ST SOFTWARE NEWS by Richard Karsmakers
In this issue of ST NEWS, I again let some more or less
remarkable programs pass my attention...
One of the more remarkable programs to be released in the last
couple of weeks is the game "Aliants" (title derived from 'Alien
Ants', made by Starsoft Development (I surely hope it's not THE
Starsoft - see 'Editorial' - since I do not wish to speak good of
those people). It contains state-of-the-art artwork (though not
as good as the graphics from "Airball", let alone "Barbarian")
and some fitting sounds effects/music as well.
Earth is invaded by extraterrestrials (not things like cute E.T.,
but more hostile beings), and man is made slave of the Aliants.
Only the colonies of earth are able to fight back, and that's
where you come in. Your duty is it to fight against those
This all sounds like some cheap invader game, but it isn't. There
is quite some in-depth in this game, and the graphics make it all
big fun to play. Definately one this article's better
productions. Comes on two disks.
A kind of "Skramble" is "Deathstrike". This game works on color-
as well as monochrome monitors, and is really a must for the good
old-fashioned "Skramble" freaks. Nice horizontal scrolling,
difficult rocket movement action, good sounds effects and nice
speeds make this game very addicting. But you'd better hit F1 as
soon as you hear the music (to turn it off) because it's simply
awful! What's there to say about a "Skramble-" like game? It is
just good fun to play if you liked "Skramble". The graphics look
moderately well and the music is awful.
Speaking of music: Everybody knows I'm a real C-64 sound freak. I
know a lot of you will find the '64 to be a trashy machine, but
nobody can deny that is has the finest musical capabilities of
all low cost micros currently on the market. The people at
Pandora obviously thought so too and they brought out a game
called "Into the Eagle's Nest" with DIGITIZED C-64 MUSIC! Gosh, I
nearly became violently ill when I heard it. It comes nowhere
near the actual '64 quality and it just consumes a lot of memory
and disk space. This is a shame, as the game itself (which bears
some resemblance to "Gauntlet", but in a WW II environment) is
really not bad. You are an American soldier that has to blow up a
German fortress, thereby also having to rescue some allied
prisoners. Well drawn graphics (by someone called "Bob") and even
a very reasonable scrolling (looks smooth because of the speed)
make it a very nice game. Only a shame of that music. The
digitized sound effects sound great, though.
And let's talk something more about digitized sound effects, and
have a look at Rainbow Art's "Bad Cat". In this very original
game you are a cat that has to compete in something resembling
cat-o-lympics. Graphics are great, but the intro music and the
digitized sound effects are even better! Some people who have
seen the game already consider it to be one of the very best
games available on the ST, and I must admit that they are right.
You have to learn something about the controls first, but once
you've succeeded in completing that task, you have a very nice
two-disk game up your sleeve.
A third "Arkanoid"-like game has recently appeared on the market.
It is called "Stone Breaker" and is different to e.g. "Tonic
Tile" and the aforementioned "Arkanoid" because it uses the full
width of the screen to display the wall. The movement is very
smooth indeed (you actually bounce with a large ball - often
referred to as 'The Amiga Ball'). Bonus elements are included in
this game as well, together with some strange things whizzing
around at the higher levels. A 'must' for the "Arkanoid" freaks,
although "Tonic Tile" has better sound and graphics and although
"Arkanoid" has even smoother movements and a higher degree of
Before I forget it: I have seen a fully working version of
"Airball" recently, from which I might derive that they have
brought out a version that lacks the 'crash-room' of the version
I previewed earlier.
Even filthier then "Farmsong I" is the Dutch Muggers
Association's "Farmsong II". They obviously got their hands on
the "SAM" Realtizer (reviewed elsewhere in this issue of ST NEWS)
and succeeded in making two new HP animation scenes (the disk
contains a total of 25 pictures, which are all stored in memory
at once - one Megabyte of memory (or more) is needed to run this
program successfully). I must admit the quality is outstanding,
but why don't they digitize something like flowers and bees? The
music is still the same. Color version takes up a double sided
disk; monochrome version one single sided 81-tracks/10 sectors
disk (for recession systems). Although officially belonging to
the Public Domain, I do not really consider this program one to
be freely copied (it's real hard-core stuff). >18!
