Category Archives: Review C64
The C64 cartridge is RGCD’s latest release and is worth taking a look at. Currently they have UWOL and Not even human on sale.
This time I am going to look at a game from way back in my gaming past. A game from the now long defunct Ocean Software. A company that spawned just as many movie and TV tie-in games as LJN did.
Short Circuit was a film that almost certainly sealed my love for sci-fi as a child. I loved that film so much that I would watch it every time that it was on TV and actually wore the VHS tape out. So as you can imagine I was mighty excited when I saw the C64 version of the game (it also came out on the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC) on a local market stall one day and I just had to have it. So I spent what pocket money I had been given to me by my grandparents and bought it from the market stall. The problem is that I seem to remember loving this game a little too much as a child. I recall spending hours of my life sat in front of my C64 playing this game. Even now, as I slid the tape into my Datasette to play the game for this review, I got a little shudder of excitement as I closed the lid and pressed play. Yet my adult brain could not comprehend why I was getting excited about this game and was furiously screaming, “It’s a movie tie-in game and it’s going to destroy you as your nostalgia gets shredded by the horror that awaits!” at me through a megaphone from the back of my noggin.
My stupid brain was not wrong either.
Short Circuit was one of the first licensed games that Ocean software had produced. So given this fact you would expect things to be a little rough around the edges. Yet this game is possibly one of the worse movie tie-ins that I have ever played.
Nowhere near as terrible as Running Man but still pretty bad.
The game is split into two parts with two different styles of game play. In part one you have to escape from the Nova Robotics factory. This was done in an arcade adventure style of gameplay. Various items were strewn across rooms and you have to search, collect, hide and use them in a certain order. Fail to find a card to deactivate an alarm or go through the front doors without finding the necessary items and its game over.
In part two you are evading capture from the pursuing Nova guards and robots in side scrolling action. While trying to avoid the masses of wildlife that are hell bent on running, jumping and flying into you. Each time an animal hits you, you lose some conscience and you eventually shutdown. Get caught by a robot and you shutdown. Get shot too many times and you shutdown.
I can pretty much put my finger on a few points as to why this game probably failed. Firstly I think Ocean were a little too ambitious with this title. Splitting the game into two parts and making it a rather big game is fair enough. And it also gives the appearance of getting more value for your money. But in doing so it felt as if things had been stretched a little too far. Giving the feeling of not enough attention been paid to either part. Creating a rather bland, uninspiring and mediocre experience across the entire game.
Secondly the game has some really awful controls. The joystick input feels clunky and stiff. Commands seem to take a while for Johnny to process and you end up with very jerky controls in part one and slow lumbering controls in part two. To which, with part two been a side scroller, you would expect them to be very responsive and tight. Even the menu system for part one is incredibly frustrating to use and a single mistake sees you having to start from scratch again with the menus. It’s hard to explain how bad the controls really are in this game. All I can say is go grab a copy and give it a try it for yourself.
Thirdly the graphics aren’t the best that I have ever seen on the system. They certainly aren’t the worst but they don’t really stand out like some titles. Also there is a lot of repetition in the background imagery. For example in part one, in the Nova Robotics building, there is an awful lot of grey been used and many of the rooms have a similar feel to one and other. And in part two the background gets repeated over and over again. Also I am sure that the end of the film is set in a desert type environment and not green and lush meadows.
Finally the game is just back breaking hard. I know a lot of the games from this era are hard but this is a different kind of hard. Part one is difficult because of the controls and the fact that you have to memories the locations and uses for all the items. Part two is again difficult because of the controls but also because everything comes at you with more pace than what the game allows you. Yet this does not mean that game is impossible to complete as repeated play, and plenty of save states, does eventually lead to completion. It all just makes it rather a frustrating experience on both parts.
However, there is one redeeming feature for this game and that is the music. The game has some good SID renditions of music from the film coded by Martin Galway. Including “Who’s Johnny” and “Come and Follow Me”. Which are still stuck in my head even now. However, a lot of music done on the SID does make me go gooey at the knees anyway.
Lets kick out some final thoughts on this game then so I can try and rebuild my shattered reality.
