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Unofficial Who

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  1. A demo is now up on Steam as part of Next Fest. https://store.steampowered.com/app/865680/The_Eternal_Cylinder/ It's interesting, reminds me a lot of the Oddworld games in feel but through ACE Teams even weirder lens. Reminds me a lot of French Amiga games in the 80's / 90's.
  2. I think that's a fair call and I suspect that part of my coldness towards it is down to playing the arcade version pretty recently. It's weird that I've had the inverse experience where I kind of enjoyed played the C64 port of Out Run (and did back in the day as well.) I forgot to mention, some other platforms had much rougher versions of Side Arms. Check out this Amiga version! The Amstrad version. Weirdly enough the Spectrum version appears to have maintained the screen high bosses.
  3. Mobygames calls it Side Arms Hyper Dyne, Capcom Arcade Stadium calls it Hyper Dyne Side Arms but for the purposes of this post I'll just call it Side Arms. I remember seeing the arcade game in 1988 at the bowling alley which I used too love going to at the time because they had loads of arcade machines and also because unlike the local arcade it was far enough out of the town centre that none of my bullies ever went there. During 1988-89 apart from random video stores this was my exposure to arcade content. This game immediately impressed due to it's bright and bold graphics that reminded me of the battle scenes out of Robotech, the simultaneous two player mode and it's screen filling bosses. Enemies would come at you from both sides but having a fire button dedicated for left and right made for a snappy experience. And I didn't play this at all. Because two machines away was this. For me R-Type overshadowed this completely and Side Arms didn't get a look in. And that's a pity because as a poor (in both senses of the word) arcade player Side Arms is a much friendlier game allowing you some good progress before showing its teeth in level 2. I've since played a lot of it over the past 20 years due to various Capcom compilations and have grown fond of it over time. In any case I avoided Side Arms back in the day on the C64 as the conversion looked uninspiring from the screenshots and reviews. Strangely enough this game looks a lot better in motion. Some of the backgrounds are animated and the animation on the enemies is pretty decent. Unfortunately as the podcast mentions it loses a lot of the charm that makes Side Arms. First up the music is incredibly weedy. The SID is far better than this. The bosses are gone replaced with a glowing orb that spawns ships. The vertically scrolling sections are gone according to the Zzap review. And the control scheme is lacking. While I appreciate that it's difficult with a one button joystick you're left here having your back exposed when you retreat. A far better solution would have been just to have your little jet/mech man autofire and use the fire button to flip. I'm with Graham on this one @squirtle, I think you were too kind on this one. It's lacking compared to the arcade game and it's lacking compared to other shooters on the C64 which by 1988 numbered in the dozens (and thinking back on it between 1984-1988 the C64 was arguably the place to be for shooting games.) The arcade game is really influential this year in the number of jet pack/mech shooters it would inspire, two of which are reviewed in this months issue. It's a good attempt but far better takes on this would be made with the likes of Zybex this issue and an impressive port of semi sequel Forgotten Worlds in 1989. Given that you can buy the arcade game either as part of Capcom Arcade Stadium 2 OR just buy it alone for just over the price of a cup of coffee on almost every platform this old port is completely redundant.
  4. A demo is now out on Steam during Next Fest. It's very Portal crossed with....well...Blinx I guess? Looks lovely.
  5. A demo of Arkanoid Eternal Battle has hit Steam and....well it's Taito's take on Teris '99. You take on 24 other players in a battle to try and see who can last long enough to defeat Doh. It's Arkanoid and I love how they've made it look like a glitchy CRT display. What I don't love is how the other player windows slide across the background as they jostle for position making it incredibly hard to see what's going on, especially at the start as players leapfrog each other constantly score wise until it settles down. Avoid if you suffer from photo sensitivity.
  6. I seriously wouldn't blame anyone for bailing on this thread until next week. Especially with games like Zip "gracing" the thread. So non descript that I have no memory of reading the review despite avidly re-reading these magazines over and over in the 80's. And...well....it's shit. 16% back in the day, worth forgetting now. It's another StarForce clone and there are so many better ones out there. Warhawk, Fire Track and Lightforce to name but three. This, this is awful. Anyone could make a better game in SEUCK in half an hour. Panned and rightly so, this reminds me a lot of the poor quality games that sunk the 2600. All blame here to the publisher who should not have released this.
