Jimmy White’s Whirlwind Snooker

September 5, 2014

Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker

Publisher: Virgin Games

Year: 1991

Genre: Sport/Snooker

Disks: 1

Creator: Archer MacLean

What can I say about this one that hasn’t already been said? Probably lots, but I’m too lazy for that. Still, I thought I’d give this one another go after 20 years.

Check out that title, more bright colours than a dulux paint factory at the end of a rainbow.

Check out that title, more bright colours than a dulux paint factory at the end of a rainbow.

That catchy intro music and swirly colourful animated title screen brings back a few memories, well, memories of watching someone else play this. Someone who was reluctant to give up the mouse and let me have a go. Sitting back I used to watch Tom (the ‘easy’ level AI in the game) quickly dispatch his human opponent again and again, seeing how hard the game was I was probably pleased not to be playing. Still, the few times I did get to give it a go it was often a white wash, I didn’t dare try to play against Dick, Harry or Jimmy. I quickly moved onto Archer MacLean’s Pool and left this one in the box.

First game, and loss, to Tom

First game, and loss, to Tom *shakes fist*

I didn’t fully appreciate this game back then (I was only 10, more interested in Turrican and Hunter if I remember rightly) but playing it now I’m actually enjoying it a lot more. Tom is just as hard to beat, but with patience and practice, I did start to show signs of improvement (200 more games and you’ve got him!). Too often whilst playing, just when I thought I was on a winning break, the pressure would get to much and I’d give it away. The final game came down to the pink and black. The games difficulty is probably the only criticism you could make, but with practice (and lots of patience) it is something you could probably overcome quite quickly.

Highest break in this match... its the little victories

Highest break in this match… its the little victories

After a few matches with Tom, just for a lark, I took on Jimmy, just to see what it was like difficulty wise. I scored 1 point. I’m happy with that. I’m sure the Jimmy level in the game is just in fact a demo, giving you control of the break (where I scored my 1 point) and momentarily giving you hope before Jimmy clears the table with lightning (whirlwind?) speed.

Got him on the ropes...

Got him on the ropes… check out those stats!

Back to Tom, who I played around 10 times, it was nice to see my scores improve with each game. Tom does make silly mistakes, often giving away points, but 1 or 2 mistakes doesn’t hide the fact his skill level increases dramatically after these, suddenly making incredibly difficult pots, high breaks, and often scoring even when a shot goes awry (jammy git). Just when you think you’ve won, he’ll knock the ball in from the next room without using his hands.

The closest I came to winning, fluffed it on the pink and black. I hate Tom.

The closest I came to winning, fluffed it on the pink and black. I hate Tom.

Still lots of fun to be had with this, it’s definitely a classic retro title, but more importantly, game play wise, it doesn’t feel dated at all. The controls are smooth and give you all the help, direction and angles you could possibly need for taking your shot. The sound effects are loud and fun, as are the funny faces and flies that appear on the table if you take too long over a shot. The graphics are bright and colourful but simple, which is exactly what you would expect and need for a snooker game.

My favourite part of the game, not that I was skilful enough to get one, was the round of applause that emanates from the darkness surrounding the table when you get a high enough break. It gives an extra dimension to the atmosphere of the game, one of my fondest memories is imagining the huge ‘unseen’ crowd watching on from the sidelines.

Difficultly aside the game play is still top, I’ll be playing this one for a long time to come.

Links:

Jimmy Whites Whirlwind Snooker Info Lemon Amiga http://www.lemonamiga.com/?game_id=616

Amiga Action 24 (Sep 1991) http://amr.abime.net/review_6134

Amiga Power 4 (Aug 1991) http://amr.abime.net/review_195

Check out the video below for Jimmy White’s Whirlwind Snooker on Commodore Amiga. Gameplay & Commentary from the awesome @SteveBenway

Please check out the links below, lots of Amiga and Amiga Games info to be had!

