Categories
Games

Jetpac, as you've never seen it before

This is one for the Speccy fans out there, especially Walter and Conor. Jetpac is a simple shoot em up released by Ultimate Play The Game in 1983 on the ZX Spectrum. Apparently there’s a C64 conversion too but it was never as popular on that platform. In 1988, Ultimate: The Collected Works was released. Pictured on that page is a review from Your Sinclair that looks very familiar. I remember reading that issue. Can’t believe it’s 20 years ago! The first time I played this game was probably at a friend’s house when he bought that compilation.

Here’s the original 1983 game in all it’s glory. Revel in the single colour sprites, and simple but addictive gameplay!

And here’s the Xbox version, called Jetpac Refuelled. Totally mad stuff! Updated graphics but same great gameplay.

If that isn’t enough to wet your appetite, you can now play Jetpac in your browser! Head over to this freeonlinegames page and start refueling that ship! Oh the excitement!

(Yes, yes, it doesn’t seem as good these days. Our expectations of what games do have risen so high that retro gaming really is a niche that appeals to those that grew up with the games. Oh well!)

Edit Yay. Jetpac+3 on c64.org. Must give it a go later!

Categories
Games

Xenon 2 Megablast

Xenon 2 Megablast. If you know this game, you’ll know the soundtrack. This game by The Bitmap Brothers had great title music by “Bomb The Bass”. It was a shoot ’em up released in 1989 although I didn’t play it until years later when I played it on the Atari ST and years later before I’d play it on the Amiga. The Amiga version is widely regarded as the best version and if you look around you can find the adf download fairly easily.

Hand on heart, I have to admit I didn’t like this game much. I love the genre and I’ll happily blast away at Armalyte(C64) or Raiden(Arcade) but Xenon 2 just never did it for me. I do love the soundtrack though!

Here’s a longplay of Xenon 2 in WinUAE. It’s over 48 minutes long but watch a bit of it and you’ll get a taster for the gameplay!

The Bitmap Brothers have created an updated Xenon game, Xenon 2000 but it’s Windows only so I’d love to hear from anyone who has tried it! As luck would have it, someone has created a video of the new game. It’s more a demo than anything else by the looks of things unfortunately.

So, what are your favourite shoot ’em ups? In no particular order mine would probably be:

  1. Armalyte
  2. Syndicate
  3. Raiden
  4. Quake
  5. Half Life

Geometry Wars Galaxies is almost there but it’s too new. I’ll have to wait a few years before I decide if it goes on the list or not!

Categories
Games

Geometry Wars Galaxies

Geometry Wars Galaxies review
First impressions of this much anticipated 2D shooter for the Nintendo Wii are not good. I played with the Wii remote and the nunchuck and from what I’ve just read on an Amazon review it’s much better with the classic controller.

With the Wiimote and Nunchuck it sucks, you have a cursor on the screen and you aim that where you want to shoot and fly with the Nunchuck joystick. With the Wii Classic Controller it Rocks, you fly in any direction with the right joystick and simultaneously you shoot in any direction with the left joystick. Which as you can imagine makes for some teh sweet maneuvering as you pwn alien space noobs.

Then again, another reviewer says the remote+nunchuck are better. Anyone care to share their experiences?

You can use the classic controller if you’re that inept, but the controls with the remote are one of the best things about this game.

Maybe it reflects the old school shooter idea behind the game, but I found the main menu and name entry systems unnecessarily difficult to use. Instead of pointing and clicking with the Wii remote like you’d expect, you use the Wii remote control pad to move through options. Scrolling through the alphabet to spell “Donncha” is no fun.

How does it play? in a word, hectic. You control a small ship and a drone that fires at wave upon wave of incoming baddies, all set on a flat 2D grid. The Wii remote controls where you shoot, while the nunchuck joystick moves your ship around. When enemies die they leave behind geoms which you collect for power ups and for unlocking extra bits and pieces. As expected it starts off slowly but even the trainer planet quickly becomes cluttered with pixels and flying debris as you shoot every enemy bearing down on you. Power ups increase the firing width of your main gun and upgrade your drone. There is a certain satisfaction to be got when you’re doing well, when your weapons are upgraded and you’re laying into the swarms of approaching shapes. Unfortunately it’s short lived and I quickly succumb to the deluge as I try to figure out where to look next.

Recommended? I’m not going to give it the thumbs up just yet. Every single review I’ve read of this game has been positive and I did enjoy the intense gameplay so check the comments on this post in a few days time when I’ve played it a little more! Play.com have this game for 20.99 Euro so it won’t break the bank to buy it either if you’re a shoot’em up fan!

I had hoped for a shooter I could pick up and play for 5 minute stints and it’s proved to be such a game. I rarely lasted longer than that amount of time on any level. Yeah, I suck don’t I? 🙂

Categories
Games

Mario Kart Wii

I blame Matt. If he hadn’t taken his Nintendo Wii to Stinson Beach last year I might never have known the delight of waving a remote control at random angles through the air. I jest of course. The Wii has had so much press that even I couldn’t not have become aware of it. Add to that my brother and sister bought machines for their homes and it was only a matter of time before I bought one.

I couldn’t be happier with my purchase. Well, there is one thing. If it was somehow able to freeze time, or add an extra 4 hours on to a day then I’d be over the moon, but let’s not quibble with fantasies of free time. I bought Super Mario Galaxy with the machine and I’ve been bowled over. Graphics, gameplay, sound are amazing. I love how Mario zooms from one moon or planet to another. So far it’s been fairly easy but then I’ve only had an hour or two of play at it and it’s early days yet.