One of the cutest games to become available for the ST recently
it Atari's "Crack'ed". The aim of the game is protect some nests
of eggs from the weirdest creatures in the weirdest possibly
sceneries. Everybody can imagine snakes and birds of prey in a
tree surrounding, but then there's rats and trolls in the sewer,
ghosts and skulls in Castle Frankenstein, squids and fish in the
sea, and a lot more. These creatures try to take away all eggs
and you have to prevent that from happening by blowing hell out
of them. As a bonus level, you have to throw eggs at a cock (a
cock that also happens to throw eggs back at you!). Sounds
childish (and I suppose it is, really) but I have not quite seen
a game as cute and funny as this one. Non-impressive but very
functional sound effects. Good graphics.
Now for some news from the Public Domain software front: Antic
has recently released a slideshow for 512-color pictures - a kind
of demo for a program called "Spectrum" they'll probably sell
before long. The slideshow may be called a bit messy now and then
(the pictures, I mean), but some pictures (like one from Jupiter
and another one featuring an nude woman in an acceptable pose)
are really terrific and use a lot of the colors.
I always thought only 16 colors could be used per rasterline, but
is turns out that these pictures are limited to 48 (!) colors per
line! Who knows - someone might now get the idea to convert that
stunning "Samantha Fox" slideshow from the Amiga to the ST (which
is so good that you'd have to see it to believe it).
Many of you already know the hackin' group The Exceptions - they
are the people behind the fabulous music'n'color-demos "TEX Demo
I-III". They have now launched another revolutionary program,
called "Super-Neo-Slideshow". "Not another one of those bleedin'
slideshows?", you first reaction will probably be, and I can
safely say: "No". Alright. "It features loading while displaying
and color-animating the pictures" - Hmmm. "It features some truly
terrific artwork" - So what? "It features animating graphics IN
THE LOWER BORDER OF THE SCREEN!" - ?!?! Just a minute, I am
trying to climb back on my chair again. "And if that isn't
enough: It features EXCELLENT COMMODORE 64 MUSIC!" - Wow! Bloody
This slide show is one that you'll definately have to see before
you can believe it (just like with the "S.A.M. Realtizer").
Loading, color animation, music (including excellently digitized
drum sounds) and border graphics all at the same time...
Back to commercial software again. In the previous issue of ST
NEWS, you could read something about a game called "MIDI Maze".
Mr. Harry van Horen was very enthusiastic about this game that he
had seen on the CES in Chicago, earlier this year. I have had the
honour at seeing it myself as well recently and I must admit it
seems very addicting to me (and I had not even played it with
several opponents, but just against the computer in SOLO mode
rather than SLAVE mode). Movements are made very well - you
actually walk through the maze and the walls scroll by on both
sides. Speedy and well done graphics, nice to play...what's more
to wish? This game might turn out to be very addicting, although
I didn't actually have the chance to become addicted as I didn't
play it for long. Maybe we will be able to feature a full review
of this game in the upcoming issue of ST NEWS. Color/monochrome.
You know I don't like phantasy-role-playing games or adventures,
but "Phantasie III" (a recent SSI release) is truly an amazing
piece of programming. I still don't like the setup (although many
people actually love it) but the graphics are much, much better
than the previous ones. I have only seen it occasionally so I
cannot tell you much about it. But I thought it might be worth
mentioning because of the much better graphics.
Having called some software houses myself recently, and also
having the assistance of my faithful correspondents Mark van de
Boer and Ruud van de Kruisweg, I have again succeeded in getting
to know a lot about forthcoming releases for the ST. Let's start
Probe Software (known for converting "Metro Cross" and "Xevious"
for U.S. Gold) is going to work for theirselves, and have
announced a game called "Trantor". Codemasters will launch some
simulation programs - "BMX Simulator" (with music from David
Whittaker - due for launch at the PCW in London at the end of
September) and "Grand Prix Simulator", Origin will give birth to
"Moebius" (sounds familiar), Alligata (well known 8-bit games
were "Who Dares Wins" and "Killerwatt") will do "Addictaball" (a
two-disk adventure), CRL will do "Academy", Durell will publish
"Saboteur II" and Precision Software will launch "Superbase
Professional" on September 23rd (that also happens to be the
first day of the London PCW Show). Some further titles (without
known companies) are: "Miami Vice" (from Ocean?), "Sub Mission",
"Racter" and "Station Four". The programmers of "Gauntlet" will
eventually do "Megabyte Gauntlet" and "Bushido" (the latter for
Adventuresoft). Elite (the company, not the game) has launched a
game called "Battleships". Calling for more information was
impossible as their phone number gives forth weird noises.
