Rana Rama is one of those games that most ST owners probably played at some point, since it was distributed as part of the “Super Pack” bundle of software with new STs in 1988. And from there, the rampant piracy of the period meant that the disks of the Super Pack tended to find their way into other people’s hands, too!
It’s an interesting game, though, and had quite an influence on a number of subsequent developers. Notably, it’s use of “fog of war” to gradually reveal rooms as you enter them inspired Simon Phipps to adopt a similar approach when developing his exploration-centric platformer Switchblade for Core Design.
There’s also some very interesting mechanics going on under the hood. Watch me try and figure things out in the video below — and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
The ’90s were an era of “attitude”, not just in video games, but in popular culture at large — and especially in children’s TV.
One largely forgotten attempt at an edgy mascot was Gilbert, the snot-encrusted alien who first appeared as part of the Saturday morning show Get Fresh, and subsequently found success in his own right.
Naturally, he also had his own video game that allowed you to take control of the dribbling snot monster himself as he attempted to track down the parts of his spaceship that his jealous countrymen had hidden from him. Clearly, the only solution is to play lots of arcade games!
This one’s a cool addition to the Atari Flashback Classics collection: a “lost” game from the Atari archives.
Maze Invaders sadly never saw an official release either as an arcade machine or a home port, languishing in the archives until recently. The International Centre for the History of Electronic Games managed to acquire a whole bunch of old Atari goodies back in 2014, and part of that heap of fun times was Maze Invaders.
It’s kind of surprising this never got an official release for one reason or another; it’s a really interesting, unusual and highly addictive game with a ton of personality to it!
Major Havoc is one of the more unusual games from Atari’s back catalogue of arcade titles, and it’s interesting from a historical perspective for being one of the first games Mark “PlayStation” Cerny was involved with.
Making use of vector graphics to provide seamless transitions between three very disparate types of gameplay, Major Havoc challenges you to blast enemies in space, land accurately on an enemy space station, navigate a perilous route to a reactor and then get the hell out of there before the whole thing blows.
It’s frantic, high-energy, super-difficult and a whole lot of fun. Take a look!
Whew, now there’s a mouthful, eh? As you may have guessed from the title, this one- or two-player arcade romp — originally developed by Atari Games — channels the very best of 1950s B-movies into a fun and satisfying isometric blaster.
Sadly, the home ports lack the arcade version’s “Hall Effect” joystick, which allowed movement and aiming in sixteen directions instead of the usual eight — a precursor to our modern analogue sticks — but the ST version seen here still plays well with a nice joystick!
Just remember to turn off Sticky Keys in Windows if you’re emulating to, say, record a video… you need that Shift key quite a bit in this game! Oh well, you live and learn, huh…?
There are some games in which it feels absolutely impossible to get anywhere meaningful… but where you still feel you’re having a good time regardless.
One such example is Airball for the Atari ST, a strange isometric adventure in which you play an unfortunate young individual who crossed paths with an evil wizard with a penchant for turning people into rubber balls.
Can you escape from the wizard’s mansion? It has over 150 rooms, you know…
One of the most interesting things about looking back over really old games is reminding yourself just how long certain companies have been around.
Today’s Atari ST game, Zombi, was actually Ubi Soft’s first ever game in its original Amstrad CPC incarnation. The ST version followed a little while later, but it was still early days for this up-and-coming French publisher at the time.
As for the game itself? It’s a first-person action adventure that gives you very little feedback on the actions you take, making it rather hard to work out what you’re supposed to be doing, even if you’ve read the manual! Cool music, though…
I love it when game developers get creative. This is not an altogether unusual sight these days, of course, but back in the early to mid ’80s, it was always a real treat to see someone step outside of genre “norms”.
Such was the case with Time Bandit by Bill Dunlevy and Harry Lafnear, a top-down action adventure with elements of text adventures, role-playing games, Pac-Man and all manner of other goodness. While superficially resembling Gauntlet — which actually came out after Time Bandit was fully developed — there’s a hell of a lot of depth here, and some fiendish puzzles to unravel.
If you want a game that pretty much sums up what the Atari ST gaming experience is all about, you can do far worse than give Time Bandit the, uh, time of day.
The “masocore” platformer, in which you learn by dying repeatedly in seemingly unfair circumstances, has become particularly popular in the age of Let’s Plays and streaming.
The reason for this is that, although playing the damn things tends to be rather frustrating, they’re quite entertaining to watch. And their reliance on puzzle-solving and memorisation make them quite a distinct experience from more conventional platform games and action adventures.
Here’s the Atari ST version of Rick Dangerous, developed by Core Design (of Tomb Raider fame) and published by Telecomsoft imprint Firebird in 1989. Oh, boy, it’s irritating… and yet I found myself trying again and again and again… Waaaaaaaa!!
You may recall a little while back that we saw the Atari 8-bit version of Mastertronic’s Ninja. Well, here’s the ST version!
It’s basically the same game at its core, though it runs a little faster and has much nicer graphics. It also has a new theme tune that plays in between fights. It’s a great example of the additional power the ST brings to the table over and above its 8-bit predecessors, even if it’s not the best or most imaginative game out there.
For the unfamiliar, Ninja is an interesting combination of action adventure, beat ’em up and fighting game. You must work your way through a series of screens, beating up anyone in your way in a series of one-on-one fights, and ultimately prove your worth as a ninja master. All in a day’s work, right?