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.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Astro Marine Corps

Sometimes a game doesn't need a longwinded storyline, cunning puzzles or life-sucking RPG elements. Sometimes all you want is a huge mother of a weapon (with unlimited ammo of course) and lots of baddies in need of urgent annihilation. Be happy because Dinamic's AMC fits the bill with lots of mindless and gratifyingly brutal violence!

Watch out for the various plant life and some critters can instantly change with a drastic consequence!!

This multi-level scrolling shoot 'em up involves nothing more than walking grim alien landscapes and hammering down on the fire button to kill everything in sight. Upgradeable weapons use a directional-firing technique and our marine can also crouch and leap high into the air with wiggly-legs. We are also equipped with powerful bombs and these are needed when your main weapon isn't effective against mechs or whatever lurks inside craters...

The aliens are an obscene bunch of misfits ranging from man-eating plants to mechanoids even Robocop would run away from. Don't get to close to the unassuming caterpillers, these will suddenly grow and give rather a nasty bite. I think AMC has some of the best enemies I've seen and the monstrously huge Guardian proves it.

I love that beast man thingamabob with the large fangs but he's nothing compared to this huge guardian!!

Technically, this isn't the best game as it feels a like a rushed port with less-than spritely scrolling across sparse landscapes. Joystick controls are great but it's awkward reaching for the keyboard to throw a bomb - especially when mechanoids are chasing! AMC is crude and predictable but it's also thoroughly entertaining with great monsters, crunchy sound effects and tons of levels. I loved being an Astro Marine and killing alien scumbags is fantastic.


 - Installation to a hard disk is possible thanks to 8BitChip and Old Games Finder has the floppies.
 - Stonish has a couple of great Menu disks: Dodgysoft #81 and Flame Of Finland #25.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Jake is a rather odd looking fella who exterminates bugs in a fantastic fantasy world of weird. However, this is as much as I currently know because I've never played it until today! Verminator's graphics are jaw-dropping so my first play lasted mere seconds before I wanted to write this article for our PixelArt section. Actually, Verminator is granted VIP access because of Nigel Brownjohn's outstanding artistry using such bold colours with a fine attention to detail. This has to be one of the most gorgeous 16-Bit games created so perhaps I should now take time to play it...



 - 8BitChip has the hard drive version and Old Games Finder has access to the floppies.
 - Trusteft recorded a video last year and seemed pretty much impressed by this beautiful game.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Gribnif Software

Dan Wilga has kindly released NeoDesk and Geneva as freeware and both of these incredible products can be downloaded from the Gribnif website right now. I have quickly just run a test installation (using Hatari) which was a breeze and worked without a hitch. Next, I need to get my Mega STe working with this amazing operating system and funky desktop. Please, don't forget to donate and my thanks to Luis Ortiz for this great news.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Killing Machine

Killing Machine is a vertically scrolling shoot 'em up by Atlantis Software. It's set on a remote planet controlled by a giant brain who identifies you, and your sassy spaceship, as nothing less than invading vermin that needs to be wiped out (gee, thanks). The battlefield spans over three levels and is stuffed full of kamikaze enemies out for blood so don't expect a cakewalk because it will demand lightning-fast reactions and plenty of luck.

The first thing that struck me was the graphics which are uniquely colourful using a gorgeous palette. The smooth scrolling is slow and steady but it's the enemy sprites zipping across the screen which are impressive. Sound effects go beyond mere bleeps for some rather raspy samples. They're not the greatest but the grunge still works for me.

Killing Machine is brutal and will require lots of practice before you begin to beat the first level. Its a painful learning curve but try to remember the enemy attack patterns and collect every power-up offered otherwise you will die a suckers death in no time at all. Sure, there are better Atari ST shooters but I've still enjoyed this a bunch.


 - Stonish has the floppy disks (Pure Energy #53) and 8BitChip has a version for hard disk installation.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Rambo III

Rambo III was released by Ocean Software and is an overhead shoot 'em up not too dissimilar to other "Gauntlet" games like Into The Eagle's Nest. I'm incredibly excited to finally own my own copy which I proudly add in AtariCrypt's Box Art section thanks to the tremendous Hollywood artwork. This is also one of few that has both a great front and back cover so I decided to take a piccy of both and double-up on our love for movie legend Sly Stallone!

