Jump to content

Zapped to the Past podcast (C64)


Unofficial Who
 Share

Recommended Posts

I was going to nominate Impossible Mission but that was release in 1984. I'll limit myself to the list.

 

Best Game

 

Paradroid. Andrew Braybook's best work with the perfect balance of risk verses reward. This one is ripe for a survival horror style remake. 

 

Best Music

 

It has to be Monty on the Run. The main them inspired by the Charles William piece Devil's Galop, Hubbard's theme for the game became the ultimate challenge of violinists everywhere. Monty on the Run is a good game but the music makes it a great game.

 

Best Visuals

 

Summer Games 2. It's not just the variety of events. It's not just the fluid animation. It's not just the excellent use of colour. It's all the little touches and the way they manage to disguise how small the play area is on some of those screens. 35 years later it continues to impress.

 

Worst Game

 

Doughboy. So hard you can't even finish a s...

 

Best Worst Game

 

Cops and Robbers. So bad it's almost good.

 

Worst Music

 

Give My Regards to Broadstreet (The "reward" at the end of the game.)

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've talked about Zzap Sizzlers II before, a compilation tape with four excellent C64 games. Z (or Z Pilot) as it's known elsewhere was the least played of the four games. It's essentially Sinistar but simpler played over planet / moon landscapes instead of deep space. And that's it.

 

391135-z-pilot-commodore-64-screenshot-t

 

Except that's not it.

 

But this is the turning point in Chris Butler's career. He takes a simple arcade design and then translates that to a much less powerful machine. It has a chunky yet attractive look, the scrolling is smooth and it fits into a single load. It has a great attract mode that shows all the enemy craft and then all the landscapes. Everything about this is polished and smooth.

 

The game is pared back to the basics. There are four landscapes. The first three, factory, jungle and moon have a transporter in the middle of the wrap around map. Every so often while attacking enemies, bombs will spawn. Shoot their shield and if you're quick enough you can get the bomb. Bombs can be used to knock segments off the rotating shield (I'm still good enough to squeeze in with a one block gap.) The fourth level over a harbour (with an animated sea!) has no teleporter square. You need to collect as many bombs as you can before the mothership comes in to try wipe you out. Five hits with bombs and you're back to the start to do the four levels again at night. (The last level is pitch black, the landscape only shown in the explosion of the mothership.)

 

It's hard to explain the draw with just a still.

 

391137-z-pilot-commodore-64-screenshot-f

 

So here's a video of it in motion.

 

 

This is where Chris Butler's reputation takes off. I didn't buy the compilation for this title at all but it was a neat surprise. An excellent shooter and a must for lovers of Sinistar and Time Pilot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I ran out of time this week so I didn't get to:

 

Doriath

 

I had a quick play of this but it felt a little clumsy. Looking at some of the screen shots it looks like a demake of Dark Souls!

 

695846-doriath-commodore-64-screenshot-a

 

695849-doriath-commodore-64-screenshot-h

 

Zyto

 

I've always wondered how the wheels work in this, is this like an early version of the Mako?

 

656512-zyto-commodore-64-screenshot-be-c

 

Watching videos it looks almost like a prototype for Battle Valley.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Unofficial Who said:

I ran out of time this week so I didn't get to:

 

Doriath

 

I had a quick play of this but it felt a little clumsy. Looking at some of the screen shots it looks like a demake of Dark Souls!

 

695846-doriath-commodore-64-screenshot-a

 

695849-doriath-commodore-64-screenshot-h

 

Zyto

 

I've always wondered how the wheels work in this, is this like an early version of the Mako?

 

656512-zyto-commodore-64-screenshot-be-c

 

Watching videos it looks almost like a prototype for Battle Valley.

Don't waste your time on them... We played them so you... You get the picture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Episode 14 is out! 

 

Games covered in this episode:

 

-Who Dares Wins 2

-Spy’s Demise/Spy Strikes Back

-Rupert and the Ice Palace

-Ace

-Blackwyche

-Codename Mat II

-Crazy Comets

 

Only one here that I spent time with back in the day. Have a feeling it might be slim pickings this week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Who Dares Wins 2 was a pretty decent Commando effort. I'm not sure how it stands up now.

 

I have massive love for Crazy Comets (and its sequel). The music is phenomenal. I know it's basically a Mad Planets rip-off and it suffers from a bad case of instadeathitis but it's still pretty special I think. Also I vaguely remember its (tape I think?) loader incorporating some kind of witchcraft which made it load impossibly quickly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Camel said:

Who Dares Wins 2 was a pretty decent Commando effort. I'm not sure how it stands up now.

 

I have massive love for Crazy Comets (and its sequel). The music is phenomenal. I know it's basically a Mad Planets rip-off and it suffers from a bad case of instadeathitis but it's still pretty special I think. Also I vaguely remember its (tape I think?) loader incorporating some kind of witchcraft which made it load impossibly quickly.

