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Sep 17, 2020 dreamkatcha
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I take a brief squint at the public domain scene, pondering the perceived threat posed by magazine coverdisks and how the mail-order distribution libraries made a living from such meagre margins.
Topics: public domain, licenceware, Amiga, Commodore, authorware, shareware
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Sep 12, 2020 dreamkatcha
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I examine the mysterious case of Bananaman's video-gaming no-show, along the way consulting insiders who we would expect to have more than an inkling into the matter. Will studying the character's development and legacy offer any further clues? Finally, I postulate what a potential, licensed tie-in Bananaman game might entail. Would it fly with DC Thomson or is it just yellow, moon-shaped fruit?
Topics: Bananaman, video games, Beano, Dandy, comic books, John Geering, Dave Donaldson, Steve Bright, Eric...
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Sep 12, 2020 dreamkatcha
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As computer technology forges ahead in proficiency, one casualty could well be your peace of mind. Pacier components require more robust cooling techniques and this can lead to a surge in noise nuisance. Not that it's inevitable mind you; choose the right kit to begin with/replace the worst noise pollution offenders in your system, then acquaint it with the right temperature management software and it's entirely feasible to regain the serenity you vaguely remember from your fanless/passive...
Topics: quiet computing, heatsink, Zalman, CPU fan, passive cooling, water cooling, heat dissipation,...
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Sep 11, 2020 dreamkatcha
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How would you like to be able to experiment with/completely destroy your Windows system with carefree abandon, safe in the knowledge that it can be effortless restored to its former pristine glory in a matter of minutes should disaster strike? Allow me to explain the hard drive partition imaging/restoration process... with a bit of help from Patrick, Demi and Whoopi.
Topics: Norton Ghost, hard drive imaging, system backup, tutorial, how-to, guide, Windows
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Sep 10, 2020 dreamkatcha
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If you've ever wondered how to install and administrate your own community web forum/bulletin board, this is the how-to guide for you. It covers the advantages and drawbacks of the various DIY and managed solutions available, how much they cost, where to host them, and how to perform essential maintenance tasks such as exporting backups.
Topics: vBulletin, Ultimate Bulletin Board, MyBB, YABB, Snitz, Ikonboard, forum, bulletin board, CGI, PHP,...
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This guide was originally written in 2005 so it's almost a retro 'how to' emulate retro games article. All jolly meta! It covers the basic tenets of coercing ancient DOS games into cooperating with what were then contemporary operating systems. Typical problems you may encounter, potential solutions, plus software recommendations are all touched upon.
Topics: DOSBox, VDMSound, Bochs, emulation, DOS games
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Sep 8, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Everything you need to know to get started in the world of web design and site management, covering all the subjects you might have spotted in the list of keywords.
Topics: web design, javascript, SSI, NVU, Dreamweaver, WYSIWYG, frames, iframes, PHP, tables, search...
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Sep 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Definition, origins, legacy. I apply the 101 treatment to the computational craft instigated by inspirational Commodore 64 adopters way back in the mists of time and primitive circuitry.
Topics: demoscene, Amiga, Commodore 64, animation, coding, demoparty
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Sep 3, 2020 dreamkatcha
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I explore the trials and tribulations of running Amiga games on modern hardware via the two most popular emulators for Commodore’s 16 and 32-bit systems; FS-UAE and WinUAE. I cover how to implement the Kickstart firmware, where to find ROMs and games, and the way in which the various models should be configured for optimal success. Bookending my tutorial is the story of how I came to own my first Amiga, followed by a waffle-packed rant on the depressing state of current mainstream gaming and...
Topics: Amiga, Commodore, emulation, WinUAE, FS-UAE, Winfellow, Amiga Forever, Cloanto, retrogaming, video...
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Aug 31, 2020 dreamkatcha
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I quiz Richard Sekula, former sales manager at Spectravideo, concerning his involvement in devising the monumental golden GamesMaster joystick. An iconic trophy that would be used to reward celebrity (and lowly commoner) contestants for winning challenges throughout seven series of the massively popular Channel 4 TV show back in the '90s.
Topics: Richard Sekula, Spectravideo, Quickshot, GamesMaster, Dominik Diamond, Dave Perry
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Aug 30, 2020 dreamkatcha
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From Butlins redcoat to island castaway, I chart the rise and demise of TVs' most successful video gaming entertainment show ever produced. Dominic Diamond's notoriously  risque quips and dour delivery as memorable as the celebrity challenges, GamesMaster has gone down in history as an inexplicable anomaly never to be repeated. Seven whole series worth of reviews, contests, golden joysticks, editorial features, and unforgettable controversy, I cover it all. Now with beautifully restored HD...
Topics: Jane Hewland, Patrick Moore, Dexter Fletcher, Dominik Diamond, GamesMaster
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Aug 29, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Bad Influence was the family-friendly, less-edgy, often educational alternative to GamesMaster, running parallel with Dominik's show between 1992 and 1996 on CITV. Hosted by Violet Berlin and Andy Crane, it covered similar gaming ground, though also expanded its scope to embrace general technological developments with a focus on how they were being used creatively at the time and would be in Tomorrow's World. To commemorate the momentous impact it left on my childhood, I take a retrospective...
Topics: Z Wright, Violet Berlin, Andy Crane, Bad Influence, CITV, Andy Wear, Nam Rood
The Magazine Rack
Aug 23, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Magazine page extracts linked from my retrogaming sales chart database .
