Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Viriax (PC)

In the event of my falling foul of a mysterious illness I am pretty sure that knocking together a slick and compelling shoot-em-up would be low on the list of things to do once I had recovered. However, instead of doing what I would do (which is milk whatever was wrong with me for maximum sympathy until people hit me with sticks), Spanish coder Locomalito cranked out Viriax - a medical terror game dedicated to the virus that took him out of the coding scene for some time. And it's a fitting tribute; a fast, spooky and a little unsettling game which sees the player taking control of a virus trying to infect a human body by destroying its organs.

Locomalito has a clear philosophy about games design; favouring intense, short gameplay rooted in the gaming arcades of 20 years ago, and Viriax lives up to its arcade roots. A Viriax cabinet would have done a roaring trade in most venues, hospitals and GP's surgeries excepted!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Edge Grinder Pre-Release Play-Test (C64)

I received a pre-release executable of Backward Engineering's Edge Grinder this morning, with a note from T.M.R explaining that the game is essentially finished (this is a "final-ish beta version").  As there is only one (short) level, the gameplay has been geared towards the hardcore end of the difficulty scale so that Edge Grinder still provides a challenge even to shmup veretans (as well as being a caravan-style score attack game due to the wall-grinding bonus system).
Today was the first time I saw Edge Grinder running with Smila's fantastic graphics and level map installed.  I've been playing the game on my C64 all afternoon and it's an absolute blast - T.M.R has really outdone himself squeezing this into 16KB!
I've still not beaten it, but I recorded some of my early attempts for this blog earlier today (video below).  The game cartridge will be available to buy from our shop page soon after comprehensive testing is complete (at the same price as Not Even Human).

2011 C64 16KB Cartridge Compo - Blok Copy

Cosine's T.M.R has set the ball rolling in our C64 16KB Cartridge game-dev competition by submitting the first completed game, a C64 port of his PET and C64 DTV block-shuffling puzzler "Blok Copy".  Originally started as an Atari 2600 game (which remains unreleased to date), Jason emailed the game over earlier this week, advising that he wanted to get it out of the way so he could focus on the (mystery) release he has planned for the Replay Expo in November.
A download link will be provided after the game is released by Cosine in D64 format. Blok Copy will be available to buy in cartridge format later this year, but in the meantime check out the video below.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

10x More NEH Cartridges Available! (C64)

I've finished assembling the boxes and instruction manuals for ten more copies of Not Even Human, and they are finally ready to ship (after a week turnaround since running out of stock).  If you want to get a copy and missed out on the first batch, go over to the shop page now!  I'll continue making these as long as new orders come in on a regular basis - they won't be available for ever.
If you were wondering why there's been lack of daily updates recently, it's because I have some tight work deadlines to meet over the next three weeks.  After that I'll be back and the news will flow steady again regarding both the indie/retro development scene and our own internal projects! ;)

Monday, 20 June 2011

Super Puzzle Platformer (PC/Mac)

I normally have a rule against mentioning flash/web browser games on this blog, but in the case of Super Puzzle Platformer I'll make an exeption as there's a downloadable PC/Mac version available from Andrew Morrish's Mod/IndieDB page, but also (and mainly) because it is incredibly fun.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

C64 News Update

There's been a few noteworthy developments on the C64 front lately, and as I'm a bit short of time today to give proper in-depth reviews, I thought I'd just wrap the whole lot up in one quick-fix post rather than let it slip any further.  So, here we go (in no particular order whatsoever).
Vandalism News #56 (Onslaught/Wraith Designs)
Issue 56 of the hugely popular C64 scene diskmag was released at the Flashback 2011 demo party in Australia last week, featuring (amongst many other high quality articles) a positive mention of our cartridge development competition.  If you're into the C64 and have yet to pick up a copy of VN, then I strongly recommend you do so - it's the one-stop shop for all your scene news, neatly wrapped up in a superb joystick driven user interface.
Sheepoid Released (Richard Bayliss/Psytronik)
I previewed this recently and am happy to say that the game-breaking bottom-right corner bug has now been addressed by Richard.  Sheepoid could still do with a two player mode, but it's a corker of a game and more than worthy of the budget price tag.  If I was rewriting the review, this final release would definitely jump to 4/5.  Pick up your copy today from our friends over at Psytronik (£3.99 cassette, £4.99/£9.99 disk version - all including free postage).
Frantic Freddy (Spectravideo Port) Released
Ported and ever-so-slightly updated from a game on the super-rare Spectravideo home computer, Frantic Freddy is a shamelessly old-school single-screen platformer with the titular Freddy rescuing distressed cats and extinguishing rampaging fires in a huge apartment block.  The game is perhaps a little too old school for my taste, with slow-paced gameplay, blip-blop music and very basic in-game graphics (although the title screen by Joe from Crest is fantastic), but even so I have to admit that I love the concept and the attention of detail gone into this conversion.  It's a real 'retro remake' ;)
C64 Cartridge Development Competition Update
New entrants are still signing up for our game development competition, with a total of eight people/groups in the running so far and one game already submitted for testing.  Also, Psytronik have kindly volunteered to sponsor with a prize package, and the cartridge port expanders and easy flash carts are sat here waiting to be given out (each with a copy of Onslaught's excellent Zak McKracken/Maniac Mansion ROM image burnt and ready to play!)
Not Even Human / Edge Grinder
Sales of NEH have been slow but steady, but we've almost sold out of the 20 originally made - there's only three packages left to mail out.  Thanks to everyone who shared the promo video link and blogged it, your help has been massively appreciated!  As soon as more orders come in I'll get another batch made, so don't worry about missing out on this one just yet ;)
Work on Edge Grinder continues, with TMR recently dropping me a line to say that 2/3 of the enemies are now in place.  Here's hoping for a summer release!  More news to follow soon.

Wyv & Keep (Preview) (PC/XBLA)

Earlier this week I received a press release from indie studio Jolly Corpse about Wyv & Keep, a new co-op two player game that promised to deliver "mind-boggling puzzles with exciting action elements". Well, normally I'd take a passing glance at the website before (probably) moving on to something else, but as soon as I saw the Fallen Angel Industries logo on the page, I knew that it was at least worthy of a download - and Wyv & Keep most certainly was.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

RGCD Arcade (Volume Four) (Amiga CD32)

Copyright Phil Ruston, 1995 (F1 Licenseware)
Copyright Dynafield, 1993 (I.C.E.)
Copyright Mindscape, 1993 (Mindscape)
Copyright Vision, 1993 (TWB/Mindscape)
Unofficial Amiga CD32 Compilation By Heavy Stylus
WHDLoad Patch By Keith Krellwitz
I know that it's been years since I uploaded one of these CD32 compilations, but that doesn't mean I've given up!  Here's another four games for your collection on one disc; Aquanaut (recently fixed for the CD32 joypad by Keith Krellwitz), Deep Core (CD32), Lunar-C (CD32) and Overkill (CD32).
Three of the games here are already available on the console; Deep Core, Lunar-C and Overkill didn't have any CD audio tracks so they were obvious choices for the compilation process.  However, Aquanaut is the real shining star here - now patched for use with the CD32 joypad (with the forward and reverse buttons used to cycle through weapons), this little Cybernoid style exploratory shooter is one of my favourites, so it's great to see it finally working properly on the machine.
Overkill is an amazing shoot 'em up; it's basically a clone of Midway's 'Strike Force' from 1991, but as you'd expect with Mark Sibly and Rodney Smith involved the graphics and gameplay are of a superb standard and it certainly outperforms the original.  It's a criminally overlooked game, and one of the CD32's very best shmups.
Deep Core may have received poor reviews back in the day, but I still quite enjoy this slow-paced underwater sci-fi Gods clone, and as Lunar-C is one of the few attempts made on the Amiga to try and copy the Gradius weapon-upgrade system (and was originally bundled with Overkill as a freebie) I thought "what the hell" and included it here too.
I'll try and upload of few more of these discs over the coming weeks.  Full instructions for the included games can be found on disc (in the Docs folder).
RGCD Arcade (Volume Four) Front CD Insert
RGCD Arcade (Volume Four) CD32 Back CD Insert
RGCD Arcade (Volume Four) (Full Game .iso)

(Return to the Unofficial Amiga CD32 Conversions page).

