Randomize

Three random games. From mainframes up till the 5th Generation. Lots of fun/misery.
RANDOMIZE 1: 23-Feb-2014
Lucky Luke
Lucky Luke Nitroglycerine
1987, Amstrad CPC

Our first ever RND 5050 game comes from the library of the glorious Amstrad CPC. This machine was like ZX Spectrum`s mature brother: similar architecture but more solid execution.

And so we start with a Lucky Luke title - quite a popular character back in the days. Sorta laid-back cowboy, drawn to life by Mr De Bevere from Belgium in 1946

The only CPC versions of the game we could find are in French and Spanish - hard to tell if there was even an English one at all. No matter...let`s just hope it`s not a text adventure.

After the impressive intro screen the game starts and it seems we`re in some kind of top-down view mode - bit messy, but after a while that mess starts resembling a Western town...

Lucky Luke

...complete with steamship pier, armoury, train station...and that little circle inside a bigger one is Luke`s hat. After a bit of running around and clicking on things we manage to get a "mission", then something involving "le bandit" happens at the pier and then we board the train. Cue the next scene - The Shootout.

Lucky Luke

Here Luke blasts away at assorted banditos popping up here and there- aiming consists of lining your character against the enemy, nothing fancy. It`s best to keep to either left or right side of the screen and ignore faraway targets whose bullets seem to have limited range. After clearing this stage you move into a similar setup, this time in a saloon - or so we presume, since unfortuantely this is where the game gets buggy and gfx become a mess.

It`s still possible to play though but after we got through this stage a score appeared...and after answering a Y/N question (in French) the shootout restarts. Seems that`s it then...or is it?

Well, no, since after checking it out on MobyGames it turns out to be quite an advanced multi-genre title. After the shooting, there are adventure and puzzle stages - however that seems best experienced on other platforms (DOS, ATARI ST, C64 and Thomson) - here gfx and translation problems make further investigation rather pointless.

Lucky Luke

Overall, quite an impressive title, varied gameplay with charming graphics - well worth trying out, though maybe not in CPC emulation mode.

RND 5050 SCORE: 7/10 ( kind of approximate due to tech problems fobidding us to see more)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mag Quest
Hobo
1983, Arcadia 2001
Unknown game, unknown system. Great! At least the title is familiar, Arkham Manor residents are true hobos at heart.

First of all, let`s see about that Arcadia thingy - seems to be a 2nd gen 8-bit console that enjoyed a brief run in the early Eighties with 35 games released.

The game itself starts up fine on WinArcadia emulator - cue the nice start up screen seen above (yep, the original resolution was 128 x 208). Controls are bit quirky since the original "pads" were joysticks with some numerical pads attached and are all over the place in the emu.

Choosing a game "mode" is a bit hit and miss with these controls - but eventually we played through what we think is the "main" game. The titular Hobo tries to reach his "home" at Grand Central Station - but, like in reality, it`s not so easy.

Hobo

First up is the Frogger-like cross-the-street stage. The trick here is to dash in between tiny space between the lanes...this can be rather difficult, given their diagonal slant. Difficult, but not impossible, and after a while we eventually reach Stage 2 - some sort of security wall patrolled by guards.

Hobo

This one is pretty hard too - maybe even worse than the first since controls are pretty awful - you can`t go down ladders and jumping (over guards) is not very precise.

Hobo

If you manage to navigate the wall succesfully you arrive at the station itself - this one is similar to Stage One only this time you try to crass by jumping from train to train and onto platforms.

This stage is pretty cool, and thankfully horizontal, not diagonal - although after a while it all blurs together and we were very lucky to reach our - presumably cardboard - abode.

Hobo, despite sometimes awkward controls, is a good game - has plenty of heart, decent graphics and is quite varied for its time. And the protagonist is quite charming too. Recommended!

RND 5050 SCORE: 7.5/10

 

 

 

Break 147
Break 147
1991, Acorn Archimedes

Acorn Archimedes...hmmm, another ancient micro we`re unfamiliar with - seems that similarly to Arcadia 2001, which was released supposedly as a superior Atari 2600 killer, this Acorn had Amiga in its sights. Both attempts failed...(though ARM architecture used in Archimedes lives on in countless devices surrounding us nowadays - i.e smartphones)

Emulating the Archimedes isn`t as straighforward as any ol` console - but after a brief struggle we prevailed (recommended free emulator: RPCEmu). Bizarrely, it has no "take screenshot" option - rather unusual, good old PrtSc has to do instead.

As for the game itself, no surprises here - it`s a snooker sim.

Break 147

Not exactly our favourite genre here at AM, but no matter. Break 147 is a 3D title and it looks and moves pretty slick - ARM processors were quite powerful.

Soon as we attempt to line some shots, a major problem transpires though - the controls. Majority of the operations rely on the mouse, responsible both for the view adjustments and cue stick control.

Break 147

This is the major gripe - when trying to shoot, you need to push mouse forward, imitating cue stick movement - but it`s very tricky to pull that off without also slightly changing the L/R angle. Since playing snooker is all about precision it can be quite infuriating...

Admittedly, since we`re emulating it`s hard to say if there was the same problem in the original version. Also, perhaps we missed some option to adjust this (lock down of sorts?) ...without the manual it`s impossible to establish though. Or...maybe we`re just rubbish at it and our mouse needs cleaning.

Therefore, a promising, good looking game rendered unplayable by control trouble. Shame! Perhaps others would have more luck though, snooker fans should give Break 147 a go none the less.

RND 5050 SCORE: - (we will pass scoring this one in case problems with controls were our fault)