Hall of Light http://hol.abime.net/

Lemon Amiga http://www.lemonamiga.com/

Amiga Magazine Rack http://amr.abime.net/

Duckula 2

May 17, 2014
Pretty spot on and nice intro to the game

Title artwork – pretty spot on and nice intro to the game

Publisher: Alternative Software

Disks: 1

Genre: Platformer

Played On: Amiga 500 – Emulated

I’ve been having an urge to relive some of those old cartoon favourites from back in the day. The Flintstones, Huckleberry Hound, The Jetsons, Top Cat, Duckula… Duckula you say? I didn’t even realize this had been released on the Amiga! Count Duckula was one of my favourite cartoons growing up, it was made by Cosgrove Hall (purveyor of fine animated childhood memories), and I can’t believe they’ve been keeping this secret from me all these years.

Game starts with an interesting shooter level

Game starts with an interesting shooter level

I’ve not had much luck finding a decent cartoon licence so far, so I’m playing this with standards set to low. On loading up my first impressions were, “nice title screen”, good likenesses in all the characters, colours pretty much spot on, well drawn, and they’ve had a good try at nailing the cartoon’s theme. Seems they spent quite a lot of time and effort on this title screen and short intro story. What could possibly go wrong?

Enemies are from the planet cute...

Enemies are from the planet cute…

Duckula himself looks pretty good, his sprite is well drawn and he has a neat little animation for walking, the colours again are bright and accurate. However once you actually start moving and get into the game it’s pretty clear it’s going to be an, um, interesting experience. Several screens in and never before have I been so frustrated with moving platforms in a game, which disappear and reappear as they move leaving the player guessing where you need to go next, this wouldn’t be so bad if your jumps didn’t have to be spot on, and if not, falling from even the smallest of heights you die.

All these screens look the same!

All these screens look the same!

You move from screen to screen in the usual left to right fashion, tackling tedious platforms, avoiding  terribly pointless enemies, to make your way to the next screen. Your only weapon, used to stun enemies and not kill them, is ketchup, which you launch at the enemies and who suddenly look to the player in surprise, as if to say “What did I do?”. Scattered throughout the game are packs of corn to collect, these give you invincibility for about 10 seconds.

Maybe that last caption was  slightly unfair... this has a castle in the background

Maybe that last caption was slightly unfair… this has a castle in the background

Each screen is pretty repetitive and dull, there’s no music and the sounds effects are random and bizarre. One terrible example is when you die from a fall, you’re welcomed by the most disturbing and out of place voice exclaiming “Whoops” at your expense. A few more screens into the game you reach Igor, this seemed like a nice change from the usual dullness of each screen, I thought at this point there might be some “thanks for rescuing me”, or bonus points, or perhaps witty dialogue…. nope, nothing, Igor just evaporates when walk into him. Sigh.

Even these captions are boring

Even these captions are boring

I’ve got a feeling I’ll be taking a spiralling dive towards the negative with these reviews, however, I am going into these games having never (in most cases) played them before, and with low expectations. So if a game does surprise me, I’ll say so. I tried Duckula as I’m a fan of the cartoon, so why wouldn’t I want to play the game? The title screen, box art and characters all look good, and I expect with just the screen shots and nothing else to go on it actually looked quite nice.

Thought I'd finish on this info screen. Infinitely more interesting than the game

Thought I’d finish on this info screen. Infinitely more interesting than the game

I can tell you now this is my first and will be my only time of playing this game. Appearances can be deceptive, Duckula is aesthetically pleasing (as sometimes these licenses can be), but the game however is best left on the shelf. It doesn’t do the cartoon any justice, and once again you get the feeling if this didn’t have Duckula on the label it wouldn’t have sold a single copy. An extremely glitchy and dull platformer which has Yolanda levels of frustration.  Incidentally, I didn’t reach the end, my patience ran out about halfway and I can only afford so much counselling. I checked it out on YouTube instead just to see the end boss. I wouldn’t bother, unless you’re reaaaallly bored, and curious.

Lets see how the first Duckula game compares… next time…

Nanny says no. Just no.

Nanny says no. Just no.

Retro computing magazines

January 3, 2014

Retro computing magazines

A couple of retro computing magazines I acquired over the Christmas holiday, What Micro? from August 1984, and Personal Computer World from December 1981.