 

Simon Nicol’s first game was a conversion of Mad Planets. He took it to several software houses and no-one was interested. So he spent more than a year making a new version that became Crazy Comets, published through Martech. And another 18 months work perfecting the NMI splits, sprite multiplexer and speech routines that were added to make Mega Apocalypse

 

And yes, the loader on Crazy Comets was phenomenally fast for the time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd heard a lot in the press back in the day of the "banning" of Who Dares Wins due to being a clone of Commando. Having never played it I decided to give it a go. After all this was by Steve Evens who made the excellent Phoenix clone Eagle Empire. He also made Rocket Roger so there is that.

 

And I can see why Elite was so annoyed. It's a clone of Commando. The differences? A better way of launching grenades by holding down fire. Oh and it's yellow. More yellow than Coldplay and Yello combined.

 

Who-dares-wins_Area1.gif

 

So I wasn't really pumped for Who Dares Wins 2. It was obviously going to be a Commando clone with only a few changes.

 

Well there wasn't a change to the colour palette.

 

Who_Dares_Wins_II_Area3.gif

 

Weirdly enough though I think the forced changes make for a better game. Grenades are now dropped in via balloon as seen above.

 

There are firing squads to rescue prisoners from.

 

Who_Dares_Wins_II_Area2.GIF

 

Oh and get this....the tanks look like tanks!

 

Who_Dares_Wins_II_Area5.gif

 

I loved Commando back in the day, had I have played Who Dares Wins back then I would have found it a pale but slow imitation. Who Dares Wins 2 however is great! I would have loved this, more of the same....but different! The level layout changes seem to suit the speed of the game and the bad guys seem more of a threat here. It's creaky looking now but I'm putting this on the back burner to try the next time I'm in the mood for a vertical shooter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let's get something out of the way first.

 

Let's look at this logo. Look familiar?

 

ElectricDreams_Logo.gif

 

250px-Captain_EO_poster.jpg

 

That can't be a co-incidence surely.

 

Anyway Spy's Demise and Spy Strikes Back.

 

I played a little of the first one and knew two things about it instantly from the title screen.

 

510444-spy-s-demise-commodore-64-screens

 

1. This has to be an Apple conversion.

2. Paddle controls? We're going to be rather limited in movement here.

 

510445-spy-s-demise-commodore-64-screens

 

And it's a simple dodging game. Move to the right avoiding the moving objects. Then to the left. This would have been considered dull in the Atari days.

 

I'll have to trust you on Spy Strikes Back. I couldn't get running (or if I could it would lock up quickly.)

 

952189-the-spy-strikes-back-commodore-64

 

It's weird to think about how quickly things moved on back then. Mass Effect came out in 2007 and it's still quite good over a decade later. But the gap between these two games and most of the other offerings in Zzap this month is staggering. I'm surprised this offering didn't instantly kill the label.

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've only ever seen this in the magazines but having played this compared to the charm of Toymaker's Party Rupert and the Ice Palace left me cold.

 

Check out the cold dead eyes of this bear before pulling out the bear spray.

 

674303-rupert-and-the-ice-castle-commodo

 

It's polished. The main sprite is as attractive as the last game but being suddenly limited to single screen challenges feels a little claustophobic.

 

674308-rupert-and-the-ice-castle-commodo

 

The snowmen and the icicles falling without warning killed it for me. It's a pattern game like Rick Dangerous and I'm not a big fan of them. If the design is too tight I feel like the game is playing me.

 

As for the solid performance, as soon as I saw the high score table I knew at once it was a Bug Byte game which reminded me I could be playing Super Pipeline instead.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Unofficial Who said:

I've only ever seen this in the magazines but having played this compared to the charm of Toymaker's Party Rupert and the Ice Palace left me cold.

 

Check out the cold dead eyes of this bear before pulling out the bear spray.

 

674303-rupert-and-the-ice-castle-commodo

 

It's polished. The main sprite is as attractive as the last game but being suddenly limited to single screen challenges feels a little claustophobic.

 

674308-rupert-and-the-ice-castle-commodo

 

The snowmen and the icicles falling without warning killed it for me. It's a pattern game like Rick Dangerous and I'm not a big fan of them. If the design is too tight I feel like the game is playing me.

 

As for the solid performance, as soon as I saw the high score table I knew at once it was a Bug Byte game which reminded me I could be playing Super Pipeline instead.

 

@ThreeRowsBack has done this on Twitter in light of our discussion on Rupert being in horror films...

 

image.png.bd7dee690f3dfb90575095ea4efecded.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 A.C.E. otherwise known as Air Combat Emulator is a game I played a lot in the late 80's. It's very similar to Skyfox in that it isn't an accurate representation of flight but it totally nails the feeling of flying a plane in combat (for someone inexperienced at least.) It has just enough complexity to push you and to make it more than just a point and shoot game.

