Tuesday 24 July 2012

Degz (Atari Jaguar)

It was back in the bleak December of last year that I reviewed Kobayashi Maru, a 360-degree shooter for the Atari Jaguar with bright, summery graphics, and so it seems fitting that now in the sweltering British "summer" I'm having a crack at a Jaguar game set in the cold vacuum of space.

Degz is both an homage to the classic arcade game Scramble and a demonstration piece to show off the RaptoR engine that the game's producers Reboot are working on, and comes packing a solid, atmospheric chiptune soundtrack to go along with its fast-paced sideways-shooter gameplay. And what gameplay! I actually hurt my hand playing this game. That's not a flowery confabulation, I literally got cramps in my left hand from hammering the fire button (there's a version of Degz with autofire enabled for those of us who don't want to ruin their careers as hand models or whatever) and still with a hand that keeps clawing up and making me wince as I type this I can't hold it against this fun little blaster.

Downfall (Amiga)

When your other half avails herself of your laptop and starts playing the hell out of the game you've been assigned to review it can only be a sign that a game is something special. When you finally get it back and they wistfully look over your shoulder as you play and beg to be let back on- likewise. Thank the Rock Lobster god, then, for Downfall's two-player mode!

Downfall, an endearing and frustratingly addictive Amiga reverse-platformer based on falling rather than jumping, is based on a recent homebrew for the Atari Jaguar and as demonstrated above it's laptop-stealingly good.

The Lost Disks Of Sam (SAM Coupé)

This is a very polished single screen arcade action game, in which you play as Moebius – who must avoid baddies on platforms whilst collecti... hang on, déjà vu! Yes, The Lost Disks Of Sam is a very punctual remake of 'The Lost Tapes Of Albion' for that little supported and eccentric 8-Bit, the SAM Coupé.

The SAM Coupé itself was an ill-fated home computer by Miles Gordon Technology, and performed like a pimped up ZX Spectrum. In this game BlackJet have taken Dave Hughes' game, and performed a similar make-over. So, for those not paying attention, that’s … 2010: a Philatelists Odyssey begat Stamp Quest, which begat EFMB, which in turn begat The Lost Tapes Of Albion, and this then gave us The Lost Disks Of Sam.

Friday 20 July 2012

Greenrunner/Redrunner/Retroskoi+ Cartridge Available! (C64)

Just a very short post to announce that Aleksi Eeben's Greenrunner/Redrunner/Retroskoi+ cartridge has been added to our shop!

Yet again, RGCD and Psytronik Software have collaborated to bring you a multi-format release - this time of two of the finest arcade games available for the Commodore 64, Aleksi Eeben's acclaimed Greenrunner and Redrunner - both upgraded and optimised to run on both PAL and NTSC machines. Not only that, but Aleksi has also managed to squeeze into the 64kb cartridge version an updated (and also NTSC fixed) version of Retroskoi+, converting your C64 computer into a two-oscillator monophonic synthesizer.

As mentioned previously in my preview post, this has been a release that I've been very excited about - it has taken a long time to organise, but the end result has really been more than worth the effort. The 64KB cartridge version is housed in a clear cartridge shell illuminated by an internal flashing green and red LED, complete with a printed manual and Retroskoi+ reference sheet. The package costs £25/26 inclusive of Europe/Worldwide shipping.

The games are also available together on disk or tape from Psytronik Software - with the tape, disk and premium disk versions costing £4.99/£4.99/£9.99 respectively (plus shipping).

Retroskoi+ is exclusive to the cartridge release, but the two games and mp3 soundtrack can be downloaded for free from the Greenrunner/Redrunner/Retroskoi+ game page.

Greenrunner/Redrunner/Retroskoi+ (C64) (2012)

System Requirements

* A Commodore 64/128/GS (PAL/NTSC) (6581 SID Recommended).
* A joystick/joypad (two for two-player mode).
* A VDU preferably connected to a loud sound-system.


Download Greenrunner/Redrunner/Retroskoi+ (PAL/NTSC) in C64 .prg format HERE!
Download the retail version of Greenrunner/Redrunner/Retroskoi+ (PAL/NTSC) in C64 .tap and .crt format HERE!

BONUS! Download mp3 recordings of both soundtracks HERE!
BONUS! Download the Retroskoi+ reference sheet .pdf HERE!

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


RGCD and Psytronik Software are incredibly honoured to present to you two of the finest arcade games available for the Commodore 64, Aleksi Eeben's acclaimed Greenrunner and Redrunner – both upgraded and optimised to run on both PAL and NTSC machines. Not only that, but Aleksi has also managed to squeeze into the 64kb cartridge version an updated (and also NTSC fixed) version of Retroskoi+, converting your C64 computer into a two-oscillator monophonic synthesizer.