  7. Sable (PC) This broke my heart. I love the art style. I love the music. I love wandering around this vast desert world. But it makes me sick. As in physically. For some reason an hour in I feel violently ill and need to lie down for hours. I've tried travel sickness pills. I've tried playing it at 30fps, 60fps and 24fps. It makes no difference. There's something about how the screen updates which is just completely incompatible with me biologically. I've only had this twice before. Once with Descent on the PSOne in the 90's, and once with Call of the Sea (something that was fixed with a patch.) Sable, this is definitely a case of it's not you it's me.
  8. Demon Stalkers might have been published by Electronic Arts but being an Australian game it was in most game stores. And for a mere $6AU you could buy a demo version with a few levels on disc. This predated the Doom shareware release by a number of years and it meant that practically anyone I knew who had a disc drive had a copy. I only had a cassette drive in 1988 so I only got to play it sporadically. I loved the Gauntlet format so I loved what I saw. This was another one of those games that got away. 30 odd years on and it looks pretty rough on the surface. The sprites are a mixed bag (although I happen to like the rat sprites) and the scrolling with the floor patterns is a little stomach turning. It's telling that the busier levels eschew the floor pattern completely. However playing it today I found myself really getting into it. The levels are incredibly well designed with various tricks and the ability to return to levels via different staircases. I would have kept playing happily for the rest of the afternoon except the copy I found crashed on level 8. I think with smoother scrolling and better collision detection this would have been a classic. Even as it is it's solid and it has one over Gauntlet in that you can run and gun leading to less stop start gameplay. My experience with this genre mirrors that of my experience with JRPG's in the PSOne era. In that era I loved Final Fantasy 7 and was obsessed with finding the better RPG in much the same way I wanted to find the Gauntlet game on the C64 that was better than Druid. Turns out in both cases I might have had the best example of the genre in my collection already. If you're a fiend for Gauntlet style dungeon crawls this was one of the best at the time. Nowadays I'd recommend Hades or Bastian to scratch the itch.
  9. I actually own Project Stealth Fighter having bought it from a bargain bin at under $10AU. Bargain! Except that it wasn't for me. I bought this far too late having access to my flatmate's Amiga and a multitude of demo disks. I did try to get into this but I learned as much as I loved flying in video game form I loved flying when the model was simplified. Back then I was exposed to Red Baron on my friend's 386 and reading the hefty manual for that cover to cover found a flight sim I could get my head around (even with issues like some aircraft constantly pulling to the right or left due to mechanical issues.) This is about as modern as I can get when it comes to air to air combat. There's something understandable and visceral about being able to out manoeuvre an opponent at close quarters. With flight sims based off modern planes like Project Stealth Fighter so much of is is about flying and combat by instrumentation. And flying about on the C64 is just too slow unless you cheat like Mercenary did with only roads and one building being visible at once. I bounced off this so hard that it pretty much put me off all modern flight sims. Space sims that play with the physics like Elite or Wing Commander I can deal with. Magic Carpet? Possibly never been bettered in terms of flight combat for me. And for pure flying I'm just hanging out for the release of Pilot Wings 64 on the Switch for that chilled out feeling. This is an excellent game and if you don't have a boxed copy then https://www.c64-wiki.com/wiki/Project_Stealth_Fighter has a good run down. But it's an excellent game that just isn't for me and it was one of the games that taught me that not every Zzap Gold Medal would be something I would enjoy. Handing over to....well anyone who actually played this and got something out of it.
  10. Episode 80 is out! https://zappedtothepast.com/ Games covered -Project Stealth Fighter -Demon Stalkers -Zip -Side Arms -I, Ball II -Little Green Man -Osmium -Garfield – Big Fat Hairy Deal Um, only one real stand out in that lot and that's in a genre I don't get on with!
  11. 06/09 I Am Fish (PC) I love the look of this. It looks like a Pixar movie and I love most rolling games. For some reason I couldn't get on with this. The level design reminded me of PS2 games with some poor signposting (at least for me, maybe I've gotten too used to having my hand held?) And when they introduced alternate container shapes they lost me. Below is exactly where I stopped playing.
