Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Saboteur III - The Egyptian Mission

Saboteur 3 was released in 2012 by Shadow Team for the Atari STe and Falcon. It's an unofficial fan-game which is obviously based upon the 8-bit classics by Durell Software and is programmed in (wait for it) GFA Basic. Quite incredible!

This third mission takes us into Egypt looking for fragments of a key that will unlock a treasure-filled sarcophagus. However, somebody has rigged most rooms with killer spikes and lots of scary creatures are freely on the loose, like mummies, bats and scorpions. Control is responsive and I'm impressed with the fluency of movement which makes the game very enjoyable. Movements are more or less what you would expect with a few changes - down/fire now makes our ninja hit under the belt without the kicking mechanic. Curiously, falling off ledges will kill you instantly, rather than simply draining you of some replenishing strength. I also failed to see the point of the spikes that pop-up to impale me each and every time - even when I am in mid-jump - which is particularly annoying and not very fair.

The graphics are brilliantly retro in style and follow the original theme quite well with a familiar palette and lots of nicely animated creatures - which you will enjoy kicking to death. The in-game music is by Dma-Sc and is a beautiful example of his extraordinary chiptune talent however, even I would have liked the option of sound effects.

Yes, Saboteur 3 is far from perfect and I feel hardcore fans will enjoy picking at it, just like I once did. But I regret that now because this is a good game in its own right, even if many expected Saboteur characteristics are missing or strangely altered. Give this a chance, it's a great platformer and I think Clive Townsend might even enjoy playing it.

LINKS

 - I made a little video recording for y'all to enjoy.
 - Of course Saboteur 3 is listed on AtariMania and with a download too!
 - Here is the official Saboteur 3 homepage which includes a French manual (Google Translate is your friend!)
 - I've managed to find a map of the Saboteur 3 (but I do not know who to credit) :-(
 - Shadow Team are featured on Demozoo!
 - Dma-Sc has a massive Atari portfolio of talent and its all listed on Demozoo.
 - Clive Townsend has a website where you can buy Saboteur for your Mac / PC.

Monday, August 29, 2016

1632 ATARI podcaST

Great news everyone - it's time to go and grab yourself a cuppa joe, sit back and relax listening to episode #2 of the awesome 1632 ATARI podcaST. Also, you can now also subscribe using iTunes, which I have just done :-)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Creatures


Somewhere in the far reaches of the universe is a remote planet called Blot. Much like Eden, this is a wonderful place and also home to the friendlies of creatures, the Blotians. However, for some peculiar reason, they got a little bored and desired to be more cool thus came up with the daft notion for a new identity on a different planet. Now they're called Fuzzy Wuzzies, but what these sad creatures didn't realise was that demons already lived here and this lot are an evil bunch and very bad tempered too! Needless to say everyone has been captured and await a cruel and bloody fate. You are Clyde Radcliffe, your breath stinks and it's your job to rescue your friends and save the day.

Creatures is a platformer released by Thalamus in 1993 and has some of the most beautiful visuals you could ever imagine. It looks tremendous with such detailed and colourful artwork and character animations. Audio hasn't taken a backseat and features support for the hardware lurking inside the Atari STe to produce gorgeous quality effects.

Clyde is the cutest little thing and the game employs this theme throughout. He is equipped with a rapid firing weapon, which is handy because many of the baddies can take numerous hits before they die. Power-ups are available, I love the 'wriggler' effect the most and there are many more to choose from. However, your super power is the funniest weapon of all, press and hold the fire button to breathe bad breath over anything that gets too close. Whoever said brushing your teeth was good for your health? Fire breath is just what those horrid demons deserve!

In fact, horrid is just the word. Creatures might look cute and cuddly but it also features an underlying evil personality. At the end of each level is a puzzle screen where you are required to rescue a fellow Fuzzy Wuzzy from the clutches of a sadistic demon. Be quick because it's usually a shocking scenes of hilarious cartoon horror!

Creatures is a good game but I often noticed a little slow down. I can live with that but what I find difficult to swallow is the lack of proper scrolling, which is instead push. It might work for a game like Rick Dangerous but it's disappointing here. I enjoyed playing Creatures, it has an excellent and balanced gameplay style which never tires. A good game.

LINKS

 - I made a couple of video recordings last year ( one ) ( two ) ...enjoy!
 - This lame screenshot sums up the artistic nature of Creatures. I just love those ghosts!
 - AtariMania has Creatures listed within their ST database with its manual scans too.
 - Good ol' D-Bug have a hard drive installable version which is what I use.
 - Old Games Finder has links to all the floppy disk images.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Annex

Nasty aliens have taken control of the science space station, Annex. It's your job is to kill every last one of them and then enable the reactors and life support.