To play the games (downloaded from the links above) 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 drag and drop the .prg file into the open program window.


Released back in 2006 at the Game Over(view) Freestyle Jam, Greenrunner literally blew the competition away with its frantic arcade gameplay and amazing mix of sampled speech and high quality soundtrack. It's a game so hardcore and visually intense that it's probable that even Jeff Minter would beg for mercy at the thought of having to beat all 100 levels.

Grab a friend (or take on the challenge solo), jump into your Cyanitizer and Yellowizer battle craft, buckle up and warm up the four-directional bug-blasting pesticide cannons. This is going to be one hell of a trip.

Playing Greenrunner

Greenrunner is a one or two player (co-operative) arcade style single-screen shoot 'em up. You control a small round battle craft that fires in four directions simultaneously and will have to face 100 waves of bug-infested mayhem to beat the game. It won't be easy.

Player one (Cyanitizer) uses the joystick connected to port 2, and player two (Yellowizer) uses port 1. Information on the various enemies, hazards, scoring and power-ups is helpfully provided on the title screen.


One year on, the bugs are back, and this time they are in full colour! Improving on the high-res character based graphics of the original, 2007's Redrunner challenges the player with an all new and improved 100 waves of chaos. Lock 'n' load!

Playing Redrunner

Conveniently, the game rules and controls are the same as in Greenrunner - and again the instructions are displayed on the title screen.


Retroskoi Plus is a 2-oscillator monophonic synth for Commodore 64. This enhanced Plus version exclusive to the RGCD Redrunner & Greenrunner cartridge comes with additional preset sounds and a wider keyboard range. In short, using Retroskoi+ and an audio connector you can rock up to a gig, plug in the C64 and cartridge and use your Commodore as a synthesizer or noise box - no monitor or other peripherals required!

Promotional Trailer

Below is a promotional video made for the cartridge version showing a few minutes of unedited in game footage complete with real-time soundtrack.


The following people made this game possible.

Code, Graphics, SID Music & Sound Effects
Aleksi Eeben

Greenrunner Logo
Twoflower (TRIAD)

Redrunner Title Music
6R6 (Nostalgia/Shape)

Elaine Walker (Greenrunner)
Antti Hukkanen (Redrunner)

Cover Artwork
Miha Rinne

Project Management
James Monkman (RGCD)
Jason MacKenzie (Psytronik Software)
Jazzcat (Onslaught)

NTSC Testing
Raymond Lejuez (C64 World)

Cartridge Hardware
Tim Harris (Shareware Plus)

Tape Mastering
Richard Bayliss (TND)

Greenrunner, Redrunner and Retroskoi+ are copyright Aleksi Eeben 2006-2012. Published on 64KB C64 cartridge by RGCD, 2012.
Published on disk and cassette by Psytronik Software, 2012.

Ordering The Official Cartridge/Tape/Disk

Greenrunner, Redrunner and Retroskoi+ have been updated since their initial release to ensure NTSC and PAL compatibility, and the game menu joystick control means that the two games are even playable on the Commodore 64 GS console. The cartridge version is available to buy from our shop. The cover art features an illustration by Miha Rinne and the game comes complete with a printed manual, Retroskoi+ reference sheet and a vinyl RGCD sticker. The 64KB PCB is housed in a clear cartridge shell illuminated by an internal flashing green and red LED.

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 £22, whereas the deluxe version costs £27. Shipping is £4 for UK/Europe and £5 for the rest of the world. A digital version of the game will also be sent out to all customers following receipt of payment.

The games are also available together on disk or tape from Psytronik Software - with the tape, disk and premium disk versions costing £4.99/£4.99/£9.99 respectively (plus postage).

Friday 13 July 2012

La-Mulana (Remake) (PC)

We all have that moment in gaming that was special to us. It didn't have to be gaming's peak, but it was that point in our lives when gaming was the perfect pastime and when everything felt new. The original La-Mulana, released on PC in 2005, was a carefully crafted homage to its creators' childhood memories of the MSX home computer, and especially Konami's formidable contributions to its library. With its ugly, 16-color palette that perfectly copies the awful Texas Instruments graphics chip found in so many MSX, ColecoVision, and SG-1000 systems, and even a choice of soundtracks that emulated different MSX audio chips, it was the ultimate MSX game; a loving recreation of the system's games not as they really were but as awesome as its author remembers them being.

