Friday, 21 December 2012

2012 C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition Results

After several weeks of playing, analysing, discussing, praising and criticising, our judging panel has finally turned in the results of this year's C64 Cartridge Development Competition!

As explained in the scoring section of the competition page, the scores were calculated using mean averages with the highest achievable score being 65 points (if all judges had scored a game 13 points in all categories). I won't bore you with lists and tables of who scored each game what, instead I have listed the games below in order of placing with the final scores and comments.

Before continuing I'd like to say a massive 'thank you' to everyone involved - 2012 was another fantastic year for C64 gaming because of your work and dedication. I can only hope that you'll be back again for another round in 2013!

(Note that in the following comments I specifically asked the judges to constructively criticise the games submitted - not because they were bad, but because they were all very good! Therefore, although the tone of the comments may seem negative in places, no hard feelings are meant by our panel - the goal of this is simply to point out where (in their opinion) the entries could have been improved.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Sub Hunter Cartridge Available! (C64)

RGCD and Psytronik Software present another collaboration project - an oldie-but-goldie from 2008, Sub Hunter is finally given an update and a long-awaited official cartridge conversion.

If you've followed the C64 scene for the last few years then the chances are that you have already played this great little game (and if not, well, you are in for some good times ahead, as highlighted in our own review). Sub Hunter is one of the few homebrew titles that has really stood the test of time well, with its varied level-to-level game design always keeping the player on their toes.

This PAL/NTSC compatible cartridge version of the game features the intro sequence, instructions and main game all included within a GS-friendly joystick controlled menu system designed by Enthusi (Martin Wendt). Some minor bugs were fixed (raster splits improved), but otherwise it is the same as the previous version without the minor hassles associated with using disk or tape media.

Sub Hunter is available in two packaging types, a standard card carton and a more expensive 'deluxe version' that comes in a plastic case (a Universal Game Case with a specially cut foam insert to hold the cartridge). The standard version is priced at £25 inclusive of UK/Europe shipping, and £26 for the rest of the world, whereas the deluxe version costs £30 (UK/Europe) and £32 (rest of world).

The game itself comes in a transparent blue cartridge shell internally illuminated by a flashing LED, complete with a printed manual and a vinyl RGCD sticker.

Please note that Pystronik Software are also selling the game as a download, on tape, and budget or premium disk for £1.99/£3.99/£4.99/£9.99 respectively (plus shipping). The game is also available (legally) for free download over at the Commodore Scene Database (CSDB).

So what are you waiting for? Grab your copy from our shop page today!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Avalanche (VIC20/ZX81/CBM PET)

It's been a year since we last featured Revival Studios here at RGCD, and over the past 12 months they’ve released a staggering number of games across a number of retro platforms. I knew that they were an active publisher, but quite frankly Martijn's little self-run label puts RGCD's own activities to shame, with 12 new games developed in-house for a number of platforms and released this year alone. So today we’re going to have a look at Avalanche, a neat little reaction title for the VIC20, PET and ZX81 based on a earlier Revival Studios title (ColorClash), and a game that I should have written about last month when it was still the studios newest release.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Maldita Castilla (PC)

Years in development and interrupted by several other projects, Locomalito and Gryzor87's long-awaited retro-gaming epic Maldita Castilla (Damned Castille) has finally arrived. A well-researched and meticulously detailed tribute to both 1980's arcade hack 'n' slash coin-ops and medieval Spanish folklore, last year's preview has evolved into arguably one of the freeware highlights of the year, putting many commercial indie releases and official 'retro-reboots' to shame.

Maybe it's because as a young child I used to be (almost) obsessed with reading up about mythical creatures and beasts, but Maldita Castilla really struck a chord with me – and undoubtedly, the fact that Locomalito has got the arcade machine aesthetics down to perfection also helped. Playing like a combination of the obvious Capcom influences (Ghosts 'n' Goblins / Ghouls 'n' Ghosts / Black Tiger) but with a darker, European atmosphere, the game sees you in the role of a member of the Castille Royal Guard on a mission to free the region of demons and denizens by lobbing a variety of deadly (and at times unlikely) weapons in their faces.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Fruitmatter (PC/Mac)

Anything with even a hint of pixellated neon, demoscene-era design cues tends to catch my eye, so I knew at first glance that Fruitmatter was a game I just had to check out. It's not often one comes across an indie arcade shooter that really brings some unique ideas to the table, and this title turned out to be quite the sweet treat in that regard.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Kobayashi Maru: Final Available! (Atari Jaguar CD)

"Xu's United Nations Tetrad are under simultaneous attack from The Ebil Alliance. All that stands between TEA and the XUNTS is you and your warpships. You are the only officer capable of piloting these ships and are therefore the last hope of all XUNT-kind..."