Nothing yet known with regard to "1942". Advance is bringing out
"Butch Hardguy", Cascade will do "ACE II" ("Air Combat
Emulator"), Systems Architecture will publish "The Ancient
Mariner" (nice screenshots) and "Dimension 45". Virgin will do
"Dan Dare" (together with titles I mentioned in earlier issues of
ST NEWS) and Mirrorsoft is still said to do "The Bermuda Project"
and "Spitfire '40". In spite of many rumours, Ms. Bitton of
Mirrorsoft told me that "Defender of the Crown" would not be due
before Christmas (due to problems with the music). But when I
called Mr. David Whittaker recently (a couple of weeks after I
contacted Ms. Bitton) he told me he had just finished the music
and that "Defender of the Crown" will be launched at the PCW Show
in London. English Software will launch "Leviathan" at the PCW
Shows as well (also with music from David Whittaker).
But there's much news from the big English companies as well:
Firebird/Rainbird will come with , "Bubble Bouble" (October),
"Star Trek" (real version! September), "Black Lamp" (date
unknown), "Advanced Art Student", "Universal Military Simulator"
("U.M.S.") and some low budget stuff: "Thrust", "War Hawk",
"Mission Genocide" and "Harvey Headbanger". These low budget
games will be launched around Christmas, and will include music
from celebreties like Rob Hubbard en Ben Daglish.
There is more to say about "Bubble Bobble", a game that is said
to be very nice to play indeed. Description: A platform game on
which two Brontosaurs blow bubble and eat bananas. Their names:
Bub and Bob (hence the name). It's a coin-up conversion that
features all 100 levels of the original arcade hall version.
Firebird has opted for an impressive 'dome' on the ground floor
of the London PCW Show. They intend to sell "Star Trek" and
"Bubble Bobble" there, and they will probably show a preview
version of a game called "Genesis" for the ST (written by
"Goldrunner" programmer Steve Bak).
Microdeal is also launching some impressive programs, of which
the first will be "Airball Contruction Set". They also wish to
bring out "Journey into the Lair" (the laserdisk game),
"Tanglewood" (will take a while), "Leather Neck" and some more
Ocean/Imagine will do "Slapfight" before long (probably autumn),
"Combat School" will be launched at Christmas, "Platoon" and
"Where Time stood Still" will be published after that date, and a
game called "Eco" has no release date tag attached yet. They also
intend to launch "Wizball" very soon, and I've heard something
unofficial about "Top Gun".
Activision, again, is worth a story of its own accord. I wrote
earlier that they would launch a lot of programs in September,
but the fact is that they will launch "Enduro Racer" and
"Wrestling" around Christmas. This date is also magic for sister-
company System 3, which will then publish "Bangkok Nights" and
"Out Run". "The Last Ninja" has been deleted from their program -
Originally, Steve Bak was going to do the program, but he soon
found out that it wasn't possible to scroll in 8 directions
(which was needed for the program). Pity.
I know none of you will believe what I am now going to say, but
Electronic Arts is indeed said to have started launching software
for the ST again. Indeed, both "Marble Madness" and "Bard's Tale"
will be launched in September this year (source: "ST World"),
whereas the "Music Construction Kit" and the "Deluxe" series will
be published later this year.
Gremlin (remember "Trailblazer"?) will do "Alternative Games",
"Lineker's Soccer" and "Blood Valley", the latter being a
phantasy adventure game.
The tip of the month is Accolade's "Test Drive". This game is
said to feature 3D car simulation and some screenshots I've seen
look extremely promising!
I hope to see ya all again in the next issue of ST NEWS - a lot
of software will then be released at the PCW Show and I hope to
be able to review every single program that came out there then!
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.