Monday, April 27, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Maniac Mansion (C64, 1987)

I suppose most retro-maniacs are already familiar with Maniac Mansion, Lucasfilm's flagship graphical adventure. It represented the next step in adventure gaming, whereas the traditional text input commands and static screens were replaced by a point 'n' click interface and animated action. It was enough to woo arcade-orientated gamers that were previously ignoring adventures. And it's not hard to see why. Simply put, Maniac Mansion plays a mean game.

At the heart of the game lies a wacky and comical plot, whereas a group of teenagers goes to this creepy mansion to rescue this female friend of theirs that was last seen in the area. During the course of the game they're gonna encounter the seriously oddball Edison family, alien tentacles, evil meteors, nuclear reactors, not to mention the inter-galactic police-force. Not bad, eh?

You actually get to play with three (out of five in total) characters, and according to what characters you choose there are also different solutions, as well as different endings. The point 'n' click interface works really well, and it was something new back then. Nowadays it can get a bit tiresome, especially when using a joystick instead of a mouse, as in the C64's case. That's one of the reasons this sort of game worked better in the 16-bits. The other is that it involves a hell of a lot of loading, though it's not that bad; I've played tape games that were much much worse.

The action is really cool. It's not hard getting started, exploring the house and figuring out what objects to use where, but it will be quite complicated putting the solution together. One of the problems I had is that the game involved a hell of a lot of walking across the three floors of the mansion, so, say, if I was in ground-level and needed to get to the third floor, it got quite boring slouching there time after time. Some sort of elevator would be real handy.

Apart from that I think it's a really good game. Personally, I like the humongous second adventure (Zak McKracken) Lucasfilm did on the C64 better, but you can't deny this game is great as well. Unfortunately, since only a minority of C64 users had disk drives, it didn't really catch on, which is a shame. The C64 market was always tape based, and it'd be impossible to convert this on tape.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dalek Attack longplay part 1 (C64, 1993)

Here's levels 1 to 3 of this neat arcade-adventure. Don't be put off by the silly first shoot-em-up level; it gets better afterwards.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Midnight Resistance (C64, 1990)

Hmm, what do we have here? It's a coin-op conversion of a classic early-90's run 'n' gunner. You're some kinda commando type, and some bad dudes have kidnapped your family. Naturally, you get your guns and go after them in a multi-level killing spree. You know it makes sense.

So anyway, it's a shoot-em-up platformer. Mind, it's not your average walk-left-to right affair, rather a multi directional, multi weapons (from flame-throwers to rocket launchers), and multi enemies (from tanks to helicopters, and from enemy-commandos to F-16's) extravaganza. Cool.

Not being familiar with the arcade original, I actually sat and watched an Amiga longplay in YouTube, to see how the good ol' C64 compares with a 16-bitter. And I tell you what, it's pretty damn good. Naturally, 16-bit graphics fare better, but the action is pretty much the same, if not superior.

Indeed, there were times when the Amiga game looked a bit stuffed and rigid, whereas the C64 version looked more flexible and playable. And when I say that the 16-bit graphics fare better, don't assume that the graphics in the c64 version are bad. Far from it. Most levels have beautifully drawn backdrops, while variety comes aplenty. Just look at those screenshots.

The action is fast and furious, mean and addictive. Occasionally hard, but never frustrating. And if you spend some time playing it, you're guaranteed to be able to finish it. No problem. But hey, it's such a cool little game that you might want to do it again.


Monday, April 6, 2009

McDonaldland longplay part 9 (C64, 1992)

Phew, and here is the final part to the McDonaldland longplay. That was long, wasn't it? So, beat Hamburglar, then go to your local McDonalds and get a Big Mac to celebrate your success. -)