Topics: retrogaming, sales charts, database, Gallup, Woolworths, HMV
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Aug 23, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Living in Manchester I pass by the former headquarters of Ocean Software all the time. An unforgivable missed opportunity then not to drop into the Quaker friends' meeting house for an impromptu unguided tour and photo-snooping session. Walking amongst the dead, risking life, limb and incarceration, I tread the illustrious path of the game-developing superstar-heroes who gifted us so many unforgettable 8 and 16-bit classic titles.
Topics: Ocean Software, Quaker Friend's Meeting House, Manchester, retrogaming, Amiga, Atari ST, ZX...
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Aug 7, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Whilst irate NES gamers tore their hair out in frustration attempting to beat the insanely difficult Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Battletoads, we Amiga and Atari ST computer users wrangled with the deceptively jolly, cutesy-bouncy platformer, Kid Gloves. Featuring music bearing deeper-rooted resilience than an earworm wearing climbing crampons, and a death animation you'll love then loath after the zillionth manifestation, Kid Gloves is a strong contender for one of the Amiga's most...
Topics: Kid Gloves, Amiga, Atari ST, Millennium Interactive, Commodore
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Aug 6, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Given the regular appearance of vintage computer hardware in the nerdy tech support-oriented TV sitcom, The IT Crowd, surely the mighty, historically significant Commodore Amiga must at some point also have been treated to a cameo role? Jason Fitzpatrick, curator of the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge, was responsible for decorating the basement set seen on screen, so he'd certainly be able to solve the compelling conundrum. Guess who I asked?
Topics: Centre for Computing History, Cambridge, IT Crowd, Commodore, Amiga, Jason Fitzpatrick
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Aug 6, 2020 dreamkatcha
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I trace the lesser-known musical history of former Commodore UK managing director, David Pleasance, discovering that a flair for symphonic crafts runs in his family.
Topics: Commodore, Amiga, David Pleasance, Satya Dub Orchestra
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Aug 6, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Gaming history is littered with the broken corpses of failed console/computer joysticks, joypads and other obscure peripherals. Triax's Turbo Touch 360 is a prime example. What seemed like an ingenious 'why has this never been tried before now?' concept, in retrospect, was a bungled misstep. Even now we're all using touchscreen smartphones and other digital devices, apparently, we prefer something that offers genuine haptic feedback when it comes to game controllers.
Topics: Turbo Touch 360, joypad, Triax, NES, SNES, SEGA Genesis, Mega Drive, Atari ST, Commodore, Amiga,...
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Aug 6, 2020 dreamkatcha
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I scour millions of eBay listings to establish which Amiga games have the potential to bankrupt collectors.
Topics: Amiga, Commodore, eBay, retrogaming, game collecting
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Aug 6, 2020 dreamkatcha
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I stumble across one of Clive Sinclair's notoriously ostracised C5 bike-go-kart crossbreed velomobiles at Flambards theme park in Helston, Cornwall, triggering a retrospective scrutiny of Clive's failed fling with the electric vehicle market.
Topics: Sinclair C5, Clive Sinclair, Flambards theme park, Helston
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Aug 6, 2020 dreamkatcha
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I interrogate the Amiga's gaming back-catalogue to discover why it endured so many lazy, slapdash arcade coin-op ports that weren't worth the floppy disks they were delivered upon.
Topics: Commodore, Amiga, arcade conversions, coin-ops
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Aug 6, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Doody is the original, single-screen, two-player Mario Bros game for the Amiga, only featuring non-copyright infringing graphics and for gratis. Don't tell Nintendo!
Topics: Doody, W.G.S.S., Commodore, Amiga, public domain
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Aug 6, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Amiga Rod-land-esque platformer, Trap 'Em, could more accurately be anointed 'Trap 'Em Then Obliterate The Alien Critters With Your Laser Gun', for that is the mechanism by which our squidgy foes can be expected to expire. Except that's not quite so catchy, is it? Plus, any airborne baddies can be blasted outright minus the inconvenience of prior trapage. As an appetite-whetting synopsis, I suspect this isn't doing justice to Paul Clarke's solo AMOS project, which is really rather good fun in a...
Topics: Trap 'Em, Paul Clarke, Amiga, Commodore, Rod-land
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Aug 6, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Sometimes situations transpire that result in games publishers being left lumbered with many thousands of unsaleable copies of an ill-fated title. Occasionally the rumours that surplus stock is dealt with by donning a hard hat and visiting a landfill dump riding in a JCB are absolutely true!
Topics: David Pleasance, Commodore, Amiga, Spirit of the Stones, John Worsley, Isle of Wight, Atari, E.T.
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Aug 6, 2020 dreamkatcha
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I scrutinise Guru Larry Jnr's allegation that the licensed Amiga platform game, Dennis the Menace, was deliberately rendered unbeatable to cover-up the fact (?) that it was released unfinished. In a separate article found elsewhere on my blog, you'll find an interview I conducted with the game's coder, former Ocean Software developer Ben Walshaw, to establish if there is any truth to the rumour.
Topics: Dennis the Menace, Amiga, Amiga CD32, SNES, Ben Walshaw, Fact Hunt, Guru Larry Jnr
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Aug 6, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Because System 3's Putty wasn't nearly Silly enough, Pink Pig Software took the stretchy ball of protagonist gloop, multiplied it by three and transformed the scenario into a single-screen arena duelling affair. 'Blob Kombat' was what transpired; a charmingly animated, three-player, AGA-powered shareware title entirely deserving of the moderate fee charged.
