Monday, August 31, 2015

Alien World


Alien World is a shoot 'em up written by Gary Antcliffe (Blazing Thunder and Yogi's Great Escape) and was released in 1992 by Hi-Tec Premier Software. Ignoring the dreadful title tune which you should immediately skip, the game itself is a cross between games like Menace and R-Type, with a dollop of Venus Flytrap thrown in for good measure.

Graphically, this is outstanding with ultra smooth scrolling - best experienced using a real Atari ST. The action is relentless and hits you with a ton of pitfalls to learn like red-hot streams of molten lava which shoots up from pools of glowing red instant death. It isn't long before you feel a little Blood Money creeping in when the scrolling alternates between horizontal and vertical. I liked the parts which aren't scrolled automatically by the computer - so you can fly or walk at your own leisure but gravity does play its part to effect the controls, think Flappy Bird or SantaFly!

Gameplay is always what matters and I am impressed with this tough nut which is also fair with that "one more go" appeal. Alien World is beautiful and provides such a difficult challenge - it's hardcore and I love it!!

LINKS

 - 8BitChip have created a hard drive installable version!
 - for those that need a floppy disk image then look no further than Old Games Finder.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Starquake


Today, I thought that I would descend deeper into the realms of retro gaming with an old great that I've not played since I was 14 years old, Starquake by BubbleBus / Mandarin Software. Like most people, I did not own an expensive Atari ST in 1985 and was instead using a ZX Spectrum. Yup, I've not played Starquake since the mid-80s!

You're a BLOB (BioLogically Operated Being) which has crash-landed on a planet and it's your job to save it before it implodes! Each screen is filled with cutesy (yet annoying) baddies that can zap away your energy or kill you outright. Thankfully you have a weapon but they are relentless with their swarm-like attacks. Curiously, you have no jump ability but instead, can build temporary platforms that help you reach those higher places. Also, dotted about the map are hover-pads which you can use. Starquake is a big game and one which will instantly appeal whilst you somehow get yourself completely lost as you wander from screen to screen. There are tasks to complete, like collecting objects and computer codes, which is a lot harder than it sounds. Oddly, you cannot collect items when using a hover pad...

Overall, I found our Atari ST version to be a little harder than the original Speccy game but its definitely a brilliant conversion of that 8-bit classic. I really enjoyed playing Starquake which offers a massive, long-term challenge and is extremely addictive. Highly recommended, if only to see ZX Spectrum folk drool over the graphics ;-)

LINKS

 - Starquake is downloadable via Old Games Finder and cheaters can find helpful codes right here :o)
 - Here is a map of the Speccy game I still love this!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Encyclopaedia of Atari ST Demos


The Encyclopaedia of Atari ST Demos is a new website being written by ST Survivor, a fella with an impressive portfolio of graphical works under his belt and now he has decided to share that knowledge. Check it out! :-)

  

Monday, August 10, 2015

Lotus Turbo Challenge II


If there was one game that I always enjoyed on my old Atari ST, it was Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge. The semi-realistic physics helped to make it utterly addictive without ever crossing over into boring old simulator land. It has such amazing graphics, almost an arcade-like quality, with fun gameplay that was both exciting and challenging.

Lotus 2 is quite different to the original in a number of ways. Firstly, you will notice that you have the entire screen to drool over the lovely graphics. Also, you aren't racing a number of laps around a typical circuit because we now have checkpoints to beat as we road trip across the American continent. Also, there are weather conditions to endure and these crudely add an element of pseudo-realism - even if the other drivers fail to use their headlights at nighttime...

I also think they captured the feeling of speed incredibly well - almost Vroom standards with extreme velocities. Strangely, the car appears to be running on fairy dust because there is never a need to refuel this sexy new Esprit or Elan soft top. Which is good, who needs that kinda realism? These differences certainly help Lotus II leap away from the original and into a whole new driving experience whilst remaining familiar to the original in many respects.

Lotus II is an incredible Bullrun and zooms high into my Top 10 of Atari ST racers. I absolutely love this game!

LINKS

 - A hard drive installable download is available from 8BitChip.
 - Floppy disk is available via Stonish and I recommend Awesome/Elite #20 Menu CD.

CHEATS

 1) Level 2 race......Twilight
 2) Level 3 race......Pea Soup
 3) Level 4 race......The Skids
 4) Level 5 race......Peaches
 5) Level 6 race......Liverpool
 6) Level 7 race......Bagley
 7) Level 8 race......E Bow
 8) Infinite Time.....Turpentine
 9) Always qualify....Deeside

Friday, August 07, 2015

Carlos



Les Adventures de Carlos was released in 1994 by Microids and you are in control of a bearded fat man wearing a rather odd costume! This might sound odd but your best friend appears to be a parrot who helps you out fighting off the flying nasties. Each level is stuffed with lots of baddies, however, you have no gun and need to use your enormous weight to squish everyone! You can even use some of that blubber when falling great heights, this creates a miniature earthquake thus killing anything nearby. Whatever works, right?

