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Zapped to the Past podcast (C64)


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On 16/08/2022 at 11:02, squirtle said:

Some clever touches on PHM Pegasus, but it's just a bit drab.

 

Rygar - no smashy yo-yo, no sale!

 

PHM Pegasus (controlling one ship) is ok, but the follow-up Strike Fleet (controlling the whole fleet plus helicopters) is bigger and better

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Superstar Ice Hockey just isn't something I'm interested in being a deep simulation of the sport. Can anyone here comment on how it played?

 

271284-superstar-ice-hockey-commodore-64

 

According to Mobygames it seemed to have mixed reviews, a case of the 16 bit versions being better perhaps.

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I didn't play Bobsleigh at the time nor did I now in part due to my lack of interest in sports games. But I think this is interesting to look at from a history point of view.

 

At the start of the C64's life many games sold purely because they were the first and in some cases the only example of their genre. 1988 is a very different place commercially though. By this stage releases are having to compete with what is currently on the store shelves including cheaper releases or releases on compilations as well as what is already in the libraries of their potential customers. So in my case by 1988 I had in my collection Le Mans (an overhead arcade racer), Buggy Boy (an arcade racer) and Pitstop 2 for multiplayer racing. That meant that any racing game that came out post 1987 had to either be better than what I already owned or doing something different to attract my attention. The same thing with other games like Rygar having to compete with Ghosts'n'Goblins and so on.

 

So you have this, a simulation designed to appeal to a very niche audience, those who want a Bobsleigh simulator. And I can't really talk to how well it fills that gap. I suspect few can.

 

559253-bobsleigh-commodore-64-screenshot

 

But from a casual players perspective and at the time the perspective of a lot of reviewers there was the issue of comparing this to Winter Games. Because in Winter Games you got this (which is more arcade like but looked much better) along with six other events.

 

WinterGames_D7_BobSled.gif

 

I'm pretty sure a lot of potential players instantly wrote Bobsleigh off as being poor value for money and suffered by looking like 1/7th of a game. Also worth noting that the multi format mags at the time pointed out the C64 version as being the slowest given they went for real 3D rather than the sprite/raster based approach of Winter Games.

 

We're going to get a few of these that suffer due to competing with previous superior releases throughout 1988. But this is a standout example of that.

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At last! One I can talk about a little. Mean Streak.  I first played this back in mid 1991 thanks to a cover mounted cassette with Commodore Format. Summing it up, think Spy Hunter presented like Zaxxon with with a Street Hawk makeover.

 

Although not as good as any of those. The bike feels a bit sluggish to steer and I hate that going faster just puts you closer to the top of the screen with less time to react. I was desperate for new games in 1991 so it's telling that I only loaded this up a handful of times.

 

319390-mean-streak-commodore-64-screensh

 

What more can I say? Not much but this is a good time to touch on covermounts which I thought was a great way for creators to get paid again as part of a rerelease. Sort of like the long tail of selling a game.

 

I was most likely wrong.

 

https://commodoreformatarchive.com/power-pack-8-may-1991/

 

Quote

MEAN STREAK

This is the game Mirrosoft gave CF as part of their “payment” for the Predator 2 demo appearing on the tape: Mean Streak is their so-so 1987 bike racing shoot ’em up style of thing.

 

So essentially publishers were giving away their old games in order to secure space on a covermount for a demo!

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I quite enjoyed Mean Streak when I played it on that cover tape. 

 

Matt Gray told me years later his music doesn’t play properly in the game, the developers hacked out part of the player routine to save space.

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This is probably the most appropriate thread to bring this up although there might be a dedicated thread later. Some sad news about Oli Frey per a post from Chris Wilkins.

 

Quote

It breaks my heart to type this, but end of life care has now started for Oli. He will not receive any food or water from now on, except for small doses of morphine to manage the pain. I'm still trying to get my head around this. I am going over to see them both in the morning - more to see Rog to give a little support where I can - and if Oli is still with us, to say goodbye

 

Roger Kean, his partner is also not well and bid farewell to social media last month via FB.