I’ll get around to reading them at some point and sharing my views!

Happy Anniversary Reality Glitch…

October 31, 2013
The scariest face you'll see all day

The scariest face you’ll see all day

… which also just happens to be Halloween. Reality Glitch was born 4 years ago today, on a dark stormy Halloween night, in a small grave yard, just behind an old abandoned toy factory down the road from a mental asylum. 

I logged into WordPress and began this rather inconsistent, plot hole ridden blogging expedition into the unknown. My first blog post was a rather dismal attempt to review Dune II on the Amiga, it was okay, but it sounded a bit forced. These days I just write whatever rhubarb appears in my head, I’m amazed Reality Glitch is still going.

Anyways, on this anniversary day, and totally not a Halloween blog post*, here are a few spooky titles I’ve enjoyed playing over the years on the Amiga.

Darkseed

You know those bad dreams you were having... well...

You know those bad dreams you’ve been having… well…

Genre: Horror, Point ‘n’ Click Adventure

Released: 1992

Publisher: Cyberdreams

Disks: 7

I was always a huge HR Giger fan, I loved watching the Alien movies (before I was even technically allowed too), I used Giger as an inspiration for my GCSE art project, so when I saw Darkseed advertised I remember desperately wanting to track down a copy. It wasn’t until the late 90’s when I finally got my hands on it.

I loved the graphics and atmosphere and to a certain extent the story. I say certain extent because to be honest I’ve never completed it. Certain scenes in the game are ingrained in my mind to this day, mostly the animated parts with the baby on the doorstep, the nightmare and dream sequences, and more specifically the way the staircase is made of skulls when you cross over into the dark world. I never wanted to sleep in the game (or at all sometimes) as I knew something bizarre would happen again.

The Addams Family

If you've got a movie coming out, think Ocean.

If you’ve got a movie coming out, think Ocean.

Genre: Platformer

Released: 1992

Publisher: Ocean

Disks: 1

I remember getting this based on playing the demo on a cover disk, I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a great platformer and really fun to play, the characters are nicely drawn and look like their movie counterparts (for the most part) and this gives the whole game a great cartoony feel.

The level design I thought was excellent, vivid bright colours were nice against the dark, spooky back drops. Although pretty linear most of the time (even with all the doors etc) the gameplay and controls were simple and effective and made for a fun gaming experience, there’s plenty of secrets as well to keep you coming back. It was great to see a movie tie-in game with the actual theme music as well.

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark

Horror AND boobs. The things that fascinate you as you grow up eh.

Horror AND boobs. The things that fascinate you as you grow up eh.

Genre: Horror RPG

Released: 1990

Developer: Horrorsoft

Disks: 5

Being frightfully honest now (Ha, frightfully – Ed) I was as much drawn into this game by the character of Elvira as I was by the “I probably shouldn’t be playing this” feeling of daring and curiosity. It didn’t do me any harm playing this as a kid, but clearly after playing it, it was meant for a more mature audience.

It’s definitely less camp classic (like the movie) and more Horrorsoft pulling out all the stops gore and terror wise. I managed to finish this but I’m almost certain it took me a few years, and a few magazine walk-throughs to do it. Despite the difficulty being very hard it’s a great game, the atmosphere is second to none and the music creepy and unsettling.

Alien Breed Special Edition 1992

Stay frosty people...

Stay frosty people…

Genre: Top down Shoot ‘em Up

Released: 1992

Publisher: Team 17

Disks: 2

This always reminded me of The Chaos Engine, but instead of a steam punk inspired nightmare you’re instead stuck in a claustrophobic alien inspired nightmare, with hordes of the nasty buggers hiding around every corner waiting to destroy you. Perfect.  An awesome game (extremely fun in 2 player mode) and a great atmosphere with plenty of tension.

I remember it being tough as nails, especially if you got pushed into a corner, a dead-end or stuck in a room. The lack of keys to open doors as well is something I remember being a little frustrating, given the pace of, and tension, in the game. The lack of keys is the only fault I can bring to this game, however it does not detract from the gameplay, which has plenty of polish, action and neat ideas.

