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Zapped to the Past podcast (C64)


Unofficial Who
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I played quite a bit of Krakout in the early 90's thanks to it's inclusion on a Zzap Commodore Force cover tape. I've said before that I'm not a fan of the "engine" that Gremlin Grpahics started to use for C64 games from Future Knight onwards but it works quite well for this one.

 

129609-krakout-commodore-64-screenshot-a

 

They've gone for a sideways orientation here which I guess is one way of dealing with having a vertical game on a horizontal screen. It feels a little uncomfortable and I think the bat is a little on the small size although to make up for it the ball is quite big.

 

I think it lacks the atmosphere of Arkanoid and I think Imagine were pretty clever in realising the clones would come quick and fast. By selling at a pound less they made alternatives like this one much less appealing. It's worth a play at least.

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So I have a love hate relationship with Jeff Minter games. In that I tend to love or hate (well dislike) alternate releases. Voidrunner a sequel to one of my favourite C64 games should be a winner. It's fast, it's clever, it's everything I love in a shooter.

 

161547-voidrunner-commodore-64-screensho

 

Except visual clarity. What you can't see here is how the background is constantly moving. It's a technical marvel but it makes seeing what to shoot and what's just background noise a visual nightmare. I'm surprised there isn't a poke that disables the backdrop. An option would have been nice. Not for me.

 

I can't seem to verify this but is this a port of the C16 version or did the C64 version come out first?

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I've only ever seen Magic Madness mentioned in this review and I haven't thought about it in decades.

 

Having tried the game I'm not sold on it. It feels a little clumsy and didn't hold my attention. However if you're interested there's a wiki at https://www.c64-wiki.com/wiki/Magic_Madness that explains how it works.

 

It feels a little like Sorcery but with proper gravity.

 

Magic_madness_(1).gif

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1 hour ago, Unofficial Who said:

So I have a love hate relationship with Jeff Minter games. In that I tend to love or hate (well dislike) alternate releases. Voidrunner a sequel to one of my favourite C64 games should be a winner. It's fast, it's clever, it's everything I love in a shooter.

 

161547-voidrunner-commodore-64-screensho

 

Except visual clarity. What you can't see here is how the background is constantly moving. It's a technical marvel but it makes seeing what to shoot and what's just background noise a visual nightmare. I'm surprised there isn't a poke that disables the backdrop. An option would have been nice. Not for me.

 

I can't seem to verify this but is this a port of the C16 version or did the C64 version come out first?

 

I seem to remember it was a C16 experiment first, then developed into the two versions.

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3 hours ago, Unofficial Who said:

I've only ever seen Magic Madness mentioned in this review and I haven't thought about it in decades.

 

Having tried the game I'm not sold on it. It feels a little clumsy and didn't hold my attention. However if you're interested there's a wiki at https://www.c64-wiki.com/wiki/Magic_Madness that explains how it works.

 

It feels a little like Sorcery but with proper gravity.

 

Magic_madness_(1).gif

image.png.54279b93814b79903bd78fcb5400124f.pngimage.png.299e71fecfc45ef2dd4fc39aea3763a5.png

 

One of these is not like the game...


Actually, considering you play a witch, neither of them are...

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I avoided Express Raider back in the day due to the poor graphics and lacklustre reviews. If I wanted to play cowboy Law of the West was my go to game.

 

You can't fault the detail here, I think they did an ok job porting a pretty average arcade game.

 

You get the fight with the banker.

 

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The fist fights on top of the train.

 

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And the horseback shootout.

 

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It's pretty average in my opinion. I think my issue with the game is that I don't like the design of the original with it's weird tug of war style fighting system (last seen in Flash Gordon). I'm pretty happy to have skipped this one.

 

 

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As for Hyperbowl I'm going to skip this one as I don't think it's fair for me to review this single player in front of a PC when this was made to be played couch co-op back in the 80's.

 

336838-hyperbowl-commodore-64-screenshot

 

Watching a video of this in action I think this game would have led to my brother and I having more fist fights back in the day! Anyone play this the way it was meant to be played?

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Last is the very clever Executive Leaderboard.

 

687381-leader-board-executive-edition-co

 

This added so much more to the game (like trees) while removing the bits I found charming. (The island based courses including the little island that would spawn so you wouldn't be standing in the water.)

 

More features, less courses, less charm. This just seemed to be a weird flex. And it was. Because it wasn't being sold to us. This was a game aimed at well off boomers and aspirational yuppies. Around this time if I went to a friend's house and their father was a certain sort of boomer then the C64 would be set up in a wood panelled room (or corner at least) with a few boxed games. And this would always without fail be one of them. This was aimed at a particular market and I bet it did really well for Access.

 

Not for me but a rare game for those two decades older.

 

 

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I'm going to break with tradition and start with the grim one in all senses of the word. Grange Hill.

 

I'm familiar with the TV series as it was played on the ABC but I didn't watch it much as the last thing I wanted after spending a day at school was spend more time at school. And so it was with the video game which I don't think was distributed in Australia. Not even the pirates went for this. But it does have this little digital Irvine Welsh style story hidden within that @squirtle and Graham just missed.

 

692740-grange-hill-commodore-64-screensh

 

Say yes and (I couldn't find a C64 grab for this...) and...well....