Annex is a homebrew first-person shooter published by LAPD in 1995 and attempts to blend together the action of Doom with the mechanics of a Dungeon Master.

I must admit, I initially didn't think this would work with the 90° turns but it actually plays extremely well. Movement is performed using a combination of the keyboard and mouse. The keyboard to walk, activate switches and then your mouse to aim your weapon and shoot anything that moves. Annex comes with its fair share of quirks. I felt the graphics, although quite nice, aren't exactly varied or diverse thus things tend to get samey after a while. There isn't even a map function to help you out - the docs mention making your own - so Annex can become a little disorientating. Thankfully, the baddies are pretty good and usually speak to give up their position, but at least they disintegrate into a gorgeous blood splatter when killed!

Annex is a pretty good game and fans of the genre should definitely take a look. It is far from perfect, but there is a good mix of action adventure lurking within - if you are willing to look beyond the obvious shortcomings.

LINKS

 - AtariMania have a download available from their Atari ST database.
 - I suggest you take a look at Jim's video recording (he also has tons more Atari ST videos!)
 - Zogging Hell is a great website with a nice selection of the LAPD library to download.
 - Yes, of course there are many more first-person shooters on the Atari ST :-)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Floyd The Droid


Floyd The Droid is a simple yet hectic shoot 'em up in a style similar to a Robotron clone. It was written in 1986 by Paul Lay, for legend Analog Software and features a few features which I personally thought was rather cool back then. Whacking great enemies that fill the screen to a point where little screen real estate is left over. These are some of the silliest sprites too, like a Commodore 64 computer for example! Floyd also contains speech and it's rather excellent too, for a game released so early in the ST's life. I'm actually still impressed today, in a sentimental manner. Finally, whoever made the title tune is insane - it's just wrong - but I find myself strangely liking it!

It's a little rough around the edges but I love playing Floyd The Droid. A relentless hoard of invading enemies so hit that fire-button and try to last as long as you can. Great fun and highly recommended, especially after a few beers!

LINKS

 - Oh go on then, I recorded a tiny video for your amusement!
 - I believe there was a hi-res version in the making but I'm unsure if it was ever released?
 - Demozoo have a Floyd The Droid download (also on Serenade #5 and Adrenalin #4).
 - AtariMania list in their database Floyd The Droid and also Missing One Droid.
 - Atari 8-bit fans may also wanna click here : Floyd the Droid Goes Blastin'.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Frontier - Elite II

After a worrying delay, Frontier Elite II was finally released back in early 1994 by Gametek and was unlike most other games due to its sheer size.

A whole universe of countless stars to explore which basically meant many long gaming nights are ahead (well, over the decades and through to the present day!)

Commander Jameson has sadly left this realm and you came along just in the nick time to reap the benefits of his will reading. Being his favourite grandson, he left you 100 credits with strict instructions to stay clear of Vegas. He also left you his pride and joy, an Eagle Long Range Fighter - so be careful and don't scratch it. You now have the means and opportunity to explore the heavens so jump into your shiny new spaceship and begin the journey of your lifetime!

After watching the awesome intro, various menu options are available to begin your first adventure and I advice selecting Option 1 which places you safely in the Ross 154 System. Or more precisely, at the Sirocco star port on the planet Merlin. You have 100 credits and a rather funky piece of 3D called your space ship so starting at Sirocco is a great place to learn the ropes of the GUI and basic trading skills along with brushing up on your piloting skills.

Frontier is an open world (space!) sandbox game which doesn't restrict you in any traditional sense because you are free to travel almost anywhere and do almost anything you like. However, even gaming folklore doesn't come free and this style of living costs money so use the space ship to provide yourself a good living by means of contracting and trading goods. Everyone needs something, so this is where you come in to make your hard earned cash!

Frontier's universe has two major factions, and this is the Trekkie part, for me. Firstly, we have the Federation who are based in the Sol system and then we have The Empire which are based in the Achenar system. Both offer a haven to live and trade but aren't exactly the best of friends and, outside the safety of their space, you chance a greater risk of running into pirates. Dog fights with these are probably the most difficult part of the game to master. Gone are the arcade style controls in favour of realistic Newtonian physics that effect the control of your space craft. Momentum first needs to be compensated in order for you to slow down, stop and change a direction. Perhaps now I should advice saving your game at regular intervals? Learn the physics because the pirates are tough cookies!

Ultimately, Frontier is about living a lucrative and adventurous lifestyle by means of trade across the heavens. Use your galactic map to explore a 3D perspective of creation and plan your first route, dig for information to find out what they need, buy in bulk and begin your journey (there is nothing quite like making your first hyperspace jump - very exciting!)