 

Does it hold up now? Not really but for 1985 (or later when I played it) it was engrossing. Loading up the game and calling up the excellent demo mode bought all the memories back. The edge it had on Skyfox? It was a single load game making it tape friendly.

 

You can see how simple the control panel is here, everything needed is here with no distractions.

 

ace_cockpit.png

 

There's more ground definition here than Glider Pilot with snow, sea and night landscapes.

 

ace_landscape.png

 

There's also a great air refuelling sequence.

 

ace_refuell.gif

 

For a long time the biggest hurdle for me was learning how to land the craft. Any landing in this game is a good one. For the time I found this engrossing stuff. Is this worth playing now? I suspect Namco's Air Combat series has filled in this gap.

 

If you want to give this a try there is an excellent guide here https://www.c64-wiki.com/wiki/ACE:_Air_Combat_Emulator

 

Trivia: Remember Cascade's dodgy 50 game compilations? According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ace_(video_game)

 

Quote

Before the release of Ace, Cascade Games was infamous for their Cassette 50 (1983) game compilation that featured simplistic and subpar games.[7][13] Stevens points out that without the income from the compilation, the project would not have been possible. The developers estimate the production cost of Ace at £40k.[7] Following the release of Ace, Cascade moved into mainstream AAA game development.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've bounced off all the Sir Arthur Pendragon games on the C64 and Blackwyche is no exception.

 

This was mentioned in the podcast but the big issue with these games is the constantly respawning enemies not leaving you alone to solve the puzzles. It's a big reason why I used to use cheats back in the day (maybe I should give these another try with infinite lives?) Part of this was due to the influence of arcades where more was better. Part of it was I think a misunderstanding of the David Crane "shark" design philosophy. David Crane wrote a game in 1980 called Fishing Derby and while designing it realised it was dull. Adding a shark added enjoyable tension. You see this in Pacman with four ghosts. Back in the day I wanted more elaborate versions of Adventure (2600) a sprawling game which had three dragons (non-respawning) and a bat. I think at the time some home designers thought more is more and worried their puzzle game would lack tension added ALL THE BEASTS.

 

It's a pity because I love the big chunky look of this.

 

sea-of-thieves-blackwyche-fighting-1024x

 

So this game is pretty much forgotten now.

 

Except it's not! The Blackwyche legacy continues in Sea of Thieves! Spoiler filled details here https://rarethief.com/the-history-of-sir-arthur-pendragon-and-the-haunted-blackwyche/

 

sea-of-thieves-seabound-soul-log-of-pend

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, squirtle said:

I liked ACE, probably more than Graham. I had fun and it was fast and responsive which so many of these games were not (I'm looking at you Mig Alley Arse!).

 

Also that speech synthesis! "Low altitude! Low altitude!" Annoying now but at the time it was like having my own personal Ernest Bourgnine as co-pilot.

 

MV5BM2QwNTliNzMtYzcxNS00YTkzLTg3NmItM2Jl

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 18/05/2021 at 01:38, merman said:

 

Simon Nicol’s first game was a conversion of Mad Planets. He took it to several software houses and no-one was interested. So he spent more than a year making a new version that became Crazy Comets, published through Martech. And another 18 months work perfecting the NMI splits, sprite multiplexer and speech routines that were added to make Mega Apocalypse

 

And yes, the loader on Crazy Comets was phenomenally fast for the time.

 

You can actually get your hands on that original version here

 

https://www.gamesthatwerent.com/gtw64/mad-planets/

 

madrevshot.gif

 

madrevshot2-300x195.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hadn't played Crazy Comets before today and while I can appreciate what it was trying to do I don't really rate it. Mostly because I played the successor Mega Apocalypse to death, I game which I loved and then hated. Why? You'll have to wait for that. I've gone for a static shot here rather than available gifs because it strobes in a rather unfriendly manner.

 

89620-crazy-comets-commodore-64-screensh

 

Great music and fantastic shadows cast on the planets by the moon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm handing in a note to skip Codename Mat II much like I did back in the day. I did have a quick go of this thanks to a friend in the 80's but I wasn't interested having already played examples of the genre a lot on the Atari (Star Raiders, Starmaster and Voyager.)

 

Also the ship comes in yellow and green which is used a lot together in Australian architecture (Federation colours.)

 

698336-codename-mat-ii-commodore-64-scre

 

At the time I was looking forward to Elite far more and was busy playing Paul Woakes excellent open world masterpiece Mercenary.

 

My pick for this episode is ACE but I'm looking forward to having another crack at Who Dares Wins 2 the next time I'm in the mood for a Commando style game.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.