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The ST Format Challenge

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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
Damocles. Programmed down the road from me. There’s an airport in it called Eddie’s Airport which Paul Woakes put in for the kid from our school who was on work experience at Novagen.

RIP Paul.
Did you ever get to meet the legend? Seriously, the man was a ridiculous genius.
 
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Nitty_Grimes

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Sadly not. Novagen were based above a shop in Moseley, about 10 mins on the bus from my house.
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
Sadly not. Novagen were based above a shop in Moseley, about 10 mins on the bus from my house.

Sounds somewhat unglamorous but I guess a lot of games companies were back then. Paul Woakes is one of my gaming heroes alongside Geoff Crammond and Mike Singleton. I think it’s fair to say I have a type!
 
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hariseldon

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OMG how did I miss this GOAT thread.
Got my 520STFM back in 1988 and Carrier Command and Dungeon Master are still in my top 10 games of all time.

Dungeon Master is ridiculous. Absolute goat of a game. The whole era was absolutely rammed full of amazing games.
 
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hariseldon

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Making some more progress on Damocles. It’s turning onto something of a tour. Hoping to have the rest up tomorrow.
 
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hariseldon

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Part 1

Damocles Review/Let's Play Part 2

So, a quick recap. I've landed on Eris, there's a comet coming to smash the planet. I'm in the office of the guy who has designed and built the bomb to blow the comet up, and I've found a teleporter which will take me to key locations. There's a novabomb which only the absent professor knows the location of, but it's likely he sent it and it got lost by the post service. Similarly, there are 4 detonators disguised as everyday items. We continue the hunt at the post office on Snow Island. The challenge of course will be finding it, but with my trusty A-Z computer I'll hunt for it, and stop off at other interesting places while I'm there no doubt.



Turns out there's not much on Snow Island. Just a lot of igloos. Anyway, I found the sorting office fairly quickly. Time to go and have a look inside.

This may look like a humble cupboard, but it's actually Nova Trigger 2. In another room there's also a clipboard full of complaints.
1. From Eris Post Office HQ 12-14 Capital City: You've lost 4 parcels, please send loss report forms.
- Reply: to Eris Post Office temp HQ (00-10 Birmingham Island Dion) here are the forms
- Lost 1: Addressed to state president at Vesta Parliament. Refused delivery and ordered return to sender. Sent to prof's new lab address. This address is not specified.
- Lost 2: Sent to Eris Commissioner of Police on Eris Capital - returned marked gone away and held here (presumably the cupboard I picked up).
- Lost 3: Sent to Wilberforce K Dodd, Governor of Bank Of Gaea. Will write to local postman for report.
- Lost 4: Sent to Lord Chief Justice Pickles on Metis. Will write to local postman for report.

Ok so we've found 1, but the other 3 are a mystery. I'll need to do local investigations on Gaea and Metis to find out what happened there, and will need to find out where Hantzen's new lab is (I presume not on Eris). Given there is reference to attachments, I also wonder if there's any information to be had at the temporary post office HQ - this might indicate the location of the prof's new lab address. It's worth a shot.

Before that though I'm going to fly around Capital City to see if I stumble upon anything fun. In this game exploration pays. Also, you generally won't solve things on your first play. Instead, you use each play, with each explosion of Eris, to find out more about the solar system so that you eventually have enough information to ace it in one final push.

Like an idiot I spotted a building - exchequer district A. The taxman then promptly took all of my money. Let's go back to an earlier save...



At the GUM store I find a massive spanner. I am a massive spanner. Right, enough dicking about, time to go to the temporary post office HQ on Dion. There's a teleporter which will get me there faster than my spaceship, I found it in Hantzen Sales on Bare Island. To Bare Island we go.


Entering the teleporter, just for shits and giggles I go to the Down arrow (I'm at teleporter 1, 2 is on Dion at Verdant Party HQ). 0 is apparently at Hantzen's new house on Gaea. It's tastefully decorated. This seems worth investigating.


I find a sideboard, which it turns out is Nova Trigger 1. That leaves only the ones on Gaea and Metis to find, I'd say. A useful accident. May as well poke around to see if there's anything else useful here.


I come across a fax machine (young people won't know what that is.. it's 90s email - you put paper in and it would scan the paper and send that picture over the phone to someone else and their fax machine would print it out).
- Shippers have put his effects in storage at 09-02, this includes a piano which is very valuable.
- The novabomb is equivalent in power to 8 explosives at maximum power. Presumably then I could get 8 lots of explosives at full power and use that to blow up Damocles.

Key B which I picked up earlier in the basement of Hantzen Sales allows me to open the front door. There's a car outside but I lack a key for it. Back to the transporter.

Going down to teleporter 9 and 8 take me to worlds too cold or airless (Mentor and Bacchus) - with 10 seconds of survival time I manage to run around them and get to the next destinations, and 7 is DHSS House on Logos. The DHSS used to be the department that paid unemployment benefit in the UK if anyone's wondering. I wonder what I might find in such a place. Not much, it turns out, and the outside is too cold to survive at night. Onwards.

Transporter 6 finds me at the Trade Commission on Gaea, and there's a key for a car, which is handily parked outside. This should give me a decent shot at exploring this island on Gaea. For now I'll leave the key here and continue on to Dion, checking out the other teleporter locations. 5 is a nondescript basement on Eris. 4 takes me to Vesta Parliament. This seems like somewhere where I might find something fun. I find a scroll on a desk. This scroll is a series of proposed laws including a proposal for a Poll Tax. This is of course topical as Margaret in the real world was proposing such a tax and.. well it led to pretty widespread rioting. Amusingly it also includes a proposal for equal rights for green haired purple-skinned quadrupeds which seems a very 2020 joke. There's a key for a car.

Transporter 2 sees me at Dooberry's Solicitors on Metis, where I find a Filofax (how very 80s - for those too young to know it's like a diary/address book for yuppies - nope, you're not going to get it). It contains funnies, but nothing of value. Metis has no air so going outside is out of the question. Avoid floor 8 where you're informed you've been sued for costs.. reload..


Just at Dooberry's and about to skip the 8th floor, when I spotted the comet out the window. I've not got long, having already used a third of my available time. Eris will almost certainly get splatted but that's ok. I'll come back for a second go stronger (I'm avoiding walkthroughs and thankfully can't remember specific locations of things thankfully so this is a fairly faithful 'first play' albeit I know the mechanics and the general gist).


The key I picked up at Vesta parliament gets me this car on Dion. Time to go exploring. I'd prefer a spaceship but flying between planets costs time so this is the most sensible option for now (though the lack of aerial view makes mapping a little tricky). Next stop, the new post office HQ (assuming I don't encounter anything cool en-route).


Looks like I'm heading in the right direction.


And here I am, at the temporary Eris Post Office HQ (though quite what they'll do if Eris is destroyed is uncertain - so why bother relocating the office?). In the first room I find a bed, and a notepad on a table. The notepad informs me of Hantzen's new address (which I've already found via transporters). So, I'm a bit short of leads right now. That said, we know that one was lost on Gaea and one was lost on Metis. The former I can get to via transporters and I have transport. Metis however lacks an atmosphere so I'll need to find some means to breathe, or bring a spaceship and land right next to buildings and make mad dashes in and out of them. Onwards, to Gaea.


A quick stop at Lawson Bank to get a nice snap of the bank, a road, and the comet approaching the sun. Lawson Bank was so named because the Chancellor at the time of coding was Nigel Lawson, who these days is better known as the father of Nigella Lawson (does anyone get the feeling he was hoping for a son?).

Would someone please tell me how this...



... created this...



.. because it's a complete mystery to me.


So this is my ride on Gaea. Time to do some exploring to see what I find.


Leaving the building and following the road round, the first named building I encounter is this one, the Bank of Gaea - which just so happens to be where the Gaea recipient worked. Let's go inside.


Gold in the basement.. hmm.. well I'm not the most moral person in the world. Besides, I need some cash. Need to find a trading post of course.


Ah a desk, a chair and a clipboard. The clipboard will surely have something funny on it. Turns out it's a receipt. An acknowledgement of receipt of the item. He has however taken it to be payment for debts rather than something more important, and has thus sold it. It then gives me a location for the trading post. The trading post paid 30000 credits and I've only got 9000. Looks like I'll need some cash. Hopefully there's some other trading posts nearby where I can sell the key for the Limo on Eris and the gold. I might come back for the sofa, the desk and the chair if need be. No leads yet on the actual bomb, but hopefully something will come up.


So here's the trading post, and they're asking for 40000 credits. I've got 9000. Time to see if I can make some money.


And here's an empty trading post. Time to go sell something. A kidney maybe?


So the way this works is you cycle your inventory, and the price appears. If you're happy to trade, you drop the item and get the cash. Simple. Each trading post only deals with a single item (something that the scroll in Vesta parliament proposed a law to fix - a nod to the technical limitations of the game lampshaded for comedy). I now have some cash.


If I leave and come back this is the price to buy back the gold.. a 100% markup! Cheeky bastards!


So I want to buy the hi-fi. All I need to do is pick the object up when I have enough cash and it's mine.



And as you can see it's one of the triggers.. wait I paid 40000 for that you rip-off bastards.

So I'm going to stop there as I don't want this to turn into a full solution - I want you guys to have fun playing it. This is a genuinely great game. Looking at it from 2020 it's clear there are technical limitations. The spacing apart of the buildings, the single-object trading posts, the lack of humans, etc. And yet none of it matters. The game evokes a wonderfully desolate alien atmosphere that you end up just not caring about those things, and its world is so well-realised and beautifully-written that it drags you in. Finding things is hard, but that's part of the fun, it's a treasure hunt. It's notable that the sequel (Mercenary 3: The Dion Crisis which I plan to cover in a similar way) gets around some of these problems by having people in the game, albeit in a limited way, and a public transport network (with bus timetables printed and in the box). The thing is that this game just puts my brain in such a wonderful place. The relaxed pace (even with that timer) means I can soak up the world and have some fun. It's glorious.

It's pretty damn cool and hugely ahead of its time in so many ways, though perhaps something of an evolutionary cul-de-sac where Midwinter can trace its lineage down to the modern Far Cry games, Damocles has never really been copied or extended, which is a dreadful shame.

If you have some spare time, jump into this extraordinary world created by an extraordinary man. Paul Woakes created something genuinely beautiful. Go and enjoy it.



Resources
Map of Gamma System: http://www.atarimania.com/st/boxes/hi_res/damocles_novagen_uk_i_9.jpg
Manual: https://www.mediafire.com/file/a752wnzvhdhx51b/Damocles_Manual.pdf/file
Windows Conversion/Remake: http://mercenarysite.free.fr/mddclone.htm
Save game at end of this part: https://www.mediafire.com/file/7qyvie2yooqrxoh/Damocles-003.sts/file
 

lmimmfn

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I muat play Damocles, tbh its like a modern open world game with multiple paths like Witcher 3 with a mixture of Nier Automata for multiple runs(slightly different) of the game to gather the full story.
Sounds fantastic, as soon as i setup my Amiga again this will be the first game i try. Didnt interest me in the day but i just wanted explosions :)
 
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pramod

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There's just something magical about the simple polygonal graphics of the early 3D days on ST/Amiga games. I'm not sure why but they actually immerse me in the game a lot more than modern 3d graphics.
 
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hariseldon

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I muat play Damocles, tbh its like a modern open world game with multiple paths like Witcher 3 with a mixture of Nier Automata for multiple runs(slightly different) of the game to gather the full story.
Sounds fantastic, as soon as i setup my Amiga again this will be the first game i try. Didnt interest me in the day but i just wanted explosions :)

I didn't necessarily think of it like that but yeah I guess you're not a million miles away, though the different paths are more different ways to solve the problem and really it comes down to destroying the comet or destroying Icarus to change the path of the comet (or you can blow up one of the other planets just for shits and giggles). There's a tonne of easter eggs too like the keys to the Novagen office being in a pub, and the Novagen office and the author's house being in the game. The author's house has some particularly cool things which I won't spoil.

There's just something magical about the simple polygonal graphics of the early 3D days on ST/Amiga games. I'm not sure why but they actually immerse me in the game a lot more than modern 3d graphics.

Absolutely - that's certainly the case for me with Damocles and Midwinter 2. I definitely favoured the 3D games looking back, I wasn't so into explosions and shit, not that I hated them but they weren't my focus, and those games built such inviting worlds. The desolate landscapes, the deserted cities of Damocles were just beautiful and honestly make it one of the greatest chill games, while being chased by various vehicles and shooting/stealing them in Midwinter 2 was always a shedload of fun. It helps that neither game went anywhere near a committee or focus group (indeed Damocles rips the piss out of committees). Stunning games.
 
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hariseldon

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ST Format Issue 14 - Download


The World in August 1990
In UK news BA had a plane stolen by the Iraqi army at Kuwait airport after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, while back home the heatwave saw temperatures hit 37.1C (98.8F). Labour had a 15 point lead over hte Tories (probably because of the poll tax) and while Iraq was taking British hostages, Lebabon was releasing them with Brian Keenan freed. BBC Radio 5 began broadcasting, covering news and sport.

The US news was pretty quiet outside of the middle east, but the Magellan landed on Venus which was pretty exciting.

Elsewhere in the world Iraq invaded Kuwait, with the UN ordering an embargo against Iraq. Meanwhile Bulgaria elected its first non-Communist president in 40 years, and the South African government and the ANC began talks to end Apartheid. Egypt, Syria and 10 other Arab states voted to send military forces to Saudi Arabia to discourage Iraq from invading.

On TV we had the debut of Channel 4's music program The Word (a program which would epitomise the anarchic style of 90s TV), while the last episode of Miami Vice would be shown on BBC 1. Channel 4 would also debut Drop The Dead Donkey.

The film charts are absolutely killer this month with Days Of Thunder at #1 (ok so it's Top Gun with cars but I like it), Gremlins 2 at #2 and the utterly fucking brilliant Total Recall at #3 (dropping from #1 the previous week). We also have Back To The Future 3 and Dick Tracy in there too, with Pretty Woman remaining in the chart and Spaced Invaders which sounds like something potentially fun (the whole film is on Youtube).


Yeah that looks quite something. They don't make films like that anymore!

The album chart isn't very exciting with Elton at #1, Madonna's album for the Dick Tracy movie at #2, Phil Collins, Pavarotti and NKOTB still there, even MC Hammer and Craig McLachlan. Not a good chart.

The singles chart features the utterly dreadful Turtle Power by Partners In Kryme (to coincide with the release of the movie) at #1 and Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini at #3 for fuck's sake. In more positive news there's Tom's Diner at #2 and Naked In The Rain at #4, plus Roxette at #9 with Listen To Your Heart. At #12 we see Together with Hardcore Uproar and Bon Jovi at #13 with Blaze Of Glory, plus Technotronic with Rockin over the Beat ft Ya Kid K at #15 so it's not all bad.




The Magazine
Issue 14 came out in August 1990, and was my 5th issue. The theme this month is how the cost of a game is divided between publisher, retailer, developer, etc. This is illustrated by a spiv on the cover, presumably representing the shady motherfuckers who ran software houses at that time.

In terms of news, Deluxe Paint finally made it to the ST. Deluxe Paint was an absolute powerhouse in the world of 16-bit art packages though the Amiga was its more natural home. They get their art editor to discuss what is an EA release, though fail to join the dots here and mention his work on an EA game (Magic Fly - more on that later).

The STFM got an upgrade to its version of TOS, to version 1.4. In general one didn't upgrade because TOS was in a ROM chip on the board, rather than the approach we see today of storing the OS on writable media. There's a brief mention of a game which ST Format would never review, but which you may recognise in my avatar - Mad Professor Mariarti. A brilliant game - one you should all try - and I'll be reviewing that when we get to roughly its time of release. In other news, Captain Sensible reviewed a Monty Python game. A mad world indeed.

There's a report on the British Music Fair in which highlights include an amazing 1.2GB hard drive. Madness. However, beyond that the show was further evidence of the ST's place in the music industry.

The TT was getting closer to release and we discovered that it would run at 32MHz vs the ST's 8 and the Mega's 16. £2530 would get you a TT with 2MB of RAM and it would be available in October. I so wanted one as a kid though looking back, outside the 68030 chip, it was underspecced.

In the feature on where your money goes, ST Format conclude that 12.5% goes to the distributor (men with vans), 15% to VAT (UK sales tax), 40% to the software house, and 32.5% to the dealer (the shop). There's some discussion of the cost of film licenses - I suspect they'd cost a bit more than the quoted £250k today. One quite interesting thing is that they go into some detail about the cost of an advert in ST Format, as well as that of getting your game included as a cover disk demo. It's refreshing openness and honesty about what goes on behind the scenes and is probably quite an interesting read to some here.

The cover disk features demos of the mediocre Yolanda and the excellent Rick Dangerous (presumably the publishers trying to get some publicity given ST Format failed to review it). There's reference to a new version that's not quite as tough, so maybe that's a reason for the demo too. You also get a cool Graffiti tool to graffiti your desktop. I was going to do a screenshot but then embarassingly realised I'd forgotten how to run desktop accessories. There's also a funky speech synthesizer which sounds like Stephen Hawking. Needless to say I just made it swear.

We get a pretty full and detailed discussion of all the ST error codes and what they mean plus some guidance on where to start with BASIC, discussion of daisy-wheel vs laser printers, ant other techie bits.

Public Domain and Demos
I thought it might be nice to cover some of these especially as once we get out of the golden age that's pretty much all there is! There's some discussion of Budgie's licensware concept where Budgie receive royalties for PD libraries distributing their games. Among them is Safe As Houses which looks like a decent version of Monopoly. Beyond Budgie there's a fun little desktop accessory which melts your screen, a free spreadsheet program called Opus which looks surprisingly good, and Quizmaster for making your own quizzes (handy for exam revision).

In the world of Demos we have a Dragon's Lair demo which takes scenes straight from the laser disk, EDEM11 playing 28 bits of music, STE Demos which show off the STE's sound chip and blitter, plus some sound samples with graphics showing 400 colours on screen.

Previews
The first preview is for Betrayal - a strategy game about which I know very little. There's a brief mention of a James Bond game - The Spy Who Loved Me. I suspect it's one of those 4-games-in-one jobbies. Snow Strike gets a mention, the adverts always looked pretty good but I had a look at a YouTube of someone playing it and it's utter shite. Chuck Yeager lends his name to another flight sim, though I've not played it. There's some RPG action in Legends Of Faerghail but the stupid name puts me off. Alcatraz has a pretty screenshot but it's not quite clear what it is. Murders In Space looks interesting, there's not been much in the way of Murder Mystery games on the ST, though this month we have Murder! under review.

We get a longer preview and developer interview for Core Design (of Tomb Raider fame) on the topic of their coming games Rick Dangerous 2, where we're told we must refer to it as Rick Dick instead of Rick Dangerous but never told why. There's a focus on more between-level cinematics, and a camera that tracks the player in vertical scrolling and an improved trap system with more detection points and triggering by dynamite, bullets, etc rather than just the player. These changes bring the game closer to its modern descendent Spelunky.

Reviews
Games reviewed this month:
Magic Fly (Wireframe-3D space game - EA - £24.95 - 91% Format Gold)
Monty Python (Insanity - Virgin - £19.99 - 84% - Reviewed by Captain Sensible)
Debut (Planet Simulator - Pandora - £24.99 - 77%)
Breach 2 (Strategy - Impressions - £24.99 - 82%)
Yolanda (Single-screen hardcore platformer - Millenium - £19.99 - 58%)
Last Ninja 2 (Flower arranging simulator - Activision - £24.99 - 86%)
Kick Off 2 (Accountancy Rhythm Game - Anco - £19.99 - 92% Format Gold)
Blockout (3D Tetris - Rainbow Arts - £19.99 - 72%)
Battlemaster (Shit - Mirrorsoft - £24.99 - 82%)
Sly Spy (Didn't get a Bond license - Ocean - £19.99 - 59%)
Back To The Future 2 (Multi-game film license - Mirrorsoft - £19.95 - 62%)
Antago (Super-charming puzzle/board game - Art Of Dreams - £19.95 - 84%)
Murder (Murder mystery - US Gold - £19.99 - 72%)
Harley Davidson (Motorbike game with minigames and sexism [YAY] - Mindscape - £29.99 - 76%)
Astate (Hidden object - New Deal Productions - £19.95 - 38%)
Wildlife (Safari Guns with cameras - New Deal Productions - £19.99 - 21%)
Treble Champions (Shit football management game - Challenge Software - £19.95 - 19%)
Official Everton FC Intelligensia - Amfas - £19.99 - 57%)
Shades (Online chatroom/game - Micronet - 8p/min [peak] / 2p/min [cheap] + Micronet subscription - 80%) - see https://www.prestel.org.uk/ for more about Prestel
Trash (Online chatroom/game - Micronet - 8p/min [peak] / 2p/min [cheap] + Micronet subscription - 92%)

The interesting bit here is Magic Fly. https://www.mobygames.com/game/amiga/magic-fly and https://www.mobygames.com/game/atari-st/magic-fly show the magazine scores for each version of the game, with nobody going over 70% and yet ST Format bizarrely gave the game 91% - a game that one of their staff had worked on. Amiga Power's rating for the game is particularly scathing. To their credit they don't hide the relationship, with the preview in the previous issue going fairly in-depth, but it's still pretty egregious, certainly I'd like to see more of a mention in the review.

Of the games reviewed, the ones that interest me most are Monty Python for sheer silliness, Last Ninja 2 as it looks like an interesting take on the beat em up, Kick Off 2 because I want to see what changed from 1 to 2 and because Dino Dini is god, Back To The Future 2 because the film was amazing and I remember dicking about with a cover disk demo back in the day, Antago because it looks so charming, Murder because I always wanted to give it a shot and Harley Davidson because it looks like a cool take on motorbikes. I'm going to be busy!

For those playing along at home, I'll be sourcing pirated releases from the TOSEC collection on archive.org. Here's a list of releases, likely you'll also find decent releases at AtariMania.
- Monty Python - Automation 508, Medway Boys 94, Pompey Pirates 56
- Last Ninja 2 - Automation 363, Flame Of Finland 29, SuperGAU 956, Pompey Pirates 42, Vectronix 169
- Kick Off 2 - Automation 69E (doesn't sound right), SuperGAU 343, Medway Boys 75, Vectronix 9/204
- Back To The Future 2 - Automation 342, Flame of Finland 36A, SuperGAU 365/848/858, Medway Boys 84, Vectronix 626 -- the first game is only on Vectronix 805, I might give it a quick go just for a crack
- Antago - No warez version - can only find at http://www.atarimania.com/game-atari-st-antago_11073.html
- Murder! - Automation 377, Medway Boys 99A, Pompey Pirates 58
- Harley Davidson - Automation 510, Flame Of Finland 33
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
Great concept for a thread @hariseldon :messenger_beermugs:.

Amusingly, great minds think alike and I've been doing this for my own entertainment (without realising you would create this thread) for the last month with the Commodore User magazine.

I always planned to return to the magazines one day as an Amiga OS refresher. But I ended up deciding to play all of the games reviewed that month instead and (re)discover the Amiga library as it evolved through the years. It's a brilliant way to discover any hidden gems that you may have missed back in the day and are no longer talked about.
So.. any chance of a Commodore User thread? Go on, it might be fun!
 

SirTerry-T

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Have you got Andrew Braybook and Rafaelle Cecco on your list?
Any ZX Spectrum owner should know who Raf is ;) I think it was Your Sinclair that had a monthly report from him throughout out his development of "Stormlord"???
Exolon is a bloody 8-bit classic too. Raf Cecco and Steve Crow really knew how to work around the Speccy's "unique" colour mapping.
 
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hariseldon

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Any ZX Spectrum owner should know who Raf is ;) I think it was Your Sinclair that had a monthly report from him throughout out his development of "Stormlord"???
Exolon is a bloody 8-bit classic too. Raf Cecco and Steve Crow really knew how to work around the Speccy's "unique" colour mapping.
Ah I had a CPC 464 rather than a speccy, and honestly wasn't a very clued up 7-year-old (despite all my programming)!
 
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Nitty_Grimes

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I’d be all over a Commodore 64 / Commodore Amiga thread too as long as it’s the same quality as this one.

I don’t mean like that I’m taking the piss, I wouldn’t be able to come up with a thread as good as this is what I mean.
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
I’d be all over a Commodore 64 / Commodore Amiga thread too as long as it’s the same quality as this one.

I don’t mean like that I’m taking the piss, I wouldn’t be able to come up with a thread as good as this is what I mean.
Honestly it would be awesome, especially with some C64 stuff to bridge some of my gaming gaps. If nobody steps up it might be a challenge for me to do after I finish this thread (only 72 more issues to go, 25 done so far and one in progress).
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
Raf Cecco produced brilliant versions of Cybernoid on the CPC

I think I had about 5 or 6 games on it. I know I had Oh Mummy, and some variety of motorbike game where you jumped over buses, and I think a strategy game of some kind where you were defending Britain from attack or something of that nature - I think it might have been Battle Of Britain. It was a loooooooooong-ass time ago though so my memory is shit.
 
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lmimmfn

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I think I had about 5 or 6 games on it. I know I had Oh Mummy, and some variety of motorbike game where you jumped over buses, and I think a strategy game of some kind where you were defending Britain from attack or something of that nature - I think it might have been Battle Of Britain. It was a loooooooooong-ass time ago though so my memory is shit.
Lol, i liked Oh Mummy from the free 20 game or so pack. I had my CPC for a few years and probably had about 50-60 full price games for it( a lot in the day at £9.99 each).
I dont have a CPC now but im programming Z80 assembly on it regularly, messing with hardware scrolling on it(technically not officially documented HW scrolling) etc. which very few games used back in the day hence why it seemed so slow.

Oh no, youre going to do Back To The Future 2 :goog_eek:
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
Annoyingly Back To The Future 1 is looking like an impossible find - TOSEC is missing a few Vectronix and 805 is one of them, with no images to be found elsewhere, AtariMania doesn't even bother mentioning it. Buggeration. Oh well.
 

lmimmfn

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Annoyingly Back To The Future 1 is looking like an impossible find - TOSEC is missing a few Vectronix and 805 is one of them, with no images to be found elsewhere, AtariMania doesn't even bother mentioning it. Buggeration. Oh well.
Im hoping you meant BTTF 2? :)
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
Okay maybe it’s just an error with the listing?

I mean on the wiki it’s not mentioned either


Not trying to disagree with you either :)

You're allowed to disagree with me, I'm not Jack Dorsey or Mark Zuckerberg ;) Tbh it's possible it doesn't exist, certainly info on the Vectronix sets is a little sketchy as they weren't quite a standard release set like the DBug/Automation/Medway/Pompey/etc ones - just individual cracked games without an intro etc so numbering is a bit more random.
 

sunnysideup

Member
Nov 11, 2018
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Great thread !

I have to say one thing though. I dont think the amiga and st press had a clue on what makes a good game. Ive been looking alot on h.o.l and such and looking at amiga reviews. The reviews seem completely random. Luckily everyone had the chance to pirate the game and try out for themselves.
 
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Nitty_Grimes

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Aug 4, 2015
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I think maybe because there were so many games coming out literally all the time. I get its probably the same with indie games / App Store games nowadays, but back then you couldn't really keep up.

No cartridge runs and no Nintendo saying you can have 100,000 now but then you can't have anymore for six months kind of thing it seemed to be like a free for all, release stuff all the time.
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member


From the cover disk application listings.. anyone else seeing some dodginess with the developer's name? Or do I just have a filthy mind?
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
Robotz


ST Format Review
Nope

My Review

For this review I'm running Steem with a 1MB STE, running TOS 1.6. Just for fun I'm going to review a little freebie on the ST Format 14 cover disk. I'm doing so because I remember it being quite a decent crack. It opens with the intro screen you see above and a nice bit of crunchy sampled sound.

First up, it's single-screen, no scrolling. Probably wise given the ST's limitations - it allows one to focus on gameplay without too much work getting performance out of it. The result of course is that it's super-smooth. I wouldn't be surprised if it was hitting 50FPS (because in the UK TVs ran at 50Hz).


Here's a screen. Touch the wall, death. Touch the metallic turrets, death. Touch one of the bullets they fire, death. Your bullets only stun the turrets temporarily. The goal is to destroy the red thing (takes a fair few shots) then you can kill the robots and escape. The robots move in an almost turn-based fashion, while the red generator remains stationary, with initial positioning fairly random.



As you go on it throws multiple generators at you and tougher enemies but the format remains much the same. It's obviously not going to stretch anyone's brain but it's a good honest bit of fun, remarkably built in only 5 days. Presentation is excellent and really the only fault I can offer is that with walls being death it asks you to squeeze through tiny gaps to which a digital joystick is not ideally suited.



Of course I had to do a silly high score.

Hope you guys don't mind me covering some more esoteric things like this - I reckon there's some interesting stuff to be found outside of commercial releases. And yes I will be covering Entombed when we get there.
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
Antago


ST Format Review


My Review

For this review I'm running Steem with a 1MB STE, running TOS 1.6. There's not a proper menu disk with it on but there's an Atari Legend crack so we'll see if it works. This one gives us a chiptune but not much else, just some chiptune music and some text, with a little scroller at the bottom.

So Antago is a board game of sorts, and to help figure out the rules I've included a link to the manual (see below). The objective is to get 5 in a row, horizontally, diagonally or vertically (so basically connect 4). It's a tiny bit different to connect 4 however. Where Connect 4 requires you to drop the token from one side, Antago lets you insert the token from any side, which pushes other tokens in the row/column along. This isn't possible however if the last inserted token of your opponent is among them. By the way I'm doing this review with an intermittenlty broken o key on my laptop. That is officially unhelpful.


So, we get an intro with some sampled music, not anything terribly exciting but it's solid enough, and a background with some palette cycling to animate the lightning around the outside. The loading is quite long and slow.


We get a menu where we can choose to play single player or two player, set the computer level, etc. Really not loving all these os.


This is the setup. In this case I'm the devil, and the CPU is the angel, but it can be the other way round. Either way, the key thing is it's devil vs angel, and they're absolutely charming. When the devil wants to get past the angel he shoves the angel out the way. It's the little things.


A win for the horny little devil. AI is not the sharpest.

In the end it's wonderfully charming but perhaps lacking in depth - my tactic was quite simple in just pushing along one line - the angel briefly tried to interject by placing a counter in my path but I was able to dislodge it by pushing it off in a later turn. I was more or less unopposed on my line - I didn't try to stop my opponent as I didn't need to - he interrupted his own progress by trying to interrupt mine.

My gut feeling is that the ruleset suffers from some similar problems to tic tac toe, in that there's no room for sophistication in tactics, meaning that one can't really have a meaningful game.

Note that I spent half this review trying and failing to fix my laptop key. Copy/paste was necessary to get o working.

Resources
Manual: http://www.replacementdocs.com/download.php?view.4597
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
Back To The Future 2


ST Format Review


My Review

For this review I'm running Steem with a 1MB STE, running TOS 1.6. I've gone with Medway boys 84, in part because I don't want to always use Automation. It's not a very exciting menu - the word Medway Boys floats around, there's some scrolly text and there's an awful chiptune rendition of Axel F. However, for all its faults, it has Mad Professor Mariarti on it, which is awesome. Still, Back To The Future and Axel F, the most 80s thing ever.


The crackers kindly inform me that I need 1MB and that the end screen is shit. Well, that's good.


We get the imageworks logo, the film logo and then a poorly-animated attempt at the intro because where we're going we don't need roads. Accompanying this is a limp rendition of the theme tune using the ST's wonderful sound chip.


"Marty, you have got to come back with me" "Where?" "Back to the future"


And into the game. So I've got to skate along, pressing fire makes Marty clap. Or punch I guess, it's not immediately clear. It's also not always in time with me pressing the button.


Oh good, my first death.


So I have letters to pick up, I guess, no idea why. Picking up Pepsi bottles gets you time it seems. Not product placement, honest. The taxi looks cool in motion, and the frame rate isn't the worst. Music is standard chip tune bollocks. Hitting a car is death.


I punched a girl. I feel bad about it. Locations from the film show up in the backgrounds which is nice - clearly they had actually watched the movie, which is more than can be said of some film licenses. Biff is wandering around with his cane and various wankers on hover boards harass you. However, it's just a bit crap isn't it. Why do I do this to myself? Oh by the way I switched to my desktop. It has a working o key, absolute luxury. My laptop will shortly find itself flying.

The difficulty is pretty bad, but I'm not convinced it's because the game is hard, more that the controls are so unresponsive. I'm going to use the trainer just to get a bit of an idea of what awaits me later on.


Half way through the level we switch to going up the screen. Yay. Oh and that's the Doc. (this turns out NOT to be half way through the level - not even close)


There's a police car, oblivious to the violence. Curiously direct hits don't always do any damage to the person you're fighting.


Oh for fuck's sake I've already been past this fucking thing the other way at the bottom of that fucking road. As the level goes on it becomes increasingly clear there's a LOT of recycling going on. By the way, going up the screen, cars come up from the bottom so if you're at the bottom (because you want to give yourself time to avoid things coming at you from the top) you'll get hit by cars.

It goes on for-fucking-ever. I eventually lose the will to live. Film licenses suck. Apart from Westwood's Bladerunner. But every other fucking film license sucks balls. This one feels like it's about 2 years out of date vs other games of the time. A disappointing effort.
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
STAF 1-13 transplanted successfully to https://stformat.wordpress.com - aiming to get the rest done over the next couple of days.

Getting the content in first then putting in proper main header images per article, then tweak site design and build a nice navigation that allows you to see all the issues and reviews with suitable iconography.
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member

Just a quick summary of where I'm going next with this. Content is all transplanted over, likely I'll tie up some loose ends here tomorrow.
 
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hariseldon

Unconfirmed Member
Great thread !

I have to say one thing though. I dont think the amiga and st press had a clue on what makes a good game. Ive been looking alot on h.o.l and such and looking at amiga reviews. The reviews seem completely random. Luckily everyone had the chance to pirate the game and try out for themselves.
I didn’t. I had no idea piracy was a thing. I missed a couple of years of school though so maybe that’s why - no playground disk swaps.