Discuss and discover all the great games of yesteryear!

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Post by Sureshot » Fri Mar 17, 2006 10:09 am

So, did anybody actually own one? (bar to get RISCOS). Maybe I was one of these people always to get lumbered with Acorn's efforts due to the careers of my parents, and although I never actually owned one (but was able to half-inch them for school holidays and such), these machines did actually have some cracking titles going for them. Thought I'd share a little heads-up for those who had either left school by the time they became pretty staple, or didn't DO 'educational' machines :wink::

Conqueror - Superb little tank-em-up where persistence is rewarded - firstly by trying to work out the controls properly. I actually remember the situation clicked quite successfully with two people at the helm, despite being strictly one player, with one on motion controls via the keyboard and the other manning the turret by using the mouse.

Anyhow, this game's atmosphere and presentation is very much in the vein of Lander or Zarch (or the endless variety of other tags these games seemed to inherit). To begin with, you choose your tank out of a range which grows as you progress, and proceed to take out enemy tanks in one of the two available game-types. Houses and trees will get in your way, but a few rounds from your pop-gun soon puts pay to those. You can also 'cheat' and decimate all in your King Chaffee after some mashing in of codes, like me and my friend used to do. However, ze Germans do not give up easily!

Mad Professor Mariarti - What a shame this was never released on any other formats (correct me if I'm wrong). In this platformer, you play the role of the aforementioned Doc Brown-a-like, but instead of trying to muster a certain amount jiggawats in order to hit the top speed of a Nissan Micra, your task is to collect and use various items to rid intruding pests from the 5 sections of your lab. Be warned, this one's pretty frustrating throughout, and gets as tough as old boots by the 5th level. Don't be expecting any kind of save-game either.

Aggressor - Two-player side-scrolling shooter (with characters aptly named 'Heckler' and 'Kosh'). Good fun racking up the powerups, but game mechanics can result in hair loss.

Moonquake - This one got amples of sneaky playtime during my secondary school years. In essence, it's a fairly bog-standard Bomberman clone, but still addictive nonetheless and a welcome release for the 40-odd non-academically-related Archie owners.

Chocks Away! & Fire Fight - I put these two titles together so I don't have to bore all and sundry with two reviews about extremely similar flight sims, despite being from very different eras (Chocks Away! is set in Red Baron-esque surroundings, whereas Fire Fight is very much up to more 'modern' standards). Both very arcadey in execution, and unfortunately do show their age a little in the present day, but nevertheless you will enjoy seeking down and pelting aerial foes in either age once you get past the archaic game engines.

Cataclysm - What's this, realistic fluid effects from an Archie game? Well, it's slightly more interesting and important than it sounds, as in this puzzler it's your job to direct every last drop of liquid that torrents from the top of the screen into collection chambers below. Addictive stuff and an original idea for the time.

Fireball II - Breakout/Arkanoid clone with a zillion powerups and a Guns 'N' Roses sample after you die if you decide to turn the catchy soundtrack off. 'Nuff said.

Elite - Look, I know that YOU know what Elite is, but some reckon this is THE version to play. Besides, I couldn't leave it out of an Acorn feature now, could I?

Other notable mentions that you can very well investigate for yourselves (some more obvious than others):

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Post by merman » Fri Mar 17, 2006 2:58 pm

As I may have mentioned before, our school had a suite of Archies, and a network.

Mad Professor Mariarti - I know Shaun Hollingworth was working on an Amiga/ST version...

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Post by Sureshot » Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:30 pm

Incidentally, I missed out on a load of free ones when my dad's school were chucking them out. Should have grabbed a few really.

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Post by russgalleywood » Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:30 pm

By the time of the Archie I think I had moved over to the Amiga I'm afraid to say! Neverthless I love all things Acorn as the Beeb was my first and still most loved computer. I do actually now own several Archimedes which I saved from scrap and have been tryin gto get Elite for the Archie from Ebay with no success, it's quite rare now it seems.
What follows is a rather sickening tale to an Archie lover but I work for an IT company and we quite often collect Archimedes from both Educational and Business customers. We collected a van load of them, PC600 and higher models as well as some of the 3000 range, we ended up binning the lot, but not before I rescued a few choice models, must have chucked at least 300 away! Loads of them had network cards, CD's and 486 chips too.
I guess this shows how the mighty have fallen!

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Post by merman » Fri Mar 17, 2006 6:22 pm

There's a game I keep trying to remember the name of... it was a single screen shooter, was out about the same time as Fireball. You had a little ship shooting up the screen (1 or 2 players), and each level these hundreds of grey balls would fall down the screen at you. There was also this green monster dripping ooze.

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Post by Randall Flagg » Fri Mar 17, 2006 6:30 pm

I'm pretty much in the same boat as russgalleywood in that while I loved my Beeb B, I moved to Amiga 500 and never got into the Archie.

I did go to school with Jason Tribbeck though who is now apparently a bit of an Archimedes legend....
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Post by filecore » Sat Mar 18, 2006 5:45 am

I also had an Acorn A3000 (still got it now)

Mad Professor Mariarti is a great game. Thoroughly enjoyed finishing it.

Sureshot, you mention a lot of classics - Cataclysm, Chocks Away etc. Chocks away was awesome. My Amiga owning friends at the time marvelled at the 2 player simultaneous player :)
Still got my copy of Elite boxed also - with all the little Ship cards. The Archie version was great.
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I enjoyed the ports as well: Pacmania, Cannon Fodder, Sim City, Lemmings etc.

They were great machines to use. It's a shame Acorn never got their marketing right.

