Saturday, November 09, 2019

Return To Genesis


Firebird released Return To Genesis the same year I got my Atari ST and it was developed by the incredible "ST Dream Team". Yup, Steve Bak, Pete Lyons and David Whittaker: three masters in their own field. These guys pushed the ST without ever resorting to excuses or using a lame Amiga port. #respect

RTG is basically a funky take on Defender where Mechanauts have forced scientists into slavery. We've gotta rescue each of these guys which means jumping into a spaceship to skim the surface of 50 psychedelic worlds.

 
Can you see the Mechanauts? Not easy, is it? Wait, there's a scientist here waiting to be picked up!

If you've ever played Defender then you should be right at home with RTG. There is only a minute learning curve so the lazy option is to keep your finger on the fire button and kill everything in a mad panic as the alien's attack. However, it's worth slowing down to pick up the scientists rather than killing them: once onboard, hit the HELP key to see what cool power-ups they might provide. These guys are useful and could improve weaponry, shields, invisibility, and so much more. However, Festus might be less than fun as the master of self-destruction!!

A scanner shows the location of each scientist but this sadly falls short at detailing the level layout. I don't know why, but this doesn't work well for me. Sigh... how many more times must I be rebounded back and forth like a yoyo. Yes, this is one incredibly FAST shoot 'em up that has you on the edge of your seat. Blink and you're dead!!


This is an incredible idea that uses who you rescue in a positive way for the next level. It's superb!

Pete Lyon designed everything you see but I'd be lying if I said this was his best work (I personally think Zynaps won that accolade). Don't get me wrong, RTG looks lovely but it's also pretty gorky and I sometimes found it difficult to distinguish the aliens against those funky backgrounds. The scrolling is smooth to prove, once again, that the Atari ST needed no custom chips when in the hands of talented people that care about their product.

Audio is such a treat. Dave Whittaker sure knew how to get the best heard from our computer - his work proves "chip" will last forever. Okay, it does sound <cough> familiar but it suits the gameplay perfectly. Heck, our ST talks to us which is a zillion times better than Goldrunner. Dave certainly gets the YM processor rocking!!

 
Oh look, a weapons upgrade. See, I told you it was better to rescue these guys rather than blasting 'em!

RTG is one of those games that apparently has it all. It looks, moves and sounds absolutely brilliant yet I still cannot bring myself to playing it that much over the last three decades. I love a good Defender but this is simply too difficult thanks to its blistering speeds which means hitting lots of objects and suffering humiliating deaths. However, the scientist's power-ups is a wonderful idea that compensates the repetitive (and difficult) gameplay.

Return To Genesis is an iconic shoot 'em up for most ST gamers but it's way too furious for me and thus another Anarchy. Sorry, but give me Xenon or Menace any day of the week. Overall, I like it but I don't love it.

Return To Genesis is available on floppy or your hard drive device.

4 comments:

  1. Excellent review for a game I never heard of before. Technically the game is good. The colours are well chosen and the scrolling running on 2 areas (foreground and background) is very smooth. Indeed this game shows that the hardware is not always compulsory to code a valuable scrolling. Steve Bak (RIP) really knew the Atari st hardware by heart and could get the best of our favourite computer. Just have a look at dogs of war to be convinced of his talent. The only concession remains in the game area which is reduced so as to get this fast scrolling. To conclude this game reminded me of defender of course but also shoplifter for the rescue mission. Thanks mate 😊👍

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    1. A shoplifter? I loved that mate!!!! :D :D :D

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  2. You had to read choplifter instead of shoplifter. Spelling mistake!

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