Kobayashi Maru: Final is the first of several proposed Atari Jaguar releases from Reboot to be published in physical format by RGCD. Following our glowing review of an earlier build back in 2011, this version has been further updated and fine-tuned following player feedback for commercial release. Use your rotary controller (adjustable to allow for sensitivity of your particular spinner) or regular Jaguar pad to steer your warpship in this arcade space shooter, battling countless drones and huge boss craft in ever-tougher waves of attack. Featuring subtle use of the Jaguar's RMW graphics capabilities, background graphics blend together as you tear around in the upper atmosphere over four worlds.

Kobayashi Maru: Final runs at 50/60 FPS (NTSC/PAL) written utilising a version of the new Raptor Engine by Reboot and it can be played with either a rotary controller (such as Chaos Reins, Tyrant or Jonathan Ascough pad) or a regular Jaguar joypad. This retail version features updated graphics, new sound effects, webscores and of course supports Memory Track game saves. The physical copy comes cellophane wrapped in a standard DVD box with full colour printed inlay on a full face printed, glass-mastered CD, direct from the factory (100% professionally produced in the UK). It requires no additional hardware to run other than the Jaguar CD console itself.

Priced at £24 inclusive of UK/Europe shipping, and £25 for the rest of the world, Kobayashi Maru: Final is available to buy from our shop page today!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

RGCD C64 Cartridge Development Competition 2012

The second RGCD C64 Cartridge Development Competition concluded at midnight on the 30th of November with 10 brand new games (and 3 re-releases) for the C64!

Featuring conversions, original concepts and genre favourites, the last few days have been a frenzy of activity in the C64 scene as a result of the hard work the entrants put into coding their competition games over the past few months. With CSDB already becoming saturated in cracks and re-releases I've put together a brief introduction to each submitted competition entry below, listed alphabetically with links to their original database pages. Fire up your C64 or emulator and enjoy!

Unfortunately, due to real-life work pressures and commitments with other games, Richard didn't managed to complete his little Amazonian-themed horizontal-shmup, but the preview he submitted was very promising, with atmospheric music, nice graphics and solid gameplay. Richard has already assured us that the game will be finished early next year, and we're really looking forward to the final result of his work.

A close-to-deadline entry (but not the closest!), Enthusi, iLKke and Conrad joined the competition with nothing to show a few weeks back, yet the end result is already a CSDB favourite. A simple yet addictive puzzler based on PhotoStorm's Quartet (by iLKke and Richard Davey), Assembloids is all about assembling faces against a tight timer. Featuring high score verification codes and full screen open-border presentation (on both PAL and NTSC) there's a lot going on behind the simple design. Using player feedback, the team are already finalising a retail version with some nice improvements. Expect to hear more news on this one soon!

If the competition was about retro design, The Mad Scientist would be at the top of the score board with his fun and extremely challenging Manic Miner clone. It may have been more appropriate for the player character to be a sock escaping the laundry instead of a worm(?), but the game is already proving to be popular with the C64 old-school gamers over at Lemon64. I personally like the fact that the player character changes height when moving, resulting in the platformer requiring a little more thought whilst playing. Delightfully bonkers.

A welcome return to this year's compo (in addition to Endurion's other main contender), the formerly retail-only two-player version of Get 'Em DX is now free to download! Still a firm favourite here at RGCD HQ, it may lack somewhat in originality (being an improved version of a 2011 entry) but nonetheless it is still very much worth a play.

Ice00's 16KB Giana Sisters clone was a welcome addition to this year's line-up, with some excellent music from Dustbin and 15 stages of challenging and enjoyable run 'n' jump gameplay. NTSC and GS compatible, featuring a highscore table and even mid-level checkpoints it is clear a lot of effort went into the design - even if it is clearly inspired by one of the C64's most well-known platformers.

Match-Buster was announced near the beginning of the competition, but Simon Stelling kept the game firmly under wraps until the deadline. It may look like a bog standard mini Boulder Dash clone, but it actually features some really clever design mechanics borrowed and inspired from a variety of other games (including Pushcat and Portal), and even an attract mode showing how the game is played! Already excellent, there's still a lot of blank space left in the 16KB rom for additional content making Match Buster another game that I hope will see further post-competition improvements.

With its deliberately silly name, SOS left us guessing until the deadline as to what to expect from Monkey Eat Milkey, and hearing the news that Goin' Sideways artist Redcrab was involved only further whetted our appetite. A noteworthy improvement over last year's Pong clone, Monkey Eat Milkey is a simple, fun and beautifully presented one or two-player joystick-waggle game, with players frantically pulling left and right whilst burping their monkey at set intervals.

In addition to working on his main entry, Achim also packaged up his Seagull-vs-Sheep arcade game as a cartridge image when the competition was first announced. Defecating on sheep in order to protect a farmer's crop may sound like a questionable game design choice, but nonetheless you cannot deny that On The Farm III is both original in concept and fun to play.

We knew that Achim was working on a tribute to the Atari 2600 classic Keystone Kapers, but when Rent A Cop popped into the RGCD inbox complete with a surprise soundtrack by glitch musician Goto80 our ears exploded with joy. Like the original, the game itself is very solid and hopefully we'll be able to negotiate a final cartridge release with Achim in the near future. Grab your nightstick and bash some burgulars!

Joining the competition only a few days ago,'s conversion of complex indie-title SpaceChem may seem a little sparse, but there's a reason - it is probably the first and only game in about 28 years which is made for the Commodore Ultimax (a machine with only 4KB RAM, no Kernal, no Basic, no Font and no serial I/O). It seems the 16KB limitation wasn't enough of a challenge on it's own! ALeX and Retrofan plan to continue work on a proper C64 version after the competition, and it will be nice to see this challenging and educational puzzle game reach it's full 8-Bit potential.

Similar to Endurion and Achim, David's plan was to submit his Spike Dislike remake as a backup entry whilst he worked on another game, but sadly his stunning looking metroidvania wasn't finished in time. However, as a 16KB game Spike Dislike remains a respectable entry, despite the lack of any extra content. Here's hoping that David completes his other project in the near future!

This is the game that a *lot* of you were waiting for, and although it's only the 16KB version (which is not exactly the same as the Play Expo Edition we featured a couple of months ago), it shows huge potential for the final, official 64KB Vlambeer release due next year. Paulko64 and Encore promised a faithful conversion in 16KB - and delivered.

Finally, another late surprise - Endurion and Smila's Wonderland brings classic NES Zelda-style arcade adventuring to the C64 in 16KB! Featuring an insane number of locations (including an above-ground and under-ground world), boss battles, object utilisation and inventory, could Wonderland be the 2012 Fairy Well?

All the above games can be downloaded in a single zip archive here. We recommend VICE if you are looking for an emulator to run the cartridge images on.

Well, that's it for this year! The vote sheets have been sent off and if all goes to plan we'll have the final results ready to announce in two weeks time. Join us in having a beer and lets collectively raise our glasses to all the entrants who managed to beat the deadline! Good luck!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Ridiculous Reality (Atari XE/XL)

Another day, another de-make, this time it's Continuity on Flash/iOS that has become Ridiculous Reality for the Atari XL as part of the 2012 ABBUC software contest.

Before starting this review proper I should first point out that growing up I was never an Atari boy. In fact my entire experience with Atari's is limited to extensive use of an ST, which I loved, and limited use of a 2600 in the 1990s, by which time even my love of retro gaming couldn't convince me to spend much time on Centipede when I still had my Megadrive and C64 kicking along with a rapidly ageing PC.

Therefore, from a review writing perspective my lack of experience with the hardware may be viewed as both a negative and a positive for the developers of the game. On the one hand, I might not appreciate what has been involved in creating it due to a lack of knowledge of what the machine is capable of, but on the other hand, this means that I have no choice but to view the game on its own merits. Whether this review will therefore create howls of indignation or murmurs of appreciation we shall see.

Maritrini, Freelance Monster Slayer (Prequel) (ZX Spectrum)

Anyone who grew up in the 80s will no doubt remember The Goonies as the best film ever. Okay, maybe it isn't the absolute best film ever, but back then, as an eight-year-old with a love of adventure stories, I just couldn't imagine anything better. Hell, it's full of pirate ships, sunken treasure, bank robbers and lots and lots of slapstick violence. And that's not even to mention One-Eyed Willy, Chunk's 'Truffle Shuffle,' Corey Feldman as 'Mouth,' and that massive ugly bloke with the waggly ears.

I have slipped into this reverie on times past as the Fratellis - the nasty criminal gang led by Anne Ramsay's Mama - play a significant role in the latest offering from the Mojon Twins. This is the second game to feature our heroine Maritrini after the exceedingly polished original came out early in 2012. You might recall that Maritrini was not, in fact, a monster slayer, but an actress who stars in the show... Maritrini, Monster Slayer. Ironically, she did indeed have to take up monster slaying - a huge amount of monster slaying - in the first game, as she attempted to rescue her former boss's daughter from a crazed geneticist.

This prequel winds back the clock to a time when Maritrini was just a simple actress. Apart from the Fratellis and George Clooney's evil pig (don't ask), this plot is rather more humdrum. You must get Maritrini - hungover, groggy, and having just dragged herself out of bed with her one-night-stand - through her questionable morning routine and away to her audition for a part in 'Vigorous Monsters with Shiny, Manly Chests.' A future classic, I'm sure...

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Pushcat (PC/Mac)

Zut Games' debut release Pushcat ticks all the boxes for a flash game, or a twitch-play, casual game on a smartphone or handheld. It's adorable, addictive, simple and if you jammed it down onto a tiny phone screen it would still look decent. It would do all right.

But conversely, Pushcat isn't a tablet, or smartphone, or flash game. It's a PC (and Mac) game, and it's the choice of format which pushes it (with a name like Pushcat I'm going to keep on making terrible puns by accident and I apologise for nothing) into the realms of brilliance. There's a feeling of rightness when sitting down in front of a proper screen to play a lovely, well crafted puzzle game like this, like returning to an age where bright and chirpy puzzle games like this would sell in big boxes on the Amiga for the era's equivalent of AAA prices.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

His Dark Majesty (Atari XE/XL)

It is no picnic living, as many of us poor unfortunates do, in David Cameron's Britain. If it isn't riots on the streets, funding cuts and financial crises, well, they're trying to sell off our forests, take away child benefit, or make us participate in something they call the 'big society.' The problem is, no one knows what it is. Even the humble ash tree is not safe, as the Government has resisted taking simple measures to protect it for the past three years.

It may be horrid, folks, but it could be worse, and D.C. is a purring tabby in comparison with H.D.M. - His Dark Majesty. Let me give you a flavour of his work. We are told, in His Dark Majesty's excellent but rather morose introduction, that the Dark Army 'descended on the land' one 'disastrous decade' ago. It brought 'chaos and pain' making 'simple worries only a memory'. Hmm, so far, so much like our Dave. 'An eternity of dread became a certainty for high-born and peasant alike.' Well, I think we can all see where the two approaches are starting to diverge!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Retro City Rampage (PC/XBOX/PS3/Vita/Wii)

Retro City Rampage is a game with a legacy, a long history dating back to 2002 - when it was known as "Grand Theftendo." A pet project of Canadian programmer Brian Provinciano, over the years it grew from a hobby project of demaking Grand Theft Auto on the NES to a full-blown commercial multi-platform and original open-world parody adventure. Finally, on October 9th, 2012, the game was released, and as a pre-order customer, I had first dibs on this unique labour of love.

Right out of the gate, Retro City Rampage pimp slaps players with its, well, retro references. I don't even remember how many nods to 8-Bit gaming were included in even the first few minutes of play. Even the title is a reference to one of my favourite childhood beat-em-ups. These little gems are more than peppered throughout play - the game is simply smothered with them. It's extremely tempting to share some of them with you, dear reader, but for those of us who spent their days hunkered down in their bedrooms, Nintendo Power in hand, muttering semi-curses at Ninja Gaiden and staring blankly at the mysteries of Castlevania II after watching Saturday morning cartoons, I won't ruin them for you.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Resonance (PC)

I am an unashamed fan of graphic adventures, let me make that clear first of all. I suppose I see myself as the thoughtful, gentleman gamer rather than the frenetic adrenaline junkie. Even so, I know the genre suffers its quirks, foibles and downright irritations, some that can drive even intrepid souls to gnaw off an arm in frustration.

The pitfalls to be avoided are numerous. There's hidden object syndrome, where you have to tiresomely drag the cursor over every millimetre of every screen to identify crucial objects hidden in the scenery. Extremely common, that one. Similar, is hidden exit syndrome. Then there's object proliferation: where there're too many items to carry (see Dizzy), or lots of useless, distracting red herrings (see Maniac Mansion). There was often an obsession with dialogue - pointless, interminable, unfunny dialogue that adds little to the game (see Simon the Sorcerer). And there's that tendency to make a game a little more difficult by including a ludicrous solution to a puzzle (see Monkey Island, to some extent, and certainly Discworld). The problem is, you end up simply trying every object as a solution every time you get stumped: and that's not fun, it's a chore!

I could go on, but I won't, because thankfully Resonance suffers from none of the above annoyances and, I am excited to say, is an upstanding example of a point'n'click adventure, complete with retro pixel-art graphics and a highly atmospheric musical score. It is a science fiction thriller set in the near future in (fictional) Aventine City. The story is well crafted and well told, and tantalisingly unfurls as you progress through the game.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Space Lords (Centaurus) Available! (C64)

It's taken almost a whole year since their first appearance, but the Space Lords have finally returned in this exclusive C64 remix of the classic Atari 2600/Coin-Op Warlords game! Initially released as one of the higher scoring entries in 2011's C64 16KB Cartridge Competition, ALeX, Retrofan and Taxim from are proud to present the 'Centaurus' version of the game on a 16KB cartridge courtesy of RGCD.

Complete with a space-freighter load of aesthetic and gameplay improvements since the release of the free Andromeda and Andromeda II builds, Space Lords is a single-to-four-player space-station smashing battle-game that supports a huge variety of controllers (joysticks, mice, paddles, keyboard and the Protovision 4-Player adapter) and includes several game modes for either tournaments or single play sessions.

NTSC and PAL compatible, the cartridge version of the game comes in a classic black cartridge shell complete with a printed manual and a vinyl Space Lords sticker. The cartridge version is available in two packaging types, a standard card carton and a more expensive 'deluxe version' that comes in a plastic case (a Universal Game Case with a specially cut foam insert to hold the cartridge as shown below). The standard version is priced at £20 inclusive of UK/Europe shipping, and £21 for the rest of the world, whereas the deluxe version costs £25 (UK/Europe) and £27 (rest of world).

There is also the option of buying a download of the game in *.PRG and *.CRT format (complete with English and German manual texts) for the considerably lower price of £2. This will also be sent out to any customers who buy either cartridge version.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your copy from our shop page today!

Fortress of Narzod (C64) (2012)

System Requirements

* A Commodore 64/128/GS (PAL/NTSC) (8580 SID Recommended).
* A joystick/joypad.
* A VDU preferably connected to a loud sound-system.


Download Fortress of Narzod (PAL) in .bin/.crt cartridge format HERE!
Download Fortress of Narzod (PAL) in .d64 disk format HERE!

BONUS! Check out TRSI's 'Meet Linus' music collection in C64 .prg format HERE!
BONUS! Download the Fortress of Narzod soundtrack by Linus HERE!

EMULATOR PACKAGE! Download the game ready-to-run combined with the Windows 32-Bit version of the VICE emulator HERE!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Super Bread Box (Preview) (C64)

Since the initial announcement of Paul Koller's official C64 port of Vlambeer's Super Crate Box last week there's been a whole lot of questions and confusion on the internet regarding the project. This short preview piece will hopefully address at least some of the more bizarre questions that have been thrown our way over the past few days. And for the umpteenth time, NO there isn't a C64 version of GameMaker. :)

Super Crate Box (PC/Mac/iOS/Vita/C64)

Independent Dutch development studio Vlambeer - comprised of one part Jan Willem Nijman and one part Rami Ismail - really made a name for themselves when they unleashed Super Crate Box on the world. Previously known for the Flash-based, sea-creature annihilating romp entitled "Radical Fishing," Vlambeer is famous for their ability to craft charming, tightly produced arcade niblets of joy. Super Crate Box is perhaps the best niblet; the most savoury and addictive of all their creations to date.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Retro News Update

So what's happening over at the RGCD HQ? Well, we've just had a new C64 game cartridge release (as well as a re-release), introduced a new game packaging option and are currently frantically preparing for our appearance as proud sponsors of the 'homebrew/indie showcase' at Play Expo in Manchester next weekend. Oh, and talking of which I think it's about time we made a small teaser announcement regarding Paul Koller's entry for the 2012 RGCD C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition...

Death Ray Manta (PC)

In my few years of writing about video games I've played quite a few that got me really, really excited early on. I'm a pretty enthusiastic guy about stuff and I sometimes do doubt my first impressions of a game, because I tend to throw myself into things. Better than off things, I guess.

Death Ray Manta, or DRM to its mates, is the first game I've played in ages that blew away any chance of me second guessing myself. It's an eruption, a condom full of crack exploding in a drug mule's stomach, a mainline hit of pure colour and light and energy and noise and speed and then more colour and more light and lasers, lasers everywhere. It's like opening your skull and dunking your brain in a bowl full of sugar.

F.T.L. (PC/Mac/Linux)

A brilliantly opportune piece of news surfaced last week about NASA actively working on a 'warp drive'. I, however, did not read the news item in question, for I was busy playing F.T.L. (Faster than light). In fact most of the things I would normally have done, have been displaced by this seemingly slight little indie game. Why should this be the case? It's just your typical Rogue-like space-ship resource management rpg-lite tactical simulation with a multitude of options and unlockables. Oh, hang on... that's why!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Get 'Em DX (C64) (2012)

System Requirements

* A Commodore 64/128/GS (PAL/NTSC).
* A joystick/joypad (two for two-player).
* A VDU preferably connected to a loud sound-system.
* A friend to play with (optional, yet strongly recommended).


