b y P a r a d i z e
Some days ago, Sunnyboy of PARADIZE released a 90Kb GFA game that is made
available from their website at paradize.atari.org. Being fond of games and
above all of all new stuff, I gave it a try, so let's see what it offers !
I suddenly remembered the plane chasing my brother and I used to play on
our home video system, called SABA, about 15 years ago if not more (but you
know that memory tends to play tricks on you :) At that time the game consisted
in two squarey shapes supposed to represent planes. There was no background nor
any sound but we had quite a lot of fun playing it again and again. Can we
expect to feel the same vibe again with that game labelled 1995 but released in
2004 ? Questions may find answers a bit further.
First the game will refuse to run from midres still it runs from harddrive
so let's reduce resolution and give it a go. Soon enough an introductory screen
appears before we reach the main menu described below :
As you can see, many options are offered : I haven't tried to play with
another human, having no friend at hand so that I decided to switch the AI
player on. You can add to the difficulty by running the planet option that will
display a big sprite to avoid right in the middle of the screen. Use the other
functions keys if you need to change controls, settings or merely get some
information about the game goal or credits. Just press F1 when you are ready to
enter the arena.
And there it goes, red player versus blue contender (uh another reminiscence
of that game I used to play since it used the same colors :). But better have a
look by yourself :
Your aim is quite plain : just fly around and kill the other bastard ! to
be honest, I haven't played the game enough to understand the subtle speed up
and energy thing, though I am not sure there is anything to get. Using your
joystick (blow the dust out of it first :), you only need to move your ship and
fire bullets until you kill your opponent. One major drawback imho comes from
the fact that rotations are too slow, hence slowing up the whole game pace :(
the ennemy isn't too smart either, hence not representing a real challenge but
I know that such games aren't really fun until you've played them with friends.
But I have no friends :( Oki, no friends at hand would be better said :)
Pang, pang, pang and the bastard is dead ! That's it, end of game. Oki, you
shouldn't wait for deeper plot here and the author won't try to look for any
excuses, it's plain "shoot and kill" game here. The background looks oki, don't
pay attention to the lame snapshot taken from STeem with some colors messed up.
Sound is ok too, nothing more but still decent.
What else then ? Gameplay is oki and quite clear, options are numerous
enough and provided there's a human player available it can prove fun for some
time. More background pictures would be needed tho or maybe I didn't play the
game long enough and there are more playgrounds ? It's a bit slow tho, more
speed would have really brought longer replay value but hey it's GFA (not a
good excuse tho if you consider Roger that is also reviewed in this issue).
Last words :
Undoubtedly more fun that Zombie Apocalypse but less captivating than Roger
if you ask me. surely the 2 players mode enhances interest but then I'd rather
play Godpey :) A more than average game then, that could be funnier with some
advanced features such as ingame msx, more background or funny options. Not so
bad for a game designed in 1995 though.
And now we go with a second review written by CiH who didn't know i had
already written my own part : Well you're offered a second view then :)
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A 'Space Wars' clone for Atari ST and upwards..
First thing first, Space War not Asteroids. Sure it uses vector line
graphics, but Space War came first. In fact the original game was the great
grandfather of all other computer games, with the first version running
sometime around 1959. (Well first computer game to use a cathode ray tube
as a major part of its entertainment value at least. I'm not too sure about
when those "Guess the animal" games played with punchcard and tickertape
printout came in?)
So what is 'Space War'? It takes computer gaming right back to its basics,
possibly beyond. You and the other guy, see who gets killed first? You are
not given a sixgun and a wild west town square to work out your
disagreement, but instead you and your opponent duel with equally matched
spaceships over the diamond heart of a dead white dwarf star, or
I actually spotted and played on a Space Wars arcade machine, out there in
the wild. There weren't too many out there, as it arrived just before the
tsunami that was called 'Space Invaders' crashed over the world and changed
things forever. The one I experienced had a Star Trek theme. It pitted
player one, the familiar saucer fronted USS Enterprise, against the second
players sleek lines of a classic Klingon Battlecruiser. Instead of a planet
in the centre of the screen, there was a black hole, which acted as a
gravity well, attempting to pull in the two players, so you spent half your
time pouring the thrust on, to avoid being pulled into the dark place of
Paradize has made their version to run on any member of the Atari ST
family. It functions happily with my CT60, but is an ST game at heart. The
vector ships are coloured red and blue, no trace of Star Trek or anything
famously sci-fi in there. The word you are looking for is 'generic'. The
background starkness of the original is broken up in this version with a
bit of a starscape. You have the luxury of a nice YM tune, or for
STe/Falcon DMA equipped machines, a selection of sampled sound effects.
Unlike the original, you have the option of machine AI standing in for one
of the players, so you can indulge this game in a solo fashion. There are
various options to choose from, methods of control from jystick to
keyboard, choice of sound or music, and a great big planet to put into the
centre of the screen. Actually, one of the best methods to kill the AI
player is to let it crash into the planet. On a CT60 at least, it is
otherwise awesomely quick and deadly.
Other tweakables include whether to have an unrealistic (for freefall) drag
factor on your ship, and there is the chance to swap power between shield
protection, and energy to power the guns and engines.
Space Wars never made it into the big time, an insurmountable need for two
human players in an age of solo games, shortness of game duration, and an
inherent bugginess crippled its appeal. The one I encountered had a reset
button, as the game tended to lose direction and get stuck in a loop near
the end. It was a ghostly survivor among a plethora of more modern
machines, stuck in a half-forgotten corner in a distant seaside town.
Still, it was ancient and curious enough to be enjoyable for a time.
With this version, Simon Sunnyboy has successfully recreated the transient
and briefly enjoyable fun derived from this ancestor of all modern video
Pretty good ST recreation of an obscure and ancient game.
Very tolerant of different hardware,goes from STFM to CT60 without problems.
Single player mode included for no extra cost!
Cool two player fun.
Some enhancements, STe DMA sound.
It is a very simplistic game concept, no long term interest.
No high score, or 'best of five' tournament option.
The keys are a handful sometimes. Jagpad support would be nice for a future
CiH, for Alive! Diskmag,Feb '04.