The musclebound action hero is infiltrating a Soviet base which has Colonel Trautman held captive. Our mission spans over three levels with the first being the rescue before fleeing for our escape with a final shoot gallery stage that feels like a mash of Op. Wolf / Battlezone.

Gameplay is the same for the early levels but (ironically) you shouldn't run around like Johnny Rambo but carefully explore the complex looking for the best routes through and useful items like health, ammo and Infra Red goggles to detect otherwise invisible boobytraps!

Enemies occupy each screen but they feel more like automated drones than the Soviet elite as they robotically patrol back and forth. I imagine these guys also suffer tunnel vision because they are unaware of your presence unless you stumble directly in the line of sight. If that happens, an alarm sounds and nearby soldiers begin attacking - but at least you have an awesome health meter!

This might first appear rubbish, but it actually works well to distinguish itself from being a mere Gauntlet clone so play more like the real US Army Special Forces rather than the fake Hollywood claptrap. My only quibbles are trying to memorise the humungous map which is too easy to lose your bearings. Plus each room is blindly entered so try and learn where the soldier's patrol otherwise those Ruskies will gang up to give Sly a good kicking (health packs are scarce).

I understand why Rambo III failed to capture the hearts of most reviewers back in the day. It's a little like Marmite and you'll either love or hate it but I truly do think it's a belting game albeit with those niggles. It's not Gauntlet so use a stealthy approach and prepare thyself to spend many hours mapping the levels and sneaking up on bad guys.


 - Floppy disks can be found via Stonish and Old Games Finder (Automation #47).
 - For the weirdos who don't enjoy making their own maps: Speccy Screenshot Maps and Hall Of Light.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Atari ST

Today I received my latest "Atari Games" mug thanks to Peter Jørgensen (Enduro Racer / YMT). No, they're not all the same, just take a peep at their reverse-side which is pictured here. Aren't ST folk incredibly generous: the mouse mat you can see was also a gift from my mate Tom, another ST nutter. Peter/Tom even made for me the ZombieCrypt mug - probably because the slideshow I  released last year was so awesome? Hmm, well probably not lol. However, I must apologize for my "keyboard cup" who decided to photobomb!! There's always one...

There's now't better than suppin' coffee from an Atari ST mug... hmm but which one shall I choose? :-)

Monday, February 05, 2018


KillThings, by Orm of Digi Tallis is a first-person shoot 'em up in a similar vein to Wolfenstein but alas it was never finished. It's playable and I must admit to being impressed by the speed of the game's engine and its map function works like the one in Doom, which I really liked. Sadly, there is no sound and very little to do other than wandering the stark corridors looking for a bug-eyed stickman! But there is a level editor if you're feeling bravely creative?

This is never going to replace Wolfenstein or Substation but I'm always fascinated by oddities like this and impressed by the hopes and dreams of what some developers were trying to create. However, it's also a huge shame when these dreams come to a halt (the 'readme' explains a great deal) but at least we have this demo to play with.

The map is superb and moves around just as in Doom (left). Make your own levels using the editor? Go on!! (right)

Sunday, February 04, 2018


When my hard disk decided to kick the bucket I replaced it with Lotharek's Ultrasatan. Built like a tank, it's incredibly versatile and obviously silent (the old hard drive sounded like a Vulcan Bomber taking off). Of course, I could have gone down the Cosmos/Gotek route but I would rather attempt open-heart surgery than risk breaking my beautiful Atari ST. Not to worry as there are alternatives thanks to Peter's Image Runner program which actually works out pretty well. Yep, I sure love my Ultrasatan because it's a superb clump of hardware and one I cannot recommend highly enough so visit Lotharek's website for all the information along with lots of other Atari ST goodies!

