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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Ski or Die (Electronic Arts, 1990)


Developed for the Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga and IBM-PC compatibles by Electronic Arts. Designed by Michael Abbott, Nana Chambers and Michael Kosaka. Programmed by Michael Abbott and Nana Chambers. Graphics and animation by Michael Kosaka, Michael A. Lubuguin, Cynthia Hamilton, Connie Braat and Peggy Brennan. Music and sound effects for the Commodore Amiga and DOS versions by Rob Hubbard. Music and sound effects for the Commodore 64 version by Dave Warhol. Produced by Don Traeger, Jim Rushing, Happy Keller and Jon Horsley. Technical Assistant: Jesse Taylor.
Production Manager: Zina J. Yee. Graphics Director: Nancy L. Fong. Package Illustrator: Steve Lyons.

Released for the Commodore 64 and IBM-PC compatibles in 1990, and for the Commodore Amiga in June 1991.

Converted for the Nintendo Entertainment System by Konami, and released by Ultra in the US in February 1991, and in Europe in October 1991.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


Instead of finishing off this year's Christmas season with a traditional Epyx sports title, I decided to go for something slightly lighter. Ski or Die from Electronic Arts still keeps the tradition within the winter sports theme, but it has less events than any of the Epyx multi-event sports games, and this one was only ever released for four platforms, in contrast to, for example, Winter Games' twelve. But strangely enough, Ski or Die does have some old Epyx blood in it: Michael Kosaka was involved in the making of Summer Games II and World Games before co-designing Ski or Die.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas TWOFER!


1. The Official Father Christmas Game (Alternative Software, 1989)

2. Special Delivery (Thorn EMI / Creative Sparks, 1984)


For this year's Christmas season, I wanted to do something properly thematic, instead of just making a huge comparison on a winter-themed sports game, so I decided to make two Christmas-themed special entries. You might have read the first one already, but in case you missed it, you can read it here. But today's entry is a Two-for-One Christmas-themed special, naturally featuring two Christmas games under the magnifying glass. While it can't be said that Christmas-themed games ever were very special in gameplay or anything, it is difficult to find anything of this sort to make a comparison of. So in that sense, I was lucky enough to notice that there actually are some Christmas games that were possible to make comparisons of. So whether you like it or not, here we go...

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Spy vs Spy (First Star Software, 1984)


The year's final properly big entry comes a bit early, and isn't even seasonally thematic. I went for the big one now, so that I would have more time to prepare for the final entries of the year, because I will be too busy on the Christmas week with other things. So, this foreword is for giving you a bit of a warning, that you're in for a properly huge entry this time - the biggest single entry I have done so far, so grab a bucket of coffee and prepare for a long ride. Also, for those of you with slower internet connections, this entry is rather heavy in graphics.

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CREDITS


Developed for the Commodore 64, Atari 8-bit computers and Apple ][ computers by First Star Software:
Coding - Michael Riedel on Commodore 64 and Apple ][, Jim Nangano on Atari 8-bits
Sounds - Nick Scarim

Also released by Beyond in Europe and Avantage in America in 1984.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Unique CHRISTMAS Games!

Yes, I'm getting a bit predictable with my season themed list entries, but since we didn't have much of properly Christmas-y games under the glass last year, I thought I would make up for it this year. Hopefully, this will be of some interest to at least some of you. Although this is supposed to be part of the Unique Games series, I decided to leave the "Unique" bit for even less focus than usual, because there are so few Christmas themed games out there, where the word would actually fit the description in any way. For those of you waiting for some proper entries in the Unique Games series, I promise to get back to the good stuff after the New Year. But for now, hang on to your elf costumes, or whatever you're wearing, and jump on board for the sleigh ride...

Thursday, 11 December 2014

NGOTM: UWOL - Quest For Money (Ubhres Productions/The Mojon Twins, 2009)


Written by anjuel & na_th_an of The Mojon Twins. First released for the ZX Spectrum 128k. Credits more or less as they appear on the Mojon Twins website:

Story by David Pimperl Marco
Code by na_th_an with SPLIB2
In-game graphics and loading screen by anjuel
Additional graphics by na_th_an
Cover art by Ferrán Criado
Music by Augusto Ruiz
Music player by wyz
Apack Decomp. ad.: utopian
Developing tools by Augusto Ruiz
Levels and support: Augusto Ruiz, anjuel, na_th_an, kendroock, daivod, dadman, t.brazil, ivanZX, benway, sejuan, konamito, danthalas, metalbrain and zemman


Saturday, 6 December 2014

Quedex (Thalamus, 1987)

Designed and written by Stavros Fasoulas for the Commodore 64, with music by Matt Gray and title screen by Paul "Dokk" Docherty. Released in 1988 as "Mindroll" in the United States through Epyx.

As Mindroll, Quedex was converted and released worldwide through Epyx and Thalamus for:

IBM-PC compatibles, 1988:
Created by Stavros Fasoulas
Coding by Kenneth C. Dullea III
Graphics by Bradley W. Schenck
Music by Scott T. Etherton
Directed by Baron Reichart Kurt von Wolfshield
Special Magic by Edgar Tolentino

Commodore Amiga, 1989:
Coding by Baron Reichart Kurt von Wolfshield and Bradley W. Schenck
Graphics by Bradley W. Schenck
Music by Scott T. Etherton

TRS-80 CoCo, 1989:
Converted by Jesse Taylor

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


Seeing as it is now the 6th of December, the Finnish Independence Day, it's only suitable to feature something to support the Finnishness of this blog, and what could be more suitable than a comparison of a Finnish game. There aren't too many Finnish retro games that I can do a proper comparison about, so here's one of the very rare specimen: Quedex - The Quest for Ultimate Dexterity, as it is subtitled in the original cover inlay. And apparently, it's pronounced "cue-dex", not "kweddex". (Source: ACE magazine, issue #1)

Sunday, 30 November 2014

TRAZ (Cascade Games, 1988)


Originally released for the Commodore 64
Programmed by Jon K. Menzies
Graphics by John Cassells and Damon Redmond
Music by Jeroen Kimmel

Converted for the ZX Spectrum by Imagitec:
Programming by Nigel Speight
Graphics by Damon Redmond
Music by Nigel Pritchard
Released by Gamebusters in 1989

Also released for the IBM-PC compatibles by Cascade Games in 1989
Conversion credits are currently unknown.

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GAME STATUS


Having noticed only recently that the blog hasn't had a comparison of any breakout games during 2014, I decided to postpone another big one until a bit later on. So here's a comparison of my favourite breakout game ever, TRAZ (short for TRansformable Arcade Zone) by Cascade Games. Instead of getting together again with our usual threesome, one of the bunch is different, since the Amstrad version wasn't released, although it was advertised to have been in the making. Shame, but I suppose it would have been just a boring Spectrum port in any case.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Hoppin' Mad (Elite Systems, 1988)


Written by Chris Coupe for the Commodore 64, with music by Mark Cooksey and title screen by Mat Sneap. Converted for the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC by Neil Latarche with graphics by Elizabeth Latarche.

