunts in Practice mode or jump straight into a league battle, I guarantee hours of fun. The physics are spot-on perfect and the stunt aspect is so addictive, unlike Hard Drivin! Dear Mr Crammond, you did it again and delivered a racer which is exciting, addictive and a bucket load of fun!! Overall, 10/10. Absolutely.

I suggest you bob over to Stonish
to download this and lots more ST goodies!!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Atari STe games [part two]

Let's make use of the enhanced hardware!

I'm sure you were all expecting this, right? :@) Yup, I've put together a second video recording that features even more Atari STe games from the Crypt archives. Once again, just a few seconds of each game is shown accompanied by the same groovy background tune by Tomchi. Greetings to all my fellow STe Nutters out there!

Okay, let's check out those games...

 Uridium - Peter has performed his usual magic and transformed this old clunky shooter into a beauty.
 Operation Garfield - I dare you not to laugh at this silly shoot 'em up!
 Zool - Good on the ST and even better on the STe. Different to Sonic and fun for a few hours.


 Giana Sisters - This is what the original should have been like all along! One of the best-enhanced games.
 Chronicles of Omega - More colours on the STf but smooth as silk on the STe and with DMA audio.
 Substation - Doom for the ST? Well, no it's very different but it's still a BRILLIANT fps game.


 Stardust - Now we're talking, play this Asteroids and tell me it's not mind-blowing. Superb shooter!!
 Heartland 2000 - An Easter Egg with legs but look how smoooooth it runs!!
 Zero-5 - The STe goes all Star Wars on us and it's utterly brilliant too. What a cracking game this is.


 Pac Mania - The original was good but this blows it out of the water!!
 R-Type Deluxe - Good old Bod did us proud right until the end. I miss him and thank him for the pics.
 Team - I ain't a soccer fan but check out this in overscan. Wow!!


 Sliders - Looks weird, scrolls like silk, but can you play it? One odd game this. Very odd...
 Obsession - Best pinball game on any ST? Very possibly because this is a jaw-dropper Christmas cracker!


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Atari STe games [part one]

Let's get ready to rumble!

I've put together a video recording of 14 Atari STe games. Of course, this isn't complete because there are lots more out there but, in the interest of keeping things short and sweet, my video shows a few seconds from each game. With a groovy background tune by Tomchi, which is just gorgeous! I hope you enjoy this humble presentation?

Come on, man! Get to the games...

 Bombaman - Everyone loves Bomberman and this is a Christmas cracker we both loved.
 Escape 2042 - I bought this and so should you. This is incredible. Frustratingly incredible :)
 Pacman On E's - The little yellow fella pops ecstasy pills for a furious take on the classic!


 Alien Blast - Skip by those old bugs to enjoy a tremendous Alien-infested shoot 'em up.
 Death Chase - Quite possibly one of the best games I have ever played. Pure gold this one, folks!
 Ultimate Arena - Punch like Chuck Norris and kick like Bruce Lee in this beat 'em up.


 Pole Position - A near arcade-perfect conversion of one of the best racers ever. It is superb.
 PouifOuf - Those graphics might look familiar but the gameplay is furiously different - Wow!!
 Top Banana - The graphics make your eyes bleed and the sounds are... different... but it's weirdly good.


 Crackman/Dealer - A different twist on the old pill popper and something you will love instantly love.
 Whitewater Madness - Ignore the demo that's been around for years. Play the full version - an AtariCrypt first!
 Roger - The STe shows us exactly what it's capable of and Spot shines for a truly superb game.


 Jinks - Something my mind cannot fathom and PP totally destroys that jerky STf original.
 R0X - Zoom through the heavens, scaping giant rocks, all for a massive arcade adrenalin rush!