Monday, 13 June 2011

Super Space Rubbish (PC/Mac/Linux)

When it comes to retro-gaming, it doesn't get much more retro than Asteroids.  Released in the arcades back in 1979, a year after Space Invaders and only six years on from Computer Space (the grandaddy of them all), Atari's vector-based blast 'em up has really stood the test of time incredibly well.  Over the past 32(!) years there have been countless updates, remakes and clones, but very few have modified the game's traditional formula of rock-blasting, instead usually opting for graphical and audio improvements and/or the addition of new enemy types, bonuses and so on.  It's an incredibly over-populated genre, so when I first read about Super Space Rubbish on indiegames.com I initially discarded it as being yet another clone (albeit one with glowy neon graphics).  Please, I implore you, do not make the same mistake.

Sideways SEUCK Competition 2011 (C64)

It never ceases to impress me how talented designers can create an intricate product from something as simple as the iconic Shoot-Em-Up Construction Kit-especially as my own youthful experiments with the program resulted in a couple of hideous SWIV clones that will thankfully never see the light of day!
The re-engineering of the Commodore 64 SEUCK engine to allow for sideways scrolling games allowed for even more fun with the simple to learn yet difficult to master development tool, and for the second year C64 scene perennial Richard Bayliss is hosting a contest for Sideways SEUCK game designers over at The New Dimension website. The prize for the winning game: a special edition re-release with added bonus features, music and a new front end.
With the submission window extended until the end of the month it seems as good an excuse as any to have a bash at the three games so far in the running.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Not Even Human - Inhumane Edition Cartridge Available! (C64)

Finally, the long-awaited physical cartridge version of Onslaught's Not Even Human is available to buy from our online shop page.  Check out the promotional video below - massive kudos to Conrad of Onslaught for providing the genuine 8580 sid soundtrack!

Developer Interview: Morphcat Games

(This interview was supposed to be uploaded last week, following the review of the excellent Super Bat Puncher demo for the NES - apologies for the delay!)
As a way of introduction, please could you give a brief paragraph or two about yourself?
Hello, I am Julius, the creator of Super Bat Puncher.
Even though my parents tried to keep me away from video games, most of my hobbies nowadays revolve around them in some way or another, e.g. programming and creating pixel art. Other hobbies include making music, running, biking or just lying in the grass and watching the clouds.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Super Bat Puncher (Demo) (NES)

Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you are sitting comfortably because this is a game that demands your attention.  It may only be a demo of a work-in-progress project, but even so, Morphcat's Super Bat Puncher is still one of the best retro titles I've played for a long, long time.
Being a weapon-based platformer that starts with the player being dropped into an alien world with little known about the protagonist (Roast) or his/her surroundings, it's easy to see similarities to Pixel's classic Cave Story from the outset.  This, however, should be considered a good thing - especially as Super Bat Puncher is one of the few games to not only ape the Cave Story formula with flair, but also to match the classic's charm, character and presentation as well as having the confidence to throw in some off-the-wall originality into the mix.  And of course, remember that this is a NES release we are talking about.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Treasure Treasure: Fortress Forage - Extra Edition (XBLIG)

Before the casual social gaming boom of Guitar Hero, Wii Sports et al, video gaming was often accused of being a solitary experience, and the traditional image of the platform adventure does little to change this. Two-player takes on this model often felt bolted on, or just plain unnecessary. The received wisdom is that platforming is an activity best enjoyed alone.
Treasure Treasure: Fortress Forage: Extra Edition is, however, a resolutely two player platforming experience presented here for Xbox (via the oft-neglected XBLIG xbox indie games channel). Its slightly ungainly title betrays it as an update of ‘Treasure Treasure: Fortress Forage’, a freeware PC indie title from 2008.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

NES Virus Cleaner (NES)

Released quietly at the end of last month as both a download and a (now sold out) cartridge, Sly Dog Studio's NES Virus Cleaner is a great little arcade-puzzle hybrid that is based around the arguably implausible concept of cleaning your NES from a rather nasty virus infection. It may look and sound crude (especially now that Blade Buster has recently reset the bar for homebrew quality) but guiding the little virus-killing bot around the various components of the Nintendo Entertainment System proves to be equally fun and challenging.