Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Bomberland (C64) (2013)


System Requirements

* A Commodore 64/128/GS (PAL/NTSC).
* A joystick/joypad (Protovision or Hitman adapter required for five players).
* A VDU preferably connected to a loud sound-system.
* A group of friend to play with (optional, yet strongly recommended).


Downloads

Download the preview version of Bomberland in .d64 disk format HERE!

The retail version of Bomberland is currently not available for free download. You can buy the game on cartridge or as a download from RGCD here.


Introduction

Welcome to Bomberland, the land whose residents have a passion for explosive events!

Over 10 years in development, Michal Okowicki's Bomberland brings classic console style multi-player party-gaming to the Commodore 64 like never seen before. Complimenting epic and customisable 2-5 player death-match tournaments with an incendiary 36-arena single player campaign, no other 8-bit title even comes close to the chaos and boombastic mayhem of this cartridge-exclusive game!

Featuring gorgeous high resolution graphics, challenging boss battles, tons of different enemies, password saves, game-changing power-ups, multiple play modes and an awesome SID soundtrack by Owen Crowley, Bomberland supports both the CGA (Protovision) and HIT (by Excess and Hitmen) four-player adaptors and even includes full keyboard support, so you can play it solo on a stock C64/128 without any peripherals!


Loading Bomberland

To load the Bomberland cartridge, turn off your C64/128, insert the cartridge and turn the computer back on. The game will load automatically.

If you are presented with a blank screen or graphic garbage, please try turning off the C64 and re-inserting the cartridge again. Issues like this are most likely due to an oxidised cartridge port (after all, we are talking about 30 year old technology here), so please check and clean the port - or even try the game on another C64 - before contacting us for a replacement.

To play the downloadable version of the game you will need either a real C64 (and a method of transferring the files over to it) or an emulator. For emulator users, we recommend VICE, as it works on a variety of systems and is very user friendly. Just download the emulator and attach the .crt image from the file menu.

It should be noted that, for simplicity, the game has a storage system for settings and current scores of the game on an external drive. So if you want to keep your setup and the results (both in multiplayer and single), connect a disk drive to your C64 prior to loading Bomberland. Your disk does not have to be blank, and the size of the saved file consists of 1 block, using very little space. If you want to restore the settings and the results, make sure that your disk is inserted before loading the game. The settings will automatically upload when the file is detected.


Playing Bomberland

Your mission is to guide our hero through bomberland, fighting against hordes of enemies that loyally protect your main objective – the Lord Bomber. It will not be an easy task; there are a total of 36 levels to master, starting from “0” and finishing on “Z”, where Lord Bomber awaits in his chamber. The world is divided into six stages with different themes: Brick Factory, The Swamps, The Rockies, Snowy Foothills, Laboratory and the dreaded Castle of Lord B. Each stage climaxes with a boss encounter, concluding in a face-off with Lord Bomber himself.


The objective on each level is to kill all the existing enemies. Accomplishing this will open the EXIT portal, leading to the next level. The EXIT portal will be hidden under a destructible brick wall. When all the enemies are killed some bricks may flash purple, showing the location of any special power-ups left on the map.

Avoid planting a bomb next or close to the EXIT portal. If the fire from an explosion hits the EXIT, it will spawn some really nasty monsters that you will have to kill before continuing.


Controls

As well as offering players a full 36 level single player campaign, Bomberland and also includes an awesome multiplayer deathmatch mode that supports up to five players at a time. The game is controlled by the joystick (in either port), but can also be played from the keyboard on your C64. The keyboard controls are shown below:

Move Up @
Move Down /
Move Left :
Move Right =
Fire/Select C=
Pause RUN/STOP

As Bomberland supports up to 5 players, in addition to the joysticks connected to ports 1 and 2, another two joysticks can be plugged via hardware connected to the User Port on your C64. The joystick algorithm is based on the use of a CGA (Protovision) adaptor, or can be switched to a HIT adaptor (by Excess and Hitmen). By default, the CGA adaptor driver will be used. To switch to the HIT adaptor driver, hold down the RUN/STOP key when you start up the cartridge, until you come to the menu screen. Once this hardware is plugged in and configured, you can press the fire button on all joysticks to set up the first 4 players in multiplayer mode, followed by the keyboard to set up the fifth player.

