Monday, 27 June 2022

Dizzy (Codemasters, 1987)

Spectrum and Amstrad versions:
Design and programming by Philip & Andrew Oliver
Graphics by James Wilson
Music by Jon-Paul Eldridge

Commodore 64 conversion written by Ian Gray with music by David Whittaker.

Originally published for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC by Codemasters in 1987.
Commodore 64 version published by Codemasters in 1988.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


Despite Codemasters being an enormous entity in the life of gamers for over 35 years now, the company hasn't been represented here on the Finnish Retro Game Comparison Blog enough, so I gathered it was high time to correct this imbalance. The game chosen for this job was the first game in a series that would eventually become a full-blown franchise for all the major home computers at the time, and practically give these machines the first recognizable mascot since Horace, Miner Willy and Wally Week. The notable difference was, of course, that Dizzy had actual facial expressions to make the character have an actual personality than being merely another sprite with no clear defining characteristics.

Monday, 13 June 2022

Splat! (Incentive Software, 1983)

Originally written for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum by Ian Andrew and Ian Morgan, and published by Incentive Software in 1983.

Converted for the Commodore 64 by Ian Andrew and Steve Zodiac, and published by Incentive Software in 1984.

Converted for the Amstrad CPC by Ian Andrew and Paul Shirley, and published by Amsoft in 1985.

Converted for the SAM Coupé by Colin Jordan, with music by Colin Jordan and František Fuka, and digitized speech by Edwin Blink. Published by Revelation Software in 1991.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


After last month's mayhem with Mastertronic games, I wanted to start off this summer with something less demanding, but which would offer something rare for the blog. In the case of Splat!, the rare element is a SAM Coupé version of the game, which I found when doing research for Endless Forms Most Beautiful. I didn't find Splat! until after emulation had arrived, but it has still been a favourite of mine for over 20 years now (it did get featured in one of My Nostalgia Trip Games episodes), so I decided to have a look at all its official versions before the game's 40th anniversary.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

SPECIAL: Mastertronic Exclusives

For many years, I've been thinking about writing about games by some of my favourite publishers that aren't particularly unique, and don't really fit in elsewhere because of their general nature of being kind of mediocre, but should probably be mentioned in some context anyway. So, finally, I figured I could replace the Unique Games series with a new one, and write just about games exclusively released on a certain platform by the chosen publisher (or perhaps include games that were only released on two very similar platforms), and since this month has been dedicated to Mastertronic games since 2020, what better time to start this new tradition, particularly as there's a Mastertronic book coming out later this year.

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Milk Race (Mastertronic, 1987)

Developed by Icon Design Ltd.

Sinclair ZX Spectrum version by Phil Berry and Stuart Ruecroft.
Atari 8-bit version by Paul D. Marshall with music by Tony Williams.
Music for other versions by David Whittaker.
No other credits are known.

Published by Mastertronic for the Amstrad CPC, Atari 8-bit computers, Commodore 64, MSX and Sinclair ZX Spectrum in 1987.

The C64 version was also re-released in North America as "Ten Speed" in 1988 by Mastertronic.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


Another 1987 game from Mastertronic gets a comparison, but this time I chose Milk Race because of its sadly underutilised genre: cycling. I have always been a big fan of cycling in general, and racing bicycles and BMX bikes have rarely gotten the kind of high quality games they deserve. I'm not completely sure, whether Milk Race actually fits the bill, but at least it's one of the rare cycling games that can actually be made a comparison about.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

The Island of Dr. Destructo (Mastertronic, 1987)

Developed by Clockwork Game Systems.
Amstrad and Spectrum versions written by Eugene Messina with graphics by David Lincoln-Howes.
C64 version written by Richard Aplin with music by David Whittaker.
Published through Mastertronic's Bulldog label in 1987.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


The third annual Mastertronic May starts with another rare example of an Amstrad original to be featured on the blog, which is also the first of Eugene Messina's only two 8-bit games ever created - the other one being the game included in Incentive Software's 3D Construction Kit; and the first of only four games he ever had a hand in. Rather neatly, it also brings a slightly different aspect to one of the most common occurences in 8-bit game comparisons, because these cases usually originate either on the C64 or the ZX Spectrum.