Topics: Pink Pig Software, Blob Kombat, Commodore, Amiga, Putty, System 3
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With platform games ten-a-penny on the Amiga, Mindscape were forced to think outside the coop when promoting the release of Alfred Chicken.
Topics: Alfred Chicken, Amiga, Amiga CD32, Game Boy, NES, Twilight, Mindscape International
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Aug 6, 2020 dreamkatcha
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The not-so-well hidden secret of Top Secret is that it's a shameless Rod-land rip-off, minus some of the core elements that make it so satisfying to play; spontaneous ladder generation and the fairies' comically unconventional means of attack. Is whatever remains worthy of your attention? Is Top Secret "probably the best PD game ever" as Amiga Power magazine optimistically suggested? Albeit on the cover of one of their issues which included said game on the cover disk.
Topics: Top Secret, The Hidden, Amiga, Rod-land, Amiga Power, Commodore
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Aug 6, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Benny Hill wasn't especially known for his affiliation with video games, yet here is gurning his way onto your ZX Spectrum's telebox screen doing what he does best; being chased by anyone and eventually  everyone  (unfortunately minus his borrowed signature theme tune). It would seem that all his lascivious leering has finally driven Benny to change his ways, turning him to the light side of community-minded benevolence. This entails carrying out three separate, altruistic tasks whilst...
Topics: Benny Hill's Madcap Chase, ZX Spectrum, dk'tronics, Don Priestley
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Aug 6, 2020 dreamkatcha
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'Cookie' is the ultimate cake-baking simulator you can feed to your sweet-toothed ZX Spectrum or Amiga. You'd hope so as it was made by Ultimate Play the Game, thus establishing high expectations. Charlie the Chef's sole objective is to corral the sentient, unruly ingredients required for his recipe, steering them from the larder into a giant mixing bowl using well-time flour bag projectiles without introducing any unwelcome stray objects such as screws, bolts, and tin cans.
Topics: Ultimate Play the Game, Ashby Computers and Graphics, ZX Spectrum, Amiga, Langford Video
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Robotron is all fine and dandy, but where's King Rudolph the Santa Emperor with his sack of yuletide remixed trinkets? And what about his unruly, sentient deck of cards? And surely 2084 should have had a duel energy bar health system implemented by then? Eugene Jarvis and Larry DeMar, to Robotron's detriment, didn't consider any of these critical conundrums, so it's fortuitous that Stavros Fasoulas was on hand to remedy their oversights. 'Galactic' is the question, the answer, the one true...
Topics: Galactic, The Xmas Edition, The Vision Game, Stavros Fasoulas
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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If you've ever played Operation Wolf and wished you could swap the ice-cold-hearted, battle-hardened enemy soldiers for innocent school kids, earning points for assassinating them with a sniper rifle, just out of sporting curiosity, Schoolyard Slaughter is no doubt the game for you! Appropriately enough it was devised by the likely non-existent, anonymous developers, Sickworld Software, and kicked up quite a storm in the media several years after its release once tenuously linked with the...
Topics: Sickworld Software, Amiga, Atari ST, Schoolyard Slaughter, AMOS
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Proving that pretty graphics alone a good game do not make, top-down, two-player arena combat extravaganza, Extreme Violence, is infinitely unputdownable. It's even been known to spark real-world violence of an extreme nature. Just ask my armless, one-legged sister, Eileen.
Topics: Simon Green, Extreme Violence, Amiga
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Acid Software, publishers of the Super Sprint-inspired isometric racing game, Skidmarks for the Amiga, initially intended to issue a regular, accompanying, disk-based magazine, yours for the price of a stamp. Did it ever happen? Were you a subscriber? Please allow me to rev my investigative engine, churn the dirt, sift through the mucky evidence and douse it in shaken champagne. Or just do a bit of Googling. Whatever works for you.
Topics: Acid Software, Amiga, Skidmarks
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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I excavate a fascinating long lost C&VG interview with Bubble Bobble and Rainbow Islands designer/artist, Fukio Mitsuji, preserving it for posterity.
Topics: Bubble Bobble, Fukio Mitsuji, Rainbow Islands, Taito
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Round the Bend is the sewer-situated, parody-packed kid's equivalent of the satirical, puppet-powered Spitting Image TV show, attracting sufficient viewing figures to warrant its own home micro computer game in 1991. As did its more adult-oriented analogue, adapted for off-beat bash 'em up fans by Domark. Round the Bend publishers, Impulze, were equally enamoured with Doc Croc, Jemimah Wellington-Green, Vaudeville Vince Vermin, Luchetti Bruchetti and co. So much so they released their...
Topics: Round the Bend, Wisemen Productions, Impulze, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Doc...
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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In the UK, playing computer games based on Italian comic book characters we'd never heard of wasn't a fantastically popular pastime. I'd hazard a guess the same would apply to every other non-Italian-speaking country in the world. All of which explains why when I mention 'Lupo Alberto' you'll likely furrow your brow with dumbfounded befuddlement, crab-stepping away into the shadows whistling nonchalantly, avoiding eye contact at all costs. But wait! Come back! It turns out that the game of the...
Topics: Lupo Alberto, Idea Software, Amiga, Commodore 64
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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In 1992 Team 17's Project-X was the preposterously-gorgeously slick shmup to beat. Polished to a lustre 17 fathoms beyond eye-melting. Because it was the number one R-Type-killer to stomp into the mud, mockingly chanting "haha, we killed your R-Type-killer dead", Virtual Dreams attempted to replicate it two years later by virtue of their me-too work of art, T-Racer. It certainly looks the part - you'd be forgiven for thinking it was Project-X's...
