Tag Archives: US Gold

Up’n Down

Up’n Down is not an arcade game I’m especially familiar with — and I’ve also learned it’s one that people often get confused with Data East’s Bump ‘n Jump, for reasons that are probably obvious.

The Atari 8-bit version here is not a bad port at all — though it does suffer from a few glaring technical issues that make it a little tricky to truly enjoy at times.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

LED Storm

LED Storm is not an arcade game I played back in the day, but after spending some time with the Atari ST version here, I’m kind of curious to.

If you like Data East’s classic Bump ‘n’ Jump, you’ll probably get along with LED Storm, since it’s a similar sort of idea: drive fast car from top-down perspective, hop over obstacles and onto the heads of enemies, yell at the inherently and deliberately unfair design of ’80s and ’90s arcade games.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

OutRun Europa

As we’ve seen a fair few times on this series to date, it was quite fashionable for home computer developers to put together “unofficial” sequels to arcade classics.

Sega’s OutRun certainly wasn’t immune to this, and enjoyed several home-exclusive follow-ups over the years — including OutRun Europa by Probe. In this game, you’re on the run from the police — attempting to outrun them, you might say — and must speed your way across Europe in a variety of vehicles. And it’s not bad!

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

Legends of Valour

If you ever wanted to know who or what to blame for the endless rereleases of Skyrim on every platform under the sun… well, today I’ve got the game where it arguably all started.

Legend of Valour is a supremely ambitious first-person texture-mapped role-playing game that Todd Howard has specifically cited as being a key influence on the development of the Elder Scrolls series. Up until quite recently, I had thought it was an MS-DOS PC exclusive — but it turns out there’s an Atari ST version, too.

Well, there’s no way we’re not checking that out, is there? Let’s do just that in the video below. Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

OutRun

Ah, OutRun. A true classic of the “vanishing point” racer genre. A fine example of Sega’s “Super Scaler” technology at work. And, apparently, recipient of an absolutely terrible Atari ST port by Probe and US Gold.

I’ve always been a believer in giving things a fair chance on their own merits, though, and I never played the ST version of OutRun back in the day. I played Turbo OutRun, which was terrible, but never the original.

Time to rectify that, then! Check out the video below to see how I got on, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!

The Upper Reaches of Apshai

Today we delve once again into the Temple of Apshai Trilogy as we attempt to unravel the mystery of what on Earth is going on in the innkeeper’s back garden.

Yes, it’s time for The Upper Reaches of Apshai, the second part of the trilogy and a title that was originally released as an expansion pack for the first version of Temple of Apshai. Sporting a rather more light-hearted feel — mostly thanks to the excellent, witty writing in the companion Book of Apshai, intended to be carried alongside you as you play — The Upper Reaches of Apshai makes use of familiar mechanics to tell a distinctly unfamiliar emergent narrative.

There’s still a hell of a lot to like about this game, it seems — and it says something that I’ve been continuing my adventures off-camera ever since I started playing!

E-Motion

The “E” is for “Einstein”. So says The Assembly Line, anyway, in this curious physics-based puzzler for Atari ST featuring “ray-traced” graphics.

E-Motion is the predecessor to Vaxinewhich you may recall from our first time around the ST’s A to Z. This time around it’s all about bouncing balls around rather than blasting away viruses, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less hectic! The world of subatomic particle physics is, it seems, rather dangerous.

E-Motion drew praise at the time of its original release for its colourful visuals, digitised sound and unusual premise. Today, it’s still an enjoyable — if rather frustrating — experience, and a charming, technically impressive highlight of this era of gaming.

Ixion

Here’s an interesting one: an unreleased port of an unreleased game.

Yes indeed, Ixion never officially saw the light of day way back when, either in its original arcade incarnation or its home ports. And yet here it is, perfectly preserved in its Atari 8-bit incarnation, all thanks to the efforts of the filthy dirty pirates of the 1980s. Yar-har, fiddle-de-dee.

The game itself is an interesting combination of arena shooter, puzzler and collect ’em up, and I like it very much. If you have an Atari 2600, AtariAge even released an actual physical version of that port — check it out here!

Vaxine

Next time you get bacteria in your ilium, call me up and I’ll come blast your balls for you.

Vaxine from The Assembly Line is one of the most technically impressive games on the Atari ST, featuring gorgeous and colourful ray-traced graphics, convincing sprite scaling routines and an interesting blend of physics puzzle and first-person shoot ’em up.

Developed as a sequel to the team’s previous game E-Motion, which marketed itself as “the first New Age computer game”, Vaxine is a simple but enjoyable time that shows what Atari’s 16-bit computers were really capable of when in the hands of someone who knew what they were doing.

U.N. Squadron

If you thought games journalists wringing their hands over “problematic” subject matter in games was a new phenomenon… well, I got news for you, my dear reader.

U.S. Gold’s home computer conversion of Capcom’s arcade title U.N. Squadron (originally known in Japan as Area 88, after the manga it was originally based on) drew criticism from UK computer magazine ST Format in December of 1990 for being “self-righteous”, “crass” and even “propaganda”. Why? Because you shoot enemies in an obviously Middle Eastern-inspired setting — at least in the first level, anyway — and in 1990 the Gulf War had just broken out in full force.

Of course, Area 88 first came out in 1979, but let’s not let facts get in the way of a good bit of outrage, shall we? Sigh. Some things never change. Anyway, this is a reasonably solid shoot ’em up, though unsurprisingly not a patch on the awesome SNES version…