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Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Zenji (Activision, 1984)

Designed and written by Matthew Hubbard for for Atari 8-bit computers and 5200.

Converted for the Commodore 64 by Adam Bellin.
Converted for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum by Software Conversions Ltd.
Converted for the ColecoVision and MSX by Action Graphics, Inc.

The Atari 5200/8-bit, ColecoVision, Commodore 64 and Sinclair ZX Spectrum versions published through Activision in 1984.
The MSX version published through Pony Canyon in 1984.

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GAME STATUS


To start this year with a light-weight comparison, here's an odd little action-puzzler for the other end of the alphabet, which you don't really hear talked about too much. Can't imagine why, really, because I always thought this one was well worth anyone's notice, even though it's aesthetically not particularly inspiring. As a matter of fact, I don't think I have ever seen a review of this game anywhere, so bumping into Zenji at a distant relative's house for the first time when I was about 14 or so, was somewhat of an eye-opener. It was one of those games that got me inspired to do some further research on games outside of my own comfort zone. Until now, though, I hadn't realized that this was originally an Atari game, so for those simple reasons, this became one of the last chosen games for this blog.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Unique Games! - Encore (Part 11)

From what I've gathered, the Unique Games series has been one of the most popular recurring features on FRGCB, so I decided to do one more before I make my exit from the blogosphere. Happily, I still managed to find enough of unique or at least exclusive games since late September to get a good, hefty set; some platforms feature six games, some only five, sometimes for a good reason, sometimes not. As a thanks for all your support on the series, here's the last serving of Unique Games for a slightly belated Christmas present, and it's a long one! Enjoy!

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

TWOFER #18: Classic Finnish shooters

1. Delta (Thalamus, 1987)

Written by Stavros Fasoulas for the Commodore 64, with music by Rob Hubbard and title screen by Bob Stevenson.
Released as "Delta Patrol" in North America by Electronic Arts.

Converted for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k/128k and SAM Coupé computers in 1990 by Twilight: Jason McGann, Andrew Swann, Peter Tattersall and Mark Mason (details unknown).
Released by Thalamus Ltd. as "Delta Charge!" in 1990.

2. Stardust (Bloodhouse, 1993)


NOTE: Different sources list slightly differing credits, so this is a compiled list of all those. If anyone has any real information, throw in a comment.

Designed and developed by Bloodhouse for the Commodore Amiga: Programming by Harri Tikkanen, Jussi Hartzell and Mikko Hämäläinen. Graphics by Celeborn Hagelberg, Jani Isoranta, Mare Ollinkari and Sampsa Virtanen. Sounds and music by Risto Vuori and Bassbomb. Miscellaneous stuff by Petri Putkonen.

Conversion for the Atari STE/Falcon030 developed by Aggression: Programming by Jani Penttinen, Rene Kivioja and Tomi Kivelä. Sounds and music by Risto Vuori and Tero Kostermaa.

Conversion for the IBM-PC compatibles developed by Francis Pierot, and published in 1995.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS, PLURAL


For my final Finnish Independence Day special, at least until further notice, I chose to examine two of the most famous classic Finnish shoot'em-ups. The first one takes a look at how Thalamus cemented their name in C64 publishers' hall of fame, and later attempted to repeat the success on the ZX Spectrum. The second one was made originally, and for a long time, exclusively for the 16-bit home computers by Bloodhouse, who later merged with Terramarque into one big powerhouse called Housemarque. That's two cornerstones in Finnish gaming catalogue that no-one should miss.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Bomberman - the origins and variations

While I was working on the remakes and demakes entry a while back, I considered including the various brilliant Bomberman (or Bomber Man, as it is sometimes written) clones made for various old platforms in the recent years, but it didn't take too long for me to realize, that it's too big of a subject to talk about in passing. In truth, I have wanted to talk about the Bomberman series throughout the blog's history, and the subject has been often requested as well, but without limiting the area to a certain number of games or anything of the sort, it would be impossible to do just one article on it. So, only by modifying the idea from my earlier article on Paratroopers - its origins and variations (from 3 and a half years ago!), I can finally have the chance to talk about not only the original series, but also the numerous latter-time unofficial ports that are otherwise impossible to mention anywhere. Hold on to your helmets!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Award won!

Well, how about that! Looks like my pesky little blog has been included into the Top 75 Retro Gaming Blogs list at Feedspot. Click on the award on the right panel just below my contact gadget to see the full Top 75. FRGCB was at number 57 this week, which I thought was surprisingly high. But hey, thanks for the support!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Sabre Wulf (Ultimate Play The Game, 1984)

Designed by Chris and Tim Stamper (Ashby Computers and Graphics Ltd.)
Programming by Chris Stamper and John Lathbury.
Graphics by Tim Stamper and Carole Stamper.
Originally published for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k in 1984.

Converted for the Acorn BBC Micro by Paul Proctor, and published by Ultimate Play the Game in 1984.
Converted for the Commodore 64 by Greg Duddle (Mr. Micro Ltd.), and published by Firebird Software in 1985.
Converted for the Amstrad CPC in 1985 by Ashby Computers and Graphics Ltd., and published by Ultimate Play the Game. No further details known.

Unofficial conversion for the Commodore Plus/4 by Gary "GC841" Cooper in 2012.
Unofficial conversion for the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A written by Rasmus Moustgaard in 2014.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


In the last few years, the retro game developing scene has come forth in finally bringing out old Spectrum classic from Ultimate Play The Game (most notably games by the Stamper brothers) to machines that didn't previously have official conversions of such games as Knight Lore and Alien 8 for the 8-bit Atari computers, Pentagram and Gunfright for various Commodore machines, the already pointed-out (in credits) unofficial conversions of Sabre Wulf, and the most recently, Cookie for the C64.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (Accolade, 1990)

Developed by Horror Soft

Designed and written by Alan Bridgman, Keith Wadhams, Michael Woodroffe and Simon Woodroffe. Graphics by Kevin Preston, Paul Drummond, Michael Landreth and Philip Nixon. Music by Dave Hasler.

C64 version: Programming by Bruce le Feaux. Graphics by Kevin Preston, Paul Drummond, Mark Sample and Philip Nixon. Music by Sean "Odie" Connolly.

Published for Commodore Amiga, Atari ST and IBM-PC compatibles in 1990 by Accolade. Published for the Commodore 64 in 1991 by Flair Software. Published for the NEC PC-98 computers in 1992 by Acclaim Japan.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


WARNING: This entry contains somewhat disturbing in-game graphics. Proceed at your own risk.

The final Halloween-themed comparison article for FRGCB is dedicated to everyone's favourite - and only - mixture of cleavage and gory horror adventuring based on a horror/comedy movie based on the weekly KHJ-TV horror movie presentation show, Elvira's Movie Macabre. To most of us non-Americans, Cassandra Peterson's career was mostly visible due to Elvira, and she did make a career out of the character, encompassing two feature films, the original Movie Macabre and two reboots of the show (the other one was called 13 Nights of Elvira), a good deal of special cameo appearances in various other TV shows and movies, and she even recorded several songs for Elvira's Halloween music compilation albums. Interestingly, Elvira was originally considered to be the voice for the ending speech in Michael Jackson's song "Thriller" (written by Rod Temperton), before Vincent Price was chosen. Anyhow, Elvira, the brand, is still very much alive, which you can see clearly from visiting her website. Now, enough of advertising, let's get to the actual meat of the matter. Worry not, though - even though I've taken enough time to work on this, this entry isn't super-lengthy.