RISC World

StrongGames 233

Matthew Thompson

When I upgraded my A440/1 to a RISC PC I didn't realise how much of my games collection would become unusable, however with the release of StrongGuard and patches by various people over the years, list of games that fail on StrongARM machines is getting shorter each month.

However this is mainly the commercial games that have been fixed, but what about all those public domain games? You know the ones that used to live on the huge collections of floppy discs acquired from various PD libraries, some of these games were of very good quality, and some better than many commercial offerings.

Many of these have been lost or forgotten about, until iSV Products (now part of APDL) released a collection of over 200 of these games on one CD, many of them have been tweaked so that you can play them again on StrongARM machines and most of them are also RISC OS 4 compatible too.

Whats on the CD?

When you load the CD for the first time click on !Gameview and you can view a database which has the games divided up into different types of game and also shows a screenshot of the game so you can see what it looks like and if you like the look of it then click on 'open folder' and you can run then game directly from there, which is a good idea as you don't have to go through endless directorys to run the game you want.

The categories of games are:

  • Adventure
  • Arcade
  • Demos (of commercial games)
  • Desktop
  • Education
  • Flightsim
  • Multiplay
  • Plaform
  • Puzzle
  • Racing
  • ShootEmUp
  • Silly
  • Sports
  • Strategy
  • NotRISCOS4.

So which ones are worth playing? I've listed my personal favourites from this disc (obviously everyone will have their own favourites) but these are the ones I think are worth playing, and if you haven't played them, then give them a go.

Hopper - (arcade section) this is virtually a carbon copy of the Acornsoft version from the BBC days, very playable and on RISC OS4 the frog is difficult to see so you need to run one of the utils supplied on the disc to slow it down (also if you like Hopper check out Frogger as well - just for the silly sound effects if nothing else).

Pssst! - (arcade section) nothing to do with having to much beer, but a remake of one of the Ultimate Play The Game title from the ZX Spectrum, and its identical to the original, you have to protect your plants from the bugs by spraying them - and thats it, simple but a nice little game.

ChaosDemo - (demos) a demo version of the Chaos Engine, a brilliant 'if they move shoot them' game bit, a classic game as most Bitmap Brothers games were, full version available from RCOMP Interactive.

Spobbleoid - (demo) a demo of the original Spobbleoid game, collect the items before the time runs out avoiding or killing the monsters, and having to deal with various different types of blocks (one way, timed blocks, locks & keys) this is a superb game, which I still haven't finished but keep coming back to, it is still available from The 4th Dimension as Spobbleoid Fantasy with the original levels + more and a level editor, and has recently been updated and now runs on StrongARM/RISC OS4 no problems.

Pigeons (multiplay) a game for two players, you have to dispose of your opponent pigeon by 'pooing' on it, thats basically it an aeroplane flies over making silly noises and drops bonuses, not a classic game but good for a laugh.

YAIG (shootemup) this game goes back years and of the many PD space invaders clones I found this one to be one of the better ones, fast and endless waves of bizarre aliens (toilets and self peeling bananas) for you to dispose of, the usual rules apply, if you like shooting them up then try this one.

Roller (platform) a revamp of the BBC classic game Ghouls, each level is the same but instead of the Pac-Man on legs you are now a ball for some reason, but while its still a good game, it doesn't quite have the haunting atmosphere of the BBC original, a shame really.

Manic Miner (platform) One of the best early 1980s platformers, gets updated to todays machines, and retaining all the originality of the ZX Spectrum version, this is the best version of it i've seen, all the levels are identical, and the graphics have been tarted up, and the music is too although its vastly better now, if you've never played this (where've you been) then you must play it now, collect the keys to open the exit and get to the exit, over 20 screens which get more and more difficult theres, also a bonus set of screens to play through as well, this is the ultimate version of this game, and is highly recommended.

JSW (platform) Jet Set Willy is (for me anyway) THE classic 80s game, this game originated on the ZX Spectrum and subsequently appeared on every 80s home computer, and followed up with the sequel Jet Set Willy2. This RISC OS version has the full JSW1 & JSW2 games, which are the same as the originals but have had the graphics greatly improved and they are still as playable as the original versions were, however as good as this version is, there are a few things that are missing, and it would be good if they could be added, one is the fact that at the end of the game it just says "Game Over" as is tradition with JSW an end of a game means that the foot comes down and splats you!, and the music is not very good either, a large selection of Maestro tunes (which i've never rated) are available but its better to just have the sound effects, it would be good if you could have both the effects and some jazzed up version of the original JSW tunes, any takers? apart from that its a very good conversion and also includes a full multitasking editor if you wish to create your own games, two of which are included "Hyperspace" and "HouseOfFun" apart from the two minor points this is a classic game which everyone should have.

Other games worth checking out are BunnyRace, SheepRace, Marsquake, Blurp, Scotty, Splodge Styx, Pushy2, Hedz.

There is a directory called "NotRISCos4" as these games apparently didn't work on the RISC OS 4 machines that they were tested one, however some of them work fine on my machine so its worth trying them to see if they work, Lemings works well, (the PD copy of the commercial game) but Mr Doo is a lost cause, but Phaethon works on OS4 so best to try them to see which ones work.

It is also worth mentioning that there a number of commercial games included on here including Terramex, Twin World, Masterbreak and also Elite, so if you don't have these it's worth buying StrongGames just for these alone.

It would take forever to cover every game on here but there is surely something for everyone on here with platformers, arcade games, flight sims, chess, strategy games there is bound to be something to interest everyone who likes to play games on the computer.

This CD is highly recommended and is well worth getting if you want to add loads of games to your collection or as was the case with me, to replace all those old PD games on floppy discs and have them on a nice convenient CDROM and the bonus of them being updated for use on RISC OS 4 and StrongARM machines.

Product details

Product: StrongGames 233
Supplier: APDL
Price: £12.50
Address: 39 Knighton Park Road, Sydenham, London, SE26 5RN
Tel: 0208 778 2659

A demo copy of the StrongGames front end showing all the games available (along with screen shots) is in the software directory on this issue of RISC World and there's also a special Reader's offer. See the Index page for details.

Matthew Thompson