Of course most of the potential audience out there has never played an MSX and Easter egg references to Tokimeki Memorial and SD Snatcher sail right over their heads without so much as a glimmer of recognition. Nigoro's remake attempts to take the great game that La-Mulana was and recontextualize it in a way that more retro-gamers can understand. The graphics have been redone in a recognizably retro but considerably updated style that evokes the Super NES but could fall anywhere in the 16-bit spectrum. Music likewise maintains its retro sensibilities, if not its authentic sound. Even the framerate has gotten a nice bump, and the game is now very fluid.

Thursday 12 July 2012

Spelunky (XBLA/PC/Mac)

Who hasn't heard of Spelunky? You know, the cave-diving, procedurally generated magnum opus by designer Derek Yu (aka Mossmouth?) Wait... actually, I'm guessing a lot of people, up until the XBOX Live Arcade release on July 4th, 2012.

For those who haven't yet donned their khakis, gripped their whips and adjusted their fedoras, this fantastic platforming romp began as a humble freeware title tracing its origins back to late 2008. For a while, I believe it was only available via a thread in the TIGSource forums, then later got its own official home on the web. I, like other videogame enthusiasts - as well as a slew of talented developers - played this gem before it was cool. Since I'm not an annoying hipster, I won't be assaulting your retinas by Instagramming a screenie of old school Spelunky next to a picture of my feet at the beach distorted by some stupid filter making it look old, but I digress.

Phantomas en el Museo (ZX Spectrum)

We take our research extremely seriously here at RGCD. For example, in preparation for reviewing the latest Phantomas game by the prolific Mojon Twins, I have been in deep-cover for three years, 'working' at a well-known museum in the north of England. Oh, alright, we don't take research that seriously, but I do happen to work in a museum. If only real life were as exciting as the sci-fi supernatural crime caper, Phantamos en el Museo...

This Phantomas mini-game has, very commendably, been released to mark International Museum Day 2012. The project has been undertaken with the blessing of the IAACC in Zaragoza, a contemporary art museum celebrating the work of Pablo Serrano. The game is based around the unlikely scenario that a criminal gang of ghosts have taken over the museum and are basically trashing it with no regard for the artistic treasures held within. As this emergency is occurring in Spain, the only logical course of action appears to be sending out an intergalactic distress call to 'the most famous thief of the 80s' - our hero Phantomas. After consulting the telephone directory and cold-calling all the museums in town, Phantomas locates the source of trouble and descends upon the museum, determined to rescue (steal) the five Serrano sculptures that remain intact.

Saturday 7 July 2012

Endless Forms Most Beautiful (PC) (2012)

System Requirements

Endless Forms Most Beautiful (EFMB) was created in GM8.1 and therefore should work on XP, Vista and Windows 7 PC's. The game requires around 200MB of RAM (blame the Game Maker interpreter for that!) and 30MB of hard disk space.

I'm unaware of the exact system specifications (CPU, etc.), but any system capable of running XP or Vista should cope with this simple little game.


Download EFMB (ZIP archive) HERE (End level bug fixed)!
Download the manual (PDF) HERE!

BONUS! Download the posters, DVD insert and disc artwork (ZIP archive) HERE!
BONUS! Download mp3 recordings of the soundtrack (ZIP archive) HERE!
BONUS! Download the original ZX Spectrum Version (Link) HERE!

The game and extras are also available from Locomalito's website.


Imps exist all around us, just beyond the limits of our perception in a parallel universe of infinite variety and beauty. Co-existing with humankind, these pan-dimensional critters are the reason why the occasional sock goes missing from the laundry basket. They are to blame for the disappearance of yesterday’s leftover pasta, or moving your house keys while you sleep.

Two clans of imp herders are in a never-ending battle for ownership of the imps. The enigmatic Moebius clan from the 48th plane of existence are shrouded in mystery, as are their reasons for collecting the imps. The feminine Puckies however have always made their purpose clear - back on their home world in the Z80 quadrant imps are considered a unequalled delicacy (especially when coated in chocolate).

Jumping through space and time, Moebius and Pucky clan members warp from one bizarre reality to another, frantically grabbing as many imps as they can. Who will win today's battle?

Background Of The PC Remake

When discussing the rise and fall of the remake scene with our Locomalito we came to the conclusion that one of the main reasons behind this was that all the good, simple games had been done. However, an idea started to form... wouldn't it be cool if people were to remake modern 8-bit games on the PC, much like how coders on retro platforms like to demake popular flash and iOS games? Locomalito was intrigued and asked to see some suggestions of decent homebrew 8-bit software that we'd consider worthy of remaking. David Hughes' EFMB was amongst the games sent over - and it was at this point when Locomalito's love affair with Moebius and Pucky began.