Friday, February 02, 2018

Goin' Down With The Captain

Goin' Down With The Captain was developed in GFA Basic by Terry King of Ninth Wave Software and must be one of the silliest titles since those robot monsters invaded our screens. Imagine yourself as the unlucky cabinboy onboard a sinking ship trying to find the lifebuoys and return them to their holders in a race against the clock. Collecting the lifebuoys is easy but you'll have to venture deep to find them as they're scattered about the ship. You can carry a maximum of two so later levels will require multiple trips into Poseidon's realm which certainly adds to the rush!

The flooding is constant and rising quickly with leaky pipes spirting out more water. Thankfully, these can be patched with a sticky plaster and some decks have pump levers you can operate to help reduce water levels. Flooded decks can still be accessed if you hold your breath and use the air bubbles to top-up your oxygen supply. Any treasures you find are yours to keep but beware of snippy crabs roaming the lower decks who are itching to nip at your toes.

Leaky pipes, rising water and now a crab has spotted us. One deadly pinch and we float off to heaven ala Monty Mole!

The joystick controls are class thus incredibly playable with responsive movement and little learning curve. Using the levers is an entertaining moment and brought back memories of Decathlon but this time you're waggling the joystick up+down. The graphics aren't exactly at a Bitmap Bros standard but they do their job, even with the occasional slowdown. Music and sound effects are made from low-quality fuzzy samples but in stereo on the Atari STe.

I almost feel like I need to justify why I have enjoyed this silly platformer so much. After all, it's freeware with bland visuals and extremely poor audio but it plays great and surely that's all that matters? Well, I think so. Going Down With The Captain is challenging, addictive and definitely one of the best PD games I have played. Loved it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


After drooling over Sinister Development's Centipede, there seemed little reason to play anything else so I skipped past Robert Dytmire's Megapede without giving it a second thought... Thankfully, I later went back and enjoyed what is nothing less than a fantastic homebrew effort with bosses, extra swarms, level-select and different play modes for adults and kids. The sounds are good but it's the clunky 8-Bit style visuals I love with comically cute sprites and enormous mushrooms!! This is a great millipede conversion in its own right and definitely worth playing.

Monday, January 29, 2018


Whirligig was developed by Maelstrom Games of Midwinter fame for Firebird and I've recorded a short video which I thought might be fun to share. Why? Simply because I cannot play Whirligig for love nor money and zipping about in space without ever being able to properly control my direction is agonising. If I happened to kill one of the baddies then it's pure luck because I usually end up killing myself instead!! Technically, Whirligig is impressive and I know I could have dug my heels in and mastered it but I just couldn't be bothered. Enjoy the video :o)


 - Floppy disks can be nabbed of Exxos [Automation #10] and via Stonish [Klapauzius #1].
 - AtariMania has links to reviews and the manual. In hindsight perhaps I should have read this?

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Alien Blast

The Atari world is buzzing with news of Matthieu Isorez supplying his own copy of Alien Blast!! Previously, it crashed on level 3 because of data corruption and we've been after the original disks/files for years. Finally, we have them and can play the entire game from start to end - which is exactly how I plan to spend the rest of my Sunday.

Thanks to Marko Latvanen @AtariMania for the heads-up. Today is a great day!!

Saturday, January 27, 2018


Jamie Hamshere (aka junosix) has released an Atari STe upgrade of Klax with sampled sound effects taken from the arcade game. Now, I've played very little but it's essentially a "3D" take on the Tetris idea released in 1990 by Domark. Once again, we're stacking piles of coloured tiles but now they travel towards us rather than falling down our screen. Drop these into your bin making sure they are stacked vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Sounds simple but it's brutal demanding quick thinking and lightning-fast reactions, so I failed miserably because I'm rubbish at Klax!!

This is a fabulous upgrade to replaces the drab chip sounds and transforms the game by leaps and bounds. I'm sure Tetris fans and brainteaser addicts will love Klax but it isn't my cuppa tea if I'm honest. Tiny brain, you see...


 - AtariMania hosts both the boring old original and this spanky new Atari STe game.
 - Jamie is the same guy working on Droid and no that project has NOT been abandoned.
 - If, like me, you suck at Klax then hitting key '4' takes you to the final level... good luck!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Alien Thing

Alien Thing was released late in the ST's life by 999 Software for Top Byte and if you've ever played Alien Syndrome, Gauntlet or Storm then you'll know exactly what to expect from this overhead shoot 'em up set in space. It's the same old story: heading for Earth is a distant spaceship filled to the brim with a vicious alien hoard who are hungry for our blood. It's time to tool-up, sneak onboard, and begin mercilessly killing anything that looks like it's gonna bite.


