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Zapped to the Past podcast (C64)


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19 minutes ago, squirtle said:

I loved it, and stated so in the podcast. This should have been far higher than the 90% it got. It's far better than other Gold Medals awarded and there is nothing like it beyond maybe The Fourth Protocol, which this is much better than. There really is nothing like seeing a heist go off like clockwork after planning it meticulously. I used to play this a lot on the Amstrad as a friend had it and we would plan each one out meticulously and see if we could get away with everything. It works really well in that capacity as you may miss something they notice and so on. A brilliant game, and something I am looking at remaking over the next couple of years.

 

I'd really be interested in a remake. All the issues and frustrations here were mine with not being able to pinch to expand or shrink viewing areas and not being able to see a track showing the movements of my team. All unrealistic expectations from a game over 30 years old.

 

I agree with you, even bouncing off it hard I can't see why this didn't get a gold medal. It's something that had a lot of thought put into it and you can see it's by the same team who created The Deactivators. Cursed by being ahead of their time.

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Living in Australia my first exposure to Judge Dredd was an ill advised publication of the strip in the Sunday Newspapers comic supplements. I'm not sure if this was the same in the UK but in Australia the Sunday Papers were a massive thing. A huge information dump from the entire week numbering a good couple of hundred pages. And the comics in both the Sun Herald and the Sunday Telegraph were a big thing to kids, eight pages or so of comics (some in printed in colour) activities and the like.

 

Their mascots were a big part of TV advertising even! (I've cued up to the cartoon mascots but feel free to rewind to hear what Ita Buttrose, now head of the ABC had to say about the power of the ABC 40 years ago if you're into Australian media politics.)

 

 

My introduction to Judge Dredd was this nestled in among more family friendly strips like Garfield and Ginger Meggs.

 

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This was unlike anything I'd ever seen before in a comic. It was also unlike anything else ever seen by many parents who were shocked at a comic about a police officer putting down someone permanently for jaywalking and unsurprisingly it was the first and last Dredd strip published in the "Sunday Funnies".

 

While not having access to Dredd comics for years after that inadvertent publication I was primed for more ultraviolence in digital form.

 

I eventually got to play this via a friend's pirate copy a couple of years after the game was published. I didn't keep it. I didn't play it very long. And I haven't replayed it now because a few things at the time made their impression on me.

 

The loading screen is great.

 

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The title screen isn't bad.

 

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The map overview is a mess, especially when compared to other C64 games with map overviews I'd been exposed to like Beach Head of Ghostbusters.

 

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And the game. Well just look at this.

 

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I've been a defender of the art style of Melbourne House for other titles, I really like the chunky pixel look in many of their games. Not this one though. I mean I know the world of Dredd is an ugly play but I really didn't get on with this. The map system again is the worst part of a lot of Melbourne House games and this is up there with Bazooka Bill in terms of being hard to navigate. The feel of the game is really light as well with everything feeling like it has no impact which is the opposite of what you want with a property like this. And the music is some of Neil Brennan's worst.

 

This feels like a game that was rushed and released just when it was in enough shape to ship. It feels like a prototype. Avoid. However don't write off this team yet, they go on to learn from this game and make one of the best arcade adventure / fighting games ever released for the C64.

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I know it was rubbish in hindsight but I loved this Judge Dredd game. In my eyes it offered me freedom to explore and complete missions how I saw fit. That was obviously an illusion but I had a lot of fun considering I probably got it for £1.99.

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I don't have much to say about Molecule Man. Didn't play it back in the day and despite being desperate to play Knight Lore I wasn't tempted by this because I was holding out for Knight Lore. And even in the screenshots it looked incredibly cramped.

 

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11 minutes ago, Rex Grossman said:

I know it was rubbish in hindsight but I loved this Judge Dredd game. In my eyes it offered me freedom to explore and complete missions how I saw fit. That was obviously an illusion but I had a lot of fun considering I probably got it for £1.99.

 

Which version were you playing? I can imagine the Spectrum version being better in this case if it lacked the music.

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10 minutes ago, Unofficial Who said:

 

Which version were you playing? I can imagine the Spectrum version being better in this case if it lacked the music.

 

C64. I had a passing interest in Judge Dredd. I've seen videos of it in recent years and it looks awful. I'm sure it is terrible. But I enjoyed it! And it's not like it was the only game I had so had to make do. Weird.