All options and text entry are supported by any type of interface (with or without the keyboard), so the game can be successfully run on machines such as the Commodore GS. The information is clear and always suggests what options to choose from. The only exception is the PAUSE button in the game (RUN/STOP key), which is assigned to the second GS joystick button (Cheetah Annililator). In addition, whilst the game is in PAUSE mode you can exit the current game and return to the main menu by pressing the Q key (or left on the joystick) and confirming the operation by selecting Y (Yes) or N (No).


Bombs & Fire

BOMBS are your only weapon in Bomberland, so collect as many of them as possible to become more powerful against your opponents. Another parameter that increases your destructive power is the range emitted from a single bomb explosion. Collecting EXTRA FIRE bonuses will help to increase range in all four directions by 1 tile. To place a bomb, press the joystick button (or the “C=” key). After placing the bomb, you will need to run away before it explodes, which takes about two seconds. It is not possible to go back and defuse the bomb once planted, so always keep out of its way until the explosion has subsided. When the right power-ups are collected, you will have the ability to create a pattern of explosive fire across the board, giving a greater chance of killing enemies and destroying bricks all at once.


Walls

These act as natural barriers in the corridors of each level. Unlike border walls and stone columns, these brick walls can be destroyed by an explosion. Although these affect your pathway, they are useful as protection against an explosion and in acting as a barrier between you and enemies. Brick walls occasionally conceal bonuses such as POWER-UPs, and also conceal the EXIT portal to the next level.

Note that clearing all the brick walls in the entire level will reward you with an additional bonus.



Monsters

In the game, you will come across many different types of monster, each with its own unique stats and behaviour. Some of these are slow and quiet, others are aggressive and fast. Some have special characteristics, including the ability to fly over destructible brick walls. You will be introduced to more sophisticated enemies as you progress through each stage - including those that are intelligent enough to either escape from, or chase you. Check out the included monster sheet on the reverse of the Bomberland poster for more details!



Bonuses & Power Ups

In order to defeat these enemies with ease, you will need to find and use a variety of BONUSES and POWER-UPs. There are dozens of these to collect (including increased blast range, additional bombs, speed boots, bomb passing and kicking, remote bombs, shields and the 'lucky dip' SKULL SURPRISES) and they are discussed and illustrated in detail in the Bomberland manual provided with the game.



The Clock

In the upper left corner of the screen is a count-down clock that shows the amount of time you have left to complete the level. When there are only 10 seconds of time left, the message as 'Out of Time' is displayed. Once the counter reaches zero, TIME GUARDS - dreaded enforcers who show no mercy to their prey - will enter the level and hunt you down. Escaping from the TIME GUARDS is extremely difficult; they will attack from all sides and slowly advance towards you, but fortunately, they are not immortal. You can destroy the TIME GUARDS with your bombs, although it will be extremely difficult and time consuming.

Note that on the final levels, when the timer runs out the TIME GUARDS will not be summoned - instead you will die instantly.


Scoring

The overall goal in Bomberland is to be the best of the best, and take top rank on the Bomberland high score charts. After all, this is the primary gauge to show off your skill level and value.

There are many ways to earn points. Firstly, killing enemies reflect on what points you receive. The tougher the enemy is, the more points you will get for killing it. Killing two enemies with one bomb explosion will double your points, while killing three at once will treble your points, and so on.

You can also achieve a total of 10,000 bonus points for clearing all of the destructible brick walls on the level before entering the exit portal. The message, “Brick Bonus”, will flash when this is achieved.

There is also a special time-based bonus, which requires you to keep patient and stand still. If you can keep your player still and alive for 40 seconds, a “Time Bonus” item will appear. Collecting these items will award you with 20,000 points each.

Each time you have received 100,000 points, you will be awarded with an extra life.


Special Events

In the game there are other events that may strongly nuisance the player.

HURRY UP - In this mode indestructible blocks fall onto the level continuously, destroying anything they land on and reducing the size of the play area. When this happens, you must hurry up and get to the exit portal or you will eventually be trapped and killed.

POWER CUT - The lights go out, making the game much more difficult. Use light from explosions to help navigate the level.

STRONG WIND - This event occurs during the snow stages and acts in the same way as a Magnetic Wall in multiplayer mode.

You will also find other special features such as burning corridors and teleports. These are particular to certain levels in the game and are obstacles you will need to learn how to overcome.


