Thursday, November 26, 2015

Jim Power in Mutant Planet


Jim Power In Mutant Planet was released by Loriciel in 1992 where we play as a member of the Special Warfare Unit. These are in charge of the President's personal security and, of course, his daughter was kidnapped by evil beings which infest a Mutant Planet. So it is your mission to kill everything, rescue the girl, and save the day. Yeah!!

You begin your adventure in a rather funky looking environment that reminds me of Enchanted Land. A strange world of whacky colours that is populated by stupid enemies aimlessly wondering back n' forth. I first thought this was going to be easy but it soon picks up the pace to become quite the challenge with levels that are as interesting as they are superbly designed. Controls feel spritely to suit the game style perfectly and I love the way you can easily hop from platforms without ever feeling the uncertainty of plummetting to your death. Weapons are upgradable and if your joystick has an autofire option then I'd consider the option of switching it on to enjoy some deadly killing fun.

The box art may look like it was ripped from a bad 80s action flick but thankfully the visuals are all of a standard that I would describe as outstanding. It's colour galore as Loriciel mock the supposed hardware limitations with ease to feature scrolling which is both fast and smooth. Sprites are simply gorgeous and look as cute as they are innovative. The audio will not dishearten (view the credits!) and provides a thumping title tune with even more stunning in-game chiptunes. Also, the option is available to play with only the sound effects, but I personally thought this wasn't nearly as good as those boppin' tunes. Overall, this is an easy recommendation for platforming fans because it looks and sounds as great as it plays. Jim Power might not have much originality but it's an absolute cracker. Play this!!

LINKS

 - 8BitChip has a version to install on your hard drive.
 - For those that require a floppy disk image, just see Old Games Finder.
 - I've recorded a video but Gears Of Games has recorded a FAR better game
to watch!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sleeping Gods Lie


You're on Tessera, a world once rich but now suffering famine, disease, and a crime wave that only Robocop could fix. Their god, N'Gnir, strangely seems to be in slumber so it's your mission to find him, wake him up, and put an end to all the madness. It won't be easy because you must battle your way through the numerous different lands and each has eight kingdoms. This game is huge so pack some butties because it's unlikely you will be home for tea!

You begin from the comfort of your own castle which looks impressive from the outside but rather sparsely decorated within - there is only a chair! So let's exit and see what awaits us outside... and it's not long before you see chaos roams the land. Almost everyone is nuts and I guarantee you'll be stoned by angry villagers within seconds! These brawls are all too frequent and lots of fun too but beware of something hideous guarding the exit. Thankfully, a few characters are normal and these are the guys you should take the time to talk too for helpful information. As the box says, this isn't just an adventure game and is full to the brim with action and basic puzzles within a curious new world. There are many puzzles to be completed such as feeding a giant critter with mouldy cheese. These aren't brain-blasters and the information you acquire will soon fall into place if you talk to the right people.

The first-person engine is fast but the landscapes are sparse with distant objects being nothing more than fuzzy pixels - until close. Title music is chiptune magic but in-game sound effects are as sparse as the landscapes. Controls are perfect - mouse looks or moves but do also use the keyboard for a fantastic combination (not seen in the video). Hint, pressing F3 allows you to run rather than walk and I found this to be the greatest benefit.

Sleeping Gods Lie is an enthralling game with some very interesting ideas. It's not perfect and I wish the character interaction was better and a more visually detailed environment would have been nice. Overall, there's no denying this game is interesting, addictive and I love the mix of instant one-on-one skirmishes whilst exploring the lands. I feel this is an adventure to dig your heels into one quiet weekend so find a bag of stones and get out there!

LINKS

 - 8BitChip has created a version which can be installed on a hard drive.
 - Old Games Finder has all the floppy disks you should ever need.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

YOPAZ IceStar


Yopaz is a brand new game developed by Cedric Bourse and features a happy chap who has a lust for collecting stars in his Sokoban-inspired universe. However, being in the vacuum of space means that, once he starts moving, he is committed to travelling in that particular direction until bumping into an object. So, you need to cunningly use ice wall blocks to manoeuvre yourself in order to collect all the stars dotted about each level. Curious oddities exist like blocks that aren't ice but instead will teleport you out in a different direction elsewhere on the map. Interestingly, there is also an advanced mode for those with a sadistic desire to push their brains even harder - it's a KILLER!!