Waxworks

Just like when you went to Madame Tussauds and found out how much a ticket cost... frightening.

Just like when you went to Madame Tussauds and found out how much a ticket cost… frightening.

Genre: Horror RPG

Released: 1993

Developer: Horrorsoft

Disks: 10

Waxworks on the Amiga is the creepiest of the horror games I’ve ever played (if waxworks weren’t creepy enough). It is another RPG and much in the same style as Elvira, not surprising as Horrorsoft developed Waxworks, as well as the Elvira sequel, Elvira II: The Jaws of Cerberus.  The game provides a chance to delve into numerous horror clichés and scenarios, making for a varied and all round fun game playing experience.

The quality of the graphics and the eerie sound effects really brought the waxworks to life (no pun intended) and made for some pretty stomach churning scenes. I spent most of the game staring with fascination at the waxworks more than playing the actual game. I didn’t make it through the whole game either, the 10 disks eventually destroyed at least one of my external disk drives, I’ve blamed this game ever since.

Thanks for reading, let me know you favourite horror games below in the comments :)

*totally, maybe a Halloween blog post…

Eurogamer Expo 2013: Nintendo, good show (old bean)

October 14, 2013
Nice to see this guy in action on the 3DS

Nice to see this guy in action on the 3DS

I was suitably impressed this year with the Nintendo stand at the Eurogamer Expo, and unashamedly, it took up a lot of my gaming time on the Friday. For a company that’s well over one hundred years old (albeit a different one now to what is was back then) it’s good to see it keeping up with these young whippersnappers in the world of gaming.

The range of games on offer to play was fantastic, I managed to get around to a few on both the Wii U and the 3DS, this was a feat in itself given the queues (especially for Mario Kart on the Wii U and Pokemon X/Y). The games ranged from indie classics to new up and coming releases on the Wii U and 3DS. It also inspired me to purchase a 3DS (XL in the end, thanks twitter), and left me with a long list of games I wanted to purchase for it. Including making me want to return to a franchise I’ve not played since the ‘blue and red’ versions were out.

See below for a gallery of Nintendo related shenanigans, and a few high lights, and one low light, which, to be fair, wasn’t even Nintendo’s fault.

High lights:

The staff, enthusiastic and helpful, although not always entirely knowledgeable about Nintendo as a whole, they were friendly and welcoming, giving you plenty of space to play the games.

A few of my favourite titles from the stand – Legend of Zelda: A Link between Worlds (3DS), Sonic Lost World (3DS), Putty Squad (3DS), Wind Waker HD (Wii U), Mario Kart (Wii U).

The free swag (from collecting stamps) was fun, as was the DIY Mario scenery for taking photographs.

Low lights:

Standing in the queue for Mario Kart on the Wii U but being deafened by that atrocious ‘Scan’ DJ stand at the same time. I think he got the point when we asked him to turn it down. (Ed – Polite version) Nintendo FM my arse.

The gallery above shows some of the indie gaming area with the 3DS, the swag wheel, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Breeze, Wind Waker HD, Sonic Lost World, Mario Kart 8 and a few of Link between Worlds. And just in case you were wondering, here’s a small wish list of games for my new 3DS, it should take me about 3 years to, eh, collect them all.

Pokemon Y

Animal Crossing New Leaf

Super Mario Land 3D

Ocarina of Time 3D

Luigi’s Mansion 2

Mario Kart 7

Putty Squad

Legend of Zelda, Adventure of Link, Mega Man (Virtual Console)

A great show all round and a great display from Nintendo. Thanks for reading and let me know what you thought of Nintendo’s presentation at this years Eurogamer in the comments below, plus any other game recommendations for the 3DS!

A few links, in case you needed them!

Eurogamer

Eurogamer Expo

Nintendo

Eurogamer Expo 2013 – Friday: The Social (retro) Network

October 2, 2013
Contrary to the t-shirt line up, I do not in fact work for Atari.

