I’ve been a big fan of Paul Woakes’ incredibly ambitious open-world adventures in the Mercenary series since a young age, and returning to them with adult eyes has given me a whole new appreciation of them.
Take this third installment, for example; while I grasped the basic concept of the game when I played it as a kid — and even beat it, if I remember rightly — as an adult I have to respect the sheer ballsiness of a developer putting out a game that is, in essence, a first-person political intrigue game more than anything else. Even more so because Woakes managed to pull it off and still keep the game interesting, enjoyable and amusing — thanks in part to the fascinating universe he created, and also to the biting satire in the writing.
Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more!
It takes guts to show up for a job you were hired for several months late… particularly when that job is saving an entire planet from destruction by a comet.
Unfortunately, your considerable tardiness (thanks largely to a delay on the planet Targ, as depicted in the original Mercenary) means that there are just three hours and ten minutes before the planet Eris is obliterated by the eponymous comet, and of course the solution to this rather pressing problem is anything but straightforward.
Along the course of your journey through this spectacular polygonal 3D open-world solar system, you’ll have to deal with the aftermath of eccentric professors having a spat with the head of state over a chess game, a severely incompetent post office, an overenthusiastic prison service and that most fearsome foe of all: British parliamentary politics. Damocles is a classic, and in this video I fuck it up completely. Enjoy!
Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.
The Atari 8-Bit played host to some great games, many of which drew fairly unashamed inspiration from popular arcade games at the time.
In some cases, these “derivatives” provided an interesting twist on their inspiration’s formula — or in some cases improved upon it. Such is the case with Encounter! by the late Paul Woakes, an enormously talented (and mostly solo) British programmer who developed some of the most technically impressive games of the 8- and 16-bit era.
Encounter! wears its Battlezone inspirations on its sleeve, but it mixes things up with much faster-paced gameplay and a challenging “hyperspace” sequence between stages. Watch me fail at the latter aspect in particular below.