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I loved this little animation when I was a kid and I only just remembered the name of it when I was adding a can of baked beans to my shopping basket at New World, so when I got home I downloaded it and a few minutes later I put it up on YouTube.

Terminus is a brilliant C64 demo - an advanced animation created on extremely primitive hardware to show off the technical brilliance of the programmer - and, unlike most of the others, it actually has a storyline. Check it out.


Traffic Department 2192: Call for auditions

Ages back I posted a blog entry on my attempted TD:2192 remake, the project died out but is now back alive again thanks to the enthusiastic support of Commander Stab, probably the greatest TD:2192 fan on the planet.

The original game had a long and very interesting story made up of thousands of lines of dialogue - which was the reason it was so great - and Commander Stab suggested we add voice acting to the scenes. He's been advertising for help on the Something Awful forums but we're rather short on auditions, especially since we've had no female auditions and women take up many of the most important parts in the game.

Below are descriptions of every character in the game, images are ripped from the game and profiles are courtesy of Commander Stab.

Marta Louise Velasquez (female, Sechian) - Velasquez is the protagonist of this story and the epitome of an anti-hero. She watched her father, Ric Velasquez, die at the hand of the insurgent Vulture Cult Army fifteen years ago and did everything she could to join the Traffic Department so she could kill as many Vulture bastards as possible. She has a huge chip on her shoulder and insults people with alarming frequency. Half of her lines are one-liner insults and most of the rest are her threatening bodily injury on people. She is able to back up every claim she ever makes, is stronger than most guys, is self-assured and arrogant, and has very little in the way of compassion. She's a total bitch with attitude but not in the sort of way. Has a soft spot for machines. Around a third through the game she gets blown to pieces when her helicopter is sabotaged and she is rebuilt as a half-cyborg. The process isn't particularly well done and contributes to progressive mental inbalance, with Vel becoming more psychotic and insane with each passing mission.
Carl the Dispatcher (male, Sechian) - Carl is the dispatcher for the Vulthaven Traffic Department and is impossible to dislike. Ever-smirking, Carl delights in taking every possible oppurtunity to trade insults with Vel, and also to hit on her repeatedly. Before and after almost evrery mission, Vel and Carl trade insults. Vel claims to hate Carl but when she comes across a different dispatcher she has her replaced with Carl. Carl makes so many sexual innuendos it's impossible to recall them all, and is around in almost every mission in the game.

Koth (male, Selarian) - Koth is one of the few Selarians we come into contact with throughout the game. Selarians are a race of lizard-like humans that slur their S's when they speak. At the start of the game Koth is just a Junior Liutenant but is promoted midway through the game. Unperturbed by Vel's constant insults, Koth is solid as a rock throughout the game and produces some great lines.
B.O.B. (male?, robot) - B.O.B. stands for Bunker Operations Robot and is first encountered early in episode 2 working for Wolstencroft. When Vel kills Wolstencroft, she takes B.O.B. with her because he knows access codes, but keeps B.O.B. around who is useful in a number of situations. Like a sick puppy dog, B.O.B. follows Vel around regardless of how many insults and threats Vel gives it. B.O.B. stutters all the time but it is not made clear if this is because he is nervous or just poorly programmed. A prominent character through episodes 2 and 3.

Kreel (male, Vulture) - General Kreel is the highest ranked military officer in charge of this corner of the galaxy. Deadly serious and without compassion, he is willing to stop at nothing to achieve total domination of Seche, and arrives late in episode 1 to put an end to Wolstencroft's blunderings, which he does by killing shooting Wolstencroft. He later destroys the entire city from orbit, and then when Vel kills his daughter, he incinerates the entire planet. Is not afraid to get his hands dirty with all manner of torture. Kreel is also quite intelligent and can usually see through any plot and knows how to handle most situations.

Dar Satair (male, Sechian) - Commander Satair is in charge of the Traffic Department and flew with Vel's father. Despite all of the crap Vel gives him, Satair has a soft spot for Vel because he was in love with Vel's mother, and because Vel's father saved his life on the mission that he died. Satair becomes like a father-figure to Vel until he is kidnapped by the Vultures and executed towards the end of the first season. Satair's character is long-suffering but steady as a rock on any issue except Velasquez, where his judgement is seemingly always overriden.