Contrary to the t-shirt line up, I do not work for Atari

“Don’t I know you from the internet?”

This question pretty much sums up my Friday at Eurogamer, and possibly reveals how social networking works in the 21st century. All I know is that I spent the day trying to meet as many people (from the world of twitter) as I could, with reasonable amounts of success. I met some awesome people and wish I’d met a few more, but alas, I had to fit some gaming in there too.

This post is a few snap shots of some of those people I managed to meet and links to what they do in the world of gaming and retro gaming. Naturally most of these meetings (I say meetings, rather me cautiously moving up to people and saying hi, are you *insert name here* from twitter?) occurred in the Replay Zone, see the galleries below. Apologies to a few as well who I didn’t get round to seeing, namely Mark from New Star Games, and Mark and Jamie from The Games Shed, see links at the end!

Gallery 1 – Meeting Ally, Barrie, Jools, Kevin and Krystal

Follow Retro Collect on twitter @RetroCollect or visit their website over at Retro Collect

Follow Krystal on twitter @NinjaVixen or visit her blog over at Vixen Gaming

Follow Retro Asylum on twitter @RetroAsylum1 or visit their website over at Retro Asylum

Thanks to Replay Events for setting up another awesome retro gaming area, and for persuading me to join in with the King of Fighters tournament. I’ll definitely be coming to the Play Expo next year! See some more pictures below of the retro gaming area, a few highlights included the King of Fighters tournament, finally getting to play on a Dreamcast (some sort of tennis game – see pic below), playing a few rounds on Goldeneye and working my way around games I did and didn’t recognise from the world of retro gaming. Good times.

Gallery 2: Replay Zone

Mark and Jamie on twitter @GamesShed and The Games Shed on You Tube The Games Shed

Mark Baldwin on twitter @LambkinDraw who is community manager for New Star Games

Coming up next, Nintendo at Eurogamer. Thanks for stopping by :)

Eurogamer Expo 2013 – Thursday Gallery

September 26, 2013
Sneaky worm

Boggy B, working the room, what a gu…. eh, worm!

Thought I’d give you a quick round-up of my first day (Thursday) at the Eurogamer Expo so please check out the gallery below.

A few highlights of the day were:

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, I enjoyed this glossy hark back to the SNES days of adventuring through Hyrule, top down view with an added surprise or two.

Wolfenstein: The New Order from developer MachineGames, with BJ Blazkowicz blasting his way through hordes of bad guys, no motion sickness with this one…

The awesome Monkey Island 2: Le Chucks Revenge cover art on canvas by Steve Purcell… I really wanted to buy this… was it for sale?

and last but not least, the Replay Zone making another triumphant return. I managed to get some Tomb Raider (PS1) action going, Sonic 2 on the Mega Drive, and Goldeneye on the N64.

Low lights (is that really a thing?) were:

The food and drink prices, astronomical as usual, packed lunch for next time methinks.

Having a press pass, and then not being let into the press area… I expect this was just a breakdown in communication somewhere along the line but it was a bit embarrassing to stroll up expecting to sit down and write some stuff up and be told you can’t come in. The guy stopping me was pretty adamant he was right, however the girl on the desk didn’t seem to have any problems with me going in, I chose to believe her instead.

Thanks for looking :D

Tomorrow I’ll be (hopefully) partaking in some Legend of Zelda: Windwaker HD, Sonic Lost World, Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag and Batman: Arkham Origins. I’m also hoping I get to meet some more people from the world of twitter too!

Please visit the Eurogamer Expo website for more information on the event!

Retro Collectors: Andy – Sega Saturn Collection

September 21, 2013

A while back I featured a post concerning retro collecting, and what systems people thought were the hardest to collect for, the results were interesting.

Carrying on from that (sort of) I thought I’d catch up with an old friend to see how his Sega Saturn collection was doing, I was pretty surprised how much it had grown.

Whilst we snapped away with the camera I threw in a few random questions (to be honest I’m not so good at this journalism/interview malarkey) about his collection. Here they are below, compared to my few games for the Saturn this one is immense (more than a few in there I’d like to get my hands on). Anyway, hope you find it informative, and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Q: How many games do you have?

