A guide to the fabulous surroundings of
Me, I got out of the (temporarily) one-way teleport in
Arrivals and damn if it ain't true, but the first thing I saw was
a sack o' money. Got down the elevator so fast I completely
missed the darn' thing - and was, for once, grateful for the
existence of a thing called low gravity. No good starting off on
a mission like this with a buncha broken bones.
I got that bag, went through the door, and was fairly
surprised to see the first example of real state-of-the-art
graffity. "KYNE IS GUILTY", it said. Big letters. I hear you say,
"Who cares if Kyne's guilty? What's it to me? If he's guilty, fry
him! Serves him right."
Why certainly. Right you are. But it just so happens my name's
Kyne and I'm not particularly crazy 'bout people writin' stuff on
the walls that just ain't true. As the case is, I've been framed;
and although the police force on this planet is understandably
disinclined to taking my word against that of their corrupt
bosses, I'm personally mighty unhappy playing scapegoat. I mean,
they do have capital punishment on this planet - and I always
disliked high voltages.
Welcome everyone to another issue (third ST NEWS issue, is
it?) of Crimson's Column, which this time consists of an article
Brataccas by PSYGNOSIS
meaning, as you may or may not be aware, that we're talking
about the very first game on the ST (as far as I know, anyway).
Which merits something, especially if you keep in mind that
people are still asking questions about this action adventure.
This article is actually a response to many such questions, and
although I initially felt disinclined toward writing a piece - in
what's generally supposed to be a hints & tips column - about a
game the solution of which can be given in one short sentence, I
have decided that the gentle art of circumlocution may prevail.
Because a very simple solution may still prove very hard to find,
and I will focus on finding the solution rather than solving the
game. Thus, presenting to my audience an article the reading of
which may take longer than playing the game (takes me around
thirteen minutes, but who cares about times?), I hope you will
get to the bottom of Brataccas. And enjoy.
Now what's Kyne up to?
I got up the elevator in the Entrance Hall, went through the
door upstairs, passed a cop (who didn't seem to notice me) and
went into Area Two. Nothing changed so far; intercom speakers
delivering police messages, cameras keeping track of indoor
movement. It's just graffity used to be more diversified. Passed
a bloke a couple of rooms later who asked me if I was "Coming to
the bar for a drink, stranger?". I say why not, seeing how no
problem of significance is ever solved without the aid of a
bartender's sweet unguents (could've tried a barber but with the
amount of information I was after I'd likely end up kinda bald &
So I walked over to room three and down the Arcade Lift. Went
down first on account of I like to keep the best barman (Joe) to
the last. Came into the Starlite Foyer, picked up a lost Synvin
bottle in the Starlite Room and ended up in the Starlite Bar.
"Fancy a Brataccas Bombshell?"
Since I like to choose my own drink and order my own drink,
because, for one thing, I have to pay for my own drink (not to
mention emptying it which, in the case of a Bombshell, is not
entirely the easiest thing in the world), I declined his
premature "offer" and said "Who, me?". He got the message and
left me alone. There was no-one else there (the bloke who
invited me had gone up), and I was just about to leave when a cop
"Stop! Identify yourself."
Seeing as how the name Kyne was rapidly going down in pop
polls and such, I figured it smart to give him my alias - which
hurts, 'cause I'm as much Bratacconian as the next guy.
"On your way, offworlder."
I restrained my comment. Went out of the bar, up the elevator,
received another invitation to join a mac for a drink, and
followed him up - but he went into the Arcade first. I entered
Joe's Bar, and eat my helmet if he didn't recognise me on the
"Hello Kyne, I remember you from Earth."
Not the smartest thing in the world to say perhaps, but there
was no-one around, which also meant I didn't need to deny the
fact. I said hi, and Joe informed me that "that creep Skweel
wants to see you".
Skweel? Seen a lot of new faces, but you have to be off your
rocker to go runnin' around with a name like that. Unless it's on
purpose - could he be the contact I was looking for?
Another new face entered, said something in the style of "Come
here creep", which, of course, I failed to hear. So he came over
to me, and asked if I wanted anything. He looked much too dim to
know anything about the evidence, so I asked him for info. He
wanted to know my identity, and I gave him the alias.
"It will cost you a Synvin bottle."
Sure, why not. I agreed.
"Electro bomb is in the Power Room."
Sounds logical to me, but thanx anyway. I just might go there
and take one; these droids can be a nuisance. And I'd rather use
an electro bomb to destroy one than kill a console cop to
deactivate the whole bunch. You don't go around killing cops on a
mission like this; cop killers are hunted and, what's more, I'm
not an assassin. This here Kyne ain't guilty, remember?
The guy left, two others entered; one of them I vaguely
remembered. We went through the same story of insult and
identification - but when I gave him my alias, he gave me a sneer
and said "Very interesting"; end of story. So with the next guy I
figured it smarter to give my true identity; and while I was at
it (and was going to pay with another bottle I picked up in the
bar) I asked not for info, but about the evidence. He took my
bottle, and said "Skweel is the only one who can help you."
Nice. Real nice. But just who the hell is Skweel? What's this
joker look like? I decided bartime was over for now and figured I
might as well get me an electro bomb, or whatever else a man can
come across in the way of goodies on a weird planet like this.