Bram Wolstencroft (male, Vulture) - Colonel Wolstencroft is in charge of the Vulture Command Institute in Vulthaven. He runs the daily operations of the Vultures in the city and is responsible for a number of plans that are carried out upon the Traffic Department, including the kidnapping and brainwashing of Velasquez, the kidnapping of executing of Satair, and so forth. He is killed by General Kreel for failing to destroy the Traffic Department, but a clone of him is being developed when Vel destroys the VCI. His half-formed clone makes a short cameo back in episode 2, albeit with a speech impediment, where he tries to reform an empire by teaming up with Vigilantes, a plot which is cut short when Vel shoots him.

Leopard/Philip/Clive/Bela Ramses (male, Vulture) - The four Dr. Ramses' are genius scientists. We are first introduced to Leopard and Philip as twin scientists working for Wolstencroft, but after Vel stabs Leopard with a Terocil injection to escape, he leaves the VCI and ends up coming to the TD asking for protection from Philip, who wants him back. It turns out that both Leopard and Philip are clones from the origina, Clive. Later, a third clone, Bela is introduced. The characters of the Ramses' are hard to define because they don't tend to appear evil, as such, it just seems they enjoy working on stuff and don't really mind who they align themselves with. They are all experts in the field of cybertronics and genetics.

Renee White (female, Sechian) - White is introduced midway through episode 1 and is farewelled midway through episode 2. White has zero personality and is serious to a fault. She has come to oversee operations in TD initially but when Satair is executed, she takes control of the TD until they relocate to a new TD, where she stays for a short while before being shipped to a new city. She is far less sympathetic to Velasquez than Satair is.

Screwdriver (male?, robot) - Screwdriver is the robot bartender and is often a willing ear for Velasquez's problems, providing some pretty good advice, along with his occasional dose of "robot humour". He comes in midway through episode 1 and is destroyed along with the rest of the planet at the end of episode 2. He makes a brief cameo in episode 3 as a hallucination when Vel goes insane. Screwdriver is quite a likable character and one of the few that gets alone with Vel.

Kovia (female, Vulture) - Commander Kovia is in charge of the warship Scavenger, which General Kreel arrives in. Kovia is serious but has a short temper and doesn't always see eye to eye with Kreel. She arrives towards the end of episode 1 and lasts until near the end of episode 3 when Vel shoots her.

Peter Amiel (male, Sechian) - Amiel is the Operations Coordinator at the Vulthaven Traffic Department, but is addicted to spice, the drug of choice on the world. Wolstencroft uses Amiel as a spy in exchange for free access to spice. Amiel is a little weedy guy who comes across as a creepy little worm. Eventually Amiel sabotages the TD's security systems and escapes in a SKID but Vel hunts him down and kills him.

Raymin Striker (male, Sechian) - Lt. Striker is another TD pilot who survives for almost the entire game but you don't see that often. Satair even admits that Striker is an idiot, but he follows orders and can handle a SKID. Striker isn't the best talker and often has ridiculously dumb lines ("Jumpin' Jingleberries, Velasquez!"). Striker also appears to be the token black guy in the game since I don't think there are any others, nothing like racial discrimination in old games. When Velasquez escapes the planet, Striker is part of the small team she takes with her and he often leaves him in charge while she goes on SKID missions.

Nicola Cartel (female, Sechian) - Cartel is assigned as Vel's replacement when she is kidnapped by the Vultures. Cartel has a serious attitude problem, in much the same vein as Velasquez, but is also a great SKID pilot. Vel and Cartel hate each other and get into insulting matches on a daily basis. Cartel has lots of lines but is only around for half an episode as, when Vel becomes a half-cyborg, she initially goes insane and twists Cartel's head off.

Glasya Kreel (female, Vulture) - General Kreel's daughter who is around for most of episode 2. Glasya uses the fact that she is the General's daughter to her advantage, blaming her blunders on other people and using his influence to get whatever she wants. She simply cannot handle insults however, and despises Vel because of them. She eventually gets pissed and tries to take out Vel in a SKID.

