The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby PaulB » Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:41 pm

ppera wrote:P.S. can we get some less dark text on site? It is almost unreadable with black background.


I think you need to turn up the brightness on your monitor/screen. The backgrounds for posts are light blue in both the prosilver and subsilver2 forum skins (at least for me). Either that or you need a new monitor.
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby ppera » Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:51 pm

PaulB wrote:I think you need to turn up the brightness on your monitor/screen. The backgrounds for posts are light blue in both the prosilver and subsilver2 forum skins (at least for me). Either that or you need a new monitor.


It was not for forum, but game review site...
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby Desty » Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:57 pm

Good to see Microprose Grand Prix in there. It was the only ST game I ever bought first-hand. I was amazed at the level of detail in the simulation; down to the other drivers' heads frantically turning left and right as they try to steer out from the wall I've pinned them against :)

Agreed about the lack of difficulty in some respects... on some of the chicanes in particular with the red-white road boundaries it was possible to drive/jump right over them in a roughly straight line while the AI drivers zig-zagged following the turns.
A little bit like the SNES Mario Kart speedrun on tasvideos.org.

Also, the drivers didn't show much variation, and seemed to just stick exactly to the racing line where possible. A few different strategies would have been nice to see, but hey... maybe that's how F1 racing really is :?
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby StickHead » Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:10 pm

ppera wrote:P.S. can we get some less dark text on site? It is almost unreadable with black background.


Sorry about that, my HTML skills are sadly lacking and the behaviour of my site is quite erratic depending on your browser. I'm currently looking at a complete overhaul which should sort out a lot of issues. I'll be working on it right after I finish the top 50!

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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby StickHead » Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:45 pm

Bit strategy heavy, the next five:

#20 - Populous 2

Released: 1992
Developer: Bullfrog
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Strategy

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Playing as a demi-god and a son of Zeus, you must prove to your father that you are worthy of entering the Pantheon by defeating the Greek gods one-by-one in combat. You won't be getting your hands dirty of course, that's what your loyal followers are for.

Populous 2 offers many more ways to influence your people and their environment. This time around you have twenty-two divine powers (compared to the eight of the original) each split into six categories (with their own mana bars). Instead of ordaining knights as in the original, each category has a hero, and each hero has special abilities. For example: Perseus (human category) will pillage all in his path, while being intelligent enough to avoid malevolent obstacles; Adonis divides every time he fights; Hercules is very strong and Helen turns your enemies into love-sick puppies, following her to their watery doom.

Other new god powers include: plagues, tree-planting (I jest ye not), road and wall building, lightning storms, tsunamis, and baptismal fonts (these can convert followers' allegiance from one deity to the other) and many more whose strategic value must be learned in order to ensure success.

In some ways, the extra godly powers you possess in Populous 2 upset the balance and as a result, multiplayer games aren't always as enjoyable as in the original. It is much harder to pre-empt your opponents moves when there are many more different strategies they could adopt, so the Chess-like struggles and stalemates that made marathon matches so enjoyable is lost. This is countered, however, by the fact that there is loads more to do and more powers to experiment with, keeping the single player campaign interesting for longer.

Some reviewers criticised Populous 2 for being to similar to its predecessor, but at the end of the day, this is Populous - more variety, better sound and better visuals, and that can't be a bad thing.


#19 - Civilization

Released: 1993
Developer: Sid Meier/MPS Labs
Publisher: Microprose
Genre: Strategy

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Sid Meier's third solo project for Microprose (following Railroad Tycoon and Covert Action) was to make his name in the industry and spawn a franchise that spans three decades and is still going strong. It kick started a genre and opened up the strategy games market to a much wider audience.

The year is 4000bc and your normally barbaric and nomadic tribe have decided to stop clubbing each other on the head, put down their loin cloths and get their act together. You, as their leader, must guide them through this difficult period, shepherding them through the trials and tribulations of communal living, technological advances, cut-throat revolutions and encounters with other cultures.

Do you choose to develop technologies to ingratiate your populace and improve their standard of living in order to boost city growth, or do you concentrate on martial advances in order to build and train units of unequalled might to crush your enemies - taking their land and pillaging their gold? Each approach has its problems and benefits.

