Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures

This is definitely one to look out for - especially as it's being developed by Telltale Games. I'm thinking it will be like Sam & Max with more clumsiness and amazing gadgets - and less random violence!

Everyone's favourite claymation characters

should make a great transition to the adventure game format with Telltale at the helm... though of course time will tell.

See the Official game page on Telltale's site for more information. I'll keep you posted when I see any interesting news on this one...

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Thief: The Deadly Shadows Review and Screenshots

[Sigh]... this looked like it could have been a very good game, but I couldn't get into it - and when I tried again today, it wouldn't work... and when I tried patching it, the patch wouldn't work...

Read the whole sordid acount.

Then look at the screenshots below and imagine what could have been...

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Monday, 29 December 2008

Discworld Games

I've loved the Discworld series of books for a long time, and the three (point and click adventure) games available for the PC very nearly do it justice. Discworld is good but too difficult for most people; Discworld 2: Mortality Bytes improves on it and isn't quite so mind-numbingly tough to get through, and Discworld: Noir is a very good game indeed, albeit a little too verbose at times.

(Apparently there was a Speccy game called "The Colour of Magic" which was a nearly impossible text adventure... you live and learn! The Your Sinclair review liked it, anyway!)

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Quest for Yrolg by Crystal Shard - Voicepack now available!

Haven't played this adventure game (made with AGS) much yet but it looks good - and is now available complete with voice pack! Click here to get it.

Here's the offical website blurb:

"Deep within his dungeon, Yrolg the necromancer is about to summon a mighty demon to complete his plans to conquer the World. Three brave adventurers, a warrior, a rogue and a sorceress, have come to his underground lair to disrupt the ritual and end his reign of terror. Your job is to stop them!

As a lesser minion of darkness, use your wit and guile to lead the heroes into traps and to a nasty demise. Should they succeed, your Master will be slain, and the world shall be covered with flowers and puppy dogs. That must never happen - this time, evil shall prevail! Now with an evil voice pack!"

Yes, someone else who over-uses exclamation marks nearly as much as I do!!!

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Recycled Gaming ...

Just thought I'd give a quick plug for a great retro-gaming blog I came across today - Recycled Gaming Blog - the author's gaming history is a little different to mine, so if you grew up more with consoles than computers, you'll definitely find some find memories on that blog!

In other news... I'm going to give Thief: The Deadly Shadows another go... maybe I'll be able to get into it this time. Review coming soon...

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Snakoban Dash by Ichigo Jam

Wow... this is an amazing game. Speccy-style graphics and very little sound, but the gameplay is just fantastic. A fusion between Snake and Sokoban (with a little bit of Boulderdash thrown in for good measure), this game will have your grey matter working pretty hard to get through 40 levels of puzzling fun. You won't be completing this for a while! Despite its limited aesthetics, this is definitely one of my favourite games from the RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase.

Download link for Snakoban Dash

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Saturday, 27 December 2008

A Sliding Puzzle For Helen by TCK

Thsi is one of the charity entries for the RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase. It's a one-switch game which makes it more time consuming for the normally abled and sliding puzzles have never been something I'm particularly fond of, so perhaps I can't offer a truly subjective view of the game. However it works nicely enough and I can't praise the programmers of entries benefiting charity enough, so give it a go - particularly if you like sliding puzzles, of course.

Download link for A Sliding Puzzle For Helen

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Raid on Fort Apache by BigNobody

This is a great game - you take on a chopper on a rescue mission against tough enemies. The graphics are nice and the soundtrack is very, very retro - the only cirticism I have of the game is that the scrolling is jerky. (On his website the author admits to being a bit rushed to finish the game before the competition deadilne, resulting in some graphical tidying up not getting done.) Nevertheless this is a very challenging and enjoyable game, and extreely rewarding when you accomplish your missions. Very good GUI, too.

Screenshot from Raid on Fort Apache
Raid on Fort Apache is another impressive entry to the RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase.

Download link for Raid on Fort Apache

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Ultimate Bruce Lee by Stu C, Smila and Ovine

Authors of the impressive Whack A Monty Mole (Stu C, Smila and Ovine) have also created this gem for the RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase. After working out what I actually had to do (apart from the obvious, collect the lamps!) I found this to be an absorbing, very challenging game. Part platformer part karate, it'll test your timing skills to the limit.

There are numerous game modes, some of which need to be unlocked by progressing through or completing other game modes. The differences are purely graphical (at least those I've found so far are) but this game constantly proves that there's more underneath the surface than at first appears. Highly recommended.

