The quest for the grail is not Archaeology, it’s a race against your torch burning out…

January 19, 2013

IMG_0907As far as trilogies go, Indiana Jones ranks right up there as one of my all time favorites. What’s not to love about treasure hunting, whip cracking, Nazi bashing, mythology sensationalising adventure?

Nothing, that’s what. There’s nothing not to love about it.

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So it’d be crazy for me not to give a game based on such a fantastic set of movies a red hot go, which led me to fire up Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade on the Commodore 64 for a play today. Verdict? Not too shabby – not too shabby at all. Like a lot of C64 platformers, twitch-sensitive timing is the order of the day as you guide Indy through level after level whipping bad guys, avoiding falling rocks and avoiding that most toxic of platform game elements – water.

 

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IMG_0909Last Crusade employs an interesting game mechanic in the use of torches scattered throughout the levels.  Each torch illuminates bad guys, falling debris and other things worth shining light on, but they are finite objects. You need to always be on the look out for the next torch to pick up, lest the one you’re carrying burn out and leave you in the dark and utterly clueless.

From a few minutes with the game, I’d have to say I’ll be going

back to give it a proper work out. From the great 8-bit rendition of the Indiana Jones theme music, to the satisfaction created when a few well timed jumps land you out of danger and onto your next torch, Last Crusade hits all the right platform genre targets and is well worth some of your retro gaming time.

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King Of The Bargains

January 6, 2013

IMG_0731-P30I just thrashed out a couple of rounds of King of the Fighters ’98 on the Neo Geo, and thought I’d stop in to let you know two seemingly important facts (at least to me).

1) KOF ’98 is a fucking killer fighting game. Massive roster, beefy arcade sounds and glorious big bold graphics, KOF ’98 on the Neo Geo AES truly is an arcade cab stuffed into a home console.

2) I consider this game one of my great bargain finds. The game itself regularly sells on eBay for around the $100 – $150 mark, so considering I scored this, a boxed Neo Geo AES itself, and a boxed second Neo Geo CD controller for the sum of $150 total….well, chuffed is a word I’d throw in there.

If you have an AES, then save your pennies up for this title. I’m not usually a big advocate of hunting down expensive games, but this is a no brainer. In my opinion if you own this, you don’t really need any other KOF games (although most of the others seem a fair bit cheaper, so if you’re on a budget then that may dictate what you get). Anyway, I’ll leave you with some tasty pictures of the action;

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Amiga A570 CDROM drive

January 6, 2013

As far as strange business decisions go, Commodore was always capable of making the highlight reel. The Amiga A570 CDROM attachment was certainly right up there, for more than one reason. The A570 was compatible with the Amiga 500 and only the Amiga 500, a model of Amiga that was discontinued by the release of the external CDROM drive.  The base Amiga that was being sold at the time – the Amiga 600 – went without ever having a similar device released for it (in fact the 600 has the impressive reputation as one of the least expandable legacy Amiga models available).  The fact that an Amiga 500 with an A570 attached was also functionally identical to Commodore’s other CD based platform – the multi-media CDTV – and could run all CDTV software without issue hurt sales and confused the user community to no end.

 

So why talk about it then? Because that which failed at retail release often makes a fine and interesting retro collectible and the A570 is no exception.

If you have an Amiga 500 and have the chance to grab an A570 (uncommon though they are) then do so. It’s a cheap way to get into some great CDTV software and games like the CDTV release of Xenon, a game possessed of some of the most rocking soundtrack music ever. That’s right, ever.

The A570 simply bolts directly into the side of your Amiga 500 via the Zorro II expansion port on the left side of the Amiga, zero configuration required – true plug-and-play!

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My A570 is sadly bereft of its Commodore badge. I hope the neighbours don’t notice.

With the A570 attached, your humble A500 will boot to the CDTV animated logo screen. I’m willing to admit straight up that this is freaking awesome to see on screen. I remember as a kid seeing this logo on CDTV systems advertised in Amiga magazines and thinking how awesome it would be to own a CDTV. These days with the prohibitive price and scarcity of working CDTV systems, this is the closest I’ll likely ever come!

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Back when the image of a CD disc was the epitome of cool.

There are a few downsides to the A570 design. First up, it needs its own power supply to run, and not just any PSU, but the lovable Amiga ‘brick’. The exact same brick in fact, as the Amiga 500 itself. While this means you have to run both power supplies to keep an Amiga and A570 running, if you happen to find a CDROM drive without a power supply and have a spare A500 PSU, you can use that to power it.  The other downside, is the devices use of CDROM caddys.