The game's interface is sometimes a little slow and cumbersome, and there are some issues concerning the randomness of battle outcomes. For example, it is entirely possible for your heavily armoured tank to be defeated by a bloke in a tin hat carrying a spear (or a phalanx to you).

Despite the flaws, this game offered something truly unique at the time of release and is still eminently playable today. That 'just one more turn' addictive quality and huge variation of game styles and difficulties (no two games are ever the same) that are the hallmarks of the Civ series shine through in what is an essential experience for both strategy enthusiasts and curious onlookers.

#18 - Hunter

Released: 1991
Developer: Activision
Publisher: Activision
Genre: Action Adventure

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As mentioned before (see #29 - Damocles) open world games were once a rarity, and when one came along it really made you sit up and take notice. Hunter was no exception with its 3D filled vector graphics and sprawling world of island-hopping gameplay.

Each game starts at allied HQ with a very simple objective ranging from assassinating the president to destroying a variety of military targets. You are given a gun and a car and what you do next is totally up to you. OK, so you can't decide to bake bread or sew yourself a nice elven doublet a la World Of Warcraft, but you are given complete freedom to explore the map, interact with NPCs, pilot/drive/sail/ride the game's seemingly inexhaustible supply of vehicles, find a range of weaponry, fight enemy troops, catch ducks and so on.

This was the first game I ever played where it was so fun to be part of its world that I would often go off task, completely ignoring the objectives and exploring its rich world: old men in lighthouses, man-eating sharks, helicopters sabotaged with deliberately low amounts of fuel, enemy uniforms (when worn you would not be shot at by enemy forces), hidden areas, new vehicles. This game really did have the appeal of a proto-GTA: when the missions get boring, just go and find something more interesting to do.

To fit a game like this onto a 16-bit machine with just 512k of memory is astounding, and well deserving of its top 20 placing.


#17 - Deuteros: The Next Millennium

Released: 1991
Developer: Activision
Publisher: Activision
Genre: Strategy

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As a big fan of Millennium 2.2 I was delighted to discover that Deuteros, its sequel, has a very similar feel - its dystopian near-future setting side-stepping cliché and providing a superbly atmospheric backdrop to more resource-management strategy brilliance. (This game features a magnificent knowing nod to its prequel which I won't spoil here)

Set a thousand years after Millennium 2.2, the Earth city has matured and its inhabitants are ready to expand into the solar system once more. To do so, materials must be collected, citizens trained and scientific theories researched. As before, tasks are allocated, then time can be advanced with a click of the appropriate icon. This time around, it is possible to build up to 16 factories, meaning that your job of task-juggling is made that much more tricky.

All tasks are easily accessed through an icon driven interface, and a little bit of experimenting during the gentle opening part of the game will soon see you well acclimatised. Everything is well drawn, and the sound - though minimal, it is space after all - adds to the atmosphere.

Unfortunately it is possible to miss key 'trigger' events in this game, leaving you with nothing to do to progress the game's narrative and having to restart the game due to this happening is very frustrating. It can also be a little overwhelming at times, too many balls in the air as it where - if this grates then you may want to stick to Supremacy: more brain friendly, but not as deep and rewarding as this.

Several twists along the way will keep you enthralled and available building projects requiring exotic minerals will keep you exploring. More scripted events than its predecessor - including some genuinely shocking moments - keep you on tenterhooks, you can never rest on your laurels in this game.


#16 - Captain Blood

Released: 1988
Developer: Exxos
Publisher: Mindscape
Genre: Adventure

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From a game of exploration to a one of space strategy, now here is Captain Blood: a space exploration strategy game, and a very strange, metatextual dream-like odyssey it is too.

L'Arche du Capitaine Blood is the nickname of Bob Morlock, a games programmer inspired by the 1930s film of the same name. While alpha testing his latest sci-fi themed game, he is sucked into the very world he has just designed. Blood soon finds himself in a spot of bother - a hyperspace accident results in him being cloned several times over and left in a deteriorating state of health. If blood can find his clones and kill them, he can recover the vital fluids he needs to survive.

However, the last five clones have caught wind of Blood's plan and have buggered off to the five corners of the known universe (the universe is pentagon, you know). Finding them is going to be trickier than eating a jam doughnut without licking your lips. Luckily, you can get helpful info from aliens you meet on your travels.

