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Thursday, 25 May 2017

FRGR #10: Yleisurheilu (Amersoft, 1984)


Written by Juha and Mika Salomäki for the Commodore VIC-20 and C64.
The C64 version was published in 1985.

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INTRODUCTION


It's that time of month again to do another Finnish Retro Game Review, and for now, it shall be the last one for a while. There is a good reason for it, though: I'm going to focus my time I would usually spend on writing the FRGR entries on something much bigger, but loosely related to the topic. Now, though, the tenth game in the FRGR series is about another game which will require plenty of translating, which is also the first - and so far, the only Finnish multi-event athletic sports game: Amersoft's Yleisurheilu for the VIC-20 and C64. Naturally, having been released for two computers, this is also a comparison of sorts, but not quite in the same manner as a game released for two computers from two different manufacturers would be.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

TWOFER #16: Roland's re-branded CPC adventures!

1. Bugaboo/Booga-Boo (The Flea) (Investronica S.A./Quicksilva, 1983)

Originally written for the Sinclair ZX81 as "La Pulga" by Paco Suárez Garcia, but was, and remains officially unreleased.

Re-written for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum by Paco Suárez Garcia and Paco Portalo Calero, and published through Quicksilva in 1983.

Converted for the Amstrad CPC by Paco Suárez Garcia, with graphics by Juanjo Redondo, and released through Amsoft in 1984 as "Roland in the Caves".

Converted for the Commodore 64 by Pedro Ruiz, with graphics by Ángel Domínguez and music by Félix Arribas, and published through Quicksilva in 1984.

Written for the MSX computers by Steve and Ann Haigh, and published through Quicksilva in 1986.

2. Fred (Zigurat/Investronica S.A./Quicksilva, 1984)

Written for the Amstrad CPC by Paco Menendez, Fernando Rada Briega, Camilo Cela and Carlos Granados Martinez, and published in Spain by Zigurat in 1984. Also re-branded and re-released as "Roland on the Ropes" by Amsoft for the Amstrad CPC in 1984.

Written for the Commodore 64 by Pedro Ruiz, and first published in the UK by Quicksilva in 1984.

Written for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum by Carlos Granados Martinez, Paco Menendez, Fernando Rada Briega and Juan Delcan, and first published in Spain by Investronica S.A. in 1984.

Also converted for the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A by Arnd Russmann, and released as "Freddy" by Saurussoft in 1985.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Kane (Mastertronic, 1986)


Designed and written for the Commodore 64 by John Darnell in 1985, with additional graphics by Nicole Baikaloff and Janet Porch.

Converted for the Amstrad CPC and Sinclair ZX Spectrum by Simon Freeman.

Conversion for the Acorn BBC Micro and Electron produced by Mike Woodbridge; no further credits are known.

Also converted for the Commodore 16 and Plus/4, but no credits are known.

All versions published by Mastertronic in 1986.

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GAME STATUS


I thought this might be a good time to do a comparison of a game by the recently re-emerged John Darnell, whose work I shall be talking about after the main event. Kane was always one of my favourite games of his, although he has more ambitious games in his softography, and because I know a few of my C64'ing friends also have a soft spot for this particular game, it seemed like a good choice to end this month with.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

FRGR #09: Bomulus and the Lost Crown (Teknopiste, 1986)

Written by Sampo Suvisaari for the MSX/SVI computers, and published by Teknopiste in 1986.

