The Top 50 - The Great Atari ST Games Survey

Discuss and discover all the great games of yesteryear!

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sscott
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Post by sscott » Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:09 pm

SirClive wrote:Thats a really big 5 there. Hope Kick Off 2 has its own entry (at number 1).
No chance! You know what is number one, surely?
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Post by SirClive » Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:24 pm

Nah, thats an Amiga game.
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Post by boggyb68 » Mon Sep 29, 2008 6:20 pm

Another good five...

Didn't know DOTC had extra features on the ST.. loved it on the Amiga... STEEM is now loading! :)

Kick Off on the ST was ok, but why didn't the goals have nets like on the Amiga, when I played my mates ST version, I did have a little chuckle, but seriously it really detracted from it imo...

I love Starglider, the original blew me away (incl the smapled music WITH speech!), but I got blown away even more by Starglider 2...

Great stuff though StickHead..

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Matt_B
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Post by Matt_B » Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:22 am

That's five definite killer apps for the ST there. I'd guess that Kick Off 2 is yet to come, but then again Xenon placed higher than Xenon 2, so maybe we'll be in for another surprise.

Captive is a great game and one I spent loads of time on. I don't think I'll keep at it for 40 years though as, once you've got to the space station once, you've pretty much seen all it has to offer; you're just on random variations from that point onwards.

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Post by revgiblet » Sun Oct 12, 2008 11:18 pm

Where's the TOP TEN?
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Post by pantal00ns » Mon Oct 13, 2008 2:47 am

revgiblet wrote:Where's the TOP TEN?

It would appear the Credit Crunch, or its equivalent down under, has reached these forums. :shock:

The top ten were invested in a nextgen Amstrad console.

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Matt_B
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Post by Matt_B » Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:02 am

If all else fails we could just make up our own top ten and when the real one eventually gets posted we can see if there's any sort of semblance between the two.

Anyway, I'm pretty certain that at least some of the following will be in there:
Dungeon Master, Oids, Sensible Soccer, Kick Off 2, Sim City, Carrier Command, Blood Money, Substation, Enchanted Land & Monkey Island.

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StickHead
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Post by StickHead » Mon Oct 13, 2008 3:25 pm

Sorry everyone. I've been on holiday for a week, so the top ten had to wait (I'm not just trying to build the tension, honest!). I meant to post to tell everyone to hold their horses, but I forgot :oops: .

Now that I am back from sunny York the next five will be along shortly!
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Post by StickHead » Mon Oct 13, 2008 5:27 pm

#10 - Llamatron: 2112

Released: 1991
Developer: Jeff Minter
Publisher: Llamasoft (Shareware)
Genre: Shoot 'em 'up

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I am utterly delighted to kick off the top ten with Jeff Minter's bonkers remake of Eugene Jarvis' seminal Robotron.

When Eugene's first machines hit the arcades in the early eighties punters were blown away by a torrent of light and sound paired with kinetic (and double-hard) gameplay. One of these punters was a little hairy fellow whose tag - 'YAK' - would dominate those scoreboards. Almost a decade later he would take advantage of the STs architecture to bring home the audio-visual spectacle of a Jarvis arcade.

While a lot more forgiving than its estranged parent (and featuring a lot more hoofed animals) Llamatron retains the survival horror pretext and its (move and shoot independently in eight directions) control mechanism. As you mow down all manner of grunts (Coke cans, Rizla packets, toilets, computer chips) you must save beasties before they are corrupted by the evil brains; mutated into Llama hating monstrosities hell-bent on destroying you.

Your ungulate is best controlled using two joysticks enabling full control of your laser llama spit. An optional drone, who acts as a second player to accompany your blasting makes Llamatron even more accessible. However, even with help, Llamatron features some harsh difficulty spikes: some levels are like a walk in the pastures, while others will happily graze on your entire stock of lives.

With tight controls, non-stop action and just the right amount of crazy, Llamatron is the finest shareware game ever released for the ST and a real high point in both the ST shooters canon and the Llamasoft back catalogue.


#9 - Elite

Released: 1988
Developer: Mr. Micro
Publisher: Firebird
Genre: Space flight simulation

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There isn't a lot to be said about Ian Bell and David Braben's seminal 3D space exploration/combat/trading game that hasn't been said already. Open ended gameplay, huge galaxies to explore, immersive flight and combat system, blah, blah.

