Showing posts with label SharkaBytes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SharkaBytes. Show all posts

Castle Master, An Eternity of Atmospheric Adventure. Amiga

This is one of the most iconic and nostalgically heavy-hitting 8 and 16-bit game covers for me - and games! CASTLE MASTER was published by Domark in 1990, and developed by Teque. There's a fair bit of backstory (written by Mel Croucher) but in summary, it casts you in the role of either a prince or a princess - your choice! And when you make your choice, your sibling is immediately whisked away by a dragon and carried over to the forbidding Castle Eternity. 

Your Quest? Rescue them!

Now, you're hit by one of my favourite things about Castle Master - the title and in-game tuneage by Matt Furniss. On the C64 version, you get a chiptune rendition whereas on Amiga, it's a sampled one. Both are great and so atmospheric. And even though it was the C64 version I first played, it's the Amiga rendition that sticks in my head the most. It's also the version of the game I recommend you play unless you have a LOT of patience.

Isometric Adventures in Sherwood - The Adventures of Robin Hood, Commodore Amiga

You may have seen the name in big lists of Amiga games. The Adventures of Robin Hood. It'll be some sort of Codemasters-alike platformer, you might think to yourself as you pass on by, thinking back to the likes of Super Robin Hood or Leander. But no, this is absolutely not a game in the classic Amiga library that you should be passing up on - and it's surprisingly revolutionary. 

Not strictly an Amiga game, The Adventures of Robin Hood was published by Millennium in 1991. It casts you as the eponymous heroic outlaw of legend, who has been kicked out of his castle by the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham and begins his new adventures having a bit of a mope by the castle walls. 

One thing you might have noticed about the Robin on the cover is that he seems to be a slightly odd fusion of Errol Flynn's Robin Hood in appearance and posed like Kevin Costner in the then-recently released Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves movie. 

Alan Rickman was so good in that, wasn't he?

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!

A Pioneering Survival Horror Game in 8 Bits — Project Firestart, Commodore 64

Project Firestart is a game that deserves so much more recognition than it generally gets for being a pioneer of survival horror - and a damn good one at that.

Published by Electronic Arts and developed by Dynamix (who you may know from their Sierra-published flight sims), Project Firestart made its home on disk-only Commodore 64s in North America in 1989. No loading tunes here, I'm afraid! But what you are treated to instead is a stunning and atmosphere-building cinematic intro that knocked my socks right off the first time I saw it early in 2022. It feels way ahead of its time and even manages to pull off an FMV sequence feel with the use of a digitized pixel head.

Once you're through the intro and its creepy tuneage, the premise is clear: You're taking on the role of Jon Hawking, a seasoned agent working for the United System States. A research vessel orbiting Saturn has suddenly gone radio silent and it's up to you to board the ship, find out what has happened, and recover valuable research data. All within a time limit before the powers-that-be trigger the vessel's self-destruct mechanism. Not super original stuff, but it gets the job done.