Sunday, August 20, 2017

Top Banana


Top Banana is a vertically scrolling platformer not too dissimilar to Magic Boy or Rainbow Islands. Ignoring the stupid eco storyline, this certainly has an unusual mix of weirdness and even begins with a tripped out acid-style intro reminding me of Grotesque and Aciid Burn (Whattaheck). Well, a little, but it's in stereo and worth watching once.

This is a fast playing platformer which is both enjoyable and easy to control using the keyboard. Yep, I couldn't use my joystick but the keys work rather well guiding our little goth girl through the tricky levels. Gameplay is simple, we start near the bottom of the screen and must leap across the platforms to reach the top and avoid the rising water levels. Along the way are many unusual nasties to kill and our weapon appears to be love itself which delivers a fatal kiss of death to anything dumb enough to get in our way. So take no prisoners and enjoy killing everything!!

Graphically, this is so incredibly unique but also very "busy". At first, I didn't like it and felt the screen was too cluttered as I struggled to see some dangers lurking amongst its visual mess. After a few more games I had got over that and actually found myself admiring the rough and abstract styles but mostly for daring to be different.

Atari ST (no Blitter)
Atari ST (w/ Blitter) and Atari STe

Interestingly, Top Banana is one of the few games which supports both the Atari ST and STe. The oldest computers (without Blitter) have a plain background and the usual chip sound effects but the later ST's (with a Blitter/socket) feature two-layer parallax scrolling albeit with the same sounds. The Atari STe gets the same visual enhancements plus DMA stereo music and in-game samples. However, whether you enjoy these samples is debatable. I did.

Top Banana is certainly unusual and offers up a fun challenge but I don't think it's anywhere near as good as the previously mentioned games. However, I do fear it's also a much underrated because it's a great alternative to play one quiet afternoon which is exactly what I'm doing today. Finally, kudos to Hex for supporting both ST computers!!

LINKS

 - A hard drive installable game was fudged by the D-Bug boys.
 - Stonish has two excellent floppy disk options:
      1)  Fuzion #151 (a one-disk download without the intro but this is the version I recommend)
      2)  Pure Energy #6A and #6B (with the silly intro and comes on two disks)