Tuesday 28 February 2012

Panic Analogue Cartridge Available! (C64)

That's right... Panic Analogue is now available to buy on cartridge from our shop!

Goin' Sideways and RGCD are proud to present to you 'Panic Analogue', a fast-paced and highly addictive analogue paddle controlled game for one or two players. The game was developed as an entry for the RGCD C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition (2011) and came third place out of 11 entries. Easy to learn, almost impossible to master, each of the 14 procedurally generated levels are carefully designed to challenge every kind of gamer - as well as offering almost unlimited replayability.

Your objective is to keep poor little Redhead alive, trapped in his cave. It's a cruel world in there with droplets of water and fireballs constantly falling from above. In order to survive he has to collect every water droplet in his mouth to stay fresh, and keep his torch alit by catching the fireballs. If a water droplet hits the torch things will go very wrong - and swallowing a fireball of course also leads to pure catastrophe!

NTSC and PAL compatible, Panic Analogue even works on the GS - the only requirement being a pair of analogue paddles. The original Commodore variety or Atari 2600 'Tennis' controllers will do fine, and the game website even gives instructions for making your own!

The transparent red, internally LED-illuminated cartridge is packaged in a box designed by Redcrab and comes complete with a printed manual and credit card sized vinyl-coated sticker. As always, I will endeavour to ship out games within a week of purchase, but it may take a little bit longer depending on how many orders come in.

Monday 27 February 2012

Jars' Revenge (C64) (2011)

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 Jars' Revenge (PAL/NTSC) in .bin/.crt cartridge format HERE!
Download Jars' Revenge (PAL) in .tap tape format HERE!

BONUS! Download mp3 recordings of the soundtrack HERE!
BONUS! Check out TRSI's 'Meet Linus' music collection in C64 .prg format HERE!

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


The C64 scene has waited almost 30 years for a decent conversion of Atari's 2600 classic "Yars' Revenge". Thanks to Peiselulli and Linus from Tristar & Red Sector Incorporated, that wait is now over.

Jars' Revenge is a full-screen (using all border space), PAL and NTSC compatible 2012 update of a timeless console shoot 'em up developed as an entry for the RGCD C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition (2011). The game is currently cartridge only as it actually uses a few bytes of the available ROM space as extra memory (have fun with that, crackers!)

As it is a remake of an Atari game (with the IP still in use), obviously there is no way that we could get away with officially selling copies of Jars' Revenge here at RGCD. Sorry about that. We have, however, provided the cartridge .rom for free download above - so you are welcome to make your own cartridges or use the file in an emulator.

Playing The Game

To play Jars' Revenge you will need either a real C64 (and a method of transferring the game 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 cartridge images via the 'File -> Attach Cartridge Image' option.

Like the original, Jars' Revenge is deceptively complex for a simple looking game; upon it's release last year the most common complaint was that people just didn't understand how to play it! Hopefully the following paragraphs will settle this issue once and for all.

JAR - Fly simulator under direct user control.
ENERGY MISSILE - Missile shot by Jar, removes cells.
QUOTILE BASE - Laser-base like object on right side of the screen, behind the shield.
SHIELD - Energy shield protecting the base, composed of cells.
CELLS - Elements of which shield is composed.
DESTROYER MISSILE - Guided missiles put out by the base to destroy Jars.
CANNON - Appears on left side of screen and traverses the screen horizontally.
SWIRL - Whirling pinwheel fired by the Quotile base to destroy Jars.
NEUTRAL ZONE - Glittering path in the centre of the playfield. When in the zone, a Jar cannot operate fire commands and cannot be harmed by Destroyer Missiles. However, the Jar can still be destroyed by a Swirl in the zone.

The primary objective of the game is to break a path through the shield and destroy the Quotile base with a blast from the Cannon. The secondary objective is to score as many points as possible.

The shield is the red area in front of the base. It appears in one of two shapes, as an arch, or a shifting rectangle. The shield is made up of cells. The Jar scout can destroy these cells by firing at them with energy missiles, from any location on the playfield, or by devouring them on direct contact. (The Cannon can also be used to destroy the cells, but this is a waste of a powerful weapon.)