An unreleased conversion/remake was also made for the Nintendo Entertainment System by Mark Crane, with graphics by Steve Beverley and music by Mark Cooksey.

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GAME STATUS


Here's another quickie to fill up the space between the two larger entries. Hoppin' Mad is a nice and quirky little arcade game by Elite, which started its life as Cataball on the Commodore 64 in 1987. Although I do like the name Cataball more, Hoppin' Mad was the title used for all the conversions it got. The reason why I chose this particular entry for now was because I found out about the unreleased NES version, and wanted to write about it.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge (Gremlin Graphics, 1990)


Developed by Magnetic Fields for the Commodore Amiga: code and music by Shaun Southern, with graphics by Andrew Morris.

Converted for the Atari ST by Magnetic Fields, with music by Ben Daglish. Converted for the Commodore 64 by Ashley Bennett. Converted for the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC by Ali Davidson, with graphics by Berni. Also released on the Commodore Amiga CD32 in 1994 as part of the Lotus Trilogy.

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GAME STATUS


As we're getting closer to another season of Top Gear, I decided to get into some driving games again. Yes, that means there's going to be at least two of your requests fulfilled within the next few months, one of them being really close to being ready now. But I'll start with a nice little classic Gremlin title from 1990, which at the time gave quite a shot of energy into an old genre.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Emulators!


Occasionally, I get some inquiries as to which emulators I would suggest for certain machines, particularly the ones that are not as easy to find. So I decided to do a quick entry on my chosen emulators, and add in a few recommended ones in the mix. I'm aware that there might be more accurate and more optimisable emulators out there, but my criteria for any emulator is simply, the ease of use, and that it works preferably on a 32-bit Windows 7. Sure, it needs to be as accurate as possible at the same time, but being easy to use is the most important thing for me in getting me to actually test any of the machines out even in emulation. So, this one goes out for all you other lazy retro gamers like me, who don't take pleasure in reading manuals too much. ;-)

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

BC's Quest For Tires (Sierra On-Line, 1983)


Designed and programmed by Charles Benton for the Atari 8-bits and Commodore 64. Programmed by Rick Banks and MaryLou O'Rourke of Sydney Development for Apple ][, Colecovision and IBM-PC compatibles. Based on the characters from the comic strip "B.C." by Johnny Hart. Original cover art by Johnny Hart.

Released in 1983 for Apple ][, Atari 8-bits and ColecoVision, and in 1984 for Commodore 64 and IBM-PC compatibles.

Converted for the ZX Spectrum by Mike Davies, and released through Software Projects Ltd. in 1984.

Converted for the MSX by N.R. Dick for Interphase Technologies, Inc. and released through Toshiba-EMI Ltd. in 1985.

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GAME STATUS


First in the series of Sydney Development titles based on Johnny Hart's comic strip characters, B.C.'s Quest For Tires has the distinction of being also the first "runner"-type platforming game, currently a more popular genre of gaming than it ever was before with the likes of Canabalt and Temple Run. Also, Quest For Tires also happens to be the only Sierra On-Line game ever to be converted for the ZX Spectrum, so this comparison will be a singular event in that sense.

Friday, 7 November 2014

River Rescue (Thorn EMI, 1982)


Designed by Jeremy Smith and programmed by Will Kemp. Originally released for the Commodore VIC-20 in 1982.

Converted for the Atari 400/800 computers by Kevin Buckner in 1983. Converted for the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A in 1983 (credits unknown) for cartridge use, but released in 1986 on disk. Converted for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum by Phil Snell in 1984. Converted and released for the Commodore 64 in 1984; credits unknown.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


Without giving too much away regarding the future entries, I decided to do another small one before getting into the spirit of the season. And why not, since it's not so snowy here yet... but yes, winter is coming again. Inevitably.

This game here, River Rescue, was one of my childhood favourites on the ZX Spectrum, even if the gameplay never made much sense to my young mind. Of course, back then, I didn't have the know-how to read English instructions nor the ability to consult any others who knew what the game was all about. Who were you supposed to rescue, anyway? And how? Was there a bigger purpose to this game? It's about time I found out properly.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Kikstart 2 (Mastertronic, 1987)


Developed by Mr Chip Software for the Commodore 64: Coding by Shaun Southern, graphics by Andrew Morris, testing by Peter Liggett

Converted by Icon Design for the Commodore Amiga in 1987: Coding by Laurence Vanhelsuwé, graphics by Jon Brennan, music by David Whittaker

Converted by Icon Design for the Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum in 1988: Coding by Paul Murray and graphics by Ed Knight

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


Late in the 1970's, BBC television started showing a series about motorcycle trials called Kick Start. This programme greatly inspired a young programmer by the name of Shaun Southern, who in 1985 made a computer game somewhat based on the concept, and titled it Kikstart, which eventually spawned a sequel. One might wonder, why have I chosen to write only about the sequel to one of the most important budget titles of all time. I could say that the original doesn't have as interesting conversions as this one, but my excuse is really that I never really cared for the original, and I never learned to play it properly. But since I'm not very likely to be doing a proper comparison of the original Kikstart games, I might as well write up about them as another post scriptum after the main subject.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Batman the Movie (Ocean, 1989)


Commodore 64 version: Coded by Zach Townsend; Graphics by Andrew Sleigh; Music by Matthew Cannon

Commodore Amiga & Atari ST versions: Coded by Mike Lamb, Jon O'Brien and Alan Short; Graphics by Dawn Drake, Bill Harbison and John Palmer; Music by Jonathan Dunn and Matthew Cannon

Amstrad CPC/GX4000, MSX & ZX Spectrum versions: Coded by Mike Lamb; Graphics by Dawn Drake; Music by Matthew Cannon

IBM-PC compatibles conversion by Astros, based on the Amiga & ST versions.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


We're veering off a bit from the horror genre here, but in the great non-Finnish tradition of Halloween, people running around wearing masks is apparently a big part of the whole thing, whether or not it actually includes any death or other horrendous things. So, for the final October entry, I have prepared a properly big one, although it has actually taken me a year or so to write. So, grab your coffee and read on.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

NGOTM: Invasion of the Zombie Monsters (Relevo Videogames, 2010)


Developed for the ZX Spectrum and MSX computers, and originally released on 13th of March, 2010. Conversion for the Amstrad CPC released on the 8th of March, 2013.