Multiplayer

In addition to the single-player campaign, Bomberland can be played as a classic 2-5 player party game in DEATHMATCH mode.


These are the options to adjust the difficulty levels of multiplayer games, such as determining the number of wins that will end the game and win the tournament (with possible values from 1 to 5) and an option to select the multiplayer board (Classic with regular scenery and size or Various). The HURRY UP option configures the amount of time when the Hurry Up sequence starts during a multiplayer game, with time ranging from 30 seconds to 140 seconds. You also have the option to switch it off completely. The MONSTERS and SKULLS options reflect the occurrence of in-game monsters (for additional difficulty) and Skull-Surprises. If, for example, you chose to abandon Skulls, then bricks can only contain Power-Ups.


Passwords

Bomberland features a password system, saving your progress through the game. Passwords are generated automatically and have the ability to remember all of the power-ups the player has picked up so far, as well as remembering your score. Passwords are only available after completing a particular stage, usually after every third level you have completed. They appear in 16 alphabetical characters, which you should take note if you want to continue play.

To enter a password you have received, go to the Menu screen and select SETUP. From there, select PASSWORD. The game will then require you to enter the password using the keyboard or joystick on your C64. If your password is correct then your game will continue where you left off, otherwise it will start at very the beginning.


Trivia

The game was created (including periods of rest) between the years of 2005-2013. Its roots however go as far back as 1995, when sceners Raspi, Gutted, Lobo and Skull (Michal) worked on a prototype named Boombastic Benny, but this version of the game was sadly never completed.

In the beginning of 2007 came a rebuilt release called Bomberman C64. From that point onward, the project was expanded until it eventually became Bomberland. The project consists of thousands of lines of code, and involved many hours of work on the C64.

Conrad (Owen) was asked to write the music for the final game and began composing the music in early 2008, basing it on the 1991 Dynablaster (Amiga/PC) tracks by Eike Steffen (Romeo Knight). The music was finally completed in 2010, ready to be embedded in the game project. However, there were issues with embedding the music files within the game, so Conrad began to write a customised music routine and converted the original music data into a format readable by this routine. This helped save a lot of graphical resources in the final 64k cartridge build, sustaining the exceptional quality of the entire game.

Although it has taken some time for this game to be released, the work has paid off very well and the cooperation has been fun and challenging for everyone involved. We (Skull and Conrad) hope that you will enjoy this production as much as we have in developing it.


NTSC/GS/128 Compatibility

Bomberland has been tested on both PAL and NTSC machines, and works on the C64, C128 and C64GS. GS owners are limited to two player mode only due to the lack of a User Port or keyboard. The game also supports the Commodore 128 in 64 mode, using its extended hardware registers for acceleration.

Although the game runs on NTSC hardware, it does play fractionally faster and will be harder as a direct result of this. As such, Bomberland is labelled as NTSC compatible, but designed for PAL systems. After loading, the machine type is displayed in the lower left corner of the main menu.


Promotional Trailer

Below is a short promotional video recorded using the VICE emulator showing the game being played in two-player mode.



Credits

The following people made this game possible.

Programming, Design & Graphics
Michal Okowicki (Samar Productions)

Music, Player & Sound effects
Owen Crowley (Samar Productions/Onslaught)

Project Management, Manual & Testing
James Monkman (RGCD)
Michal Okowicki (Samar Productions)
Owen Crowley (Samar Productions/Onslaught)

PAL & NTSC Testing
David Simmons (Onslaught)

Box Design
Steve Day (STE'86)

Support
Dr. Martin Wendt (RGCD/Onslaught)

Cartridge Hardware
Tim Harris (Shareware Plus)
Raymond Lejuez (C64 World)

Bomberland is a Samar Productions release, Copyright 2013. Published on 64KB C64 cartridge by RGCD, 2013.


Ordering The Official Cartridge

The cartridge version is available to buy from our shop. The game comes complete with a 32-page printed manual, two code sheets, a vinyl Samar Productions sticker and a double-sided poster that features an extensive monster info sheet on the reverse. The 64KB PCB is housed in an orange cartridge shell.

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 £25, whereas the deluxe version costs £30. Shipping is £4 for UK/Europe and £5 for the rest of the world.

Bomberland is also available to buy as a downloadable .CRT image to use via emulation or on real hardware devices such as the Ultimate 1541-II. Purchases of both physical versions include this download for free.