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Greatest BBC Micro games


strider
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1. Elite - a bona-fide classic which really fired the imagination

2. Repton 3 - I spent many hours playing this on BBC and C64, the maze designer was brilliant

3. Exile - cramming a physics engine into an 8-bit machine was genius

4. Thrust - inspired by Gravitar and such a cool use of gravity

5. Imogen - brain-bending puzzles and platforms with really cute graphics

6. Stryker's Run - graphically impressive and very challenging

7. Revs - superb racing simulation from Geoff Crammond

8. Frak! - who else remembers typing PROCPUGWASH to hear the music?

9. Daredevil Denis - Simon Pick's brilliant debut game

10. Mr. Ee! - Superior Software did a great job with this Mr. Do clone

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EXILE holds up superbly. Magnificent space-cave arcade adventure with impressive technical tricks crammed into 32K.

TETRAPOD is a clever single-screen early '80s shooter from Acornsoft.

XOR fills out the maze puzzler genre nicely. Get yer lateral (literally and figuratively) thinking in gear.

CODENAME DROID is a top run-and-gun game, with elements of resource management.

GALAFORCE has some lovely Martin Galway intro music, and is a smooth and colourful old school shoot 'em up to boot.

THE HUNT: SEARCH FOR SHAUNA represents the lesser-spotted category of text adventure (with some graphics). Atmospheric space hijinks.

.

(Some other good BBC/Acorn games include: the sentinel, thrust, galaforce 2, firetrack, by fair means or foul, imogen, icarus, tarzan boy, infinity, citadel, repton thru time, mega-apocalypse, revs, blast, castle quest, chuckie egg, indoor sports, way of the exploding fist, meteor mission, perplexity, starship command, karate combat, shark)

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Thanks for all the votes so far. You will need to give me ten though to ensure your votes are counted.

1 - Elite. 'Nuff said. I played this for about a year, on and off. Think I made it one level down from Elite. Thargoids and all. I first saw this at an SF convention - there was a Star Trek film showing, but we all crowded around a bunch of BBC Micros set up at the edge of the room, crashing into space stations. One of those games that spawned rumours - colony ships you could find; sure fire ways to enter Thargoid space.

2 - The Sentinel. Superb atmosphere - mix of serene strategy, plotting your route up the levels, interspersed with buttock-clenching panic as you were spotted and your energy started to drain off, and you had to find somewhere, anywhere, out of sight to flee to. Still very little like it.

3 - Thrust. Although I had played Gravitar first (heck, and Lunar Lander in the arcades, back in the day), swinging that load through the caverns was nail-biting stuff.



4 - Castle Quest. Another tough arcade adventure. Although I ended up breaking out of prison waaaaaaaay too many times (grab torch, throw on bed, jump onto door, jump down, exeunt stage left). [EDIT: Hah! even the wiki article shows the jail; because THAT'S WHERE YOU END UP EVERY 5 MINUTES!:

5 - Exile. Superb arcade adventure (I started with the ST port, I have to admit).


6 - Defender/Planetoids. Nearest thing to an arcade-perfect conversion for the time. There were also great versions of PacMan, Galaxians/Galaga, Joust, Zaxxon, Asteroids; but I'll pick Defender to represent them all.

7 - Revs. Geoff Crammond takes on Formula 3; the first racing sim.



8 - Starship Command. Great SF game, until Elite came along.

9 - Repton (3). Good arcade puzzler, with some devilishly fiendish levels. I think the only Beeb game I ever saw an original, retail copy of. I'm not saying Beeb owners were pirates, but...

10 - Boffin. Unusual platformer - manta rays, giant spiders, pixel-perfect jumping and a brolly to affect the timing/trajectory of your jumps.

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I had a BBC & as my Gran was a headmistress I ended up with a disc drive too. Had quite a few Play it Again Sam compilations. Here is a list of games I remember

1. Tetrapod - liked this!

2. Arcadians - proper score battles with my Dad. I had no reason to believe it wasn't an original game

3. Citadel of course - so scary

4. The Last Ninja - yeah yeah other formats etc

5. Barbarian. Which was great. Unlike Barbarian 2 which was shit.

6. Rocket Raid - which was well hard.

7. Snapper - which I knew was pac man but hey

8. Firebug - as mentioned

9. Magic Mushrooms - brilliant level editor!

10. Invaders - another clone but my 1st Space Invaders experience

11. Thrust - animation so smooth!

12. Ravenskull - played it so much, never completed it

13. Monopoly - amazing version for a kid who loved monopoly but no one would play with me :(

14. Crazee Rider - must have played it 80 times before realising you don't have to knock everyone down to win.

15. Strykers Run - amazing graphics!

16. Monsters - platformer where you had to dig holes and then bury caught monsters or they'd level up when they escaped.

17. Skirmish - I killed the big white fucker once. Never again. Co-op!!

18. Killer Gorilla - will always be the original version for me weirdly.

19. Kingdom - my people were always killed by floods or bandits. Fuckers.

20. Diamond Mine and Diamond Mine 2.

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  • 1 year later...