Download link for Ultimate Bruce Lee

Ultimate Bruce Lee Screenshots

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Monday, 22 December 2008

Parallax Remake / Sequel by Endurion

Parallax is a game I'd never played and have only vaguely heard of, thanks to (I think) it being an Amiga game that never got released on the Atari ST. Anyway, this is basically a graphically simple FPS that looks very much like the Freescape games (Driller, Dark Side, Total Eclipse) but was in fact by Sensible Software. The graphics obviously look simple today but they create a solid, identifiable game world and it's all very retro, which has to be a good thing.

This game is actually set immediately after the first game's plot ends; you've returned to base after completing the mission you accomplished in the original game. However, something's very wrong - everyone's gone missing. Your task is to defeat all enemies, collect items and solve perplexing puzzles as you seek to find answers... it;s very nicely done, but obviously will appeal most to those who have actually played the original.

RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase

Download link for Parallax

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Carnival 1980 by Scott McKay

While I didn't find this simple shooter to be all that much fun, I must commend the game author for making this playable by about every device I've ever heard of and some I hadn't, so just about anyone - even those with severe physical disabilities - will be able to play it.

One of the entries to the charity entries to the RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase - see category 4 on this page. I'd like to mention that if anyone entered this section, even if I didn't like your game I admire you making it and helping a cood cause.

Download link for Carnival 1980

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Pauline's Way by Harold

We all know that Pauline was kidnapped by Donkey Kong and then saved by Mario. While Mario is busy guarding the big ape Pauline goes out to kill some rats.

Well, that's the blurb for the game and it says about everything that needs saying about the plot. Simple platform style, unforgiving collision detection, needless spurting blood graphics when you die, and franky not much fun. If you have a particularly macarbe sense of humour this may appeal to you more - I'm afraid it didn't to anything for me. Cool concept to use another game's pathetic damsel in distress as the action star of a differnt game though.

RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase

Download link for Pauline's Way

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Retroman by Joachim Despland

The aim here was clearly to make a simple game that harked back to the very early days of video game history, and in a sense it's managed this. However I found that for me the extremely basic run, jump and shoot gameplay with a bland landscape and one single enemy type got boring very quickly. I have seen other more positive opinions on this game so don't take my word for it, give it a go - but personally it didn't take me very long to stop playing this, and I won't be loading it up again.

RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase

Download link for Retroman

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Super Mario Kart Remake by Grindalf

This one also has loads of potential - the graphics lack detail and an impression of speed, but it wouldn't take much for this to be a superbly enjoyable remake of Super Mario Kart (as far as I remember, I've only played the GBA version which was enormously fun). One nice feature is a built-in screen capture function: two of the results are below:

I always play as Yoshi. I have no idea why...

Yes, it says I'm last. However I would like to point out that I took this right at the beginning of my first race just so I could post the picture here, and I went on to win that race. (It's the truth I tell ye!)

Most of the features that made Super Mario Kart so fun to begin with are here, though your opponents don't seem to be able to use weapons etc, which added no end to the craziness of the original game. A bit more work and this could be a remake classic - will obviously let you know if that happens- especially as quality freeware racing games are so few and far between!

Another from the RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase.

Download link for Super Mario Kart Remake

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Whack A Monty Mole by Stu C, Smila and Ovine

Seriously, is there anyone who hasn't at least once played a "Whack A Mole" game?! And what Speccy owner never played one of the Monty Mole games? Well, those wonderful chaps Stu C, Smila and Ovine fuse the two legendary moles together to bring us:

Whack A Monty Mole!

The basic game is of course very simple, but some nice extras are thrown in here. Add some very polished graphics and stir in lots of crazy sound effects and speech samples, bake your brain for forty minutes and you have one very playable game here. An essential download.

Yet another enjoyable entry from the RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase.

Download link for Whack A Monty Mole

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

The Empire Strikes Back by MinionSoft

This is an excellent update of the arcade game based on my favourite Star Wars movie - MinionSoft's entry to the RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase is a cracking game.

With good graphics, loads of sound clips from the film (as well as of course that wonderful John Williams music) and challenging levels (it may just be me but that asteroid field is darn difficult... As C3PO says, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1. . Then again, as Han Solo says... Never tell me the odds...

Every major element of the film's story is here, from the point of view of the spaceships anyway, from the battle in Hoth to that tricky asteroid field... Star Wars fans will love this game.

