Archive for the 'Scrolling arcade' Category

Uridium

Author: admin
October 13, 2010

We seem to be seeing a lot of games at the moment that were deemed impossible to create on the Spectrum within first years of its era, Uridium is such a game and the fact that it has been converted so effectively from the Commodore would seem to suggest that the rule book on what is possible on the Spectum will have to be rewritten yet again.

Uridium is a shoot-em-up which is surprising both in its speed and subtlety.

Massive alien Super-Dreadnoughts hover menacingly above planets draining their minerals at an alarming rate. Your mission is to fly your Manta fighter and destroy these alien leviathans before it’s too late.

Unfortunately, this is almost as impossible as it sounds because each Dreadnought has hordes of alien fighter that swarm to get you as mell as lurking launchers that spit deadly homing mines. If that’s not enough then the Dreadnought’s labyrinth of communication aerials and meteor shielding form hazards that could have a fatal impact on the unwary pilot.

Your Manta fighter is highly manoeuvrable and can emen flip on its side to squeeze through the narrowes gaps. Twin firing lasers form your defence, as well as the means to blast away sections of the Dreadnought’s hull.

Some aliens are quite harmless and earn you a hefty bonus when you wipe out a whole wave, yet chasing the last one can lead you into a trap or a collision with a meteor shield. Others are less friendly and some are downfiring unpleasant, announcing their presence with a hail of bullets before diving at you like deranged lemmings.

Deadliest of all are the insidious mine launchers that detect your presence then fire a homing mine to destroy you. They follow you with uncanny accuracy for fifteen terrifying seconds before they explode. You can avoid them either by ducking behind a meteor shield or outrunning them for their full time span.

If you destroy enough of the Dreadnought and blast away its aliens then you’ll be awarded the welcome “land now” message that signals surrender. Land successfully (not always a simple task) and you’re warped on to the next Super-Dreadnought before you can sign any autographs.

The graphics are impressive with a lot of detail. To avoid attribute clashes Uridium is fashionably monochrome with a change in color to indicate level changes.

The game can be played with either joystick or keyboard with one or two player options and it’s definitely a game that will spark endless squabbles over whose turn is next to have a crack at the Dreadnought.

Uridium download proves there is still a lot of life left in the shoot-em-up format especially at this level of sophistication and it is highly recommended for anyone with an itchy trigger finger.



Fist 2

Author: admin
October 13, 2010

The Way Of The Exploding Fist is a hard act to follow. Does the legend continue in Fist II or have the wizards from Oz come a cropper?

The arrival of Fist II sent me into turmoil. Lines formed at the stores as everybody demanded first go – just as when the original Fist punched its way into our hearts.

The Way Of The Exploding Fist was more or less a straightforward punch up game. Points for pleasure. This time you have a mission. The fighter must search out and destroy an evil warlord who lurks in a volcano fortress. But before this he must find a number of mystical scrolls, known as Trigrams, and return them to their temple. These scrolls – there are eight of them – will give the fighter extra powers with which to face the deadly showdown.

The play ranges against a variety of backdrops – swamps, mountains, underground caves, forests and temples.

There are various enemies to take on and punch and kick into oblivion – peasant soldiers, warrior guards, ninjas, shoguns, assassins and mud warriors – pus snakes, dogs and bats.

In all there are more than 100 screens to explore and with a few minutes you’ll realize a map will be an essential playing tool.

Within minutes of starting to play I became profoundly disappointed. There seemed to be nothing to the game just a couple of fights and a lot of apparently aimless walking about. Several times I walked away from the game. But each time I returned, the game unfolded a little more, a few more screens were discovered. How did I miss that ladder first time round? Why didn’g I kick that wall down before? It’s that sort of game. Unless you stick at it, you’ll miss a lot of opportunities.

I was, and still am, disappointed in the fighting abilities of the little character. He just doesn’t appear to be as controllable or agile as in the first game. I lost a lot of lives in battles which sould have been walkovers. It’s not that I hadn’t the skill to win, but the fighter just didn’t respond.

Some of the backgrounds were not that impressive either. The sound and music, however, are great. I thought they were fantastic on The Way Of The Exploding Fist and contributed a lot to the fun of the game. It’s the same with Fist II. There’s one great section which I can’t really describe. It’s sort of slow, moody and haunting. Brilliant.