The Jars' movement is controlled by the joystick plugged into port 2. The screen wraps from top to bottom, bottom to top. This means that if you fly the Jar off the top of the screen, it will appear at the bottom, and vice versa.

The fire button has two separate firing functions: it will fire an energy missile in the direction the Jar is pointed, or operate the Cannon when it is on the screen.

Press SPACEBAR to pause game, use joystick to leave pause mode.

Once a path has been cleared through the shield, the Cannon must be used to destroy the base. To call up the Cannon, the Jar can either eat a cell, or run over the base.

The Cannon appears on the left side of the playfield, and moves in a direct line with the Jar. This means the Jar is in its line of fire. It is important therefore, to aim the cannon at the base, fire it, and fly out of the way fast!

The base shoots off two weapons: Destroyer Missiles and Swirls. The Destroyer Missiles home in on the Jar and the player must do his best to dodge them. Periodically, the base transforms into a Swirl. This Swirl winds up and rushes off after the Jar. A Swirl can be destroyed with the Cannon by hitting it either at its base location, or in mid-air. As a player's score increases, the Swirl becomes increasingly dangerous.

The glittering path down the centre of the screen is the Neutral Zone. This area will protect a Jar from Destroyer Missiles but not from Swirls. While in the Neutral Zone, a Jar cannot fire any energy missiles of his own.

When a Jar is hit by a Destroyer Missile, a Swirl, or his own Cannon, he dies. Each player has four Jars (turns) to play in a game. Additional Jars can be earned (details below).


Points and bonuses are rewarded to the player for the following activities.

Cell, hit by Missile (69 Pts)
Cell, devoured by Jar (69 Pts & 100 Bonus)
Base, destroyed (1000 Pts)
Swirl, destroyed in place (2000 Pts)
Swirl, destroyed in flight (6000 Pts & 1UP)

Score-Based Game Evolution

When your score hits these milestones the game will react by ramping up the difficulty significantly :)

70,000 Pts - Swirl triples in frequency and sometimes fires instantly. Neutral Zone vanishes on every 4th level. Shield turns blue.
150,000 Pts - Swirl returns to normal frequency but will also change direction in mid-air to hit you. Shield turns grey.
230,000 Pts - Swirl again triples in frequency and sometimes fires instantly. Shield turns pink.
300,000 Pts - Shield moves two times faster. Shield turns brown.

Promotional Trailer

Below is a promotional video of Jars' Revenge running on a C64c with 8050 SID chip. If people want a high-quality downloadable version of this I can upload it to the server upon request.


When you destroy the base, or a Swirl, there will be an explosion, during which the Jar stays on the screen. Use this opportunity to make up your own victory dance.

The base continually changes colours. The colour sequence is your cue to the appearance of a Swirl, and gives you warning to plan your attack and defence.

If you fly over the base as it changes to a Swirl it will destroy you, so be careful.


The following people made this game possible.

Code, Graphics & Sound Effects
Peiselulli (Tristar & Red Sector Incorporated)

SID Music
Linus (Tristar & Red Sector Incorporated)

James Monkman (RGCD)

NTSC Testing
Raymond Lejuez (C64 World)

Cartridge Hardware
Tim Harris (Shareware Plus)

Jars' Revenge is a TRSI production, Copyright 2011.

Friday 24 February 2012

The Blackwell Deception (PC)

Point 'n' Click adventures are going through somewhat of a commercial renaissance of late, having been pretty much ignored for years. HD remakes and directors cut's have graced the digital marketplaces, and actual retail boxed releases of some new P'n'Cs have snuck onto shelves, albeit with a whimper rather than a fanfare.

Of course the retro indie community never truly abandoned Point and Clicks, and Chris Jones's AGS (adventure game studio) development environment has been at the heart of this active scene since it's creation over a decade ago, with countless games having been made on it – of wildly varying quality.

The Blackwell Deception is the forth game in a series of AGS driven games written by Dave Gilbert (no relation to Monkey Island designer Ron Gilbert), and continues on from The Blackwell Legacy, Blackwell Unbound and The Blackwell Convergence. Whilst each game is technically a stand alone affair, they are probably best enjoyed as a quadrilogy, containing references to previous games and a setting that, on its own, makes little sense and is given no real introduction.