A: I have around 130, mostly PAL but with some Japanese games thrown in for good measure, notably X-Men V’s Street Fighter and Street Fighter Zero 3. I have some duplicates of the PAL games, and around 20 demo discs.

Lets just say, they didn't all fit into one photo.

Lets just say, they didn’t all fit into one photo.

Q: Where do you acquire the majority of your games?

A: eBay mostly, some I’ve owned since getting a Saturn back in the day.

The other half! Japanese games in the bottom right.

The other half! Japanese games in the bottom right.

Q: How long have you been collecting?

A: I’d say since the actual release of the Saturn, I’ve been collecting more seriously in recent years but a lot of the games I bought back in the day are still in my collection, it has just kept on growing since then.

Deep Fear, survival horror game released in 1998, the last for the PAL Saturn.

Deep Fear, survival horror game released in 1998, the last for the PAL Saturn.

Q: What’s your rarest game?

A: It’s sometimes hard to define rare, games that sell for a lot of money can appear on eBay quite regularly, so I wouldn’t class them as rare, just sort after or popular. The rarest game in my collection (to me) is probably Deep Fear, as it was the last Sega Saturn game to be released in Europe for the PAL Saturn.

Top 5, who wouldn't want to play a game called Three Dirty Dwarves?

Top 5, who wouldn’t want to play a game called Three Dirty Dwarves?

Q: What is your Top 5 in your collection? (Ed – hack journalism at its best)

A: Tough question – these could easily change but at the moment I’d say:

Guardian Heroes

Deep Fear

Panzer Dragoon

Three Dirty Dwarves

Street Fighter Collection

Hardware! Note the sega saturn mouse, virtua stick, action replay cart,  and the 6 player multi taps.

Hardware! Note the Sega Saturn mouse, virtua stick, action replay cart, and the 6 player multi taps.

Q: Are there any more games/hardware you’re currently looking for?

A: I have a check list, there’s a lot more gaps to fill, time and money should hopefully take care of it though. A couple of games I’m still looking to get are Bust a Move 3 and Mr. Bones.

Demo discs!

Demo discs!

Thanks to Andy for letting me take the pictures, for answering my random/vague questions, and for the awesome game of Street Fighter Zero 3.

Link to previous retro collecting blog post > A Quick Question Retro Gaming Collectors

Where in the world is Reality Glitch? (trilby optional)

August 15, 2013
How to ruin a pretty picture in one easy move.

How to ruin a pretty picture in one easy move.

Well, I’m still here, but quite frankly for the last 4 months I’ve been permanently cream crackered, having almost completely forgotten I even have a blog. Now don’t get too excited, I’ll be away from here for a bit longer but I’ll be back for the Eurogamer Expo in September (I’ll be there on Thursday and Friday so come say hi). So, to keep you from getting bored I’ve listed a few of my favourite sites and blogs from around the interwebs (mostly via twitter).

It’s certainly an eclectic mix, and possibly not what you’d expect (?) Either way it’s a nice mix of mindless fun and informative entertainment, and naturally, some retro gaming.

8-Bit Girl

The Games Shed

  • The Games Shed is brought to you by Mark and Jamie and in their own words are two “80′s born die-hard gamers from London, UK”. They’ve built up a spectacular amount of retro gaming videos to share, including news and reviews, challenges, lets plays, interviews and retro gaming collections.
  • Follow them over on twitter @GamesShed or check out their website for more info, http://www.thegamesshed.com/

Rooster Teeth (Achievement Hunter)

  • I’ve only just discovered these guys (better late than never?), they were recommended to me on twitter, specifically for the entertaining (and unique) ‘lets play’ stylings of the Achievement Hunter crew. To be honest it took me awhile to get used to the banter, but it’s incredibly funny to listen to how each of them react to each other whilst playing a game, reminding me of the old days of LAN gaming with a group of mates.
  • Not for everyone, but its first class comedy at times and great general background noise for a dull day at the office, visit http://roosterteeth.com/home.php for more info or follow them on twitter @AchievementHunt