Download Get 'Em DX (Retail Version) in .prg program format HERE!
Download Get 'Em DX (Retail Version) in .crt cartridge format HERE!

EMULATOR PACKAGE! Download the game ready-to-run combined with the Windows 32-Bit version of the VICE emulator HERE!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Probability 0 (PC/Mac)

There is a bit of a death fetish going on in certain gaming circles these days. Back in the day, games were just considered 'hard', or 'solid' to use a Northern colloquialism, but dying a lot was never really a selling point. Nowadays games positively boast about the amount of times you'll die, take this extract from the blurb for Probability 0 for example, the latest game from Toronto-based designer, Droqen:

You will experience triumph, growth, and death. But mostly death.

Part of this comes with the changing nature of gaming. Gone (mostly) are the days of limited lives and continues, which made death more than a mere nuisance, nowadays games tend to have infinite lives so death is a cheaper commodity. To balance out the difficultly quota near-infinite deaths seems like the logical answer. Even the Dizzy remake on iOS has infinite lives instead of the original three. I'd scorn such a move excepting (or should that be eggcepting?) the fact that I never came close to completing the original on the ZX Spectrum.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Retro News Update

Ok, so you like indie games, yes? And you don't like spending loads of cash either? Well, in that case you'd be a fool to miss out on the indie game bundles-bonanza that's going on at the moment - with a total of 37(!) games available for less than £15.50 (at the time of writing) across four different packages from Bundle in a Box, Indie Royale, Indie Gala and Humble Bundle.

Now I've got your attention you're probably wondering what each of these are offering, so to save you from jumping from site to site yourself, I'll briefly discuss the highlights of each one below.

Bundle-In-A-Box: Deep Space Bundle (PC)

First up, if like me you are bonkers about robots, spaceships and giant blammo-guns I heartily recommend you check out the Deep Space Bundle from the thematic Bundle in a Box collective, headed by our friend and ex-RGCD writer Gnome. Also, without meaning to sound patriotic, this one has a certain eccentric British quality about it with the games on offer being the critically acclaimed and eye-popping Space Giraffe from Llamasoft, an exclusive copy of Rob 'Oddbob' Fearon's equally mental arena shooter DRM (pictured below), a cute looking Elite-like space-combat simulator called The Wreckless from Duct Tape Games, Psydra Games' popular and quirky space adventure Dark Scavenger, the PC remake of the C64 classic Armalyte courtesy of our partners at Psytronik and the recently added Bagfull of Wrong collection of 10(!) games making up the rest of Rob Fearon's catalogue of releases.

Paying over the $4.63 average also scores you copies of Sol: Exodus, Miner Wars Arena and the ace little shooter RobotRiot from Retromite, as reviewed recently here on this very site.

All payments are split between the developers, charity and the indie dev grant, a system buy which the most voted in-development game will receive a grant from Bundle in a Box to help them complete their project. However, the sales on this particular bundle are a bit on the low side at the moment, so give them a hand and throw some virtual PayPal pounds their way!

Indie Royale: The Back To School Bundle

Nothing is more certain to help the kids knuckle down with their studies than a bundle of new games at a pocket money price, eh? Or perhaps this one is aimed at those work-at-home parents who'll have those extra hours of the day free now the kids are gone? Whatever the reason for this cheekily titled bundle, this time Indie Royale is offering a collection of games from Rockin' Android as the main attraction, with Bunny Must Die! (pictured below) as the exclusive title, in addition to Flying Red Barrel and Qlione.

Also included in the package for your £3.44 are the rampaging Swords and Soldiers from Ronimo Games, the moon hopping simulator Lunar Flight by sh0v0r, Iridium Studios' Sequence and the aptly named Cute Things Dying Violently from ApathyWorks - all of which are 100% educational titles, for sure.

Indie Gala: The Indie Gala 9

Next up is the 9th(!) bundle from Indie Gala - and this one is particularly generous, offering seven PC games (plus two yet to be announced) and two Android titles for $5.87. There's no exclusives here, but it does offer the chance to pick up the Broken Sword trilogy and Team 17's Worms, Worms Blast, Worms Crazy Golf and the excellent Alien Breed 2: Assault - all of which are redeemable on Steam.

