MICHTRON SOFTWARE - OLD BUT GOOD!
by Frank Lemmen and Richard Karsmakers
Originally published in ST NEWS Volume 1 Issue 6, launched on
November 15th 1986.
Michtron software has been supporting the Atari ST series right
from the very beginning, and we feel nobody has given their
programs a good review yet. Although it is not our purpose to do
so, we hereby hope to bring you into the world of Michtron &
Microdeal software, by letting you know something about their
large scala of software offerings.
We start right away with the very best arcade game they have
published on the ST until now: Time Bandit. It is a shoot-em-up
game with several adventure-like elements. But most people don't
arrive at these adventure-like elements, since they mainly come
once you're advancing terribly in a certain level (or timegate, as
the authors prefer to call it).
There's quite a nice story attached to Time Bandit: Since we
wanted to offer our readers the best there is, we wanted to finish
the game, thus being able to publish the solution. But since it is
an arcade game, in which the rating depends on the player's skill,
we later realized this was impossible. But after an evening of
'hacking' we have succeeded in de-protecting the program, so we
could make a so-called trainer version. In this version, it had to
be possible to walk against an 'evil object' without losing a
life. We succeeded after having done some more hours of examining,
and we started to play this trainer version on Friday, October
24th at 18.45 hours. When we stopped (that was on 23.15 hours,
that same evening), we had gained some quite useful tips for our
readers (and some busted trigger-fingers, too). This is how we
achieved to get our highscore of 583480 points. Our real hiscore
had been somewhere around 80000 points. We succeeded in completing
the following levels: Shadowland (our trainer didn't allow us to
catch any shadows, though), Gridville, The Guardian (very annoying
level in which you have to walk very much at the end), Castle
Greymoon (with quite a nice story with it), Arena, Bomb Factory
and Omega Complex. The next day, we finished Ghost Town, in which
you have to bury corpses and avoid dead gosts of outlaws. So all
this nonsence about walking over your own grave (in the grave yard
of Ghost Town) should be forgotten. The dead outlaws give you a
nine-character code, that you have to use to get over the
quicksand in level 4D.
In Castle Greymoon, you (the innocent player) get involved in a
complete Dallas-and-Dynasty-like intrigue: The country was ruled
ina right way by King Quark of Greymoon and Kelveshaan. But the
Evil Sorceress betrayed them and locked up poor Kelveshaan. Later
on, this Evil woman pinches one of the keys you need to finish a
level, that you'll have to get in the Fourth Tower, for which
you'll have to defy the Magic Labyrinth. Once you've gone though
that (oh, it's so nasty!), you find the key and....a treasure
chest. In that chest you find four decaying items, of which you'll
have to pick one. But which one? You have to get the key 4 times
(from level 4A to 4D) there, so you have time enough to find out -
if you make it those other times.
But we wouldn't be the ACC™ if we hadn't written down some of our
experiences there, for you to read.
Well, these four items are: Black Ashes, Blue Crystals, Green
Paper and Iron Pellets. When you fetch them, you'll get the
following remarks respectively: "Poison!" (you loose 7 lives),
"You get a small diamond in your hand", "The note unfolds to a
paper worth 2500 Cubits!" and "You feel strong - almost
invulnerable!". See you'll have to decide for yourself which you
get. If you get there. And don't take the ashes!
Another hazardous thing that happened took place when we were
conquering the level called Arena. You have to enter into the Lair
of the Mighty Marg Worm. Once you've vanquished that monster, you
will be able to leave the Lair. Not any sooner. And the lair has a
very nice surprise (in which you can get many points, but in which
you will undoubtedly loose many lives if you don't make a trainer
Time Bandit is sold at a retail price of £29.95 in England.
The second-best game from this company is Major Motion, that's for
sure. In this game, the objective is to get as far as possible
onward the ever becoming more dangerous road. While you're doing
that, you must launch missiles in order to destroy helicopters,
you must annihilate cars by bumping them off the road and you must
avoid oil stains and bomb holes in the road. While you're doing
this, you'll have to fight powerful racing-cars (which come with
two-at-a-time further on in the game), you must dodge the gunfire
from the Mafia vehicle (as it is commonly called in the society of
Major Motion addicts) and you must avoid hitting too many 'good'
cars. If you destroy these (the ones that usually don't try to
push YOU from the road), you get a missile after you that's
indodgable (to say it in uncorrect English).
In the course of the game, you racing car even turns into a
speedboat, and then you'll have to be very careful for concrete
blocks in the water, mines and loony captains on your way!
The game is supported by nice musics, that vary all through the
game. Especially the water-level music sounds very nice. But don't
do anything you do in this game when you're taking driver's
lessons (or when you're on the road at any time and when there are
other people within 10 miles of you)! Not as good as Time Bandit,
but altogether very entertaining. And we haven't met anyone who
has been able to play it all the way!
It is a shame that it only works with the mouse. The retail price
in England is £39.95.
One of the very oldest games on the ST (together with Brataccas)
is definately this game called Mudpies. The object of the game is
to throw Pies of Mud to clowns, that also throw these at you.
Every time you hit one, you get points. At first, the game has to
be gotten used to, since even the joystick movements are quite
difficult to handle. But once, you're used to it, it is a very
nice game to play.
The musical pieces are very nice to hear at the background, and
they vary when you're playing. Mudpies isn't one of these games
that you play, and play, and play, but it can be enjoyable to play
it for a while. The price is according to the hookability: It is
sold at a retail price of £19.95 in England. It can works with
mouse, joystick or keys.