Development team for all versions together is:

Jon Cortázar, Kepa Cortázar, Sergio Martínez, Eduardo Robsy, Javier Peña, José Vila, Jose Vicente Masó, Augusto Ruiz, David Donaire, Mauricio Muñoz, Aratz Juanes, Daniel Zorita and Gominolas

More detailed credits can be found from the manual, which is included with any free download of the game at Relevo Videogames' website.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME REVIEW


Trying to find good newer titles for old machines from which to make a comparison of is much more difficult than it would sound like. Particularly when you're trying to find something for a specific theme. So to choose from only two plausible candidates, I flipped a coin and ended up doing this entry on the Spanish Relevo Videogames' wonderfully b-movie styled Invasion of the Zombie Monsters.


This classically structured horizontally scrolling platform-shooter was chosen as the Best 2010 Spectrum Game at World of Spectrum, and it is the first game from Relevo to also have a release on the Amstrad CPC. Of course, all of this praise got me intrigued quite a bit, and because this is a completely new title for me, I shall let my opinions be known later on.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Killed Until Dead (Accolade/US Gold, 1986)


Developed by Artech Digital Productions, Inc. for the Commodore 64: Deadly Design by Michael Bate and Rick Banks; Killer Code by MaryLou O'Rourke; Sinister Sound by Paul Butler; Gothic Graphics by Scott Fiander and Grant Campbell

Converted for the Apple ][ by Distinctive Software Inc., and released in 1987 through Accolade: Killed Code by Allan Johanson; Gothic Graphics by John Boechler

Converted for ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC by Canvas, and released through U.S. Gold in 1987: Killer Code and Sinister Sound by James Cornelius Bowman; Gothic Graphics by Dawn Drake, Simon Butler and Steve Cain

Released in the USA by Accolade and in Europe by US Gold.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


Our horror themed month's first entry with no straight connection to any movie comes from Accolade. My good friend Bob from Sweden introduced me to this game almost 10 years ago, so this entry is again inspired from his influence on my retro gaming knowledge - thanks, buddy. Of course, one could argue that this particular game has little to do with horror, and more to do with mystery and sleuthing, and one would be perfectly correct there. But doesn't the idea of death itself have something to do with Hallowe'en?

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Unique Games: Horror!


Due to this month's Halloween theme, I decided to include a special episode of Unique Games. This time, there will be only one game per machine in most cases, and again, most of these are not much more than exclusive titles, but some of them happen to be truly unique as well. Also, I decided to break my oh-so-strict rules a bit regarding one particular game, because I couldn't mention the game in any other context. So, take a look at the next ten horror titles, and why not leave a comment after the lot - tell me if I missed any really unique ones or exclusives.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The Evil Dead (Palace Software, 1984)

Designed by Colin Tanner, Christopher Pratt, Pillip Smith and Chris Neary.

Written for the Acorn BBC Micro by Colin Tanner.
Converted for the ZX Spectrum by Michael Fox.
Converted for the Commodore 64 by Richard Leinfellner with music and sounds by Keith Miller.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


A few years back, when I discovered that someone had actually made a computer game based on my all-time favourite horror movies, Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead, I was both insanely excited and very dubious. There was no way the game could actually be any good, but at the same time, I was burning to see how anyone could have made it into a game at all. Needless to say, when I finally tried it out (on the Spectrum), I was left unsatisfied in as many ways as you can imagine. So, why am I going to put myself through a more thorough playtesting on all three machines it was ever released? Well, because occasionally, I need to do something completely different and unexpected, for one. Also, because it's one of the rare titles that actually might have some chance of winning on the Acorn BBC Micro, the game's original platform.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Friday the 13th (Domark, 1985)


Written by Brian White for the Commodore 64.

Converted for the Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum in 1986; credits unknown.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


Horror is one of my favourite genres in everything, particularly games, if made well enough. Proof of people being able to write successful horror games came  surprisingly early on - sometimes in the form of text adventures such as Dracula (1986) and Jack the Ripper (1987) from CRL, and Temple of Terror (1987) from US Gold; and less often in the form of action/arcade games such as Forbidden Forest (1983) and its sequel from Cosmi, Chiller (1986) from Exidy and Ant Attack (1984) and its sequel from Quicksilva. However, when it came to translating a horror movie into a video/computer game form, the results were more often less desirable. Since it's October now, I thought I might do a few horror-based game comparisons, and make it more fun by focusing first on some bad horror games.

Call it a guilty pleasure or whatever, but Domark's Friday the 13th has always been on my top 10 list of favourite games to waste time on when you can't think of any properly good game. I will come to the reasons a bit later. I always thought the game was reviewed with a rather unfairly critical eye by a lot of the gaming press at the time, although some did think it at least above average (Your Commodore and C&VG gave it a 7/10 in 1986). Now, though, CPC Softs has an amazing 17.50 out of 20.00 rating (if that's what it is); Lemon64 has a surprisingly fair score of 6.6 from a total of 102 votes; and 48 World of Spectrum voters have given it a lowly 4.75. All I can say is, it sure divides people. But is it because of the game content or the version at hand?

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Return of the son of more heaps of UPDATES strikes back with a vengeance!


Phew! If that title doesn't get your attention, nothing will. Anyway, this has been way overdue, but I have been waiting for a couple of new conversions to be finished and released before finishing off this entry. One of them is still waiting for a release, but more on that later on. Anyhow, this Updates entry will hopefully be the last fully fledged one, because I intend to update every entry one at a time for their respective entries, when the need arises. Currently, some entries need to be completely re-edited, but at least BRUCE LEE, BUMP 'N JUMP, THE SENTINEL, DUCK TALES and the SABOTEUR Twofer entries, as well as the DEATHCHASE bit from Unique Games #1 have now been fixed, and more will be worked on with time.

For this entry, however, I will probably need to warn you that I have dug up quite a lot of info previously unknown to myself about quite a lot of games, so if you're interested in this sort of stuff, grab a cup of coffee and click on "Read more" to read further. It is quite irritating that sources like Wikipedia and MobyGames don't always hold all the basic release information about all the games, and missed information can sometimes be found months after finishing the original entries. This time, the updatees are in order of appearance: WHERE TIME STOOD STILL, ARCADIA, ROAD FIGHTER, THE GREAT GIANA SISTERS, SPACE TAXI and COMMANDO. These updates will also be implemented into all the original comparison entries, when I have the time to update them.

Monday, 22 September 2014

James Bond 007 (Parker Brothers, 1983)


Developed and published by Parker Brothers in 1983 for Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit computers, ColecoVision and Commodore 64.

Developed for the Atari 2600 by On Time Software:
Lead design and programming by Joseph Gaucher
Music by Dan Kurchevsky
Graphics by Kathy Von
Produced by Louis Marbel for Parker Brothers

Developed for the Sega SG-1000 by Parker Brothers, and published by Tsukuda Original in 1984.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


I always liked the idea of playing as the world's most popular secret agent, James Bond. The fact that none of the computer/video games were never properly good until GoldenEye came out, never hindered my quest to virtually restore the world peace. Although Domark made the bulk of the 1980's James Bond games, it all started with this eponymous title by Parker Brothers in 1983, which is a bit strange, since Parker Brothers is an American brand, and James Bond is decidedly not. I don't know whether I'll be making this James Bond thing into a series or not, because the Domark games are not very playable.