Red Parsley, 1 More Castle, Game Freak Blog (a few of my favourite things)

“Gigantic nerd and gamer since birth! Yt channel name Gamefreakblog. I love games. Part of the Zoomin TV gaming network. My thoughts are not theirs”

“I’m RKS, retro-gaming fanatic (and movie and anime fan). Please visit my blog if you’d like to read my ramblings”

“Like old video games? We do – And we want to become your #1 retro gaming destination on the web”

Retro Nick Radio

  • I’ve been listening to this one for a while now and it’s definitely my favourite retro gaming show on the interwebs. The banter is first class and informative, with a dash of comedy genius once in a while. It does exactly what it says on the blurb “RetroNick Radio is five friends who share the common loves of drinking, talking, and playing classic video games. Tune in weekly!”
  • Follow @RetroNickRadio and tune in live if you can, if not catch up on missed episodes over at http://www.retronick.com/, check out the Caption this Crap! section and leave a comment!

You could call this my ‘top 5′ go-to places if you like, they certainly brighten my day and make life just that little bit more fun. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the fantastic blogs, sites, and podcasts I visit, or in fact that are out there, as they say, each to their own. If I listed them all you’d be bored stiff.

Keep an eye on my Follow Fridays on twitter, a lot of places not listed will end up there. There’s plenty more out there I’d love to give a shout out too, you guys make being part of the gaming and retro gaming community a pleasure and I thank you all for putting your content out there for us to absorb and enjoy.

Hunter

April 8, 2013

So, its review a great game day. Superb. My choice, Hunter, on the Amiga 500. I couldn’t let this one slip by, as it is one of my most treasured and favourite games on my Amiga. First off though, a little side note. In my review I make the obvious comparisons to the GTA franchise, however, for those of you who have played Far Cry 3, you might have to indulge my imagination for a minute or two at the end…

Either way, onto my review, Hunter on the Amiga 500, a great game, and a pioneer.

Publisher: Activision

Developed by: Paul Holmes and Martin Walker

Genre: 3-D Adventure, Strategy

Year: 1991

Hunter is a game that takes you into a world where mayhem and destruction can reign free on your enemies and in whatever form that takes your fancy. Having first played this on my Amiga I’ve been hooked ever since and it’s the main reason I’m a big fan of games such as GTA. Playing it through again brings back some great memories and is certainly a welcome addition to my games collection. Hunter can be classed as a 3D action, adventure and strategy game, developed by Paul Holmes and Martin Walker (music) and released in 1991 by Activision.

We’re gonna need a bigger boat.

Hunter lets you play three different scenarios; MISSIONS, whereby you receive an objective and a deadline to complete it, once you have completed your mission you return to HQ to receive more orders. The objectives become subsequently harder and the time shorter to complete each mission. ACTION, your man in the field is given a long list of enemy targets, it is then up to you to use the map and log book to locate each target and destroy them. Once again you are racing against the clock to finish the list, but can destroy the targets in what ever order you like.

Finally the main scenario, HUNTER, is the trickiest of them all. You must track down and kill the enemy General by collecting clues from civilians, bribing enemies, and by using a number of objects, vehicles and weapons to help you succeed. The deeper you go into enemy territory and the closer you come to completing this scenario the harder it gets, you are racing against the clock and options can become limited if you aren’t prepared for battle!

The game is controlled via mouse and keyboard, or my preferred method mouse and joystick. The joystick controls the directional movement of your man as well as the stop and start in vehicles and moving them around (point to note, there is no reverse). The fire button is used for any form of attack, be it grenades, bazooka or your trusty pistol. The mouse comes into play with the strategy side to the game and is used in the selection of weapons and sundry items needed to progress (log book, flares, maps, weapons, money, food).

Some of the most common items  you will need to use are aerial observation units, parachutes, maps and radar, and the handiest item you can acquire is the enemy uniform (don’t go into your HQ wearing it though). Both control methods are easy to utilise, and when using the mouse to select from the pop-up menu the game conveniently pauses.

