Toaplan shoot ’em ups are pretty beloved by collectors of classic arcade and console titles — but they got a few ports to home computers, too.
Flying Shark for Atari ST is one such example. And while in some ways it demonstrates the ST’s weaknesses when compared to more dedicated gaming hardware, it’s actually a pretty competent version of the original game and certainly one that I enjoyed playing quite a bit back in the day.
Shoot ’em ups arguably didn’t really enjoy their golden age until the 16-bit home consoles, but that didn’t stop game developers for home computer platforms having a damn good crack at the genre.
The Extirpator for Atari 8-bit is an impressive example, featuring some slick parallax scrolling, some interesting enemy formations and a decent sense of structure. While there are areas that the genre refined considerably as the years went on, this is definitely a valiant effort for 1988.
Many of the most passionate people in the gaming industry got their start in its early days.
This was most definitely the case for Shahid Ahmad who, for a number of years, was well-known as a champion of indie games on the PlayStation Vita platform. Prior to that, he put out a number of well-regarded games in the 8- and 16-bit home computer eras — with one of those being the subject of today’s video.
Pandora tasks you with exploring and solving the mystery behind a spaceship that has been missing for a very long time. See how I get on with it in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
The shoot ’em up is a genre of gaming with a long and proud history. While the best shoot ’em ups tend to be associated with arcades and consoles, home computers played host to some right crackers too.
One such example is Firebird’s Warhawk, a vertically scrolling shooter with big, chunky sprites and smooth, slick gameplay. It’s an immensely satisfying but challenging shooter — and one that still holds up really well today.
Plus the Rob Hubbard soundtrack on the title screen is absolutely iconic… but hang on, doesn’t it sound a bit familiar…?
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!!