To reach these Xenomorphs, you must remotely pilot a probe through a fractal landscape until you reach its location. Communicating with these aliens via the UPCOM (an icon driven interface) will reveal coordinates of other inhabited planets that you can hyperspace to in order to continue your search (cue 2001: A Space Odyssey style hyperspace colourshock).

Captain Blood offers something rarely seen in the world of video games: an experience that is truly unique. Captain Blood is like no other game made before or after it (We'll gloss over the mediocre sequel, Commander Blood).
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby Johnnyb » Wed Sep 24, 2008 2:02 pm

Great thread stick


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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby bullis1 » Wed Sep 24, 2008 2:44 pm

StickHead wrote:#18 - Hunter

Released: 1991
Developer: Activision
Publisher: Activision
Genre: Action Adventure

While Hunter wasn't in my top 5, it probably would have been my 6th choice. It's a great game and I'm glad it got a good placement in the top 50.

StickHead wrote:#16 - Captain Blood

Released: 1988
Developer: Exxos
Publisher: Mindscape
Genre: Adventure
...
Captain Blood offers something rarely seen in the world of video games: an experience that is truly unique. Captain Blood is like no other game made before or after it (We'll gloss over the mediocre sequel, Commander Blood).

Strangely I disagree! I always wanted to like Captain Blood but it had too many flaws and I just couldn't get myself to enjoy playing it. Commander Blood however is one of my favourite games of all time. It was immediately engaging and the technology level of the time let the creator's vision come to fruition. That's just me though and I'm sure we'll need to agree to disagree.

Great post once again StickHead!
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby Grunaki » Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:34 am

StickHead wrote:Captain Blood offers something rarely seen in the world of video games: an experience that is truly unique. Captain Blood is like no other game made before or after it (We'll gloss over the mediocre sequel, Commander Blood).


I actually quite liked 'Commander Blood' ! (One thing that always seemed weird was that Commander is a lower rank than Captain and this is the sequel...)

There is actually a 3rd game called 'Big Bug Bang', but it's all in French.

(We had a fairly lengthy discussion about it here.)

A new forum member called NayusDante poked around a bit with a view to doing a 'homebrew' English translation of the game, but I guess it never panned out.. (This was like 18 months ago..)
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby bullis1 » Thu Sep 25, 2008 1:06 pm

Grunaki wrote:A new forum member called NayusDante poked around a bit with a view to doing a 'homebrew' English translation of the game, but I guess it never panned out.. (This was like 18 months ago..)

I don't know if I would trust just anyone doing the translation. There's a lot of subtle humor and weird phrasing that aren't easily translated from French to English. I think it would have to be done by the same team that did Commander Blood.
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby Desty » Thu Sep 25, 2008 1:13 pm

bullis1 wrote:I don't know if I would trust just anyone doing the translation. There's a lot of subtle humor and weird phrasing that aren't easily translated from French to English. I think it would have to be done by the same team that did Commander Blood.

Or a fan of the games that's intimately familiar with the humour and feel of the games. How's your French?

I wouldn't hold my breath on the original team magically deciding to reform and translate the game :D
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby bullis1 » Thu Sep 25, 2008 1:41 pm

Desty wrote:
bullis1 wrote:I don't know if I would trust just anyone doing the translation. There's a lot of subtle humor and weird phrasing that aren't easily translated from French to English. I think it would have to be done by the same team that did Commander Blood.

Or a fan of the games that's intimately familiar with the humour and feel of the games. How's your French?

I wouldn't hold my breath on the original team magically deciding to reform and translate the game :D

I know I know, It's not like I actually thought that would ever happen.

I actually can read French, but it's Canadian French (old school puritans) and not Parisian French (modern hep cats). I'm one of those people who would miss the subtlety and humor of the original script, even though I could still figure out what was going on.
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby Desty » Thu Sep 25, 2008 1:56 pm

Sounds like a good collaboration project with some of the upstanding French members on the forum? I bet some of 'em have played all of the Blood games.
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby StickHead » Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:50 pm

We creep ever closer to the top 10! Here's #15-11:

#15 - Xenon

Released: 1988
Developer: Bitmap Brothers
Publisher: Melbourne House
Genre: Shoot 'em 'up

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Captain Xod's run into a Xenite ambush and unless you can blast your way through 16 sectors of the Xenite scum to reach him in time, he'll be on the receiving end of a nasty face-hugging from one of those squiggly things we all had nightmares about after we saw Aliens.