Had to resurrect this, due to BBC Master 128 nostalgianess.

 

In no particular order:

 

1. Stryker's Run - borrowed this off a teacher at Sunday School.  Vaguely remember that because I had a Master 128 I got the enhanced version of the game.

 

2. Mr Ee - "can can" music, learning the best routes in order to complete the level in the quickest time possible, learning the best way to dig the dirt underneath so that you could squash several of those ghosty-bugs things with one apple, and with several apples, at once, etc.

 

3. Barrage - never has "90, 120 - BOOM!" brought so much fun!  Trust me, this game was brilliant!

 

4. Positron - Space Invaders-type clone, but with faster lasers.  The best thing about doing it on the Master 128 is that the RETURN key on the keypad also worked so using both RETURN keys let you shoot at a faster rate.

 

5. Grand Prix Construction Set - one of those "8-bit" racers that also let you make a track

 

6. Yie Ar Kung Fu - I had a cassette version that actually said it didn't work on the BBC Micro B+ or Master 128 (for some reason, probably cos of memory differences), however I learnt that if you loaded the initial splash screen programme into memory (without running it), LISTed the programme, removed a few lines, THEN run the splash screen programme, it would load the main game into memory, although it was a bit broken (missing graphics, etc.).

 

7. Commando - that was a bitch of a game mainly down to the weird graphic palette used (which sometimes hid the slow-moving bullets really well :angry:) but was good really.

 

8. Kix - Qix clone, but absolutely brilliant.  Trying to get 90%+ fill on a screen with two "Sparxs" was frustrating but well rewarding

 

9. Repton 3 - I almost left this one out, because this game is stupidly hard in that the only way to complete it is to find every single diamond, and if you make one wrong turn a diamond may get buried under stones, making 100% completion impossible.  And it went on and on and on.  But was one of the best puzzle games out there.

 

10 - Death Star - I think this was yet another clone.  

 

Honourable mentions: Killer Gorilla (clone of... you guessed it, Donkey Kong), some Chess game that was ridiculously hard to beat - you could read the "read ahead" chess notation to see it looking ahead 9+ moves, and you'd shit yourself when the current board looked innocuous enough but it could see a "checkmate" 9 moves ahead! :o EDIT: Colossus Chess 4.0 - that's it!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well I am really late to this party! Here's my top 10 in no particular order:

 

Stryker's Run

Hasn't aged that well (it's bloody unforgiving for starters) but as a package it still remains one of my faves. Great graphics and a killer rendition of YMO's Rydeen by Martin Galway, who was rather enigmatically-credited as 'Mr Mystery' in the game. Still worth a look today but good luck in getting anywhere! Luckily, I managed to preserve an animated gif of the entire game which was hosted by a now defunct-website, so you can win without even trying!

 

STRYKERSRUNDEMO.gif


Chuckie Egg

I've said it countless times before elsewhere, but this game is truly my zen. This is largely because the precise, snappy controls make playing feel like a natural extension of yourself - that is, if you can imagine an extension of yourself amounting to a portly chap wearing a wide-brimmed hat who's only goal is to collect eggs and bird seed while attempting to avoid killer avian lifeforms. That sort of extension.

 

Unfortunately, the game doesn't have as many levels as it could have (I'm sure I read somewhere that this was due to deadlines) so it does feel a little unfinished, but nevertheless this is a cracking (eh?) title.


Last Ninja 1 & 2

Yeah, I'm cheating and choosing both of them! Ok, so they didn't look as nice the versions that came out for basically any other platform, but the gameplay was definitely still there - right down to those goddamn lily pad sections. I also seem to recall that these games were the prime culprit in the downfall of my poor BBC's return key. Value for money, then!


Citadel

Back in the day, there was really nothing quite like the speech capabilities of the BBC Micro screeching out 'CITADEL CITADEL CITADEL!' to get you in the mood for some prime adventuring. And prime adventuring it was - the named rooms brought the world to life as you, in turn, attempted to avoid being brought to a swift death by its largely-unkillable inhabitants. With some good old-fashioned item romping thrown in for good measure, this was definitely a solid and enjoyable title - but watch out for that crystal radiation...


