Archives for the month of: November, 2011

I always loved platform games. Secret Agent was a typical platform game with lots of traps and figures to discover, and it was responsible for hours of fun in front of my computer.

The game, developed by Apogee Software and released in 1992, consisted in performing missions with a character called Agent 006. This agent of a government’s secret organization parachuted into a high security island, and his mission was to rescue the recently stolen plans to the ultimate satellite laser weapon.

There were 16 levels to complete, and no specific order to do it. The Agent could walk around the island and chose which level to play, but the final one was only accessible when all other 15 were complete, it was the “main fortress”.

Walking through the labyrinthine structure of each level, Agent 006 had to face and kill lots of human an robotic enemies; locate and destroy a radar; find keys to open locked doors, and a bundle of dynamite to blow up the exit door. Some areas of the levels were inaccessible because of laser barriers, which killed immediately. In order to deactivate it, Agent 006 must found a floppy disk and insert it in a computer terminal.

At the time of this game, several titles hit the market with similar game mechanics.  Some of the most known are Commander Keen, Jill of the Jungle and Duke Nuke. Despite not being the most famous, I think we can say that Secret Agent was an unavoidable reference for all platform games lovers.

 

Today we decided to bring from 1991 a game that almost everybody played, at least once: Gorillas!

I’m sure you can remember the scenario, where two gorillas stayed in the top of city buildings throwing bananas to each other. The game had to be played by two players and the first hitting his rival with an explosive banana was the winner. There were only two things the player had to control: the angle and velocity of throwing bananas against the other player.

The game was simple, and after a while started to be a little boring. However, as it was distributed with MS-DOS 5 as a demonstration of QBasic, almost everybody spent some time thinking about the most effective angle to kill the opposite gorilla. In my opinion, it was a sort of a didactic game, at least I learned by the most painful way what is a right angle (90º): I killed myself with my banana! (I was only about 6, ok?).

Joining Gorillas in the QBasic demonstration for MS-DOS 5 was another well known game: Nibbles. Basically it was a “snake” game, where you had to collect numbers and try not to collide with walls and the parts of the snake body.

Whether you like it or not, these two games were always there, in your computer, and maybe that’s why they are now part of our collective imagination.

My plan was to write about an Arcade Game that made me spend several coins in my youth. But today I found out that a friend of mine started company named Full Throttle… and it made me remember Ben, the leader of the Polecats.

Full Throttle is a Graphic Adventure published in 1995. Sierra and Lucas Arts were fighting each other for this market, and great titles hit the shelves back then. I might have tried them all… Full Throttle was definitely one of the best.

In the game the user is Ben, a biker in a time were cars are more likely to hovercrafts. He and his gang get into trouble when ambushed by Adrian Ripburger, the vice-president of Corley Motors. Adrian was able to kill his boss and blame the Polecats for the crime. While Ben’s friends spend most of the game in jail, the player needs to help Ben revealing the truth.

During the game Ben meets Moreen. And Moreen can always remember two things: asfalt and trouble!

Although the game can’t be found in the stores, Yodude1017 place the entire movie on Youtube. Feel free to watch the first episode below. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

 

 

It was annoying every-time this game crashed in my old PC, and it happened a lot, however I always came back to this crazy Russian scenario and creatures. Perestroika was a Russian game created for MS-DOS in 1991 by a company called Locis, and it was inspired in the historical USSR politic leaded by Mikhail Gobarchev. An image of his face was the centre of the splash screen, surrounded  by the Kremlin and a sky falling in pieces.

Apparently, the splash screen has no connection to the game itself: a creature (something like a frog, with fly eyes) has to cross the screen in order to collect a coin, jumping on lily pads that are shrinking and disappearing. The game was simple, but it seems it was full of symbolism: the creature (called democrat) has some dots in four colours to collect, symbolizing grocery goods (the blue ones), currency transactions (the pink ones), progressive taxes (the orange ones) and adventures (the red ones). The lilies are compared with the ever-changing laws, always modifying their shape, disappearing and appearing in other places.

So, basically you’re a democrat trying to reach goods and happiness through ways that are always changing. Oh, and you’re life gets even worst when the “bureaucrats” came! Those irritating creatures are always trying to catch you, and if they succeed you die!

The Bureaucrats

 

The good news, for the ones who enjoyed playing this game in the old times, is that a revival version of the game is now available for iPad and iPhone, and even better, for free!

If you never played Perestroika and you’re curious to try it now, don’t forget: don’t stay in an ever-changing law until it disappears; jump of the to the next ever-changing law, and don’t get caught by a bureaucrat or you’re dead!

 

 

Lost Vikings Loading Scene

Released in 1992 originally for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and then for DOS, Amiga, Sega Mega Drive and SNES, this classic puzzle/platform game is an experience of true team work driven by three funny characters – Erik the Swift, Baleog the Fierce and Olaf the Stout – The Lost Vikings.

As their names reveal, each character has a specific ability and the player’s challenge is to make use of those abilities in order to drive the three Vikings safely through the levels. While playing this game the most interesting was to feel that I was responsible to keep the three characters alive, and that they depend on each other to hit the targets. Differently from most platform games at the time, I was not just  inside the skin of one character, but of  three at the same time, with their own capabilities and personalities.

The player can just control one Viking at time, but he can switch the character everytime and he must assure that all three Vikings reach the exit alive, otherwise he won’t finish the level. I can remember the boat in flames that appears each time I finish the level after losing one of them.

Erik can run faster than Baleog and Olaf. The red beard Viking can also jump and destroy walls and beat enemies using his helmet.

Baleog is the weapons guy: with his sword, bow and arrows he is the most effective killing tough enemies. The arrows are very useful to press buttons at some distance too.

Olaf, the fat guy (his shirt can’t cover his belly), has a shield which he uses not only for protect him and his friends, but also as a hang glider or as a step to help Erik reaching high grounds.

Kidnapped by Tomator, emperor of the alien Croutonian empire, the Vikings just want to find their way home. They must beat strange creatures and find creative solutions to keep walking through the puzzles and finish the levels. At the beginning and end of each level they have some funny dialogues between them, usually about what they´re felling.

And now, a small quiz: Do you know who created this game?

That’s right, the game was developed at time by Silicon & Synapse, later called Blizzard Entertainment! That might say a lot about the quality of the game…

Did you know also that references of The Lost Vikings  can be found in other well known Blizzard’s games, such as World of Warcraft? Find out more in:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lost_Vikings#Cameo_appearances