Currently, James Bond 007 by Parker Brothers has been rated 5.1 with 25 votes at Lemon64; the Atari 8-bit version has a 7.9/10 with 61 votes at Atarimania, while the A5200 version only has one vote with a 9.0, and the A2600 version has no rating at all. The rest of the scores come from MobyGames, since I couldn't find scores elsewhere, beginning with the missing A2600 score, which is a 3.5 out of 5 from 3 votes. The ColecoVision version has 2 votes, which add up to 3.1, and the SG-1000 version is still awaiting a vote. I have no idea what one is supposed to make out of all that, so I think it is best to move on.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

TWOFER #7: Xeno + Wibstars (A'n'F Software, 1986)

XENO

Developed by Binary Design Ltd for ZX Spectrum:
Coding by Matthew Rhodes
Graphics by Ste Pickford
Sounds by Pete Harrison

Converted for the Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64 by Nick Vincent with graphics by Ste Pickford.
C64 title screen by Jeremy Nelson.

WIBSTARS

Developed by Icon Design Ltd for ZX Spectrum:
Coding by Ste Cork
Graphics by Mark O'Neill
Sounds by Tony Williams

Also released for Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64; no further credits available.

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GAME STATUS, PLURAL

For the first two-for-one entry for this year, we have another one of my early years favourites called Xeno, and a randomly chosen game of which I had no previous knowledge of from the same publisher. Xeno is a strange tilted-view turn-based hockey game of sorts - kind of like Lucasfilm Games' Ballblazer, but from a different angle. The other chosen game, Wibstars, seems to be an arcade/actiony sort of a title with many different level types. So, there couldn't be two games more different from each other in a two-for-one retro game comparison. Both games were released for our regular threesome, which should make for a nice comparison twofer.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Trantor: The Last Stormtrooper (Go!, 1987)


Developed by Probe Software for the Amstrad CPC in 1987: Coding by David Perry - Graphics by Nick Bruty - Music by David Whittaker

Converted for the ZX Spectrum and Atari ST by David Quinn.

Converted for the Commodore 64 by Brian O'Shaughnessy with loading screen by Paul Docherty and music by David Whittaker.

Also converted for the MSX computers in 1987 by Probe Software, but details are unknown.

Converted for the IBM-PC compatibles by Brian O'Shaughnessy, and published by Keypunch Software, Inc. in 1988.

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GAME STATUS

We have another request about to be filled here. This one I have very low expectations of, due to it being rather boring and awkward on the C64, which is the only platform I've played it on so far, but looking at all the other source websites that I use, Trantor has a fairly good reputation elsewhere.

It's another one of those games that got a 10 out of 10 at CPC Game Reviews, and the CPC Softs site assumedly has a rating of 16.29 out of 20.00. 7 voters at Generation-MSX have rated their version a rather good 3.5 out of 5.0; at World of Spectrum, the game has a very respectable 7.78 from 29 votes; and 37 Lemon64'ers have given the C64 version a measly 5.2 out of 10. The only DOS rating I could find was at MobyGames, which was a surprisingly low 1.5 out 5.0, considering Home of the Underdogs' review thought it a good effort (but they didn't have a rating). In any case, this looks to be another interesting comparison.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Unique Games! - Part 5


It's time for another set of exclusive, if not exactly unique games, although there are bound to be a few of those in the mix as well. At least, let's hope there are. Due to my still rather busy schedule, I had to cut it short this time and include only 6 machines to pick the games for, but that should be enough anyway, lest we run out of games in the near future... right. Note that the title says "Part 5" - this is because I sort of expected the Afterlife Games to be a one-off special episode that didn't belong to the same series as such, but who knows. Anyway, this time, we have mostly some familiar machines to go through again, but a first-timer is also in the game now: the Tangerine Oric computers, which we will start with.

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Friday, 29 August 2014

Fort Apocalypse (Synapse Software, 1982)


Written by Steve Hales for the Atari 8-bit computers.
Converted by Joe Vierra for the Commodore 64.

A conversion was made for the ZX Spectrum, but was never released.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


Synapse's Fort Apocalypse is usually cited as one of the first games that most people who started playing computer games in their youth have told me. Not necessarily THE first, but still, closely related to their earliest gaming experiences. It wasn't so in my case. I never really properly learned to understand the impact it so clearly had, because I came from a different place and time, and my first experiences on the C64 and Atari were much more impressive, having gotten into gaming a bit later than most of my friends. Based on the only review I could find, even the press wasn't that impressed with the game when it came out - Electronic Fun magazine gave it a 1.5 out of 4 in their August 1983 issue (source: Atarimania).

Today, however, Fort Apocalypse has a fairly respectable 7.8 out of 10 at Atarimania from 783 votes, and at Lemon64, it has an even more impressive 8.3 from 127 votes, placing it at #81 in the top list. Even Steve Hales himself said in an interview by James Hague (also sourced from Atarimania), that people knew the game better from the C64. So it is an interesting starting point for a comparison, when the original version has a slightly lower score. For those of you who have already read the original Format Wars article this comparison was released as in the most recent RESET magazine, this will offer very little new, apart from some different screenshots, so there is no real reason to go further. As for the rest of you, click on...

Saturday, 23 August 2014

NGOTM: Alter Ego (RetroSouls, 2011)


Originally developed for the ZX Spectrum by Denis Grachev.

Converted for the Nintendo Entertainment System by Alex "Shiru" Semenov, with music by Richard "Kulor" Armijo, and released in 2011.

Converted for the Linux and Windows PC's and Windows phones by RetroSouls Team:
Code and levels by Denis Grachev - Sprites by Alex "Shiru" Semenov and Denis Grachev - Artwork by Rufus Blacklock - Music by Richard "Kulor" Armijo

Converted for the MSX computers by GuyveR800 and BiFi of The New Image, and released in 2012 for the MSXdev'11 competition.

Converted for the Commodore 64 by Denis Grachev in 2014.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME REVIEW

I hinted on a new series in the last entry, so here it goes. This new series is called New Game Of The Month, or NGOTM in short. In this series, I will be reviewing and comparing a (relatively) current game release for old machines, once a month, but not necessarily EVERY month. Depends on quite a lot of different things. One more thing before I begin - these new game comparisons will not feature those regularly used mathematical score things, and all the scores that can be given, will be dealt with at the very end. Now, let's get this started.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Circus Charlie (Konami, 1984)


Released for the arcades and MSX by Konami in 1984.
Released for the Commodore 64 by Parker Bros. / Konami in 1984.
Released for the Nintendo Famicom by Soft Pro International in 1986.
Further details are so far unknown in all cases.