 

Quote

First I want to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone for my 74th birthday wishes (and Simon, forgive me for falling to send you birthday wishes).

Life is a series of experiences, not all pleasant, but happy moments have outweighed the sad ones by a wide margin – at least for me. I’ve been blessed with wonderful friendships. Nevertheless, circumstances have stacked up to the point where it’s time to step back from online life. I can no longer use a keyboard on desktop, laptop or phone. Oliver is mostly bedbound and frail from the cancer that’s eating him (sadly, immunotherapy has been ruled out because he is too weak to stand it).

Until nine days ago Franco was our mainstay, when out of the blue he suffered a massive brain bleed. He is in Queen Elisabeth Hospital, Birmingham in a coma. We know damage has occurred but until he can be brought round we won’t know the extent.

This, then, is my farewell to social media friends on behalf of we three. Franco hasn’t been on FB for years, but my page and Oli’s will remain for the time being but don’t anticipate posted responses.

 

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4 hours ago, Unofficial Who said:

This is probably the most appropriate thread to bring this up although there might be a dedicated thread later. Some sad news about Oli Frey per a post from Chris Wilkins.

 

 

Roger Kean, his partner is also not well and bid farewell to social media last month via FB.

 

 


Definitely worthy of a thread. One of the artists who defined how we thought a game looked in our minds when we often just saw brown blocks or cyan attribute clash,

Very sad.

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I saw the Oli Frey news on FB and it is really sad, those covers were such a memorable part of my childhood and a big part of Zzap.

My friend bought an original Frey Zzap reviewer style avatar painting of me for my 50th. It was also provided it in digital format which I use on here and elsewhere.

 

I was also lucky enough to have two of my games as the cover games on Zzap the first of which was painted by Oli. I got in touch a few years back to try and buy the original or a print but apparently it's one of his lost works. Apparently a few went in prizes and auctions etc.

 

zzap_small.thumb.jpg.016c269153e8a76537a8615a8e38c400.jpg

 

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Back in the early 90's before emulation was a thing and back when I was determined to play EVERY GAME EVER MADE I had this anxiety about games being lost forever to me. This led me to buying games very cheaply on the proviso that I might one day want to play them only to find over the decades that they were opened only once to check the contents were in the box. Airborne Ranger is one of these, I might have bought the fully boxed complete copy for about $5AU in the early 90's. I have never played it once, until today.

 

It's kind of what I expected it to be, a slower more detailed version of Commando. You get your briefing to memorise.

 

864410-airborne-ranger-commodore-64-scre

 

You get a flyover which allows you to drop some duffel bags of supplies before being dropped via parachute in the south of the map.

 

87917-airborne-ranger-commodore-64-scree

 

And then you get to explore, trying to sneak your way around without getting caught and achieving objectives.

 

87920-airborne-ranger-commodore-64-scree

 

Graphics and sound are functional and it plays at a much slower pace than games of this type. In some respects it reminded me of Rogue Trooper but really what we have here is people trying to do the same thing in parallel with Hideo Kojima in making a stealth soldier game. It's like an alternate Metal Gear. But unlike Metal Gear it's really hard to get any idea of situational awareness. You can tell when other soldiers are nearby but there's no way of telling where they're coming from so you could be crawling in a trench away from them or towards them.

 

It's an ambitious idea and maybe the best realised for the C64 at this time but it's flawed because of this. If you want to play something like this I'd skip this and either play Metal Gear Solid:the Phantom Pain or go back and play the MSX games Metal Gear 1 and/or 2 instead.

 

119766-metal-gear-msx-screenshot-three-t

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I was pretty excited about Inspector Gadget back in the day. I was a massive fan of the cartoon (in part because the lead role was voiced by Don Adams of Get Smart fame.)

 

Here's an earworm that will get into your head.

 

 

The magazine previews looked incredible.

 

scan-inspectorgadget2-150x150.jpg

 

But what we got instead was this. This awful thing.

