I’m having an impromptu afternoon off working this afternoon – yesterday, our central heating boiler decided not to central heat anymore and wasn’t expecting a to be able to find an available heating engineer so soon considering last weekends rapid drop in temperatures and the huge dumping of snow we’ve had these past few days. Any-ho, he’s on his way so whilst I wait for him I thought I’d catch up with my blog posts as free time has been a bit elusive these past few weeks.
Here’s a selection of games that’s been keeping me entertained this week (and the last week too as I didn’t get chance to post then either).
It’s no secret, I do love a good dose of Pinball, be it on a real table or in digital format and there are many digital tables out there which, unbound from any restrictions of a physical table often contain many weird and wonderful designs and features.
One such digital pinball game, really takes this to the max.
Devil Crash (Devil Crush) Sega Megadrive (1990).
Devils crash expands the pinball experience by presenting the main game table in multiple parts. The initial table is split into three sections, each with their own set of goals, bonuses and objectives to shoot for and expands on these by adding even more sub tables, again with there own set of goals. I haven’t managed to visit them all yet, but at the last count, playing Devils Crash is like playing on a pinball table which spans over eight tables.
I’ve only ever seen the PC Engine version running but never played it myself so was hoping that the Megadrive port going to be as good.
Visual, it certainly looks fantastic and although I’m not a horror fan, am loving the Gothic/Splatterhouse/Doom-esq/Gieger/Demonic <insert red stuff> look to the entire table. The sound effects perfectly match the table too with plenty of cliché ghoulish laughing, screams and howls – The background music I find, can be a bit repetitive so i’d decided that anything by Metallica was perfectly suited.
Here’s the bottom of the table, lose the ball here and it’s game over my friend. Aim for the centre castle to help you seal up the gap between your flippers and/or plant the ball into ‘boney’ mouth on the right.
One of the amazing looking sub-tables.
Am also loving the centre section, which kinda reminds me of Bride of Pinbot where the ladies face changes after hitting certain targets. This time around though, instead of robot to girl, we get girl to vamp to aged vamp and on to demonic snake thing….eek!… I’m sure she’s a lovely person though..just misunderstood
But all that goodness would be wasted if the ball physics and framerate turned out to be a bit iffy and thankfully, Devils Crash on the Megadrive doesn’t suffer with any of this. A great pinball game well worth checking out you ever get the chance.
Buggy Boy – Commodore 64 (1987)
The first time I played Buggy Boy in the arcades was at Smiths arcade on the East coast. They had the huge triple screen monster of a cabinet version (although not the largest according to KLOV) and I remember it had red rope netting added to the rear window and sides to enhance that offroad buggy experience. I’m not sure if this was added by the arcade operator themselves as I can’t find any reference to it being on as standard but it’s something that has always stuck in my mind. Funny how all the little obscure little details often do.
The port to the C64 by Elite surely ranks up as one of the best arcade racing games on Commie and a sure inclusion to pretty much everyones top lists of C64 games? Like most, I’ve played this over and over again, but it wasn’t until I was reminded of the fact that I’ve not actually loaded this in ages after seeing it included in NikNice’s ipad C64 games collection (see previous post - http://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/niknices-collection-of-c64-games-for-ipad-and-iphone/
You all know the game so I won’t go into it, but if like myself and its been a while, I hope these will also serve as a reminder to do so again soon.
It might not have the large vehicle graphics of the arcade original but of all the home ports, surely the C64 conversion has got to be one of the best Buggy Boy experiences – especially the speed when comparing it to other home ports.
I’ve always like the look of the the ZX spectrum version too, especially the visuals which despite the lack of colour are pretty darn close to the arcade original. However, it runs incredibly slow and the camera angle is way to low, your Buggy blocks you view. It’s a shame as this could really have been something special. I occasionally play the Amiga version and a friend of mine recommended the Atari ST version so that’s added to the play list for another day.
I had no idea this game existed until receiving a response Youtube video featuring an arcade gaming convention From the 3 or 4 seconds of game footage I thought, woo that looks cool, in a sorta Salamander-organic way. Little did I know that it was actual a sequel.
Salamander 2 – Arcade/Mame (1992)
I’ve not really got far into the game yet but so far am looking the levels and bosses. Sure, apart from a huge graphical update there’s that much extra going on here but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, just more of that Salamander/Gradius goodness.
One ugly mother.
I’ve also been playing a handful of classic vector based arcade games using an emulator that’s designed to accurately reproduce a little bit better than say with MAME. Games like Asteroids, Rip off, Tempest, Gravitar and Lunar Lander.
The emulator is called Another Arcade Emulator (AAE) - http://www.zophar.net/marcade/aae.html
Play Asteroids in Mame and then on AAE and you’ll instantly notice the difference.
You need a fairly beefy PC to run some of the games though and some seem to run better than others despite having less objects on screen. Initially I tried tried to run Omega Race on my Netbook and it just groaned and stuttered at 1 – 2 fps but on my main desktop things ran much better and am now toying with the idea of adding this emulator to my own arcade/Mame cabinet (yes I will finish it one day!).
AAE adds lots of new graphics options to closely present what the original arcade machines/monitors produced so for example, you can set screen burn, vector phosphor glow levels, motion blur and light trail length as well as all manner of tweakable controls to suit your preferences.
Arcade bezel and overlay art is supported in AAE too and worth tracking down to complete the illusion. You’ll also need to hunt down the rom images as these are not included in the download.
A note on Rom files -
Out of the box I couldn’t get AAE to work correctly with my Mame set and on closer inspection of the error/log file that’s produced after running a game, it appears that my roms are named incorrectly – or that they are correct but the AAE uses a different naming convention?
- for example, AAE might call for a rom image called 30210.01 but my image was called 30210-01.fr. Concidering that each game might contain a collection of anything between 6 – 40 rom images, that’s alot of file renaming you might need to do – not including the additional game revisions and prototypes. It’s a bit of a chore but , the emulator is so good I think the reward is so worth the input.
AAE was last updated in 2008 with little advancements after that, but there still appears to be a thriving forum community that should be able to answer any questions you might have.
Lunch time web/flash gaming has mainly collection classics like Frogger and Space Invaders and one i’ve been playing quite a bit of is yet again, another Depth Charge port.
Depth Charge: First Attack - http://potentialtargetproductions.com/flash.html
The same classic mechanics of the arcade original are here – bomb the subs within a set time and avoid the torpedoes. However, this flash version differs somewhat by adding the ability to set the depth of you charge. So not only have you got to get the timing right, you also need to figure out the correct depth too…and don’t think those sub driver will stay at the same depth too…the dirty little rotters!
This version has upgrades too allowing you to outfit your warship with faster engines, increased reloading times and armour plating.
Able Seaman Stiggy at your service Cappy…..is it lunchtime yet?
My top tip, try to upgrade your ships speed first as without that you won’t be able to react quick enough to sink the subs or avoid incoming fire.