Sunday, October 23, 2016

Terry's Big Adventure

One of the first videos which I recorded for our YouTube channel was Terry's Big Adventure and I've literally no idea why I have never featured this cool platformer, until now. Released by Shades in 1989 it looks and plays with more than a pinch of Mario and I cannot help but wonder how moneybags Nintendo let them get away with it, but I'm glad they did!

Terry's adventure takes us through twelve playful lands and, just like his Italian cousin, he is also stuck within a 2D world of platforms, gaps to jump, magic mushrooms, and many of iddy biddy critters to either kill or hop over. However, he isn't daft and doesn't like squashing any living creature instead, he brought a weapon. If you're expecting something like a shotgun or a futuristic laser then you might be disappointed because he owns a yo-yo which is unlikely to impress the girls but its whacky and actually works well. However, beware of its feedback which will knock you backward, thus a problem when close to water or a platform's edge.

Power-ups are frequently available and you can exchange the yo-yo for pebble throwing by simply hitting the spacebar, Terry is such a badass! A kill will often throw out a random letter in a tiny parachute, collect it quick to eventually make the word "terry". This earns you a temporary shield which comes in handy allowing you to plow through the enemy hoard. It's also worth collecting the mushrooms for juicy points and an extra life is awarded every 20,000. To help you further are bonus levels stocked to the brim with even more mushrooms. Don't get addicted!

Graphics are typically NES and the first thing you notice are those tiny sprites but this suits the console-feel and their level of detail is excellent. Scrolling is silky smooth and it's obvious the programmer took the time and talent to get beautiful results from a computer without hardware scrolling. Joystick controls are precise and feel perfect. However, Terry suffers the laws of physics once again and is subject to momentum as he walks, jumps or changes direction but this is only a minor learning curve and one easily mastered that positively adds to your experience.

Terry's Big Adventure is a super platformer and should appeal to those who enjoy Giana Sisters or either of the Stario games. It might very well be a total ripoff but Terry has enough personality of his own to make this feel interesting, fun and entertaining. I've always enjoyed playing yo-yo's with little spikey-haired Terry, and I'm sure you will too.


 - Here is a video which I recorded over two years ago. Yowzers how time flies!
 - AtariMania features the little dude in their ST database website.
 - If you have the hardware, then download the hard drive installable version by 8BitChip.
 - But if you require a floppy disk image then Old Games Finder is for you.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

join the club

Facebook sucks! Yep, I'm hardly the biggest fan of social media but there are some incredible people in their Atari ST groups so it might be worthwhile getting yourself an account, especially as we now have a couple of new groups that are buzzing with 16-bit addicts! It's brilliant to see the community alive so check 'em all out, folks.

 Atari ST Demoscene - the only group for everything about the #demoscne
 Atari ST and STe Users - a massive userbase full of amazing ST fans.
 AtariNomical - the new kid on the block who is eager to please and STuffed full of ST love.
 STatariART - another brand new group dedicated to your appreciate and artistic talent!
 Atari ST Anthology - I couldn't end without including this group of the creative people...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

[not] Metroid

Samuel, aka Zamuel_a of Pac-Mania and Giana Sisters fame, is currently working on a third title for our beloved Atari STe. It's based upon Metroid and he's been working on it, on and off, for a number of years. A demo was posted back in 2013 but sadly nothing since (a lifetime ago!)

I first had mixed feelings when I began playing it. Although it featured silky smooth horizontal it performed like Rick Dangerous, vertically. This disappointment soon passes after the initial play area and you soon enjoy smooth 50fps in every direction. Various functions are available such as running, jumping and firing your weapon. You can also access a control screen to check weapons, a map, and more but sadly there are no sound effects or enemies to kill. But please do remember this is a Work-In-Progress and, so far, is absolutely incredible!

The potential I see here and this gets me very excited and it could potentially be one of the best games we've seen. The controls are spot on and, what limited gameplay we have, feels perfect. The enhanced hardware is being used to maximum effect with lots more colour on-screen, the Blitter coprocessor will handle the sprites and hardware scrolling is used for, well, the scrolling. I can only assume stereo samples will also be included at some point with perhaps a funky chiptune playing in the background. Oh yeah, I'm a giddy kipper just thinking how superb this release will be!

Samuel is hoping other Atari STe techies will see his work and offer to help with the music, sound effects, enemy sprites and especially the level design creation. Please, contact him direct on the Atari-Forum website (links below). Okay guys, it's time to get downloading the early beta and have a play, but remember that it is a Work-In-Progress :-)


 - A download is available via Atari-Forum with Samuel's profile for correspondence.
 - Don't forget, he has converted Pac-Mania and Giana Sisters to the Atari STe!!
 - Click the four images below for cool pictures of your new "Metroid" world!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Circus back²STage

Circus back²STage demo for the Atari STe, by BlaBLa, Cocoon & Sector One.

