Saturday, 14 September 2013

Bruce Lee update!

Before I get to my second two-for-one, which will be posted hopefully on Monday, I got around to writing this update on my earlier comparison of Bruce Lee.

First, let's take another check into the loading times. I found a way to load up some of the original Atari disk image files, and it's a modified version of an older version of the emulator I've been using anyway. If the VAPI-modified Atari800Win is anywhere trustworthy enough to get some data on loading times for original disks, it would mean that Bruce Lee's disk version on the Atari 800 would take 28 seconds to load. I wouldn't trust on it entirely, though, until someone confirms this from
taking the loading time on a real machine. This, however, will be somewhat useful for my next proper entry.

Second, I converted the MSX tape version to WAV, since BlueMSX can't load the .CAS files in real time, but it shows the blocks somehow in a tape menu thing. If the game is loaded up originally from a 2400 baud tape, it will load up in 3 minutes and 7 seconds. If it's a 1200 baud tape, it'll take 5 minutes and 41 seconds.

And third, I managed to get my virtual hands on the NEC PC-88 version that rhod hinted me on earlier, thanks a bunch. I couldn't find an image for the Sharp X-1 version, though. Here's the deal with the NEC version:

If the emulator is anywhere to be trusted (and I really don't), the game loads from the disk in about 16 seconds. Not bad. It even gives you all of the three loader screens shown below, which is a bit much, but I couldn't really call them very nice to look at. At least you'll get to see the logo for the company that published this version along with the MSX version, only they made this version a year earlier.

NEC PC-8801 loader screens
When you get to the picture that looks most like the loader picture from the other versions (only a whole lot uglier), you'll be greeted with the theme music... and it is nowhere near the one we know so well. It's a one-channel beeper tune that resembles the James Bond theme more in places, and then it turns into a weird Indian tune. I really can't figure how they came up with this stuff...

Getting into the game then. It's not all that far from the Atari and C64 versions, but the colours are horrible. The first area you can deal with, even though the mountains in the background are horribly orange and red. At least Bruce Lee is still yellow, but his torso looks floating against the mountains. He jumps and runs admirably fast, very much like he should. The ninja is also black, which is good. The ninja is very slow, though, which is very bad. The Green Yamo is somehow made black-and-blue, which makes him look like an undesribable mass of dark blobby matter. What really bugs me is that the sprites for Bruce and Yamo flicker like hell whenever they're not standing still. This makes fighting the Yamo a bit difficult, because the collision detection in fights depends on the sprites connecting at certain points. But I noticed that if you slightly take advance on your attacks, you should do fine. The insane amount of flickering just makes it a bit more random.

NEC PC-8801 in-game screens
When you get to the first underground section, the game suddenly turns into a horrible CGA style graphic thing: cyan, pink, white and black. Because there's so much moving things around, your movement becomes painfully slow, and you turn into a cyan-white Bruce. The Green Yamo at least looks more green now in his cyan/interlaced-cyan look, and the ninja is still black. Otherwise, it's pretty much like it should be, just slow and painful for the eyes.

The third section, however, is just pure hell. Literally. It's just different shades of fire and brimstone for your eyes to feast upon, and not really knowning what's going on, because the shades are so close to each other that you really have to focus on looking at the movement on the screen. At least the main platforms are coloured black, but the moving things are interlaced pink against orange background. It's just evil, and I couldn't bother to go any further from there.

At least the sound effects are nicely varied in style, although when Yamo makes his entrance on the screen, it sounds more like a big burp than a yawp or whatever it's supposed to be.

Overall, if the colours and flickering in this version weren't so godawful, I'd place this somewhere in the midst of MS-DOS, Amstrad and MSX versions. Because it looks so bad, I have to place it somewhere in the bottom 3rd.

Loadingwise, this is the final time table:

AMSTRAD Tape: 3 minutes 49 seconds
ATARI 800 Disk: 28 seconds (?)
ATARI 800 Tape: 11 minutes 56 seconds
APPLE ][ Disk: about 30 seconds? (on an emulator)
BBC MICRO - Tape: 4 minutes 14 seconds
C64 Disk: 2 minutes 54 seconds
C64 Tape: 4 minutes 32 seconds
DOS HD: no loading time, except for starting up your PC.
MSX ROM: no loading time, except for starting up your MSX.
MSX Tape: 3 minutes 7 seconds OR 5 minutes 41 seconds
NEC PC-88 Disk: 16 seconds (?)
SPECTRUM Tape: 3 minutes 2 seconds

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