This will automatically end once you are within the vicinity of your destination, but the distance to your destination is still huge, so don't forget to use the Stardreamer buttons to pass the time quicker! Auto-docking is (finally) supported so once you're boarded get the goods sold and reap the profit. Before you begin looking for another trade route, remember to refuel your ship, otherwise you won't be able to make another hyper-space jump! After earning lots of money, you might want to consider checking out the Bulletin Board where you can upgrade your ship or search for extra jobs like transporting passengers, help finding a missing person, mining, military work or information. Heck, there is even a black market for those without a conscience, where you can trade slaves, weapons, narcotics or even be an assassin. However, this dark lifestyle will definitely take you into dangerous waters and will almost certainly attract the attention of the law. Are you ready for that heat, bad boy?

Frontier is one heck of a game and one with immense potential and I'm hoping this feature will regenerate your interest to restart playing? Frontier is all about progression and making the right choices to build up your own little empire. Do not expect to jump into the pilots seat and see the entire universe in one sitting, this will take time, money and commitment. Oh and several months of your life because Frontier is quite literally one of the best games, ever.

LINKS

 - 8BitChip have a hard drive installable version to download.
 - AtariMania has this life-sucker within their ST database which includes scans of the manual.
 - Yikes Station have a web page of the Frontier manual.
 - Here are many YouTube videos by JimPlaysGames and they offer invaluable advice for new players!
 - Fancy a gander at the Frontier universe?
 - I've put this off for sometime but I am considering buying Elite Dangerous for my Apple Mac. Any thoughts?
 - I've been talking with Marko @AtariMania and between us we cannot decide if Frontier was released at the latter end of 1993 or the first weeks of 1994. Research is conflicting... I personally remember buying it early 1994.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Game Vids!

You know guys, whilst supping on my morning cuppa joe, it occurred to me that there are some awesome YouTube channels out there in Atari ST land. I think everyone knows two superb guys, Kev and Marc, who are the brains behind the STaffroom and Joy Of Sticks. Well, there are even more who regularly post lots of Atari ST gaming videos. Take a gander at Wasabim, Flashback GamerTrusteft, Atari Greenlog, Atari FitnessAtari ST Arcade and Village Monk which I personally think produce some of the most fantaSTic videos. Also (if you scroll down) on the right-hand side of my website is a longer list of channels who all feature Atari ST content. All are worth checking out, folks.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Hector vs The Mutant Vampire Tomatoes From Hell


If there was ever a rival to probably the best titled Atari ST game, this is it. Hector vs The Mutant Vampire Tomatoes From Hell was released in 1993 by Pete Whitby and is a platformer with a fascinating retro gaming familiarity. It involves you, with your trusty spade, burying evil vampire tomatoes in the holes you've just dug out. Once those daft tomatoes fall in, don't panic, all you gotta do is bury the suckers and this is the fun part of any bonka bashing!

The graphics and sounds are homebrew, and so very cool, I really do love both. Like a colourful Spectrum platformer with great sound effects. What I must rave about are the controls, which are spot-on perfect and I cannot stress this highly enough. Our little spade digger has perfect controls, without ever feeling wooden or awkward.

What an absolute joy to play with these monsters in hell. Today, I personally plan to spend lots of time digging holes and squishing tomatoes. I say Hector presents a fantaSTic challenge and is tons of fun - what a brilliant game.

LINKS

 - Watch the YouTube video by Wasabim which shows just how the game progresses through several levels and it also has an amazing intro - both the game itself (beautiful chiptune) and also the video intro. Which is incredible!
 - Stonish is literally the best website for Menu CDs and Hector appears on Adrenalin #12
 - Old Games Finder also has a list of downloads and its worth noting that Hector can be installed onto hard drive :-)
 - Pete Whitby is featured on Demozoo and has made another game which might be familiar to the older gamer!
 - Update: Hector is now listed within the AtariMania database and includes the documentation!
 - Did you get my very subtle retro game references above? ;-)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Knight Lore


AtariCrypt is all about the Atari ST/e computers but today I'm going to make an exception and instead concentrate on Atari's 32-bit wonder, the mighty Falcon. As you can see in the picture above, the classic ZX Spectrum game KNIGHT LORE is available for Atari's flagship computer and appears to be fully playable and also pretty darn ace!

I find it rather depressing that I didn't know about this, prior to a message from Janez Valant (Swe of YesCREW) who kindly sent me a copy. Sadly, there are no docs but Knight Lore seems to play great but I'm gutted it isn't for the ST...
The screenshot was taken from within Hatari. Of course, I would love a real Atari Falcon computer so if someone is willing to donate to AtariCrypt then please let me know. (come on, I gotta try!)

