Monday, February 17, 2020


Another brand new game!

Sardonic is a brand new (well, for the Atari ST) vertically-scrolling shoot 'em up that was recently released by José Mário. Yep, it's already out on other (lesser) systems so it's fantastic to see it also getting a 16-bit Fuji conversion!! Now, I love getting my grubby mitts on anything new for the Atari ST so let's see what all the fuss is about.

This game is basically an old skool-styled shooter and the idea is to blast as many aliens as possible, use power-ups, kill the end-of-level boss and repeat. These aliens are constantly invading the screen in waves using various attack patterns - and from three sides of the screen. Our spaceship can only fire upwards but is freely able to move in all directions - rather than being limited to just left/right, ala Space Invaders. And it works brilliantly too I might add!

Righto, let's quick the reading for some screenshot viewing...

Each type of alien is unique and the power-ups will help to recover lost lives and much more!

Sardonic is an arcade-style shooter. So I love it already, check out that funky mothership!

Interestingly, our Atari ST conversion has a few enhancements = extra power-ups, different enemies and new attacking styles. This is pretty cool and even more so when you remember than this is Jose's first Atari release!! Hold onto your hat because he's also implemented support for both ST models making use of the Blitter and also the STe's hardware scrolling = ultra-smooth 50fps action!

Boy, is this a tough game? At first, I didn't very last long and it took a few more attempts before I even came close to reaching the first boss! The action feels familiar but it isn't some cheap clone of Space Invaders, Phoenix or even Galaga, but instead feels more like a game of dodgeball - in space! You can only fire a couple of shots at once and the enemy will come at you using some seriously wacky patterns so be prepared to battle hard.

Thankfully, blasting five of these blighters into smithereens will result in a random bonus for speed, armour, bombs and so on. This will help newcomers and thus I eventually got into the flow and reached the fourth guardian - which you can see in my video recording. Hint: if I was you, I'd save all those bombs for these bosses!

Wimps need not apply. Hey, come back!!! Here are some more screenshots...

They're attacking from all directions and then their boss shows up for some gun love!

I hate Stealth ships. They're so tough to destroy and then Mummy Stealth turns up!

16-Bit Aesthetics?

Well, no. There's not a whole lot to see beyond a black background populated with a few stars which is quite disappointing. The enemy sprites make up for that with nice colours and brisk movement and I'm talking 50fps which is gloriously smooth. Love it, I just wish the background had a little "more" to it other than a few stars.

Sadly, the audio failed to impress me after the title screen's funky chiptune. The in-game sound effects are rather insufficient, to say the least. Our YM chip has only three uses: firing, pickup and explosions. That is it. So I personally think more could have been done to dazzle? Especially on the Atari STe using DMA samples.

Yeah, umm, so it's hardly going to be another Xenon II in terms of aesthetics but that won't stop these screenshots...

Can you believe I made it to level four? Until fatigue beat me and then the boss ...sigh!

So cruel... LOL

The CryptO'pinion?

Sardonic is a good shooter alright. I love how those aliens attack in so many different formations and the frequency of power-ups is excellent. Okay, it's quite repetitive, but this is a fun arcade blaster and is very addictive. It's impressive to think that one guy was behind it all and he supported Atari STe graphical hardware too!

Quite the slick shooter and something new that I have really really enjoyed. So go and grab Sardonic right now!!


  1. AnonymousJuly 31, 2022

    Very good game indeed but it has a new website: