Saturday, 30 April 2011

UWOL - Quest For Ports...

 
Originally released by 8-Bit development team The Mojon Twins (Ubhres Productions) for the ZX Spectrum in 2009, 'UWOL - Quest For Money' has become something of a phenomenon in the 8/16-Bit scene; not since the early 90's has a game been ported across so many platforms.  With no official Wikipedia article on the game nor a single location from which to download them all, I thought I'd include all the current conversions in one blog post here, complete with links, emulator suggestions and screenshots to compare - although with new ports popping up every few months, it'll probably be out of date before anyone reads it! :P

Friday, 29 April 2011

Hydra Castle Labyrinth & Buster (PC)

The more retro-centric followers of the independent gaming community are currently going nuts over the latest release from E. Hashimoto (aka Buster, as in he of Akuji the Demon and Guardian of Paradise fame), so I thought I'd have a quick bash at it last night on my eeepc.  After several hours hacking and slashing away in this super-cute 2D platform romp, I have to concur that Hydra Castle Labyrinth really is a gem of a game.  With its roots clearly set back in 8-Bit NES era and some gorgeous pixel art, I haven't enjoyed a platform adventure this much since La Mulana.

Robotz DX - A retrospective & contact from Project X...

 
Considering it was my first attempt at programming a game, Robotz DX turned out quite well.  It generally received some good press and was voted one of the best free games of 2010 by 1UP, and to be honest I still get a kick out of playing it today (after all, I set the difficulty so that it was just right for me without the guarantee that I'd beat it every play-through).  However, Robotz DX is of course a remake, and therefore a great deal of it's success is down to the quality of it's source material; the original Robotz on the Atari ST by the formally enigmatic development group 'Project X'.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

r0x zer0 - Opening a can of worms can be a good thing...

I've known for ages that the Atari coder I'm working with (Tomchi) is dead against development blogs (they are not approved of by the demoscene) - so when he found out about this blog and my previous posts he wasn't exactly overjoyed that I'd leaked a couple of images.  However, it had the desired effect - we spent most of the evening chatting about the game and he sent me the latest build to test. ;)

Projects...

As you may well have guessed by the inactive status of www.rgcd.co.uk, the diskmag that I used to edit and write for is still in hibernation; I just don't have the time at the moment to organise and produce such a large volume of writing these days.  Blame my kids, my job and college work for that.
 
My long term goal is to relaunch the site as a more blog-central hub for RGCD's (many) projects and output, and then compile quarterly/biannual issues of the mag in the old CD format for download (although I've even debated the possibility of creating a proper diskmag interface).  When will this happen?  I have no idea; it ultimately depends on when Elliot (the RGCD IT guru) has time to completely redesign the site using Wordpress (or a similar system).
 
However, RGCD has been far from inactive over the past couple of years - we released r0x back in 2009 for the Atari STE, then Robotz DX in 2010, and as well as other smaller side projects (such as Dreamcast Neo4All single-game discs and Amiga CD32 compilations/game fixes) we are still working on a prequel to r0x (about 70-80% complete), a follow-up to Robotz DX (still in the design stage) and even toying with the idea of putting out some new C64 cartridge games.
 
Over the next few days (or weeks!) whilst my other PC's are repaired, I'll try and post dev-logs of the more interesting projects, as well as giving a little more information about our other undocumented releases.  But for now, here's a few pictures to whet your appetite! ;)
 
 

Hard disk crash & PSU problems...

The past couple of weeks have been pretty bad for me here at RGCD HQ.  Not including my wife's laptop or my collection of 8/16bit machines, I have three PC's at my disposal; my main desktop PC (an old Athlon 64 running at about 2.0 ghz with 2GB RAM), a even older small Shuttle XPC that I use as a media box in the lounge, and a brand new eeepc 1008HA netbook.
 
Unfortunately, my main PC has lost a 1TB hard disk (containing my data and main utils/games partitions), rendering it currently useless.  The data has all been saved, but until I can install a replacement drive I basically don't have access to any of my software.  Installing my OS, programs and data on separate partitions is an old habit from my Amiga days, so basically I only have access to the Windows folder; for now the machine is practically useless.
 
Meanwhile (within the same week) the Shuttle XPC decided to start playing up too - after a few hours of use (for example, watching iPlayer or 4OD) it just turns itself off.  I assume it's a PSU fault, but when Elliot came over and completely stripped the machine down we couldn't find anything wrong.  So the next step for that one is to try plugging in a new PSU and see if it still dies at random intervals.
 
So, my little eeepc is currently my main machine - and to be honest, it's not a bad bit of kit.  The keyboard input isn't great (it can't cope with three or more key presses at once, meaning that it isn't great for gaming), but aside from that it's solid - and at under £300 it was a bargain.  I just hope that I don't manage to kill it before my other machines are back up and running!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The RGCD blog experiment...

Well here we go then, the first post...  The site that this blog refers to is of course www.rgcd.co.uk, an outdated and infrequently updated site dedicated to my indie and retro gaming interests.  The reason for the lack of activity on my site is mainly because it is so difficult to actually add news and pages, and a redesign/relaunch is long overdue.  Unfortunately, my web guy Elliot has other priorities at the moment - so I have no idea when this is actually going to happen.
 
Until then, I'm going to start using blogger to practice posting RGCD related news and thoughts, and hopefully this will eventually be integrated into the nice blog system he has long-promised me for the all-new RGCD site.

Robotz DX (PC) (2010)

System Requirements

Robotz DX was created in GM8, and therefore should work on XP, Vista and Windows 7 PC's. The game requires around 200MB of RAM (blame the Game Maker interpreter for that!) and 20MB of hard disk space.