Logically there was no way Melbourne House could put a clone of Fist I. They’ve been so many imitators that the format has been done to death. Fist II is different, a slower, more thoughtful game with a lot more to it that meets the eye.

I can’t pretend to have met the evil warlort in deadly combat yet. I haven’t the faitest idea when I’ll get to him. But each time I play a little more of the game is revealed. I keep coming back for more.



Renegade

Author: admin
October 13, 2010

This is going to sell zillions. Renegade Spectrum – converted from the coin-op of the same name – is quite possibly is most visually violent computer game I’ve ever seen.

It has some of the characteristics of a martial arts game. Combinations of joystick movement and Fire button provide a number of attacking and defensive moves which can be used on an ever more cunning and dangerous series of opponents. The big difference is that where International Karate, say, allowed for a number of elegant and subtle throws and holds, Renegade is street violence at its dirtiest. This includes kicking people when they are down and booting them where it hurts.

Renegade Spectrum is in various levels, all of which look like the subways, dingy rundown ghetto streets and derelict buildings on the fringes of some American city. Even on Level 1 – set in a tube station – things look bad. Just you, against half a dozen or more opponents. Some of them have what appear to be coshes, others just put the boot in.

Your joystick control provides such wonderful moves as flying leaps, kneeing in the groin, nutting and punching. The animation is excellent – comically realistic.

There’s a new feature to the combat game, too – the members of the gang act together – one may grab you and hold you whilst another repeatedly punches your stomach. Alternatively, you may be slugging it out with one jeaned bully-boy only to find your battle cut short by a swipe around the head with a baseball bat from another.

Even if you manage to clear some of villains (difficult because they don’t all stay down – some seem to need several knees where it hurts at least) this is only a minor victory. Your real opponent is the Boss who, after a certain point decides to join in the fray. The Boss is the toughest of the lot – his strenght level is indicated by a bar alongside yours and he is very difficult to beat – partly because he is defended/supported by the remaining hoodlums.

Maybe, just maybe, you’ll make it through to the next level in which it looks like you’ve stumbled into a Hells Angels party. Oh dear.

The bikers begin by zooming at you on their bikes – you tend to get run over a lot. There is, however, an almost sure-fire move – kick the Angels off their bikes with a flying leap. After that the whole gang comes for you and it’s back to kickung and punching again.

Next up is a tribe of whip-wielding leather-clad women. Yep, that’s what I said. Very bizarre it looks too.

Next level is a bunch of razor-wielding thugs and finally an iterior scene with more thugs plus their leader with gun!

Graphics are reasonable but it’s the animation that really scores. All this wanton violence would look like nothing were it not for the brilliant way the Spectrum’s graphical possibilities have been used to best effect to give a realistic impression of some complex moves – you’ll believe a sprite can hold it goolies and get nutted.

Criticisms? Not many – memory economies mean that a lot of sprites are repeated (but then hoodlums all look the same really don’t they?)

Generally though, it’s superb implementation of the arcade game. It is irredeemably violent but never mind. I won’t tell anybody if you don’t.



Ikari Warriors

Author: admin
October 13, 2010

As you may recall, everybody expected Ikari Warriors online to be released one year earlier. It was quite a long time to wait. Was IW worth it? The first thing is the game comes in one of these giant cardboard boxes filled mostly with air – I thing the size of packaging is becoming a kind of software house one-upmanship, bu (chortle chortla) it isn’t the size that counts.

Enough of that. Ikari Warriors was a coin-op beloved by many in the oldenish days and it’s in the Commando mode of lone-soldier-running-along-firing-all-the-time-blowing-things-to-bits-top-to-bottom-scroll. The only significant feature really is the fact that you can toggle between two players and from time to time grab a tank to do some serious damage.

Do you need a plot? Well, this general has been held captive by a band of revolutionaries and desperately needs rescuing. Instead of sending in serious numbers of nuclear forces to blow them away, the forces of truth, justice and the American way have decided to send just you instead, and a friend if you’re doing the two player option. Maybe they don’t really want this guy back…

From moment one, streaming hordes of revolutionaries leap on you, filling the scren with the large and small black blobs that stand for grenades and bullets in this game. You blast and dodge your way past them, occasionally taking out big gun emplacements, which crumble away to reveal bonus bullets, grenades, lives and fuel. This last is for the odd tanks which seem to have been left thoughtfully scattered around the screen.