Anyone who tries to tell you that graphics make a game need an education. Sit them down with a copy of this and its sequel and watch the epiphany grip them. Xenon II is certainly more beautiful, with its snazzy parallax and what-not, but the original shines where it matters most.

As you make your way up the vertically scrolling levels, you can morph between a ground-based tank or a airborne ship with a deft press of the space key. This adds a tactical risk/reward dilemma: often you can only destroy a wave of enemy craft (and therefore glean the available points) if you are at the same elevation as them, but by matching their elevation, you become more susceptible to their attacks. More than just points are available: as enemy craft and gun turrets are destroyed, upgrades for your craft can be collected, adding drones, lasers and smart bombs to your arsenal.

It's as hard as a bronze statue of Stu Pearce, but somehow keeps you coming back for more punishment. Every go you get just that little bit further, and you are compelled to keep playing until you see the various bosses and new scenery that you just know are around the corner.


#14 - Starglider

Released: 1986
Developer: Argonaut
Publisher: Rainbird
Genre: 3D Shoot 'em 'up

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The Atari Power Pack of 20 games bundled with my ST when I was it was given to me for Christmas was a revelation. Conversions of great Sega coin-ops, fiendish puzzlers and top draw shooters all provided plenty of entertainment that Chrimbo morn. Starglider, however was the game that knocked me for six and left me in no doubt that I was well and truly within the glorious grip of the 16-bit era.

This is because Starglider sang to me. Sang to me! I couldn't believe my ears! Sure, listening to the tune now, it's a crackly sampled piece of dodgy eighties techno-rock that lasts all of ten seconds, but to my 8-bit trained ears this and the in-game speech were trumpet calls heralding the future of video games. The game itself wasn't bad either.

While sat in the pilot seat of your AGAV fighter, you must rid the planet Novenia of its mechanoid Egron invaders using your state-of-the-art ship's lasers and guided missiles. For all the depth implied by the novella included in the box, this game is simple vector based blaster: shoot everything that moves in return for points, and avoid being blasted by enemy lasers. If your fuel or shield energy begins to wane, you can dock with a silo for a top up. Here you can top up your missile supply as well as get some valuable info on the foes you are likely to encounter.

Heavily inspired by the Star Wars arcade hit, it's easy to see the Atari coin-op's influence here. Starglider did a good job of bringing its mentor's fast, fluid gameplay to the home, while offering more depth and freedom of movement.


#13 - Defender Of The Crown

Released: 1987
Developer: Master Design Software
Publisher: Cinemaware
Genre: Strategy

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The King is dead! Long live the King! ... Err, who is the next king? Let's have a bit of a scrum to find out shall we?

Playing as one of four Saxon knights, you must see off the Norman invaders as you vie for your ascendancy to the throne. You start the game with a solitary castle and a pitiful 10 men. It is from this lowly status that you must build your army, expand into other territories, loot and lay siege to castles, and do battle with your Saxon rivals and Norman enemies. Other distractions include the obligatory damsel rescue, a spot of jousting (Which I always found excruciatingly difficult).

Defender Of The Crown really blew the doors off for graphics on 16-bit machines. The art direction of James Sachs was way ahead of its 1986 vintage and was used by many retail outlets to showcase the power of the new machines (not to mention by people wanting to show off to their mates).

Though sacrificing colour due to hardware limitations, the ST version included many features that the Amiga version lacked, due to the Commodore machine's release being somewhat rushed.

Though not a strategy game of any real depth or longevity, the first play through of DOTC was a memorable experience thanks to its extraordinary presentation and production values.


#12 - Captive

Released: 1990
Developer: Antony Crowther
Publisher: Mindscape
Genre: RPG

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Captive is huge. Unbelievably vast. Its creator once said that to fully complete it would take forty years. Better get cracking then...

You are a prisoner on a starship in turmoil. Your only hope of escape is the laptop left behind in your cell. Upon booting up this laptop, you discover you have remote access to four droids. In order to break out of your jail you must successfully guide them to bases on many different planets in order to find and destroy the power generators that keep you confined.

