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.
Another excellent Hijong Park retro tribute game – this one possibly his best so far – Steel Alcimus is an overhead helicopter shooter with either twin-stick joypad, or keyboard and mouse controls. I played it with mouse and keys and found the control system to be really quite ingenious.
Rolling Thunder 3 is a Sega Megadrive/Genesis exclusive. It was developed by Now Production and published by Namco in 1993. It did not appear in arcades, like its predecessors did.
The fourth Fallout was released by Bethesda in 2015, some seven years after Fallout 3, and five years after Fallout: New Vegas. In fact: I would call this the fifth Fallout game, because Fallout: New Vegas was more than just game number 3.5, in my humble opinion – it was the best game in the entire series. But anyway… What do I know?
Crazy Climber is an early colour video game, released into arcades in 1980 by Nichibutsu. The basic premise is to climb up the face of a large building to reach the helicopter at the top.
Controlling the climber is not that straightforward though. Crazy Climber uses two joysticks and requires the player to learn a pattern of moving them upwards and downwards to make the climber actually climb. It’s not a case of simply pushing upwards to make the climber climb. Which produces a challenge whereby you’re fighting with the controls – at least initially. After some practise you’ll probably get the hang of it, if you’re determined.
Next on the agenda is actually getting to the top of the building. Again: not easy. There are falling items that – if they hit you – will knock you down to the start. Windows open and close too, so you have to avoid being located on a window when it opens fully, or you’ll also take a tumble. Thankfully the windows open slowly, so you’ve at least got a chance of moving when you see one opening. From time to time you’ll also get more interesting hazards, like a King Kong-like monster that tries to knock you off the building, or balloons which will do the same if they hit you.
If and when you do eventually reach the top of the building you then have to grab the helicopter with your outstretched hand. Again: not that easy to do, because it’s constantly moving around, and you have a time limit before it leaves. Grabbing it is more luck than judgement.
Crazy Climber is an interesting game though. The gameplay is a bit archaic, but the underlying double joystick game mechanic is fun. For a while.
LISTS/\ as decided by The King of Grabs, in order of greatness:
These are just an opinion, but please do feel free to comment with your opinions. Unless you’re a spammer. In which case: do feel free to f*ck off.
Bally Midway‘s classic Spy Hunter is a brilliant overhead race game with guns and bumping cars and speed boats and chasing helicopters, and general high-speed excitement. It is such a good game that it has been converted to pretty much every gaming system known to man.
Here’s our rundown of the top 10 Spy Hunter conversions…
1. Nintendo Entertainment System < Probably the most fun
2. Atari 800 << Better than most
3. Commodore 64 <<< Entertaining
4. ZX Spectrum <<<< A fun conversion
5. ColecoVision <<<<< Pretty good
6. Amstrad CPC <<<<<< Reasonable
7. Atari 2600 <<<<<<< Basic
8. BBC Micro <<<<<<<< Forgettable
9. Apple II <<<<<<<< Rubbish
10. PC MS-DOS <<<<<<<<< Utterly terrible
And, of course, not forgetting the utterly brilliant arcade original.
David Hoskins made this BBC Micro conversion of Spy Hunter for Micro Power, Sega and US Gold (not to mention Bally Midway) in 1986.*
It’s a strange conversion overall. For starters: the scrolling play area is really vertical – more vertical than the arcade original – which is weird. Secondly, the roads are quite empty and there’s only one skill level (that I could find), so no way of increasing the difficulty or the amount of traffic. Thirdly, the speedboat sections come too frequently (the opposite of the arcade version, which is rare, and the NES version, which is super rare), which lessens their ‘specialness’.
Overall, the BBC Micro version of Spy Hunter is a mess. Yes, it’s slightly playable, but it isn’t much fun and it seems to be one of those conversions where the programmer didn’t care enough (or couldn’t see their mistakes) to make it a reasonable representation of the arcade game. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to tell you that this is a good game…
* = That’s a hell of a chain of command – four major games companies and they still can’t come up with a decent game… BBC Spy Hunter should have been a lot better considering those involved.
Like the MS-DOS version of Spy Hunter, the Apple II conversion of the classic Bally Midway arcade game is a bit… erm, rubbish.
Barest of the bare graphics (are they trees, or sprouts?), dodgy controls, and unforgiving gameplay – Apple II Spy Hunter‘s only saving grace are the extra colours (over the DOS version anyway) and the minimal playability.
One to be forgotten, unfortunately.
Released by Sega in 1986, this Amstrad CPC conversion of Spy Hunter drives well enough, but looks a bit dented on the outside. Meaning: the graphics are a bit basic.
I thought the Commodore 64 conversion of Spy Hunter was chunky – until I saw this… Thankfully it plays reasonably well, if a little slowly.
What lets the game down, though, is the rather small play window. I would have preferred it if they’d used a bit more of the screen. Amstrad Spy Hunter is still worth a spin if you’re interested in the series.