I will be honest about this. I am upset that I played this game and I think it may show in this review a little with some lackluster typing. The problem is that it has been kind of like meeting my childhood hero again after twenty years. You are all excited to meet them and then you find out it really is just a guy in a costume. Who has now put on so much weight it looks like they have had to lube him up and shove him in it. Then just stumbles around a bit in either a drink or drug fuelled stupor. Slurring dated catchphrases and grunting in exhaustion. Slowly stripping away the childhood love and excitement for the character or franchise.
The love of the films is still there deep inside me and this game still does have a special place in my childhood gaming history. It is just that some of the nostalgia has been shattered by adult realization that this is a bad game. With bad design, bad controls and a crippling difficulty.
And I am not so heartless as to call this the worst movie based game I have ever played. I think that honour goes firmly with Running Man, which is now my lowest benchmark for movie tie-in’s. But this game still is pretty bad on the grand scale of things and well worth avoiding.
There are very valid reasons why I no longer take my breaks in the nurse’s rest area any more. Firstly it gets too much when you’re the only male nurse on break and your surrounded by incessant droning and bitching. And secondly because some random guy wouldn’t stop harping on about how he loved Paperboy in the arcades as a child. All because he saw me reading a copy of Retro Gamer Magazine with an article about it. So he would wait in hopes that I would return so he could ram more information about it into my uninterested ears.
Shame because I liked that room….
In any case, it reminded me that I had a C64 port sat in my collection. A game that I have never played since I got it in a bundle from eBay. Which would have probably been for the best.
Paperboy was a successful arcade game from Atari. I remember many friends at school saying how good it was and what their highest score was. So it was inevitable that someone would want to bring out a home conversion of it in order to rake in the pennies. That someone would turn out to be Elite. A company that had a well-established record of accomplishment in poor arcade conversions.
So I loaded it and, absolutely not to my surprise, we have yet another title to add to the list. Although they did a slightly better job with this one than some of their other conversions. So I am not even going to skirt around the issue with this title and say it’s a little bland and mediocre. Playable, maybe slightly enjoyable, but still mediocre. The graphics are bland, repetitive and use a very basic colour pallet. The sprites look terrible with some simplistic animation. The backdrops are drawn in such a way that they throw off the perspective at times. The collision detection is poor to say the least and many times I found myself falling off my bike from something a distance away. Or thinking I have cleanly missed an obstacle only to find the detection area is off and I actually clipped it. In addition, there does not seem to be enough playing area meaning on more than one occasion I was wiped out by a car or obstacle that basically appears from nowhere.
Audibly it’s nothing to write about. While there is some all right music, though not the same used in the arcade original, the in-game spot effects rather spoiled it for me. Not the best the mighty SID has ever had to produce.
Controls seem responsive though.
I never really saw the appeal of Paperboy in the arcades. To me it seemed a very basic game with some nice graphics and sound. Which is why I probably felt so cold and uninterested with this conversion. As I mentioned earlier it is playable and enjoyable. However, this soon wears off after the first day and you realize that it is just a bland, poorly done and mediocre game.
The only ray of light from this game is that they have cheekily put a sprite in of the Sinclair C5. Which tries to side swipe you and take you out. It somewhat just amuses me that a Sinclair product is in a game for the Commodore system.
In the years 2019 an innocent Cop is accused of a crime that he did not commit.
Ben Richards must face his punishment. In the highest rating gameshow in history, Prime Time real life and death TV action.
Television is King. You are the ultimate Star – it is time to be THE RUNNING MAN.
DO YOU HAVE THE COURAGE???
Taken from the manual.
Yeah do you have the courage to play this game?
You’re going to need something if you are to play this game. And I am sure that it’s not going to be courage. Maybe something like a stiff drink and a whole lot of patience.
Why? You may be asking.
Well it’s a movie tie in game. And keeping with traditions, established even back in the day, it’s not the greatest of endeavors ever undertaken by a developer. Yeap it is certainly a mongrel of a game, and not even that kind of special mongrel that you could still love.
The game is a side scrolling, beat-em-up style game based on the Running Man film released in 1987. Which it’s self is an adaption of a Steven King book of the same name. But that’s going off topic a little. That is just how much I do not really want to go into this game.
However, I am a gluten for punishment and playing this game certainly feels like it.
