Mr Wino (C64 review)

Hi all,

I came across this game the other day, it is yet another of countless Manic Miner influenced titles…what makes this entry any different?

Well, the scenario is a tad unusual – The title character Mr Wino  went on the ultimate bender and slipped into a booze infused nightmare slumber and needs to escape his personal hell by collecting wine bottles that unlock gates in his dream world. Mr Wino was released in 1988 but it looks as if it was shelved for at least four years, the visuals could be described as primitive and hardware collision registers are used which is nearly always a telling sign.

If you think I am being negative about the game from the last sentence, don’t jump to conclusions. To be honest I don’t mind playing games of this type once in a while, there is a strange compulsion to keep at it once you settle in learning the monster patterns & level layouts, I guess that old ‘…just one more go’ quotient – it is difficult to explain but there is a reason for the huge popularity of these kind of games.

Mr Wino’s sprite is reasonably animated, looking something like a cross between Gonzo and Q*Bert. There is not much in the way of notable special touches concerning the graphics, it is possible to turn Mr Wino 180 degrees toward the screen in order to climb ladders and this is accompanied by a small animation.The hostile things in the game resemble stuff like frying pans, gasping blobs, rotary phones and bowls of pasta, the gfx are functional and that is all that is required for a game of this type.

I mentioned the monster patterns earlier, something interesting is with most of these games the movement patterns are strictly uniform & predictable but some monsters in Mr Wino have an element of randomness, just when you thought it was safe to ascend that ladder the nasty changes it’s mind and heads back in your direction! For this reason the game seems very rough going without cheats and I played the game for quite a while and came to a level that seemed unfinished, but the truth is you wouldn’t actually reach anywhere near this section anyway.

Mr Wino certainly isn’t the worst example of a platform & ladders collect ’em up so if you decide to give it a try click here for some POKEs

Retroid – new free homebrew Arkanoid style game for Game Boy my views + Game Genie code

I am a huge fan of Arkanoid and while it stills remains the best of breed even now I love checking out the myriad of different takes on the general theme that are still popping up frequently to this day on both modern and retro platforms alike. I think Retroid is a great entry to breath some life into the genre for Nintendo’s aging, but still perfectly capable stalwart  hand-held machine.

I think because of the similarity in hardware, Game Boy breakout\Arkanoid games tend to feel like those that appeared on the ZX Spectrum micro computer, with things like the limiting digital controls and functional graphics and that remains true with Retroid – though don’t get me wrong, I was surprised by the level of detail packed into the bricks and backgrounds that isn’t necessarily immediately evident on the first level.

retroid-ingame

Level 2 – note the bas relief shading on the surrounding pipes.

Similar to Arkanoid and its contemporaries, Retroid has power-up pills that drop occasionally from destroyed bricks that grant things like extended bat, extra ball , gun etc anyone who is familiar with the game style knows that keeping the ball in play is paramount even if the temptation to slide off course for that pill is ever present. Interestingly the game gives you an option to play without those perks for those that want to stay closer to original breakout feel.

Retroid seems pretty easy going in the beginning, but later levels that include things like solid walls that surround the bricks means getting that perfect angle progressively more difficult to achieve and you might see your precious reserve lives go dwindling away.

If you want infinite lives to practice the game, try this Genie code:

008-699-3BE

Undiscovered Treasures – Doriath for C64

Howdy all,

I wasn’t familiar with this neat little game and came across it by chance while browsing an issue of the old C64 mag Zzap. Though the staff didn’t give it a glowing review, nonetheless it looked interesting to me so I decided to give it a whirl.

Doriath is an arcade adventure – basically there is a huge sprawling map with platforms, ropes and ladders, problems to overcome like locked doors and assorted nasties that stand between you and the items you need to complete the quest.

Doriath-snakesdefend

Projectile-spitting snakes defend the chest below

You play the part of a wizard Elidaan, so naturally spell casting is the order of the day. To begin with you only know one spell but can accumulate more in the form of collectible Amulets hidden away in chests found throughout the cavernous depths of the game world – the spells are in essence weapons for destroying specific types of monsters that throw a wedge between you and the goodies you seek.

The way spells are cast is by holding down the fire button and navigating the elemental-magic to the final destination, it is a neat touch that your magic can be blocked by obstructions like waterfalls for instance. The way that spells are guided about reminded me very much of Blizzard’s underrated Gem – Blackthorne, how in that game remote bombs were navigated around the level-scape in much the same way.

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Ghost defends chest with amulet and I left the correct defense potion is my other Robe!

What appealed to me most about this game I think is the basic pull of any adventure game and that is the exploration element and the prospect of some new tantalizing item that sits just out of reach. Among the things I specifically liked about Doriath was instead of fighting the guardian creatures, rather special potions need to be used at the right time and place to grant you defense from the big nasties.

While I think the basic movement controls & collision detection of this game are pretty much spot on, it must be said it does take a bit of time to adjust because it makes use of the keyboard, Space changes spells and F1 selects items and F4 uses items…playing on an emulator you can map the keys to a gamepad with a prog like Xpadder.

Doriath-dragondefendschest

Ol’ Puff defends the scroll piece

A game like Doriath is not strictly about skilled reflexes, though having them certainly can’t hurt. The style of play leans more towards forward thinking, economising items and planning your route carefully in order to fulfill the numerous goals.

I can definitely dig a game like Doriath, with a little help from my friends emulator save states and Topher’s great & hugely helpful map of the game…thanks Topher! In closing, I think this one is well worth checking out!