Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Blades of Steel (Konami, 1987)

Originally developed and released by Konami for the arcades in 1987. Sound editor: Kazuki Muraoka. Cabinet graphic design: Don Marshall. Further credits are unknown.

Conversion for the Nintendo Entertainment System by Konami: Directed by Shigeharu Umezaki.
Programming by Shigeharu Umezaki and Satoshi Kishiwada. Character design by Setsu Muraki and T. Nishikawa. Music by Shinya Sakamoto, Kazuki Muraoka, Atsushi Fujio and Kiyohiro Sada. Released in 1988. Also released for the Famicom Disk System as "Konamic Ice Hockey".

Conversion for the Commodore Amiga and IBM-PC compatibles by Novotrade: Programming by Peter Agocs, Judit Buczolich and József Szentesi. Graphics by Zoltan Hoth. Released by Konami in 1990.

Converted for the Commodore 64 by Antal Zolnai for Novotrade, and released by Konami in 1990.

Converted for the Nintendo Game Boy by Konami: Directed by Y. Nakanishi. Programming by Y. Nakanishi and S. Tamate. Character design by Nobuaki Matsumoto. Music by Hidehiro Funauchi and Akiko Itoh. Released as "Konamic Ice Hockey" by Konami in 1991 in Japan. Released as "Blades of Steel" by Ultra in 1991 outside of Japan.



Happy New Year, everybody! Let's start 2017 with something cheerful and fitting for the season: ice hockey! Since the blog has already featured my all-time favourite hockey game - Hat Trick, there is only one other game of this particular sport that can be considered good comparison material. Curiously enough, my initial research into Blades of Steel faced a peculiar obstacle: no source seems to have any knowledge on the team behind the original arcade game. Even the "thank-you" sections in the NES and Game Boy credits list the original arcade team as exactly such. Mysterious, isn't it?

Monday, 26 December 2016

Netherworld (Hewson Consultants, 1988)

Designed and developed by Jukka Tapanimäki. In-game graphics by Jukka Tapanimäki. Title screen by Darrin "Stoat" Stubbington. Sounds by Jori Olkkonen. Originally released for the Commodore 64.

Converted for the Atari ST by Mark Barker, with graphics by Nigel Cook and sounds by Nigel Pritchard.
Converted for the Commodore Amiga by Mark Mason and Mark Barker, with graphics by Nigel Cook and sounds by Adrian Waterhouse and Nigel Pritchard.
Converted for the Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum by Chris Wood with music by J. Dave Rogers.
All of the above versions published by Hewson Consultants in 1988.

Converted for the IBM-PC compatibles by Chris Wood with music by Jas C. Brooke based on J. Dave Rogers' soundtrack. Released through United Software GmbH in 1990.



Failing to find something suitable for writing a proper Christmas-themed comparison or other article, here's another Finnish game comparison to make this month have a Finnish theme complete: the late Jukka Tapanimäki's puzzling shooter classic, Netherworld. I was originally thinking of writing about this game for this year's celebratory Finnish Independence Day comparison article, but things turned out differently, so this was left for the final entry for 2016. I already did a Finnish Retro Game Review about Jukka's first commercial title, Octapolis, in June, so this one acts as a sort of a sequel to that. As it happens, Netherworld remains the most converted Finnish game of all time, so it should be a big one. Not a bad note to end 2016 with, eh?

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

TWOFER #15: Finnish Special!

1. Sanxion (Thalamus, 1986)

Design, programming and graphics by Stavros Fasoulas, title screen by Mat Sneap and music by Rob Hubbard. Produced by Gary Liddon. Originally released for the Commodore 64 in 1986 by Thalamus.

Converted for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k/128k by Softstorm Developments: Coding by Dave Thompson, graphics by Dennis Mulliner, music and sound effects by Wally Beben. Produced by Paul Cooper. Released by Thalamus in 1989.

Unofficial conversion for the Commodore Plus/4 by László Könöszy (TYCB), and released as freeware in 1991.

2. Sceptre of Bagdad (Atlantis Software, 1987)

Created by Productive Playtime: Designed by Ilja Summala, programmed by Ari-Pekka Raita and graphics by Tomas "D.R. Tomppe" Westerholm. Originally released for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k in 1987 by Atlantis Software.

Remade for the Commodore 64 by Jonathan Wells, with music by Paul Hannay. Released as "Sceptre of Baghdad" in 1993 by Psytronik Software. Another version called "Sceptre of Baghdad Uncut" released through Binary Zone PD in 1996.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

TLL (Vortex Software, 1984)

Written by Costa Panayi for the ZX Spectrum.

Amstrad CPC conversion by David Aubrey Jones for Discovery Software, and published by Vortex in 1985.

Commodore 64 conversion by Simon Nicol, with music by David Dunn; published by Ocean in 1985.



Well over three years into the blog's life, I think it's about time I made a comparison of a game by the great Costa Panayi, the man responsible for such Spectrum classics as Highway Encounter, Cyclone and Deflektor. TLL, the official title abbreviated from the alternative full title "Tornado Low Level", was my first step into the world of games by Costa Panayi. At the time, I was only about 4 years old, so I didn't pay much attention to who made the games I was playing, nor did I realize or care about what a legendary man he was to become, but I did notice, how extraordinarily different TLL was from other games around at the time. Naturally, I didn't understand how to play it, but I recall it being one of my brother's favourites, so this one goes out to him.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

TWOFER #14: Formula 1 Simulator (Mastertronic, 1985)

Developed and produced by Mr. Chip Software for the Commodore 16 and Commodore 64 in 1985.
Programming and graphics by Shaun Southern.
Additional graphics for the C16 version by Michelangelo Pignani.
Music for the C64 version by Rob Hubbard.