I'm unaware of the exact system specifications (CPU, etc.), but any system capable of running XP or Vista should cope with this simple little game. Note that the title screen uses slightly more CPU (about 5%) than in game.


Download
  
Download Robotz DX (1.02) (ZIP archive) HERE!
Download Robotz DX (1.02) (with installer) HERE!
(Full version history is given in detail below).


r0x (Atari STE) (2009)

System Requirements

* A 2MB Atari STE.
* A joystick/joypad (two for two-player).
* A colour VDU and a loud sound-system plugged into your STE L/R audio ports.
* A friend to play against (optional, yet strongly recommended).

Note that as from Version 1.00, the r0x.zip hosted here contains STE hard disk installable files, a .ST disk image and a ready-to-go PC version (embedded in the Steem emulator) that is lauchable via a .cmd file. If you choose to play the 'Win32' version of r0x, please ensure that you read the specific instructions so that you can exit from the emulator.


Download

Download r0x (1.00) HERE!
(Full version history is given in detail below).




Tuesday, 26 April 2011

X-Out / Z-Out CD32 (Amiga CD32) [Keyboard Required]

Copyright Rainbow Arts, 1990 (Rainbow Arts)
Copyright Advantec, 1991 (Rainbow Arts)
Unofficial Amiga CD32 Compilation By Heavy Stylus
WHDLoad Patches By Jean-Francois Fabre (X-Out) & JOTD & Harry (Z-Out)


X-Out ('Crossout') and it's sequel are both seriously hardcore arcade shooters in the same style as R-Type, complete with the charge/beam shots and satellite drones that we are all familiar with. The first game is particularly noteworthy for it's use of points as money in the in-game shop, where you can choose to purchase and upgrade a series of different craft (as extra lives) or spend it all on one super-powered ship instead. The sequel, Z-Out, is more in the vein of a standard shoot 'em up, albeit one with superb visuals and the added bonus of a simultaneous two-player mode.

A keyboard isn't absolutely necessary to play these two, but recommended so that you can change the speed of your craft in X-Out via the F1-F5 keys (and of course to activate the trainers so you can see past the first few levels of each title). Controls for both games are listed on the CD insert provided.

(Note: When X-Out has finished loading you'll need to press the Red button on controller two to start the game - this is due to the it initially being mouse controlled, although in-game it recognises the joypad as well. After playing the game once the Red button on controller one will work as a start command as well).

This compilation would have been impossible without the hard work of Wepl (for WHDLoadCD32) and Jean-Francois Fabre, JOTD and Harry (for the game patches used).


X-Out / Z-Out CD32 Front CD Insert
X-Out / Z-Out CD32 Back CD Insert
X-Out / Z-Out CD32 (Full Game .iso)

(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

Watchtower CD32 (Amiga CD32)

Copyright Cyber Arts, 1995 (OTM)
Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversion By Heavy Stylus


Before you get too excited, this isn't the unreleased CD32 version of Watchtower - but as it's AGA enhanced and completely playable without keyboard input it's pretty much exactly what the CD32 version would have been like (originating from a small independent games studio, a fancy FMV intro or CD-audio soundtrack would have been highly unlikely).

Essentially an 'enhanced' re-imagining of the classic Commando coin-up, Watchtower didn't win over many gamers upon it's release due to its antiquated game-play, but none the less it's still a reasonable shooter - especially so with two players fighting simultaneously. There's nothing new here, and there are many other superior examples of the genre available, but as it was originally planned for a CD32 release it's only fair that it receives the conversion treatment (albeit unofficial).

Watchtower CD32 was created by using the HD-installer supplied with the original game. The protection check was removed by Hellfire; the game has been fixed to accept any code at the in-game copy protection screen.


This recently revised .iso (version 1.01) includes an improved boot sequence and full instructions on disc in the 'Docs' folder.

Watchtower CD32 Front CD Insert
Watchtower CD32 Back CD Insert
Watchtower CD32 (Full Game .iso)

(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

Vision Collection CD32 (Amiga CD32) [Keyboard Required]

Copyright Vision, 1992 (Future Publishing / Linel)
Unofficial Amiga CD32 Compilation By Heavy Stylus
WHDLoad Patches By Codetapper/Action (Cybernetix, Kiros Quest & Microbes)

   
Vision were one of my favourite development groups on the Amiga, and to date Roadkill is still my all-time top single-player racing game. Closely linked to Acid Software, much of Vision's back-catalogue made it to the CD32 (Seek & Destroy, Overkill and of course Roadkill) but there are still several omissions. (Nearly) completing the collection, on this CD I've included three of their earlier releases; Cybernetix (a superb Defender/Asteroids mash-up), Kiros Quest (an isometric arcade puzzler) and Microbes (a simple Jeff Minter inspired blaster).
 
The stand-out title here is Cybernetix, a superb shareware arcade-style shoot 'em up that borrows elements from Asteroids and Defender. It's always been a firm favourite of mine and has stood the test of time really well thanks to it's classic gameplay and stylish presentation. It's a shame that the smart bomb wasn't mapped to a second button (instead of the spacebar), as apart from that there's no keyboard input required.

Kiros Quest is also worth a look, and although Microbes is the weakest game in the collection it still puts many other PD/Shareware titles to shame. The Vision releases missing from this collection are Gnome (there's still no WHDLoad version of this one), Woody's World (I can't get the game to run on real hardware, although it is fine when tested on WinUAE) and the two Zombie Apocalypse games (which may appear at a later date).


Vision Collection CD32 Front CD Insert
Vision Collection CD32 Back CD Insert
Vision Collection CD32 (Full Game .iso)

(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

Virocop CD32 (Amiga CD32) [Keyboard Required]

Copyright Graftgold, 1995 (Renegade)
Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversion By Woody.Cool


Another game that should have made it to the CD32, Virocop is an isometric run 'n' gun game that's generally considered to be the third in the Quazatron series (after the 8-Bit classics Quazatron and Magnetron). This conversion was provided by Woody.Cool, and was made by using the official hard-disk install and creating a CD32 .iso using the set directory structure and appropriate assigns.

Probably one of the last really-good games commercially released, Virocop is a superb title from Graftgold that achieved high review scores back in the day. Although fully playable without a keyboard, you'll be unable to access the game options screen without one, and therefore will not be able to enter a level password to continue a previous game.

On a related note, the passord system is personalised and linked to the name you enter when registering the game at boot-up, but due to the read-only nature of CD media there is no was of saving these details to disc. Therefore if you wish to continue a previous game you should ensure that you enter the same name every time you play.


This recently revised .iso (version 1.01) includes an improved boot sequence and full instructions on disc in the 'Docs' folder.

Virocop CD32 Front CD Insert
Virocop CD32 Back CD Insert
Virocop CD32 (Full Game .iso)

(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

Turrican Collection CD32 (Amiga CD32) [Keyboard Required]

Copyright Factor 5, 1990-1993 (Rainbow Arts)
Unofficial Amiga CD32 Compilation By Heavy Stylus
WHDLoad Patches By Wepl (Turrican & Turrican 2) & Mr Larmer & Psygore (Turrican 3)


This compilation includes all three Turrican games released for the classic Amiga on one disc for use with the CD32 (the CDTV versions of Turrican & Turrican 2 have been excluded). The Turrican series was Factor 5's most sucessful franchise, and to this day they remain as popular as ever across a wide range of platforms.

It's interesting to note that adverts for Turrican 3 state that a CD32 version would be 'available soon', although it sadly never materialised. Considered by many to be the weakest game in the series, it would be interesting to know whether or not the CD32 version had any extra features planned (AGA enhancements, extra levels, CD audio, etc.) - or perhaps even if an official compilation would have been viable for the console.

Unfortunately, all three games require some keyboard input (the main culprit being the high score entry, and Turrican additionally requires the 'Alt' key to fire grenades) - but they are still playable (to a degree) without one.

Over the years there have been many remakes and modern day tributes to the Turrican series (not forgetting exclusive Super Turrican games on the SNES), but in our opinion nothing beats the frantic pace and game-play of the Amiga versions. This compilation will certainly make buying a keyboard for your CD32 worthwhile.


Turrican Collection CD32 Front CD Insert
Turrican Collection CD32 Back CD Insert
Turrican Collection CD32 (Full Game .iso)

(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

Tubular Worlds CD32 (Amiga CD32)

Copyright Creative Game Design, 1994 (Dongleware)
Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversion By Heavy Stylus
CD32 Enhanced By StingRay of Scarab/Scoopex


Considering the fact that Tubular Worlds (in seperate OCS/ECS and AGA versions) was released back in 1994, I was genuinely surprised that I'd never heard of it before. Digging a little deeper, it seems as though it must have been a very low profile game indeed - the only game reviews I could find were in German magazines, and there is no mention of it in a UK Amiga publication anywhere.

Tubular Worlds is a one or two-player horizontal (and slightly vertical) shooter, ported from the considerably better known PC original. It's a solid, well presented and enjoyable arcade blast that really deserved much more exposure than it got amongst Amiga gamers - the lush 256 colour AGA graphics and arcade audio result in it being a superb example of the genre, and the quality of the gameplay experience is outstanding when played by two players simultaneously.

Converted using the original hard disk install, this enhanced CD version has been made fully CD32 compatible by StingRay (Scarab/Scoopex) by patching the previously keyboard-only hi-score routine so that your initials can be entered using the joypad. In addition to this, scores are now automatically saved to the CD32 NVRAM. Thanks StingRay!


This recently revised .iso (version 1.02) includes an improved boot sequence.

Tubular Worlds CD32 Front CD Insert
Tubular Worlds CD32 Back CD Insert
Tubular Worlds CD32 (Full Game .iso)

(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

Silkworm Collection CD32 (Amiga CD32) [Keyboard Required]

Copyright Random Access, 1989 (Virgin Games)
Copyright Random Access, 1991 (Storm / The Sales Curve)
Unofficial Amiga CD32 Compilation By Heavy Stylus
WHDLoad Patches By Abaddon & JOTD (Silkworm) & Mr Larmer & Harry (SWIV)


Following on from our R-Types release, this compilation is a CD32 tribute to Random Access' superb conversion of the Temco arcade classic Silkworm and it's 16-bit sequel SWIV.

The two games have both stood the test of time well - Silkworm is a near perfect port of the coin-op original, and SWIV is simply one of the best 16-Bit shooters available (despite the use of 16-colour Atari ST graphics and lacking any in-game music). In both titles the two different vehicles each have their own strengths and weaknesses, but there's no doubt that the best way to play them is with two players working together.

It's a real shame that a keyboard is required to access the game options and change the default control for player two, as aside from this both Silkworm and SWIV play really well on a standard CD32 console (note that you can still play both games through to completion in single player mode). Keyboard commands are included on the CD insert provided.

This compilation would have been impossible without the hard work of Wepl (for WHDLoadCD32) and Abaddon, JOTD, Mr Larmer and Harry (for the game patches used).


