Thursday, February 22, 2018

Supa Zazai Da!

Supa Zazai Da is another Gamopat conversion by Templeton, the same coding genius who graced us with the stupendous Crash Time Plumber so I couldn't wait to get my grubby mitts on his latest work after reading the superb review by ST Graveyard on Atari Legend. Sadly, I admit to being more than a little disappointed with it because I failed to play more than a handful of - frustrating - games before rebooting my ST in disappointment.

Now, I'll never knock anything powered by Maria Whittaker (yeah!) but this game is rock solid. It felt far too difficult and having just the one life certainly didn't help, especially when the enemy can fill the entire screen with their bullets! Yep, this is certainly a wolf in sheep's clothing and almost seemed like a bad joke. I was genuinely gutted...


I later returned and anxiously grabbed my creaky old joystick wholly determined but expecting the battle of my [retro gaming] life. After many embarrassing failures, I eventually beat the first hoard of cute nasties and somehow even gained extra points thanks to the green particles. But how I managed to dodge the enemy's bullets felt like a personal achievement!! The clue is how you navigate through the cloud of bullets, it's easier than you might think...

However, the big scary boss instantly gave me a good drubbing and I was greeted with the Game Over screen once again. But I defeated him on my next nerve-wrecking attempt and was close to tears in my ecstatic joy!! Once the second level begins you realise there's a familiar and repetitive pattern so I hammered it home and battled my way onto the third and fourth levels, with relative ease. What a massive learning curve - but it can be conquered!!


The modest visuals scroll along at an ultra-smooth 50fps but it's the outrageously cute sprites from a wide variety of games which everyone will adore. Your computer will require a Blitter coprocessor which is not a problem for the Atari STe and Falcon but the original ST models might be outta luck - unless you have a later revision or a Mega ST. Musically, Supa Zazai is fantastic but also very different depending on your hardware: unnerving chip rattles the ST player whereas the STe gets exhilarating streamed audio. As instructed, pump up the volume!

What a journey this has been and one that is nothing like I first imagined yet lives up to all my expectations. Supa Zazai Da such an exhilarating shoot 'em up with gorgeous sound and vision. I hope more games are planned!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Mario's Quest

Mario's Quest was released in 1993 by Dean Sharples of Silly Software and is basically a Hunchback clone but this time we're that ridiculous Italian plumber I've always hated! As you would expect, there are tricky jumps, pesky moving platforms and annoyingly well-timed flying arrows coming our way. Gee, this sounds like great fun?

Well, I admit I did get some level of enjoyment from Mario's Quest as I like the 8-Bit look along with the superb music. However, the controls are too sensitive so trying to judge just where a platform ends - without falling your death - is nigh on impossible. Later screens feature moving platforms, flying arrows and wider gaps to hop over thus making Mario's Quest one of the most frustrating games I have ever played. Beware of this infuriating platformer!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Fractal Landscape Generator

Fractal Landscape Generator was developed by David Billington to create mountainous 3D landscapes. It's worth reading the docs before you begin experimenting but for those who (like me) never read the manual, there is a mini guide. Seeding your first landscape is easy using a superb user interface and the results are produced quickly, even on an 8MHz computer. The 3D part was initially difficult to grasp and at one point I think that I was upside down!! Don't give up - keep on tinkering - and once happy you can add light-shading, alter various colour parameters, and increase the detail level. Heck, you can even animate a fly-by through your newly created world.

Dabbling in 16-Bit creation to see what wonders I could knock out is impressive and to think I only found it by chance on this disk: Floppyshop ART-3647. It's always a nice feeling to find something "new" and this is a cracking program to get you started into the world of fractal landscapes. Give this a try and see what you can design!

These four images were generated using my own Mega STe and I'm really impressed with the results achieved.