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5 minutes ago, Rex Grossman said:

 

C64. I had a passing interest in Judge Dredd. I've seen videos of it in recent years and it looks awful. I'm sure it is terrible. But I enjoyed it! And it's not like it was the only game I had so had to make do. Weird.

To be fair, as I stated in the podcast, I played a lot of Cobra for some reason back then. I think it was the music.

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1 hour ago, Rex Grossman said:

 

C64. I had a passing interest in Judge Dredd. I've seen videos of it in recent years and it looks awful. I'm sure it is terrible. But I enjoyed it! And it's not like it was the only game I had so had to make do. Weird.

 

1 hour ago, squirtle said:

To be fair, as I stated in the podcast, I played a lot of Cobra for some reason back then. I think it was the music.

 

Probably why I love Fist 2 so much. A combination of excellent music and it being one of the first C64 games I owned at the time.

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I've been under the impression for decades that Arcticfox was the less successful follow up to Skyfox. That might have been due to the cover art and marketing.

 

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But listening to the podcast the revelation that this was the follow up to Stellar 7 made sense, and so despite what was said I was excited to try this given how much I enjoyed playing Stellar 7 on my school's Apple 2's back in the day.

 

And first impressions were good, checking out the in game dossier on enemies showed off some pretty quick wire frame routines.

 

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But playing the game proper and the frame rate just tanks. There's some impressive stuff happening here, I saw enemies actually on patrol and reacting to my presence in a way that was more sophisticated than Battlezone but it's just too much for the C64 to handle.

 

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(This could almost be an animated gif given the low frame rate.)

 

This is just too much for the C64 and would remain so until the cartridge based Battle Command which ditched real time calculations and instead used the cart format to use a lookup table of pre calculated values. More on that later.

 

There's a great game here but it's not a great game for the 6502. Avoid.

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I can see what you mean about Arctic Fox, but this is one of the first de-ports we have had from the Amiga. This will get alarmingly more frequent.

 

And let's not forget, this existed in 1984:

 

(And I can't believe we missed this in Ep Zero... We may have to revisit this).

 

 

The Vikings is a just a strange Rambo knock off. It's not terrible. Just... A bit strange.

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I think Encounter gets a budget rerelease later. If not...special Patreon episode? The games that Zzap forgot?

 

edit Was reviewed as part of a shoot-em up special retrospective No 43 p107. Also reviewed in a retrospective review No 5 p62.

Edited by Unofficial Who
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5 hours ago, Unofficial Who said:

I think Encounter gets a budget rerelease later. If not...special Patreon episode? The games that Zzap forgot?

 

edit Was reviewed as part of a shoot-em up special retrospective No 43 p107. Also reviewed in a retrospective review No 5 p62.

I went back and checked the first few episodes and there were thirty games that we overlooked in those first few episodes, so we will be doing those at some point. We might throw in some early classics that we missed in the ep zero episodes as well.

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Even back in the day I got bad vibes from 1943 One Year After. We're going to see a lot of blatant cloning of arcade licences over the next couple of years. To be successful at cloning you needed to meet one or more of the following.

 

-most important, don't get sued.

-be better than the game you're cloning

-beat the game you're cloning to market

-undercut your competition by being cheaper.

 

1943 does the first I guess, either by Elite not noticing or, more likely their lawyers pointing out that you can't copyright a year and vertical shooters were hardly original at this point. But this fails every other criteria. It's worse than the C64 port of 1942. It came out after 1942. And it went for the same price. Why would anyone buy this unless they'd made a terrible mistake?

 

559792--43-one-year-after-commodore-64-s

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There was only really a brief window of time when Championship Wrestling would have been attractive to me and that was before this game came out. I had friends who had this on cassette and the consensus was that they were pretty disappointed by it.

 

These portraits always looked good in the postage stamp sized screenshots but don't look as good blown up.

 

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And the matches themselves seem over complicated.

 

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I'd love to know if others enjoyed this back in the day. Interestingly enough this was the first game by Free Radical Software, Inc (not that Free Radical) who eventually became Incredible Technologies who found their fame making Golden Tee Golf.

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First up is a game I got as part of the Six Star Hits compilation I talked about last year and it's Ocean's excellent shoot'em up Mutants, a game which I've grown to appreciate even if it is rock hard.

 

First impressions are great with this incredibly colourful loading screen. This is almost Amstrad levels of colour!

 

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The game itself starts with a simple but again colourful options screen where you can choose between fantastic music or sparse sound effects, one of three weapons and then the launch to the map screen. This is so much better than gun metal grey or C64 brown we've been treated to of late.