Main characters are small though they zoom around pretty spreedily, but some of the gunn turrets, boulders ad other bits and pieces that litter the playing area are quite detailed and effective. Though several basic designs seem to crop up over and over again…

For all that Ikari Warriors online is fast and more addictive than you might expect. I had a severe case of the “just-on-mores, despite feeling pretty unimpressed with the overall look of the game.

A quick word on the sound. Whilst on the 48K it’s merely average, on the 128K it’s excellent, in fact it may be the closest to a real “coin-op” sonding soundtrack I’ve ever heard and adds significantly to the game.

Ikari Warriors was pretty late, so it looks fairly out of tht date and probably won’t be anybody’s all-time favorite game, but the gameplay is strong and the action is fast, and that counts for quite a lot in my book. Worth the wait? Just about.



R-Type

Author: admin
October 5, 2010

I was surrounded. A thousand screaming alien goons coming at me from every single angle, wailing and firing and shooting for all they were worth. They never stood a chance. Swift moves and a happy trigger finger despatched the slimebags in an ionized cloud.

Of course, reversing into the ceiling and blowing myself to bits wasn’t really a technically strategic move, but, come on – I’m nearly on the second level.

You’ve probably already read stacks about R-Type online, so I don’t need to explain the story. It’s enough to say that it’s probably the space shoot-out in the arcades but is it any good on the Spec?

Marvelous. It’s all color and violence and weapons and death and more violence.

You pilot a single-seater spacecraft (which actually looks very stupid) into the heart of an alien planet with a view to destroy the whole place. Along the way, you’ll come up against virtually every conceivable form of nasty. Flyers, walkers, shooters and bumpers, weird and wonderful Gigeresque alien constructions and it’s just so fast.

The most exciting thing about R-Type online is the range of weapons available for collection at certain points in the game. By blowing away specific types of bad guys – usually walkers – a jewel will appear which, on collection will produce fantastic effects the next time you hit Fire. The extras available include rocket bombs which home in on the nearest alien, reflective lasers which bounce around all over the shop and lots more besides.

The first item to appear after a jewel pick-up is the Probe, a kind of revolving bumper affair which protects your ship, making you immune from head-on collision with aliens. The probe can also be fired off into a high-risk area of the screen to clear a path. Of course, when it’s not attached, you’re vulnerable.

The level of difficulty is set just right. It’s a very tough game indeed, and you’ll be lucky to get past the first level after a couple of days, but whereas lots of other shoot-outs rapidly become impossible, R-Type still feels as if it can be cracked if you persevere. Even when you’re horribly outnumbered, it is possible to move your way out of trouble.

After the initial waves of alien fighter formations you gradually come into contact with nastier and nastier baddies. Inevitably, at the end of each level, you come across a huge monster which needs a whole cartload of firepower and a lot of strategy to destroy. These are setpieces of the game and they’re so absurdly extravagant they’d be silly if they weren’t so bloody difficult.

R-Type online is a multi-load. After every few minutes of scroll (assuming you could fly through unhampered) you have to load the next section. There are eight levels in all, some of which are combined in one load, others requiring a load a piece.

Personally, I was in danger of spoiling my shirt with bile at the thought of another scrolling space shoot-out, but R-Type proved me wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s fab. Colorful, action packed and a very faithful conversion.



Zub

Author: admin
August 31, 2010

Download Zub Remake

Zub online is an unusual name for a game. Zub just happens to be the name of Mastertronic’s latest release on their MAD label, which, strangely enough, is nothing to do with bees. Originally titled Zob, the name was changed after someone pointed out that Zob is in fact a rather rude word in French.

Zub is a small planet in the Zub galaxy. It is populated by Zubs who fight wars with Zubs from other planets. Right now Zub is in a bit of a pickle. Some nasty thieving zub has walked off with the valuable Green Eyeball of Zub. It is your job as Zub Private. Third Class, in the glorious army of Zub1 to go and get it back.