LINKS

 - I'm sure all you lucky Falcon owners wanna download Knight Lore right now? Enjoy!! :-)
 - Issue #02 of Alive magazine has a feature (download and web link) (credit: Peter Petera for this info)
 - AtariMania are the best and now have this listed within their awesome database.
 - Wikipedia has a Knight Lore webpage for those that weren't here back in 1984!
 - The World of Spectrum website has lots of juicy content and more.
 - Swe's portfolio of talent is listed and downloadable from off the awesome Demozoo website.
 - Of course, YesCREW also have a piece of the Demozoo pie (GemPLAY is just awesome!!)
 - If, like me, you have no Atari Falcon then take a gander at the Hatari emulator.

Friday, August 19, 2016

What's wrong with this picture?


Okay, don't loose too much sleep over this screenshot because it only happened in emulation and my real Atari computer wasn't so easily fooled by this technique of using overscan to grab extra desktop pixels.

I've been playing with various GEM desktop expanders and soon realised there are a number of interesting programs out there. This often involved interlace, virtual resolutions and even overscan. As for interlace, I would first advice flipping into 60Hz but it's hardly ever an ideal experience. Virtual resolutions work great and are best on the Atari STe due to the hardware scrolling. However, it was the option of using overscan which sparked my curiosity and this involved removing the lower border. I had some issues on my 16MHz Mega STE (minor flicker during disk accessing) but the standard 8Mhz Atari STe performed perfectly and was very stable (sorry, I've not tested on the STfm).

I've bundled together all of the programs I have found into a single download for y'all. I figured this topic may be of interest to some of you ST nutters out their? (BigScreen, DBL2STE, DBL2ST, Remove, MonSTEr, NoBorder, Big-Y).

Give 'em all a try and please let me know how you get on... Feedback, folks! Come on :p

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Magic Boy

You are little Hewlett, a young boy with a magic wand who accidentally turned the animals into monsters! So its your job to restore everything back to normal which means travelling four beautiful levels to tag and bag all the little nasties!

Magic Boy is a platformer released late in 1993 by Empire and, in some ways, has always reminded me of Rainbow Island with its colourful and cutesy theme.

Gorgeous bright, radiant graphics with so many comical characters and ultra smooth vertical scrolling which is accompanied by perfect, fun-themed high quality music with some sweet sound effects (all of which are best experienced when played on an Atari STe). Magic Boy is most definitely one of the sexiest Atari ST games ever!

There are four massive worlds to explore (Sand Land, Wet World, Plastic Place, Future Zone) with each offering eight levels. These start off relatively easy before introducing you to lots of cunning tricks and traps to keep you on your toes and coming back for more. You know folks, this game is so easy to pick up and play - shoot the critters to send 'em packing whilst collecting the usual power ups along the way and that's about it. The concept isn't exactly bewildering but instead, we have a fun and entertaining platformer with such glamorous aesthetics to boot. If you enjoy platformers then make time to play Magic Boy - it's one of my favourite Atari ST games and I absolutely love it.

LINKS

 - It's that time of your day to witness some awesome gaming skills and to watch me play Magic Boy!
 - AtariMania have almost every Atari ST game in their database and here is Hewlett's entry.
 - 8BitChip never fail to impress and once again have adapted this game for hard drive installation.
 - The mighty D-Bug have also patched Magic Boy to run from hard drive.
 - If you instead need a floppy disk image then Old Games Finder is for you!
 - Fancy a few sneaky cheats to get you onto those later levels? Yeah, of course you do so when you are about to start a new game, first simply press and hold down one of these combinations to choose your level:
     -> Sand Land (part 1) -     S + 1
     -> Sand Land (part 2) -     S + 2
     -> Future Zone (part 1) -   F + 1
     -> Future Zone (part 2) -   F + 2
     -> Plastic Place (part 1) - P + 1
     -> Plastic Place (part 2) - P + 2
     -> Wet World (part 1) -     W + 1
     -> Wet World (part 2) -     W + 2

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

AtariCrypt box art?



Over the last few months, I have been taking pictures of my own games and featuring the best box art right here on AtariCrypt however, yesterday I got quite a shock. Look at what a friend of mine as created using my Twitter avatar.
There sure are awesome people out there in Atari ST land. Thank you Luis Ortiz for this - love it!! :D

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

[VERY] Happy STE coding


Back in May I written about a new game engine in development by none other than Douglas Little and it has been a real eye opener to see just how far his work has progressed since then. Today I got to watch a video he recently made and to say it's a jaw dropper is an understatement. It certainly demonstrates just how far he's come with his project, so watch this video and then treat yourself to this download of the current latest release.

Try not to drool too much over the mighty power of the Atari STe!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Chariots Of Wrath

Retro Video Gamer continue to expand their Atari ST gaming section today with Chariots Of Wrath! <read more>