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GAME STATUS


Like the arcade flyer says, Circus Charlie has long been claimed to be "the first authentic circus game in history!" Well, it's a circus game - that's all the authenticity it perhaps is claiming for, but how would you count it? If you count games like Exidy's Circus from 1977 (a breakout variant), Channel 8's Circus from 1983 (a text adventure) or Funtastic's Big Top from 1983 (a platformer), then it's clearly not the first circus themed game. If you're looking for the first circus themed collection of mini games in the vein of Track & Field, then we're on the right tracks.

Konami, as they did for many genres, once again defined a certain type of a game that would be the one so many other game developers would draw their ideas from, and try to enhance on it. This time, the theme is performance arts under the bigtop. Curiously, it never became that big of a hit as I always wanted to believe it did, but it certainly does have its place in the history of arcade and home video/computer gaming.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Bumpy (Loriciels, 1989)


Originally released for the Amstrad CPC in 1989
Written and programmed by Jean François Streiff
Music by Michel Winogradoff
Graphics by Christophe Perrotin

Converted for the Atari ST by Dominique Billard with the original team.
Converted for the IBM-PC compatibles by Jean François Streiff and Alain Joubert.
Converted for the ZX Spectrum by Luis Jorge Garcia and J250 Group.
Converted for the MSX by J250 Group.

Converted for the Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC and IBM-PC compatibles by Fabrice Decroix, with music by François Garofalo, and released as "Pop-Up" through Infogrames in 1990.

Converted by New Frontier and released for the Nintendo Game Boy as "Pop-Up" in Europe in 1991 by Infogrames, and as "Cool Ball" in North America in 1993 by TAKARA. Coding by Zydro, Graphics by Fustor and Sounds by Mcalby.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS

For the first game comparison after my time off, I have chosen a bit of an oddity, in many ways. For one, it's a rare occasion that we have a game that was originally released for the Amstrad CPC, but at the same time, was never released on the Commodore 64. To be completely honest, I searched for games from the CPC Game Reviews website, which would have a 10 out of 10 score, and pick the game that would seem like the least amount of trouble when writing a comparison. This way, perhaps, the Amstrad population of the world would have something to rejoice about, as the blog has so far been so very unfriendly towards them. As it happens, however, the game had a lot more conversions and reworks out there than at first appeared, and it gets a bit confusing at some point. So, you might have gathered that I knew nothing of the game before I started on this entry.

Friday, 1 August 2014

One year down...

Hello again! I'm back from my summer holiday, and it's time to start a new year for the Finnish Retro Game Comparison Blog, which officially starts exactly one week from today. In this post, I shall tell you something of my future plans, show some statistics from the first year, and take a brief look at how the blog has evolved from before it was conceived to what it is now. If you feel no reason to read further, no problem, but I'd like to point out to at least of you, who have been requesting for old Finnish games, that you just might want to read a bit further.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Summer Games (Epyx/US Gold, 1984) - Part 2


In Part 1, we took a deep look at all the 11 versions' events and playability, leaving us to deal with graphics and sounds, and calculating the overall scores. With this entry, I shall take my leave for a well earned summer holiday, and hopefully leave you hungry for more. =D

And yes, that is a real Summer Games advertisement from 1984 - you just have to dig it! But now, let's try to bring this one to a conclusion...

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Summer Games (Epyx/US Gold, 1984) - Part 1


Designed for the Commodore 64 and Atari 8-bit computers by Scott Nelson, Stephen Murphy, Brian McGhie and Jon Leupp. Coded by Stephen Landrum; Graphics by Erin Murphy; Music by Randy Glover. (At least according to most sources.)

Converted for the Apple ][ in 1984 by Chuck Sommerville and Kevin McClard.
Converted for the NEC PC-8801 in 1986 by Pony Canyon, Inc.
Converted for the Atari 2600 in 1987 by Epyx.
Converted for the Atari 7800 in 1987 by Atari Corp.
Converted for the Amstrad CPC and Sinclair ZX Spectrum computers by Choice Software Ltd, and released by US Gold in 1988.
Converted for the Sega Master System by Hitoshi Akashi (code) and Tokuhiko Uwabo (sound), and released by Sega in 1988.
Atari 8-bit version slightly altered and re-released by Atari Corp. in 1988.
Converted for the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST/STe by Creative Materials:
Graphics by Adam Steele; Music by Dave Lowe; Sound effects by Phil Morris. Released by US Gold in 1992.

Re-designed for the Windows Mobile devices in 2005 by Epyx; released through AIM Productions NV.
Emulated version of the C64 original released on the iPad/iPhone devices in 2012 through Elite Systems Ltd.

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GAME STATUS

Due to popular demand, here is another major seasonal undertaking, as I did with Winter Games during the last Christmas period - this one nicely just in time for the summer solstice period. I thought about doing Summer Games II first, because I enjoy it more, but then I yielded, because this one had to be done first. After all, it started the famous Games series from Epyx. As with Winter Games, this game will be done in two parts, and the second part will be posted by the end of June. This will be the last game comparison before I take my first proper break from the blog, so take your time enjoying this one!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Unique Games: Afterlife

Before the month's main event, I wanted to give you something completely different, which might not be to everybody's liking, but is certainly related to retro gaming machines. I have been pondering on the worth of writing about new games for old machines, since most of my retro gaming friends aren't that interested in the new software, but I suppose that this could be considered a thank-you of sorts to the communities that keep on giving new software to those of us who actually do enjoy them on a regular basis. So, this one is dedicated to you, retro machine software developers!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Turbo Esprit (Durell Software, 1986)


Written by Mike A. Richardson for the ZX Spectrum.
Converted for the Amstrad CPC by Nick Wilson and Mike A. Richardson.
Spectrum and Amstrad loading screen by Dave Cummings.
Converted for the Commodore 64 in 1986; credits unknown.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS

A lot of you might know how this one will end before it even begins, but let us just say, this entry is an introduction to the game for those of you readers who have for some reason never really tried this game out properly. Myself included, in fact. Durell's Turbo Esprit can be called the progenitor for games like Grand Theft Auto for a good reason, as it was the first free-roaming 3D driving game ever. The reason why I never got around to properly give it a try is mostly because I missed the greatest hype period when it was new, and later on, the look of it just never really appealed to me. I'm not even much of a fan of the GTA series. But now, because I had the feeling the Spectrum was once again getting left out of the spotlight, I decided I would finally give it a proper go, and give an honest review of how the game feels for a beginner, 28 years after the game was released, and compare the three releases while at it.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Mikie (Konami, 1984)


Originally developed and released for the arcades by Konami in 1984 as "Shinnyushain Tooru-kun".

Converted for the Sega SG-1000 in 1985 by Sega.