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Post by merman » Sat Mar 18, 2006 5:47 am

Pacmania was a fantastic conversion on the Archie, almost arcade-perfect

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Post by mel the bell » Sat Mar 18, 2006 6:35 am

never used an archie
at school we had bbcs and i left before archies became widespread.
never owned one cos they were way too expensive, never had a bbc either

played on a mates bbc that was about it
remember playing on his frak :P
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Post by comicalgames » Sat Mar 18, 2006 7:31 am

My school was filled with Archies, it's all they had. That, and a roomfull of BBCs.

I did GCSE I.T. and I was extremely lucky - it was the first year after they first bought a few PCs so at least I got to use something modern(ish) - I think they were all high-speed 300mhz running Win98, with internet connection sharing from a single 56k modem. ph33r.
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Post by Slackdog » Sun Mar 19, 2006 9:43 am

My school had a couple amongst the model B's and Master systems - remember some flight sim and Zarch, natch :P

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Post by Jazzem » Sun Mar 19, 2006 1:58 pm

What a pleasant suprise! I thought the Archimedes was all but forgotten now :)

Yep, I owned one (A very basic A300), it was one of my earliest game machines alongside a Mega Drive and a Game Boy. I loved it to bits, I would spend hours into the evening (Well, not too much into the evening: I was at the age where I had a bedtime!), exploring the many classic games we had, for a few examples... (Excuse me, I'm about to get very boring!)

Lemmings: Oh all right, it's been ported to an insane number of platforms so Acorn wasn't alone to recieve the green hair treatment. Yet it remains one of my favourite games of all time, and one that I play regularly even now. It's just such a charming game! Everything from the simple yet pleasing graphics to the brilliant soundtrack gives the game that wonderful appeal, and there's just so many ways to go by those levels...
But best of all, my school class liked it too. And you know what that meant? Rainy lunch times were far more enjoyable than sunny ones! We would all huddle around the monitor, looking at various ways to help the rodents. It was such a great feeling, we'd all play together, we'd suggest ideas; We even discovered that mashing the keyboard keys would speed the game up! We never got very far oddly enough, we had a habit of replaying levels. Still, we all loved the game, one girl in particular got excited when the can can was played at the end of an assembly!
I could go on for ages, but put simply Lemmings is the best of it's genre, and a stone cold classic.

Pacmania: This was a favourite of mine (The lego-cloned Block Town was beyond awesome!), just for it being so addictive. Being able to jump was also a plus (Curse those green ghosts who were one step better!) and it managed to get progressively harder, yet at the same time enhance and change enough to lose any repetitive feel about the game. Wacca!

Pandora's Box: My memories of this are incredibly hazy, so bear with me. An enchanting isometric adventure that was my first RPG style game (Although it was far from stat heavy), and one that I never got particularly far in. Still plenty of fun though!

Catacylsm: I didn't own this, it was a demo owned by my primary school, but a wonderfully inventive gem with plenty of puzzle to tax the player.

Splodge: Erm, a real oddity this, and an obscure one at that. There doesn't appear to be one feature, one review...Heck not even a mention of it on the internet. A shame really, it was a joy to play. I can't remember the exact details, but basically you played as a red blob (No...Really!) who could slowly trudge around 2D platform-esque levels. There were many ways to transport the fella around levels, I seem to remember him being able to bounce horizontally and vertically with a certain power up, but you had to be careful-Many enemies roamed the areas, and there was plenty of timing involved. I got a real kick out of it, and I would love to play it again.

E-Type II: An arcade racer here, and a fun (If excruicatingly odd) one. Rather worryingly, one of the main reasons I remember this is that a crash of the car would send your in-car couple (No Outrun inspiration here folks!) into a little upwards jump, and both their butt-cracks would be showing :shock: you just had to wonder what the 4th dimension (The developer) had in their coffee... Still, it was very enjoyable, especially in 2 player and was downright amusing at times (You could get fined by the police for speeding!)

Plenty others to mention (I think I had Mad Professor too, which had an awesome Game Over screen :lol:), but I've tortured long enough! My school was full of them aswell, they were intended mainly for education after all. Odd then that there were so many good games for it!
Just imagine how heart broken I was when the monitor suddenly bit the dust... It would turn on (Aswell as the computer itself), but no picture... All the disks, the computer itself... All were thrown away :(

Still, an awesome system, and one I've really blabbered on about (Sorry! Never again!)
Last edited by Jazzem on Sun Mar 19, 2006 5:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by sack » Sun Mar 19, 2006 4:56 pm

I had an Archimedes - lovely machine to code for (although I'd have liked to have gotten into the Amiga but my bro wouldn't let me near it because I'd have wasted his precious gaming time trying to code for it).

Really liked some of Tom Coopers stuff (cycloids, son of gyrinus, Hamsters) - someone should port hamsters to something a bit more mainstream like the PC or GBA/DS. Fervour was bloody addictive and having a good solid port of Lemmings helped too. :)

My arc output was.. towards the other end of the quality scale shall we say and leave it at that?
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Post by RetroBob » Sun Mar 19, 2006 5:27 pm

I was impressed with my parents - neither had (or wanted) any experience with computers, but had the forsight to get my brother and I the same computer when school got a load of the new A3000s.

Chocks Away and Chocks Away 2 - I spent hours playing these.

Nevryon - R-Type clone, pretty sweet.

Apocalypse - Loved the Maggie Thatcher impression "very well done".
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Post by Ghostbiscuit » Sun Mar 19, 2006 7:58 pm

One of may mates had one. I seem to recall playing Chocks Away (And Chocks Away II?), Elite, Cannon Fodder and Iron Lord. All very enjoyable, although I have never, and probably will never be able to understand what is going on in Elite... :oops:

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