  12. Oct 02/10 Ghosts'n'Goblins (Arcade/PC) Yes. At last. All it took was decades. And a version with rewind. But even with rewinds to erase small errors it's a game that hates you and demands you know it inside out to progress. The Dark Souls of 80's arcade games. Beat it twice with the shield. Now I'll never play it again. Expect me to have completed the sequel by 2050. 02/10 Life is Strange:True Colours (PC) Ever since Twin Peaks I've been a massive fan of any drama set in the American North West and I've been on board Life is Strange since the first one (although I found Life is Strange 2 difficult for a lot of reasons although excellent.) I initially bounced off True Colours but came back to it this week and was charmed by Alex Chen and her quest to build a new life with her brother. The set up is a little slow but pays off with the majority of the game taking part in the main street of Haven, a mountain mining town. The emphasis here is all about learning about the characters, the unexplained power Alex has being able to read thoughts with the downside of also being affected by said thoughts. As with all these games the visuals are incredible with the illusion of a lot of detail in the sets and some fantastic facial animation work. There's a lot you can read just by facial expressions here. Music is front and centre here and depending on your musical tastes you'll either be drawn in to the point of just enjoying the quiet moments with a song or stabbing the skip button. There's even a couple of well performed covers here. Puzzle wise it isn't Return to Monkey Island but if you're a fan you're coming for the drama and the small choices that can affect the end game. There's nothing so elaborate as the end of Life is Strange 2 here but there's a satisfying payoff at the end. One for fans (and it's out on GamePass so you lose nothing by giving it a try.) Previously
  13. Yeah, there might be something dodge here. https://in.ign.com/movie/174908/news/bruce-willis-rep-says-actor-did-not-sell-his-image-and-likeness-to-ai-firm I'm sure Deepcake will now stump up footage showing "Willis" completely agreeing to the deal.
  14. But not as arse as Galactic Games! I had this one although in my defence it was part of a locally made compilation that I bought for $6AU (less than the price of a budget game) purely to get my hands on disc copies of Labyrinth and The Last Ninja. I played it once. Once was enough. But so as to warn off others here's a quick overview of the game. You get "funny" writing. And you get the following events. I'm grabbing the descriptions from MobyGames. 100 Meter Slither: Players take control over a worm and have to race by making rhythmic and fast joystick movements. But because the worm uses up his slime for movement, players occasionally have to slow down to avoid burning dry. It's your basic waggle fest here with decently animated worms and the, er, need to slime. Space Hockey is a one-against-one hockey game. It features a living puck which tries to stay out of the goals and for rounds of 60 seconds each. It's air hockey but random and a bit rubbish. Psychic Judo: Here two beings with over sized brains shoot energy bolts at each other. Since there can be only one bolt at the screen at a time, so the faster player goes into attack mode and the other goes into defense: The defender can rise (and move) shields while the attacker needs to steer the bolt around them. If a bolt hits the unprotected defender, it transfers energy from the defender to the attacker - or vice versa if it hits a shield. This discipline is played best-of-five with 60-second rounds I remember thinking playing this "I could be playing Room Ten instead." Head Throwing is basically a normal hammer throwing event. Players need to gain speed by making rhythmic and fast joystick movements and release the head at the right moment to throw it as far as possible. Um, this looks like the world's mangiest fursuit. Metamorph Marathon: Here players need to navigate an obstacle race again the clock. They control a metamorph which can be morphed into five different shapes with different advantages and disadvantages. This means one of the player's task is to decide which form is best suited for which part of the course and to balance the energy reserves. It's...well it's so rubbish I didn't complete this event, I just turned it off never to return. The review in Zzap was pretty generous and even as something that I could either count as a freebie or having cost $1AU...just awful. A poor end for Tigress previously responsible for Deactivators and They Stole A Million. (I hope it wasn't the same people but not every game can be a hit.) As bad as Bad Cat? No, but close.
