It's all go here at RGCD HQ, and even with our new team members we've been unable to give all the games that have come out recently the full coverage they deserve! So, whilst we struggle to catch up with our backlog of reviews, here's a quick update on the stuff we've missed. There's quite a lot here, so get ready with that scroll-wheel...
Verminest '83 & Boxed Copies of Locomalito's Games For Sale! (PC)
Starting with the PC news first, our good friend Locomalito has not only released a special early coin-op 'coloured' version of his recent blast Verminest (it now looks even more like a suped-up version of Galaga), but he's also made the decision to make boxed copies of his back-catalogue of widely acclaimed games available to buy! The games themselves are of course still free to download - the boxed copies are offered as a 'gift' for people who make donations, with around 30 Euros for one game or 90 for all five. Grab yours today from here.
Fallout Now Available For Free Download! (PC)
Now, I'm sure you've all got a copy of (or at least played) the original Fallout, yeah? No?! Well in that case, head over to www.gog.com, register as a new user and get your own DRM-free copy of Black Isle Studios' classic post-apocalyptic RPG. Huge thanks to the gog team for making this happen!
Zytron II (PC)
Hardcore C64 fans might recall an old shoot 'em up called Zytron: Mega Blast that was sold exclusively through Zzap64 back in the mid 1990's. Well the big news here is that the coder, Kevin Murphy, is back with a PC-based sequel published through our partners over at Psytronik Software - and it's a huge improvement over the somewhat primitive original.
An innovative blend of Geometry Wars style game-play and a traditional side-scrolling shmup, Zytron II is available to buy on disc and via download for £9.99/4.99, and even comes with a copy of the original game (for use with emulators or real hardware)! So round up three of your friends and give the playable demo a shot - we'll be featuring a review in the near future.
Orbitron: Revolution (PC)
It's no secret that I'm a big fan of Defender, so when I heard that Firebase Industries had released their formally XBox Live exclusive arcade-blast Orbitron: Revolution on the PC I had to grab a copy. Sadly I've not had an opportunity to give it my full attention yet, but going by first impressions I'd have to give it a tentative thumbs-up - especially considering the low sale price of £2.99.
With it's three game-modes, intense high-speed blast 'em up action and AAA-quality visuals that are more than slightly reminiscent of the Designers Republic's work on the Wipeout franchise, I'm looking forward to giving this a thorough play-test over the coming weeks.
Mutant Storm Reloaded, Titan Attacks & Wizorb Now Available On Steam! (PC)
I've recently been on something of an indie-gaming spending spree, and these three are definitely worth checking out if you've got a few pounds burning a hole in your pocket. First up, Pom-Pom games have released another of their formally console-exclusive titles on Steam, and at £3.99, Mutant Storm Reloaded is an absolute steal. A must for arena shooter fans, it's only surpassed (in my humble opinion) by the sequel-of-sorts Mutant Storm Empire - and hopefully that'll be the next pompom release to receive the Steam treatment.
Titan Attacks is another pocket-money priced retro blast - and although the original non-Steam version has been around for years, it's still a fun and ever-so-slightly casual take on the Invaders genre that deserves your attention. In fact, it plays a little like Taito's Super Space Invaders; with the alien aggressors attacking in a wide variety of craft and formations each level presents a fresh challenge - which is certainly something that the original lacks. At £2.99 who can possibly say no?
The cheapest of the bunch at £1.99, Wizorb has recently arrived on Steam - and thankfully the critical 'no-sound-in-Windows-XP' bug has finally been fixed! Yes, this beautifully presented mash-up of Arkanoid and console-RPG is actually now in a reviewable state - so you can expect a write-up from us soon! ;)
UWOL: Quest For Money (ZX81)
Stealing the thunder a little from our own C64 cartridge release, UWOL - one of the most widely ported 8-Bit games in recent years - has miraculously made an unlikely appearance on the woefully underpowered Sinclair ZX81! I have my doubts as to how playable the game can be with it's character sized pixels and incredibly short-range visibility, but the fact that the Mojons have succeeded in getting the game running on the ZX81 is in itself a newsworthy feat. Check it out over at the Mojon Twins website.
R-Type (Amstrad CPC)
Next up on RGCD's retro radar is R-Type, an new and improved conversion of the original arcade for the CPC by Easter Egg. I've not personally had a chance to load this up yet in an emulator, but our man Ruari is on the case and penning a review comparing it against the original Amstrad port as I type.
Boasting features such as improved graphics, sound and play-speed, multiple game modes and high score saving, I think he'll be hard pushed not to give it full marks!
Birth Order (XBOX)
Wide Pixel Games have deviated from their platform of choice and have followed up their modern C64 classics Knight 'n' Grail and Fairy Well with an XBox Live exclusive, Birth Order. A unique mash-up of board game, Simon-style colour matching and frenetic bullet-hell shooter(!), Birth Order bares Wide Pixel Games' trademark stylish dark artwork in an intelligent shooter that faces the player with waves of enemies that can only be destroyed by using the same colour fire button on the controller.
In anyone else's hands Birth Order would have been a mess, but Mix256 has done an amazing job of taking three seemingly randomly selected game mechanics and using them to craft a well-constructed, detailed and completely original game. Definitely worth the paltry 80 MS point sale price.
Princess Quest (MSX)
We don't get a huge amount of MSX news here at RGCD, which makes it a little unfortunate that the latest game for the system is currently only available to buy as a real MSX cartridge as none of us here have a system to play it on! Princess Quest certainly looks like the kind of Ghouls 'n' Ghosts style platformer we'd enjoy, but in the absence of a demo or downloadable emulator version you'll have to make do with the above screenshot and a short gameplay video. Princess Quest is available to buy for 24 Euros (plus shipping) - and if you buy a copy please drop us a line to tell us about it!
*Sigh*. I really wish there was more I could tell you about Revival Studios' new game Colorclash, but other than the confusing screenshot above there's hardly any information about the game at all! No video trailer, no playable demo, just a few lines describing what sounds a little like a puzzle-based shoot 'em up, with you having to match up the symbols on the advancing craft with those fired by your ship. Or something.
Anyway, our resident Videopac/Odyssey2 expert Flemming Dupont has vowed to buy a copy in the near future (for 39 Euros plus shipping) so hopefully we'll get a review of this one up soon.
Last but by no means least, one of RGCD's former writers (Graham Humphrey) has released his first game on the classic Amiga! Downfall is heavily inspired by a Reboot Atari Jaguar release (also called Downfall), and despite looking a little basic it does at least offer an enhancement over the original in the form of a competitive two player mode!
Downfall is available for free for Amiga hardware and emulators. There are currently some incompatibility issues with pre-OS 3.XX machines, but hopefully these will be addressed soon.
Right, that's the update finished - time to get back to the reviews!