Tag Archives: Atari ST A to Z

Atari ST A to Z: Days of Thunder

In the 8- and 16-bit home computer era, movie license games were typically developed either as platform games with a tenuous link to the movie in question, or some sort of minigame compilation, with each major scene from the movie being represented as some sort of interactive challenge.

Mindscape’s Days of Thunder was different. Here was a game that took the basic concept of the movie and simply used it as a basis to create a fully fleshed out experience — one that complemented rather than attempted to imitate the original work. The subject matter — motorsport — was ideal for such a treatment, and, on paper, Days of Thunder was a great idea.

Sadly, less than stellar performance meant that the game wasn’t as good as it could have been — a lack of speed and responsiveness in a racing game is a bit of an issue! — but it remains an interesting proof of concept as well as an intriguing anomaly that broke with the conventions and norms of the time. So I salute the effort involved, if not necessarily the final product we ended up with!

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari ST A to Z: Castle Master

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?

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari ST A to Z: Batman – The Movie

A well-known name in the 16-bit home computer era here in Europe was Ocean Software.

Ocean had many strings to their bow, but one of their most reliable sources of income was movie tie-in games, many of which drew criticism for being somewhat derivative and unimaginative platform games, but which sold well regardless. A good example of a game where they tried something a little bit different from the usual formula was Batman: The Movie.

That said, the opening stage is a platform game, and is so monstrously difficult I’d be surprised if everyone saw the other things the game had to offer without making use of the cheat mode… I know I certainly didn’t!

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari ST A to Z: Airball

There are some games in which it feels absolutely impossible to get anywhere meaningful… but where you still feel you’re having a good time regardless.

One such example is Airball for the Atari ST, a strange isometric adventure in which you play an unfortunate young individual who crossed paths with an evil wizard with a penchant for turning people into rubber balls.

Can you escape from the wizard’s mansion? It has over 150 rooms, you know…

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari ST A to Z: Zombi

One of the most interesting things about looking back over really old games is reminding yourself just how long certain companies have been around.

Today’s Atari ST game, Zombi, was actually Ubi Soft’s first ever game in its original Amstrad CPC incarnation. The ST version followed a little while later, but it was still early days for this up-and-coming French publisher at the time.

As for the game itself? It’s a first-person action adventure that gives you very little feedback on the actions you take, making it rather hard to work out what you’re supposed to be doing, even if you’ve read the woefully inadequate manual! Cool music, though…

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari ST A to Z: Yolanda

Remakes and remixes of existing video games have been around for some time now, with some dating right back to the early days of home computer gaming.

One interesting example is 1990’s Yolanda from Millennium, a game that reimagines the well-regarded but atrociously presented 1984 Commodore 64 title Hercules for a slightly more modern audience. Well, in fact, it outright recreates Hercules with better graphics and sound, and puts a hot girl in the lead role instead of a badly drawn approximation of one of Greek mythology’s most famous figures.

Dubbed “the fastest and most difficult platform game ever” in advertising from the time, it’s… well, it’s quite something, for all the wrong reasons. Take a look.

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari ST A to Z: Winnie the Pooh in the Hundred Acre Wood

Nostalgia is a funny old thing. Since starting this project, I’ve found myself really appreciating some of the games that, for one reason or another, had an impact on me growing up. Not necessarily the best games, but those which have some sort of meaning to me.

One of my favourite examples to date is today’s game: Winnie the Pooh in the Hundred Acre Wood, an early title from Sierra during their partnership with Disney. As well as being a game I loved playing with my family as a child and possibly one of the most charming, kid-friendly adventures of all time, it’s an interesting game from a historical perspective, too, since it’s one of the earliest titles Al Lowe put out.

Al Lowe, if you’re unfamiliar with your Sierra history, is the man who would later give us the Leisure Suit Larry series, a mainstay of Sierra’s portfolio alongside King’s Quest, Space Quest and Police Quest for many years… but a little different in subject matter to what we have here!

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.