Their spaceship is split into eleven levels with each requiring a particular mission to be completed. The first starts off simple (kill everything!!) with later missions being far more complex and if you happen to fail then you are immediately sent straight back to the beginning. This ship is huge, yet with a clear definition in design, so you won't lose your bearings. Almost every corridor has some kind of doorway which can be opened, one way or another. Key cards are a good idea and these can usually be found hidden inside the blue cabinets - along with other bonuses like a 1UP and ammo. However, use these cards wisely because not every door needs to be immediately opened...

Joystick controls are excellent and responsive so it's easy navigating this ship, even if I can oddly move quicker than the monsters! These beasts are everywhere - so stay frosty - because they can withstand several hits before you turn them into a splattered mess. Their eggs must be quickly blown-up before a new alien is born and pops-out to eat you! Some leave behind pools of poisonous slime and this need to be destroyed before you are able to pass. Each of your weapons has a varying level of effectiveness and the flamethrower is awesome so try searching the orange cabinets for yours. However, I'm not fresh on the laser which needs a recharge far too frequently for my liking.

  • I personally feel Alien Thing to be well-balanced but hardcore gamers might consider the revamped "Expert Edition". However, I found the changes made it ridiculously difficult thus frustrating.
  • The Director's Cut is the sequel that was due to be released in 1997. It featured a change in the visual perspective, complex missions, new enemies, and lots of DMA enhanced sound effects. A three-level demo is available but I'm unsure whether it was ever officially released. Can anyone help? Thanks.

Alien Thing on the left and the Expert Edition on the right. (click both pics)
It's an example of the differences: map changes, fewer items, pools of gunk and more.

The graphics are nicely drawn and I like the contrast of vivid colours against the spaceship's metallic build. The near-luminous green aliens really do stand out which works so well, even if they do move like squashed spiders! Sadly, the scrolling could be smoother so it's disappointing the ST'e hardware wasn't used to full effect. Sound effects might be crude but they're genuinely entertaining when an alien dies - almost as much as our own pitiful death cry! On an STFM the quality is quite fuzzy but on the STe they have put the DMA coprocessor to use for greater clarity.

Nothing is perfect and Alien Thing provided me with enough to whine about - like when a corridor is blocked by a pool of slime and it's impossible to destroy it because it's too close to the wall. Also, one touch of this slime annoyingly means instant death! Plus it's silly having one sound effect when a shot hits the wall, regardless of the weapon...


My moaning aside, Alien Thing is a nice take on the aliens scenario with a nifty balance of arcade-style action, exploration, and strategical thinking which is all thanks to a simple design and challenging missions. I love this game so stop your grinnin' and drop your linen because this is one seriously enjoyable and addictive shoot 'em up!!


 - I have bundled together all "three" Alien Thing games to download off my Dropbox.
 - The level password system is genius: (press the "/?" key on the main menu)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


Thanks to the insanity of Eckhard Kruse, I've been hooked on graveyards and their weird skeletons and ghosts for over 30 years. Yes, it sure looks silly but it's a timeless ST classic and something I just had to share. Grusel can be download from Eckhard's own website but don't forget Ballerburg, an outstanding turn-based strategic shooter!

Sunday, January 21, 2018


HangAbout! was released in 1995 by John Hodskinson and is one of the oddest games I have played. Three (randomly generated) mountains need to be climbed by a little stickman with the first being relatively easy, the next is much harder, and the third is a killer! The mountainside has many ridges which our adventurer can cling to and use for his route to the top. However, if you fall too far then expect nothing more than a pixelated mess of death.

Our stickman can make use of his arm to reach those parts that are a pinch out of reach - without a good stretch. However, sometimes, the route to the top appears blocked by a gap simply too large to reach so a "megajump" can be used - but only the once so use it wisely. Overall, HangAbout! is one of those games that first appears rubbish but actually turns out to be incredibly addictive! In fact, it's gobsmackingly brilliant and all for less than 10Kb.