The two android games are the modern pirate bashing Battlegroup and Red Wasp Design's acclaimed Call of Cthulhu: Wasted Land, but really the main attraction here is the collection of Steam games above, with Alien Breed 2 still being a favourite at RGCD.

Humble Bundle: The Humble Indie Bundle 6

Finally, the last bundle on offer (and undoubtedly the best) comes from the long-standing favourites Humble Bundle. Paying above the average price of $5.78 will bag you a copy of Hitbox Team's hardcore sweep 'em up Dustforce (well worth that price alone), with sci-fi platform action from Recoil Games (Rochard), brick-busting mayhem in the form of Sidhe's Shatter and insanely addictive 2D space rogue chaos from MinMax Games (Space Pirates And Zombies). To top that, the bundle also includes the hugely popular dungeon romp Torchlight, a game that has devoured many hours of my life, as well as the puzzle platforming Vessel from Strange Loop Games.

In all, there are some incredible games here at a insane price. Dig deep and show your support for the indie scene (and chosen charities) while the offers are still online!

qrth-phyl (PC/XBLIG)

qrth-phyl is a game that is equally brilliant and mysterious, familiar and alien, and 100% enthralling no matter which way (or from which axis) you look at it. Inspired by the classic 'Snake', a mainstay on the ancient, ubiquitous Nokia mobiles of yore, qrth-phyl was borne from a "prototype created in the deep south west of Cornwall in 2004." The creation of hermitgames, a one-man operation founded by Matt James, this title successfully transforms the classic time-waster into an immersive, otherworldly arcade experience that's nothing like the original.

Revolgear II (PC)

Nothing beats a good old-school horizontal shooter to get the adrenaline pumping. The classic and relentless left-to-right scrolling, the promise of sweaty-palm joystick bashing, a cacophony of explosions and riotous chip music. Oh yes, that's exactly what the doctor ordered!

And lo and behold! Necobikkuri's Revolgear II certainly looks the part - especially so if you're a Thunderforce fan (which was obviously an inspiration). Add to that the authentic early 1990's arcade-quality sound and you'd think that this would be another straight 5/5 review on the way, but hang on just a minute...

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Bouncing Bomb: Redux (ZX Spectrum)

I can't claim to know much about reactor cores, but rarely is one featured in a plotline without being preceded by the word "unstable," having "gone critical," or being on the verge of meltdown. Based on this limited experience, I have concluded that they are far more trouble than they're worth. This world-view has been confirmed by the latest "experimental reactor core" I have encountered, the destruction of which is the central goal in Bouncing Bomb: Redux. Yes, it has gone critical; as author Phil Ruston acknowledges in the game's instructions: haven't they always?

C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition - Status Update #2

It's been a couple of months since the last competition update, so what's been happening? Well, there's good news, bad news, progress reports and new entries! With the finish line approaching fast, who'll walk away with the prize?

Competition Entry #2: Rent-A-Cop
Developer: Achim Volkers
Status: In Progress

Achim recently sent in what he describes as a final preview of his second competition entry, a re-imagining of the Atari 2600 classic 'Keystone Kapers'. Aside from lacking sound the game appears to be pretty much complete, with you playing as a little security guard chasing a thief around an animated shopping mall whilst avoiding all manner of hazards and collecting bonuses.

There's a game front-end in place with a cute logo, high score table and brief instructions, and it's clear that Achim's development skills are continuing to improve by the fact that the game uses the top and bottom borders (on both PAL and NTSC) and also the graphics are a continued improvement on his previous games. There's a loader screen up on CSDB (and I agree that it is reminiscent of the 80's video-nasty Maniac Cop). I have to admit that I did like the previous joke name 'Grand Theft Aldi' more than the official title though! :)

Saturday, 8 September 2012

BROFORCE (Preview) (PC)

Those of you who've been following RGCD for the last few years will know that we very rarely feature previews or prototypes - as a general rule we prefer to wait for a final release before giving our opinion (a lesson learnt from previewing Rob Fearon's super-fun yet still super-elusive G-Force *twice* back in our old diskmag days). But hey, I'm not writing here to complain about the non-appearance of one of my favourite remakes (again) - no, today I'm going to tell you why you really need to check out Free Lives' two player cooperative/competitive run 'n' gun kill-em-up BROFORCE.

I really want to avoid the direct comparisons that a lot of other review/previews have already made to the current generation of indie games, because as far as I am concerned BROFORCE is unique in its execution and style. No other platform/shmup I've played in recent years has been as frantic, chaotic nor downright explosive - and the (currently) compulsory old-school two-players-in-front-of-a-pc design choice makes it stand out even more from its peers. Sure, a game like this would be doable in single player, but as the name suggests BROFORCE is all about working together with a friend (Bro), blowing the crap out of everything that gets in your way - and then blowing it up some more (force).