Featuring the same real-time pseudo-3D graphics and user interface made famous by Dungeon Master, Captive procedurally generates each level you visit, allowing the game to have 64,000 levels without requiring a hefty memory upgrade. So even after the Captive is freed, there is plenty more to see and do.

As you play, the nasties you encounter get increasingly tougher, so you must make your 'bots tougher too. Each of their limbs can be replaced with better ones, though the capacity of the torso's power source must not be exceeded. The droids' skills must also be improved if they are to make use of the more advanced weaponry found later in the game.

A great premise excellently executed by the legendary Tony Crowther, if you're a fan of this kind of game, Captive really should not be missed.

#11 - Kick Off

Released: 1989
Developer: Dino Dini
Publisher: Anco
Genre: Football Simulation

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The release of Kick Off coincided with my rebirth as a football fan. At nine years old, my Mum took me to St. Andrews to watch Birmingham City concede a late equaliser to West Bromwich Albion in a 1-1 draw. Ironically, as I took my first step in the life of anguish and pain that is being a Blues fan, Kick Off was filling my gaming life with ... pain and anguish.

You see, Kick Off is a rare breed amongst football games: gone is the zoomed out view enabling you to see what's going on, and gone is the sedate pace allowing you to ponder your next move, and most significantly, gone are the player friendly sticky boots that feature in virtually every footy game ever conceived. If you turn your player willy-nilly, you can not expect the ball to follow. Expert timing is expected at all times, as you can only turn when the ball is directly at your feet.

Kick Off is fast, furious and bollock hard (especially for an eight year old brought up on Emlyn Hughes International Soccer) but ultimately extremely rewarding. Each goal is earned through blood, sweat, tears and the aforementioned ninja timing.

Unfortunately lacking the after-touch control of later iterations (you will have to boot up the Extra Time expansion for that luxury), more than a little buggy and slow-down never more than a goal-mouth scramble away, Kick Off is far from perfect, but that excitement I felt when first playing this, eight years of age at my uncle's house is still tangible to this day.
Last edited by StickHead on Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby simonsunnyboy » Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:00 pm

Xenon scrolls vertically - not horizontally.
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby StickHead » Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:04 pm

simonsunnyboy wrote:Xenon scrolls vertically - not horizontally.


Thanks, SSB. Now edited. "As you move up the horizontally scrolling levels." What a muppet. :roll:
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby Grunaki » Tue Sep 30, 2008 2:35 am

I played DOTC to death back in the day - I always wanted it to be a 'link-up' game, so you could play a friend with one of you being a Saxon and the other a Norman (maybe with a couple of computer players in there as well) - oh well, not to be I guess.

I found the best strategy was to start in Cumbria or Lancashire (Which is kinda weird as 'Cumbria' didn't actually exist until 1974! 8O ), go east and take out the guy in Lincolnshire, head south and beat the guy in Norfolk, then the Home Counties (Leicestershire I think) one and finally make your way to Cornwall and take care of the last one. Get married along the way - hopefully to your most powerful Saxon rival's daughter - which causes him to retire and automatically gifts you his lands. If not, the other Saxons are all weenies anyway and the Normans generally take care of them for you.. (Before they start getting delusions of grandeur and attacking you..)
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby Johnnyb » Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:26 am

ahhhh DOTC, forgot about it, till posted this what a great game, many hours wasted on it.
Now I need to find a copy to see if its as good as I rememeber it
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby Mug UK » Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:10 pm

Johnnyb wrote:ahhhh DOTC, forgot about it, till posted this what a great game, many hours wasted on it.
Now I need to find a copy to see if its as good as I rememeber it


Get the Vectronix version if you can as it had a few bugs fixed in their version, plus it works on a lot more than the stock ST machines.
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby StickHead » Sun Oct 05, 2008 10:00 am

I've been a bit poorly :( and I'm going on holiday next week, so I am afraid you will have to wait a little while for the top 10. I'm not just trying to build tension (honest :angel: )
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby Grunaki » Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:52 am

Yar, boo, sucks!! :P

Post it before you bugger off to Margate for a week!! :P

(Just kidding - have a good holiday mate, and it'll be worth waiting for.. :) )
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby StickHead » Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:23 pm

Margate really isn't what it used to be, you know? :lol:

TOP TEN TIME!!!!!!