 - Download PD Games Compilation Disk #2 which also features another game by John called Haywire.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Turrican II - The Music

Turrican II The Music by Black (aka Scott Clifford). A musicdisk for both ST computers that shows just how great this game's tunes really are. Also included are a selection of stereo remixes for the Atari STe so what more could you want? I've recorded this video which plays about minute from ten random tracks but you should nab the download via Demozoo and hear all the tunes yourself. Best experienced with a real Atari STe - crank up the volume!!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Burger Dream

Burger Dream is Reisoft's spin on Clowns & Balloons which has us helping a Ronald McDonald lookalike to collect flying burgers. Imagine Breakout with a dollop of Space Invaders - but replace the aliens with juicy hamburgers!

Ronald is left to feel the wind in his wig because we are in control of a couple of goons who move a trampoline contraption for this freaky clown. He uses this to bounce high in the air to collect burgers which scroll across the screen (and now I'm hungry) so try not to drop him otherwise he ends up in a crumpled heap! The mouse is used to for movement and is perfectly implemented for smooth and precise control. However, the graphics aren't exactly 16-bit in quality, more like something I would have drawn, so I think only the blind will appreciate these pixels.

Burger Dream is hideous and repetitive but I admit it was also surprisingly enjoyable. Well, for a few minutes...

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


NIBE is a Nibbler / Snake game developed by Marc Bourlon in the late 80s and eventually released in 1991. An ever-greedy snake slithers the screen, chomping his way through every apple but his gluttony makes him longer and longer with each bite. So it's our job to safely guide him to all the fruit - rather than a wall or his own tail.

That's easier said than done when you have been dropped in at the deep end thanks to the incredibly cruel level design. Each and every screen is a tough nut to crack and I must admit to getting "fed up" of biting my own tail, or accidentally slamming into walls!! It took several attempts before I began to enjoy success and the trick is to take into consideration the constant gain in length whilst hoping to figure out a logical path through. So good luck!

Graphics are humble and perfectly suit the required retro theme. I love the main menu which is actually an intro which offers the chance to alter certain preferences: the gameplay speed (I dare anyone to play on the fastest speed!!), redefine the keyboard controls, and also the ability to instantly begin playing on any of the 50 levels. The audio is superb but there are no sound effects so Mad Max music plays throughout - and that is never a bad thing.


Nibe is pretty straightforward and also extremely challenging thanks to its sinister level design. Stick with it because the basic mechanics are spot-on and the chance to fiddle with the speed and access each level are both killer features. NIBE will test your reactions, patience and concentration so prepare thyself to be tormented!!


 - Floppy downloads are available via Stonish on the excellent Serenade #78 disk.
 - If you liked Nibe then you must also play N.o.B.I. - Racing right away!!

Sunday, January 14, 2018


Breakout is a desk accessory that lets us play a game of brick-busting on the GEM desktop. It's a favourite of mine which I had installed on my boot drive back in the day and I remember marvelling at the multitasking capabilities of my lovely Atari ST computer! This seemed like black magic back then, even if ACCs just faked it...

The game is basic but it's great fun having breakout instantly available to play right there within GEM plus it runs in all three resolutions too. However, I doubt anyone will dump it for Bolo anytime soon which is by far the best of all the clones (IMHO). This has made my day so thank you to whoever developed this fun ACC - get in touch!

Saturday, January 13, 2018


Holocaust is an (unreleased) vertically-scrolling shoot 'em up developed by Dattrax Software and later given away in ST Format. It's incredibly fast and features lots of sprites zooming across the screen with plenty of bonuses to collect and bosses to kill. There are a couple of nice mini-intros which you will probably watch once (before disabling for faster loading speeds) and it even talks to you - I'm sure Currah MicroSpeech fans will love this.