Silkworm Collection CD32 Front CD Insert
Silkworm Collection CD32 Back CD Insert
Silkworm Collection CD32 (Full Game .iso)

(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

Saint Dragon CD32 (Amiga CD32)

Copyright Storm / The Sales Curve, 1990 (Jaleco)
Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversion By Heavy Stylus
WHDLoad Patch By Psygore


Another shoot 'em up converted for the sole reason that I have fond memories of the game from back in the day; I used to own Saint Dragon for both the Atari ST and Amiga, and must have played it for hours over the years. Saint Dragon is similar in graphical style to R-Type, but it differs from most horizontal shooters in that the player controls a robotic dragon with an indestructible tail that can be positioned and used as a shield.

Converted from the original arcade game by Storm, Saint Dragon is a superb yet punishing shoot 'em up, and the protagonist's shield-like tail provides an element of strategy to the game-play. Despite it's age and OCS graphics, Storm's Amiga conversion really does the coin-up justice - it's a shame that other developers failed to honour arcade licences with the same level of respect (*ahem*, U.S. Gold, *cough*).

Saint Dragon CD32 uses the WHDLoad patch created by Psygore, and the CD jewelcase insert and intro screen features artwork by Erik Holmen. As it requires no keyboard input to play, Saint Dragon is another game that will play without any issues on an unexpanded CD32 console.


This recently revised .iso (version 1.01) includes an improved boot sequence.

Saint Dragon CD32 Front CD Insert
Saint Dragon CD32 Back CD Insert
Saint Dragon CD32 (Full Game .iso)

(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

RGCD Racers (Volume One) (Amiga CD32)

Copyright Team 17, 1995 (Team 17)
Copyright Codemasters, 1993 (Codemasters)
Copyright Vision, 1995 (Acid)
Copyright Arcane Entertainment, 1995 (Arcane)
Unofficial Amiga CD32 Compilation By Heavy Stylus
WHDLoad Patch By JOTD (Micro Machines)


Continuing in my attempt to reduce the number of single-game discs in my collection, I hereby present RGCD Racers (Volume One).

Included on the disc are All Terrain Racing (CD32 version of Jamie Woodhouse's much underrated and final Amiga game), Micro Machines (the all-time multiplayer classic from Codemasters), Roadkill (the best single-player racer available for the CD32) and Turbo Trax (a thoroughly tested and 100% working version of Arcane's 1995 hit).

This compilation took me ages to complete, not because of the games featured, but rather due to those that didn't make the final cut due to incompatibilities with the CD32 console or read-only CD medium. Instead of Jupiter's Masterdrive and a feature-complete Max Rally (originally planned) I decided to include CD32 versions of ATR and Roadkill - two personal favourites that have stood the test of time admirably. Another highlight of the compilation is Micro Machines (requested by EAB forum member 'Fingerlickin B') - it might not look much, but this 1993 gem is one of the most enjoyable two-player games available for the Amiga.

Turbo Trax was included as my copy on the 'Megagames Volume 1' version occasionally crashed after the first race (which is unfortunate as it's one of the better unofficial compilation discs available for the CD32). I'm not sure if the other CD versions also feature this bug, but the copy here was created from an HD install via confirmed working disk images in WinUAE and has been tested thoroughly.

As a final note, the good news is that all of the games featured here work fine on a standard CD32 console - Micro Machines and Turbo Trax play fine without any additional keyboard commands.


RGCD Racers (Volume One) Front CD Insert
RGCD Racers (Volume One) CD32 Back CD Insert
RGCD Racers (Volume One) (Full Game .iso)

(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

RGCD Arcade (Volume Three) (Amiga CD32) [Keyboard Required]

Copyright Century Interactive, 1993 (Boeder Software)
Copyright Graftgold, 1990 (Hewson)
Copyright Virtual Dreams, 1994 (Fields Of Vision)
Copyright Millenium, 1994 (Paragon Publishing)
Unofficial Amiga CD32 Compilation By Heavy Stylus
WHDLoad Patches By Bored Seal (Cyberzerk) & John Girvin (Paradroid 90)
 
  
Released just in time for the May Bank Holiday, here's RGCD Arcade (Volume Three)!

Included on the disc are Cyberzerk (a one or two-player update of Berzerk), Paradroid 90 (the Amiga classic by Andrew Braybrook), T-Racer (a stylish horizontal shooter) and Vital Light CD32 (innovative arcade puzzler originally released with CD32 Gamer magazine).

Although there's nothing really new here for CD32 owners (Cyberzerk and T-Racer were formerly featured here as single-disc games), Paradroid 90 is worth a mention if only for the fact that it's one of the Amiga classics that is fully playable on a stock CD32 (thanks to John Girvin's WHDLoad patch). In addition to this, Millennium's AGA enhanced version of Vital Light CD32 is included on disc (another CD32 release in my collection that lacked CD audio and was looking to share it's lonely disc space).

Cyberzerk is an unashamedly retro flip-screen exploratory overhead shooter that owes a lot to Alien Breed and the coin-up classic Berzerk for inspiration. Your goal is simple; kill all the robots/aliens on every screen of the spacecraft complex and return to your ship within a tight time limit (before the level explodes). Fly to the next level in a neat little bonus game, then rinse and repeat. It's quite basic, but I actually prefer the arcade nature of this little game over the initially slow pace of Alien Breed and the unnecessarily difficult Alien Breed II. As long as you don't expect a huge amount of depth, Cyberzerk is an underrated game that's a lot of fun to play.

