Tag Archives: licensed games

Atari ST A to Z: The Untouchables

For the longest time, movie license games were a bit of a laughing stock. That’s because they were often poorly thought out affairs that didn’t really adapt their source material in any meaningful way.

Ocean’s The Untouchables is no exception to this rule, though it was reasonably well-received back in its day for its variety of different gameplay styles, solid performance even on the Atari ST, and stiff challenge.

Said stiff challenge makes it rather hard to enjoy today, sadly, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a good crack at it! Check out my experiences in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari A to Z

Battleship: B4 U H8

Remember Battleship? ‘Course you do. It’s the game parents use to teach kids about grid references, and a game that, despite being regarded as an all-time classic, has all the tactical depth of playing “Guess What Number I’m Thinking Of”.

Do you remember the 2012 movie, though? It had Rihanna in it. Also aliens. And there was a video game adaptation for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, developed by Double Helix and published by Activision. Both were pretty roundly panned by critics at the time of original release for being seemingly stupid ideas that had very little to do with the source material they were supposedly based on.

With the seventh generation of video game consoles rapidly entering “retro” territory, you can now pick up unpopular, poorly received, critically maligned titles like Battleship for less than a fiver. And you know how much I love a good unpopular, poorly received, critically maligned title, particularly when you can divorce it from its original context and enjoy it on its own terms. So let’s take a closer look at Battleship.

Continue reading Battleship: B4 U H8

Atari A to Z: Yogi’s Great Escape

Yogi Bear is, it is said, smarter than the average bear. He was certainly smart enough to find himself in several licensed games for a variety of home computer platforms in the early ’90s.

Here’s the Atari 8-bit version of Yogi’s Great Escape, a platform game that we’ve previously seen on the Atari ST A to Z series already. While technically inferior, the 8-bit version actually plays quite a bit better, with tight controls and clear mechanics that make it surprisingly enjoyable to play.

Enjoy the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari A to Z

Atari A to Z: Yogi Bear & Friends in The Greed Monster

Licensed games were a real mixed bag in the 8- and 16-bit eras, because mechanical genres were still being defined and refined — and it was sometimes tricky to relate an established style of game to a particular property.

Hi-Tec was one company that got a bit experimental with their various licensed games. They had the rights to all the Hanna-Barbera cartoons, after all, and to their credit, rather than simply churning out various reskins of the same game, they tried lots of different ways of doing things — even between multiple games featuring the same character.

Yogi Bear & Friends in The Greed Monster is an example of a game where they got it right. It’s an interesting and enjoyable game, even today, and distinguishes itself by being just that bit different from other licensed games of the period.

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

Atari ST A to Z: Neighbours

I have been reliably informed that everybody needs good neighbours, and that with a little understanding, you can find the perfect blend. Of what, I have no idea. Perhaps a nice cup of coffee.

If you were playing Atari ST games in 1990, a little understanding would also have helped you to find Impulze’s official video game adaptation of a certain popular Australian soap opera on the shelves of your local W.H. Smiths.

It was… not very good. But at least they tried something a bit different to the usual “licensed platform game” approach beloved of companies like Ocean and their ilk!

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

Atari ST A to Z: Yogi’s Great Escape

Licensed games have been around for a long time… and they’ve gotten quite a bit better over the years. For the most part!

Back in the 16-bit home computer era, publisher Hi-Tec had the license to produce video games based on Hanna Barbera cartoons, including properties such as Hong Kong Phooey and Yogi Bear.

Today’s game is one of several Yogi Bear games that Hi-Tec put out at a budget price point. It’s a competent, if fairly unremarkable platformer — which, not coincidentally, is a descriptor that can be applied to 90% of licensed games on the Atari ST!

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

Atari ST A to Z: Gilbert – Escape from Drill

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!

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

Atari A to Z: James Bond 007

There have been quite a few James Bond games over the years, some of them excellent, some of them… less so.

1984’s attempt by Parker Brothers was an unusual affair that saw you taking control of Bond’s amphibious Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me and attempting to shoot and/or bomb the crap out of everything that stood in the superspy’s way. The four main levels were loosely themed around popular Bond movies from the time, but really, it’s just an excuse to shoot stuff in different environments.

GoldenEye was certainly a big step forward!

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

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: 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.