 

476249-inspector-gadget-and-the-circus-o

 

Warned off by the many bad reviews it was forgotten for many years. (Oh and I've had a quick go, avoid. This feels like an annoying rush job.)

 

So what gives? I had a theory for a long time that the original version was canned for looking too much like Namco's Metro Cross, the C64 version of which was released recently by US Gold.

 

88060-metro-cross-commodore-64-screensho

 

But that doesn't hold up because the Spectrum version was released as per the original design.

 

118595-inspector-gadget-and-the-circus-o

 

As usual GTW64 has an explanation. https://www.gamesthatwerent.com/gtw64/inspector-gadget/

 

Quote

“I don’t know if I should admit to it, but yes I am. wow, that’s my past coming back to haunt me.

The game was never finished because Ian left the company and the game kept crashing. I worked out years later that when you get two timer interrupts happening at the same time on the C64 one of them doesn’t happen and that made the whole game crash. It would have been a very simple fix…

I have no idea how it got out there, i was going to ask you where you got it from. I don’t have any thing about it left. Was all way too long ago.”

Don Havelberg.

 

and

 

Quote

“Huh – that’s incredible! I haven’t seen those screens for a very very very long time. Last time I saw that was in 1987 (I was 17 or 18 I think), when I was working on it.

Amazing – how on earth did that code and screenshots get leaked?”

Ian Chia.

 

You can actually download a preview version from here that has the full intro

 

inspectorgadget6-150x150.gif

 

and a portion of the game.

 

inspectorgadget2-150x150.gif

 

It does play pretty much like I thought it would back in the day. It feels like an Inspector Gadget themed version of Metro Cross. It's a pity it wasn't refined and released back in the day, it would have been huge. As for the other release, I wonder if it was a "Street Hawk" style arrangement, released to meet commercial obligations because it's incredibly poor, poor enough to do damage to the reputation of Melbourne House who had built up a lot of rep' due to The Hobbit and The Way of the Exploding Fist.

 

Seek out the demo of the unreleased version, skip the released version altogether.

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I had a copy of Skate or Die! back in the day again from the big box of disks that was gifted to me. I've always found it a little slight compared to the Games series but playing it now there's something about it that just captures the mood of the 80's.

 

The presentation is top notch with a great Rob Hubbard track, this is probably the work that led to him moving over to the US to work for EA.

 

187307-skate-or-die-commodore-64-screens

 

This was a game that pulled my borther back into gaming briefly as he was skate mad at the time. Me? I liked my teeth too much. We also loved that the Rodney Dangerfield skate shop guy to us looked like a combination of Reg Blank from Max Headroom and our recently departed grandfather.

 

187310-skate-or-die-commodore-64-screens

 

I can't imagine playing this on tape (and even disk is a bit ponderous, I played an Easyflash release this time.) But the presentation is top notch. For instance here is the select screen.

 

187311-skate-or-die-commodore-64-screens

 

No golden browns here. Everything is bright and sunny.

 

Going through the events you have the half pipe and while this isn't my thing my brother enjoyed this a lot more than the version on California Games.

 

Skate_or_Die_freestyle.gif

 

Then there's the high jump with the great risk reward system of you stopping when you think you've made your personal best.

 

Skate_or_Die_jump.gif

 

Then there's the first of two downhill courses and back when I played this I spent most of my time on these two. There's a couple of things to note here. First of all this takes the unusual approach of scrolling DOWN, a rare thing at the time but in retrospect it gives the game more character. I wonder if it was done for the same reason it was done in the chase sections of Crash Bandicoot in allowing you to see the characters better? There are loads of opportunities to risk more dangerous routes here and showboat, or eat dirt.

 

Skate_or_Die_hill.gif

 

The Jam takes has a more urban course and adds in another punk Lester who harasses you Road Rash style with kicks and punches. There's some fantastic fail animations here. Race through a chain link fence for instance and see what happens.

 

Skate_or_Die_jam.gif

 

Finally there's what I consider the weakest event, the Pool Joust where you and your opponent take turns taking each other on with a bopping stick.

