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Zapped to the Past podcast (C64)


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13 minutes ago, Unofficial Who said:

 

Credit as a precursor to Magnetic Fields better works on the C64 and Amiga.

 

Fair enough. I knew I recognised the dev name from somewhere. 

 

3 minutes ago, redballoon said:

Woah, I hate being that guy but imma have to be that guy. The Quill was by Gilsoft and they also released The Illustrator, which allowed you to add in graphics to text adventures created in The Quill. Gilsoft went onto release Professional Adventure Writer a few years later. The Graphic Adventure Creator was recessed by Incentive and had nothing to do with The Quill/Illustrator.

 

I didn't take it to mean it was by the same people, more building on what the Quill started. I could be wrong, though. 

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First up Iridis Alpha.

 

Iridisalphaintro.gif

 

I love Jeff Minter and I adore....half of his games. For some reason his more unique games are the ones I find impenetrable. And this stands head and shoulders above all the ones I just don't get.

 

I mean I can't complain, I got this on a cover tape back in the day so it probably set me back the price of a cup of coffee.

 

Here's a still (because the gifs I found are headache inducing.

 

300px-Iridisalphalickers.png

 

See that? That is a player about to be licked to death. I know there's some fans here of this one but I just can't get into the mindset, for me this game is a bad bad trip and while those that love it love it I don't understand how it got such a high score...maybe the Zzap crew had enough exposure to betas over months to acclimatise?

 

 

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Yes, The Daily Llama covered the creation of Iridis Alpha in ZZAP.

 

Personally, I love Trap. But then I tended to play it with extra Orbs (type SHIFT + RATT on the title screen to enter the custom menu) and the best ship on level 1, which makes it easier to get into.

 

The original Alligata tape of Trap came with a stereo mix of the music, created using two C64s linked together. A joystick button was wired so that pressing it started the music in sync on both machines for the recording.

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3 minutes ago, merman said:

The original Alligata tape of Trap came with a stereo mix of the music, created using two C64s linked together. A joystick button was wired so that pressing it started the music in sync on both machines for the recording.

 

Is this it?

 

 

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I remember seeing Spiky Harold in loads of magazine reviews and thinking that this might be a good follow-up to Monty on the Run.

 

667595-spiky-harold-commodore-64-screens

 

Pretty much panned everywhere and one of the reasons the magazines were essential back then. Had a quick try now and...wow....he sure does jump pretty high. Also it's rubbish.

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Last one for tonight W.A.R.

 

324460-w-a-r-commodore-64-screenshot-if-

 

It's Uridium but not as good right? I vaguely remember some ribbing given to one of the people involved with this game due to a hidden declaration of love in the game (or was that Warhawk?)

 

In any case this is somewhat redundant when you could just play the real thing.

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5 minutes ago, Camel said:

The lickers are the only thing I would change about Iridis Alpha. It’s brilliant otherwise.

I mostly agree. The design is great and shooting along on both levels is great, but having those things at wave 3 kills the game. At least for me. Such a shame.

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Which leads us straight on to Equinox, a game I bought on budget rerelease around 87/88 when I was desperate for something new to play.

 

First up, the loading screen, a digital version of the cover pained by Oliver Frey is great.

 

694776-equinox-commodore-64-screenshot-l

 

I actually solved this one although it's dead hard it's essentially Pyjamarama crossed with Starquake but on the clock. It doesn't have much appeal once completed and if I had to criticise it for anything it does feel a little sterile.

 

694779-equinox-commodore-64-screenshot-a

 

The music though drives me nuts. I'm sure it's a synth version of some 50's rockabilly tune but I just can't place it! It's fine but I still prefer Starquake.

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Hoodoo-Voodoo...Hoodoo Voodon't!

 

I have a bit of time for Equinox. According to Lemon 64 it was the first game Nick Jones coded on the machine, and I'm guessing he did the visuals as well as nothing is listed for them. It's a port of the spectrum game and he would go on to port a lot of Raffaele Cecco's work like the Cybernoid games, Exolon, Stormlord etc. It's a decent port and makes use of the C64's extra colour in comparison to a lot of the spectrum ports we got at the time, and it is clear that this is a step along the design line to Cybernoid et al for Cecco. A solid port of an OK game.

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So Parallax is one of the rare C64 stories I have that I'm ashamed of. Or in this case should be ashamed of. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

 

275339-parallax-commodore-64-screenshot-

 

After a couple of false starts this was the Sensible Software game that felt like a Sensible Software game. On the surface it's a multi scrolling shoot-em up like Z.

