Thursday 29 September 2011

Dunjon Battler (C64)

As the deliberate misspelling of the titular dungeon suggests, Dunjon Battler is an overly simplistic hack-and-slash arcade-style rpg that's light on the role play and heavy on the hacking. It may have the crude visual appearance of a game that's dropped out of a timewarp from 1985 and offer the seasoned adventurer practically zero cranial challenge, but despite this, Malcontent's first proper game release has proved to be a great deal of fun.

The core gameplay is real base-level stuff; your nameless warrior must fight his (or her) way through the depths of a critter-filled dungeon to retrieve a magical chalice offering immortality. There are keys to collect (which are rather unsurprisingly used to open locked doors), treasure chests to loot (which also replenish the player's health) and countless re-spawning enemies to slay or avoid in each of the game's many single-screen battle arenas. The game map has been thoughtfully designed so as to not require the player to backtrack excessively and every side route leads to either bonus treasure or the necessary keys to proceed. However, the map design is just about the only sensible feature the game has - the rest of it is joyfully ridiculous.

Super Smash Land (PC)

I never owned a Game Boy. I seem to remember playing on them a lot, but can't really remember whose they were. So thanks, Super Smash Land. Thanks a lot for reminding me of my terminal uncoolness as a youth!

Super Smash Land is a demake of the Super Smash Bros. series of fighting games, taking the crux of the series' gameplay and giving it a Nintendo Game Boy make-under. The key elements of the series are still there; the multiple characters, the frenetic multiplayer modes, Kirby being awesome, unlockable content and Kirby being awesome some more, but all viewed through a filter of nostalgic Nintendovision and played with a simple Game Boyish 'A, B, Start, Select, up, down, left, right' control set.

Cursed Loot (XBLIG)

RGCD readers who are familiar with the XBOX indie scene will realise that a purchase can be a bit of a gamble. Polished gems sit innocuously beside poisonous 'games' that do naught but make the controller vibrate. (Ahem). If only we could up our real life luck' stats by equipping an enchanted ring, perhaps we'd stumble across games like Cursed Loot more often.

A polished and deliberately old-school roguelike, Cursed Loot has the player choosing between 5 classes of character and sending them off into a randomly generated dungeon 50 levels deep. Play is quick and vicious, with automatic attacking as you move. The speed of the game can mean the play can feel slightly more like Gauntlet than Rogue in places, especially when coupled with the NES-era style graphics.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Blok Copy Cartridge Available! (C64)

TMR and I debated for some time on whether or not to wait until after our ongoing competition before releasing Blok Copy on cartridge. However, as we both have a lot on over the coming months (what with the Replay Expo 2011 coming up), we decided to just go for it and add the cartridge to the shop page. It'll probably be a little while before the official disk release from Cosine comes out, but I'm sure that a pirate will get a cracked version out in the next few days ;)

Blok Copy began as a game written in order to learn the Atari 2600 hardware, where it utilised vertical splits to achieve seven independently coloured playfield objects. Although the Atari 2600 version is near enough complete, to date it remains unreleased on T.M.R's workstation. However, although the game is yet to make it's debut appearance on Atari hardware, Blok Copy has been released on three Commodore variations; namely the PET, C64DTV and of course the C64 (this cartridge).

Thursday 22 September 2011

C64anabalt (Preview) (C64)

When Paulko64 originally signed up for our cartridge development competition, he was very secretive about his project, stating only that similar to his conversion of VVVVVV, the new game would be a demake of a popular indie title coded with full permission from the original developer. Well, I did a double-take when this early preview arrived in my inbox yesterday, and when I loaded it up I was quite frankly stunned; C64anabalt, despite being unfinished and running on modest 8-Bit hardware, is already amazingly close to the 2009 indie-classic in aesthetics, gameplay and addictiveness. It's a really impressive achievement.

I can't really believe that anyone could have missed out on the original flash/iOS version of Canabalt (the game practically started a sub-genre of its own), but if you are one of the unlucky few not to have played it, please pop over to the game's site ( and come back a few hours later after you've properly experienced this example of perfectly executed and seriously addictive single-button game design. (In fact, I think I'll join you - I've always been a sucker for this game).

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Edge Grinder - Official Release (C64/CPC)

There's been a couple of cracked versions of Edge Grinder doing the rounds for a while, but it seems that Cosine have finally completed the disk version of their increasingly popular 16KB cartridge shmup. Head on over to the Format War collabortition page or Cosine's site to grab your copy, complete with a groovy new title screen by STE'86 and loading music by Sean/Odie. At the bargain price of free you'd be a fool to miss out on the action.

But what's with this second screenshot? Well, CPC owners may be interested to note that there's an Edge Grinder conversion making waves in the Amstrad scene (by none other than Axelay of Star Sabre, Dead On Time and Sub Hunter fame). Which of the two is better? Well, that's a matter to discuss over on the Format War forums - and while you're there you might want to check out the progress on the GBA, SNES, Megadrive/Genesis, Atari 800, Atari 7800 and PC Engine versions of the game!

