Planet X2 - Arkadia Retrocade

Have You Heard of Planet X2…The New C64 Game?!

Friends, I really don’t expect to find a new C64 game when I come to work at the arcade. That is however what happened today. One of our semi-regular Players was nice enough to donate a copy of Planet X2. A real-time strategy game developed and programmed by The 8-Bit Guy. I would like to repeat that Planet X2 is a brand new C64 title. We live in interesting times to say the very least.
Planet X2 - The 8 Bit Guy

To be honest, the 8-Bit Guy produced Planet X2 by way of Patreon. In fact he originally had plans for it to be published as a cartridge. The cost however of manufacturing that way proved cost prohibitive. It of course made more sense to release it on floppy disk although the boxed set came with a cassette tape. Featuring music by Anders Enger Jensen as well as David Murray – the 8-Bit Guy.
Planet X2 - Soundtrack

As to the story for the game, you are tasked with the colonizing of Planet X2. It has a climate that will be able to support human lifeforms. The bad new though is another race known at the Protoids have set their sights on the place too.
Planet X2 - Protoids

Obviously this is case of having to take a diplomatic approach. Sending out envoys to peacefully find a way to coinhabit with the Protoids. I am kidding of course – this is a case of time is of the essence. Which means you will need to build up your resources. To create an army to drive the Protoids off the planet once and for all!
Planet X2 - Tank

Methane gas, mining, and even attempting to collect solar energy will be needed. Amassing these resources will allow you to build factories. These not only allow you to stake a spot to further your conquest. But in addition you can manufacture more mechanized builders, which in turn can collect resources. But this is also where you will roll out your units like tanks to attack the Protoids.

Throughout the game you will also be dealing with various environments. Using the builders you can clear cut forests or move objects. To attempt to find better spots for new factories. You can also construct missile silos, defensive walls, and bridges to reach your foe.
Planet X2 - Builder

If you would like to order a copy of the game yourself, check out The 8-Bit Guy‘s site. Sadly it does not appear the physical boxed copies are available. Although you can still get the floppy disk, manual and a digital download copy too.

If you would like see Planet X2 in action, check out this review of the game!

[Via] Modern Vintage Gamer

Oh, did I mention that David Murray is working on Planet X3?

[Via] The 8-Bit Guy

The Blues Brothers: The Video Games

The Blues Brothers

The Retroist Blues Brothers podcast has sparked lots of memories for me, not least of which is of the hours that I spent playing the game of the film on my Amiga in the early 90’s. I was going to write a post about just that game, but after a quick play of the game and lots of research, I thought it would be much more fun to take a look at the various versions of the game released instead.

I’ll start with the game closest to my heart – the Amiga version, released in 1991 by Titus. I recall at the time that Amiga Format magazine loved the game and I was quick to snap it up at my local computer store. The first thing to hit me was the quality of the in-game audio. I was a huge fan of the film and thought that Titus did a wonderful job of recreating the music. Sadly, I didn’t agree with the magazines of the era about the quality of the game. Sure, it looked quite nice, but the platforming antics of Jake and Elwood left me a little cold. I did eventually beat the game but my lasting memory of the experience is of the soundtrack, not the gameplay.

Also released in the same year as the Amiga version were efforts for the Atari ST and PC. I say ‘efforts’ because both were lumbered with very mediocre versions of the game. Considering both machines had similar capabilities to their rival from Commodore, the screen flipping, poor quality sprites and inferior audio leaves me pleased that I had an Amiga!

That said, if you were yet to climb to 16-bits in 1991 and you still owned an Amstrad CPC, you were stuck with this…

Thankfully the C64 version raised the 8-bit flag high, using the SID chip to maximum effect and delivering a quality game that I’d actually like to go back and play now.

Jump into 1992 and the Nintendo Entertainment System found itself the lucky (!) recipient of its own variation. I didn’t own a NES at the time but I do recall a friend having this game and he let me have a play for a few minutes. It was horrible. I was used to the pace of my Amiga copy and the speed of this NES update was a little too quick for me. Watching the video now proves that my younger self was right to steer clear, though I do think they did a good job with the sound.

Next up is the Nintendo Gameboy version from 1994. I owned a Gameboy but this game never entered my radar and this is the first I’ve seen of it. Strangely, the first thing to hit you about this game isn’t the graphics, it’s the music! The themes and songs used in the film are so iconic that even the diminutive Gameboy is capable of recreating a fine rendition. The game looks to be based on the 1991 originals, though the levels are very different to those that I played. Whilst this is clearly not a Mario-beater, I think this version of the game looks like a great game and I might have to have a play in the near future.

http://youtu.be/xZQk4j1u-1g

During 1993 there were other Blues Brothers games released. Subtitled as “Jukebox Adventure” and released on the SNES, PC and Gameboy, they are considered to be truly terrible with many people saying they are WORSE than the Blues Brothers 2000 film! High praise indeed, and I think worthy of their own Retroist article, which I’ll write in the near future. For now, here’s a little preview of what’s to come – look out for the BB 6-pack!

Oh, and if you’re lucky, I might take a look at the Blues Brothers 2000 game next time too!

The Kefrens Desert Dream Mega Demo

Desert Dream

One of the many reasons that I loved my Amiga back in 1993 was the prevalence of the MEGA DEMO. These were not demo’s of new games or other software, but a demonstration of the skills of coders who were able to make the machine do some quite amazing things.

These demos were essentially just presentations consisting of amazing music, incredible graphics and special effects that were crammed into the confines of a floppy disk (or two) and distributed at demo scene gatherings and other similar events. To me, these coders were like rock stars and their names and work will be forever etched into my brain.

In my opinion, the best of these demos is Desert Dream from a group called Kefrens. This demo had it all, a soundtrack that was brilliant and perfectly in sync with everything on screen, visuals that were not only fun to watch but technically impressive too, and above all that, a fun little story at the beginning that has a space ship firing a melon at an Egyptian pyramid!

If you’re still reading this after watching the 13 minutes of footage above, what did you think? The saw cutting into the screen in time with the audio is my favourite part. That all this fit into less than 1.6Mb, spread over two disks still astounds me to this day, especially when you learn that disk 2 has a hidden mini demo that can be accessed by inserting disk 2 first!

This demo has had quite an impact since it’s release 20 years ago and has inspired a number of remakes. I’ve included several of those below including a new CGI opener, a complete Commodore C64 remake which is just incredible and a parody remake from 2010.

Is this the greatest Commodore C64 video on the internet?

C64

Every once in a while, I’ll find a video on Youtube that puts such a smile on my face that I just have to tell the world about it. The C64 video below from 1982 is one such video! At over 2 hours long, it appears to be a very thorough marketing film that goes into astounding detail to convince you that you should buy the machine.

The best part is at the 2 hour mark where the creator of the Ghostbusters game, David Crane, gets to give a lengthy demo of his creation!

Enjoy, and if you know of any C64 videos that are better than this, please let me know!