Zombie Incident (MSX)

One of the first reviews I ever wrote for RGCD, back when the magazine still came out on a compact disc, was of an MSX game - and for a while now I've been eager to get back to the old MSX, while continously kicking myself for passing up the chance to pick one up at a car boot sale a few years ago. With the judging of the MSXDev 2011 game development contest going on right now and games already entered for the 2012 contest it's looking like a bumper season for MSX gamers and reviewers, and I was chuffed to fire up the top notch blueMSX emulator and have a crack at Zombie Incident, one of the nine entries in the 2011 contest.

Inspired by the Mojon Twins' Cheril Perils, nenefranz’s Zombie Incident is a screen-by-screen platformer that pits the player against a castle full of zombies of varying species, on a quest to collect eight stars and escape the castle. And at the finish of an incredibly hectic weekend in this reporter's personal life it's quite simply a treat to play.

Sunday 5 February 2012

Maritrini, Freelance Monster Slayer (ZX Spectrum)

As a self-proclaimed 'super-fan' of The Cure, I am somewhat ashamed to confess that I played Maritrini, Freelance Monster Slayer for three days straight before a rusty cog in my brain turned and I made the following observation. Maritrini's five stages, each made up of four levels, are named after famous songs by the band. This certainly called into question both my commitment to Smith and the boys, and my so-called powers of deduction – especially as it took Stage 3, Lovecats, to finally make it click. I'm not proud, but still, bonus points for Maritrini from this reviewer!

Maritrini has been unceremoniously sacked as the star of her own TV show Maritrini, Monster Slayer. Like any good entrepreneur she is undeterred and sets up as a freelancer, only to be contacted out-of-the-blue by the former Director of the series, Paul Duran, who asks her to rescue his kidnapped daughter. She has been taken by an evil organisation – the type that specialises in genetic manipulation and turning human beings into bloodthirsty monsters. She heads to the grounds of Mr. Duran's mansion, and strikes out into the woods (A Forest, Cure fans) to get her back.

Saturday 4 February 2012

Pineapple Smash Crew (PC)

At first glance Rich Make Game's Pineapple Smash Crew ticks all the right boxes to guarantee an RGCD 5/5 award; excellent nouveau-retro presentation, Commodore Amiga composed chiptune soundtrack, procedurally generated content and balls-to-the-wall fast-paced, intense and explosive arcade gameplay. It's cartoonified representation of the Warhammer 40K tabletop wargame universe (Space Hulk anyone?) combined with a promise of Cannon Fodder-esque squad-based tactical combat had me hitting that 'buy now' button before even watching the trailer, and my first few plays were a nostalgia-laden and enjoyable voyage of discovery full of eye-popping explosions and some of the most innovative weaponry design I've experienced outside the realm of first-person-shooters. And yet, if I had to summarise the game in a single line my final verdict would have to be "Close, but no cigar".

Friday 3 February 2012

Hack Slash Loot (PC/Mac/Linux)

From the outset I should say I really wanted to like Hack Slash Loot more than I end up doing. It is a procedurally generated turn based dungeon crawler/rogue-like, with deliciously retro 8x8 pixel graphics with lovely music. These are factors that are definitely in HSL's favour, and I should be fawning over it and singing its praises – but unfortunately I have mainly been frustrated rather than entertained... and therein lies a problem.

EFMB: Endless Forms Most Beautiful (ZX Spectrum)

It is always fascinating to see art in its developmental stages – bootlegs of The Beatles demos, DaVinci's Last Supper sketches or Oliver Hardy's pre-Laurel short films. With this in mind it is interesting to note that with EFMB: Endless Forms Most Beautiful we can trace a parentage that stretches back to 2010, a Philatelists Odyssey – Dave Hughes's entry in the 2010 comp.sys.sinclair Crap Game Competition. This was an unplayably slow BASIC game, and begat his much better game Stamp Quest in 2011. Dave has further refined his programming skills (in very public view on the W.O.S. developers forums) and has now given us a new year's present of EFMB – and a corker of a game it is too!