Repton 3

Repton had quite a few faces over the BBC's prime years (some of them - literally - the same game with a new 'face'), but for me, Repton 3 got the formula just right - not too easy, and not too keyboard-crushingly difficult. I will give an honorary mention to Repton Infinity as it was quite unlike anything else at the time (you could quite mind-bogglingly make entire new games using Reptol and the other suite of tools it came with), but it just took things a little too far for me, plus it felt a good deal more sluggish.

 

With Repton 3, you don't have to feel sad about completing it, as there's The Life of Repton, Around the World in 40 Screens and Repton Thru Time for you to move onto next! They're one and the same!


Skirmish

An unofficial clone created by a programmer who used a fake name to avoid the long arm of Atari, you say? Yes, but it was a bloody good one. There wasn't a 2-player game that me and my brother would prefer to play at the time - Skirmish was amazing. Killing 'clucks' (as we called them), playing chicken with the lava troll and getting smashed in the face repeatedly by the infamous pterodactyl - there was no better order of the day.


The Sorcerer

This one is probably the strangest of the bunch, as it seems to be largely unknown by Beeb owners (heck, I even had to record a video of it for YouTube as there wasn't one up there).

 

You play the role of a wizard who can shapeshift between different forms by touching boxes in the isometrically-styled playing field. Each form has its specific use - the wizard form shoots the boss - residing in the centre of the map - when all of the 4 candles in the level are lit. To light the candles, you need to be in the torch form, but the boss in the middle can randomly extinguish them as you try to light them all. The boss will also hit you with the same rays, causing you to lose health, but the 3rd form - the cross - will allow you to resist the damage. Finally, there's the ring form, which will restore your health to full on changing.

 

The catch is that the boxes for the different forms are not always available all the time - they will randomly become available every so often, with the wizard, torch and cross forms coming at about the same rate, and the health-regenerating ring showing up much less frequently.

 

Each level is complete when the boss is killed, and the boss gets tougher/changes its look every so often. The game does get a bit repetitive after a while but the high-score-chasing gameplay will make you come back for more. Really worth checking out if you haven't played it before.


Free Fall

This was created by Ian Bell - yes, one-half of the dynamic Elite duo. There's nothing quite like it in the current day - but on his website Ian quite humorously credits himself as inventing the first ever beat-'em-up with his creation of the game. I'm not going to talk much more about it as it's really quite unique, so definitely go and give it ago for yourself.


Imogen

Imogen is one of those games that I can load up today and it still holds up fantastically. Excellent puzzling action that'll keep you occupied for a while, including yet another shapeshifting wizard! Again, so as not to spoil it if you haven't played it, I won't mention much more about it. However, if you don't feel like playing it on a BBC (why wouldn't you?) then there was an excellent remake by Ovine created for PC a few years back which still does run on today's versions of Windows.


Firetrack

First thing - amazing tunes. I can whistle them for weeks.

 

Secondly, Firetrack is definitely not the greatest shmup ever, but it was certainly an incredible game at the time for the BBC.


Qwak

A great single-screen puzzle-style platformer. Jamie Woodhouse also released a couple of excellent updates to it, for the GBA and later the PC/iPad (although less said the better about the controls on the latter...) Check them all out!

 

And I bet nobody noticed that I included 11 instead of 10! Well, too late now. ;)

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On 21/07/2015 at 13:52, smac said:

Yes - how many of us posting in here actually owned a Beeb? I had a box of disks, and yet didn't own a Beeb. Firstly from when the school got one for the 6th form - we just played Defender, Galaxian, Scramble and PacMan clones (really very good ones).

Then at college, there was a lab of them; they were used as cheap terminals, that could also be used for controlling experiments (as the Beeb had so many i/o ports). So I had several years of vicarious 'ownership'.

But basically all the nerds had a floppy or two containing pirated games for them.

And good shout on Starship Command, rumblecat; I was trying to remember that, and the wireframe flight-sim the Beeb had.

 

I actually owned a Beeb (it was a Master, in fact) but only because my parents were teachers and apparently got a good deal as a result. Even had a CUB monitor!

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10 hours ago, Sureshot said:


Chuckie Egg

I've said it countless times before elsewhere, but this game is truly my zen. This is largely because the precise, snappy controls make playing feel like a natural extension of yourself - that is, if you can imagine an extension of yourself amounting to a portly chap wearing a wide-brimmed hat who's only goal is to collect eggs and bird seed while attempting to avoid killer avian lifeforms. That sort of extension.

 

Unfortunately, the game doesn't have as many levels as it could have (I'm sure I read somewhere that this was due to deadlines) so it does feel a little unfinished, but nevertheless this is a cracking (eh?) title.