 

158089-parallax-commodore-64-screenshot-

 

You can fly above AND below the landscape here giving it a literal feeling of depth.

 

However landing and exploring would allow you to kidnap scientists that you can then drug to help you!

 

It also had that leftfield sense of humour when you died.

 

158093-parallax-commodore-64-screenshot-

 

It's a little fiddly but where it succeeds is in it's presentation. It's incredibly slick with an intro screen (similar to what Palace were doing) and an absolutely amazing (or weird) 11 minute long prog rock title track. I played this a lot but never got further than level 2 due to it being rock hard.

 

So why should I feel ashamed? Well this one one of the few games I got due to the power of nagging. A couple of years after this came out I spied a compilation that was locally distributed by OziSoft called Six Star Hits. It included Double Take, Mutants, Parallax, Head Over Heels, The Great Escape and Wizball. I had to have it, it was a bargain for $35AU. So I begged my mother's boyfriend to buy it. "Mum will fix you up for it!" I nagged and nagged in a rather uncharacteristic way and he eventually relented.

 

When we got home....well my mother was not pleased with me at all. At the time I had little idea how dire our financial situation was and there was talk of taking it back. In the end I got to keep it on the proviso that I never, ever pull a stunt like that again.  I was somewhat chastened by this.

 

Or at least I should have been. But in retrospect it was easily the best compilation I got on the C64. Five excellent games (and one complete dud) which I pretty much played for well over a year (except for Double Take obviously.) The shame should have been the thing that stopped me from nagging but in reality I suspect that in this case the score was so good that I had little need for a new game for a long long time.

 

I don't think Parallax holds up now, it's still too difficult, but I'll load it up every so often just for the music.

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I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Parallax going back to it. It is hard but I managed to make it quite far and started to see how it all ties together. The ability to pretty much skip levels when you know the code is a great touch and I enjoyed it far more than I expected. It's a well designed game and that always stands up. 

 

I couldn't believe Graham liked Hole in One. It was bloody awful with some of the worst ball physics I've seen. Dreadful. 

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22 minutes ago, Unofficial Who said:

Two On Two BasketBall doesn't interest me in the least and I really want to skip to talking about the last game in the list.

 

Two_on_Two_ani2.GIF

 

It's not a bad looking game, anyone spend any time with this?

To be fair, this wasn't half bad, and the depth and wealth of options for the time were really impressive. I'm not aware of many games that let you play through actual leagues and cups rather than just being management sims (Football Manager et al). The basketball part maybe wasn't as fun as International Basketball, but there was certainly a whole lot more depth there.

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And so we come to my pick of this podcast but also a memory of some shame.

 

When I got my C64 I really wanted Ghosts'n'Goblins for my birthday. Instead I got Druid.

 

I was disappointed. And I showed it. I threw the mother of all sulks. Druid might have been cheaper in the UK but it was $10AU more expensive in Australia. "Look, the guy at the shop said it was better than Ghosts'n'Goblins", my mother's boyfriend said. "I mean it looks pretty good!"

 

I was not having this, I mean my instructions were simple, and I wanted to play the exciting game where I was a knight, not this where you play as an old man. "Just give it a try, if you don't like it I'll exchange it," my mother's boyfriend said in a voice that was understandably using the undertone "listen here you little shit, you play this or you play nothing."

 

So I gave it a try and...it was good. It was really good! I mean first impressions were great.

 

Druid_Titelbild.gif

 

But the game itself was so vibrant!

 

Druid_Animation.gif

 

This felt like an evolution of Adventure on the old 2600. I soon roped my little brother in to act as golem (a task he tired of within a week). I memorised the map layouts, learned the spell tables (each element is effective against different beasties), learned how to use the golum in one player mode and weeks later completed the game.

 

There's a really good wiki here https://www.c64-wiki.com/wiki/Druid

 

It's one of the prettiest Gauntlet style games on the C64 and probably the best if a bit clumsy until you get used to the keys.

 

And yeah, I apologised for the major sulk. He was right, he'd chosen an excellent game and he knew all my friends had GnG, none would have had this one.

 

I was surprised to learn from the podcast that the creator Dene Carter went to work for Bullfrog although in a way Peter Molyneux owes his career to this game. I think a lot of people are familiar with the early story about Peter Molyneux and how Commodore sent him several Amigas in error. When he pivotted from business software to games the very first game Bullfrog made was a conversion of a C64 game.

 

That game? The sequel to this one.

 

Druid II:Enlightenment.

