Tag Archives: shmup

Atari ST A to Z: Zynaps

Welcome back to the last letter of the alphabet! We’ve made it around another cycle.

This time around, we’re taking a look at Zynaps from Hewson, a company who built a reputation for mechanically and technically solid games in the 8-bit era, but who sometimes struggled to adapt to the changing — sometimes fickle — desires of the 16-bit home computer market.

Zynaps is a good — if monstrously difficult — shoot ’em up, but many argued at the time of its original release that it would have been best left in the 8-bit era. What do you think?

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

Atari A to Z: Fantastic Voyage

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Beepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeepbeep BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE–

Better get used to that sound! It’s Fantastic Voyage, an extremely timely 1982 release from Sirius Software that adapts the 1966 movie (or possibly Isaac Asimov’s novelisation) about injecting tiny submarines into scientists to blast health problems from within.

It’s actually a very enjoyable shooter — albeit one that isn’t going to blow your mind with its visuals, being barely distinct from its Atari 2600 counterpart. It plays well, though… and you’ll be hearing that beep-beep-beep in your sleep!

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

Assault Android Cactus: Shooting for the S+

I remember coming across Assault Android Cactus for the first time: it was back in 2013, when I was still working on USgamer, and I was headed for EGX, or the Eurogamer Expo as it used to be known.

My boss Jaz Rignall suggested that I might want to check out this game he’d heard a bit about, and put me in contact with the developer. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it; if I’m perfectly honest, I was expecting some sort of fairly forgettable indie fare, but I trusted Jaz’s judgement. He’d been around in the games industry even longer than me, after all, so he knew his stuff.

I was right to trust his judgement. Assault Android Cactus ended up being my favourite thing I saw at EGX that year, and it’s remained a consistent favourite of mine ever since.

Continue reading Assault Android Cactus: Shooting for the S+

Atari A to Z: Zone Ranger

We’ve made it to Z again, folks! And today’s a real stonker of a game that I used to really love playing back in the day. And still do today, in fact.

Zone Ranger was released in 1984 by Activision, back when they still made good games, and was the work of one Dan Thompson. Drawing loose inspiration from Asteroids and Sinistar, two favourite games of Thompson, Zone Ranger tasks you with shooting down a bunch of space junk because… why not?

It’s the quintessential mid-’80s arcade blaster in many ways: easy to learn, hard to master and very, very addictive.

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

Atari ST A to Z: Oids

It’s always pleasant to revisit something you once bounced off pretty hard, only for you to discover that the passage of time has made you much more receptive to what it has to offer.

Such is the case for me and FTL’s Oids, a game which was relatively low-key in its native America, but which became something of a cult hit when Mirrorsoft brought it across the pond to the UK and Europe.

I did not get on with this game when I was a kid. Now, however, I definitely understand its enduring appeal…

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

Atari A to Z: Pastfinder

Ah, Activision. What a wonderfully creative variety of games you put out in the 8-bit era. What a hollow shell of yourself you are today.

Ahem, sorry, got a bit nostalgic there for a moment. Anyway, here’s Pastfinder, one of my favourite shoot ’em ups on Atari 8-bit, and one of the most peculiarly interesting ones to boot. You take on control of a little jumping bug of a spacecraft as you attempt to track down alien antiquities.

Better be careful, though; the whole planet is irradiated, so time is of the essence if you want to keep all your hair and/or internal organs intact to enjoy your loot.

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

Atari ST A to Z: Jug

It’s really interesting to go back to some of the games of my youth and discover that creators who became much more well-known later in their careers worked on them.

Jug from Microdeal is one game where this happens: its graphics were the work of one Martin Kenwright, who subsequently became much better known for his flight simulations under the Digital Image Design (DID) banner, and later the World Rally Championship and Motorstorm games for Sony platforms.

Jug, meanwhile, is an interesting action-adventure with a touch of shoot ’em up about it. Does it, as the box proclaims, offer the best graphics the ST has to offer? Well, no, but it’s still worth a look!

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