Today, with much excitement on Twitter and elsewhere, Mario Kart Wii was released in Europe. I bought my copy after the Cork OpenCoffee (must post pics!) this morning and managed a quick play of it. I see from the Wikipedia page on the game that it will be released later this month in Australia and North America. When it does, run to the shop and buy it.
The Wii remote fits into the plastic wheel that comes with the game and works pretty well. It’s not required though as you can just as easily hold the Wii remote without the wheel. Extra steering wheels are reasonably priced at around €10, even if it probably cost Nintendo a fraction of that to make ’em…

I’m still getting the hang of it though and did atrociously badly at the 100cc races. Please note: if you try playing the game without glancing at the instructions and turning the wheel makes your character go the opposite way, you’re holding the wheel back to front. Not that that happened to me, no, I’m just saying, like. My brother Donal and his fiancee are calling over tomorrow with their Wii remotes so we’ll have some fun in the afternoon!

Now, where did I leave the free time. I just can’t find it anywhere.

PS. Here’s a Mario Kart Wii review video, haven’t watched it all yet but it’ll give you a feel for the game:

Categories
Games

Addictive Online Games

These games should come with a health warning. Really. They should. I was happily going about my business, when up they pop and literally assault me with their great playability and gameplay. My wife heard the scream from downstairs but thought it was the baby. Before she looked into the office it was too late. I was hooked. So, don’t tell me you weren’t warned and take a peek at the following online games.

  • A month ago Frank blogged about Boomshine, a fiendish game where you have to start a chain reaction that destroys all the balls on the screen. It’s fiendish because I managed to get to the very last level but could get no further.
  • A week after that, he blogged about another game. Does Frank have any conscience? Does he not realise his visitors will lay waste to the zombies in an orgy of blood and violence? Yes, I’m talking about Boxhead. I spent a good few minutes happily mowing down the zombies with all sorts of weaponry until in a daze I emerged tired and weary from my desk.
  • Finally today, I stumbled upon Robert Scoble’s post about Kongregate, a company that hosts online games. They are the ultimate in evil. They have (almost?) 1000 games ready to be played. I’ll be there for days! My first port of call there was The Fancy Pants Adventure. It’s a mix of Super Mario, with bits of that Sega hedgehog, Sonic, thrown in for good measure. Add a not half bad soundtrack and special effects and it keeps on trucking. You’ll have to pry my dead fingers from the keyboard..

As previously mentioned, I sort of like Desktop Tower Defense. If you’re a fan too, check out the new version on their site. New graphics, updated sound effects and a few gameplay enhancements too. Best of all, Paul and Dave who created the game have their blog on WordPress.com! They announced the new version a while back.

Now, I don’t think many people will get as far as this, but do you have a favourite online game? I’d love to hear about it!

Happy Fourth of July to all my US readers, you’ll have something to keep yourselves busy with today!

Categories
Games Web

Desktop Tower Defense should be banned

Desktop Tower Defense could be the most addictive game I’ve played in a while, which is why you should not play it. Never, really, don’t go there. Or if you do, play it now and get it out of your system before you go back to work on Monday.

It’s rather good. I’d write more but I’m in the middle of a game…

desktoptower.png

Later .. Two days later Michael Arrington says exactly the same as me. Thanks Donal for the heads up! I’d like to think that he read it here but I suspect the only thing we share are our sentiments about this addictive game.

Categories
Games Web When-in-Ireland

Is this living?

Is this living?

I spotted this on a large advertising hoarding on the Western Road in Cork this afternoon and snapped it to remind myself to look it up. It’s right by UCC and in the perfect spot to attract the attention of webs savvy students. URLs on hoardings are like honey to a bee with me. I will snap off a few shots of the sign as a reminder and visit later. When I did visit thisisliving.ie I was presented with the following page.

thisisliving-ie.jpg

I have to ask, if I’m visiting thisisliving.ie what country do you think I’m in?

After selecting Ireland and hitting “Enter” I was brought into a nice animation of a resort or hotel which built up and zoomed away again, and then repeated with another 2 locations before being brought to a hotel reception. I signed in and clicked around for about 5 minutes before getting bored of all the loading. It reminded me of the days spent loading C64 games from datasette. At least then I had the cool Ocean or Thalamus loading music to entertain me..

The copyright notice at the bottom of page identifies “Sony Computer” and a quick search took me to this post which has the following tv ad for the Playstation 3. Apparently this advertising campaign has been running all over Europe since January. I’m sure I would have come across a games console somewhere if I had persisted!

Game footage in the above trailer does look pretty. Anyone bought a PS3 yet? Someone told me they’re going for about €600 or so. That correct? You could buy a reasonably specced “home PC” for that much! Supposedly Ireland has a less than healthy obsession with everything Playstation so I’m sure they’re selling like hotcakes!

Categories
C64 Games Movies

Youtube feeds my C64 Nostalgia

It’s all Mark’s fault. He mentioned Codemasters, then Dizzy, then he posted this movie of Magicland Dizzy completed in super-fast time. I had to search for more.

The following post contains several Youtube videos so click more if you want to see Gyroscope, Ghosts and Goblins, Barbarian and other Commodore 64 classics brought to life again!

Continue reading “Youtube feeds my C64 Nostalgia”

Categories
Games Linux

TuxKart 3D racer!

apt-cache search racing returns a number of interesting looking games, one of which is TuxKart by Steve and Oliver Baker. A quick “apt-get install” and I was up and racing!

The game itself is simple, and if you’ve played any of the other kart games around it’ll be familiar. I laughed when Tux first ran over a fish and heard a big gulp sound but it might get annoying to those around you, so turn the volume down!

Check out the homepage linked above for screen shots!

Categories
Games

Frank Miller's SIN CITY – Flash Game

Frank Miller’s Sin City provides the inspiration for this game. It’s simple but addictive!
(via)