Showing posts with label C64 Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label C64 Review. Show all posts

Pastfinder, Commodore 64


Well. Come. Back.

Back in time, my friends, to 1984, or should we say 8878? No - I was right the first time: 1984. A plucky chap, way back when created a game on one of the Atari 8-Bit computers called Explorer. Activision got hold of it and said - no chance - we're calling it PASTFINDER. Also, get someone to port it to the C64 – because we’re selling shed loads of them. And lo - they did.

David Lubar’s “Pastfinder” is an absolute gem of a game. Reviewed in the very first edition of Zzap64 it scored some 86% (it was reviewed many years later when released on Mastertronic’s MAD budget label and clocked up a whopping 93% - which is much more fitting!) earning itself a Sizzler to boot. It’s bloody brilliant. Bloody difficult. Bloody bonkers. But bloody brilliant.

A key contributing factor to this is simply the gameplay – it is so, so, so simple. Though, the background and actual thread of what you have to do always felt way more complicated in the 80s – I’m still not quite sure now. But the way your Pastfinder craft moves, with its vaguely arachnid-esque leg movements and stunning spinning horizontal movement - delightful; the frankly very basic, but excellently-designed planet surfaces and colour combos are interesting and some are dynamic: with moving parts causing terrain obstacles and forcing erratic avoidances; the limited SFX and repetitive noises – all add up to a cracking computer game steeped in that heavy metal / radiation / future gone tits up vibe. It is delicious.

Outrun on the Commodore 64

Well. Come. Back.

Nothing makes this man go moist as much as hearing some decent retro-gaming music played out of a tri-channelled sound chip called SID. Wotcha!

"Splash Wave" and "Magical Sound Shower" are arguably (is anything not "arguably" nowadays?) two of the most well-known video game slices of aural delight out there and indeed, so is "Passing Breeze" which was scurrilously omitted from the C64 conversion. Sam is forever aggrieved.

We all likely recall seeing for the first time that huge arcade cabinet grounded on the barking mad arcade carpet and thinking - they've got an actual Ferrari in here!?!?!? I also remember never playing it, because it was 50p a go and not 10p a go (like Roadblasters or Bubble Bobble was), but I sure spent a good few minutes stood there standing, watching some other kid failing miserably at this glorious-looking SEGA racer.

Scorpius, Commodore 64

Well. Come. Back.

Now – just hold on a minute, alright? Some of you that read this are going to fling your arms up into the air and start huffing and puffing about horizontally-scrolling shooters and R-Type and Katakis and Armalyte and all the rest of it. Some of you, will be sagely nodding your head, thinking back to the Entropic Days of Elysium whence you and a friend spent many a moment, both ports plugged with joy, bobbing along blasting enemies in subaquatic glee. A few might be trying to remember the power-ups; select chunks of humanity will have a repetitive, though not un-kind SID in their head, timed to the back and forth bob of their craft. Do you remember the days, my friends? When computer games cost us £1.99?

For me, Scorpius was a Saturday Pocket Money Punt – I had enough for one game, as was often the case and devouring the rack of budget titles that I didn’t yet have, something grabbed me about Scorpius. Now, this was way before I realised the pedigree associated with the game and it wasn’t until much, much later, by happenstance, that I made the connection between Scorpius and The Rowland Brothers (now, what else did they do..?) – when you look, the links are so, so obvious now.

LED Storm, Commodore 64

Well. Come. Back.

Dateline 1989: LED Storm, ladies and gentlemen is an absolute banging C64 game and arcade conversion from those plucky people at Software Creations. Now, I'll be honest, unlike other arcade conversions, I am pretty certain I never actually played (potentially even saw) LED Storm in the local arcade "Dusters" back in Plymouth as I was growing up in 1988. However, I absolutely, and with great fondness, recall getting a copy of and playing for some hours at a time the C64 version.

Who cares about the premise? Not I, m'lud, I hear you cry and I tend to agree and frankly, the 'story' behind LED Storm is immediately forgettable. Something, I am sure, about a "Red car and a Blue car had a race... But all Red wanted to do was stuff his face...", oh and the ability to transform your vehicle from a cool, squat fat-looking (hyper) sports car into some sort of motorised cycle. And "L.E.D."..? Laser Enhanced Destruction Storm - of course!

To Boldly Go - Star Trek: The Rebel Universe, Commodore 64

Space... The Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Singleton. Its mission... To explore new frontiers in space adventure immersion... to seek out new bytes... etc.

Star Trek: The Rebel Universe set forth on a voyage to Atari ST space in 1987, followed by excursions to the Commodore 64 and DOS PCs the following year. No Amiga version, sadly! And it's the Commodore 64 port that I'm going to wax lyrical about today as it was the version I first played in 1989 and have the most fondness for - and my first ever Star Trek game.

Published by Simon & Schuster in North America and by Firebird in Europe, The Rebel Universe has you taking on the roles of Captain Kirk and the rest of the command crew and tasks you with a deadly mission: You have five years to uncover the cause of a spreading wave of mutinous behaviour that is causing Federation captains to go rogue - Klingon scheming is suspected! An entire sector of space has been quarantined and the sector's isolation will become permanent unless you complete the mission - trapping the Enterprise inside forever!

The Master of Magic, Commodore 64

Well. Come. Back.

The Master of Magic was the first RPG I ever played on the C64 and whilst it isn’t as hardcore an example of the genre such as titles like Wizard’s Crown, The Bard’s Tale and Abandoned Places, it is certainly rock hard and it contains all of the elements and traits of the usual dungeon delve.

From one of the Darling Brothers: Richard, the man that brought us BMX Simulator, comes an extremely rich text and graphical adventure that is as challenging as it is engrossing. One of it’s crowning glories is its unique and innovative interface. The screen is split into four main sections: an overhead moveable playing map with ‘fog of war’; a localised graphical depiction in glorious pixel art detail of interactibles you can currently see; a horizontal “choices” bar; and the standard dialogue box and GUI. Every action you want to carry out within the game is available via a “pause” menu with a click of the joystick button.