 

Skate_or_Die_joust.gif

 

Apparently this was Electronic Arts' first in-house game, i.e. the first developed by full-time employees. All prior EA titles had been done by independent contractors.

 

In terms of skating games this was probably the best one for the C64. Revisiting it I really enjoyed the downhill run/jam events and in retrospect it really captures a moment in time that I couldn't see back in the day. My pick of this episode.

 

78709-skate-or-die-commodore-64-back-cov

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Unofficial Who said:

I had a copy of Skate or Die! back in the day again from the big box of disks that was gifted to me. I've always found it a little slight compared to the Games series but playing it now there's something about it that just captures the mood of the 80's.

 

The presentation is top notch with a great Rob Hubbard track, this is probably the work that led to him moving over to the US to work for EA.

 

187307-skate-or-die-commodore-64-screens

 

This was a game that pulled my borther back into gaming briefly as he was skate mad at the time. Me? I liked my teeth too much. We also loved that the Rodney Dangerfield skate shop guy to us looked like a combination of Reg Blank from Max Headroom and our recently departed grandfather.

 

187310-skate-or-die-commodore-64-screens

 

I can't imagine playing this on tape (and even disk is a bit ponderous, I played an Easyflash release this time.) But the presentation is top notch. For instance here is the select screen.

 

187311-skate-or-die-commodore-64-screens

 

No golden browns here. Everything is bright and sunny.

 

Going through the events you have the half pipe and while this isn't my thing my brother enjoyed this a lot more than the version on California Games.

 

Skate_or_Die_freestyle.gif

 

Then there's the high jump with the great risk reward system of you stopping when you think you've made your personal best.

 

Skate_or_Die_jump.gif

 

Then there's the first of two downhill courses and back when I played this I spent most of my time on these two. There's a couple of things to note here. First of all this takes the unusual approach of scrolling DOWN, a rare thing at the time but in retrospect it gives the game more character. I wonder if it was done for the same reason it was done in the chase sections of Crash Bandicoot in allowing you to see the characters better? There are loads of opportunities to risk more dangerous routes here and showboat, or eat dirt.

 

Skate_or_Die_hill.gif

 

The Jam takes has a more urban course and adds in another punk Lester who harasses you Road Rash style with kicks and punches. There's some fantastic fail animations here. Race through a chain link fence for instance and see what happens.

 

Skate_or_Die_jam.gif

 

Finally there's what I consider the weakest event, the Pool Joust where you and your opponent take turns taking each other on with a bopping stick.

 

Skate_or_Die_joust.gif

 

Apparently this was Electronic Arts' first in-house game, i.e. the first developed by full-time employees. All prior EA titles had been done by independent contractors.

 

In terms of skating games this was probably the best one for the C64. Revisiting it I really enjoyed the downhill run/jam events and in retrospect it really captures a moment in time that I couldn't see back in the day. My pick of this episode.

 

78709-skate-or-die-commodore-64-back-cov

 

 

Pick of the episode by far. It's a really good series of events and far surpasses Epyx's California Games. I was really impressed with this and is genuinely over of the biggest surprises I've had in the Podcast. 

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14 hours ago, Unofficial Who said:

I was pretty excited about Inspector Gadget back in the day. I was a massive fan of the cartoon (in part because the lead role was voiced by Don Adams of Get Smart fame.)

 

Here's an earworm that will get into your head.

 

 

The magazine previews looked incredible.

 

scan-inspectorgadget2-150x150.jpg

 

But what we got instead was this. This awful thing.

 

476249-inspector-gadget-and-the-circus-o

 

Warned off by the many bad reviews it was forgotten for many years. (Oh and I've had a quick go, avoid. This feels like an annoying rush job.)

 

So what gives? I had a theory for a long time that the original version was canned for looking too much like Namco's Metro Cross, the C64 version of which was released recently by US Gold.

 

88060-metro-cross-commodore-64-screensho

 

But that doesn't hold up because the Spectrum version was released as per the original design.