Download link for The Empire Strikes Back

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Electro Freddie remake by Musti

Since this is a remake of an Amstrad CPC I've never heard of it, though it could have been out on other systems too I guess. Anyway the basic idea is that you have to move computers or other objects (it changes depending on the level) down to a conveyor belt at the bottom of the screen. There's a guy who follows you around and things that fall from the top of the screen; tough either of these and you lose a lie (an ambulance rushes across the bottom of the screen when this happens!). There might be otehr obstacles to avoid as well. Get all the goods onto the conveyor belt and a key will appear; get to it before you die and it's on to the next level. Sounds simple? Well it is... but that doesn't necessarily mean it's easy!

This is a great throwback to the days when every game was played on a single screen and your goals were simple, the methods used to achieve them sometimes less so. It's very well executed and extremely retro, from the slightly dodgy animation and occasional graphical bug (which I'm assuming to be intentional) to the chirpy chip music that plays along.

It's not the most amazing game experience you'll ever have but it's good simple fun, and retro gaming on the PC doesn't get much more retro than this. Definitely worth a download!

From the RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase.

Download link for

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Dizzy: The Lost Island by Park Productions

Now despite owning a Speccy, I was never really a fan of the Dizzy games. Codemasters' eggy hero won a huge army of admirers though, so he must have had something going for him. Anyway, Park Productions have updated him into a 3D action hero in their entry to the RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase.

Graphically this is very impressive for an indie game. I had to turn down the resolution and bit depth to get the game running at a reasonable speed though - at least, Dizzy didn't move anywhere near as quickly as I wanted him to otherwise. Though there's a lot to like about this effort I'm not really sure that Dizzy lends itself well to conversion into this type of game. Some objects were quite difficult to make out too, which could cause game-stopping problems later on. The music was good too - all in all the production values for Dizzy: The Lost Island were very impressive.

For me the game didn't quite work, but perhaps that's largely because I'm not a Dizzy fan. It's certainly worth a download for anyone who remembers the egg more fondly than I do!

Download link for Dizzy: The Lost Island

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Dingo by Sokurah

Well this is odd... you play Big Tedm a panda on a mission, to eat / collect all the fruit on each level. It's nicely presented and has a good soundtrack, with a slightly strange Pac-Man hybrid gameplay style. It's also extremely cute - the graphics are cute, the music's cute, and... when you die there's blood spurting everywhere. Seemed an odd game design decision to me...

From RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase

Download link for Dingo

I much prefer another entry by Sokurah, Zektor, to this one.

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Deathchase by James Kett

The old Speccy game Deathchase 3D has been remade countless times, but to be honest this is the first version I've actually enjoyed much. With very decent graphics and a short but catchy soundtrack and responsive mouse control, this works very well - and the feeling of panic as you manage to narrowly avoid smashing into a tree at high speed (or, perhaps, not managing to avoid it at all!) is great. Basically you're on a hoverbike or something patrolling an area, and have to blast intruders. At the beginning of each stage (divided into day and night stages) you're told how many intruders there are; zoom around for a while and they'll come into sigh.

An excellent remake. This has three difficulty levels - the higher the level the faster your bike, and the more points you can get. On the highest difficulty level I found it extremely challenging to last more than a few seconds! One that will delight both purists and those who never played the original, I suspect.

One of the strongest entries to RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase that I've played so far. Only The Kiwi's Tale by Earok has impressed me more so far.

Download link for Deathchase

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Bandits at 3 O'Clock Remake by Retrorookies

This is a remake of an old Acorn Electron / BBC Micro game, It's a simple one or two-player dogfighting game where your only controls are up and down, shoot or drop bomb. It has a few problems - sometimes you nosedive for no apparent reason (though this could just be me!), the keys aren't always responsive enough and one of the sound effects reverberates horribly - but it's still quite a fun game, especially in two-player mode. Quite tricky to master, too.

From the RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase.

Download link for Bandits at 3 O'Clock

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Sports Daze by Richj

Now this game is great fun - combining the essential elements of the old Epyx joystick-busting multi-event sports games with the mischeivous behaviour of School Daze. With only four events - 100m dash, tennis ball throwing, 400m swimming and balloon popping (with a catapult - what else?!) it's longevitiy is questionable, but each event is fun and challenging. If a few more events were added and multiplayer mode were added, this would be a fantastic game.