 

 

I interviewed Nigel Alderton a few years ago (thoroughly nice chap btw). He admitted Doug Anderson made the BBC version better. At the time Nigel was a "tea boy" for A&F, a job which involved rewinding hundreds of cassettes and other fascinating endeavours haha. He admitted he made the mistake of telling Doug and the the other guy at A&F about the game he was developing (Eggy Kong as it was known then) and they started to put a lot of pressure on him to finish it. Apparently they wanted to put in a Frogger style level every 4 screens but Nigel refused and said there wasn't enough memory anyway.

 

Two things he wished he'd done: include a pause key and make a bigger hat to represent 10 lives so the player could clearly see how many lives they'd stored up.

 

Chuckie Egg is awesome and just as playable today as it was 30 years ago

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12 hours ago, Sureshot said:

 

I actually owned a Beeb (it was a Master, in fact) but only because my parents were teachers and apparently got a good deal as a result. Even had a CUB monitor!

 

I think I knew one person who had a Beeb at home - probably because I went to a rough Northern comprehensive. There must have been a couple more, because of all the pirated stuff floating around.

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Been playing Repton again for the first time in 30-odd years, thanks to the Android version. It's actually better than I remember it - I think I played it late (well after its release) so it looked a bit basic.

But the gameplay is just brilliant. Such simple mechanics done in a really elegant way to make a game that's still very playable even today. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Bump.

 

The BBC Micro isn't a machine I associate with good game music. Or any music that isn't ear splitting rag time tunes on an excruciatingly short loop over the top of a Repton game or the un-mutable hell that was the loading screen to Dare Devil Dennis. But with all that said:

 

 

This is decent!

 

The game was good too, spiritual sequel to Dunjunz and arguably the better game in single player, but only 2 player split screen sadly. It even wound up on other formats under the incredible name of Captain Fizz and the Blastertrons published by Psyclapse era Psygnosis.

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Had no idea there were so many BBC fans here. I finished strykers run on my electron, but it didnt have half of that stuff in it. I guess it was more cut down than they let on. Also finished Codename: Droid, bloody loved that, but nothing happened at the end. You found your spaceship and it did nothing, I was disgusted.

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19 hours ago, angel said:

Had no idea there were so many BBC fans here. I finished strykers run on my electron, but it didnt have half of that stuff in it. I guess it was more cut down than they let on. Also finished Codename: Droid, bloody loved that, but nothing happened at the end. You found your spaceship and it did nothing, I was disgusted.

 

Haven't played the Elk version but it was likely cut down. On the Beeb itself, there were 2 versions - Standard (for Bs) and Enhanced (for Masters). The latter had the music and nicer graphics in certain areas of the game, and also at least one extra vehicle to command (the tank).

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I always liked playing the Electron version round my friend's house since it mixed up the order of the scenery so I got to see some stuff I could never reach on the BBC version (just the standard Model B version). There was a bombed out cafe and a weird cliff / rock formation that looked like it had a creepy face on it. 

 

Strikers Run was the first videogame I ever saw that had background graphics instead of just blank space. When I loaded it up for the first time I tried to jump over the buildings at the start a couple of times before I accidentally jumped "through" them and figured out what was what! 

 

So weird to think it was made by Chris Roberts of Wing Commander fame and Star Citizen infamy... 

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  • 4 years later...

The original Acornsoft arcade ports really were amazing back in the day, in fact I believe they had to tone down the graphics and rename them as they were too close to the originals.

...

 

Quote

However, the initial release of the game was so close to Pac-Man (including the design of the game's characters) that this version had to be withdrawn and re-released with the characters changed

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snapper_(video_game)

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  • 2 months later...
15 hours ago, Sureshot said:

Somehow only just discovered this book existed, but have now swiftly rectified this (by way of tnmoc).

 

https://www.idesine.com/products/acorn-a-world-in-pixels

 

I've been trying to find a copy of that book for a while so thanks very much for the heads-up that they have it in stock.

Immediately ordered it and I'm now looking forward to a good read.  :hat:

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8 hours ago, WizRider said:

 

I've been trying to find a copy of that book for a while so thanks very much for the heads-up that they have it in stock.

Immediately ordered it and I'm now looking forward to a good read.  :hat:

 

I was honestly a bit worried it was going to be one of those 'oh sorry, we don't actually have it' situations, but apparently they have shipped it today. 👍

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16 hours ago, Sureshot said:

 

I was honestly a bit worried it was going to be one of those 'oh sorry, we don't actually have it' situations, but apparently they have shipped it today. 👍

 

My copy has been shipped too.  Will hopefully have it for the weekend.  No doubt I'll then need to buy an actual BBC or something to play the games on.

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