 

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You then get taken to a grid map of the pens (and the base on the top left.)

 

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And then there are the pens themselves. Back when I first played this I was disappointed by the simplistic look of the mutants. But over the years I've become more impressed with how they move and behave, it's unlike anything seen on the C64 apart from Hunter's Moon and it must have been incredibly difficult to program on a sprite based machine. @squirtle, you can tell Graham that on the real machine it would sometimes slow down.

 

Some mutants ignore you at first preferring to build lattice structures.

 

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Some will attempt to swarm you from the off.

 

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Most will change to a more aggressive stance once you've stolen the item in their pen.

 

If you run short on lives you can take items back to the base to restore your lives but crashing into walls or cells that spawn soon after you enter will cause you to lose them which is pretty mean. I played this level so much that today having not played it for 30 years I was able to run the critical path without ending up in a dead end.

 

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That's all there is to it. A solid shooter that's maybe a bit too hard with a craft that has a bit too much inertia. Worth a try and most likely my favourite of this episode. I'd love to see Housemarque or someone similar do a modern remake.

 

Especially if they keep the absolute banging Fred Grey music.

 

 

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I can't say I was as enthused about Australian made Star Soldier. A friend of mine loaned this to me back in the day and it just didn't grab me at all.

 

I think it's ambitious with its maps and weapon budgeting.

 

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But the core gameplay just isn't great. 

 

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Again there are just so many Commando games on the C64 at this point that users are spoiled for choice. I do think there's a gem of an idea here though, almost like Commando crossed with an RPG. From memory too slow and I didn't really feel the need to refresh that memory.

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Mutants is a good, if frustrating game. I have always liked the more alien-esque behaviour of the muants. It's a clever and original game and a refreshing breath of fresh original air from Ocean.

 

Star Soldier is accountantly challenged.

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The enemies in Mutants are all character-based - the HUD and spaceship take up the hardware sprites.

There’s some impressive behaviour. But for me (and Martin Walker) the real let-down was that there is only one set of levels, effectively. Collect all the containment field parts and deposit them in the centre of the maze, and the game goes back to the start with exactly the same layout but faster moving enemies.

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I loved Bounder but for a while Green and Shrigley seemed to have some sort of game engine or at least common code used for later Gremlin Graphics games. This led to games a lot more stable than Bounder and also gave them a distinctive "rounded" look and a certain feel. I first noticed with with Future Knight.

 

A lot of people loved this new look and feel. I wasn't one of them. I'm not sure why but the next few games just had a feel that didn't gel with me.

 

It also didn't help that the genre this belonged too, the arcade adventure was now incredibly competitive. In 1985 I would have loved wandering the steel halls of the crashed star ship just for the joy of exploring. But when I borrowed this back in the day from a mate I just didn't feel it at all.

 

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I've no desire to return to it now although I did have a quick look at a longplay as I was unaware that there was a forest and a castle until listening to the podcast.

 

 

 

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I'm skipping The Double because football management games aren't my thing. Was fascinated to hear how an unplayable game was rendered fun by setting the emulator to several times the original clock speed. I feel that from 1987 on we're going to see more games that were just too much for the C64 (along with a few miracles)

 

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So back when I was a kid I wanted to play ALL THE GAMES. And for a time in the early 80's it felt that money was the only thing that was stopping me from doing this. By the end of the 80's I'd learned that even then there were too many games for someone to get through in one lifetime and so I started to have the odd feeling of just not wanting to play certain games or even being repelled be some games. Tracker was an early example of this. Despite the amazing box art

 

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the screen grabs in the reviews made it look incredibly unappealing.

 

So much grey.

 

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So much brown.

 

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I remember looking at these shots and thinking that this seemed to have missed the boat as more attractive games in the same genre were already out there and in some cases already going for cheap. Zoids, Tau Ceti and Quake Minus One are three that I can think of straight away. I had a quick look at this just now and it wasn't near enough to give it a fair go, in some ways it felt like a basic C64 interpretation of WipeOut. It's kind of telling I can't find out who made the game.

 

Still the loading screen is nice.

 

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Pneumatic Hammers. What can I say. There is a lot here. I bounced of this pretty hard as wandering around a factory trying to do the job of ten men just didn't appeal. But I can see how this might appeal to some who love industrial games.

 

I did like the old school lifts in the game too.

 

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But I just can't get into this. Best to hand this over to someone who knows what they're doing.

 

 

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