In the game you face off against four of the stalkers from the film, except they are all called stalker, in a not so fast and furious manner. And that’s the thing with this game. It’s neither fast nor furious like the movie that it’s based off. In fact I would go as far to say it’s a lackluster game through and through.
The graphics, while still looking reasonable compared to what the c64 could actually do, are too clunky and make the entire game have a pathetic frame rate. They feel like they have been lazily ported over from the Commodore Amiga version of the game rather than been reworked specifically for the C64. Which, if this actually were the case, would explain the poor frame rate.
The dog… erm rat… thing of doom!
The game play on this title does not vary very much. I know most side scrolling beat-em-ups do not vary from the set model of kick, kick, punch and special move. But at least they attempt to spice things up by adding special moves or whacky characters. Running Man really is a case of punch, punch, generic bad guy dead, next generic bad guy, maybe a kick if the game feels like it and yet another generic bad guy dead. Couple this with the bad frame rate and incredibly dodgy collision detection and you have a mega recipe for tedious boredom.
Oh and while I am on the subject of collision detection. The controls to this game are horrid. Arnie has this very sluggish way of moving, which is different from the low frame rate, and things like simply walking seem to take an age for him to register. Same goes for jumping. Jumping takes even longer for Arnie to register in his 8-bit brain and then, just to rub salt into the wound, you have to contend with the collision detection system. Which will have you hopping up and down in front of obstacles like a demented rabbit.
Punching is as useful as spitting into the wind. If the slow punch does not get you killed then the schizophrenic collision detection will certainly help finish the job. The combat in this game feels like your punching through a bath full of treacle with enemies getting far faster reaction times than yourself.
I suppose it’s because Arnie must have been snacking a little too hard before hand.
Let’s get my final thoughts about this game out then before my spleen decides to erupt from my body in order to escape playing this game anymore.
This game is terrible. There I have said it now. It is all out in the open and it’s what I should have just said at the start of this review. I know it is no great shock to say a movie-based game is bad, or at worst-case scenario terrible, but this game is just on a completely new level of bad. It is as if they just decided to make a very lazy port of the game that was present on other systems. Package it and just sit back while the masses lapped it up.
The only reason I own this game is because a friend donated it to me. Now I can see why it was ‘donated’ to me. It’s a poor game that should never have seen the light of day in the first place.There are far better games, not just normal games but also movie tie in games, out there for the system. Whatever you do, just avoid this game like the plague.
This time it’s the 64NIC+ cartridge. Which brings the C64/C128 into modern day networking.
A great cheap product. Read the whole review here.
Read the review here
You’ve heard of Karate, Kickboxing, Judo, Ultimate Fighting, Soccer Fan. But few have heard of the ART OF AWESOME … Or its supreme champion, the MASTER OF AWESOME. We could go into the details of awesome, and how the master gained his rank by defeating the LORD OF THE BLAND in an epic showdown… But frankly there is not enough space on this booklet. So let’s get on with the plot. Ahem!
And no, we will *not* get started on the word now… okay, a tiny bit… WOOHOO! HE SAID AWESOME!!! *ahem* Sorry for that.
As always let’s have a look at some moving pictures of the game :
When you start the game, a little boy asks you to retrieve his toy robot back from the ‘mean boys from Blapsville’. So you start your journey travelling to the left (yep, you read it right… I mean left… you know). Of course this is a beat ‘em up, can’t be much else with the name anyway. After you finished your first few ninja-esque enemies (and stumbled over an unavoidable banana, grrrr), you set off for a short skateboard sequence. That’s right, you fight ninja riding skateboarders… on a skateboard (style kudos for that ;-) ). After you get off the skateboard, you head over to a golf course and the next type of ninja flings golfballs with his club at you. You should get the idea by now :-D
Right, now we have a little problem here at CIA. The game is made in SEUCK, so there are some limitations to what you can achieve with the engine. From a SEUCK point of view the game is quite impressive, but there are things that aren’t that great. You always head left, so if you want to turn around to fight enemies in your back, you have to keep pressing right to face that way. Often enough one of us forgot about that and was literally stabbed in the back. You also can’t jump or move up & down inside the scenery. You’re basically stuck on a rail, moving forwards and backwards. However, the game hides its shoot ‘em up origins pretty cleverly and it’s just fun to see what’s coming next, so we should just move on now ;-)
The soundtrack of the game is great. Full stop :-) We could go on about the nice Eastern theme of the tracks, but we decided to let you find out on your own. Also the graphics are really well drawn. Those little ninjas, clowns, and other nasties just have the right theme and are craftily pixeled. The backgrounds, with their funny writings and other details, fit in the mood of the game and while you would like to see one or two colours more on the screen, it kinda adds to the distinctive look of each level.
