When I was a kid, I really, REALLY got into military flight sims, particularly those from MicroProse.
One of my favourites was F-15 Strike Eagle II, a particularly accessible take on the 16-bit era jet fighter sim, and a game that I used to like to dress up to play. I’d wear a green bomber jacket, a backpack (to simulate both a parachute and a seat belt), a balaclava (to simulate a helmet, in the absence of anything like a cycle helmet or the like), sunglasses (goggles) and an “oxygen mask” crafted from a bit of paper, some duct tape and an old vacuum cleaner’s hose.
My parents and brother referred to it as “The Elephant”. I thought it was badass. Whether or not it actually enhanced my enjoyment of F-15 Strike Eagle II is probably debatable, but I do know that I still enjoy this game today!
I never played this game back in the day, but it was one of those titles you saw all over the place in the early days of the ST.
Throughout the ST’s lifespan, it played host to a variety of different bundle packages, many of which were extremely generous in terms of the number of games and applications they included. Beyond the Ice Palace was a regular inclusion in such bundles, and as such became reasonably well-known.
Loosely inspired by action platformers such as Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins, Beyond the Ice Palace sees your green-booted, gender-ambiguous hero(ine?) battling their way through hordes of enemies and admiring how the ST’s lack of sound channels meant that a single sound effect could mess up an entire musical composition.
3D engines are everywhere these days — you can probably name at least two off the top of your head — but in the late 1980s, they were a new and exciting phenomenon.
One of the first companies to figure out a means of making a reusable 3D engine that could be applied to multiple games without too much difficulty was Incentive Software from Reading in the UK, who developed a system they dubbed “Freescape”.
The first game released that made use of Freescape was named Driller, and unfortunately at the time of writing I’m yet to play it. This was subsequently followed up in 1988 by Dark Side, which I did play, however, and have some rather fond memories of.
Continue reading Dark Side