  15. I can't really fault Bruce Willis for going down this route in order to keep an income going. https://collider.com/bruce-willis-sells-rights-to-deepfake-firm-deepcake/
  16. One of the lively things about video games in the 80's was seeing copies and clones of original concepts that would sometimes be superior than what they copied. A lot of Activision's early content on the Atari 2600 was taking existing works and translating it to the machine they were programming it for. And you saw it this month with the arcade conversion of Super Sprint being outperformed by Angry Wasps in a Shoebox Grand Prix Simulator. So when I saw adverts for Ramparts an obvious Rampage clone I did wonder if I should buy that instead. The reviews put me off and the reviews were right. As pedestrian an experience the home ports of Rampage were this is clumsier and has less going on. It's harder to climb the sides of the castles and you do much less damage. It's not as cathartic either for some reason. The only thing I can recommend it for is the excellent Mark Cooksey music, one sting you might recognise from your favourite podcast. Otherwise play five minutes of Rampage instead. We're going to see a lot of clones over the next year, the main lesson here is copy something then do it better.
  17. Overnight news dropped about the 1.0 release, Release date Oct 20 What to expect from v1.0 v1.0 will mark the completion of the main content for the game! The v1.0 update will land on 20th October. Since the Roadmap has been completed with patch 0.11.3, all the content that will be added in v1.0 is a surprise and should hopefully offer a little something for everyone. What I can reveal already is that there will also be minor tweaks in balancing items to try make them more useful, with Santa Water/La Borra being the only one candidate for a slight nerf, as they tend to surpass almost everything else by an order of magnitude with little to no effort. There will be a handful of new achievements, and a couple of the existing achievements will receive different unlock conditions (you won't have to get them again, they'll stay unlocked if you've already got them). This is because during EA the Moongolow/Cappella incident had to be split over different patches, breaking the natural Stage progression. That will be reviewed and streamlined like for the other achievements. Save Data will of course be left intact. We had to go through several iterations in the past months to make sure things work between PC, Mac, and Steam Deck, but, if anything goes wrong, please always remember that there's a Data Recovery system in the Options menu! The game will still run in Electron, so aside from the new content there won't be much else particularly relevant (more on this, and on the new engine, in the paragraphs below). New official languages coming With 1.0 the game will officially support the following languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Turkish, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Korean, and Japanese! You'll still be able to use custom language patches of course, but we won't be able to use fan-translations once the game is in 1.0. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to the Public localisation sheet, and while some of your lines might be gone, your names will stay in the credits and in our hearts of course New engine port The port to a new engine is still ongoing and we're aiming to release it by the end of the year. We're at the last pass at optimization and polish (plus adding the final bits of content that still have to be seen on the current version too). Once it's out, Save Data will carry over. The goal of the new engine is to have the exact same game, with increased performance and compatibility for more machines, and like most new things in VS it will remain optional. So if you're happy with the current Electron version, nobody will force you to move to the new one The major problems that the new engine will fix are: - Work on machines that get the webGL not supported error, get a white screen of death, get a black screen with a sad face, or have the game installed on a non-standard path. - Fix input issues or the game straight up crashing when multiple controllers are attached to the machine. - Remapping input. - Cloud Save conflicts due to non-useful files. - Use more than 1 CPU core Let those FPS fly high - Native support for Linux What the new engine won't fix because it's a feature: - Passing through walls Post v1.0 support While the game might be content complete, Vampire Survivors doesn't end here and a lot more surprises are in the works. A LOT. We're working on the new engine and will have the usual tweaks/bug fixes of course, but also in the past months there have been a few unscheduled, niche gameplay additions to VS, like Golden Eggs and Limit Breaks, that are used so much that they need some QOL improvements. On top of this, there will be no public-beta for v1.0, so player feedback will be even more important than usual after release! More info on v1.0 We need plenty of time and focus to wrap up the content for v1.0, but starting from the 7th October we will also be posting little teasers and spoilers about it on the usual socials and Discord. We'll start exactly 14 days before release, by revealing something new every day. Sometimes just a little detail, sometimes something slightly bigger (Picture of a Castlevania style advent calendar with the first entry marked Oct 7) Also James Stephanie Sterling is onboard writing lore entries for the monsters.
  18. I think you (and @Camel) may well be right but I just can't get over how drab it looks. I can't help but think with a bit more polish it could have been something special indeed.