There are three other titles packed with the game. They go by the names ‘Blueberries’, ‘Blueberries II’, and ‘Stone Age Fighter’. The Blueberry series can’t deny the fact that certain well known TV turtles had a heavy influence on the game theme ;-) You vertically fight your way through quite well designed city screens. Solid action titles we’d say. Stone Age Fighter is the caveman’s Space Invaders. You throw rocks and axes at masses of enemies dropping in from above in this non-scrolling arcade game. Since this one is just an added bonus game and it’s quite fun to play for a few minutes, we won’t comment on the presentation ;-)
Okay, you get all this for free when you play it in an emulator or for a very little price, basically covering the copy costs, for the real deal. Altogether you get 4 games and let’s say at least three of them offer a good amount of fun when playing them ;-) The main title isn’t flawless, but the ideas are fresh and you will chuckle quite a bit while trashing some ninjas. Have a look in your favourite C64 emu if you’re interested and maybe you decide to spend the odd 4 or 5 quid for a disk or tape to play it on the real deal :-)
You can find the download and the version to buy on the Psytronik website.
You lead our hero through the comic boxes, which is very original and interesting idea. You wander around searching for items and discovering how to use them. By pressing down+fire you pick up objects and enter the inventory. In the inventory you lead a small Batman-sign in order to select the proper action. Five icons are in the middle for drop, use, exit inventory, restart the game or switch music on/off. You also see empty boxes. When you pick up an object, it will appear in the previously empty box as an proper icon. In order to use or drop it, you must first select the item and then select the action. Very simple.
Also, there are few scales shown in the inventory which are slowly melting. This shows your energy, and is actually time you have left since, once you’re out of your hideout, energy is slowly draining even if enemy don’t hit you. Along the way you’ll find various sorts of food which will recover your energy and few time-limited upgrades. This means that you’ll have to hurry to finish the mission.
There are many types of enemy. There are few big guys and many small robots and toys that will shoot at you. Enemy number is unlimited and may only cause your energy to drain quicker. Fighting enemies will only make them run away from the single screen. Right on the next one they will attack as usual. Still, this means that you can clean the screen and think about a certain puzzle.
In the first mission, the Joker has set dynamite under the city and has captured Robin. You have to neutralise the explosives, help your friend and find the Joker. In the second mission you “just” have to catch Penguin. This means entering his own house. No easy task for a bat today. Both games look the same and are only different in goals and puzzles. There just might be a couple of puzzles that will give you a headache. Also, the inventory screen in the Joker mission shows explosives you still haven’t neutralised.
The Graphics are very nicely drawn and the music is great. I strongly suggest to leave the music on during the game. This is a must-try for several reasons: besides it is fun, you won’t find many adventures that use such a simple interface and that still have efficient gameplay and you surely won’t find ones with Batman. I hope that new adventure-lovers and Batman fans will enjoy this game like some older players did.
CIA Score 9/10
Download: Batman the Caped Crusader
Reviewer: marko river
The control is not great – generally, you can shoot in the direction you like, but Robocop can’t shoot directly up without jumping. Maybe he’s just really, really, happy about the fact that he can shoot up. Also, and I know many games are guilty of this, all the criminals you shoot explode! Are they robots, too? Are they carrying grenades in their pockets? Is this a political commentary on the state of crime in New Detroit, that as soon as the criminals are shuffled off this mortal coil by Robo’s big gun, they are instantly transported to the fiery depths of Hell?
Seeing as they’re all perfect clones of one another wearing different shirts, I’m sure they were genetically designed by OCP to explode upon termination of life signs. That must be it. It also explains why they’re stupid enough to open fire on a robotic cop who’s just laid waste to thirty or forty of their clone buddies up the street. This game is something you don’t need to waste your time on – watch the movie instead.
CIA Score 4/10