Thursday, 25 August 2022

Jack the Nipper II Coconut Capers (Gremlin Graphics, 1987)

Game concept by Greg Holmes

Programming and sprite graphics by Greg Holmes
Other graphics by Terry Lloyd
Music by Ben Daglish
Odds & Ends by David K. Pridmore, Andrew Green, Chris Shrigley and Robert Toone

MSX version:
Programming by Greg Holmes, Andrew Green and David K. Pridmore
Graphics by Terry Lloyd and Andrew Green
Musical bits by Ben Daglish, Greg Holmes and David K. Pridmore

AMSTRAD CPC version:
Programming and sprite graphics by Greg Holmes
Additional programming by David K. Pridmore
Other graphics by Terry Lloyd
Music by Ben Daglish

COMMODORE 64 version:
Programming by Andrew Green
Graphics by Terry Lloyd
Music by Ben Daglish
Assistance by Rob and Chris

All versions published by Gremlin Graphics in 1987.



Some time ago, a reader observed that a game featured on this blog, that would have a series of other games to look into, are rarely featured as more than footnotes at the end of the comparison at hand. This is true enough for good reasons, as most games that would have a larger series to choose comparisons from, are usually too similar to be bothered with. There have been exceptions to this rule, such as the Epyx sports games series, Blue Max (the sequel was handled with the original in a two-fer), the Way of the Exploding Fist (Fist II was compared first), two Horace games were also compared as a two-fer, Saboteur and its sequel also had a two-fer entry; and now, the comparison of Jack the Nipper from 2013 shall finally have its companion, even though back then, I solemnly swore not to do this one, because I'm utterly bollocks at it.

Thursday, 4 August 2022

Lazy Jones (Terminal Software, 1984)

Designed and written by David Whittaker for the Commodore 64 in 1984.
Ported to Sinclair ZX Spectrum by Simon Cobb in 1984.
Ported to the MSX computers and Tatung Einstein by David Whittaker in 1985.
All versions published by Terminal Software.



Time for another lightweight comparison again, this time a cult classic that most C64 and Spectrum gamers seem to know, even though it could hardly be called a hit game. Lazy Jones was, however, the most successful game released by Terminal Software, and is one of the most memorable games from that time period for those who have ever had the chance to experience it - regardless of when they experienced it. With this game, FRGCB will have its first comparison featuring the rare and neglected Tatung Einstein, and with a 99% possibility, will also remain the last.

Sunday, 24 July 2022

Ivan "Ironman" Stewart's Super Off-Road (Leland Corporation, 1989) - Part 2

Let's start Part 2 with a confession: I rarely do ragequits with any game, particularly with retrogames, but during the making of this comparison, I ended up ragequitting Super Off-Road a considerable number of times on various versions. Not because it's unfair - though it certainly is at times - but rather because some of the versions become practically unplayable after reaching a certain level, that I had to re-write parts of the first part of the comparison a few times to feel comfortable with it. Also, in the making of this comparison, I did some considerable harm to my keyboard, necessitating to buy a new one, but the harm was necessitated by breadcrumbs under the backspace key. Oh well.

If you didn't read Part 1 of the comparison of Super Off-Road from last week, it should be noted that all things concerning the game's playability in its different variations was dealt with in that post. As it really is the more important bit in this comparison, I urge you to read that before reading Part 2. If you don't care as much about the gameplay, or have read the first part already, then feel free to continue.

Sunday, 17 July 2022

Ivan "Ironman" Stewart's Super Off-Road (Leland Corporation, 1989) - Part 1


Now quite a long time ago, a request was made by a reader who commented by the name "The Gambler" to write a comparison of one of my all-time favourite arcade racing games that has been ported to pretty much all the major computers and consoles at the time. As Super Off-Road had been on my to-do list for a long time already, I decided to tackle it now, because there's already a video comparison of it on YouTube from Gaming History Source - which will naturally be linked at the end of the comparison. Despite of that, Super Off-Road proved to be such a large undertaking, that I'm going to split this comparison in two parts - the first time doing so since I did the Epyx sports games comparisons many years ago.

Because there are so many versions of Super Off-Road, and so many different people working on most different versions, it was necessary to write this pre-amble, and do a separate Credits section for a change. Hold on to your cowboy hats and click to read on!

(Note: The entire comparison just went under slight maintenance due to neglect in checking for proper information on the release dates. The originally mentioned 1994 release date for the Sega Megadrive/Genesis version was suggested by MobyGames.)

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.



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.



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.