  19. Grand Prix Simulator passed me by looking too boxy and grey. If I wanted too play a Super Sprint variant on the C64 I already had BNX simulator. Trying it today, the cars are too boxy. However the handling really does show up the official Super Sprint conversion. Not much more to say about this one other than I'm sure it would have gotten some playtime with my brother back in the day. Those cars though are the worst looking cars I've seen in a game like this.
  20. Have they fixed the issue where you can't respond to any of the dialogue prompts?
  21. I'm going to skip revisiting ATV Simulator, I had this in the big box of disks that was given to me in the late 80's and just remember this being incredibly frustrating. And also incredibly redundant as said box also contained a disk with Kikstart 2 on it. It's another case of a new release being not nearly as good as a previous one and possibly something that could only be sold back in the days of limited shelf life and short sale tails. Play Kikstart 2 or even better modern spiritual successor Trials instead.
  22. Deflektor is so close to being brilliant but settles for just being very very good. I don't think I'd seen light guiding puzzles of this sort before Dan Dare, was there anything earlier with mirrors? In any case Dan Dare had a puzzle set piece that required you to set up a light beam path from start to finish over a dozen or so screens leading to this satisfying result (spoilers for decades old game.) Gang of Five then went on to make it a more central feature of their tank game Rebel but the design was let down by constant harassment by enemies and the mirrors being spread out among loads of screens again. In Deflektor designer Costa Panayi took the core concept of the above two games and shrunk the playing area down to single screen areas for his Spectrum game. The C64 port by Jason Perkins stays true to the original but aided by Steven Kerry on graphics and Ben Daglish on music gives us a much better looking version of the game. It's a simple concept, use your mirrors to destroy the grey blobs to open the exit then shin your laser into the red exit receiver. I first played this back in 1994 thanks to another Commodore Format cover tape and played it for a short time. Playing it tonight revealed the same couple of frustrations I had with it back then, two things that stop it from being truly excellent. The first, this game would have really shone if it had used passcodes instead of a "lives" system. Having to restart from the first puzzle when you lose is tiresome. The second is the addition of "gremlins" a few levels in. These spawn in randomly and mess with your mirrors. They detract from the game and turn it briefly into a shooting gallery. A "no gremlins" mode would have made for a better game. But it was the 80's and games found it hard to remove themselves from the lives/highscore model from the arcade. It's still easily pick of the bunch this week and still worth playing now. In fact if you have a C64 mini it's probably already sitting there waiting to be played. @squirtle, interesting you and Graham should mention Portal, I remember coming across this room in Portal 2 a decade ago and instantly thinking of Defelktor.
  23. That might be due to the legacy of Nolan Bushnell insisting that every new arcade machine was a new concept. Those controllers must have added loads to the cost given how over engineered they had to be. I remember reading somewhere that part of their stress testing involved a heavily jacked guy who worked in their warehouse, if he could damage or tear the controller out of the panel it was a fail and you had to go back to the drawing board. Looking at that video the restorer talked about the big point of failure on 720 being the two optical sensors attached parallel to the two disks, one which tracked which direction you were facing and one which measured the speed of your spin. It's why as clumsy as the C64 ports are they are somewhat more playable now than trying to play the arcade version which relied on you spinning the stick in the same way you'd spin the steering wheel in Super Sprint. It's something that most retro collections fail to address. (The SNK collection released a few years back changed the control methods for games that used proprietary spinner sticks like Ikari Warriors changing the method to twin stick which as they stated made the collection less accurate but at least playable rather than assuming people were going to make custom sticks based on designs that had been out of production for decades.) Yep, there seems to be a bit of a spot where these games would have benefitted from 16 bit ports. 720 seems to have been passed over which was a bit of a shame when you look back at the solid ports of Marble Madness, Gauntlet 2 and others on the Amiga. 720 on the C64 could never really hope to look like something running on System 2 hardware although having come to it first via the demo I kind of preferred the C64 control method. Back then at least when playing it with a heavy duty WICO arcade stick. This is a better port than many others to come over 1988/89 where many ports just shouldn't have even been attempted. (I'm looking at you Galaxy Force!)
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