Converted for the ZX Spectrum 48k in 1985 by Imagine Studios:
Programming by Jonathan M. Smith
Music by Martin Galway
Title screen by F. David Thorpe

Converted for the Commodore 64 in 1986 by Imagine Studios:
Produced by D.C. Ward
Programming by Tony Pomfret
Graphics by Stephen Wahid
Music by Martin Galway
Title screen by Andrew Sleigh


Converted for the Amstrad CPC in 1986 by Imagine Studios; credits unknown.

Converted for the Acorn Electron and BBC Micro computers by Jon Woods and Peter Johnson, and released by Imagine Studios in 1986.

Unofficially ported from the Sega conversion for the MSX computers in 2004 by SLotman of MSX Files and translated into ROM format by Muffie in 2008.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS

Now that school's out for summer, it seems like a good time to feature the first school-themed game on the blog. A few months ago, one of my bandmates suggested to do a comparison of this old Konami gem, which frankly surprised me that I hadn't thought of doing before, because the game features something quite rare for any video game of the time: a licenced use of Beatles songs (namely A Hard Day's Night and Twist And Shout) in the soundtrack. So anyway, thanks to Jaakko for the suggestion.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

The Vikings (Kele Line, 1986)


Written for the Amstrad CPC by Martin Pedersen.
Written for the Commodore 64 by Søren Grønbech.
Graphics by Torben Bakager.
C64 full screen picture by Joost Honig.
C64 hi-res scroll-routine by Thomas Larsen.
In-game sounds by Ben Daglish of WE M.U.S.I.C.
C64 loading tune by Johannes Bjerregaard.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


Here's my second piece originally written for the RESET magazine, with slight adjustments to suit the blog format better. Since there aren't all that many particularly interesting games that can be found only on two machines (for making shorter comparison articles), I had to take on a bit of a rarity this time. The origins of Kele Line's The Vikings are rather unknown, as this advert found at World of Spectrum should point out. Although various sources seem to think the C64 version was released in 1987, and the Amstrad version in 1986, both the games have 1986 as the year of copyright, and the clear date of release in each case is unclear. The game was never released on the Spectrum for whatever reason, although it was to be released through Status Software somewhere along the line with the Amstrad version, after the C64 version had already been released.

At the time of release, The Vikings wasn't all that well received, because it was thought of as an outdated copy of Rambo: First Blood Part II, and truthfully, it isn't all too well thought of even currently, but the time has been kinder towards this game than many other games of the genre of the time. At Lemon64, The Vikings has been rated 6.9 with 20 votes, and at CPC Game Reviews, it has gotten a meagre 5 out of 10. So, you can perhaps imagine why I thought this would work quite nicely for my second entry on the very much C64-oriented RESET magazine.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Bionic Commando (Capcom, 1987/1988)


Developed for the arcades by Capcom Co., Ltd., and released originally in Japan as "Top Secret" in 1987.

Conversions for the home computers MOSTLY by Software Creations, and released through Go! in 1988.

Commodore Amiga and Atari ST conversions by:
Coding - David J. Broadhurst
Music - Timothy and Mike Follin
Graphics - Andrew Threlfall

Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum conversions by:
Coding - Mike Follin
Music - Timothy Follin
Graphics - Andrew Threlfall

The European Commodore 64 conversion by:
Coding - Stephen Ruddy
Music - Timothy Follin
Graphics - Andrew Threlfall

Conversions for the IBM-PC compatibles and the US version for the Commodore 64 programmed by
Pacific Dataworks International, and released by Capcom in 1988.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS

When you're a young gamer, and have your favourite games, you have a tendency to disregard all the other versions of the game in existence, regardless of whether you have even tried them out or not. Since the first time I ever tried out the European version of Bionic Commando on the C64, I had for long been a bit biased towards it, even if I never got very far in it without cheats. A considerable number of years later, I found out that it was a conversion from an arcade game, which, to be honest, was a disappointment when I first tried it out. Of course, the Nintendo version of Bionic Commando was played by my Nintendo-owning friends, who thought it was the superior version. Well, I have to admit after all these years, that it really is the better game, but there's the thing: it's not the same game.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

TWOFER #6: Neptune's Daughters + Henry's House (English Software, 1983/1984)


NEPTUNE'S DAUGHTERS

Original game design by Ralph Frumin.
Commodore 64 version written by Mark Taylor, released in 1983.
Atari 8-bit conversion written by Michael Hedley, released in 1984.

HENRY'S HOUSE

Original Commodore 64 version written by Chris Murray in 1984; released through English Software.
Converted by Chris Murray for the Atari 8-bit computers; released in 1987 through Mastertronic.

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GAME STATUS, PLURAL

English Software was a software developing and publishing company that didn't last for a very long time, but managed to put out many memorable and quirky titles between 1982 and 1987, most particularly for the Atari 8-bit market. Before they kicked the bucket, Philip Morris, the head of the company, sold the publishing rights of their back catalogue to Mastertronic, which explains the reason why the Atari version of Henry's House, for example, was not released by English Software.

Both of the games under the magnifying glass this time have a fairly similar status in the gaming
history as the previous twofer - well remembered cult classics, but not what anyone would call groundbreaking or even particularly interesting in the long run. What they do have in abundance is old-fashioned charm, warts and all. Now for the ratings from our favourite websites at the time of writing this entry: at Atarimania, Neptune's Daughters has been given a 7.7 by 13 voters, and Henry's
House also has a 7.7, by 493 voters. Lemon64 users have also voted Henry's House for a 7.7 score with 61 votes, while Neptune's Daughters only has a 6.5 from 43 votes, so it appears there is a clear
disadvantage already, at least for the other game. But now that we know what gamers think of them, let us have a look at how do they compare against themselves.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (US Gold, 1989 / Sega, 1990)


US Gold version developed by Emerald Software and Keypunch Software, and released for the Commodore Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MSX, ZX Spectrum and IBM-PC compatibles in 1989.

Sega's arcade version designed by Michael Jackson, developed by Sega and Triumph, and released in 1990.

Sega's home console version designed by Kotaro Hayashida based on Michael Jackson's concept, developed by Sega's AM7 department, and released for Master System and Mega Drive (Genesis) in 1990.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS, PLURAL


It's time for another three-for-one comparison, this time about a set of games that has been talked of plenty of times, and is again based on a movie, as was the previous similar entry. I'm writing this comparison mostly due to the request made quite a while ago by my girlfriend, because she's a Michael Jackson fan, and naturally, she wanted to point out that Moonwalker is the best game in the world. Well, understandably, I am in a bad position to argue about that, but I will admit that some of these versions are rather nice, although I cannot say if any of them have much of connection to the movie, but more about that later. Another reason would be to finish this comparison around the time Michael's second posthumously compiled album "Xscape" has been released worldwide, or at least in most countries. Once again, Michael Jackson's Moonwalker has been featured at Hardcore Gaming 101, but I'm writing this to expand on it. It's all about the details, see.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

City Connection (Jaleco, 1985)


Developed by Axes Art Amuse for the arcades.