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INTRODUCTION


Our timetravels today will take us back into 1985, which was when the Finnish computing wares importing company Teknopiste started publishing Finnish-made games, mainly for the MSX-compatible computers. One such case has already been dealt with earlier in the blog (Space Satellite), but today's game is the title that practically ended Teknopiste's run as a game publishing company, before the job of publishing Finnish MSX-games was more or less handed over to Triosoft. Bomulus and the Lost Crown is the final part in a trilogy of Bomulus games, but the first two games in the series, "Bomulus ja beduiinit" (translates literally to "Bomulus and the bedouines") and "Bomulus atomivakoojana" (translates more or less to "Bomulus the Nuclear Spy") are more difficult to find, so this is the only game in the series I am able to write about at the moment. Strangely enough, this is also the only game in the series, which uses English instead of Finnish for the displayed messages, supposedly in an attempt to get more international MSX gamers interested. This makes it all the more sad to say, that this shall be the last MSX game in the series, until more Finnish MSX/SVI games are found and/or digitized to an emulatable format... so let's make the best of it.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Into The Eagle's Nest (Pandora, 1987)

Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore Amiga and Sinclair ZX Spectrum versions written by Kevin Parker, with graphics by Robin Chapman. Additional programming for the Commodore Amiga version by Nigel Edwards. Music for the Amstrad CPC version by Andy Severn and A. Brown.

Commodore 64 version written by Andrew Challis. Graphics by Robin Chapman. Music by Keith "Howlin' Mad" Harvey.

Apple ][ version written by Andrew Pines, based on the Commodore 64 version.

IBM-PC version developed by Visionware, Inc: Programming by S. Chan and Robin Kar. Graphics by Robin Chapman and Matthew Crysdale.

All of the above versions originally written in 1986, but published for the European market by Pandora, and for the North American market by Mindscape in 1987.

Atari 8-bit version written by Kees Beekhuis, with graphics by Robin Chapman. Published by Atari Corporation in 1988.

Unofficial conversion for the Commodore Plus/4 written by Mucsi, with additional graphics by Jeva. Released by Muffbusters in 1990.

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INTRODUCTION & GAME STATUS


Previously on FRGCB: Sega tried to push themselves on the simultaneous four-player gaming market with something perhaps a bit too different from Atari's smash hit, Gauntlet. Today's entry takes the other path, and in a way, does Gauntlet in a single-player mode, and takes the action to World War II. Allegedly, Into the Eagle's Nest was heavily inspired by the movie "Where Eagles Dare", so naturally, I had to watch the movie for the first time in perhaps over 20, maybe even closer to 30 years. It's a great movie for its time, I have to admit, but I could only see some very basic resemblance in the game. The movie's screenplay was written by Alistair MacLean, while doing a novel of it simultaneously, so perhaps there are some differences worth examining, but I have no time for it right now, nor do I believe the comparison between the book and the movie to be fruitful in connection to the game. And in any case, the game is the more important subject here, so let's get on with it.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Quartet (Sega, 1986)

Designed by Rieko Kodama for Sega Enterprises, with music by Katsuhiro Hayashi. Originally released for the arcades by Sega in 1986.

Conversion for the Sega Master System (Mark III) written and released by Sega in 1987. Released in Japan as "Double Target - Cynthia no Nemuri"

Converted for the Commodore 64 by Sega: Produced by Jonathan Dean, Music by David Whittaker. Published through Activision in 1987.

Converted for the ZX Spectrum by Probe Software: Programming by Antony R. Lill, Graphics by Nick Bruty. Published through Activision in 1987.

Converted for the Amstrad CPC by Probe Software: Programming by Anthony Heartley. Published through Activision in 1987.

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GAME STATUS


Admittedly, this isn't one of Sega's most successful games of all time, particularly when it comes to the home conversions. However, due to its limited exposure, I thought Quartet would make for a nice alternative against all the more obvious games, and besides, there aren't too many games that begin with the letter Q that would be interesting enough to fit into the blog. But what makes Quartet a properly interesting game is the fact that it was released just a bit after Atari's Gauntlet - another four-player action game was doing high profit in both the arcades and home computers. Not too many game companies would have the guts to try and achieve the same level of success with something quite a bit different. As you might already know, the home conversions of Quartet left a lot to be desired on every platform, but can you really blame the conversion teams for their attempts?

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Well, I'll be...!



Over half a million visits this blog has had already, and the rate at which this number grows, only seems to be getting quicker. So, half a million thanks to everyone of you out there - let's see if we can't get it up to a full million within the next year, so we can have a proper celebration!