Matthew Thompson takes a nostalgic look through the latest games collection from R-Comp Interactive
Krisalis Software, based in Devon, are as a company well known innovators of new and exciting software ideas. They've been pretty much the same since they were founded, and indeed between 1990 and 1995 brought to the Acorn platform a semi-steady stream of new titles and a whole host of games conversions from the leading games machines of the day.
This largely meant the Commodore Amiga, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing: it brought a steady stream of titles such as Lemmings, Chuck Rock and Alone in the Dark to a whole new - and increasingly interested - market. Alone in the Dark was indeed special, as their final release to the Acorn platform generally, and until now little further has been heard of the titles.
With the dawn of a new millennia, irrespective of how you view a new millennia, R-Comp Interactive have come to an agreement with Krisalis Software and have acquired the rights to all of their Acorn-based back catalogue. The first result is this CD-ROM, featuring newly updated versions of the Krisalis classics, or if the original game is unable to be featured patches to bring them up to date.
What do you get, and what don't you get?
The Krisalis CD features eleven full titles, and a whole host of patches for other games. The only ones that do not feature at all are the Manchester United titles, but the less said about those the better! (Although I suppose if you are a fan of Manchester United it may be a bad thing).
The complete games featured within the collection are:
Perhaps one of the greatest games ever to reach the Acorn platform, Cannon Fodder places you in control of a troop of soldiers, each of which you have to guide around the levels killing the enemy [and fulfilling the mission objective] with whatever weaponry you have at your disposal. In play, it's extremely addictive - the sound, graphics and gameplay come together to make the whole experience somewhat special! It's a shame that Cannon Fodder 2 has yet to be converted to the Acorn platform, but perhaps that's a challenge for a newcomer to the porting race!
A platform game set in the ancient times, within which you must venture through the cities disposing of monsters. All wish to kill you, whilst some will also try to steel your belongings at the same time. With a wide selection of tasks requiring completion, including levers and keys which need activating/collecting to allow access to parts of the city, Gods does offer a lot to the player - it's just not to the taste of everyone.
Perhaps the closest play on words ever achieved by a software company without a multi-million pound lawsuit, James Pond places you in control of - well - James Pond, underwater secret agent who has to save the world from the evil Dr Maybe. Each level involves the collection of a required amount of things, or a specified number of tasks - such as rescuing lobsters or guiding fish to a safe place - before the exit will open. Not perhaps the most graphical effort from Krisalis, but it's an incredibly playable game well worthy of inclusion within this collection.
Mad Professor Moriarty
One of the earliest platform games to hit the Archimedes, Mad Professor Moriarty made a good attempt at being ahead of its time even then. Whilst originally released on the Archimedes, it's one of the few titles that also made it to other platforms; and bears some similarity to Terramax. In this game you have to help Moriarty close down his laboratories by solving various puzzles. Each laboratory has its own theme - botanical, space, chemical, computer science or the mystery laboratory - and its own individual hazards. If you fail, you'll end up in the loony bin... not quite enough blood for some, but still a worthwhile little game.
The first platform game to attempt a 3D approach on the Acorn platform, Nebulus places you in control of a frog that has to get to the top of a rotating tower, allowing you to destroy the thing before moving to the next one. Incorporating a fishy interlude, some rather groovy sounds and perhaps the best use I've ever seen of sixteen-colour graphics Nebulus is a sure-fire hit for all.
Essentially, PacMania is a faithful Acorn conversion of the most popular version of pac man to ever hit the arcades. Originally published by Domark, PacMania was a licence from Tengen where PacMan essentially ate the dots, fruit and power pill; kept away from the ghosts and cleared the screen to move onto the next level. Not really a lot more to it than that, but implemented very well.
One of the few conversions to not involve shooting or blowing anything up - although that would make it somewhat easier. Within Revelation, you're in control of a series of spinning discs. You have to match up the colours appropriately to open the safe. Some of the discs won't move, some will only move in one direction, and so on - it all makes things just that little bit more complicated. A nice little puzzler, implemented well.
Speedball 2 was described upon its release as football of the future - violent, bloody and with a lot of money at stake. You take control of what is essentially a football team, and through the modification of statistics and playing the games themselves, you build your team up to be the best it is. It's not just about scoring goals - part of the fun is barging the opponents out of the way and knocking them over. With a whole host of power-ups and bonuses, various competitions, tournaments and a two-player mode to boot Speedball 2 is a good bet for a fun hour.
There have been many shoot-em-ups over the years, but only one Swiv on the Acorn platform. Taking the part of either a helicopter or a jeep, you start at the beginning of a level wandering through the scene until you reach the end of a level. Of course, during the level you have a whole host of enemy gunfire going straight for you, all of which culminates in one bad-ass thing to defeat at the end. Superb attention to detail - the trolley in the wastelands being a particular nice touch - and superb graphics make for a great game.
Best described as an early Mad Professor Moriarty, Terramex involves similar cartoony graphics and professors too! The puzzles are a little on the difficult side, and it's rather easy to get killed. Generally ideal if the later title appealed to you, otherwise avoid like the plague!
(As a special deal for RISC World readers we have included a full copy of this one game from the Krisalis CD with this issue. If this fills you with nostalgia then you will have to buy the CD to get the rest! - ED).
World Boxing Championship Manager
Essentially, World Boxing Championship Manager is another management simulation. You take the part of a promoter/manager whose responsibility is to train your fighter to be his/her very best. If they all survive okay, you do well. If they don't, you don't - very simple, really. Not really of appeal to some, but if you have an interest in the world of boxing it's certainly worth a look.
In addition to these games, patches are featured for Alone in the Dark, Battlechess, Omar Sharif's Bridge, Chuck Rock, Heimdall, Heroquest, Lemmings, Lemmings 2, Oh No More Lemmings, Lotus 2, PipeMania, Populous, Quest for Gold, Sim City, Sim City 2000, Jahangir Khan's World Championship Squash and World Class Leaderboard - pretty much everything else Krisalis (or its sister company, Teque) worked on.
With the patches, it's a case usually of some will work for you, some won't. In most cases, purchasers of the Krisalis CD will end up with a selection of games they can use most of; plus some useful patches to allow those older discs you have in your collection to finally be taken advantage of. Some of the games run in a letter-box mode, but if you're particularly worried about that it's easily rectified by placing a monitor definition file into the boot sequence.
If you're an Acorn games player, this CD provides a rare opportunity to experience the games of old at a reasonable price. The inclusion of eleven full Krisalis games, plus Zool and Premier Manager from Gremlin Interactive, makes it difficult to argue against it in terms of price; then add the immense selection of patches to make older games work better the collection as a whole forms something of a bargain. One of those few recommended purchases.
||Krisalis Collection CD
||26 Robert Moffat, High Legh, Knutsford WA16 6PS