#10 - Llamatron: 2112

Released: 1991
Developer: Jeff Minter
Publisher: Llamasoft (Shareware)
Genre: Shoot 'em 'up

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I am utterly delighted to kick off the top ten with Jeff Minter's bonkers remake of Eugene Jarvis' seminal Robotron.

When Eugene's first machines hit the arcades in the early eighties punters were blown away by a torrent of light and sound paired with kinetic (and double-hard) gameplay. One of these punters was a little hairy fellow whose tag - 'YAK' - would dominate those scoreboards. Almost a decade later he would take advantage of the STs architecture to bring home the audio-visual spectacle of a Jarvis arcade.

While a lot more forgiving than its estranged parent (and featuring a lot more hoofed animals) Llamatron retains the survival horror pretext and its (move and shoot independently in eight directions) control mechanism. As you mow down all manner of grunts (Coke cans, Rizla packets, toilets, computer chips) you must save beasties before they are corrupted by the evil brains; mutated into Llama hating monstrosities hell-bent on destroying you.

Your ungulate is best controlled using two joysticks enabling full control of your laser llama spit. An optional drone, who acts as a second player to accompany your blasting makes Llamatron even more accessible. However, even with help, Llamatron features some harsh difficulty spikes: some levels are like a walk in the pastures, while others will happily graze on your entire stock of lives.

With tight controls, non-stop action and just the right amount of crazy, Llamatron is the finest shareware game ever released for the ST and a real high point in both the ST shooters canon and the Llamasoft back catalogue.


#9 - Elite

Released: 1988
Developer: Mr. Micro
Publisher: Firebird
Genre: Space flight simulation

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There isn't a lot to be said about Ian Bell and David Braben's seminal 3D space exploration/combat/trading game that hasn't been said already. Open ended gameplay, huge galaxies to explore, immersive flight and combat system, blah, blah.

For those approaching Elite for the first time, you could be forgiven for thinking "What's all the fuss about?" for the majority of what made Elite so special in 1984 (The year it was released for Acorn's BBC) we now take for granted, indeed demand from more modern games in the same ilk.

Cast your mind back to 1984. and you would almost certainly be playing quirky platformers and second rate conversions of arcade games. All very enjoyable but ultimately disposable experiences. Then along comes a game that creates a universe around you compels you to explore it, exploit it, experience it - any way you choose. It was the first game I ever played that I fell asleep thinking about.

The ST version, coming late to the party as all cool cats do, kicks things up a notch by offering a mouse-driven interface, quick filled vector graphics, new missions, new equipment, and radar magnification. It still isn't considered to be the definitive version though, that accolade belongs to the Archimedes version.

A classic on any system, and worth checking out on the ST thanks to the colourful visuals and extra features.


#8 - IK+

Released: 1988
Developer: Archer Maclean
Publisher: System 3
Genre: Beat 'em 'up

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A complete re-write of the original, IK+ offered something truly unique at the time: A third fighter! This extra dimension means that you could no longer take a moment's breather to size up your opponent, converting the chess-like duels of Way Of The Exploding Fist into something more akin to an incredibly skilful and choreographed bar brawl. (Without the flying stools)

As you start to learn the ideal distances for punching your foes in the googlies or kicking both of your antagonists square in the face at the same time, it really does seem like an art-form. Moves begin to flow from your joystick and you can see all the heavenly glory without concentrating on the finger. Play this game for a prolonged period and see what I mean. It's almost like a trance. You enter the zone and become untouchable. Unfortunately, it only lasts a round or two before Blue puts you on your arse again and brings you down to earth.

The bouts are decided with a simple points system. A good, clean, honourable hit is rewarded by two points, while a sneaky back-stab is worth one. The player who gets six points first is the winner. If you finish last, you are kicked out of the tournament. After each round, your master shows up to let you know how you performed. As you gain points, you progress through the belts and your opponents go from Steven Seagal to Dan Inosanto.

Very few fighters can boast the fluidity and 'natural' almost instinctive feel of IK+. Virtua Fighter and Soul Calibur have it, Dead or Alive was oh-so close, but IK+ embodies what beat-em-ups should be all about; instinctive and accessible controls, fast action, a touch of humour, tireless multiplayer and a heady challenge. If you haven't played this then do so right away, but if you have, join me at the altar of MacLean. Ommmmmm...