 

544775-enlightenment-amiga-screenshot-ad

 

Anyway, Druid is my pick. You will need to learn the keyboard, you will need to work out enemy weaknesses and getting to the Demon Heads and using a chaos spell while touching said head is a difficult task. Great game though, it's incredibly confident from the logo at the start to the thumping tune to the great graphics.

 

Druid08.gif

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Mad how you used to actually complete these games. I bought this and the sequel. Enjoyed both, but never really got anywhere with either. The clunky controls didn't help I think. Did you use a combination of joystick and keyboard? I can't actually remember whether playing fully on keyboard is even an option.

 

Thanks to the last podcast that I listened to, I was up until 4 the other night playing Barry McGuigan's. I hadn't played that in yeeeears. I agree that it's still a great game. Brutal how missing costs almost as much endurance as being hit.

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Yeah, I was surprised to learn that this was a Dene Carter game and he obviously would go on to create Dungeon Keeper and Fable. He commented on Twitter that he has great memories of making this when I included him in the tweet about it. Druid is a just a well designed game. Well thought out and leagues above the C64 version of Gauntlet that we are about to experience, and shit like Dandy. It's a tough call between this and Parallax for me, but it's great to have quality games in one episode for change.

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Just now, Camel said:

Mad how you used to actually complete these games. I bought this and the sequel. Enjoyed both, but never really got anywhere with either. The clunky controls didn't help I think. Did you use a combination of joystick and keyboard? I can't actually remember whether playing fully on keyboard is even an option.

 

Thanks to the last podcast that I listened to, I was up until 4 the other night playing Barry McGuigan's. I hadn't played that in yeeeears. I agree that it's still a great game. Brutal how missing costs almost as much endurance as being hit.

Wow, you are way behind. BM's Boxing is a great game, you're right, and the best boxer on the system. I guess that's another management/sports game like Two on Two Basketball up above. 

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The presentation in Parallax is ridiculous. Always found the game a bit fiddly though.

 

Ranarama was my Gauntlet game of choice back in the day, alongside Druid, but playing it now, I can't see why I loved it so much. Also Spore, which is a brilliant single-screen effort.

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1 hour ago, Camel said:

Mad how you used to actually complete these games. I bought this and the sequel. Enjoyed both, but never really got anywhere with either. The clunky controls didn't help I think. Did you use a combination of joystick and keyboard? I can't actually remember whether playing fully on keyboard is even an option.

 

 

You needed to use keys to switch between the three main offensive spells and cast other spells. In one player you could also switch the golem between three modes, wait, follow and go. It was the key to even getting close to those fire spitting skulls.

 

I've never played the sequels sadly.

 

57 minutes ago, Camel said:

Ranarama was my Gauntlet game of choice back in the day, alongside Druid, but playing it now, I can't see why I loved it so much. Also Spore, which is a brilliant single-screen effort.

 

Rananrama was great (got that on a covermount) but a bit muddy. I thought Gauntlet was a solid port of the arcade game but it did feel a bit pointless. More on those two later!

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21 minutes ago, Unofficial Who said:

 

You needed to use keys to switch between the three main offensive spells and cast other spells. In one player you could also switch the golem between three modes, wait, follow and go. It was the key to even getting close to those fire spitting skulls.

 

I've never played the sequels sadly.

 

 

Rananrama was great (got that on a covermount) but a bit muddy. I thought Gauntlet was a solid port of the arcade game but it did feel a bit pointless. More on those two later!

You'll really like Enlightenment if you haven't played it. At least, I think you will.

 

Ranarama was a Spectrum port, wasn't it? Don't remember being that enamoured with it. 

 

Also, Into the Eagle's Nest was also another cracker, IIRC.

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Yeah

1 hour ago, Unofficial Who said:

 

You needed to use keys to switch between the three main offensive spells and cast other spells. In one player you could also switch the golem between three modes, wait, follow and go. It was the key to even getting close to those fire spitting skulls.

 

I've never played the sequels sadly.

 

 

Rananrama was great (got that on a covermount) but a bit muddy. I thought Gauntlet was a solid port of the arcade game but it did feel a bit pointless. More on those two later!

 

Yeah I found it a bit too much using the joystick and having to use a bunch of keys too. If the game doesn't have an option of playing entirely with keys, I wonder if it would be better played on en emulator with joystick mapped to keys.

 

I've never really liked Gauntlet. It has always felt pointless on any format. I keep meaning to give Gauntlet IV on the Mega Drive another shot. I owned it back in the day (still do) and everyone raves about its quest mode, which I don't actually remember at all 😕

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