Tag Archives: STG

Onslaught

Well, here’s… a thing.

Onslaught, apparently also known as Klystron Raider, is a game that appears mostly shrouded in mystery. And, having spent far longer with it than it probably deserved, I feel it should probably remain shrouded in mystery.

But I am nothing if not a glutton for punishment, so here it is for your enjoyment regardless.

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Ikari Warriors

SNK had some top-notch arcade hits throughout the ’80s and ’90s, and many of them came home in one form or another.

One great example was Ikari Warriors, which saw several different home ports over the years. The one we’re concerned with today is Elite’s Atari ST version, which remains surprisingly true to the arcade original despite lacking SNK’s iconic “loop lever” control scheme.

It’s a solid top-down run-and-gun that still holds its own well today, and back then it demonstrated that the ST was more than capable of providing a convincing “arcade at home” experience!

Millipede

Legend has it that in the Davison household, the usually entirely justified righteous fury of our matriarchal figure towards yet another example of silly men and boys doing silly men and boys’ things could only be quelled by one thing: Millipede.

And for sure, Millipede makes for a great stress-reliever, with its frantic, non-stop blasting action not really leaving you any time to be annoyed about who dribbled wee on the floor, didn’t load the dishwasher or failed to tidy their room when requested.

Of course, if you’re not already stressed, its defining characteristics are also a pretty good means of elevating your own anxiety levels somewhat, too… so please bear in mind that this is not in any way intended to be clinical advice!

Laser Hawk

Horizontally scrolling shooters are perhaps most commonly associated with the 16-bit Japanese consoles, but there were some great ones on offer on earlier home computers.

One such example was Laser Hawk from Red Rat Software, developed by Kiwi programmer Andrew Bradfield with graphics by Harvey Kong Tin. This was an enjoyable, speedy, helicopter-based horizontal scroller with a cheeky line in fanboy-baiting — the structures you had to destroy at the end of each level all bore an uncanny resemblance to rival, non-Atari computer manufacturers’ logos!

It’s a game that I greatly enjoyed revisiting, and was very pleasantly surprised to discover still plays rather well today. Give it a shot!

Major Havoc

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!

Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters

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…?

James Bond 007

There have been quite a few James Bond games over the years, some of them excellent, some of them… less so.

1984’s attempt by Parker Brothers was an unusual affair that saw you taking control of Bond’s amphibious Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me and attempting to shoot and/or bomb the crap out of everything that stood in the superspy’s way. The four main levels were loosely themed around popular Bond movies from the time, but really, it’s just an excuse to shoot stuff in different environments.

GoldenEye was certainly a big step forward!

Gridrunner

It’s time to pay another visit to the strange and wonderful world of Jeff Minter… albeit with one of his least strange games.

It may not be particularly peculiar compared to some of his other work, but Gridrunner is still a classic shooter from his back catalogue, drawing some inspiration from Centipede and building on the formula.

It’s hard though. Or I’m just rubbish. No, that can’t be it, it is the game that is hard!

Xenon

The Bitmap Brothers were a force to be reckoned with in the 16-bit computer era.

Across a wide variety of different game styles, they demonstrated their absolute mastery over not only the technical aspects of programming for these popular home computers, but also how to make a thoroughly enjoyable game, too.

Although relatively straightforward by modern standards, the original Xenon remains a great time, and is absolutely worth checking out if you’re a fan of classic vertically scrolling shoot ’em ups.

Zeppelin

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve done it! Well, we’ve done it once, anyway.

Yes, indeed, with this week’s Atari A to Z video, we finally make it all the way to Z, with Cathryn (formerly William, as seen on the title screen) Mataga’s Zeppelin, an interesting multi-directional adventure shoot ’em up in which the challenge is not just from shooting bad guys and avoiding environmental hazards, but also from navigation and item manipulation.

This is a great example of the sort of quality software publisher Synapse became well-known for, although that quality tended to come at a price — Zeppelin was a whopping $34.95 when it came out in 1983, or nearly $90 in today’s money, taking inflation into account! And if Mataga’s name is familiar, you may have come across another Synapse-published title called Shamus that I’m sure will feature on this series at some point in the near future! But that’s a story for another day…