ST SOFTWARE NEWS by Richard Karsmakers
The last two months have experienced the publication of quite a
few new software titles. In this issue of ST NEWS I again want to
bring some of the notable releases to your attention.
First of those is Microids' "Super Ski". Some time ago now (if
my memory serves me right it must have been be the end of last
year), Microids published their first program on the Atari ST
called "500 cc Grand Prix". It was an extremely lousy piece of
programming that allowed up to two players to race against each
other with motorcycles. The graphics were bad and shaky.
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw their latest ST product
called "Super Ski". Although I wouldn't go as far as stating that
it redefines the boundaries of the ST's capabilities, it is
definitely a whole lot better than their first program. Graphics
were quite good, and there was quite a lot of scrolling (in all
directions) included as well.
As the name should imply, "Super Ski" is all about skiing.
One can select one of four disciplines (including ski-jump,
slalom and more such) and these are very well taken care of. No
wonder, by the way, since these mere four disciplines tend to
take up 2 disks.
Although I find the ski-jump a bit awkward to see (from the back
of the jumper), I still find "Super Ski" a game very worth while
playing. Let's hope that Microids will continue to stay on this
Melbourne House has also published a new game for the ST, that
had appeared earlier on the Amiga already (where it had stunned
people, so I'd heard): "Roadwars". When I eventually came to see
the ST version, I had big troubles imagining ANYONE being
impressed by this game. One or two players can play this game, in
which one is a ball that rolls over a 3D scrolling lane. One has
to avoid obstacles (or shoot them) and one also has to take care
that the opponent (either computer or human) does not bump you
off the lane.
Setup is not highly original, I find, and also not much fun to
play. But the graphics are quite nice, especially the planet
scrolling by at the top of the screen (not included in the Amiga
version - haha). The music isn't much to get excited about.
Ere Informatique is surely busy on the ST at the moment (read
the "Captain Blood" review, elsewhere in this issue of ST NEWS),
and they have the tendency to produce games that are both fun to
play as well as well taken care of. The first one of their
products I'd like to talk about in this issue is "Spidertronic".
In this game, the player actually is a spider that has to rebuild
his electronic web by making passage-ways between each level. The
game playground can be compared to some extend with "Marble
Madness", with the difference that there are now more features in
the grounds, and that the whole game is much more original to
Graphics of this game are very good, up to the usual Ere
Informatique standards. Sound effects are ALL digital, but are
very well used and of high quality. I still think that using
digital sound is a lack of programmer's capabilities, but at
least these guys know how to make it sound great.
The game is supplied with a built-in editor. While the
presentation menu is present, one can press "E" (editor), "H"
(hiscores), "T" (test level) and of course fire (to play).
Although "Spidertronic" is not a game that will end up in a
software top 10 or such, it is a typical example of the quality
that all ST programs should have. At Homesoft (tnx for the review
copy), the game costs 79.50 Dutch guilders.
Let's get right on with these magnificent Ere Informatique guys.
Another game they made recently is called "Warlock's Quest", a
kinda horror-game. In the game, one is a wizard that has to
collect items on a variety of scenery. This task it made
difficult by resurrecting zombies, floating kraken, flying
eyeballs, walking fires, closing walls, pins suddenly coming out
of the ground and ghost coming forth from ruined buildings (to
name but a few).
Graphics are very well done, and are just right for this kind
of game (nice dark greenish, grey and black). There are quite a
few puzzles to solve, and this (together with the nice plot - I
think) makes the game enchanting as well as compelling. The sound
effects (regular soundchip sound as well as some digi-stuff like
thunder and howling) make the game even better.
Get Dexter II
Another Ere Informatique game is "Get Dexter II" (French:
"Crafton & Xunk II"), the follower-up of "Get Dexter". Again,
you becomes Crafton accompanied by his pet Xunk and you can again
walk through an enormous variety of houses, gardens and even
monasteries searching for objects that all the other figures
walking around in the game want to obtain. The graphics are
great, and the sound FX are quite good, too (including digitally
composed intro music). The fact that about all objects in the
game can be moved, taken, jumped upon, etc. makes the game big
fun to play. It's just something different from all those other
Let's jump from France to England (not yet through the channel
tunnel) and bring a visit to Gremlin. That's the company where
"North Star" was published, a remarkably compact game with nicely
entertaining music by Ben Daglish. In "North Star", the player
has to run through several levels without getting hit by any of
the creatures that walk there. He can use a kind of drill to kill
these creatures (men, balloons, everything) before they do him
The game uses only part of the screen and still the horizontal
scrolling is not smooth. This is somewhat of a lack of this game.
