Sunday, April 12, 2020

STAX #90

Everyone knows I love Menu Disks and there's nothing better than going through a pile of floppy disks - even just to listen to the tunes or read through a scroller relevant 30 odd years ago! ;-) Well, here is a belter by STAX - it's their 90th disk and features a nice intro followed by a couple of demos and games - which are all impressive for different reasons. The rest of their disks (and more) is available on Demozoo and Pouet.

Menu disks are an exciting part of the ST world and I've enjoyed this feature so I'm thinking I should do more?

- Aromatica -

Aromatica is a collection of old skool demo screens by The Swedish Meatballs and features lots of scrollers with extra colours and chiptunes. It reminded me of the days prior to the Union Demo, which is no bad thing. There's nothing here to blow you away, but I still enjoyed flicking through this neat collection. Definitely worth a look.

- Flight Over Sirius -

If you love dots then you're gonna fall big time for this dentro by The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation. There are several cool effects here with a fantastic chiptune. And just wait until you see those end credits with that diagonal scroller!! I felt it could have sped up a little with each section but I really enjoyed this fantastic demo.

- Snacman -

Everyone loves running around a maze popping pills with Pac Man and the Atari ST/e already has a number of fantastic clones. Snacman was developed by Ralph Lovesy of Impact Software, the same team that gave us ... Team for the Atari STe! Multiple players are also supported using a combination of keyboard/joysticks.

For one-player things are pretty much what you'd expect with PacMan even sporting some cool shades. Four ghosts haunt the maze: Eeney, Meeney, Miney and Mo and chomping a power star turns the tables on them. Fruits are available for extra points and a freebie life is awarded when reaching 20,000. Also, you can grab a couple of isolated family members and huddle around the ST to play as Eenie and Meeney? This is a brilliant feature being able to chase Snacman around the screen - watch the end of my video recording for a quick demonstration.

Visually, there's little to spruce up this oldtimer but that's exactly what they've done using gorgeous colours. Music is by Greg Lovesy and best heard on the Atari STe with stereo tunes on the title and also in-game!!

Snacman is tons of fun and implementing support for more players - as the ghosts - is fantastic. You and your kids will be playing Snacman for hours - especially those plucky Atari STe dudes who get to hear stereo music. Crank up the volume and enjoy what is nothing less than a fantastic game of PacMan. An easy 10/10.

- Masters Of Chaos -

Now, this is an interesting one and I first thought we had another Dungeon Master clone on our hands but it's actually a two-player shoot 'em up developed by Genuwax Games. Yes, one or two players are supported either using the same computer or connected via Midi. The screen is split using separate gameplay windows for each person and it's now that your jaw drops to the floor thanks to the use of overscan for a ginormous display!

As player one, we move and shoot with the WASD key combination and 1-4 to handle objects/buttons (a second player uses the numerical keypad). Exploring the halls feels instantly familiar with basic puzzles, hidden doorways and our health, stamina and mana are all shown as the green bars. Blasting out a couple of fireballs is your best defence when coming face to face with any of the dungeon's nasties! The ripped graphics look superb, especially in overscan! However, there are no sound effects which is disappointing and oddly freaky.

This was a fascinating find and not something that I ever expected. As a shooter, it works quite well but there are no sound effects, few monsters and it's easy to get lost - unless you've got a pen and paper at hand? Okay, I could live with the silence but it needed many more monsters for my liking. Overall, a unique and good game.

Credits to Damon Chaplin for the background music (from The Last Trooper)

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