It might not look too dandy but it moves beautifully at 50fps for a smooth experience and one which demands a real Atari ST to be fully appreciated. Gameplay is initially very frantic and makes Wings Of Death seem like a pushover but it's strange that we're only given one life (without bonuses). This is kinda lame and I would have expected three or more to tame this rabid beast but I cannot deny the fun I've had. Brace yourself for a breathtaking shoot 'em up!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Sector One Music Disk

Sector One is a music disk by Denis Huguet (ST Ghost) that pushes the DMA audio hardware to its limits with a selection of stereo tunes, some of which feature 8 + 16-channels. Quite mindblowing and certainly proves the power lurking underneath the grey plastic case. We also have options to chose the various playback frequencies and also control the volume, treble, bass and more. Yep, this is a technical masterpiece and I love the Just Buggin' tune!!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Special Forces

Look what the postman has just delivered today: Special Forces, which is the sequel to Airborn Ranger and released in 1992 by gaming gods MicroProse. Actually, I've wanted this for a very long time so I'm extremely excited and eagerly looking forward to getting my teeth into this over the coming nights. I'll try not to ruin the box!


 - Floppy disks are available via Stonish on two Flame Of Finland disks: #109A and #109B.
 - The instructions say it's not possible to install onto hard drive but 8BitChip did it anyways!

Sunday, January 07, 2018


Let's kick the new year off with some awesome box art from my own collection. I bought Frankenstein for only a couple of quid and instantly fell in love with the comical artwork plus I don't own anything else by Zeppelin so it's a sweet addition to my personal collection. This platformer was released in 1992 and is horror-themed and reminds me of a selection of games, like Warlock and Horror Zombies. We're basically a slave to the bad-tempered doctor who needs several chilling items that should help him regenerate life into a dead corpse. Fun times ahead!

Egor - Half man... Half creature... All idiot!

Yes, we are Egor. A fella who, not only has he a hump the size of Texas but is also the doctor's unappreciated lackey. He suffers his demand to find several gruesome items and to complete this he needs several oddities ranging from a pillow to a hanged man's body which is left abandoned in the woods. Ohh very B-movie!!

The play area is huge and you begin in the mad doctor's castle but we are free to explore wherever we choose. That includes the dungeons or going outside into a spooky forest and onto the local village with its creepy morgue. There are many creatures along the way like spiders, skulls, wolfmen, ghosts, rats and even animated body parts. Now, Egor isn't exactly the bravest guy and hates these creepy things so there is a fright-o-meter which displays his current state of mind. This ranges from "okay" to "panic" and will degrade every time he touches something nasty. So once he's a blithering wreck Egor will drop whatever he's carrying to rush back to the Doctor and loses a life. Also, he gets a 5-ton weight dropped on him while suffering verbal abuse before being punched in the face and sent back out again. Yes, it's a harsh life being the servant of the insane Doctor Frankenstein. However, it's rumoured that a young serving wench is the one kind soul who may help to reduce his anxiety issues...

No platformer is worth its salt unless the control mechanics are smooth and precise. It always saddens me when a potentially great platformer has been ruined by controls which don't quite feel right - just look at Chuckie Egg II right here on AtariCrypt as a cruel example of how to spoil a great 8-Bit conversion! Thankfully, Egor's walking speed is just right and he also jumps with ease and effortless control. Spot-on perfect joystick controls, I say.


Graphically, this is a mixed bag for me. Each screen has extraordinary cartoon-like artwork, especially in the Spooky Forest with the scary trees, ghosts, bats, and funny zombie-like men. I am constantly amazed by the attention to detail and their nice animations - I love that pitchfork guy! Sadly, the programmer decided to implement the push-scrolling technique which is far too slow for my liking and I feel the flick-screen method would have been better. Sound effects are fine but limited to collecting items, bumping into monsters and a strange lightning weather.

This is a cracking platformer with progressively challenging gameplay and I adore the spooky theme. Each screen is incredibly detailed and always interesting without ever being impossibly hard to beat. I can spend hours exploring the huge map which constantly reminds of my 8-Bit days playing games like Chiller, Chuckie Egg 2 and so many others. A simple platformer that doesn't push the Atari ST yet is superb fun to play and that's what matters. Love it.


 - Floppy disks can be found on Stonish and 8BitChip has a version for hard drive installation.
 - Hall Of Light has an incredible game map which you can also nab off my Dropbox.