Dafyd McFlanders digs into the latest games offerings.
The run up to Christmas should, for companies within the RISC OS games market, be one of the busiest periods of the year. Unfortunately, the steady trickle of games releases we used to be able to count on has slowed down to nothing short of a terminal crawl. Thankfully there's a number of new releases in the pipeline - some of which are obvious to those who've been following things for a while. There are however more compilation releases than new titles - just what effect this will have on things remains to be seen.
Anyway, we've got a fair amount to get through this month so - rather than moan on further - I'll just get straight onto it. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all readers, and we'll hopefully be back in the new year with a review of one or two items listed below.
TEK: the latest progress
Back in the days of Archimedes World, an email arrived in my inbox from Florian Stadlbauer business manager of the Artex Software team. Ankh was due for imminent release (this being just before the Wakefield Acorn Show 1998), and things were generally looking very positive for the Artex Software team given the immense popularity of Exodus.
Since the release of Ankh, news of Artex's second major project - TEK 1608 - has been somewhat slow in arriving. The product was originally intended to be released through Acorn's software label Acornsoft, but given the closure of Acorn shortly after Acorn World's 1998 cancellation that didn't occur. Development has been progressing since, and according to recent reports TEK may hit the shelves just in time for Christmas.
At the moment, there's very little more we can tell you - visit the Artex Software website at www.artexsoft.com for the very latest information, and if their recent estimates are anything to go by the opportunity to purchase TEK should present itself soon.
Botkiller II: on this months CD
It's the year 2030, and you are a Special Forces trooper who has to save the huge skyscraper of SpaceTronic Inc. from malfunctioning 'bots'. A Special Forces chopper will bring you to floor 19 from where you have to work your way down to the underground installations to shut down the building's main reactor. Well, that might sound easy... but actually playing the game reminded me strongly of some of the more classic moments with my old Amstrad CPC 464 and BBC Micro.
Botkiller II, Artex Software's first co-operative offering (having been produced in association with Wag Software i.e. Richard Wilson) is a follow up to Jan Klose's freeware Botkiller platform game, first featured within Acorn User back in 1997. It was released to commercial sale at the end of 1999, and has now been made freely available via the Artex Software website.
Nostalgic platform fun, for nothing!
While it's not a bad game, it had elements within it that made levels just impossible to play through to completion. If anybody's got any good cheats for it, do let us know at the usual address - we may find a software prize of some description for the writer of the best letters. Despite this, at a new retail price of ... well ... nothing it offers stunning value for money and should be installed on every RISC OS computer!
Desktop Repton 3
Back in 1985, Superior Software - then of Leeds - brought to Acorn users a game which would prove to be an instant hit. Developing upon the gameplay of Boulderdash, Repton's main difference was the focus on the central character instead of the nature of the game. Many sequels followed, for many different platforms, and Repton even found himself immortalised as a cuddly toy and also on a mug!
In recent months, ProAction have been working even closer with APDL on launching a new range of software titles which are firmly established within the RISC OS market or perhaps take a new look at an old favourites. Whereas the games offerings were previously sold through R-Comp Interactive, ProAction chose recently to keep everything simple the result being the release of Desktop Repton through APDL.
Supplied on CD-ROM, Desktop Repton features Repton 3, The Life of Repton, Repton Around the World in 40 Screens and Repton Thru Time, along with a superb multi-tasking level editor. For the first time, you can design maps within the desktop and take full advantage of external graphics utilities to produce your own designs for the characters. Furthermore, the entire game can now be run within the desktop - indeed, I have Desktop Repton running in a window while I write these very words!
Never before has Repton been so much fun... Honestly, I'm working Aaron!
For full details on Desktop Repton, see the review in the next issue of RISC World, or visit the APDL website at www.apdl.co.uk. The game itself costs £14.90, and can be purchased by calling 020 8778 2659 or by post from APDL, 39 Knighton Park Road, Sydenham, London SE26 5RN.
Alligata want some help!
Alligata Media are perhaps best known for RISC Domain magazine, but they do have access to the entire Alligata Software library of titles, and are looking to revive some classic games for new RISC OS owners. If you think you'd be able to help, please email firstname.lastname@example.org providing details of how you'd be able to help (programming, graphics, etc) and prior experience.
Burn 'Out on this months CD
Billed as a racing game like no other, Burn 'Out was first released in 1995 by Oregan Software Developments, a result of a development between three individuals. Coincidentally, one of them - Ian Jeffray - is the driving force behind Paradise Software, whereas I believe the others are currently working for PlayStation software publishers.
Racing takes place on a unique island through woodland, beaches and mountains on tracks that have more in common with rollercoaster rides than conventional racetracks, you must pit your skill and reflexes against nine other dune-buggy drivers and finish in the top three to continue to the next race. Choose from a selection of drivers and buggies and prepare for the ultimate arcade racing experience.
Racing along with RISC OS
As far as actual competition goes for RISC OS, Burn 'Out was lucky: the only other racing sim of note has been BHP which could have been a lot better. Burn 'Out is certainly starting to show its age now, but is a fun game to play which is after all the primary consideration. Oh yes, it's also now available freely to download from the authors website, but even better its on this issues CD in the Software directory.
Paradise Software games discounts
Paradise Software have an advertisement within the December issue of Acorn User: both Inferno and Overload are available at £5 a piece, or just £8 for both. Also available is a stunning joypad interface allowing for the use of PlayStation games controllers with your RISC OS system games costing just £12. If you've got an original PlayStation in addition to your RISC OS computer, this may prove to be a unique experience with classic and new RISC OS games titles; at a price that's hardly going to hurt!
For further information, visit the Paradise website at www.paradise-uk.net or call 01926 315907.