In the game the player controls the hero, called originally enough, Zub. Zubs are genetically created creatures who’s sole task in life is to fight. This particular Zub happens to be a coward and will need your coaing to get him through his mission.

You myst guide Zub around the planets in search for the Green Eyeball. There is a teleport station located in orbit above each of the planets in the system. Zub has to use small floating platforms in order to get up into the planet’s atmosphere. These must be jumped on by Zub and then moved so that he can jump to the next platform and so on until he reaches the teleport station. From the station he can travel to other planets in the system. A chart to the right of the main screen shows Zub’s progress towards each teleport station.

Each planet has it’s own security droids who are fairly keen to stop Zub making any progress. Some of these Droids are relatively harmless and will only push Zub off his platform if they touch him. However, on some of the planets there are armed droids and these will do far more damage to Zub. Zub must shoot each alien as it progresses dow for the top of the screen towards him. If shot the droid will flee back to the top of the screen and start its progress downwards again. The position of each nasty is shown on the same map showing Zub’s progress.

A picture of zub in his space suit shows how much energy he has left. As his energy depletes his internal skeleton is gradually revealed until he collapses in a heap of dried bones when all his life force has been sapped away.

There are five skill levels in the game and the player gets to choose which level to play at the beginning of the game. These levels range from Easy, Peasy to Aaaargh (probably quite hard!)

I was expecting yet another boring old arcade adventure while this loaded up, so mys eyes bulged a little when I first saw the two title screens. After my initial shock had passed I went on to play the game, unfortunately it didn’t really live up to the great attract mode but it is a good bit of mindless arcade action all the same. Graphically, there is little variation from level to level. The sound is dull although the 128K version is admittedly a lot better. On the whole I really like this, OK perhaps it isn’t the best pesented of games but it plays very well.



Navy Moves

Author: admin
August 22, 2010

There are very few things that make me furious and rabid with anger and despair. Games that are completely impossible from the very beginning come pretty close.

Navy Moves online, the sequel to Army Moves, fact fans, is the lates offering from the people of Dinamic. They’ve always had a reputation for producing tough games, but I fear they’ve gone insane with Navy Moves online.

The first section places you in a rubber dinghy, skittering along the surface of a dark and decidedly unsettled sea. You’re on your way to the enemy base with a sackful of Semtex sandwiches with which to scupper the baddies’ plane.

The route to the base – which actually doesn’t appear until part 2 – is bloody difficult. You bounce along the water, jumping over deadly pink candyfloss, which we’re told are in fact USSEX-12 mines, until you reach a safe zone, marked by a buoy. Easy? Hardly. The mines go on and on, and on and on and on. They come in twos and threes and on their own and they’re always a slightly different distance apart. Whenever you’re blown up by one, you go back to the start of the section. Most of the time there’s hardly enough room to land your dinghy between the mines and you have to bounce along the water, jumping, jumping and jumping in order to get through. This stage is simply too hard. Playability depleting silliness.

Once past the first two waves of mines you have to take on the real nasty types. Enemy troops on jetski bikes ride on from either side of the screen and fire harpoon guns at you. They also crash into you. Since there’s virtually no room to move around on the play area, making enough room for yourself to turn around and fire backwards is maddeningly hard. IT’S TOO HARD! I DON’T LIKE IT!

If you can control yourself and not hurl the joystick at the telly through ulcers and blood pressure worries, you’ll get onto an uderwater section, where octopi and monsters are your foes.

TIPS:

Mines: nake sure the rear end of your dinghy lands just in front of the mint you’re jumping. Jet Skies: keep firing to the front to rid yourself of frontal attacks, when ore comes from behind quickly swivel your gun round. After jumping some mines, keep shooting to the front as they try to jump your.

Sharks: most of the sharks come from the front, so always keep fir¬ing forwards. Make sure you do not touch a shark!

Humans: Keep firing to the front and dodge their harpoons when they approach from the rear, if they attack from the top, move yourself down, and vice versa.

Octopuses: Keep your hand on fire until 30th missiles (top and bottom of your craft) fire up. then let them rip. Do this approximate¬ly six times.

Sea Monster: Get as far as you can to the right and beam up the missies. Learn the patterns of the sea monster. You can’t dive here.

Submarine: Enter at the far right of the submarine, where the flat part is.