LANDS OF HAVOC
This must be the worst game ever to have been launched by these
people. It actually is a quite lousy 8-bit conversion, that uses
perhaps 4 or 5 colours at one time on the screen, and that is very
dull to play. The plot might be somewhat thrilling, but the
packaging of that plot is extremely lousy. Definately not worth
buying! It's one of those games (like Super Huey, of which we
published a review in the previous issue of ST NEWS) that hackers
and crackers won't bother to touch. Even at a retail price of
£19.95 in England, this really is a bad bargain. Don't buy it!
Now, we get to one of the non-entertaining programs of this
company. Not directly entertaining, anyway. Animator is a program
that makes it possible to create animation over a Degas or
Neochrome background. You simply draw that background (or you use
an empty background, which can also be done) and after that you'll
draw e.g. a walking man in every position on another picture. You
just have to take care that the program 'knows' which parts are
these frames. It is even possible to include several 32K pictures
After having defined an animation file, it is possible to turn
these frames on and off on varioyus position in various orders,
thus simulating animation. It looks very much like "Film Director"
(which was to be seen at the Dutch Efficiency Beurs in Amsterdam,
read more about that elsewhere in this issue of ST NEWS).
The program is a bit difficult to use, but the results can be
impressive. One warning: Read the user manual before you do
anything, and DON'T UNPROTECT THE DISK before you've made a
backup! It is very possible that you loose the "WALKING.AN" file
in the process, and that's very important to learn from!
For more information about The Animator, contact Commedia (Eerste
Looiers Dwarsstraat 12, Amsterdam, Holland, Telphone 020-380103).
They also sell it. It is definately worth buying for people that
either like animation ar that want to use their ST for
Michtron offers one of the very best disk utility programs in
their software offerings: Michtron Disk Utilities. We've had a
look at version 1.0, which is sold at a retail price of £39.95 in
England. The program offers advanced file-and disk options, as
well as attribute-handling, date-and time manipulating and more.
We will publish an article on diskmonitors in an upcoming issue of
ST NEWS, so we won't get into this any deeper. But if you were
already thinking of buying it: Please do! You won't regret it!
What's there to say about yet another RAM-disk? It isn't
removable, it offers less space for RAM-disk usage with the same
memory capacity as that Kuma's K-RAM does, and it isn't resident.
This is definately one of the most stupendous programs these
people ever launched. Nowadays, people have the Public Domain
Intersect RAM-Disk V3.0 (to be ordered through our PD service),
which is removable, and people can also buy G-RAMDISK of G-DATA
software, which isn't only removable but also resident. And that
one includes an integrated spooler as well!
Even at a retail price of £12.95, M-DISK is a miss! In the field
of utilities it is as useless as Lands of Havoc is lousy in the
field of games.
But let's talk about a really nice product of this company once
again: Pinball Factory. This is one of the more recent launches
made, and I must say it's a very good concept, very well worked
out and very user-friendly.
As you might already have noticed, it's a pinball machine plus
pinball game designer. So you cannot only play on a pinball
machine, but you can also design your own! Once the pinball game
machines are designed, the layout can be SAVEd to disk. Later on,
they can of course be LOADed back into the computer.
The main screen offers several options at the starting of the
program (or is it a game?): Edit game, play game, erase file, load
game, save game and catalog (this can display the directory of
either drive A,B or C - harddisk ?!). The first thing most people
do is choose the Play option (a sample game - designed by the
designer of Time Bandit, Hary Lafnear - is built in from the
beginning). After that, they can play using the arrow down key to
pull back the ball, space to release it and the left and right
mouse buttons to hit the ball. F10 quits and moving the mouse
causes the pinball machine to Tilt!
But the Edit Game option is much more interesting - here you are
able to design your own boards using your own creativity and
imagination. This option lets you enter into a submenu, which has
as sub-options: Edit board, alter rules, edit logo and test game.
The Alter Rules option lets you change the scores made by
individual attributes, as well as the power with which balls are
kicked back once they hit them. Further on, you can determine the
number of balls each player gets (it's a game for 1-4 players) and
the speed with which the balls move. You can also change the
gravity, elasticity and you can turn dampers on/off.
The Edit Board option looks a bit like a regular drawing program,
but it lets you place predefined objects - the pinball machine
attributes. Options in this sub-option are: Line, Frame, Circle,
Disk, Ray, Box, Detail (zoom) and Fill. The Fill option lets you
use 23 predefined fille patterns. And you can change all the
colors that you use using the well known RGB setup.
The Edit Logo option lets you change the little picture at the
right hand side of the screen; the pinball machine logo. This is a
complete drawing program, with as options: Line, Ray, Frame, Rnd.
Frame, Box, Rnd. Box, Circle, Disk, Detail, Fill, Bigtype,
Smalltype, Airbrush and Shadow. Of course, both Airbrush and
Shadow can be set and changed. The airbrush, by the way, is of the
same type as the one found in "Degas" - so very good. Here, you
can also use the 23 predefined fill-options.
The Test Game option doesn't need explanation, I suppose.
Michtron's Pinball Factory is a very good product indeed and,
together with Time Bandit and - but a bit less - Major Motion, one
of the best releases of this company. I definately hope that they
will continue making these excellent programs on the ST!
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.