Ah, OutRun. A true classic of the “vanishing point” racer genre. A fine example of Sega’s “Super Scaler” technology at work. And, apparently, recipient of an absolutely terrible Atari ST port by Probe and US Gold.
I’ve always been a believer in giving things a fair chance on their own merits, though, and I never played the ST version of OutRun back in the day. I played Turbo OutRun, which was terrible, but never the original.
Time to rectify that, then! Check out the video below to see how I got on, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
It was an exciting time when racing games moved from sprite-based “fake 3D” visuals to full polygonal 3D — and one gets the distinct impression that a lot of developers found the changeover a blessing, too.
For one, we started to see lots more attempts to simulate the experience of racing things other than cars; and many of these developers elected to explore a more “sim-like” approach, too, taking some cues from the well-established flight simulation genre.
One fine example that I hadn’t come across previously is No Second Prize, an impressively speedy motorcycle racing game. Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
Back in the 8- and 16-bit days, everyone was encouraged to try their hand at programming. The 8-bit microcomputers came with BASIC built-in, while 16-bit platforms played host to packages such as STOS.
Mouth Trap, part of a compilation called Games Galore, was put together by Darren Ithell as a demonstration of what the BASIC-like STOS programming language was capable of producing in the hands of someone who knew what they were doing. And the result was a rather convincing, enjoyable game that wouldn’t have looked out of place in an arcade.
Returning to it today, it’s still an enjoyable game, too — an interesting twist on the single-screen arcade game formula, with more than a hint of dot-eating funtimes, albeit without the maze. Check out the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
There are some games that, when they release, you just know they’re going to be all-time greats, forever regarded as classics.
Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge from Gremlin Graphics was definitely one of those games. It pushed the “vanishing point” racer formula massively with its split-screen two-player action and its variety of interesting courses, and its presentation and gameplay were immaculate.
It would go on to form the basis of the widely beloved Top Gear for Super NES, which would go on to inspire more recent works such as Horizon Chase Turbo. And it still plays like a dream today. So please put your hands together and give it up for a true racing legend.
Now hold on a minute… something’s a little familiar here!
Yes indeed; we’ve previously seen Kirk Chaney’s Lock ‘n’ Chase-inspired maze puzzler on the 8-bit Atari A to Z series, but it turns out he also made an ST version! In fact, it’s not entirely clear which one came first, since they’re both dated around the same time.
Hit up the video below to check out how the 16-bit version compares to its 8-bit counterpart — and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
It’s arcade classic time today on Atari ST A to Z, with the game that supposedly popularised the idea of two-player cooperative gameplay.
Joust, originally developed by Williams for the arcade in 1982, was a well-regarded and influential game, and found itself ported to a wide variety of platforms over the years — including numerous Atari systems.
The Atari ST version showed up in 1986 — better late than never — and provided a solid adaptation of the arcade original for those who fancied some classic cooperative action on their 16-bit home computer. Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
The early days of polygonal 3D gaming were gleefully experimental, even though the technology of the time wasn’t quite up to realising the grand vision of many creators.
Infestation from Psygnosis is a particularly interesting example, as it provides a level of interactivity that we don’t tend to see even in a lot of modern games. It was certainly ambitious — though perhaps a little too obtuse for its own good at times.
Get an idea of what it’s all about from my own attempts to stumble about (and get lost in a ventilation system) in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.
You ever play a game that you really want to like, but almost everything about it just makes it nigh-impossible to do so?
That was me with The Assembly Line’s Helter Skelter, an unusual platform game in which you control a bouncy ball and attempt to squish enemies in a preset order. Sounds simple, right?
It is very much Not Simple.
Something something don’t feed them after midnight, get them wet or whatever.
Yep, Gremlins was a big ol’ thing back in the 8- and 16-bit days, and there were a fair few video game adaptations across different platforms. I think my personal favourite is the Atari 8-bit game, but that’s one of the few remaining games out there that doesn’t seem to play nice with emulation, so I’ve held off making a video on it for now.
Elite’s adaptation of Gremlins 2: The New Batch for Atari ST, meanwhile was… well, it’s not bad, but it is monstrously difficult, so good luck seeing any more than the first few screens, as I discovered while filming this!
Final Legacy is a great game on Atari 8-bit, as we’ve previously seen. And, as we’ll see shortly, it could have been a great game on Atari 5200, too.
On the Atari ST, meanwhile… hmm. Not so hot. The problem in this case was the outfit doing the porting: Paradox Software, who were best known for putting out fairly mediocre fare at best, but who I can only assume were cheap to hire.
Final Legacy for Atari ST isn’t atrocious by any means… but if you have access to some means of playing either the 8-bit or 5200 version, there’s little reason to bother with this. But come check it out with me anyway, and admire quite how much worse Paradox made this version over the original!