Topics: Virtual Dreams, T-Racer, Amiga
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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I discuss some of Ocean France's most impressive game releases with the talented coder who helped to breathe life into them. Special attention is quite rightly paid to the almost-lost work of art, Liquid Kids.
Topics: Ocean France, Michel Janicki, Ocean Software, Liquid Kids, interview, Beach Volley, Cabal, Ivanhoe,...
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Commodore's second games console endeavour, the CD32, introduced Amiga owners to 32-bit, CD-based gaming, finally embracing the joypad as a means of control. I explore its development, promotion, reception and sadly shortlived lifespan. To be this good will take SEGA ages!
Topics: Commodore, Amiga, CD32, Chris Evans, David Pleasance
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Wild West, gunslinging desperado, Badlands Pete, is appointed chief daughter-rescuer on behalf of the governor in ARC's 2D, side-scrolling arcade shooter. Only problem is he can't mosey with his pistol drawn, which tends to limit his kidnap-recovery mission. No matter, Badlands Pete is better-known for its 'Strip-A-Motion' claim to fame. Even if it  is  of debatable veracity.
Topics: Badlands Pete, Amiga, Atari ST, ARC, Frames
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Bomberman aka Dyna Blaster for the Amiga. Published in 1991, one of the earliest, undiluted, pure-bred entries in the infamous terrorism-glamorising series. Fantastically addictive mayhem for all the family! 'Nuff said.
Topics: Bomberman, Dyna Blaster, Hudson Soft Company, Ubi Soft, Atari ST, Sharp X68000, TurboGrafx-16
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Now that the former Game That Wasn't, Ultracore (nee Hardcore), has finally been salvaged from pixel scrapyard oblivion, published for the SEGA Mega Drive, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PS Vita in 2019, people like to ignore the fact that Digital Illusions' run 'n' gun platform shoot 'em up was originally intended for release on the Amiga. Nevermind, I'm just glad it materialised full stop, through whatever means. I'm more disgruntled that its unveiling has made my old 'lost treasure'...
Topics: Ultracore, Hardcore, Columbus Circle, Digital Illusions, DICE, SEGA, Genesis, Mega Drive, Nintendo...
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Exactly how close have we sailed to realising a mega-budget, live-action Leisure Suit Larry movie? I go undercover to investigate.
Topics: Leisure Suit Larry, Al Lowe, Amiga, Apple II, Apple IIgs, Atari ST, Macintosh, TRS-80, CoCo
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Playing Kid Gloves II for more than five seconds you'll be struck by how little it has in common with Kid Gloves part I. There's a good reason for that; scratch just below the Pritt-Sticked on name tag and it's actually an independently developed cutesy platformer previously known as Little Beau. Ironically, it plays far more like Wonder Boy than the game it was adopted to sequelise.
Topics: Kid Gloves II, The Journey Back, Millennium Interactive, Digital Magic Software, Amiga, Atari ST,...
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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CJ's Elephant Antics is Codemasters reasonably successful attempt to recreate the magic of Taito's arcade classic, New Zealand Story. OK, so it's somewhat trunkcated *pause for uncontrollable laughter*, yet wholesome, convivial fun regardless. We play as the acronymous, titular CJ who ain't gonna take it no more! He's fled captivity homeward bound for Africa, crossing continents, conquering climates and dispatching dissenters. Armed with a bomb or two and an infinite supply of peanuts, CJ has...
Topics: Genesis Software, Codemasters, CJ's Elephant Antics, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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There's no avoiding the elephant in the room - Alien Bash II is a freebie, PD rendition of The Chaos Engine. Lock, stock, kit and caboodle... or whatever the phrase is. If it hadn't been given away for nuffink via an Amiga Format cover disk, I suspect the Bitmap Brothers might have sued for plagiarism damages. That minor quibble aside, it looks great, and plays exceptionally well for an amateur hobbyist project.
Topics: Alien Bash II, Glen Cumming, Myles Jeffery, Amiga Format, The Chaos Engine, Bitmap Brothers
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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What was that funny game called we used to play at school where you'd kick a row of six furry, brown, Furby-like critters at an opponent? If you managed to boot all your 'Beloms' onto their side of the pitch so they were reluctantly in possession of all twelve simultaneously, you could then charge over into their territory and declare yourself victorious. I can't remember, nevermind. Anyway, it was much like Rainbow Arts' alternative sports computer game, Grand Monster Slam. Just like the...
Topics: Grand Monster Slam, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Golden Goblins, Rainbow Arts
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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In 1992 Amiga Power in collaboration with The Hidden, developers of everyone's favourite samurai duck, Donk, ran a design a game competition, the illustrious prize being for the winning entry to be transformed into a fully playable, cover-mounted public domain game. Who won, and where can you download their magnum opus today?
Topics: Spodland, Amiga Power, The Hidden, Donk, William Bell, Craig Howard, Simon Leggett, Carl Jermy,...
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Psycho scientist steals secret Nesquik recipes. Quicky the Nesquik bunny leaps into action to recover them. That's the gist of Nestle's promotional platform game, dished up in 1995 as a freebie accompaniment to their Frankenfood breakfast cereal sold in Germany.
Topics: Tricky Quiky Games, Nesquik, ARGON Software, Nestle, Amiga, Nesquik bunny
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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"Blazing your way to glory" in Wings of Fury initially rests on one's ability to successfully lift off from an aircraft carrier situated in the Pacific Ocean. A tricky task that flummoxes many newcomers to such an extent that they give up at the first hurdle, never to fully appreciate the joys of the horizontally scrolling, arcade-strategy flight sim that captivated my inner Maverick as a child. As the pilot of an F6F Hellcat deeply entrenched in America's World War II campaign...
