Monday 31 October 2011

Retro News Update

Yet again I've let the news build up to the point where the only way to tackle it is via a mammoth post. So without further delay, let's have a brief look over what's been happening over the past week in the retro and indie gaming scene. More detailed reviews of select releases to follow soon.

Gunlord (Dreamcast/Neo-Geo)

We originally mentioned NG:DEV's Gunlord when the game was first announced back in May this year. After months of waiting, the game is finally available for pre-order for both the Neo-Geo (AES/MVS) and Dreamcast, with a release planned between late 2011 to early 2012. If the new nine-minute game trailer is anything to go by, Gun-Lord looks to be the solid Turrican style blaster that we were all hoping for (complete with lightning-flash style cannon and familiar morphball attack). Could this be the indie publisher's best game to date? The trailer may initially seem a bit underwhelming in comparison to Fast Striker's eye-popping visuals (the voice narrating the background story over static images is particularly hammy, but give it a chance) and the price tag is perhaps a little steep (32 Euros for the regular DC edition and a whopping 400 for the MVS/AES!), but regardless - there's nothing we love more at RGCD HQ than a bit of no-nonsense run 'n' gun fun, so our purchase is already in the bag. Expect a review when the game is released.
Trabajo Basura (Dire Job) (ZX Spectrum)

The Mojon Twins have just released an (almost) suitably spooky single-screen platformer just in time for Halloween! Trabajo Basura (translated as Dire Job) is a welcome return to good form after their previous couple of less-impressive ZX releases (namely Horace Goes to the Tower and Phantomasa 3), with the player faced with the task of sabotaging his bosses career by stealing work disks and jumping on apprentices heads whilst avoiding spiders and bats (which seem to be ever-prevalent in programmer's offices). Great stuff.

Coracle (ZX Spectrum)

A review copy of Jonathan Cauldwell's new game 'Coracle' arrived on my desk a couple of days ago. Initially I was a little bemused thanks to the lack of instructions (and as JC fans will already know, his genre-mashups quite often require at least a glance over the manual to understand how to play them), but after some practice I think I've got the hang of this cute little sea-faring arcade shooter. Released on tape by Cronosoft, RGCD's Andy 'Uglifruit' Jenkinson is already underway with a detailed review, so there'll be more news on this soon.

Snake on a Plane (Rewound Edition) (C64)

My fellow C64 comrades The Ryk and Fredrik from the Avatar group have released an enhance version of Snake on a Plane, a simple character-based, tongue firmly-in-cheek yet enjoyable rendition of the classic snake game. Aside from fixing a few bugs, slightly improving speed and adding a new OST, the game is pretty much identical to the earlier version; guide the snake around the increasingly smaller game arena, eating suitcases and avoiding security guards before ultimately boarding the plane to enter the next level. It doesn't take itself too seriously, and is all the more fun for it.

Woolly Jumper (C64)

On the subject of C64 games, Richard Bayliss recently sent over yet another preview of the game he and Shaun Pearson have been working on for the RGCD Cartridge Development Competition featuring more enemies and graphics. Woolly Jumper is looking absolutely amazing now, and gameplay-wise delivers a healthy dose of classic arcade-style platforming action (despite a few remaining bugs). With only a month left to go before the deadline, it's great to see some of the entries really coming together. More news on the cartridge competition will follow soon.

Klapauzius is Back! (Atari ST(E)/Falcon)

After being absent from the Atari scene for over a year, RGCD's good friend Klaz is back with a fresh batch of Atari ST games fixed and enhanced to work from hard disk on all Atari computers. In the past few weeks he's uploaded Lombard RAC Rally, Tonic Tile, Bombuzal, Airball, Chase HQ, Erik and Gauntlet - all of which include cross-platform save state support (so you can play via an emulator and then continue later on real hardware). Finally, a reason to dust off the old STE again (aside from the fact that I still need to work on enemy wave formations for r0x zer0). The ULS consortium lives!

Replay Expo 2011

RGCD will be attending this year's Replay Expo in Blackpool, the UK's biggest event dedicated to retro gaming. I'll be hooking up with the original 'homebrew hero' Jason Kelk, Kenz from Psytronik and GTW64's Frank Gasking as well as many of our other retro contacts - it should be a lot of fun. I'm also relishing the thought of catching legends Jon Hare (from Sensible Software) and Ben 'Manic Miner' Daglish performing on stage in their video game band SID80's at the after party. Give us a shout if you want to meet up with us there! :)

Hanano Puzzle (PC)

A product of the same developer as rhacp (reviewed back in issue two of RGCD), Hanano Puzzle is a beautifully presented, unique and challenging puzzle game that is just asking for a retro demake. Although it might look like Taito's classic Puzznic, Hanano is in fact a fresh concept involving moving matching coloured blocks so that they bloom into flowers. It's an interesting game mechanic that works really well, despite causing me no end of headaches trying to beat all 50 levels. Make sure you check this one out.

Ragmeg Alleycat (PC)

Imagine what a two-player, competitive version of Paperboy would be like if you took out the tedious task of delivering papers and made it into a side-on perspective racing game. Well, that's pretty much what Zsolt Bartok has done with Ragmeg Alleycat. It's not much to look at (guilty of both mixed resolution pixel 'art' and terrible screen scaling), but the soundtrack is positively rocking and the game is a great laugh with two players - especially so when you witness your opponent fly over his handlebars for the umpteenth time at the same pedestrian crossing!

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