For those approaching Elite for the first time, you could be forgiven for thinking "What's all the fuss about?" for the majority of what made Elite so special in 1984 (The year it was released for Acorn's BBC) we now take for granted, indeed demand from more modern games in the same ilk.

Cast your mind back to 1984. and you would almost certainly be playing quirky platformers and second rate conversions of arcade games. All very enjoyable but ultimately disposable experiences. Then along comes a game that creates a universe around you compels you to explore it, exploit it, experience it - any way you choose. It was the first game I ever played that I fell asleep thinking about.

The ST version, coming late to the party as all cool cats do, kicks things up a notch by offering a mouse-driven interface, quick filled vector graphics, new missions, new equipment, and radar magnification. It still isn't considered to be the definitive version though, that accolade belongs to the Archimedes version.

A classic on any system, and worth checking out on the ST thanks to the colourful visuals and extra features.


#8 - IK+

Released: 1988
Developer: Archer Maclean
Publisher: System 3
Genre: Beat 'em 'up

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A complete re-write of the original, IK+ offered something truly unique at the time: A third fighter! This extra dimension means that you could no longer take a moment's breather to size up your opponent, converting the chess-like duels of Way Of The Exploding Fist into something more akin to an incredibly skilful and choreographed bar brawl. (Without the flying stools)

As you start to learn the ideal distances for punching your foes in the googlies or kicking both of your antagonists square in the face at the same time, it really does seem like an art-form. Moves begin to flow from your joystick and you can see all the heavenly glory without concentrating on the finger. Play this game for a prolonged period and see what I mean. It's almost like a trance. You enter the zone and become untouchable. Unfortunately, it only lasts a round or two before Blue puts you on your arse again and brings you down to earth.

The bouts are decided with a simple points system. A good, clean, honourable hit is rewarded by two points, while a sneaky back-stab is worth one. The player who gets six points first is the winner. If you finish last, you are kicked out of the tournament. After each round, your master shows up to let you know how you performed. As you gain points, you progress through the belts and your opponents go from Steven Seagal to Dan Inosanto.

Very few fighters can boast the fluidity and 'natural' almost instinctive feel of IK+. Virtua Fighter and Soul Calibur have it, Dead or Alive was oh-so close, but IK+ embodies what beat-em-ups should be all about; instinctive and accessible controls, fast action, a touch of humour, tireless multiplayer and a heady challenge. If you haven't played this then do so right away, but if you have, join me at the altar of MacLean. Ommmmmm...


#7 - Super Sprint

Released: 1986
Developer: Electric Dreams
Publisher: Electric Dreams
Genre: Top-down racing

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Super Sprint was the first game I ever played on an Atari ST and therefore directly responsible for the ensuing 20 year (and counting) love affair with the machine. It was at a friends house where a couple of his friends had brought their STs over. I remember being wowed by link up games of Populous, the Konix Speedking, the Real Ghostbusters (I know) and a strange space shoot 'em 'up game with millions of levels called Whirligig.

It was 3-player Super Sprint that really stuck in my mind though, and kicked of a nag campaign that would eventually see my Mum cave and buy me an Atari ST for Christmas. Super Sprint is pure, unadulterated fun and incredibly addictive.

Your car is control by three inputs alone: rotate left, rotate right, and accelerate. The simplicity of the control mechanism is matched by the gameplay: all you must do is finish the 4 laps of the track before the drone cars - fail to do this and its game over. Along the way you can pick up spanners which can later be spent on upgrading your car's acceleration, top speed, or traction.

Things get tricky as you progress through the races, pretty soon your opponents aren't your only worry: whirlwinds, puddles, oil slicks, cones and moving barriers populate the track, conspiring to delay and frustrate your attempts to finish before that git in the green car.

A well executed conversion of a solid design, its simplicity is Super Sprint's main weapon, and the key to its unrivalled multiplayer experience. Grab two mates and have one of the best laughs your ST can provide (after you resolve which poor bugger gets to use the keys).


