Crystal Raider from Mastertronic is not a game I’d come across prior to recording this video, but it seems it was rather fondly regarded back in the day — and likewise a lot of people today seem to like it, too.
It’s an interesting puzzle-platformer with a peculiar jumping system similar to that found in Atari’s arcade title Major Havoc: so long as you hold the fire button down, you continue the upwards arc of your jump. Mastering the crazy moves you can do with this is essential to success — and Crystal Raider certainly demands some inhuman agility at times!
I’ve never really seen the point of slot machine games. You don’t win anything, you don’t risk anything and the level of interaction between you and the game is minimal at best.
That didn’t stop lots of developers from putting them out in the early days of home computing, though — and in the grand scheme of things, Mastertronic and Sculptured Software’s Vegas Jackpot for Atari 8-bit is probably one of the better ones. There’s still very little reason to spend your time on this today though!
The origins of the open-structure 2D platform game tend to be traced back to console games such as Castlevania and Metroid these days, but it was always a popular way to put a game together back on 8-bit computers, too.
Games such as today’s title, Mastertronic’s Universal Hero, tended to be known as “arcade adventures” back in the ’80s, thanks to their blend of traditionally arcade-style mechanics with the conventions of adventure games, such as exploration, puzzle-solving and object manipulation. While they didn’t always get that blend quite right, it certainly made for some interesting and challenging games!
When is a Jeff Minter game not a Jeff Minter game? When it’s ported to Atari ST by a different team.
Such is the case with Revenge II, also known as Revenge of the Mutant Camels II or Return of the Mutant Camels. While Minter was responsible for the original versions of this game, the ST port was handled by a separate team and the game was published via Mastertronic.
Just because Minter wasn’t directly involved doesn’t mean that this isn’t a ridiculous, psychedelic trip of a game, however…
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?
Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind! Pushing diagonally backwards and up while holding the fire button to swing your sword, however? Somewhat less intuitive…
Enter Mastertronic’s Ninja from 1986. This was a game developed by Steve Coleman (who was previously responsible for Pharaoh’s Curse, which we’ll be coming to in a few weeks) that combines open-world 2D adventuring with a fusion of one-on-one fighting and beat ’em up mechanics to produce something altogether unique.
Ninja was a game of “firsts” for me growing up. It was the first time I saw a ninja and learned what it was. It was the first time I saw (and learned the name of) a lot of pieces of traditional Japanese architecture such as torii gates. And it was one of the first games I played where fighting mechanics were a little more complex than simply mashing the fire button to do a single type of attack. It’s still pretty fun, too… though it puts up a lot more of a fight than I remember!