 

118595-inspector-gadget-and-the-circus-o

 

As usual GTW64 has an explanation. https://www.gamesthatwerent.com/gtw64/inspector-gadget/

 

 

and

 

 

You can actually download a preview version from here that has the full intro

 

inspectorgadget6-150x150.gif

 

and a portion of the game.

 

inspectorgadget2-150x150.gif

 

It does play pretty much like I thought it would back in the day. It feels like an Inspector Gadget themed version of Metro Cross. It's a pity it wasn't refined and released back in the day, it would have been huge. As for the other release, I wonder if it was a "Street Hawk" style arrangement, released to meet commercial obligations because it's incredibly poor, poor enough to do damage to the reputation of Melbourne House who had built up a lot of rep' due to The Hobbit and The Way of the Exploding Fist.

 

Seek out the demo of the unreleased version, skip the released version altogether.

Just to add to this is we have said on numerous occasions that we are bemused so many of these licenced properties don't have the proper music on them. The irony here is that both versions of this game (the released and unreleased demo) have pretty good renditions of the Inspector Gadget theme tune. 

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16 hours ago, squirtle said:

Pick of the episode by far. It's a really good series of events and far surpasses Epyx's California Games. I was really impressed with this and is genuinely over of the biggest surprises I've had in the Podcast. 

 

Some of the team who wrote the Games series for Epyx moved to EA to work on Skate or Die. Which is why it takes a similar approach with the menu/events.

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51 minutes ago, merman said:

 

Some of the team who wrote the Games series for Epyx moved to EA to work on Skate or Die. Which is why it takes a similar approach with the menu/events.

Yeah, I mention that in the podcast and it's so evident in the level of quality in Skate or Die.

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6 hours ago, squirtle said:

Just to add to this is we have said on numerous occasions that we are bemused so many of these licenced properties don't have the proper music on them. The irony here is that both versions of this game (the released and unreleased demo) have pretty good renditions of the Inspector Gadget theme tune. 

 

The other interesting thing is that there are two different renditions, one for each version. And they're both great!

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2 hours ago, merman said:

 

Some of the team who wrote the Games series for Epyx moved to EA to work on Skate or Die. Which is why it takes a similar approach with the menu/events.

 

1 hour ago, squirtle said:

Yeah, I mention that in the podcast and it's so evident in the level of quality in Skate or Die.

 

Jeremy Parish also pointed this out a couple of days ago in his video on the NES version making the connection that EA were able to get their hands on some great Epyx talent after they were done over by the Atari deal over Lynx.

 

 

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26 minutes ago, Unofficial Who said:

Kept you waiting huh? The new podcast is out now and I've been a bit slack today. As per last week my contributions this week may be sporadic.

 

The new episode is up here https://zappedtothepast.com/

 

Games covered this issue.

 

-Spore

-Western Games

-Madballs

-Kromazone

-Star Wars

-Sky Twice

-Rampage

-Xor

-Risk

 

 

 

I thought I was an avid C64 game but not many of these titles are ringing a bell. I'm sure it's still too early for me to have an Amiga.

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20 minutes ago, carleton said:

 

I thought I was an avid C64 game but not many of these titles are ringing a bell. I'm sure it's still too early for me to have an Amiga.

 

I've sort of played two of these. As in with Star Wars I'm familiar with the earlier Parker Brothers conversion over the Domark one.

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30 minutes ago, carleton said:

 

I thought I was an avid C64 game but not many of these titles are ringing a bell. I'm sure it's still too early for me to have an Amiga.

 

9 minutes ago, Unofficial Who said:

 

I've sort of played two of these. As in with Star Wars I'm familiar with the earlier Parker Brothers conversion over the Domark one.

Wait until we get into February...

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22 minutes ago, Unofficial Who said:

 

I've sort of played two of these. As in with Star Wars I'm familiar with the earlier Parker Brothers conversion over the Domark one.


The Amiga version of Star Wars Domark did was excellent. I think the same coder also converted Hard Drivin' pretty well for them.

 

Looking at Spore I did play that but had no idea what was going on. 

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