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Alive 6
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                  (This is not my Ascii by the way..)

                          Does this game SEUCK?

See  CiH  briefly take the ASM Software challenge!  Well it is a  long  wait
between Reservoir Gods releases,  and we must do what we can. Certainly that
is what Matthias Arndt of ASM Soft thought,  when he decided to release this
little shootemup into a summer stupefied Atari scene.

ASM soft seem to have a little bit of history,  mainly on the linux-dad side
of  things,  and  they also seem to do Sun/Java stuff,  although this bit of
their website is still under construction. Their coding activities under the
glorious  Fuji  sign seem to be a fairly recent development,  or possibly  a
very  ancient one when he found an ancient cobwebbed floppy disk  left  over
from his boyhood, or something?

It is a small download,  either as a PeeCee emulator friendly disk-image, or
a  faff-free  and time-saving zipfile for those of us  with  original  Atari
hardware.  Unzipping  reveals  a  small bunch of files,  some image and  odd
looking data files, and an executable 'rungame.prg' which looks promising.

Getting it going proved to be easier than the confusing instructions  seemed
to imply.

"In  other cases make sure to "Install Application" with RUNGAME.PRG on  the
extension  .SCK  and leave the file structure intact  including  the  folder

CiH  translates  to:-  Drag the file 'megastar.sck' and  drop  it  onto  the
'rungame.prg' executable. The program then loads and you are ready to go!

So now you can all go away and play this game for yourself, rather than rely
on this dubious testimony.

The  author  tended  to  be cautious about  the  subject  of  compatibility.
Certainly  a good old bog-standard 1987 vintage STFM was safe,  he even  had
reports that it was okay on an STe. Some emulators had tried it and found it
worked  okay.  Well I'm smugly adding to the available data,  as Megastar is
quite happy to do its thing on the Falcon as well.  Yes,  even a CT2 powered
machine was able to handle the awesome power of this game. The only constant
being  through the different generations,  that the host machine is able  to
reproduce  a  low  resolution  ST-mode sixteen colour  screen,  and  it  has
provision for the old fashioned 9-pin style joysticks. Up to two players can
join in!  There isn't really any difference between running on 8 mhz, and 50
mhz, the game loads a lot quicker on the faster system, but that is all.

As  for the game itself,  the screenhot below gives you a flavour of what it
is  like.  It  looks  a lot like the sort of thing that would be done  as  a
budget  label in the later days of the Commodore 64,  which might make  some
people nostalgic!

The  gameplay is adequate,  and pitched at a medium-ish difficulty level for
this kind of shootemup. There isn't a lot to tell here, point at the target,
click on the fire button for all you are worth,  evade the bad guys. Some of
these can be quite tricky if you aren't paying attention. As a game based on
a  construction  kit system,  it certainly isn't 'Wings of Death',  it isn't
even 'Raiden', but as a shootemup, it does work.

The  graphics  are,  by the authors own admission,  generally poor,  and the
sound is functional and bleepy.  Without wanting to disparage the author,  I
think  this  is  the  sort  of release  that  doesn't  usually  get  a  wide
circulation,  outside  of  immediate friends and family.  I think that there
might  be a little bit of retro-appeal,  but this isn't going to be one that
you will spend a long time over beating even the first level.

 CiH for Alive! Mag, Oct '02

Alive 6