Topics: Wings of Fury, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Commodore 64, Game Boy Color, Sharp X68000, Broderbund
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Deceptively simple, our cutesy penguin protagonist's goal in Crazy Seasons is to shove together in a designated order a selection of four blocks labelled with geometrically distinct shapes. These can be located anywhere on the single-screen levels, often guarded by patrolling enemies of the wildlife variety. While these can easily be killed by ramming blocks into them or using a temporary bonus revolver, it's not in our interests to eliminate them entirely. Should we accidentally clear the...
Topics: Crazy Seasons, Amiga, Idea Software, Proxima Design
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Loopy scientist, Dr Devious, operating under the influence of an unhealthy obsession with Picasso's cubist paintings has devised a gizmo that turns buildings, objects and even people into solid, useless cubes that then only serve to take up space and trip up unsuspecting pedestrians. To counter this gravely serious threat, the secret service drafts in their most trusted 007 impersonator, JJ Maverick. That's us for the purposes of Image Works' imaginative, single-screen puzzle-platformer,...
Topics: Devious Designs, Amiga, Atari ST, Image Works
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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We, a mighty wizard's incompetent apprentice have opened Pandora's box unleashing an army of 'Fuzzball' critters into his tower to wreak havoc. To complicate matters further, we too have been transformed into a quadriplegic ball of fluff. To regain the boss's trust and convince him to transform us back to human form we must clear each single-screen level by collecting treasure and eliminating the pesky escapees with our blue pellet projectiles.
Topics: Fuzzball, Amiga, System 3 Software, Scangames Norway
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With a bit of help from YouTube and the amazing folk who make World of Longplays a reality, I discover which Amiga games offer the best value for money in terms of completion time.
Topics: Amiga, Commodore, longplay
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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If you're rich, sleepwalk and reside in a mansion packed to the rafters with expensive ornaments, don't be surprised if you receive a visit from the Pink Panther, cat burglar extraordinaire. For it is his 'duty' to rob you blind whilst preoccupied roaming the extensive corridors of your home, obliviously unaware of the Panther of colour's crooked, clandestine scheme. Anyway, that's their  problem. In Magic Bytes' puzzle-platformer we assume the role of the eponymous predator tasked with...
Topics: Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MSX, ZX Spectrum, Pink Panther, Magic Bytes, reLINE...
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Bundling Ocean Software's highly acclaimed Batman the movie multi-genre, arcade-action platform game with Amiga 500 hardware back in 1989 played an immensely influential role in the system's proliferation. I chart the rise of the console-beating computer beginning with that key decision made by Commodore's then UK managing director, David Pleasance.
Topics: Commodore, Amiga, A500, Batman, David Pleasance, Ocean Software
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Count Dracula is up to his old neck-chewing tricks again over in Transylvania (the Vampire's Empire) and only Doctor Van Helsing is qualified and equipped to banish him back to his box permanently. In Magic Bytes' horror-themed platformer we learn that to contain the deadly threat our doc saviour must target Dracula by reflecting magic light beams deep into the core of his soul via the precision positioning of mirrors. It wouldn't hurt to keep some gloves of garlic handy either.
Topics: Vampire's Empire, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MSX, ZX Spectrum, Magic Bytes, DigiTek Software
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Aug 5, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Baby Jo goes home. That's almost the title and this cutesy, quirky French platformer in a nutshell. Except the eponymous tyke is blessed with genuine personality, a comically novel health-monitoring system and beautifully simplistic cartoony graphics that would entice hardcore cynics and big soft pansies alike. Plus, just for the helluvit up pops Daffy Duck! I got that carried away by this off-the-wall oddity, it's also available as a video presentation on YouTube.
Topics: Baby Jo, Going Home, Loriciel, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, DOS, TurboGrafx CD
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I don my head to toe detective trenchcoat and fedora to investigate the mysterious origins of Ocean Software's name.
Topics: Ocean Software, Spectrum Games, Ralli Brothers, Castlefield, Manchester, Quakers, Friends' Meeting...
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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During the height of the super-cute platformer game era, Titus' contribution was to lend their mascot, Titus the Fox, to the cause. It's an entertaining, solidly constructed effort enlivened with charming graphics, albeit one hampered by excessively rapid motion and infuriating inertia. Interaction with springs, weaponised crates, skateboards and magic carpets further enhance the above-average offering better-known in France for its association with humorist, TV presenter, singer and actor,...
Topics: Lagaf, Les Aventures de Moktar, Titus the Fox, To Marrakech and Back, Titus France, Amiga, Amstrad...
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Dr A. Noid, perpetrator of the Great Biological Holocaust, remains on the loose in a post-apocalyptic world crawling with slime-oozing zombies high on 'SLU'. Naturally, as a totally coincidental Mad Max look-a-like bounty hunter, we're obliged to engage our ATV in obliterating all vehicular threats in our path whilst dodging mines and gun turrets. Because battering ram combat vehicles generally won't fit through pedestrian doorways, we must occasionally exit to explore buildings on foot with a...
Topics: Road Raider, Gremlin Graphics, Gray Matter, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX...
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Honoured to be granted the opportunity of an early sneak preview of the Oliver twins' new biography, I share my verdict.