“CDROM what now?” I hear you say. Believe it or not, in the early days of CD ROM media, some devices required that you put your CD into a plastic caddy before inserting it into the drive. Pain in the arse? Hell yes. Capable of driving you to madness when you can’t find a caddy anywhere? You better believe it.

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Why caddy, why?

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I’m looking forward to chasing down some ISO images of CDTV software to play around with and going through what will no doubt be the arduous task of finding the right media settings for burning said images to CD. For now though, I have a handful of original games and discs to muck around with. The gem of the bunch is the Assassin’s Ultimate Games CD compilation.  A disc packed with 600 MB of public domain games and programs for the Amiga (some made in AMOS, some not) the CD has hours of entertainment stuffed into its easy to navigate menus. Highly recommended if you end up with an A570.

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My games room – wide angle style.

December 26, 2012

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Collections by type…

December 23, 2012

In a slightly different strategy to taking random pictures of odds and ends of my collection, I’ve decided to put together some shots which depict an entire section of my current hoard (e.g. all my SNES games or all my Commodore stuff).  Below I’ve got pictures of my entire Sega Saturn games collection, SNES game collection, NES boxed collection (I have a stack more carts sans boxes) and Commodore goodies (including C64, C64C, C128 and C128D). Enjoy!

So many great 2D fighting titles in this bunch

So many great 2D fighting titles in this bunch

Childhood goodness abounds

Childhood goodness abounds

A small but growing NES boxed collection

A small but growing NES boxed collection

Terranigma, Mega Man X, Zelda and many other great boxed games in this lot

Terranigma, Mega Man X, Zelda and many other great boxed games in this lot


Random retro gaming

November 20, 2012

Just thought I’d give you a little window into a few of the games I’ve been playing lately. As usual, I don’t like to spend too long gaming on one system (apart from the Amiga) so there’s a fair rotation of platforms going on. If you get dizzy, just hold onto the hand rails.

First up was Virtua Racing for the Megadrive. I think I found this at a market in a box of utter trash (not the treasure kind of trash either, the ‘USB printer cables and water damaged Tazos’ kind of trash).  The cartridge box had no label, so I was pleasantly surprised when I opened it to find Virtua Racing.  As you can see from the photo the Virtua Racing card is differently shaped to a standard Megadrive cart thanks to the inclusion of the Sega DSP chip, some nifty silicon that lifts Virtua Racing from an average game to a stonkingly awesome racing simulator.

Thanks to the DSP’s polygon pushing power, Virtua Racing is a seamless, smooth 3D experience that has you hurtling around tracks in F1 cars. Based on the arcade game of the same name, Virtua Racing on the Megadrive is a flawless port. Seriously, you could just find an F1 cockpit shell, a CRT TV, a Megadrive and this cartridge and be experiencing that arcade racing feel. Very impressed.

Next up was the Amiga. I can’t stay away from this machine for long. The addition of the HxC Floppy Emulator to the Amiga 600 means I’ve got 13.5GB of Amiga disks at my disposal. Gaming overload. Recently I’ve been playing a bit of Phantasie III, one of the titles I spent the most time with back in the days when the Amiga was new. An old school RPG with turn based combat and an emphasis on exploring over land and in dungeons, Phantasie III is a great way to lose hours to simply wandering, fighting and micro-managing your party of Wizards, Priests and Warriors.

The games difficulty is equal parts frustrating and awesome.  Thanks to random encounters, you often make it all of three steps out of a town before you’re confronted by monsters whose skills and potency well outstrip your party. In a few rounds, you’ll have armless Priests, dead Rangers and a Wizard sans left hand. You’ll hobble back to town, get new members and venture out again. It can be disheartening, but it does make victories all the sweeter, and the cultivation of a decently high level party of adventurers who can survive the more dangerous encounters is a rewarding experience.

And last but not least, I received a few additions to my Atari Lynx collection recently. The pick of the bunch is Viking Child, an amusing – if slightly pedestrian – platformer.


Updated collection pictures

November 18, 2012

Just took a fresh round of photos to add to the collection page here, so if you’ve got a few spare minutes, head in and check them out :). As usual, as soon as I looked over the pictures I realised I’d left plenty of things out, but these will have to do. One day I’ll be clever enough to get a comprehensive gallery in here of everything I own.


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