Download the C64 version here (from the Cosine website).
Run it using VICE (freeware).

Download the CPC version here (from the Format War collabortition page).
Run it using WinAPE (freeware).

Friday 16 September 2011

Forget Me Not (PC/Mac)

Some days I am very glad to own a dumb phone. Whenever people around me get panicky or irate about iPhone hacking, Android crashes or other smartphone voodoo I am very much the proud owner of an old Nokia so far behind the cutting edge that the average mugger would probably return it to me out of sympathy were I to be robbed in a dark alley. Another thing that makes me pleased to have a phone that can barely manage a 3D version of the quintessential late 90s to early Noughties timewaster 'Snake' is the quality and quantity of polished, exciting smartphone games.
Put simply, if I had a decent phone I would spend much of my commute to my day job flinging angry birds at pigs or whatever, probably missing my stop and ending up in another city entirely on a painfully regular basis (and getting the sack with extreme prejudice). Luckily the much-lauded iPhone/iPad game Forget-Me-Not has been ported over to the PC and the Mac, which means that now I can be chronically distracted at home and only ruin my relationship and not my employment prospects. Hooray!

Edge Grinder / Not Even Human Cartridges Back in Stock!

Just a quick post to announce that Edge Grinder and Not Even Human are both available to buy on cartridge again from our shop. I've got 20 copies of Edge Grinder and 10 of NEH packed and ready to go - but don't panic - if they sell out I'll hopefully have some more ready in a fortnight.

On a related tip, the planned cartridge release of Cosine's Blok Copy has been pushed back a couple of weeks. This is simply because I'm currently looking into new packaging for future cartridges as the ones I use at the moment take over 15 minutes each to make (which is longer than it takes for the cartridges themselves). Also, hardware costs have increased slightly, but the good news is that the new boxes will be cheaper so the sale price will remain the same. I'll post up further details and photos regarding this soon.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Fairy Well Demo Released (C64)

Mix256 from Wide Pixel Games has decided to release a one level, one character, timed demo of his 16KB C64 Cartridge Development Competition entry, Fairy Well.

As I've already typed a detailed preview (check it here), I'll just give you the demo link and let you try it for yourselves. Mix256 is eager for public feedback, so if you find any bugs or have some suggestions for improvement please post them below.

Download the demo here (from the RGCD server).
Download the Genesis Project trained version here (from the Commodore Scene Database).
Run it using VICE (freeware).

Monday 12 September 2011

Astro Tripper (PC)

PomPom Games have just secured a deal to distribute their recent games via Steam, and the first title to drop will be an enhanced update to their 2001 award-winning release Space Tripper, now under the name Astro Tripper. I actually picked up the beta version of the game via PomPom's website a couple of years back (where it is still being sold for just shy of a tenner), and it's one of my all-time favourite PC shooters. Hopefully this Steam release will expose this indie to the wider audience it deserves.

Retro News Update

Time for another round-up of news from the retro scene! With the results (and downloads) from the 2011 ABBUC Software Contest due any day now, the focus today is on the Atari 8-Bit scene, but there's also a couple of 2600/VCS games, one for the VIC20 and even a Videopac/Odyssey title thrown in this update for good measure. As always, full reviews will follow soon.

Mighty Jill Off Preview (Atari XE/XL)

Probably worthy of a news update all by itself, we at RGCD expect Morons Of H.A.R. to win this year's ABBUC Software Contest with their 8-Bit remake of Auntie Pixelante's acclaimed BDSM-themed hardcore platformer. Loosely based on Mighty Bomb Jack (the home computer sequel to the coin-op classic), Mighty Jill Off is a extreme test of old-school jump 'n' run skill and it'll be interesting to see if the difficulty of the Mac and PC version is matched on the Atari. Check the video and let us know what you think!

Sunday 11 September 2011

Developer Interview: Mojon Twins

(Further to RGCD's recent review of the recent ZX Spectrum release Fundamentally Loathsome, Nathan of the Mojon Twins development team kindly took the time to answer some of our burning questions.)

Would you please take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who may not be familiar with your name.

We are The Mojon Twins, a small group of individuals who just wanted to code Spectrum and CPC games when we were little kids. Now we are doing just that, just for fun.

C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition - Status Update #4

Blimey, I'm being sent updates on competition entries on a daily basis at the moment! Here's the latest hype from our on-going 16KB cart development challenge - less than three months to go!

Competition Entry #16: Fortress Of Narzod
Developer: TRSI
Status: Complete & Submitted!