Topics: Oliver Twins, Dizzy, Codemasters, Robin Hood
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Today, games presented entirely through an artistic silhouette perspective are so commonplace they probably represent a genre in themselves. Back in 1991 when Jason Kingsley introduced us to the intriguing visual effect via his hack 'n' slash platformer, Blade Warrior, it was a genuine novelty. Featureless sprite outlines set against minimally tinted moonlit backdrops alone sufficient to make the title interesting. An artefact-gathering, spell-crafting provision further differentiates the...
Topics: Blade Warrior, Amiga, Jason Kingsley, Image Works
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Many Amiga game developers were guilty of wasting swathes of playfield screen real estate, instead dedicating the space to enormous pixel-hogging HUDs. Typically this was done to minimise the system resources required to animate the active playing area at a reasonable framerate without going above and beyond the call of duty in the application of sophisticated workarounds. I track down the worst offenders and tabulate the results... because I still can't quite get over the disappointment of...
Topics: Commodore, Amiga, GUI, HUD, playfield
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Some games are such pitiful non-entities that I'd struggle to find enough words to form what you could justifiably call a review. Here I explain why Dick Tracy for the Amiga falls into such a category, while writing far more on the subject than it deserves.
Topics: Dick Tracy, Titus France, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, ZX Spectrum, Warren...
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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I investigate Guru Larry Jnr's claim that Ocean attempted to cover-up a graphically distorted level of RoboCop for the Commodore 64 by setting an unbeatably stingy time limit in the preceding stage. All because they couldn't be bothered, or didn't have the time, to fix the issue prior to release.
Topics: Ocean Software, RoboCop, John Meegan, Stephen Thomson, Dawn Drake, Guru Larry Jnr, Jonathan Dunn
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Ocean's first foray into sweaty, muscle-bound, square circle brawling wasn't canvas-quaking by any stretch of the imagination, yet when you experience it at the pinnacle of your childhood WWF Wrestlemania fixation, playing against an excitable flesh and blood opponent, it tends to make an impact extending far beyond its impartial merit. Embodying The Ultimate Warrior, stalking Sergeant Slaughter beyond the safeish confines of the ring brandishing a stainless steel chair will do that for you....
Topics: WWF Wrestlemania, Twilight, Ocean Software, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, ZX...
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Leading a second-rate cast of B movie imposters in Codemasters' hack 'n' slash platformer, Sword & The Rose (aka Prince Clumsy), we Loki horns with a deja vu-spiking gaggle of ghouls, ghosts and goblins. Can you guess from which famous duo of Capcom games it draws inspiration/nicks the design and artwork lock, stock and barrel?
Topics: Prince Clumsy, Codemasters, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, The Sword & The Rose
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Beyond the Ice Palace is by and large an unremarkable Ghosts 'n' Goblins-esque platforming romp concerned with redressing the wonky balance between good and evil. What makes it worthy of deeper analysis is an intriguing origin story that belies its non-licensed status. More specifically, Beyond the Ice Palace was initially developed as an official accompaniment to the ThunderCats cartoon, later debranded when another game being produced in parallel was instead chosen to represent the popular...
Topics: Beyond the Ice Palace, Elite Systems, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum
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One man's dream has become one man's destiny! But which man, Tusker or Indiana Jones? Either way, we're duty-bound to follow in our father's footsteps in search of the legendary elephant graveyard, sequestered somewhere deep within the undiscovered, inhospitable tropics of African. Will we unearth ivory beyond our wildest dreams or just the desiccated bones of Sean Connery?
Topics: Tusker, System 3 Software, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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The main drawback of Pang is an unforgivable deficit of hedgehogs. Harry's Balloons seeks to set the record straight, introducing an all-new colour-changing mechanic and a plot that defies human interpretation.
Topics: Harry's Balloons, Amiga, Commodore, Collide
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Skidz from Core Design aptly demonstrates that kidz can be kool as well as environmentally responsible. Whether we choose to ride BMX or skateboard wheelz, our mission is to collect 75% of the litter strewn across each obstacle course stage, earning bonus points in between for performing stunts. Scavenged refreshments boost health, whilst money can be exchanged for hardware upgrades. Skidz is pretty much what happens if you play Paperboy in reverse.
Topics: Skidz, Amiga, Atari ST, Core Design, Gremlin Graphics
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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In Infogrames' Safari Guns we're invited to shoot local wildlife and photograph the scurrilous poachers slaughtering endangered species to produce tacky tourist trinkets. Or is it the other way round? Either way, it's like Operation Wolf with a muddled stance towards violence, armed with a Nikon.
Topics: Safari Guns, New-Deal Productions, Infogrames, Amiga, Atari ST
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Scientific boffin genius, Dr Bakterius, has been kidnapped by a shady terrorist organisation known as O.M.A., impelling bumbling private eye detectives, Mort and Phil aka Clever and Smart, into incisive action. If you're Spanish and have terrible taste in illustrated fiction, you may recognise the not-so-dynamic duo from a newsagent comic book stand near you. In the top-down action-puzzle game of the comic book, our goofball protagonists begin their misguided reconnaissance mission wandering...
Topics: Clever & Smart, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MSX, ZX Spectrum, Magic Bytes,...
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Mary Jane has been kidnapped by the facelessly enigmatic supervillain, Mysterio, retreating to his home turf playground to begin taunting her imminent knight in red and blue lycra, Spider-Man. Luring Spidey through six booby-trapped movie sets, Mysterio is in a prime position to execute the special effect trickery he has spent his former career perfecting. Venturing through 250 screens worth of hostile, pliable assailants - curiously not all of whom emanate from the Marvel universe - culminates...