Ported by Hect Co. Ltd. and NMK Co. Ltd. for the Nintendo Famicom in 1985, for the MSX in 1986 and released for the American NES in 1988.

Converted for the ZX Spectrum 48k by Manuel Lemos with graphics by Ricardo Pinho and music by Paulo Gordinho. Details of release unknown.

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GAME STATUS

This comparison could be considered somewhat of a sequel to my Road Fighter entry, since both of the games are available on that pirated NES multicart which was mentioned back then, and both of the games shine with their small amount of conversions. The only two official home conversions that are in relatively common knowledge are - again - for the Nintendo and MSX, but surprisingly, a conversion does exist for the 48k Spectrum. Only a .z80 snapshot image of it currently exists in the World of Spectrum archive, which is certainly intriguing... perhaps it was officially unreleased? The Nintendo version never got released in Europe, so the only way we could have ever had a chance to play that version was a Japanese or an American cart on a modded or an original non-regional console. Again, the MSX version is the only one that got as far as Finland, although this time, I don't have it in my collection.

The Spectrum version has been given a nicely rounded 8.00 with 34 votes at World of Spectrum, the Nintendo version has been given a D at Questicle, and the MSX version currently has four stars out of five from 11 votes at Generation-MSX. Whether all that makes any sense or not remains to be seen...

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Unique Games! - Part 4

Surprise, surprise! While Lemon64 was out for a longer period of time last month, I also found myself almost forced to work on another set of Unique Games, which frankly compiled up like a breeze, and as such came as a welcome distraction. Some of these games are as questionable as anything for being included here, but all of them should have some proper reason or two for being included. If not exactly unique, then hopefully at least exclusive. So, while you're waiting for the next actual comparison, take a look at another list of rather interesting games.

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Saturday, 26 April 2014

Leaderboard (Access Software/U.S. Gold, 1986)

Originally written for the Commodore 64 by Bruce and Roger Carver.

Atari 800/XL/XE conversion by Kevin M. Homer.

Atari ST conversion by Brent Erickson.

Commodore Amiga conversion by Craig Conder, Hal Rushton and Bryan Brandenburg from Sculptured Software.

Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum conversions by Roy Gibson, Chris Pink, Ian Weatherburn and Simon Butler from Canvas.

Arcadia conversion by Starbuck the Space Cowboy of Soft Arts, Inc. in 1989, with sounds by O.M. Underwood and graphics by Vadron.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


After Raid Over Moscow, it's almost too early for another game from Access Software, but since I'm currently in a mood for finishing off some writings that I started a while ago due to some requests made a longer while ago, then why not this one this time. So, this one goes for Aki V. for making the request for Leaderboard first, and for a couple of other blokes as well for making the additional suggestions to fuel this writing.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Where Time Stood Still (Ocean Software, 1988)

Originally written by John Heap and Fred Gray of Denton Designs for the ZX Spectrum 128k.

Converted for the Atari ST by Ian Brown and Bob Weir, with graphics by Steven Cain.

Credits for the DOS version are currently unknown.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS

While Lemon64 was offline for an unnaturally long period, I decided to write about a game that has always somehow intrigued me, but I never really got to play it when it was a new and exciting thing. Since the game was ever available for the 128k Spectrum, DOS and Atari ST (although I didn't even know about the DOS and ST versions until I started digging up information for the Unique Games features), Where Time Stood Still effectively escaped my young gamer experiences. I was very much aware of it, though, as it was advertised in the 1988 Ocean catalogue that came with the box of Daley Thompson's Olympic Challenge, bundled with my first Commodore 64, and it was one of the only things in that catalogue that I really wanted to try out. But alas, the experience would only come in the age of emulation, and by that point, it was already too late to make any sort of wow-effect, and my seriously multiplied hatred for isometric adventures didn't help. So, why am I doing this again? Besides the reason mentioned above, I wanted to have a go at the 16-bit conversions and see if it manages to uninspire me any less. Perhaps then, I might understand the game's and the genre's appeal slightly more.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A History of Finnish Games: Appendix

This one has been a long time coming, almost six months, in fact. There are a couple of good reasons for it, though. First of all, let's go back to September of last year, after I had released the first in the series of my own version of a history of Finnish games. I found out that a book about the same subject was in the making, although it would cover more of the commercial side of Finnish game industry all the way to the end of 2013. This book has now been out for a while, and currently it's only available in Finnish - it's called "Sinivalkoinen Pelikirja" (translates to "The Blue-and-White Book of Games"), and the official website is here. So, I decided to wait until the book had been released, to find out if I missed something particularly important from the really early days. And on the 11th of April, 2014, I asked the author, Juho Kuorikoski's permission to use his book as a source for this update entry on my blog, and was granted it. So, thank you very much, mr. Kuorikoski. Secondly, originally I had decided to wait and see whether this subject raised enough interest to require some sort of update on the matter, and seeing now that all the original three parts of the series are in the top 5 of my most viewed entries, I suppose it's time to bring something more to the table, so thanks for all of you readers out there for making this lecturing feel worth the while. Hopefully, some of the information in this appendix entry will be of some worth to all you historians out there as well. However, I feel I need to warn you in case there are any readers out there with a more sensitive mindset - this entry features some highly questionable screenshots from underground games that should not exist. Proceed with caution.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Toobin' (Atari Games/Tengen, 1988)


Original game design by Milt Loper -- Coded by Dennis Harper, Gary Stark and Dusty Rawe -- Animations by Will Noble, Mark West and Deborah Short -- Audio by Brad Fuller and Hal Canon -- Engineered by Gary Stempler and Doug Snyder -- Technics by Dave Wiebenson -- With additional help from Rich Moore, Mike Albaugh, Marty Levy, Jess Melchor, Lyle Rains, Pat McCarthy, Cris Drobny and Marty Viljamaa.

This game has so many conversions, and so many differently compiled teams were working on them, that for the first time ever on this blog, I felt I needed to create a separate full credits list, so let's start with that one. This bit of text is only here to keep the stuff in the main blog page in form. So, if you happen to be on the main page, why don't you click on that "Read more" link below to read more. =P

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Donald Duck's Playground (US Gold/Sierra On-Line, 1984)

Designed by Al Lowe and the Walt Disney Personal Computer Software Design and Development Staff.

Written by Al Lowe for the Commodore 64, and released by US Gold in 1984.

Converted for the Commodore Amiga, IBM-PC and Atari ST by Al Lowe, Jeff Stephenson and Chris Iden, with graphics by Mark Crowe, and released by Sierra On-Line in 1986.