Bringing on-board his usual team of Gryzor87 and Marek Barej as well as RGCD and David Hughes, it wasn't long before we had a working prototype. A few weeks later and multi-player and other extra features were up and running. Before long, this simple remake of a little known and quintessentially British platformer had evolved into a mock 1980's coin-op experience - and the initial betas were sent out for testing.

This is where the headaches (or braincrashing - to coin a term from Locomalito) began. No-one, other than fans of the original, could work out how to play it. In play-testing, EFMB with it's bonkers teleporting and screen wrapping mechanics failed catastrophically in exactly the opposite way to how it had triumphed on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum. It was simply too hard and too confusing for non-veteran EFMB players.

A major dumbing-down process began. The difficulty on the early stages was slashed. Instructions were added to the title screen. Levels were tweaked over and over to remove unfair deaths. Bugs were removed by the dozen.

Then finally, an accessible, fair and enjoyable version of the game emerged from the chaos. Hopefully you'll find the end result worth the effort!


The default controls are cursor keys for player one, WASD for player two and Enter/Return to start the game. These can be reconfigured within the included settings executable. Escape quits the game.

Playing The Game

Now, please pay attention. EFMB is a game that abides by no traditional platforming standards. You cannot jump. You cannot kill enemies by landing on their heads. The screen wrapping doesn't work like you'd expect.

There are some simple rules:

To use a teleporter to change levels, stand on it and push up or down.  Exiting the screen to the left ascends a level, whereas exiting to the right descends a level.

To complete each stage, grab all of the imps and bonuses.  But watch out! Some of the imps are hiding bombs. These detonate after a short while and temporarily destroy any enemies on the same level. They also kill you, so avoid them if possible.

Finally, imps will occasionally turn into bonus pick ups. As explained above, you still need to collect these to clear the stage.

Note that the time left after beating each stage is converted into imps, so be quick! Also, be warned - when you die some of your imps will escape! You'll have to be particularly careful in VS mode!

There are of course lots of dangers and nasty critters living in the hazardous imp fields, each with their own unique properties. It's up to you to learn these yourself. And be prepared, there is a big surprise waiting for you on the 15th stage!

Single Player Game / Two Player Cooperative

Guide Moebius or Pucky (selectable by pushing left or right at the game select menu) through 15 stages and collect all the imps.

Too difficult? Grab a friend and get them to help you beat the game in two player cooperative mode!

Two Player VS Game

In VS mode three stages are chosen at random. At the end of the third stage, whoever has the most imps wins the battle!


Original ZX Spectrum Version
David Hughes

PC Remake Design
David Hughes
James Monkman (RGCD)




DVD Cover, Disc & Poster Artwork
Marek Barej

David Hughes
James Monkman (RGCD)
Alexey Zubkov
Andy Jenkinson (RGCD)
Jameson Wilkins
Rami Ismail (Vlambeer)

Friday 6 July 2012

Redrunner/Greenrunner/Retroskoi+ Cartridge Preview (C64)

Released back in 2006 (around the same time that the first RGCD magazine was being written), Aleksi Eeben's Greenrunner was the reason I moved on from emulation and bought a real C64. With its combination of frantic single or multi-player shoot 'em up mayhem, kick ass 6581 soundtrack and amazing sampled speech, I wasted many an hour in the zone battling through the 100 waves of bugs, critters, mushrooms and explosions.

Then one year later a sequel followed, ditching the high resolution characters for tiny multicolour graphics and featuring 100 more unique levels. Redrunner was so popular in the scene that it even crossed over to some of the indie gaming news sites (a rarity at the time for C64 games), climaxing with an appearance on the front page of TIGSource in 2007. In fact, if you care to read the comments there you'll see a hyperactive exclamation from a considerably younger me. *sigh*

Wednesday 4 July 2012

C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition - Status Update #1

Here we go, the first of several status updates regarding entries for this year's 16KB C64 game competition. Without further delay, let's have a look at the progress made so far.

Competition Entry #1: On The Farm III
Developer: Achim Volkers
Status: Complete & Submitted!

Achim Volkers has returned to the competition this year with not one, but two game entries! The first On The Farm III was actually released prior to the competition being announced, but making good use of the three-games limit he submitted an improved cartridge exclusive version of the game with better scoring mechanics.

The third in a trilogy of animal-based action games, On The Farm III is a fun little shoot 'em up featuring a seagull with a hyperactive bowel protecting a farmer's crop from a herd of hungry sheep. Check out the original version here.