#7 - Super Sprint

Released: 1986
Developer: Electric Dreams
Publisher: Electric Dreams
Genre: Top-down racing

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Super Sprint was the first game I ever played on an Atari ST and therefore directly responsible for the ensuing 20 year (and counting) love affair with the machine. It was at a friends house where a couple of his friends had brought their STs over. I remember being wowed by link up games of Populous, the Konix Speedking, the Real Ghostbusters (I know) and a strange space shoot 'em 'up game with millions of levels called Whirligig.

It was 3-player Super Sprint that really stuck in my mind though, and kicked of a nag campaign that would eventually see my Mum cave and buy me an Atari ST for Christmas. Super Sprint is pure, unadulterated fun and incredibly addictive.

Your car is control by three inputs alone: rotate left, rotate right, and accelerate. The simplicity of the control mechanism is matched by the gameplay: all you must do is finish the 4 laps of the track before the drone cars - fail to do this and its game over. Along the way you can pick up spanners which can later be spent on upgrading your car's acceleration, top speed, or traction.

Things get tricky as you progress through the races, pretty soon your opponents aren't your only worry: whirlwinds, puddles, oil slicks, cones and moving barriers populate the track, conspiring to delay and frustrate your attempts to finish before that git in the green car.

A well executed conversion of a solid design, its simplicity is Super Sprint's main weapon, and the key to its unrivalled multiplayer experience. Grab two mates and have one of the best laughs your ST can provide (after you resolve which poor bugger gets to use the keys).


#6 - Turrican 2

Released: 1991
Developer: Factor 5
Publisher: Rainbow Arts
Genre: Platform run 'n' gun

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Some of us doggedly stuck with computers; determined to shun consoles, but we needed Metroid and we needed it badly. The likelihood of Nintendo converting its brilliant side-scrolling shooter to our flavour of beige box was slimmer than posh-spice, so thank god for Manfred Trenz and the boys at Factor 5 for bringing us a Tin-Man for the 90s: Turrican.

You are Commander Bren McGuire a lone gun-man (my favourite variety of gun-man) bedecked in the livery of Turrican: an experimental bionic armour and you're out to reap revenge on a group of metal gimps known as "The Machine" who have incinerated all your army mates.

Turrican's levels are open to exploration, and are packed with secret areas featuring extra lives and different weapons. These weapons come in many varieties, my favourite being the Ghostbuster-esque 360-degree multi-beam activated by holding the fire button: you can sweep this beam back and forth along the screen, obliterating your enemies like fag-ends in a urinal.

Unfortunately, as was becoming the trend at the time, the ST version palled in comparison to the Amiga version. The Atari version had a smaller play window, was missing the nice raster background and a lot of the sprites are not as well realised. All is not lost however, as efforts are underway to revamp ST Turrican using the STE's capabilities. This is a massive undertaking, but a valiant and exciting one. Take a look here.

Atmospheric music, characteristic weapons, large multidirectional smooth-scrolling levels and a comprehensive challenge all add up to a great platform run 'n' gun experience usually only experienced by console fanatics. And I haven't even mentioned the R-Type style horizontal shoot 'em 'up sections or the oversized end-of-level guardians!
Last edited by StickHead on Thu Oct 16, 2008 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby Grunaki » Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:38 am

StickHead wrote:Margate really isn't what it used to be, you know? :lol:


Aw, shame that.. You'll have to try Southend or Hastings next time.. ;)
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby bullis1 » Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:32 pm

Okay, Turrican 2 made the top ten so I'm happy. You never mentioned the awesome music it has though!
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby StickHead » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:02 pm

bullis1 wrote:Okay, Turrican 2 made the top ten so I'm happy. You never mentioned the awesome music it has though!


StickHead wrote:Atmospheric music, blah, blah...

8O :lol:
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Re: The top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Postby bullis1 » Thu Oct 16, 2008 12:46 pm

StickHead wrote:
bullis1 wrote:Okay, Turrican 2 made the top ten so I'm happy. You never mentioned the awesome music it has though!

StickHead wrote:Atmospheric music, blah, blah...

8O :lol:

Whoops, looks like I was reading too hurriedly. Never mind then! I'm very curious what the top 5 will be. I wonder if Dungeon Master will make an appearance :roll:
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