Today’s game hails from the relatively early days of what would go on to become an incredibly popular genre worldwide: the RPG.
Ultima II: The Revenge of the Enchantress is often regarded as the “black sheep” of the Ultima series, but it nicely demonstrates how things worked for this type of game back in the Good Old Days… as well as makes me realise that I really had no need to feel intimidated by the supposed complexity of RPGs back when I was a kid!
The ST version perhaps isn’t the most visually impressive game you’ll see on the platform, but it does make good use of the GEM interface, and provides some solid, enjoyable adventuring action!
As we’ve previously talked about a few times, licensed games on 8- and 16-bit home computers tended to follow a particular formula.
That’s why when games like Thunderbirds came along and tried to do things a little different from the usual “platform game that doesn’t have much to do with the show or movie” approach, it was worth taking notice. Okay, so Thunderbirds in particular manages to create a lot of its own problems by taking this approach… but it’s got ambition, I’ll certainly give it that.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that when this was released, a lot of conventions that we take for granted in gaming today were still being established and figured out. At least, that’s what I kept telling myself as I had to restart that first mission over and over and over again…
There was a time when we couldn’t take first-person adventures for granted; a dark time when you could only turn by 90 degrees and move by 5 feet at a time.
Okay, we still have games like that, but at least we have a choice these days. Back when Slaygon was released for Atari ST, it’s pretty much all we had if we wanted to infiltrate some sort of complicated installation… such as a futuristic tech company looking to unleash a deadly virus into the atmosphere for… some reason!
Slaygon put an interesting twist on the dungeon crawler formula by putting you in control of a futuristic cybertank with all manner of fancy systems for you to use. It was still all about finding the right keys for the right doors though…
Ah, Rod Land! I frigging love Rod Land, as I believe we’ve previously discussed elsewhere.
Turns out the Atari ST version is a very, very good port indeed — and a game that I absolutely coveted back in the day. I never had my own copy though, so I had to satisfy myself with the short demo I had from a magazine cover disk.
Thanks to Patron Ken, however, I was able to secure myself my own copy after many years! Time to enjoy; I’ve got a lot of catching up to do!
You like pool? Reckon you’re good at pool? Well, how about if it was in an antigravity cube with pockets in the corners and customisable air friction?
Those are the questions that the unusual QBall for Atari ST attempts to answer, presenting a simple but impressively slick 3D view of the playfield in question, detailed controls and a stiff challenge for even those who think they have a fine command over the laws of physics.
QBall was the work of Adam Billyard, who is perhaps best known for his 8-bit 3D racer Elektra Glide; QBall represents a rare 16-bit appearance for both him and publisher English Software.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all that… or so they say, anyway. I wonder how Sega felt about Red Rat Software’s not-so-subtle take on Pengo… particularly given it came out quite a few years later?
To be fair, Pengy is a perfectly competent version of Pengo for Atari ST… but once we hit the 16-bit home computer era, people were starting to expect a little bit more from their computer and video games than knockoffs of arcade games from several years ago.
Still, looking back on it now, it’s an enjoyable enough game, so let’s spend a bit of time with it today!
How do you follow up a success story like Lemmings? Well, you give the people more, of course!
Oh No! More Lemmings was an expansion pack for the popular puzzler that provided a hundred new levels for skilled Lemmings pros. And I really mean that; this game is hard.
Interestingly, the expansion was released as both an add-on disk for the original game and a standalone game that could be played by itself. If you’re a Lemmings newcomer, I strongly recommend cutting your teeth on the original first!