The game runs within a GEM window and is super smooth. Sound effects are simple but very nice and, if you have a min of 3MB Ram free, then you can also enjoy ambient sounds played via the DMA coprocessor. Cedric Bourse (aka Orion_) has a website where you can download a playable demo but he is only asking for $4 to purchase the full game. That is incredibly cheap and hardly going to break the bank so buy it - I have :-)

Monday, November 09, 2015

Bootsie


Bootsie, a utility by Stefan Krey that writes a boot sector to a floppy disk to perform many rather nifty system init functions. These will be useful for Atari owners with a hard drive or those fortunate to own a MSTE, TT or Falcon.

By default, my Mega STe boots up in an 8MHz "compatibility mode" which is great for gaming but pretty lame for everything else. After all, the entire boot process from start to end will be a lot slower than it could be at 16MHz. Enter Bootsie that can set the processor speed to steroid mode and it will also do lots more cool stuff, such as CPU caching, activate the Blitter chip, 60Hz display, and much more. What a fantastic utility that helps make a computer as zippy as is possible. Download it right now from Atari ST Essential Software List.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Ballerburg


Whilst enjoying my cuppa joe this morning (in my cool Atari ST mug) I stumbled upon a tweet about Ballerburg, an old turn-based artillery game by Eckhard Kruse. This is an ST classic and offers addictive and strategical gameplay to blast our enemy to smithereens and all using basic maths to calculate speed and direction.

However, Ballerburg requires the ability to read German and a monochrome hi-res monitor. But let's be honest, as ST users, we are familiar translating on the fly and there are many programs which fudge the ST's high-resolution mode. As I type, my Atari STe is running Ballerburg and I'm (trying) to teach our 6-year old daughter the basic mechanics... Sadly, that ain't going too well and I know she will be an easy victim so I'm going to destroy her Muwhahaha!!

LINKS

 - A download is available via Eckhard Kruse's website and also Ballerburg has a wiki page!
 - I use MonoPack to enable ST High Res on my colour monitor.
 - So, you didn't believe me about my Atari ST mug, uh?

Friday, November 06, 2015

The Immortal


You are a wizard and have been asked to help out another wizard that appears to be in a spot of bother. He is called Mordamir and somehow thinks your name is Dunric, which it isn't. So will you still help him? Of course, you will... However, it will involve exploring creepy dungeons infested with numerous nasty creatures. Still feeling brave? Well, it is time to wear clean underwear and venture forth into the realms of myth, sorcery, and brutal horror!

The Immortal is a scrolling isometric adventure set within a creepy labyrinth full of unforgiving traps and ghastly horrors. In fact, it's these characteristics which will torment even the most experienced adventurer along his journey and you will most definitely witness the bloodiest of deaths. This isn't a game you can complete in a few attempts because its design dictates the need for a determined player and one who will fall victim to many gruesome deaths.

Lurking within the labyrinth are trolls, goblins and lots of other scary creatures with some have exquisite names - like The Shades, that you encounter early. A life form that hides in the darkness, only casting a faint shadow under firelight - are you scared yet? Each room is unique and has its own battles, treasures, and pitfalls to solve, so think first, be vigilant and always on your guard. The good news is that you can often avoid a confrontation by being stealthy, but brave warriors can always use their weapon or even conjure magic spells to beat their foe.

Expect your endurance to be tested to the full with each level's cruel traps, thankfully each isn't overly large so they are within eventual reach of learning. Exploration is the key to success so examine everything that may help later on. Finally, don't forget to rest, if you see a straw bed then take the time for forty winks, gain a little health and maybe even an enlightening dream. There is no save game function instead you will be awarded level passwords which first seem disappointing but it certainly forces you to tread carefully thus creating a more knowledgeable adventurer.