Also, the colours are (if you ask me) far too primary.
But the game isn't bad.
If it was up to me, "Deflektor" (also from Gremlin) would get
the 1988 price of the most original game. Savage yet civilized,
aggressive yet peaceful.
There's one laser beam on each level, and by means of many
mirrors that can rotate the player has to destroy balls that are
littered between these mirrors; but take care that the laser
isn't reflected in itself!
The setup is quite simple and yet very original, and the
graphics are good, too. Of course, there are various things that
make the aforementioned task a bit more difficult than it sounds,
and these are very well animated.
The music (also by Benn) is good, but I like the sound effects
even more (digital, but still superb).
Although I'd rather prefer the mind-less blast-'em-up games, I
know that it's good because it succeeded in capturing Frank's
attention for a very long time (he got to level 14)! "Deflektor"
is a good alternative for the weak, the powerless and the
innocent that have pascifistic tendencies. A nice game for those
who hate shoot-'em-ups.
Impossible Mission II
Just like Gremlin, U.S. Gold also published two products for the
ST since the previous issue of ST NEWS was made. The first of
these is "Impossible Mission II", programmed by the guys behind
old System 3 smash-hit "International Karate".
I had played "Impossible Mission I" quite often on the Commodore
64 before, and the game had always left an impression on me of
being very good. In fact, "Impossible Mission" was the first in a
long row of Epyx releases that used that FANTASTIC 'running man'-
animation. Later, "Summer Games I" and "Summer Games II" would
In the game, the player controls agent 4125 in his quest to
once again vanquish Elvin Atombender, an truly evil person. Elvin
is said to occupy a five-towered building and it is your task to
examine all the rooms and find the codes through which it is
possible to come into restricted areas of the complex.
Each room is not only occupied by clues, but also by robots
(shooting, laying mines, or just harassing), elevators and the
sort. I can assure you that playing "Impossible Mission II" is
hardly a thing you'll do in a couple of hours.
Something I really found missing in the game was the speech I
found so nice in the Commodore 64 version of its ancestor. No
"Stay a while, stay forever!", "Destroy him, my robots" or
anything like that. Only a badly digitized scream of death
whenever agent 4125 drops into a pit.
The introduction music is very bad, but the graphics and
animation are great. The game costs 79.50 Dutch guilders (at
A title that I have only seen for a very short while (and played
with even for a shorter while) is U.S. Gold's "Captain America".
So I really cannot say much about the plot and about the
playability - I merely thought that mentioning it would make this
article more complete.
Graphics are well done (especially the fantastic intro picture),
and the sound (music by Ben Daglish) is also good. Who knows, I
might tell you more about this game in the next issue of ST NEWS.
Let's hop over to the Public Domain circuit for a moment, and
let's talk about a brilliant demo program I received recently:
The TNT-Crew's "FNIL Demo" (Fantastic New Interactive Largest).
Although I still think that it isn't much of a match for the
greatest demo of all times (which is, of course, TEX' "BIG
Demo"), it certainly redefines some of the ST's boundaries!
The "FNIL Demo" comes on a bootable, double sided maxi-formatted
disk and exist of a main screen with digitized music AND lower
border graphics AND scrolling AND picture effects all at the same
time. I don't quite know how they did it, but it must take up
quite some processor time.
