Liberator

All right, Atarian. Are you man enough to join Commander Champion’s Atari Force and liberate the planets suffering under the oppression of the Malaglon army?

Described by some as the opposite of Missile Command, Liberator sees you taking to the skies and firing orbital strikes on enemy missile bases… while attempting not to get hit by the torrent of missiles that comes flying back in your direction!

It’s a fun game that didn’t get a very widespread release back in the day, but thanks to compilations such as Atari Flashback Classics, now everyone can enjoy it.

Castle Master

The “Freescape” games released by Incentive Software were all rather interesting for a variety of reasons.

Most notably, they represented some of the earliest examples of a multi-purpose, cross-platform 3D engine at work — Freescape was so flexible that it would run on everything from the ZX Spectrum up to Atari ST, Amiga and MS-DOS PC, though obviously with some limitations on the less powerful platforms!

Castle Master was one of the last Freescape games to be released on 16-bit platforms, and it’s also one of the most mysterious and intriguing. Let’s go for a little explore, shall we?

Hover Bovver

We’re back with another Jeff Minter classic, and a game that I like to describe as one of his most unusual but least “weird” games.

Hover Bovver is a game about stolen property, vicious canine attacks and… mowing the lawn. Playing as the personification of the middle-class curse-words Gordon Bennett, it’s up to you to mow an assortment of increasingly awkward lawns while attempting to placate your temporarily loyal dog and your less-than-happy neighbour.

Remember to stay off the flower beds!

Gravitar

We all know “harder than Dark Souls” is a cliche today. If you really want to show your hipster retro gaming cred, describe something as being “harder than Gravitar”.

Gravitar is indeed monstrously difficult, at least partly because of its “turn and thrust” control scheme, but there’s an undeniably addictive quality that keeps you wanting to play just once more… just once more and you might nail that level you nearly completed… just once more and you might beat that high score…

I may have a problem. And I’m pretty sure Gravitar caused it.

Batman: The Movie

A well-known name in the 16-bit home computer era here in Europe was Ocean Software.

Ocean had many strings to their bow, but one of their most reliable sources of income was movie tie-in games, many of which drew criticism for being somewhat derivative and unimaginative platform games, but which sold well regardless. A good example of a game where they tried something a little bit different from the usual formula was Batman: The Movie.

That said, the opening stage is a platform game, and is so monstrously difficult I’d be surprised if everyone saw the other things the game had to offer without making use of the cheat mode… I know I certainly didn’t!

Gridrunner

It’s time to pay another visit to the strange and wonderful world of Jeff Minter… albeit with one of his least strange games.

It may not be particularly peculiar compared to some of his other work, but Gridrunner is still a classic shooter from his back catalogue, drawing some inspiration from Centipede and building on the formula.

It’s hard though. Or I’m just rubbish. No, that can’t be it, it is the game that is hard!

Atari Football

Well, I knew this time would come. Not only do I have to tackle a sports game again, but a sports game that only supports two players at once!

Fortunately, while I may not have any friends, I did somehow manage to get married, so my wife Andie generously agreed to assist me in playing Atari Football, a simulation of a sport neither of us understand because we are both British.

We just about managed to figure things out enough to get a feel for the game… I think, anyway!

“Amer

Atari games, software, hardware… and memories