This is, of course, another entry to the RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase

Download link for Sports Daze

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

The Kiwi's Tale by Earok

Anyone remember "The New Zealand Story"? With this remake / update, Earok has created a beautiful platform game that is so far my defnite favourite of the games from the RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase. Very nice graphics, a good soundtrack and instantly accessible but not overly easy gameplay. A real winner! The only slight downside I've noticed so far is that after losing your last life, your character says a rude word (not one of the worst) - if not for that it would be a great kid-friendly game in almost anyone's books.

Download link for The Kiwi's Tale

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Kung Fu 2 by KNPMaster

Touted as a sequel to Kung Fu Master on the NES, Kung Fu 2 seems a faithful reproduction of that game's style. However for me this entry to the RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase had far too much blood splattering across the screen for my liking, so I stopped playing pretty quickly.

Download link for Kung Fu 2

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Zektor by Sokurah

Not sure if this one is actually a remake as such... but the next game I tried from the RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase, Zektor, is certainly an interesting gaming experience. From the pulsating psychedelic graphics (Jeff Minter would love this!) to the sampled speech and insanely difficult gameplay, Zektor is a game such as I've not played since... well, probably since Llamatron.

Very cool, also very challenging. No... make that extremely challenging!

Download link for Zektor

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

RetroBoxing 3D by Gman

Next up on the RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase is this remake of an Atari 2600 game. Now I think this is definitely one for those nostalgic about the system - which I have to say I'm not - but it certainly does bring back memories of a time when you didn't need a manual just to tell you how to play a game!

Download link for RetroBoxing 3D

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Lords Of Conquest remake by KaiserPC

The second game I've tried from RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase is KaiserPC's remake of an old Electronics Arts strategy game. It's very stylishly presented and looks like a rewarding game if you can get into it - unfortunately I didn't really warm to it much, but will give it another go at a later stage. Don't remember the original game.

Download link for Lords of Conquest

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Monday, 15 December 2008

Kick Off 2 Remake by Mike Dee

First up from the RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Showcase is this Kick Off 2 remake by Mike Dee. This looks like it has huge potential and is mostly very playable already, but it's a bit buggy and quite limited - for example you cannot head the ball. The AI is quite impressive for a game in this stage of development though. Let's hope Mike continues to work on this!

Download link for Kick Off 2 Remake

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

It's That Time Again... The RetroRemakes 2008 Competition Entries

There are always some good games to be found in the entries of the RetroRemakes competition... from first look (not having played any yet) there are a few tasty-looking offerings... Kick Off... Lords of Conquest... SabreWulf... even SEUCK (it was a bit of a shock when I remembered what it stood for - Shoot 'Em Up Construction Kit!). Let's hope they play as well as they sound...

Click here for the first page of entries to the 2008 RetroRemakes Competition

If anyone plays some of these games please leave a comment to let others know how good (or not) they are!

Click here to see all posts related to the RetroRemakes Competition 2008 - I'm posting a mini-review of each game as I go along, and plan to have all of them done before the end of December.

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Updated Reviews

Just published small updates to 2 of my RPG reviews - Spellforce: The Order Of Dawn and Beyond Divinity.

Still haven't completed Spellforce... but am already wondering about purchasing the expansion pack and / or sequel!

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Screenshots from StarGlider 1 & 2

Sort of equally mentioned in my Top 100 Computer / Video Games of All Time, Starglider and it's sequel, both produced by Rainbird (remeber when BT had their own software label?!?), these space sims took the genre to a whole new level. Starglider's wireframe graphics and Starglider 2's solid polygons looked pretty amazing at the time, and though I never completed either game (okay so I was rubbish!), the way the storyline was woven into an open 3D universe was pretty special for the time as well. Sort of like Elite / Frontier, but more purposeful and less open-ended.

Many preferred Mercenary / Damacles of course, but I never got round to playing Paul Woakes' games. Sorry Paul!


Yes, believe it or not young gamers, at the time this was considered to be awesome!

Not the best 3D ever managed on the 16-bits, but it created a believable game world and the frame rate wasn't terrible.

Another game on my Top 100 is a Speccy game galled Star Paws, and arcade adventure game featuring a dog in a spacesuit. Sadly I can't find any screenshots for it - if anyone else has more success please leave me a comment!

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Screenshots from Lemmings and Worms Armageddon

Team 17 have produced some amazing games, not list of which are games 55 and 56 of my personal Top 100 Computer / Video Games of All Time list. The screenshots below are from the original Lemmings and my favourite of the Worms series, Worms Armageddon.

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Spellforce: The Order of the Dawn - Full Review

I've now posted an in-depth review of the first SpellForce game - Click here to read it.

I think you'll really enjoy it whether you like RPGs, RTS games - or both!

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog

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