Tag Archives: shmup

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.

Atari ST A to Z: Ikari Warriors

SNK had some top-notch arcade hits throughout the ’80s and ’90s, and many of them came home in one form or another.

One great example was Ikari Warriors, which saw several different home ports over the years. The one we’re concerned with today is Elite’s Atari ST version, which remains surprisingly true to the arcade original despite lacking SNK’s iconic “loop lever” control scheme.

It’s a solid top-down run-and-gun that still holds its own well today, and back then it demonstrated that the ST was more than capable of providing a convincing “arcade at home” experience!

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

Atari A to Z Flashback: Missile Command

Dave Theuer’s Missile Command is an absolute classic of the “golden age” of arcade games, and still puts up a formidable challenge today!

Embodying the paranoia many people were feeling towards the Cold War and potential nuclear conflict in the early ’80s, Missile Command is a relentless, frantic affair. Despite that, it’s more important than anything to stay calm and take careful, strategic shots rather than just blasting away in a mad panic.

I am bad at Missile Command, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy playing it! So let’s get on and do just that, shall we?

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

Atari A to Z: Laser Hawk

Horizontally scrolling shooters are perhaps most commonly associated with the 16-bit Japanese consoles, but there were some great ones on offer on earlier home computers.

One such example was Laser Hawk from Red Rat Software, developed by Kiwi programmer Andrew Bradfield with graphics by Harvey Kong Tin. This was an enjoyable, speedy, helicopter-based horizontal scroller with a cheeky line in fanboy-baiting — the structures you had to destroy at the end of each level all bore an uncanny resemblance to rival, non-Atari computer manufacturers’ logos!

It’s a game that I greatly enjoyed revisiting, and was very pleasantly surprised to discover still plays rather well today. Give it a shot!

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

Sunday Shooting: Shmups Skill Test

Reckon you’re good at shoot ’em ups? I certainly don’t, but sometimes it’s nice to be able to quantify exactly how bad you are at something.

Enter Shmups Skill Test by Triangle Service, then, a game that attempts to analyse your performance in a selection of common shoot ’em up skill areas, including avoiding bullets, avoiding obstacles, shooting things and TANK TANK TANK TANK TANK.

It’s an unusual one for sure, and a great title to bust out for an impromptu tournament, particularly if you’re all as bad as each other!

Atari ST A to Z: Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters

Whew, now there’s a mouthful, eh? As you may have guessed from the title, this one- or two-player arcade romp — originally developed by Atari Games — channels the very best of 1950s B-movies into a fun and satisfying isometric blaster.

Sadly, the home ports lack the arcade version’s “Hall Effect” joystick, which allowed movement and aiming in sixteen directions instead of the usual eight — a precursor to our modern analogue sticks — but the ST version seen here still plays well with a nice joystick!

Just remember to turn off Sticky Keys in Windows if you’re emulating to, say, record a video… you need that Shift key quite a bit in this game! Oh well, you live and learn, huh…?

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