T-Racer (the full version of which is featured here) was one of the first ports I created for the CD32. After being initially attracted by its Project-X style visuals, I soon discovered that other conversions of this game available on the net all had one thing in common - they were missing the second disk! After finding the missing data, slightly tweaking the startup-sequence and rigorously testing, I can confirm that this version of T-Racer is now fully working. The game itself is a solid little shooter with some stunning parallax scrolling and decent non-AGA enhanced effects. Unfortunately the level design is a little monotonous, but it's worth persevering through the levels to play the fantastic 3D tunnel bonus game.

Note that both Cyberzerk and T-Racer both require a keyboard attached to your CD32 to play. Keyboard controls are printed on the CD inlay, and full instructions for Paradroid 90 are included on disc in the 'Docs' folder.


RGCD Arcade (Volume Three) Front CD Insert
RGCD Arcade (Volume Three) CD32 Back CD Insert
RGCD Arcade (Volume Three) (Full Game .iso)

(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

RGCD Arcade (Volume Two) (Amiga CD32)

Copyright Active, 1995 (Computec Verlag)
Copyright D-Lite, 1990 (Amiga Fun)
Copyright The Farm, 1996 (The Farm)
Copyright Living and Electronic Dreams, 1997 (LED)
Unofficial Amiga CD32 Compilation By Heavy Stylus
WHDLoad Patches By Bored Seal (Extrial) & Codetapper/Action (Jump 'n Roll)
 
  
Another fistful of single-game CDs squeezed into a compilation, RGCD proudly present RGCD Arcade (Volume Two)!

Included on the disc are Extrial (an incredibly punishing yet visually-pleasing platform/shooter hybrid), Jump 'n Roll (an Amiga remake of the C64 classic Trailblazer), Roketz AGA 1.39 (One of the best two-player combat games available) and WormOut 2097 (no, not the PSX classic... Oh hang on a minute...).

The standout game here is the now-publicly released full version of The Farm's suberb Thrust racer/shooter 'Roketz' - a game that The One adored and even stated in their review (issue 78, page 45) that an official CD32 version was possible, depending on sales. Sadly (AFAIK) the CD32 release never came to be, so I decided to include it here (taken directly from the Aminet archive). Note that although the game is fully playable, due to the read-only nature of the CD, you can only play as anonymous players and hence stats are not saved against your profile.

Other noteworthy games included here are Jump 'n Roll (Stingray did kindly supply me with a de-compacted filed version, but due to technical difficulties I decided to use Codetapper/Action's WHDLoad slave instead), and WormOut 2097; a 2D snake game created in the style of WipeOut 2097. Yes, it's as odd as it sounds, but it does feature some lush graphics and an impressive D&B soundtrack...

Finally, the last bit of good news is that all of the games featured on this compilation work perfectly on a standard CD32 console - there's no keyboard input required.


RGCD Arcade (Volume Two) Front CD Insert
RGCD Arcade (Volume Two) CD32 Back CD Insert
RGCD Arcade (Volume Two) (Full Game .iso)

(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

RGCD Arcade (Volume One) (Amiga CD32) [Keyboard Required]

Copyright TNGA, 1993 (TNGA)
Copyright David Papworth, 1993 (D. Papworth)
Copyright Jumping Jack Flash, 1992 (Amiga Games / Computec Verlag)
Copyright Fist! Unlimited, 1994 (Fist! Unlimited)
Unofficial Amiga CD32 Compilation By Heavy Stylus
WHDLoad Patches By Codetapper/Action (Super Obliteration) & Harry (Transplant)


In an attempt to reduce the number of CD images for download on this page (without reducing the number of games) I've decided to create a few multi-game collections compiling personal favourites by several different developers within a genre, with this first release being suitably entitled 'Arcade (Volume One)'.

Included on the disc are Spatial Hyperdrive (a high-speed one or two-player cave flier), Super Obliteration (A superb Pang clone), Transplant (possibly the best two-player shoot 'em up released for the Amiga) and Wipe Out (no, not the PSX classic).

The highlight of the compilation is undoubtedly Transplant (which we had hosted here previously on a disc of it's own). It may require a keyboard to play properly (you won't be able to upgrade your ship in the shop without it), but this is one of the few games that will make the purchase of one worthwhile; although the OCS graphics have aged poorly, the gameplay hasn't lost any of it's addictiveness over the years. I cannot recommend Transplant highly enough, and by reading through the reviews and scores at lemonamiga.com its clear that I'm not the only one who loves the game.

Also noteworthy, alongside the highly acclaimed Super Obliteration, is Wipe Out, a simple yet stylish overhead shooter with gorgeous graphics that scored an impressive 4/5 in the hard-to-please Amiga Power PD Review section (Issue 58).

(Note: Keyboard is required to play Transplant (to access options and buy power-ups in the shop) and to enter a highscore in Wipe Out. Super Obliteration works fine on a standard CD32, and although a keyboard is also needed to enter a highscore name in Spatial Hyperdrive, thankfully this can be skipped by pressing fire on the joypad).


RGCD Arcade (Volume One) Front CD Insert
RGCD Arcade (Volume One) CD32 Back CD Insert
RGCD Arcade (Volume One) (Full Game .iso)

(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

R-Types CD32 (Amiga CD32)

Copyright Factor 5, 1989 (Electric Dreams)
Copyright Arc Developments, 1991 (Activision)
Unofficial Amiga CD32 Compilation By Heavy Stylus
WHDLoad Patches By Dark Angel of Gore Design (R-Type) & Mr Larmer (R-Type 2)


My first attempt at a multi-game compilation, R-Types CD32 is a homage to the original R-Type compilation released for the Playstation back in 1999. This CD32 port consists of both Factor 5's Amiga conversion of R-Type and Arc Developments' R-Type 2, with each game selectable via holding down either the red or blue controller buttons during boot-up (otherwise a simple menu screen is displayed with loading instructions).