Aesthetically, Carlos looks and sounds really nice with gorgeous colours and beautiful sprites. However, the gameplay was designed to have scrollable levels and this poor ST port has push-scrolling - in all directions. This means that everything stops while the screen is pushed along and can become extremely irritating, especially during a diagonal jump which may require the screen to scroll in two directions. Now, this method might work perfectly well for some games but Carlos was designed to scroll and thus fails miserably.

The Atari ST has a wealth of decent platformers so we don't need rubbish like this. Don't bother loading this.

LINKS

 - I do not recommend Carlos but masochists can download it for floppy and hard drive.
 - Here are some level codes: Level 2 = BONGO / Level 3 = GALET / Level 4 = PATAU / Level 5 = SIRTA

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Atari ST w/ Hatari

Like most people, I've spent the recent years emulating an Atari ST and, since starting AtariCrypt, I have also been asked tons of questions about emulation. These are often about TOS versions and other various settings within Hatari. So let's keep this simple for a real-basic outline of what you should know to get started playing the awesome range of Atari ST games on your Mac (PC and Linux should be the same but I cannot confirm 100%, sorry)

Firstly, there are two basic models of the Atari ST. The original Atari ST and the enhanced Atari STE (Blitter, more colours, DMA audio, analogue controls, hardware scrolling)

1) If you want to play a commercial game then the chances are it'll be for the original Atari ST model.
2) If you want to delve in deeper (shareware games, music, demos) then you should probably emulate the Atari STE.


Spec requirements?

1) For the ST, I would recommend you choose 1 or 2mb RAM with TOS 1.02
2) For the STe, I would recommend you chose 1 or 2mb RAM but with TOS 1.62

For the most part, these settings will work really well. I personally tend to stick with a basic setup of Atari STe with 2mb RAM and TOS 1.62 to play floppy disk games.


What do I download?

1) Download the emulator itself - Hatari or NoSTalgia (major update due soon)
2) Grab yourself a copy of The Operating System (TOS) and there are lots here on ATARIWorld.
3) Many websites have ST games to download but the best is Stonish and Old Games Finder links to many archives.


My Hatari settings!

I have captured several screenshots of my own Hatari preferences. There is nothing mind-blowing here, I simply hoped this might be of some use to newcomers. Any questions then feel free to comment, below :-)


     

     

     

Monday, August 03, 2015

Alpha Waves


Alpha Waves is a unique game if ever there was one from back in the glory days of retro gaming. You pilot a spaceship craft that looks like a wedge of cheese and it's trapped within a huge multi-room cube. Each of the inner rooms is littered with platforms that function to progressively bounce you higher and higher into the air, as if on a trampoline! This may sound rather silly but it's also quite the cool concept and one which is certainly well executed.

Two gameplay modes are available: "Action" has a time restriction whereas "Emotion" gives you all the time in the world and is useful for newcomers or those simply wanting a more leisurely experience. Controls are best with the joystick and navigation is improved by pushing up or down to change the viewing angle. Interestingly, a shadow is cast by your craft which helps to pinpoint your position perfectly. Some rooms contain obscure baddies which can annoyingly get in the way and knock you off position. If you don't use the platforms then gravity takes over and you sink to the floor because your craft strangely has no upward thrust, only forwards. So use them, bouncing from platform to platform, reaching dizzy heights and ultimately the exit.

Graphically this is a mightily impressive game and the Atari ST is certainly working hard to display an abstract 3D world of filled-vectors and zero distance clipping. Those lucky enough to have a faster computer will enjoy even smoother frame-rates but even a stock 8MHz computer performs fast and fluent. Heck, it even runs in ST High so you can see all those polygons in a crisp 640x400 without any slow down at all.

I personally rank this as one amazingly quirky title and a perfect example of what goodies are lurking within the ST's retro gaming archives just waiting to be re/discovered. It might not appeal to all, but Alpha Waves certainly helped invent a new style of game which nobody ever expected and one which plays great and offers a unique challenge of skill and perseverance. Who would ever have thought bouncing your way through a cube could be so much fun?

LINKS

 - Download 8BitChip's hard drive adapted version if you have the hardware.
 - Those that need the floppies should look no further than Old Games Finder.