#6 - Turrican 2

Released: 1991
Developer: Factor 5
Publisher: Rainbow Arts
Genre: Platform run 'n' gun

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Some of us doggedly stuck with computers; determined to shun consoles, but we needed Metroid and we needed it badly. The likelihood of Nintendo converting its brilliant side-scrolling shooter to our flavour of beige box was slimmer than posh-spice, so thank god for Manfred Trenz and the boys at Factor 5 for bringing us a Tin-Man for the 90s: Turrican.

You are Commander Bren McGuire a lone gun-man (my favourite variety of gun-man) bedecked in the livery of Turrican: an experimental bionic armour and you're out to reap revenge on a group of metal gimps known as "The Machine" who have incinerated all your army mates.

Turrican's levels are open to exploration, and are packed with secret areas featuring extra lives and different weapons. These weapons come in many varieties, my favourite being the Ghostbuster-esque 360-degree multi-beam activated by holding the fire button: you can sweep this beam back and forth along the screen, obliterating your enemies like fag-ends in a urinal.

Unfortunately, as was becoming the trend at the time, the ST version palled in comparison to the Amiga version. The Atari version had a smaller play window, was missing the nice raster background and a lot of the sprites are not as well realised. All is not lost however, as efforts are underway to revamp ST Turrican using the STE's capabilities. This is a massive undertaking, but a valiant and exciting one. Take a look here.

Atmospheric music, characteristic weapons, large multidirectional smooth-scrolling levels and a comprehensive challenge all add up to a great platform run 'n' gun experience usually only experienced by console fanatics. And I haven't even mentioned the R-Type style horizontal shoot 'em 'up sections or the oversized end-of-level guardians!
Last edited by StickHead on Thu Oct 16, 2008 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by OldSkoolCoolFool » Mon Oct 13, 2008 5:58 pm

Wow, you really left us waiting for this lot... It was the best 5 yet in my opinion though, the only one i never really got into was Elite. Great work Stickhead, can't wait for the top 5!
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SirClive
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Post by SirClive » Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:08 am

Bit disappointing that 5 for me. Only IK+ would be in my top 10 out of those.
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Post by pantal00ns » Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:07 am

SirClive wrote:Bit disappointing that 5 for me. Only IK+ would be in my top 10 out of those.
Oh you're such a party pooper SirClive :wink:, but I happen to agree with the above statement.

IK+ is a beat-em-up for people who hate beat-em-ups, if that makes any sense. A great laugh and you dont need to be an Octopus on Speed to win a bout.

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Post by Matt_B » Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:17 am

Haha. None out of ten for my prediction so far. I can't believe that I got it so wrong; this means that there are going to be some very big games that don't even make the top 50 at all though.

I suppose Turrican II deserves a high spot for getting so much more out of the ST than your average run-and-gun, and Llamatron was a great game for a magazine cover disk, although not one I'd put alongside the best full-price games. The other three seem a bit underwhelming though, but that might be that they were a bit before my time as I only got my ST in 1990.

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Post by Coopdevil » Tue Oct 14, 2008 4:23 am

I was on a track day once in a single seater racing car and had to acknowledge a marshall who gave me a flag signal and found myself doing this stupid slow thumbs-up gesture - and my first thought was "you're not putting another credit into ST Super Sprint now you idiot!". :roll:

Love that game. As soon as I discovered MAME I abandoned it but went back to it later because although the lower screen rez stops it being a direct clone of the arcade original (hence my original abandonment) it is a extremely polished version in it's own right. I play it more than MAME now. This and 3D Deathchase are the two games that made me realise in the mid 1990s that I was enjoying older games more than modern games and this is how I sort of ended up where we all are now.

Having spent months on Spectrum Elite, I've never really touched the ST one despite having had it since the days of the ST on a ahem "sampler" disk. Went straight to Frontier for ST Elite-ing. Not sure I'd bother returning to Elite now.

Llamatron is fantastic, a real zoner of a game. Had the odd momemt whereby one of the joysticks suddenly loses it's sucker attachment to the desk! Seems a bit tricky when you return to it as the lower screen rez suddenly makes everything seem very cramped, especially compared to Geometry Wars or Robotron X on the PlayStation.
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Post by bolda » Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:59 pm

Great work yet again Sticko! Very well written reviews, looking forward to seeing the conclusion of your efforts.

A decent 5 there, Super Sprint the only game in that bunch which I've never played. Elite can't be praised highly enough IMHO.
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