When you consider the amount of shovelware released on the CD32, it seems odd that no-one considered officially porting across these two classic Amiga games back in the mid-nineties; it would have been amazing to see an enhanced version with 256 colour AGA graphics on the console (especially R-Type, which currently uses the Atari ST 16-color graphics and sprites despite the use of superior grpahics hardware). However, lack of improvements aside, these two timeless shooters still play as well today as they ever did.

(Note: A keyboard is required if you wish to play R-Type 2 in two-player hot-seat mode, but otherwise both games work perfectly on a standard CD32. As the two-player mode basically involves 'taking turns' at playing the game (unlike the excellent arcade sequel R-Type Leo), I've decided against adding 'Keyboard Required' to the subtitle here).


R-Types CD32 Front CD Insert
R-Types CD32 Back CD Insert
R-Types CD32 (Full Game .iso)

(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

Quasar Wars CD32 (Amiga CD32)

Copyright Light Designs, 1996
Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversion By Heavy Stylus


Another game released at the end of the Amiga's commercial life, Quasar Wars is an overhead multi-directional scrolling mission-based shoot 'em up developed by Spanish independent software house Light Designs. Coded in ASM and featuring some impressive visual effects and anime-influence artwork, if it wasn't for Quasar Wars' limited game-play and high difficulty it would have been a modern Amiga classic.

This AGA enhanced game was another release that proved to be incredibly simple to fix for the CD32, mainly due to the original being hard disk installable and lacking any copy-protection. As with Phoenix Fighters, it doesn't require any other input to play other than joystick/joypad, meaning that it can be played happily on a stock CD32.

The original game itself is actually quite rare; it's not reviewed in any of the usual Amiga publications listed on amr.abime.net and I only found it by chance whilst browsing lemonamiga.com. However, if you are a fan of console-style shooters (and don't mind the occasional Spanglish translation slip-up) then Quasar Wars will make a welcome addition to your collection.


This recently revised .iso (version 1.01) includes an improved boot sequence.

Quasar Wars CD32 Front CD Insert
Quasar Wars CD32 Back CD Insert
Quasar Wars CD32 (Full Game .iso)

(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

Phoenix Fighters CD32 (Amiga CD32)

Copyright Bitwise, 1999 (Alive)
Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversion By Heavy Stylus


Phoenix Fighters was a real surprise, not only because it's a great game, but also because it's CD-based, requires no hard disk installation or keyboard input yet the original CD doesn't boot on a CD32! This has now been rectified by recreating the original disc with Commodore's CDTV/CD32 developers kit.

Phoenix Fighters is also a game that many of you will not have heard of due to it being released in 1999, years after the Amiga's commercial life - but that doesn't mean it's a poor quality release. In fact, Phoenix Fighters is possibly one of the best Thrust type games I've ever played on the Amiga; with a huge number of varied missions, competitive and co-operative two-player modes and superb presentation throughout.


This recently revised .iso (version 1.01) includes an improved boot sequence and full instructions on disc in the 'Docs' folder.

Phoenix Fighters CD32 Front CD Insert
Phoenix Fighters CD32 Back CD Insert
Phoenix Fighters CD32 (Full Game .nrg)

(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

Hybris & Battle Squadron CD32 (Amiga CD32) [Keyboard Required]

Copyright Cope-Com, 1989 (Discovery)
Copyright Electronic Zoo, 1989 (Innerprise)
Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversion By Heavy Stylus
WHDLoad Patches By JOTD (Hybris) & Dark Angel of Gore Design (Battle Squadron)


Due to popular demand I've modified the previously hosted Battle Squadron conversion to include its prequel, Hybris. Both games are established OCS Amiga classics, hardcore, arcade-style overhead blasters with unprecedented (at the time) audio and visual effects and outstanding game-play.

Hybris is a single-player affair and the first in Cope-Com/Electronic Zoo's game series. This compilation features uses JOTD's recent WHDLoad patch, meaning that the smartbomb key is helpfully remapped to the second fire button (Blue). Keyboard owners will have the added bonus of being able to access the config menu from the title screen (by pressing 'space'), but apart from that the game is perfectly playable on a standard console.

Battle Command is generally considered to be the better game, the main improvement over it's prequel being the simultaneous two-player mode. We've chosen to use Dark Angel's PAL WHDLoad version of the game due to its larger 256-line screen and second button support for smart bombs. Unfortunately, keyboard input is required to select a two-player game and configure game options, but otherwise the game runs perfectly on a regular CD32.


This recently revised .iso (version 1.01) includes an improved boot sequence and full instructions for both games on disc in the 'Docs' folder.

Hybris & Battle Squadron CD32 Front CD Insert
Hybris & Battle Squadron CD32 Back CD Insert
Hybris & Battle Squadron CD32 (Full Game .iso)

(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

Fly Harder CD32 (SE) (Amiga CD32)

Copyright Krisalis / Starbyte Software, 1994 (Buzz)
CD32 Enhanced Special Edition By hitchhikr of NRL


The original release of Fly Harder CD32 was identical to the standard Amiga disk version, even down to the poorly executed joystick controls - despite the fact that the CD32 joypad has an additional five buttons! As a result, the game generally received lower game review scores than the original did, with Amiga Power (who loved the disk version) stating that the poor controls had made the already difficult game "twice as hard again".

When you consider how difficult the game was when played by the preferred keyboard method on the standard Amiga, this oversight by Buzz actually resulted in the official CD32 version being near-impossible to play. Trying to make fine adjustments to your trajectory by pushing up on the joypad just doesn't feel right - and as Amiga Power rightly declared, why ignore the fact that the CD32 has additional buttons ideally suited to this task?