Hat stand? No, The 1st Man!

Hunter has great game play interlaced with simple graphics (as with many other great retro games) and makes the most of its sweeping landscapes and 3D environment. Greens, oranges and blues make up your basic air, land and sea colours, in turn making buildings, vehicles and people easy to identify. Vehicles are well drawn and conveniently placed at your disposal around the map, whether it’s a car, tank, helicopter or bicycle (less said about the windsurfer the better) you’ll be glad of the free ride as walking can be slow and tedious. Vehicles run smoother and faster than you would expect and each have their own unique uses (cars are nippy, tanks are slower, but can also take some serious missile damage).

Helicopters are easy to fly after the initial trauma of take off but are a bugger to land, especially if in a rush, best to put down in a safe area and walk the rest of the way!  The variety of weapons and sundry items is impressive. You can use a number of explosives to destroy targets or just have some fun generally blowing stuff up. The player can use land and timed mines, sea to air missiles, bazookas, 80mm shells, grenades and all the while carrying your trusty sidearm. Aerial observation units and radar help you scope out and assess the landscape and can be useful in finding people, buildings and vehicles. The food and money collected is used to bribe and gather information and the enemy uniform to breeze into enemy territory without a care in the world.

Helicopters. Fly, yes! Land, no!

Apart from the title screen Hunter relies solely on sound effects to create its ambience.  Across the landscape the player can hear gun fire, explosions and roaming vehicles, or a sultry seagull flying overhead, destined to make you its own special target (why else would it be following me…). The maps, a different one for each scenario, give the game a sense of vastness when you begin your mission, and in its quieter moments, especially when dusk has fallen (use flares to light the way, or turn the brightness up on the monitor), can be a little creepy and lonely without anything else around you. Hunter has few drawbacks, however walking everywhere will cost you time and time is of the essence in Hunter. Finding a vehicle can be crucial to success and sometimes its a long walk,  so by the end you’ll be thankful for that enemy disguise, or the fact the soldier who arrived to work that morning forgot to lock his bike up to his guard tower.

Danger! Random objects haphazardly strewn on floor!

Hunter is a game (for its time obviously) with the freedom and almost limitless possibilities of any of today’s titles that fall into the sandbox genre (think GTA, but slower, and with simpler graphics). Hunter is a classic and still fantastic to play, its open environment and vast maps make it challenging, fun and atmospheric. This concluding sentence from Amiga Power (Aug 1991) really summed the game up for me and my own experience of playing the game back in the day. Jonathan Davies wrote in The Bottom Line “Hunter was a real all-rounder, there was something for everyone in there, all wrapped up in a believable 3D world you can get lost in for hours.”  You can read the full review here on Amiga Magazine Rack.

Home Sweet Home, a rabbit in every pot and a tank in every garage.

Now, If you’ll indulge me a little longer, onto a more modern comparison. Far Cry 3 and Hunter both are set in an ‘open world’ environment and set across multiple islands, where the gamer can either play the linear story line, or just mess about as they see fit. You’ll come across friendly areas and characters, with ammo stores and resources to buy, alongside the clearly marked enemy territories and bad guys (even the enemies in Far Cry 3 are wearing red). A variety of vehicles are strewn around at your disposal, although as far as I can see there isn’t a hover craft or wind surfer in Far Cry 3… The comparisons in my opinion are pretty clear, Far Cry 3 ‘feels like’ Hunter, specifically from a game play point of view, right down to the ‘night and day’ effects and abundant wildlife in both games (although in Hunter you lose money for killing animals).

In this gamers opinion, I think Far Cry 3 is what a modern version of Hunter would look like. A pretty bold statement, but maybe something to think about.

Thanks for reading!

The only music in the game comes from the title screen, listen to it here  Hunter Main Theme.

To give you an idea of the game play check out the first mission (in the MISSIONS scenario) being played out. This video is over 6 mins and just gives you a feel for the game play.

Also check out the Amiga Longplay for the Hunter scenario (retrieving the Generals head)


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