Topics: The Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel Comics, Oxford Digital Enterprises, Paragon Software, Atari ST,...
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Rainbows retired, Bub and Bob are back, now armed to the teeth with... Mary Poppins prop paraphernalia. Parasol Stars is the arguably better sequel to Taito's arcade coin-op classic hit, Rainbow Islands. You'll struggle to find a baddie dispatch mechanic to rival the satisfaction of unbridled umbrella battery! In close combat situations, it functions as a blunt bludgeoning tool or water droplet propulsion dispenser, whilst with more time to scheme, we can catch individual water droplets,...
Topics: Parasol Stars, The Story of Bubble Bobble III, Taito, Amiga, Atari ST, Game Boy, NES,...
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I chat to the frightfully talented coder of two blood-curdling 8-bit arcade-action games of classic horror origin. We explore the design decisions taken, artistic influences and what might have been without the imposition of the primitive host systems' limitations.
Topics: Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Bride of Frankenstein, 39 Steps, Bride of Frankenstein,...
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Despotic mononymous nutjob, Fernandez, has overthrown the legitimate government of the Democratic Republic of El Diablo. As a fearless Commando substitute for hire, we're drafted in to oust him from his cushy self-appointed kingdom via a top-down, vertically scrolling shooter that takes inspiration from all the usual suspects... Ikari Warriors, Rambo, Gun.Smoke etc. Enhancements to the basic formula are evident in the provision of multiple modes of transport and the option to play cooperatively...
Topics: Fernandez Must Die, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Image Works
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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An in-depth analysis of Ocean Software's innovative, experimental effort to combat piracy through dongle-based authorisation. RoboCop 3, published in 1992, was chosen as the game through which to test the optimistic technique. Accompanying three floppy disks was a hardware device you would be obliged, rather inconveniently, to connect to one of your Amiga system's joystick ports whenever playing the game. Unfortunately for Ocean - and possibly the fate of the Amiga as a viable platform - the...
Topics: Ocean Software, Gary Bracey, piracy, Amiga, Commodore, dongle, Digital Image Design
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Sturmtruppen is the run-and-gun Amiga-exclusive World War II horizontally scrolling platform game you've never heard of, based on the Italian comic book you've never heard of. Think Green Beret crossed with Silkworm, inflected with the 'humour' of Dad's Army. What keeps it marginally interesting is the capacity to switch between various modes of transport, and a generous selection of diverse weaponry. Cobbling together a psychedelic mash-up montage, synchronised to Cannon Fodder's 'War Has...
Topics: Sturmtruppen, Idea Software, Amiga, Cannon Fodder
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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In CarVup we star as Arnie, a cute little vehicle that would look right at home in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, yet was actually plucked from Jaleco's City Connection arcade coin-op. Our goal is simply to explore every last area of a given level within a limited timeframe, transforming the appearance of platforms to reverse Captain Grim's evil influence. It's a sub-genre in itself believe it or not - the 'platform painter'.
Topics: CarVup, Amiga, Atari ST, Core Design
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Denton Designs' one of a kind scrolling 2D action-adventure platformer, Eye of Horus, drops us into the antiquated sandals of venerated ancient Egyptian hawk-headed deity, Horus. Explore the pyramids and transcendental myths surrounding his turbulent existence, flipping effortlessly between Horus' duel forms to re-live his notoriously epic struggle to avenge the death of his father Osiris, King of Egypt, at the hands of Set, his brother, the malevolent murderous usurper, god of deserts,...
Topics: Eye of Horus, Denton Designs, FanFare, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Amiga Format magazine rolled out the bunting and party poppers in 1993 upon announcement of their Blitz Basic design a game competition, but who won and why was the revelation buried so thoroughly?
Topics: Blitz Bombers, Amiga Format, Amiga, Commodore, Spring Time, Circus, Graham Mackarel, Derring-Do,...
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Aug 4, 2020 dreamkatcha
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I explore the gaming life and times of multi-talented artist, coder and musician, Antony Crowther, quizzing him specifically on Captain Planet and the Planeteers. Because for no logical reason it fascinates me.
Topics: Antony Crowther, Gremlin Graphics, Mindscape, Amiga, Atari ST, Percy the Potty Pigeon, Phobia,...
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Aug 3, 2020 dreamkatcha
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If every movie, TV show, breakfast cereal, soft drink and so on, ad infinitum, is fair game for pixel-powered home micro adaptation, why not charities? Greenpeace certainly thought it couldn't hurt their eco-conservation cause, hence the existence of the multi-genre, sub-game medley, Rainbow Warrior, named in commemoration of their sabotaged, catastrophically capsized ship. Each challenge was inspired by a real-world threat to our environment or its inhabitants, aiming to entertain whilst...
Topics: Rainbow Warrior, Source the Software House, MicroStyle, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Greenpeace
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Noddalodda people know this; the outfit who manufactured 9-pin, D-sub connector QuickShot joysticks in the '80s and '90s also very briefly dabbled with remote-controlled novelty toys. You might have caught a fleeting glance at one of these in Argos or Tandy before they sunk without a trace... until now.
Topics: Spectravideo, QuickShot, Bondwell, Deenie Dino, Dudley Duck
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Aug 3, 2020 dreamkatcha
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A brief biography of Gremlin Graphics founder, Ian Stewart. This was to be the introduction to an interview with the gaming industry veteran that never happened.
Topics: Ian Stewart, Gremlin Graphics, Zool, Sheffield, Wanted: Monty Mole, Thing on a Spring, Premier...