With such unusual style, Circus back²STage is a truly fascinating demo for the Atari STe. It features a bucket load of crazy colourful effects, all displayed in overscan with the most wonderful chip music. Some find it far too clown-freaky but it's literally one of the best demos I have ever seen. Harddrive installable and downloads available via Demozoo.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Test Drive

Accolade's Test Drive was released in 1987 and is one of the many games I got free with my first Atari STFM. I have such fond memories of this during those early days but most folks think it should be locked away, somewhere dark, forever!

The game begins with an intro of a rich dude sitting in his Porche, he then winds down the window to display the cheesiest of cheesy grins before speeding off into the sunset. Now you get to see beautiful artwork drawings of all the various cars on offer, and I personally think the Corvette is the best of the bunch. Each model is displayed with lots of unnecessary stats and information for us to examine before beginning our journey into the hills.

Test Drive is a race against the clock with points awarded for faster times along a seemingly endless mountainside highway. Driven from an in-car perspective, you will note that each car has a realistically represented dashboard with manual gearbox controls that briefly display with each shift. I found the controls a little wooden at first, but I soon got the hang of them after a couple of races. A red dot on the wheel helps to pinpoint a more precise indication of your direction and is as helpful as it is crude but it nicely makes up for the lacking analogue controls. Beware, you're not on a race track, annoying civilians are out and they love head-on collisions! There are also cops so it's a good job that your car is fitted with a radar to signal when they are nearby. You then have a choice of being good or watching them disappear in your rearview mirror and I personally treat these moments as a green light opportunity to push the pedal to the metal, but that's just me! Now refuel at the gas station checkpoint before continuing on with your bullrun.

Many do yawn when they remember Test Drive and I can understand that because it does become visually repetitive driving along that same stretch of highway. It's also a little laborious and could do with more speed thrills, after all, we are supposed to be driving powerful muscle cars. However, Test Drive has some nice characteristics which I personally think are hilarious - like the badly drawn grey fella driving his truck (see above). How about the handless steering wheel or the slo-mo effect as your windscreen breaks up after a crash? It's almost worth slamming into an oncoming vehicle just to see that! The graphics are pretty nice considering their age and the dashboards are ace, with the Corvette being my favourite. Overall, an enjoyable drive without the rush of a thrilling speedster, more like a charming Sunday drive! However, I find myself having a soft spot for this cliffside racer and I don't know why...


 - 8BitChip have a hard drive installable version which I highly recommend!
 - Old Games Finder has the floppy disk images.
 - Test Drive is featured within the AtariMania ST database with cool scans too!
 - There have since been a few Test Drive games, I loved no.5 on my old Playstation...

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pole Position [updated]

Forgive me, I'm more than a few days late with this exciting news!

Jonathan Thomas has recently applied updates to his Work In Progress Atari STe game, Pole Position. With help from Peter Petera, he's managed to stabilise the flickering, then he added new graphics, and included DMA samples which have been ripped from the arcade machine. Stop what you're doing - go grab the latest version now! :-)

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Giana Sisters

The Great Giana Sisters was released in 1987 by Rainbow Arts and is a platformer with more than a hint of a famous game starring that silly Italian plumber.

The ST version played well but sadly suffered flip-screen scrolling which soon became tiresome and ultimately spoiled what should have been an excellent platformer. A lazy port, and I know the STFM could have done far better, evident when you play games like Viking Child, Ghosts 'N Goblins, and so many others.

Samuel, aka Zamuel_a of Pac-Mania fame, decided to take on the challenge and program a homebrew conversion and one which would take advantage of the Atari STe. It's more or less the same game but with major technical improvements, like the graphics that now slide along your monitor at a silky smooth framerate. Hardware scrolling is used for maximum effect to displays at 50fps with the Blitter coprocessor handling the sprites and to say the results are absolutely beautiful would be an extreme understatement!

If his hard work wasn't enough, we are spoiled further thanks to Peter Petera over at 8BitChip who has waved a magic wand to lower the RAM requirements so even 1Mb STe's can now play. He has also created two HAGA versions that can be installed to hard drive and feature streamed music using the DMA coprocessor. Incredible!

The only thing I'm left wondering is why it took me so long to feature Giana Sisters here at AtariCrypt because, yet again, he has created an improved game for the Atari STe which totally and utterly trounces over the original commercial release. Samuel has the commitment, immense talent and I hope he doesn't stop and continues on to develop many more enhanced conversions. Waste no more time and play the enhanced version right now!


 - Samuel's awesome handiwork is downloadable from off Atari-Forum.
 - Peter then took the project further with three new versions based upon Samuel's work.
 - What! You still don't believe how great Samuel's Atari STe version is? Then watch this [HD] video :-)