This firm resolve started me on a not exactly uncomplicated
tour around the working grounds - cops kept challenging me
(offering to dump me in jail) and as there were quite a few
active droids I had to run for my life several times. Still,
somehow I made it into the power room, threw a couple of switches
(something to do with video circuits I think) and took away an
electro bomb. Then I rushed out, got chased around some and
finally ended up running through the Vistas and straight toward
the Calypso Snug. This is where I ran into the guy called Skweel
(mere identification of this individual cost me a bag of money)
and he told me that it would take all the money on Brataccas to
get the necessary information out of him. Tssk.
I don't like being ordered around, and I much less like to
deal with have-it-alls. So I went my own way and did some
rewarding investigations. Found out that a) whatever I came
across in the way of green bags of evidence was as phoney as my
stepmother's bosom, rest her sweet soul; also discovered that b)
there were not only quite a few hoods walking around (I had to
kill a couple who were obscenely agressive) but some of these
were escorted by cops (which meant a number of the latter were on
the take and it was high time to check on their boss) and c) if I
wanted to get out of this situation in one piece I'd better get
my ass in motion, forget my pride and start collecting them bags
of money. Brataccas is one unfriendly planet these days.
Which meant I also needed to go to the Crook's Den. I left all
my money gathered so far on a platform in the official port
(destroyed the droid there en passant), came back through the
Vista's, went down and took the teleport outside. Beautiful
country, but the population was overtly hostile - I had to kill
another crook, even though this particular individual assured me
he was the one going to do me in. There were cops here, too,
which confirmed my suspicions with regard to bribes and such.
I was attacked by a cop while waiting for the lift; so I
jumped. Passed a bag of money on the way down, but ended up on
the lift that was just on its way up. I jumped from the lift, got
that money, and jumped off the little platform. Picked up my lost
items (you can't afford to hold onto your goods when you're
taking a jump) and went through the next teleport - straight into
the lion's, excuse me, Crook's Den. Hoods were in close pursuit
but I fortunately managed to get to the lift first - and switched
it off before anyone could follow me (someone downstairs was
threatening to kill me but I didn't need to take it serious - not
until he'd grow wings anyway). I walked on, into a place called
Lash's Lair (Lash...?), where I found all kinds of goodies. False
ID, electro bomb, money - eat your heart out. It was then that I
heard this snake voice from behind.
"Time to die sssucker."
Looked around and saw the ugliest thing in space; green, slimy
and - oops! - armed. He lunged at me, I retreated. Tried to stab
him once but his scaly skin was much too tough for my sword, so I
decided to run for it. Somewhere after a couple of rooms I
managed to shake him off - switched off the elevator he was on in
midair. Strong fellow, this Lash - but not especially bright.
Taking the essence of the story: I stripped the whole place of
money. Ran into a wee executive guy somewhere but I was too busy
shaking off crooked customers to pay much attention to him - all
he said was "Get away from me"; I decided to check him out later.
When I thought I'd had it all, I went back, this time through the
Official Teleport. Came across that electrocuted droid, took all
my money and went to Joe's Bar, where after a while I found my
I paid him off, a lot of work 'cause this guy insisted on
giving the most ridiculous information; and finally, with the
exchange of the very last bag of money, got my answer. He told
me what the real evidence looked like (and by golly if I hadn't
seen one of those somewhere in the crooks' hideout) but not where
to get it. No problem; I knew by now who had to be involved - the
two planet executives, Police Boss Black and the wee guy called
A couple of hours later I had my evidence (resisted the
temptation to kill Stopp for trying to bribe me or kick Boss
Black right off his vacuum cleaning contraption) and returned to
HQ through Arrivals. And another job done. In a couple of days, I
could send the cleaners to check out that graffity. Still like
Instructions for play: Brataccas if very easy to start with.
The only thing you have to do is insert the disk and press reset.
Voila. You end up in arrivals, ready for your mission.
What you might need to know, in case mouse control isn't to
your liking, is how to change control to joystick or keyboard.
First you press the Help key. Now you get loading and saving
options (up to five games max), as well as the possibility to
start a new game from scratch, enter or re-enter Brataccas or
toggle the movie mode (i.e. demo game). Your last option (F6) is
Set Control Mode. Push Function key #6.
You now have three options: Mouse, Joystick or Define Control
Keys. Make your own choice. (I use the arrow keys, plus #1 on the
numeric keyboard as shift key - this is where my little finger
falls if I'm using the cursors.) Make your choice, and you can
start playing Brataccas. (Remember that key controls respond both
to shifted/unshifted use and to duration - picking up things high
and low requires the same, unshifted key; but different press
Final obscure guideline (a personal interpretation of some of
the Facts of Life):
Live by sword and you shall die so.
or, more popularly,
Thou shouldst not t(h)rust thy sword,
while thou canst still use thy legs.
Now if that ain't a clear hint, I give up.
As always, your kind reactions (all those I mentioned in
earlier articles plus ransom attempts, blackmail, extortion and
other signs of a healthy admiration for my writing) are welcomed
at my address and will be answered by me personally.
Unless, of course, my pet Pterodactyl gets to them first, in
which case I'll not wager a dime for your health no matter where
you live. She's a well-educated animal and takes care of her
boss. I mean, Pterry is kinda old and senile, her airspeed is
declining; it's been weeks since she ate one of my "fans" - but
she's very loyal.
On the other hand, she's always been sorta dumb; knows how to
read and write but still hasn't figured out Zip Codes. Chances
are she'll eat your neighbors. (No guarantee.)
Lucas van den Berg
6511 RL Nijmegen
-- The Netherlands --
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.