Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – What a Girl Wants

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Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea draws a number of cues from past Atelier games in terms of its overall game structure and execution — and indeed the way it does things can also be traced forward to some of Gust’s other games such as Blue Reflection.

For those who have played the previous games in the Atelier series, Atelier Shallie most closely resembles Atelier Iris 3: Grand Phantasm in terms of structure — though with a few twists here and there. While Gust aren’t afraid to return to what worked previously, it’s very rare that they will simply recreate it wholesale without any changes.

It’s that game structure we’ll be taking a look at in this part of our exploration of the series as a whole.

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Atari A to Z Flashback: Sky Diver

Sky Diver for Atari 2600 is a conversion of the arcade game of the same name, originally developed by Owen Rubin and brought home by Jim Huether.

In typical Atari 2600 arcade conversion tradition, the home version offers a variety of different ways to play — including challenging modes with moving platforms, as well as a “Chicken” mode where only the first player to land gets the points!

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

Atari A to Z

Atari ST A to Z: Arkanoid

Arkanoid is such an influential entry in the bat-and-ball genre that many people took to calling brick-breakers “Arkanoid clones” rather than “Breakout clones”.

Like many other arcade games of the period, Arkanoid had numerous ports to various different platforms over the years — but the Atari ST version was one of the finest out there, offering an experience very true to the arcade original, challenge factor and all.

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

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Gauntlet

Gauntlet is an all-time classic arcade game — and it got a whole bunch of ports to various different systems over the years following its original release.

The Atari 8-bit version, developed by Gremlin Graphics, is not the best version of Gauntlet you’ll ever play — but it was my first ever experience with the game, and as such will always carry with it certain fond memories.

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

Atari A to Z

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – A Fresh Start

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And so, after the intriguing adventures of Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky, we come to the grand finale of the Dusk series: Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea.

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is a particularly interesting installment in the series as a whole, because it breaks with a whole bunch of series conventions. This tends to have the net effect that, mechanically speaking, it is a lot more accessible to newcomers than many of the previous Atelier games, for reasons we’ll get into shortly.

But at the same time it offers a solid conclusion to everything we’ve seen in the Dusk series up until this point, meaning it’s arguably best played after enjoying Atelier Ayesha and Atelier Escha & Logy to the fullest. And on top of that, there are certain elements that longstanding fans of the Atelier series as a whole will find particularly delightful. So let’s take a closer look at this fascinating game!

Continue reading Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea – A Fresh Start

Atari A to Z Flashback: Sentinel

It’s always interesting to explore games that have had a lousy critical reception over the years, because you can look on it as a challenge to “find the good” in what the game is offering.

Such was the case with Sentinel, a light-gun shooter for Atari 2600 that has had a somewhat frosty reception over the years. After a bit of getting used to the twitchy analogue controls in Atari Flashback Classics, however, I actually found this to be a surprisingly enjoyable game.

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

Atari A to Z

Atari ST A to Z: Zog

Today’s game for Atari ST is a public domain title that was put together with a game-making package — specifically, Palace Software’s Shoot ‘Em Up Construction Kit.

It’s not the most original or amazing shoot ’em up you’ll ever see, but it’s a good example of what Shoot ‘Em UP Construction Kit (also known as S.E.U.C.K.) is capable of. Some say the Amiga and Commodore 64 versions of the package are better than the ST version, but Zog here is a perfectly competent shoot ’em up that fits in well in the public domain space — and could have probably gotten away with a commercial release with a touch of spit and polish.

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

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: F-15 Strike Eagle

An all-time classic for Atari 8-bit today, from the man who would go on to give us the Civilization series: it’s Sid Meier’s F-15 Strike Eagle!

This was one of the earlier military flight sims out there, and set a lot of conventions in place for future titles in the genre. At the same time, it managed to maintain a healthy degree of arcade-style accessibility, making it a pleasure to play whether you were a true propellerhead or someone just craving a bit of explosive action.

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

Atari A to Z

The Music of Atelier, Vol. 11: Atelier Escha & Logy – Alchemists of the Dusk Sky

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As the series has progressed, the distinctive sound of Atelier has evolved, too.

This is partly due to the composers involving themselves in the games’ soundtracks changing over time, and this becomes particularly apparent throughout the Dusk series. Ken Nakagawa, the man behind much of the distinctive “Atelier sound” that was established between Atelier Viorate and Atelier Meruru, stepped aside, and others, including Gust regular Daisuke Achiwa, stepped in.

Perhaps most notably, Atelier Escha & Logy is where composer Hayato Asano stepped in, and while his time as a Gust employee was relatively short — he now works as a freelance composer, with several further contributions to Gust to his name — he definitely had an impact on how the series sounded from hereon. So let’s take a look at a selection of music from Atelier Escha & Logy’s soundtrack!

Continue reading The Music of Atelier, Vol. 11: Atelier Escha & Logy – Alchemists of the Dusk Sky

Atari A to Z Flashback: Secret Quest

The fact that the Atari 2600 was still alive and kicking at the end of the 1980s is nothing short of astonishing… and the ambition of some developers at the time was admirable.

Secret Quest, a very late release for the platform, was an attempt to provide an action-adventure experience similar to Nintendo’s classic The Legend of Zelda on the 2600. Far from being a straight clone, however, it actually ends up being an interesting and enjoyable game in its own right.

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

Atari A to Z

The best of overlooked and underappreciated computer and video games, from yesterday and today