Then there are seven additional screens, obtainable by pressing
F1 through F7 (doesn't work on all 1040 STs). The first screen
shows that it is possible to use rasters ALL OVER the screen,
something previously considered impossible. The digitized music
continues. The second screen offers a scrolling bunch of rasters
with over 3,500 different colors (!). The third screen shows a
color definition box in which one cannot specify Red, Green and
Blue from 0 to 7 but from 0 to E (which means that 4,096 colors
can be selected - though only one at a time). The fourth screen
offers something also previously thought impossible on the ST:
Smooth scrolling of ALL four planes of a screen in all
directions!! It uses up quite a lot of memory, though, so that
the demo has to reload partly after quitting this screen. Some
music is running simultaneously. The fifth screen includes a
small game (for two persons with two joysticks) with digital
sound effects. Very nice! The sixth screen offers 'diagonal
rasters' with music and a lot of colors. These rasters use ALL of
the screen (also the borders). The seventh and last screen offers
a screen without a right border (but WITH a lower border...shame)
and music and transparent scrolling. The authors of this demo
state that this seventh screen is the first one ever to use no
right border, but this is wrong: TEX used it already in their
"Amiga Demo" (see previous issue of ST NEWS) and also uses part
of this border in their new intros.
The "FNIL Demo" is very impressive and I really like what
hackers are doing now on the ST. I hope they will go on doing
One of the nicest games to become available recently is Elite's
"Buggy Boy", based on the original arcade hall game in which the
player drives a beach buggy while actually sitting in a chair
that moves with the movements he makes. Nice.
The ST conversion is very well done indeed, but there are no
other cars on the screen - only a great many trees, lamp posts,
rocks and other obstacles. "Buggy Boy" is well programmed, fast
and fun to play. And it's just difficult enough to make it very
There are different landscapes, diagonal walls on which you can
drive, water, fences, bonus elements, tunnels and more.
Unfortunately, the game doesn't save hiscores to disk.
Codemasters' first game on the ST is now also a fact: "BMX
Simulator". Although this game really involves quite too little
action, the graphics are simply outstanding and I consider to be
the music one of the very best achievements of David Whittaker on
It is a 2D cycle-cross game for one or two players, and it is
joystick controlled. Pity that only the graphics and music are so
good - a actually nice game would fit better to that. But I must
say that I have seen far worse, and I would never consider "BMX
Simulator" to be bad. It's just not fun to play with too little
Maybe good news for the "Arkanoid"-and "Impact" addicts, because
Ubisoft has now released a game called "ST Krak", which is an
"Arkanoid" clone. The new elements in "ST Krak" are that there is
a thing flying around the screen that makes tiles indestructible,
and that there's a possibility to go to the previous and the next
screen by holes in the sides of the screen.
"ST Krak" will never enter the ranks of the 'great "Arkanoid"
clones', but it's a nice attempt. It's not entirely smooth, but I
suppose that real "Arkanoid" junks aren't that choosy. As long as
something bounces, it's OK for them. So it's OK.
A brilliant "Outrun"-in-space-like game came from the French
company Loriciels and is called "Space Racer". It's a 3D racing
game in which the player controls a kind of jet-bike that has to
keep within certain boundaries and try to get to the end of a
certain lane (on three levels). Of course, there are obstacles as
well as other jetbikes that make life difficult.
The intro picture and overall graphics are excellent, whereas
the game also makes good use of digital sound effects and speech.
I'd consider "Space Racer" on of the best games I have seen in
"Oids" are cute little robots. But someone or something just
thinks they would be more cute when turned into household
appliances and vending machines: The Fiendish Biocretes. Your
task: Rescuing these Oids from a variety of landscapes. Thus
reads the plot behind FTL's new game "Oids".
These Oids live in large underground complexes and have to be
rescued using a small joystick-controlled spaceship. This is done
is a way much comparable with good old "Megaroids", with turning
the ship and thrusting (yes, you're right, it's also a tiny bit
like Silverbird's "Thrust" game).
To make the game a bit more attractive, it is possible to edit
existing complexes or to design your own ones. Complete with
buildings, lasers, rock shapes and everything you might consider
The graphics and sounds in "Oids" are of moderate quality,
although the intro graphics and teleporting sequence are better.
The scrolling is in all directions and not really smooth. Once
you're used to controlling the space ship, it's quite nice to
play. The game costs 69.50 Dutch guilders at Homesoft (Haarlem,
That was it for this time, folks! I wish you lots of
entertainment playing games and reading this new and flashy issue
of ST NEWS. See ya next time! Oh yeah: I still love Willeke -
don't you worry!