Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Rampage - Atari ST

Rampage is a game I was very fond of back in the good old days; to some extent this was due to it being one of the very few three-player games that I could play with my nephew and neice (and which it didn't really matter how much better at than them I was! I loved Super Sprint, but they did get fed up of me beating them all the time...)

Basically you've been turned into a monster - well all three of you have - and so naturally you decide to go on the rampage, destroying city after city. What else would you do? Naturally the military don't really want to let you do this, so you have soldiers, helicoptors, tanks, and for some reason I could never work out a painter with an exploding pain tin to contend with.

Though Rampage did get repetitive pretty quickly (there are after all only so many ways to bash a building until it falls down), it was a lot of fun because you could play it as cooperatively (or, more commonly, uncooperatively) as you liked. Yes folks, you could bash each other if you got bored of bashing buildings. The thing is, this didn't really matter - as long as one of you was still alive, you all stayed in. In many ways this was similar to Gauntlet, and the seemingly endless number of levels was another thing they had in common.

In terms of childhood memories, Rampage and Gauntlet 2 were among the most fun multiplayer games there were, and this was probably due in part to the game keeping going however you played it. Perhaps there was a certain lack of challenge, but it made for a different type of gaming experience - perhaps fairly akin to today's casual web-based games. In any case, despite its obvious limitations, I retain fond memories of Rampage and it's still surprisingly playable today.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

My Text-Based RPG

I mean, you can't get more retro than a text-based RPG can you?!?!

It's finished, in a minimalist way - basically I wanted to get some feedback on how the game plays so far, it's by no means the finished product (maybe about 20% of the way towards being what I'm trying to make it), but the basic mechanisms work and the game as it stands is completable. Post here if you have any comments (positive or negative!).

The runtime package can be downloaded from this page.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Review of RetroAction #3

From the review:

"Cinemaware, if you get a warm fuzzy feeling at the mention of this company then you will love the next article, a Retro Respect for Defender of the Crown (Amiga version covered but there were other ports including the NES). Even today, the graphics are still great (check out the gameplay shots for jousting and sword fighting in a castle).
...
Atar STE: What Could Have Been is a hard article for me to read as I remember wanting an Atari ST or STE years ago and couldn't afford one (and when I could I couldn't find a local store that sold them anymore). It is a great mix of technical details and personal points made by CaptainD. Sad but still a great article (for the newer generation it would be like reading a "what if" type article for the Dreamcast or Neo Geo Pocket Color).
...
CaptainD picks up the honors on STEEM: Emulator Profile on the next two pages with pics provided by Neil. STEEM is an Atari ST emulator for modern computers. Read up on STEEM here and find out just how close it is to the original hardware."

Read Triverse's full review

(Just a point - I was mainly talking about the Atari ST version of DotC (of course!), but the screenshots may have been from the Amiga version.)

Friday, 18 September 2009

My Text-Based RPG...

... forget what I said about making my Text-Based RPG for the C16... - Commodore BASIC has been driving me round the end so I've decided to opt for a more modern (yes, even without line numbers - but the transition wasn't as painful as I thought it would be!). It's called "Just Basic", a stripped-down version of the commercial package Liberty Basic - which I'll probably buy once I've got the hang of this one okay. So far I've made some progress on my RPG as well as a couple of other programs, which I'll make available for download when I'm certain they're bug-free.

If you're at all interested in programming and want a very good free language to brush up your skills on, visit the Official Just Basic Website.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Text-Based RPG for the C16...

... so here's a weird thing, I feel a strange desire to write a game in C16 BASIC. Crazy I know, but that won't stop me (in fact it's probably an advantage). The old style BASIC is one of the few coding languages I understand to any decent degree... and it has line numbers. I like line numbers - you know where you are with them. I look at the documentation for newer versions of BASIC and just despair, I have no idea what's going on with them.

Using the YAPE emulator I'm going to write a game in C16 BASIC then, which should work with many other versions of the language, including the PC / Mac program Chipmunk Basic. Since I'm going to keep things in the game very simple it should probably work on just about any computer ever made. I'll keep you posted on my progress, assuming this isn't yet another project I start full of enthusiasm and never complete...

Don't expect a masterpiece, of course... it really is going to be simple and, well... BASIC.

Monday, 14 September 2009

RetroAction Issue 3 Out Now!

RetroAction is a diskzine dedicated to the retro gaming community, and issue 3 is out now. Besides being full of quality content, stylishly produced and featuring news, reviews, features, interviews and, in this issue, a long feature of Westwood's Bladerunner (a game I'm very fond of and which I reviewed here), there's another very good reason for you to go and download RetroAction Issue 3 right now. Well, maybe not a very good reason... but possibly a reasonably good reason?!

I speak of the fact that I've joined the writing team of RetroAction and have three articles in there; a Retro Respect article about Cinemaware's classic Defender of the Crown; "The Atari STe - A Case of What Could Have Been"; and a feature on the STEEM emulator.

If anyone has any requests for a future article I'll see what I can do - at the moment I'm thinking of doing a profile of the ZX Spin or YAPE emulators (perhaps both), and maybe memories of the ZX81 and its dodgy power pack. Leave a comment if you think there's something else that should get a mention!

Oh, you'll probably want the download link for RetroAction Issue 3, right? Here it is!

Friday, 11 September 2009

Turrican 2 - Atari ST

Widely regarded as one of the (if not the) best platformers / shoot-em-ups on the 16-bit computers, Turrican 2 built on the success of the first game and carved itself a place in legend. A huge game world with instantly instinctive controls, from the beginning this game had you engrossed. Pity I was never really much good at it... The graphics were good for the time, but it was the vast, 8-way scrolling landscapes and great playability that really made Turrican 2 memorable. As usual, the music and sound effects were disappointing on the ST version, but it was still a great game. Click on the video below to hear the Amiga music instead, which was much better quality.

- These little guys always killed me...

- look, whizzy water effects!