Unfortunately, the Amiga doesn't have a huge number of commercial Thrust games. The series of machines lacks a port of the original C64 classic, and in my opinion it's a real shame that a great game like Fly Harder was ruined for CD32 owners by such a simple flaw. I searched Aminet, WHDLoad and EAB fruitlessly for a patch, and then finally decided to make a request on the Commodore Amiga Reverse Engineering (CARE) board for a fix. I didn't have to wait long - an enhanced version of the game was sitting on my hard drive within a matter of hours.

Thanks to the work of hitchhikr (NRL), CD32 owners can finally play this special edition of Fly Harder with a vastly improved control system. Thrust has been mapped to the red button (instead of up), and you can fire by pressing the green button. This method was implemented following rigorous play-testing and it has been designed so the player can rest the base of their thumb on thrust, and fire by using the tip of their thumb. These instructions are also included within the new, Special Edition jewel-case insert as well as on disc (in the Docs folder) and displayed on a intro message screen before the game loads.

In addition to this, hithhikr also fixed an audio bug present in the retail version's intro sequence, as well as modifying the game code so that high scores are now saved to the CD32's NVRAM.


Fly Harder CD32 (Special Edition) Front CD Insert
Fly Harder CD32 (Special Edition) Back CD Insert
Fly Harder CD32 (Special Edition) (Full Game .iso)

(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

Cardiaxx CD32 (Amiga CD32) [Keyboard Required]

Copyright Eclipse Software Design, 1991-1993 (Team 17)
Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversion By Heavy Stylus
WHDLoad Patch By C-Fou!


Cardiaxx is one of the few games published by Team 17 that universally failed to impress critics and gamers alike upon its release in the early 90's. Well presented and seriously fast, Cardiaxx is a hardcore yet flawed shooter with oversensitive controls and odd-ball gameplay mechanics that understandably missed out on an official CD32 conversion due to poor disk sales.

You're probably wondering what possessed me to port over this unloved title to Commodore's CD console... Well, the truth is that regardless of its imperfections, I still quite like the game. It's unfairly hard at the outset, but after you've adapted to the controls and learnt the attack waves Cardiaxx becomes quite addictive. The game-play won't be everyone's cup of tea, but if you're a fan of Team 17's other releases then it's certainly worth a look. There's nothing out there quite like it.

Although a keyboard isn't technically required to actually play the game, having one will improve your chances against the alien hordes ten-fold (a quick press of the space-bar will remove the obtrusive score counter from the playfield so you can actually see what you are doing).


This recently revised .iso (version 1.01) includes an improved boot sequence and full instructions on disc in the 'Docs' folder.

Cardiaxx CD32 Front CD Insert
Cardiaxx CD32 Back CD Insert
Cardiaxx CD32 (Full Game .iso)
  
(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

Boppin' CD32 (Amiga CD32)

Copyright Accursed Toys, 1992 (KarmaSoft)
Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversion By Heavy Stylus
 
 
Originally selling less than 300 disk copies, Accursed Toys' Boppin' is a rare and little-known arcade puzzler that was originally coded for the Amiga, but later found far greater success in the PC market. As well as featuring a particularly zany plot, the game is quite an original blend of platformer and logic puzzle, and it's clearly the lack of advertising that caused this otherwise decent little game to flop back in 1992.
 
Designed to be run from either hard disk or floppy, Boppin' comes complete with a fully integrated level editor, but of course its function is limited on a CD32 due to the read-only media it uses. Although the game itself is joypad-friendly, the editor unfortunately requires a mouse and keyboard to use and it's also worth noting that although you can save and play edited levels, any levels you create will be lost upon reseting the console (they are temporarily saved to a ram disk and therefore this should only be used for testing/experimental purposes). That aside, Boppin' features a total of 150 levels to beat, so there's more than enough puzzles to keep you entertained without having to resort to creating your own.
 
(Note: At the cracked copy protection check you must enter something (even if it is just a single character), otherwise the check will fail and you'll be unable to play the game).
 
 
This recently revised .iso (version 1.01) includes an improved boot sequence.
 
Boppin' CD32 Front CD Insert
Boppin' CD32 Back CD Insert
Boppin' CD32 (Full Game .iso)

(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions (Amiga CD32)

Released in 1993, the Commodore Amiga CD32 lacked the necessary marketing power, system specifications and third party support to compete against the hugely successful Sony Playstation and it's commercial life was cut short when Commodore filed for bankruptcy in 1994. However, being Commodore's final foray into the home computer/console market the CD32 still has a loyal retro-gamer fanbase, including our editor, James Monkman.

In all, the CD32 received less than 200 official game conversions during it's brief lifetime - but thanks to the release (or perhaps leak?) of Commodore's CD32 developer kit, dozen's of self-made compilations and conversions are now available from various sources on the net. However, many of these are hosted on illegal ROM sites and others are either non-working conversions or feature embarrassing start-up script errors (such as missing assigns that result in unnecessary 'insert disk B' messages during play). Out of those tried and tested, few feature CD inserts and even fewer specify if the game requires any additional non-standard CD32 hardware such as a keyboard or mouse to play.

This little sub-section of the RGCD site is our alternative solution - tested CD32 conversions available for download in .iso format with 300 DPI CD cover art and additional requirements listed (where necessary). Although starting out with a modest selection of games, we are in the process of converting and testing dozens of others in collaboration with other CD32 enthusiasts, all of which will eventually be listed on this page.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Gameboy Advance Homebrew Cartridges

Before you get excited at the prospect of buying GBA cartridges from us, this page is for historical purposes only.  Within a couple of years of the introduction of the Nintendo DS, finding blank, flashable GBA cartridges became near impossible - and it was pretty dodgy buying the batch we did in the first place (imported from pirates in China via cash transfer).