 

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-11-56-12_orig.

 

There's also this grim death, stuck between two buildings which sounds silly but someone I went to school with actually died from similar causes.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-11-55-36_orig.

 

Grim stuff.

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I played Into the Eagle's Nest not long after it was released and it's a solid Gauntlet variant. I really liked the options to start with different objectives and the WW2 setting made for a change from the swords and sorcery setting of most Gauntlet clones.

 

Into_the_eagles_nest_screenshot2.gif

 

Although these Nazi's are oddly polite and will queue waiting to take their shot. Holding your rifle on your right shoulder you can take advantage of this and fire  off to the side a bit leaving yourself less exposed. 

 

There's three things I don't like about this game.

-The push scrolling makes it difficult to plan ahead. (I suspect this is either to give room to spawn Nazis or a result of this being a multi-platform release.)

-One stray bullet hitting the wrong box can wreck an entire run.

 

And here's the big one.

 

-If you run out of ammo you're dead. There's plenty of ammo around but it would have been nice to have a Gauntlet style melee attack at the cost of some life points.

 

Highly recommended though, nein out of ten.

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The thing I remember about Into the Eagles Nest (and god knows why I remember it) was that you didn’t see the bullets when you fired your gun. I don’t think I’d seen that in a game before. Maybe this was one of the first to do it?

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1 hour ago, BongoInferno said:

The thing I remember about Into the Eagles Nest (and god knows why I remember it) was that you didn’t see the bullets when you fired your gun. I don’t think I’d seen that in a game before. Maybe this was one of the first to do it?

Very true. A nice little effect that added to the atmosphere. I'm not sure if anything did it before then.

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1 hour ago, Unofficial Who said:

Can’t believe no-one has  mentioned the bonus points that can be had at the cost of one bullet to the Nazi’s sitting at tables (no helmet I guess.)

That's why you're always running out of ammo...

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Ah The Equalizer. That takes me back.

 

 

Oh hang on...you mean this one.

 

494855-the-equalizer-commodore-64-screen

 

I borrowed this Wonderboy knock off from a friend. And I do mean knock off in the loosest sense of the word where a game is designed to look like a more famous game but plays absolutely nothing like it! It's like someone was given some screen grabs and told to make a clone while having no understanding of how the game works. I mean instead of the axe you throw in an arc there's discharge from your belly button.

 

Although this bit looks more like Rygar than Wonderboy.

 

494861-the-equalizer-commodore-64-screen

 

Lacklustre game that plays nothing like the game it's trying to pass of as with some of the most discordant music ever performed on a SID. Avoid, especially as there's a decent port of the arcade game coming up later in the year.

 

The programmer of this went on to do...hang on...the Forza Horizon games?!?!

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Werner being based on a German adult comic with no penetration into Australia was surprisingly never released here.

 

Seeing the screen grabs

 

566162-werner-let-s-go-commodore-64-scre

 

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Reminded me of the Hugo the Troll games that I used to see in Amiga magazines five years later.

 

749390-hugo-dos-screenshot-start-of-leve

 

I remember them getting as warm a reception review wise as well.

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Nemesis / Gradius caught my eye back in the day when the arcade game was covered in C&VG. Clare Edgely was pretty full of praise for this and the screen grabs looked amazing. I'd been a Scramble and Super Cobra fan from the early days and this just looked amazing.

 

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I eventually got my hands on the C64 port as part of the box of discs I was given and found it to be a really solid port.

 

gradiusanim.gif

 

I mean it's chunky but it's all there. And nothing beats the feeling when you have ALL THE WEAPONS active at once. But I bounced off this one for a couple of reasons. It's accurate to a fault which means it's incredibly difficult and I lacked the skills to make it too far.

 

But more importantly by the time I'd played this I'd played the game it inspired, the more memorable R-Type. A slightly easier game and a more stunning experience. This is a great port and I'd recommend it to all except for the wide availability of the arcade original on most modern platforms.

 

Konami didn't forget the VIc Viper, it made it's return in Zone of the Enders 2:The 2nd Runner.

 

In the trailer below you can see it at several points, I've cued it up the where it's performing a strafing run with three "multiple" pods trailing behind.

 

 

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It's more difficult than the arcade version due to the fact that if you die you do not get a chance to get all your weaponry back, which is a shame. Aside from this, I thought this was great. Solid and enjoyable blaster and it has the music and everything of the arcade, and also finally made me realise why so many shit games start you off the playfield and then scroll it on at the moment. Except this starts in space, so it makes sense.

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My father was into Sailing and had he lived to see personal computers I think he would have loved this. It's very clever although perhaps too accurate.

 

Move this picture up and down quickly for several minutes and you'll get a feel for this.

 

576546-sailing-commodore-64-screenshot-l

 

I never played this nor saw it anywhere, I suspect the generic title might have done it in or more likely distributors locally knew that most of us who got a C64 back around 1986 already had the game pictured below as a pack in.

 

198740-the-official-america-s-cup-sailin

 

I didn't really get into sailing the digital seas until Wind Waker opened my eyes to just how amazing it could be. I've been sailing a few times around Sydney Harbour since although the last time was near a full decade back.

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