First up, I'm happy to announce that I've just received the final cartridge build of TRSI's Fortress Of Narzod; the second finished competition entry and first of two games proposed by TRSI. A perfect conversion of the Vectrex classic, Fortress of Narzod utilises the border areas of the screen to maximise the play area and the excellent soundtrack my Linus really takes this production to the next level. The game requires no keyboard input (even the high score table is controlled via the joystick) so it will work on the C64GS, but unfortunately the full-screen action comes at a cost of not running on NTSC machines. Overall, an awesome entry.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Maldita Castilla (Preview) (PC)

If I learned one thing from watching Army of Darkness about fifty thousand times before I turned sixteen it is that knights fighting the undead is pretty much one of the best things ever. So it's no surprise that I jumped on the opportunity to review the demo of Maldita Castilla, the swashbuckling, zombie slaying latest offering from Spanish code maestro Locomalito.

Like his previous games Maldita Castilla does its level best to transport the player to the arcade halls of the 1980s, both with its gameplay and its graphics, and this time around even the screen effects look like a slightly worn out arcade cabinet monitor. But I'm getting ahead of myself, all excited by the cracking job he has done of emulating a beaten up arcade machine in a tatty seaside town!

Tuesday 6 September 2011

Satazius (PC)

Evil space pirates have moved in next door to the planet Satazius and devalued all the house prices, so a mass exodus is in progress to a safer part of the universe. Of course, driving huge transporter ships past a group of intergalactic buccaneers probably wasn’t the brightest of ideas so a small, one-person spaceship has been sent into their stronghold to cause a bit of a distraction and hopefully make a mess of the place at the same time. At least I think that’s what the back story is, it arrived in Japanese and Google translate wasn’t exactly keen to help!

Sunday 4 September 2011

Bezerk Redux (C64)

Doing a bit of research for a game review can be an enlightening experience. I've spent many an hour in the dead of night wondering why it was that the robot voice in Berzerk shouts out 'GET THE CHICKEN' at random intervals, and today it turns out that I've been playing the game wrong all these years; this derogatory insult is actually the result of exiting a screen without killing all of the robots first. I'd previously assumed that this was either some bizarre developer in-joke, or that there was a super rare chicken enemy that you had to kill. Likewise, I'd always assumed that Berzerk would have an end screen, or final room (possibly full of chickens?) - but no, it continues forever, so again I was wrong (and disappointed, so it happens).

With an introduction like this you might have assumed that I'm a complete newcomer to the game, whereas in fact it used to be one of my preferred pocket-money eaters in the arcades when I was a kid. I'm not embarrassed to admit that I love robots, so it goes without saying that an arcade game featuring them in any capacity is likely to be a winner in my eyes - and hence why Berzerk, a classic arena shmup all about killing robots whilst navigating through a deadly futuristic maze, became a favourite.

Fairy Well (Preview) (C64)

After years of absence, Wide Pixel Games (the development group behind the modern C64 classic Knight 'n' Grail) are back with another potentially award winning game in the form of 'Fairy Well'. A huge flick-screen collect-em-up arcade adventure, the surprising news is that it's planned for a cartridge release with RGCD as their entry in the 16KB C64 Cart Development Competition; amazingly, Mikael Tillander has managed to squeeze an epic, multi-level adventure into a tiny 16KB!

Retro News Update

I've been away for a week and am currently trying to catch up with work, so yet again I'm afraid I've only got time to post another compilation of byte-sized news snippets and links. Hopefully some full reviews will follow shortly ;)

Perihelion Released For Free (Amiga)

How's this for some retro news? Psygnosis' cyberpunk 1993 role-playing Amiga classic has been released for free by the designer and artist, and can be found here (along with a load of other game-related info). Perihelion is a graphically stunning and very in-depth RPG with some great ideas that have stood the test of time well, and it's a real shame that it didn't become a franchise in it's own right. Definitely well-worth checking out; especially as Edvard has included the UAE emulator set up for people unfamiliar with the Amiga.

Note that it's not legally freeware (although Psygnosis haven't stopped the release), and should really be considered as an abandonware game.

Thursday 1 September 2011

Infernal Edge (PC)

Despite being a prolific Game Maker developer with a large indie following, Infernal Edge is the first release from Lazy Brain Games that I've personally considered worthy of reviewing here at RGCD. It may be little more than a prototype and feature LBG's trademark retina-burning, high-contrast (and quite frankly mediocre) pixel art, but the game still won me over with it's interesting design and classic arcade-style robot-blasting gameplay regardless.

C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition - Status Update #3

Three new cartridge competition entries and some impressive development updates landed in my inbox this week :)

Competition Entry #15: Yars' Revenge
Developer: TRSI
Status: In progress

Ulrich Schulz (aka Peiselulli of TRSI) has emailed over a near-complete and already excellent port of the Atari 2600 classic Yars' Revenge. Full screen (all borders used) and with it's simple and timeless gameplay perfectly suited to the limitations of the 16KB cartridge format, the competition has moved up a notch with this entry. Good work guys!