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In the game of the animated TV show, Challenge of the Gobots, inspired by the transforming toyline, we clamber into the cockpit of Leader-1, big cheese commander of the Guardians. To scupper Dr Braxis' scheme to destroy earth, having taken hostage of our chums for bartering chips, we must flip into F-15 fighter jet mode to tackle the threat by way of a Defender clone set on planet Moebius. Spaceships are tackled with lasers blasts, land-dwelling vehicles with rocks of all weapons. Neutering...
Topics: Challenge of the Gobots, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Reaktor Software
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Aug 3, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Eye-gougingly garish platformer, Snapperazzi, published by Alternative Software and developed by 'Mental', certainly is , both . Should you and your grey matter momentarily part company, you'll agree to be recruited as a scuzzy snap-hound alien hailing from the Planet Dirk, employed by the cat litter tray liner Sun newspaper. As such your only objective is to deliver at any cost exclusive photos of the superest mega-stars known to gossip column codswallop. Absolutely scandalous! ...in the...
Topics: Alternative Software, Mental, Snapperazzi, Amiga, The Sun, Chewits, Domino's Pizza
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I take the opportunity to quiz former Commodore UK managing director on his upcoming 'inside story' book revolving around his stint steering the ill-fated computer technology company that delivered the Commodore 64 and Amiga.
Topics: Commodore, Amiga, David Pleasance, interview
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Aug 3, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Minding his own business, eating himself to death one night in front of the gogglebox, probably watching Gogglebox, Roy Fat's better half is kidnapped by the unsavoury Thindicate corporation. Rescuing her - preferably without handing over Roy's precious food duplicator invention - entails donning his Bananaman leotard disguise, sweeping through multiple divergently-themed platform stages, munching on everything in sight, whilst belly-bumping or burping into touch any enemies encountered.
Topics: Fatman, The Caped Consumer, Black Legend, I/O Product, Amiga
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Aug 3, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Sleepwalker programmer, John Scott, drops in to answer my questions concerning one of the Amiga's most impressive action-puzzle games. Not only satiating kid's craving for entertainment, Sleepwalker actually fed plenty of undernourished children in the UK and Africa via its affiliation with the Comic Relief charity appeal. Solidifying its seal of quality, Lenny Henry makes a vocal cameo appearance during the cutscenes, enhancing Ralph's already quirkily endearing persona.
Topics: Sleepwalker, Ocean Software, CTA Developments, Amiga, Amiga CD32, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Lenny...
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Aug 3, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Techno Cop is the kind of law enforcement officer who investigates criminal activity by blasting Death on Arrival gang members to smithereens with his .88 Magnum... and asking questions, never. To stay one step ahead of the delinquent punks he'll need to arrive at the scene of the crime before DoA even know which law they're about to violate. Fortuitous then that our high-tech crime-stopper comes equipped with a hyper-tuned V-Max Ferrari, neatly splicing the game into distinctive...
Topics: Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari ST, Commodore 64, DOS, Genesis, ZX Spectrum, Techno Cop, Gray...
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Aug 3, 2020 dreankatcha
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Completion of which Amiga games results in the shortest longplays? Their timestamps may yield some pertinent clues. I check every longplay known to YouTube and tabulate the results... because... because... umm...
Topics: Amiga, Commodore, longplay
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Aug 3, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Renowned Amiga demo group, Melon Dezign, have a dabble at game development. Cutesy, highly polished, single-screen, old-school platformer emerges starring a pair of Naughty Ones. Can it out-Bobble the troubled Bubble dragons in the addictivity stakes? Would the crackers steer clear out of respect and recognition for Melon's animated intro contributions?
Topics: Naughty Ones, Amiga, Amiga CD32, Melon Dezign, Interactivision
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Aug 3, 2020 dreamkatcha
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Boots Barker has been ditched by his cheating wife, betrayed by his best chum, cursed to wear a voodoo perma-mask, abandoned in the deepest, darkest recesses of the African jungle to be eaten by bemused wildlife. He's certainly known better days! Can you tame the isometric environment, solve the puzzles impeding Barker's escape route from this humid hellhole and ultimately defeat the Congo witch doctor responsible for your facial imprisonment?
Topics: Voodoo Nightmare, Amiga, Atari ST, Zippo Games, Palace Software
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Coder Steve Howard answers my questions regarding his Tron-like, light cycle tournament on hoverboards gaming creation released for the Atari ST and Amiga in 1990. Five years before Sony/Psygnosis commandeered the already adopted name for their futuristic racing game, WipEout.
Topics: Gonzo Games, Wipe-Out, Amiga, Atari ST
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Seymour Goes to Hollywood... because The Oliver Twins didn't approve of Dizzy crossing the boundary between fantasy and 'reality' to star in Movieland Dizzy. That, in a tiny eggshell, is the origin story of Dizzy's lesser-known poor cousin, Seymour. Many of the key elements responsible for popularising Dizzy remain, yet the amorphous, anthropomorphic blob failed to captivate the eggy one's core audience to the same extent, corroborating the Oliver twin's astute stance on the matter. This...
Topics: Seymour Goes to Hollywood, The Big Red Software Company, Codemasters, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST,...
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Aug 3, 2020 dreamkatcha
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A delectable smorgasbord of Amiga-flavoured trivia perfect for your next retrogaming pub quiz. You might be surprised to learn how many public houses are called Commodore something-or-other. If they don't host regular Amiga or C64 events this should be made a crime punishable by plank-walking.
Topics: Commodore, Amiga, trivia, quiz, facts