Monday, 18 April 2022

TWOFER #23: Reset Run'n'Guns!


1. Bazooka Bill (Melbourne House, 1985)

Programming by Brian Post
Graphics by David O'Callaghan and Russel Comte
Music by Neil Brennan
Originally released for the Commodore 64 by Melbourne House/Arcade in 1985.
Also published by Spinnaker Software in North America, and as "Colorado Bill" by Micropool in Germany.
Converted for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum by Brian Post and Craig Smith, with graphics by Greg Holland, and published by Melbourne House/Arcade in 1986.

2. Foxx Fights Back (ImageWorks, 1988)
Developed for the Commodore 64 by Denton Designs
Programming by Dave Colclough
Music by Fred Gray
Converted for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum by John Heap.
Both versions released by ImageWorks (Mirrorsoft) in 1988.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS, PLURAL


Issue #14 of the lately re-energized Reset64 magazine was to be themed around run'n'gun games, meaning the likes of Contra, Green Beret and such. To my surprise, there didn't seem to be all that many games on the C64 that would go with the relative compactness required from a magazine article, so I made two optional comparisons of Bazooka Bill and Foxx Fights Back to have the comparison chosen for Reset #14 from. As it turned out, I couldn't exactly get the comparison of Bazooka Bill finished before the intended deadline, perhaps all for the better,  for reasons I shall mention later. The intention, of course, was to eventually posting both of them on the blog as a traditional two-for-one entry.

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

NGOTY: Endless Forms Most Beautiful (Stonechat Productions, 2012)

Originally written by Dave Hughes for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, with music by Dr. Thomas, and released digitally in 2012 by Stonechat Productions; re-released on cassette by Monument Microgames in 2017. Based on Dave Hughes' original Spectrum Crap Games Compo 2010 game 2010: A Philatelist's Story and its 2011 sequel, Stamp Quest.

Windows PC remake of EFMB written in 2012 by Locomalito, with graphics and music by Gryzor87.

A sequel, The Lost Tapes of Albion was also developed and published by Stonechat Productions in 2012.

A conversion of The Lost Tapes of Albion was made for the SAM Coupé as The Lost Disks of SAM, as well as another variation for the SAM Coupé called Moby DX; and a Commodore Amiga remake of EFBM and Lost Tapes, titled The Incredible Adventures of Moebius Goatlizard:
Programming by Andrew Gillen; Graphics and music by Andrew Gillen and Jaco van der Walt; Published in 2013 by Black Jet. 

MSX version named Lizard Willy written by sfranck72 in 2016.

Another sequel, Biscuits in Hell written by Dave Hughes for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, with music by Yerzmyey, and published in 2017 by Monument Microgames.

Commodore 64 version of EFMB based on the 2012 Windows remake:
Programming and graphics by Rikib80
Music, sound effects and playtesting by nm156
Title screen and attract mode graphics by Hend
Music player and I/O code by Lasse Öörni
Published by Rikib80 on itch.io in 2019.

Pokitto remake of EFMB titled Endless Forms Most Pokittoful developed and published in 2019 by Black Jet.

Atari 8-bit version of Biscuits in Hell written by Paul Lay, Darryl Guenther and Jaden. Published on an ABBUC Magazine coverdisk in June 2020. Also released for Atari 5200 in October 2020.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


Since the New Game Of The Month feature has become such a rarity in recent years, it might as well be called New Game Of The Year from now on. Today's entry, Endless Forms Most Beautiful, shall be the first of its kind, officially, although the previous New Game Of The Month already was the only one featured that year (2019). But as you might have gathered by the credits, this is not just another comparison.