However, the few limited runs of cost-price homebrew GBA cartridges that we released proved to be very popular, selling at about the same rate as we could flash and package them up.  Brief details on each release are given below, together with the downloadable GBA .rom files.



RGCD Cart #01: Thrust Advance
Grumpy Cat Software (2003) / RGCD (2007).


This faithful remake is based on Firebird's Atari ST port of the BBC classic and features all ten worlds from the 16-Bit release (as well as the later reverse gravity and invisible wall variations), so fans of the original will feel immediately at home.

Somewhat surprisingly, the game works really well on the GBA - even when you take the handheld's tiny screen into account. Everything has been redesigned around the console; the graphics have all been redrawn and anti-aliased so as to look as smooth and vector-like as possible and the controls have been thoughtfully configured so that the d-pad is only used for rotating and the A, B & right shoulder buttons act as fire, thrust and shield/tractor beam respectively. It's clear that Grumpy is a massive fan of the original - a lot of love has gone into getting every part of this GBA tribute just right; the mechanics all work the way they should and Thrust's high difficulty is matched only by its equally addictive game-play.

(Please note that there are two versions of the game available - normal and 'heavy gravity'. The latter is only recommended for Thrust veterans.)

Download the normal version of the .rom file here (from the RGCD server).
Download the heavy gravity version of the .rom file here (from the RGCD server).
Run it using Visual Boy Advance (Freeware).



RGCD Cart #02: Motocross Challenge
DHG Games (2007) / RGCD (2007).


Originally planned as a commercial GBA release, Motocross Challenge had been in development for three years by relatively small indie developer DHG. In 2006 they signed the game to what they describe on their website as "a very big and international publisher that shall remain unnamed". After a further six months of solid work, the game was finally completed in February 2007 - yet while it was in final testing the publisher decided that the GBA market wouldn't support enough sales of a non-licensed game to make releasing it worthwhile. The project was thereafter cancelled, despite just needing to be written to a cartridge, stuck in a box and shipped to the shops.

Without the necessary resources to port the game to another platform and with a strong desire to actually let someone play the damn thing, DHG made the amicable decision to host their opus for download from their website. However, following our glowing review of the game, we at RGCD thought that this outstanding title should be given the proper cartridge release that it deserves. So with DHG Games' authorisation we've created a limited batch of MXC cartridges for you to buy and plug into your GBA, SP, Micro or DS!

Download the .rom file here (from the RGCD server).
Run it using Visual Boy Advance (Freeware).



RGCD Cart #03: Reaxion
Cosine (2007) / RGCD (2007).
  

Cosine and RGCD are proud to present Reaxion GBA, as reviewed in RGCD#03 (where it received a huge 90% score).

Cosine's Reaxion is officially the group's most ported game; it's simple premise has also been translated from the C64 to the C128, Commodore Plus/4 and Atari XE/XL (with Spectrum, NES and GameBoy Color versions in the pipeline). However, I reckon they'll be hard pushed to beat this incarnation of their popular puzzler.

So what's it all about? Well, the background story sees you playing the role of a nuclear power-plant operative deep in the bowels of the Wenley Moor power station. The plant's main CPU has become infected with a nasty computer virus, resulting in all the immediate shutdown of all safety system and complete randomisation of the reactor core settings. Clearly this is not good news. Your task is to reset all 99 dangerously unstable reactor cores before they go critical. Fail, and its goodbye planet Earth; Succeed, and the government will probably cover up the whole mess and have you permanently 'silenced' anyway - but hey, that's life!

Like all the best games, Reaxion's simple mechanics take a minute to learn but hours to master. Each unstable reactor is represented on screen as a grid of 56 core cells, and the 'live' cores (green) need to be reset (to red) before the timer runs out. You control a core monitor unit that you can move around the grid, with the 'A' button used to set the selected core's status. The catch is that changing the setting of one core has a chain reaction of similarly changing the setting the eight surrounding cells...

Download the .rom file here (from the RGCD server).
Run it using Visual Boy Advance (Freeware).



RGCD Cart #04: Paradise/RGCD Christmas Double Pack
Paradise Games (2007) / RGCD (2007).


For the last couple of years, Ian and the rest of the Paradise team have entered the Christmas game development competition hosted by www.drunkencoders.com, winning the competition in 2005, and being unfairly placed at a considerably lower position in 2006. After playing their games extensively I had a brainwave; perhaps Paradise Games would be interested in working with RGCD to create some sort of Christmas-themed compilation for our readers? A few emails later and the Paradise/RGCD Christmas Double Pack GBA cart was born.

Limited to 50 copies, the double-pack (which is a deliberately erroneous title as the cart actually includes a third hidden game..!) contains both Santa's Chimney Challenge and Santa's Skidoo Scarper; arguably the best Christmas themed releases to grace the GBA platform.

Download the .rom file here (from the RGCD server).
Run it using Visual Boy Advance (Freeware).



The above RGCD homebrew cartridge releases are not licensed or endorsed by Nintendo of Europe, Nintendo Co. Ltd or any of their associates or subsidiaries. All program code, concept and assets have been developed without the use of any official documentation, software, hardware or any other information protected by Non Disclosure or other Agreements. Nintendo, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS are trademarks of Nintendo Co. Ltd. This project and these cartridges are 100% unofficial. All rights reserved. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.