Raid on Bungeling Bay was Will Wright‘s first ever video game and it was released for the Commodore 64 by Brøderbund in 1984. Will Wright – in case you didn’t know – was a co-founder of Maxis and also designer of SimCity and The Sims.
Back in 1984 Spy vs. Spy was a revelation. It was – and still is – a shining example of two-player versus gaming. Two spies, each searching for the secret plans, and each laying traps in order to stop the other – it tended to bring out the devious side (and the trash talk) of anyone who played it. Myself included. Many hours were spent playing this game against my brother back in the mid Eighties, and Spy vs. Spy quickly became a cult favourite for myself, and for many other Commodore 64 owners.
Goof Troop is an attempt at a Disney-based Zelda-style game, by famed Japanese developer Capcom. It’s based on a ’90s television series of the same name and was first released in 1993.
I have to say: I really love Chip’s Challenge, and have done ever since I first played it on its original platform: the Atari Lynx.
Converted by UK-based Images Software and published by US Gold in 1990, Chip’s Challenge is an old school maze/puzzle game, set inside a computer, and it features well-defined, cute graphics, and challenging puzzles. It has all the ingredients of a classic game.
The Atari Lynx version was the original version of Chip’s Challenge. It was developed by Chuck Sommerville at Epyx and first released in 1989.
Amaurote is a strange, isometric action game, developed by Binary Design and published by Mastertronic in 1987. It first appeared on the ZX Spectrum and was later ported to other systems.
Chris Butler‘s Z is a slick, eight-way-scrolling, overhead shoot ’em up published by Rino Software in 1985. Not to be confused with the 1996 game of the same name, by The Bitmap Brothers.
The BBC Micro conversion of Ultimate‘s classic Lunar Jetman is a very good one, using a high res display mode for the graphics, which are mostly monochrome (just like the Spectrum original).
It plays just as well as the original too, and this results in a very challenging, but very playable game. And let’s face it: the original is a very difficult game.
The task in hand: to collect a bomb and drive it to the enemy base, before picking it up and dropping it on an enemy missile launcher, is much easier said than done. Predominantly because there’s a time limit, and random alien sprites keep getting in the way, and holes in the ground impede your vehicle so must be covered with girders. Again: easier said than done. Completing the level by destroying the enemy base is possible (I’ve done it myself on occasion), which means doing it again at a higher difficulty level the next time.
Uridium 2 is the sequel to Andrew Braybrook‘s classic Commodore 64 shooter, published on the Amiga in 1993 by Renegade Software, and it really is quite excellent.
The basic premise of the game is the same as the original: fly your ship (the Manta) over a variety of big spaceships (dreadnoughts), blasting surface features, shooting down other craft, and landing on a designated runway when the time is right (usually after the last attack wave has passed). Once you’ve landed you then engage in a separate minigame which is a single screen shooter in which you must send in a drone to destroy the dreadnought’s core. Succeed in doing that and the enemy ship explodes, moving you onto the next one.
The graphics and scrolling are beautiful – as is the general control of the Manta. Just like in the original Uridium: the Manta in Uridium 2 can tilt onto its side (to squeeze through smaller gaps), and can even fly upside down (which you couldn’t do in the original). You can’t land when your ship is tilted, though. Unlike the original: in Uridium 2 you can pick up better weapons by shooting stuff and flying into the dropped power-ups. You can even drop a weapon you don’t like by waggling the joystick side to side. Which is a nice touch.
Other nice touches include: the female digitised speech (voiced by Emma Cubberley), the bombs (great fun!), the gigantic explosions when the ships go up (not quite as dynamic as the speedy acidic melting of the original, but still good nonetheless), the A1200 “Mayhem Mode” (an extra “Bullet Hell” type mode, for the Amiga 1200 only, with more on-screen sprites than the regular version, and a faster-moving ship), and an excellent two-player cooperative mode.
Uridium 2 has a lot going for it. It’s a worthy successor to the classic Uridium, and arguably the best shooter on the Amiga. The presentation throughout is top quality and the action is engrossing and challenging. Uridium 2 isn’t perfect though. I prefer the ‘reaction’ minigame of the original to the core shooter of the sequel, but that’s just down to taste. The ‘core’ shooter section does improve and become more interesting as the game progresses (because the core’s defences increase as you reach higher levels), although the control of the drone in the core is a bit too ‘bouncy’ for my liking. It’s a minor gripe, though. Uridium 2 is still well worth a play if you can find a copy.
More: Uridium 2 on Wikipedia
What do you get when you cross Hudson Soft‘s classic Bomberman with Nintendo‘s cheeky Wario? Answer: you get Wario Blast on the Game Boy. A super fun handheld action game with puzzle overtones that was first released in 1994.
Wario Blast doesn’t deviate too far from standard Bomberman gameplay, except you can play as either Wario, or Bomberman, and each has different characteristics.
Trapped inside a big maze the aim is to drop bombs and blow away rocks that block the way (sometimes revealing bonus items to pick up), and eventually to blow up your opponent, who is trying to do the same to you. In a “Normal” game the opponent is controlled by AI, and in a “Battle” game up to four human players can link their Game Boys together and play against each other.
One cool thing is that Wario Blast was enhanced to provide special features when played through the Super Game Boy peripheral on the Super Nintendo. Playing it on a SNES unlocks a special border, colour graphics, customised explosions, and a multiplayer mode with simultaneous gameplay against opponents.
The grabs here show three versions of Wario Blast: the original black and white Game Boy version first, then the colour-enhanced Game Boy Color version (simply a Game Boy cartridge plugged into a Game Boy Color), then the Super Game Boy version last.
More: Wario Blast on Wikipedia