Converted for the Apple ][ computers in 1986 and TRS-80 CoCo in 1987 by Al Lowe, Jerry Moore and Doug MacNeill, and released by Sierra On-Line.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS

This is the 50th blog entry here, which requires some sort of special thing to celebrate the occasion. So, instead of making a boring celebratory blog post just to mark the occasion, I decided to write something a bit out of the ordinary. For one, it's the second Disney-licenced game to feature on the blog, and it's also the first title on the blog to be originally advertised as educational entertainment. It was mostly aimed for the younger audience, but today, it's nothing if not one of the biggest nostalgy trips for us old C64 folks.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Paratroopers - the origins and variations


A rather special item this time, the idea of which was born as long ago as at the beginning of 2013, when I was playing the C64 version in a tour bus, and our bass player mentioned that the DOS version was a bit different - it had not nearly as many features as the C64 version. A year went by, and I came across the Spectrum version of Paratroopers while making research for the comparison of Booty, which gave a spark to that idea of comparing all the different versions of Paratroopers. As I went along doing research, I noticed that while there aren't all that many (known) versions around, some of them have a different name, and there are enough gameplay differences to make some of them seem like completely different games as well. So, this will not be an actual comparison as such - it's a look into the evolution of this particular game idea. Paratroopers became the chosen title for the entry, because I felt it is probably the most recognizable name of the lot.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Arcadia (Imagine Software, 1982)

Designed by David H. Lawson and Mark Butler.
Graphic design and illustration by Steve Blower.
Written by David H. Lawson for the ZX Spectrum 16k and Commodore VIC-20.
Converted for the Commodore 64 by Eugene Evans in 1983.

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GAME STATUS


For me, Arcadia was never such a big deal, because I didn't get to play it until the age of emulation. Even considering it was made in 1982, it has always baffled me, why it was ever such a big deal. In the 1983 C&VG Golden Joystick Awards, it got the fourth place in the Game of the Year category, and the third place for the best arcade style game. FRGCB has already featured the winner of the said awards, which was Jetpac - a well deserving winner, I should say. This one, however, didn't bring anything really new to the table, as far as I am aware, other than being compatible with the Fuller Sound Box, although it didn't utilise it to enhance the gameplay much at all. But, it did get good reviews from the magazines at the time, and currently it has a score of 7.45 from 41 votes at World of Spectrum. The C64 version came a year later, and understandably, wasn't quite as well received, and currently has a score of 5.2 with 29 votes at Lemon64. The VIC-20 version doesn't seem to have reviews or ratings anywhere, but it is said to have been a hit game on the machine as well. However they are received elsewhere, here's what I think...

Friday, 21 March 2014

Raid Over Moscow (Access Software, 1984)


Originally developed for the Commodore 64 by Bruce Carver, and released by Access Software and US Gold.

Converted for the ZX Spectrum and Enterprise 128 by Platinum Productions' David Anderson, Ian Morrison and F. David Thorpe, and released by US Gold in 1985.

Converted for the Amstrad CPC by Ocean Software in association with Choice in 1985, and released by US Gold and Amsoft in 1985.

Converted for the Apple ][ computers by Hal Rushton, Peter Adams and Bryan Brandenburg of Sculptured Software, and released by Access Software in 1985.

Converted for the Atari 8-bit computers by Steve Coleman of Sculptured Software, and released by Access Software and US Gold in 1986.

Converted and released for the Acorn BBC Micro and Electron computers by US Gold in 1986.

Friday, 14 March 2014

TWOFER #5: Action Biker + Bump, Set, Spike! (Mastertronic, 1985/86)


Action Biker (1985)

Atari 800/130 and Commodore 64 versions written by an unknown programmer ; Music by Rob Hubbard ; ZX Spectrum version written by M.J. Child

Bump, Set, Spike! (1986)

Commodore 64 version written by Ken Grant ; Title screen by Sean Grant ; Music by Rob Hubbard ; ZX Spectrum & Amstrad CPC versions written by Paul Ranson with graphics by Peter Ranson ; Spectrum title screen by Ray Owen

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS, PLURAL


For a change, I will take a look at two games I have had very little experience previously. One of the reasons for doing so is because I have been requested of these two games, and the other is because it's time I educate myself further on these two questionable Mastertronic classics. For another Two-for-One comparison entry, this time I will take you back to its original form, as it was done in the first Twofer with the two Gremlin games - mostly because one of each games' versions differ so completely from the other two that I saw this as a nice opportunity to get back in that form.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Rock Star Ate My Hamster (Codemasters, 1989)


Written by Colin Jones, and produced by Colin Jones with Richard and David Darling.

Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum graphics by Chris Graham. Commodore Amiga and Atari ST graphics by Chris Graham and Brian Hartley.

Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum sounds by Paul Hiley. Commodore 64 sounds by Gavin Raeburn. Commodore Amiga and Atari ST sounds by Allister Brimble and Colin Jones.

Unofficially converted for the Commodore Plus/4 by András Szigand, and released as "Rockstar Manager".

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS

A while ago, I thought I had made my shortest comparison I am likely to ever make. Then I came up with this strange gem. So, unless I really go nuts and try to compare a text adventure, I believe this will remain the shortest entry for quite a while.

Before all the karaoke games and Guitar Hero games and Rock Band games and whatnot, there were not all that many games based in the world of music, mostly because the hardware abilities of old were not up to scratch, when it came to performing music. The first game I remember that had anything akin to having a musical instrument as your controller was a game called Quest For Fame, where you had to rock out to the tunes of Aerosmith with an electronic guitar pick of sorts. Before any of this happened, though, there were a small group of music management games - this one being most likely the most fondly remembered of them all. I might do a feature later on, listing some of the other music-based retrogames, but this one is dedicated to comparing this Codemasters classic.

Friday, 7 March 2014

North & South (Infogrames, 1989)

Original development team for the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST versions:
Brainstorming by Philippe Agripnidis, Stéphane Baudet, Vincent Belliard, Charles Callet, Didier Chanfray, Laurent Charbonnier, Alain Nakache and Stephen Trevallion. Coding by Alain Nakache, Stéphane Baudet and William Hennebois. Graphics by Didier Chanfray, Alain Nakache, Dominique Girou, Frédéric Bascou, Laurent Charbonnier and Sophie Cau. Music by Charles Callet and Stéphane Baudet.

Converted for the IBM-PC compatibles in 1990 by Infogrames. Conversion programmed by Christophe Lacaze and William Hennebois.

Converted for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990 by Kemco. (no further information)

Converted for the Commodore 64 in 1991 by Probe Software:
Coding by Daryl Bowers, Graphics by Lee Ames, Music by Jeroen Tel, Produced by Jo Bonar.

Converted for the Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum and MSX1/2 in 1991 by New Frontier:
Coding by Isidro Gilabert, Daniel Diaz, David Herrero. Graphics by Juan Jose Frutos, Alberto Jose Gonzalez and Ruben Gomez. Music by Alberto Jose Gonzalez.