Another game from 1984 called "Formula One" was written by S.C. Stephens for the ZX Spectrum 16k/48k, and was published by Spirit Software in 1984.
An enhanced version of it was released as "Formula One Simulator" by Mastertronic in 1985.

Credits for the Amstrad CPC and MSX versions are currently unknown, but both were released by Mastertronic in 1985.



Reportedly the best-ever selling title from the Mastertronic label was curiously this rather straight-forward racing game, rather Codemasters'ly titled Formula 1 Simulator. Shaun Southern has been mentioned a couple of times before on this blog in more flattering circumstances, but I decided to take a look at this little under-appreciated title from his catalogue, because of how different the non-Commodore versions are. So, practically, we have another two-for-one article on our hands, for a change!

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Maniac Mansion (Lucasfilm Games, 1987)

Originally designed and scripted by Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick for the Commodore 64.
Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion (SCUMM) designed by Ron Gilbert, Aric Wilmunder and Chip Morningstar. Art and animation by Gary Winnick. Programmed by Ron Gilbert, David Fox and Carl Mey. Music by Christopher Grigg and David Lawrence. Sound effects by Christopher Grigg. Special support for the Apple ][ conversion by F. Randall Farmer.
Released for the Commodore 64 and Apple ][ in 1987 by Lucasfilm Games.

Converted for the IBM-PC compatibles by Ron Gilbert, Aric Wilmunder and David Fox, with sounds by David Hayes and David Warhol. Released in 1988 by Lucasfilm Games.

Converted for the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST computers by Aric Wilmunder, Edward Kilham and Steve Hales. Sound effects for the Amiga version by Brian Hales, and for the Atari ST version by David Warhol and Daniel Filner. Released in 1989 by Lucasfilm Games.

Converted for the Nintendo Famicom by Jaleco in 1988, and released only in Japan in 1989.

Conversion for the Nintendo Entertainment System by David Stifel. Re-scripted by Ron Baldwin. Graphics by Harrison Fong and Mike Ebert. Music by Psychadelic Brie, George Alistair Sanger, David Govett, David Hayes, David Warhol, Christopher Grigg and David Lawrence. Released in 1990 by Jaleco in USA and Europe.

NOTE: In the above list of credits, you only see the most directly involved personnel. If you are interested to see a more thorough list, visit MobyGames.



In the light of Lucasfilm Games' first actual graphic adventure game having its 30th anniversary this year, I decided to write about their next game in the line, because Labyrinth turned out to be a bit impossible to write about due to its versions for Japanese computers. Also, I was planning on writing about Maniac Mansion for this Halloween, but due to unforeseen circumstances, things got delayed. But also, it could well be, that SCUMM also celebrates its 30th anniversary this year - it hasn't been documented that well, really: the only known facts are that Maniac Mansion was released in October, 1987; the idea of the game was conceived around 1984-85; and that its actual development took 18-24 months. Make of it what you will. So, while I'm running late on getting a second game for the Halloween theme, I thought I might as well extend this season a bit.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Ghostbusters (Activision, 1984)

Designed by David Crane for the Commodore 64. Programming by David Crane and Adam Bellin. Graphics by David Crane and Hilary Mills. Music by Russell Lieblich. Published by Activision in 1984.

Converted for the Apple ][ by Robert McNally, and released by Activision in 1984.

Converted for the Atari 8-bit computers by Glyn Anderson, with graphics by Hilary Mills. Released by Activision in 1984.

Converted for the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC by James Software, Ltd, with speech by David Aubrey Jones, programming assistance by Adam Bellin and graphics by Hilary Mills.
Released by Activision in 1984 for the ZX Spectrum, and in 1985 for the Amstrad CPC.

Converted for the Atari 2600 by Dan Kitchen and Adam Bellin, with graphics by Hilary Mills. Released by Activision in 1985.

Converted for the MSX computers by Robert Rutkowski, and released by Activision in 1985.

Converted for the IBM PCjr and TANDY 1000 and their compatibles by Robert Rutkowski, and released by Activision in 1986.

Conversion for the Sega Master System done at Activision, and published by SEGA of America, Inc. in 1987.

Conversion for the Nintendo Entertainment System by GlennHills Graphics Co.:
Programming by Works, Susumu Endoh, Satomi Miya and James M. Kirk
Graphics by Yoshio Tsuboike, Kaketo Tsuguri and Satoru Miyazaki
Sounds by Yoshiaki Tsuruoka and Tadashi Sou
Editing by Masatoshi Kanemitsu
Produced by Tom Sloper
Directed by Ryuuichi Yarita
Published by Activision in 1988.



This year's Halloween theme will likely only consist of one game, but it's a rather big one - in fact, it's the biggest single comparison I've written so far, so prepare yourselves with plenty of coffee or other refreshments to keep you awake. Sorry to make the Halloween month so short this time, but these things do take quite a bit of time to prepare properly, which I don't really have too much these days. With all that crazy commentary having been going on about the recent reboot/remake of the film series, I forced myself not to take part in it until after the whole circus had quieted down and I had actually seen the movie myself. Not that seeing the new movie would have anything to do with my writing of this blog, other than for making me do the obvious statement, that Ghostbusters really is a classic 80's movie, and shall always remain as such, in both good and bad, even though I cannot but feel that the 2016 Ghostbusters movie was unfairly prejudged. I didn't think it was as bad as it could have been, but it certainly cannot beat the 80's version. But more than being a classic 80's movie, it is also almost solely responsible for making movie-licence games a viable marketing plot; after all, it was Activision's best-selling game until 1987.