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Moustache King Adventure (PC)

Some modern games are retro-infused. Some modern games are retro-inspired. Some modern games are retro-looking. And SOME modern games are actually retro. Like Moustache King Adventure, for example. Harkening back to the 16-bit days, Moustache King Adventure (which I, like a neatly groomed lip sweater, will trim down to MKA moving forward) is a truly nostalgic side-scrolling romp with a whimsical feel and punishing level of difficulty. With art and design by Jason Boyer and music by HyperDuck SoundWorks (who have worked with a number of indie titles such as Under the Ocean), this game was originally created for the AGBIC competition.

Players are introduced to the game with a delightful chiptune track and a short, but enjoyable sequence in which our bare-faced protagonist meets the Moustache King, and vows to usurp him someday from his hairy throne. Fastforward to "Ten Years Later" and our main man is sporting a fine paintbrush 'stache, ready to take on the world and all its challenges.

Catacombs of Balachor (ZX Spectrum)

I approached this release with some trepidation – a previously unknown the two man team Lasasoft's debut release for the Spectrum – and it looked from the screenshot like something that was evidently based around typical Spectrum 8x8 character squares, with a rather bland tile set of 'generic dungeon'. My expectations were low, and the lack of loading screen and minimal front end menu did little to increase my confidence.

So, what have we got here? Catacombs of Balachor is a fairly simple flick screen arcade maze adventure that seem to take Ultimate's SabreWulf or AticAtak as inspiration. Rather than having any weapon, the hero has to avoid baddies and progress through the Catacombs collecting treasure, to finally escape. Although nominally a maze it differs from the Ultimate offerings mentioned in that progression is fairly linear – it is hard to get lost, and locked gates prevent you from backtracking too far. These are not criticisms, and some players will relish the face that navigating the dungeon is not too taxing. There are locked gates which require collected keys, and some parts later that require axes to progress etc., but most players will strip-search the rooms, so the ‘collection’ and managing the right tools to progress becomes secondary to just avoiding the baddies and collecting everything. A few hidden rooms spice things up, but they are easy enough to spot, if you search carefully.

Classic Kong (SNES)

It's a Friday night as I type this, with a bank holiday weekend on the cards, and I'm obsessively playing Bubble Zap's Classic Kong, a Donkey Kong port for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System because I'm bloody minded and stubborn, and also because it's a top notch, classy port done slickly and smartly.

I've not played much in the way of SNES homebrews apart from one that I picked up last year as possible RGCD review fodder and it was so terrible I just walked away from it. I forget its name and this is probably for the best. Coded by retro-developer Shiru (who recently gave us the excellent Zooming Secretary), Classic Kong blew away any prejudices I had about SNES homebrew games with its polished and completely professional appearance, and it backed this up with great gameplay.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Mollusk Redux (C64) (2012)

System Requirements

* A Commodore 64/128/GS (PAL/NTSC).
* A joystick/joypad.
* A VDU preferably connected to a loud sound-system.


Download Mollusk Redux in .bin/.crt cartridge format HERE!
Download Mollusk Redux in .d64 disk format HERE!

BONUS! Check out Onslaught's cracked version in .d64 disk format HERE!
BONUS! Check out the original 2011 competition entry HERE!

EMULATOR PACKAGE! Download the game ready-to-run combined with the Windows 32-Bit version of the VICE emulator HERE!

Quod Init Exit (C64) (2012)

System Requirements

* A Commodore 64/128/GS (PAL/NTSC).
* A joystick/joypad.
* A VDU preferably connected to a loud sound-system.


Download Quod Init Exit in .crt cartridge format HERE!
Download Quod Init Exit in .prg format HERE!

EMULATOR PACKAGE! Download the game ready-to-run combined with the Windows 32-Bit version of the VICE emulator HERE!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Cavenaut (PC)

The first time I played Cavenaut I didn't look up from the laptop for more than a few seconds for two hours, despite there being a Zooey Deschanel film on telly. Cavenaut grabbed me firmly by the nostalgia organs with its Atari 2600-homaging blocky graphics. I'm well known as a sucker for games with black and white graphics, as soon as I laid eyes on it (and within minutes of downloading it) I was glued to the screen.

I end up jumping in and out of a lot of the games I review for this site, but with this faux-Atari (Fauxtari? Can I make this a real word?) gem I steadfastly refused to put my finger anywhere near the ESC key. In the time it took for me to miss out on an entire film starring Zooey, her husky voice and her massive eyes I had died 272 times.