The Immortal is a groundbreaker due to its gripping storyline, eerie atmospheric and a captivating adventure. Mix that in with both RPG and arcade elements and it's apparent why I love this game. An extremely excellent game offering hours of agonising pleasure as you uncover its secrets. The Immortal is a cruel yet highly addictive adventure.

LINKS

 - Floppy disk downloads can be found using Old Games Finder.
 - 8BitChip has a download for hard drive installation.
 - Here are some nifty codes if you fancy seeing the later levels:
          --> Level 2 = cddff10006f70
          --> Level 3 = 0adda21000e10
          --> Level 4 = bfdfe31001eb0
          --> Level 5 = 09de443000eb0
          --> Level 6 = 3b7fd53010e41
          --> Level 7 = e590d710178c1

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Rana Rama


Most action games have you playing as something rather cool, like a wizard or a musclebound warrior or perhaps even a Hollywood hero with a deadly automated weapon that never runs out of ammo. Well, not so with Ranarama. You're a novice magician called Mervyn who has accidentally turned himself into a frog? That's right, you're a frog!

Wizards have invaded and brought with them a horde of monster followers who killed everyone, although luckily they ignored the unassuming slimy frog. So it's time for you to leg'it and deal these evil beings a hefty dose of revenge! Played through an overhead view, you crawl a dungeon battling the numerous minion slaves of the powerful wizards. First impressions are of another action-packed Gauntlet clone and, although it looks aesthetically similar, it's quite different. Beginning in the upper area of this 8-level dungeon you must kill the baddies and defeat the wizards. Interestingly, only the places you have explored are visible and the baddies themselves are only seen when you’re within the same room. This makes entering new rooms an anxious moment and who knows what surprises lurk!

   
   

Monsters come in various scary shapes and sizes, starting with the humble Dwarf (I love those) leading up to the mighty Gargoyles. All can be killed with increasing efforts and wizards need to be defeated in a Countdown-style sub-game that has you rearranging letters to form the word "Ranarama". It's not easy and later wizards are very tricky, but once won, he dies and leaves behind his rune goodies. Magic plays its part in Ranarama and can be a little confusing at first but good ‘ol Mervyn has four categories at his disposal: offensive, defensive, effect and other powers. Look after yourself, all monsters (and even your own movements) can reduce energy but fear not because you can cast a spell or collect the energy cells which are frequently available. Finally, use the floor-based glyphs to activate special features like a map, status and casting powerful spells. This game is far bigger than you first imagine!

   

The graphics are superb with such a fine attention to detail and great use of colour. The in-game Sound effects are very good and the music is by Dave J. Rogers, he of Exolon and Zynaps fame so is absolutely superb. Ranarama was one of the first Atari ST games (I owned) to feature speech, thus always delivers a happy moment each time I hear the fuzzy woman speak. Overall, if you view the screenshots and are expecting a typical Gauntlet clone then you might be disappointed. Ranarama is quite different and offers a long-term mix of arcade action with so many hints of role-playing as you venture through the cunning levels. This is a very difficult adventure but it's also extremely rewarding so expect lots of late nights in. An utterly fantastic Atari ST game, a legendary Hewson game!

LINKS

 - The best download is made by 8BitChip if you have a hard drive.
 - Old Games Finder should suffice for all you floppy disk dudes!

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

ASCII art


Unreversable demo (2013) by M.E.C for Atari ST
Credits : bob_er (code) | Dhor (music) | gwEm (code/music)

I came across this rather mesmerising demo the other night on Demozoo and I just had to record it. Unreversable is an ASCII art sensation accompanied with a funk and dunk of ace chipmusic for an outstanding experience. Perhaps most amazing is that it's only 64kb, quite incredible... I hope you enjoy it as much as I did?

Unreversable is by a group of talented 8Bit'ers called Masters Of Electric City.
 (creators of Unbeatable - a monochrome Atari ST demo!!)