Tag Archives: English Software

Atari A to Z: Dan Strikes Back

After the success of Diamonds, programmer Simon Hunt decided that he wanted to make a sequel using the characters he’d established.

Inspired by the vertical scrolling of Firefleet, another game from English Software, he decided he wanted to expand beyond the original game’s single-screen gameplay, and thus Dan Strikes Back was born.

Digger Dan’s most precious of treasures has been stolen away by the evil Brian the Blob! Can Dan make his way through the many perilous layers of Brian’s vault to reclaim his prize? Probably not, given that I’m in charge, but it’s fun having a go anyway…

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

Atari A to Z: Fire Chief

Here’s one I vividly remember from back in the day… but for which there’s a surprising lack of information about online!

Fire Chief was developed by Tim Huntington and released through English Software, who we’ve already seen a couple of times on Atari A to Z. Beyond the fact it was included on one of English Software’s Atari Smash Hits compilations (number 4, to be precise), there’s not a lot more that can be said from a historical perspective — even its original box art (and/or if it was ever released as a standalone title!) remains seemingly lost to time.

Oh well. We’d better just take a good hard look at how it plays then, huh? Hold on to your hats, this one goes like the clappers!

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

Atari A to Z: Elektra Glide

Pretty much everyone who plays games can probably name at least one title that they respect, but absolutely can’t abide the thought of playing ever again.

For me, one of those games is Elektra Glide, an incredibly popular title developed by Adam Billyard and published by English Software. It’s a technical tour-de-force for the Atari 8-bit, for sure, featuring spectacularly speedy 3D-style graphics, parallax scrolling, wonderful use of colour and an incredibly memorable soundtrack.

I also despise playing it with almost every fibre of my being; I’d thought returning to it some thirty-two years after its original release might have caused my opinions to mellow on it somewhat, but nope! Still, it sure is pretty…

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

Atari A to Z: Diamonds

I do enjoy a good “dirt and boulders” game. And Simon Hunt’s Diamonds, published by English Software in 1983, is certainly a good “dirt and boulders” game.

Casting players in the role of Digger Dan, part-time member of Blue Man group and long-time precious stones enthusiast, it’s up to you to gather the titular diamonds while avoiding the unwanted attentions of Brian the Blob, Philip the Filler, The Fireflies, The Eyes, Simon the Snake and The Demon. Brian also wants diamonds; the others just want you dead. Which isn’t very nice.

This is a longstanding personal favourite of mine from the Atari 8-bit era, and a game I still like returning to today quite often! Check it out when you get the opportunity.

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

Atari A to Z: Henri

Today’s Atari 8-Bit game shows us that even back in the 1980s, programmers weren’t above churning out something just to make a quick buck.

Enter Henri by one Adam Billyard, a developer who would later go on to produce great things for The English Software Company — specifically the technically stunning (but exceedingly irritating) racer Elektra Glide, and the well-animated one-on-one fighting game Chop Suey.

At the time he put out Henri, however, he was just trying to scrape together enough money for his air fare to get home. The result was a competent, if relatively unremarkable Mr. Do! clone. I hope you like the sound of Bach…

Follow Atari A to Z on its own dedicated site here!