Rana Rama is one of those games that most ST owners probably played at some point, since it was distributed as part of the “Super Pack” bundle of software with new STs in 1988. And from there, the rampant piracy of the period meant that the disks of the Super Pack tended to find their way into other people’s hands, too!
It’s an interesting game, though, and had quite an influence on a number of subsequent developers. Notably, its use of “fog of war” to gradually reveal rooms as you enter them inspired Simon Phipps to adopt a similar approach when developing his exploration-centric platformer Switchbladefor Core Design.
There’s also some very interesting mechanics going on under the hood. Watch me try and figure things out in the video below — and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
After the first Fairune successfully proved that you can make something that looks convincingly like an action RPG into a two-hour puzzle adventure, the natural next step for creator Yuumi “Skipmore” Kimura was to go bigger.
With that in mind, Fairune 2 is a considerably expanded affair over its predecessor, but maintains the same compelling, enjoyable and oddly relaxing blend of light action RPG elements, item-based puzzle solving and mind-bending navigation brainteasers.
If you’re coming straight from the first one, it might not subvert quite as many expectations as that one did — in that it’s a lot more of “the same” — but it is similarly delightful, and a pleasure to explore. Let’s take a closer look.
I’ve had The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sitting on my backlog for a long time now, and I’ve been trying to work out the best way to cover it, because I knew that I definitely wanted to cover it in one form or another.
Was a Cover Game feature right for it? Perhaps, but with one or two exceptions, I tend to prefer to reserve the Cover Game slot for games that don’t get much attention from the mainstream press. And Breath of the Wild has certainly had plenty of mainstream attention.
The other consideration was that Breath of the Wild is a massive game, so doing something a bit more… “long term” was perhaps in order. With that in mind, then, I welcome you to the first installment of The Zelda Diaries, chronicling my journey through this ruined Hyrule, and the thoughts that occurred to me along the way.
It’s really interesting to go back to some of the games of my youth and discover that creators who became much more well-known later in their careers worked on them.
Jug from Microdeal is one game where this happens: its graphics were the work of one Martin Kenwright, who subsequently became much better known for his flight simulations under the Digital Image Design (DID) banner, and later the World Rally Championship and Motorstorm games for Sony platforms.
Jug, meanwhile, is an interesting action-adventure with a touch of shoot ’em up about it. Does it, as the box proclaims, offer the best graphics the ST has to offer? Well, no, but it’s still worth a look!
One of the nice things about revisiting old games from a modern perspective is the fact that you can see how certain genres have evolved over time… and sometimes seemingly morphed into different things altogether.
The original Castlevania is a great example of this. Far from being your common-or-garden everyday mascot platformer that we saw a fair bit throughout the 8- and 16-bit home console eras, Castlevania provided an experience that was altogether its own thing, immediately recognisable and immensely influential.
Atmospheric, idiosyncratic and consistently challenging, it’s a game that still holds its own today — just don’t expect an easy ride!
The ’90s were an era of “attitude”, not just in video games, but in popular culture at large — and especially in children’s TV.
One largely forgotten attempt at an edgy mascot was Gilbert, the snot-encrusted alien who first appeared as part of the Saturday morning show Get Fresh, and subsequently found success in his own right.
Naturally, he also had his own video game that allowed you to take control of the dribbling snot monster himself as he attempted to track down the parts of his spaceship that his jealous countrymen had hidden from him. Clearly, the only solution is to play lots of arcade games!
This one’s a cool addition to the Atari Flashback Classics collection: a “lost” game from the Atari archives.
Maze Invaders sadly never saw an official release either as an arcade machine or a home port, languishing in the archives until recently. The International Centre for the History of Electronic Games managed to acquire a whole bunch of old Atari goodies back in 2014, and part of that heap of fun times was Maze Invaders.
It’s kind of surprising this never got an official release for one reason or another; it’s a really interesting, unusual and highly addictive game with a ton of personality to it!
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…?
The “Freescape” games released by Incentive Software were all rather interesting for a variety of reasons.
Most notably, they represented some of the earliest examples of a multi-purpose, cross-platform 3D engine at work — Freescape was so flexible that it would run on everything from the ZX Spectrum up to Atari ST, Amiga and MS-DOS PC, though obviously with some limitations on the less powerful platforms!
Castle Master was one of the last Freescape games to be released on 16-bit platforms, and it’s also one of the most mysterious and intriguing. Let’s go for a little explore, shall we?