Tol (male, Sechian) - Captain Tol is in charge of the Vultigard Traffic Department in much the same fashion that Satair was in charge of the Vulthaven Traffic Department. He has no time for Velasquez but is not stupid either, often realising when he's lost the battle of wills with her and just running with it. Tol is very short apparently, which Vel often mocks. Tol is killed towards the end of episode 2 when a Vulture cyborg teleports into the base and shoots him.

Friedkin Hyde (male, Vulture) - Friedkin Hyde is in charge of operations at the VCI in Vultigard, much like Wolstencroft in Vulthaven. Hyde isn't really all there and isn't much of a military mind, preferring to play Pyramir, the Vulture version of chess, a game which he claims he's never lost. His absent-mindedness often allows the TD to do what they like. On the off occasions his attention is grabbed he is quite psychotic ("Rip their wings off! Squish them like bugs!"). He eventually is to be executed by Kreel as punishment for a botched operation (which was really the fault of Glasya) and he escapes, taking Vel's son to her and offering her passage on his ship to escape from the planet. Once they get to the ship, however, Vel shoots him.

Roland Kane (male, Vulture) - Dr. Kane is a cybertronics expert who claims to be from Vectorbot, the machine company that provides the TD with all of it's SKID parts. He is working for General Kreel to destroy the TD but he comes first to Hyde and offers to work with him to help Hyde take control of the city, and also comes to TD to offer them a deal - he wants to replace all of their sentient officers with cyborgs of superior skill. He installs his cyborgs with self-destruct mechanisms triggered to go off once he leaves the facility, but Vel chases him down with a SKID and kills him.

AREO-9/Timothy Aibel (male, robot) - One of the cyborgs that Dr. Kane introduces to the Traffic Department turns out to be a bit different to the others. For whatever reason the memory erasure procedure doesn't work on AREO-9 and he can remember his life beforehand. He comes to Vel and tells her that Kane and Clive used his stored DNA, which was kept contained after he was exposed to a lethal dose of radiation, and implanted it into the cyborg body. Vel and AREO-9 become quite close but unfortunately he has a self-destruct device implanted in him as well. He ends up being teleported into the VCI and detonating it in there, killing Dr. Clive Ramses.

Diva Livid (female, Sechian) - The sole doctor Vel brings with her when she escapes the planet, Dr. Livid is around for most of episode 3. She doesn't take Vel's crap well at all, and is not afraid to tell Vel exactly what she thinks of her. She is hot-tempered and angry, often berating Vel for not saving medical supplies and often telling Vel how she wishes Vel would just die. She tries to confine Vel to a bed after Vel has a brain hemmorhage but to no avail.

Harkon Moloch (male, Vulture) - The Vulture ace that shot down Vel's father. He is still flying and is a SKID commander at the start of episode 1. Vel shoots him down but two more Moloch clones later appear who are also shot down.

Dispater (male, Vulture) - Replaces Moloch as SKID commander but is killed relatively early after a few blunders.

Weathers (female, Sechian) - The Vulthaven TD doctor. Just another no-personality character.

Jarock (male, Sechian) - Leader of the Scorpions, a Vigilante gang that arises after the VCI is destroyed. Vel eventually joins the scorpions and even sleeps with Jarock but claims it wasn't worth the price of admission. Jarock doesn't seem completely dumb but often isn't a genius military mind. He is killed within a few missions.

Bryll (male, Sechian) - Jarock's second-in-command. Unlike Jarock, he is utterly dumb and tries to intimidate Vel, to no avail. After Jarock dies Bryll turns on Velasquez but is shot down.

Ian Alexander (male, Sechian) - Ian is Vel's son who she tried to forget about. Glasya kidnaps Ian and tries to use him against Vel in a few missions, but Hyde ends up bringing Ian to Velasquez in exchange for her ensuring his safety. Ian is a young child who ends up befriending Jekar and ensuring his safety is perhaps one of the reasons Vel eventually has the epiphony that killing every Vulture in existence is not the best plan in the world. Ian is a wide-eyes, innocent child in every sense of the word.

Jekar (male, Silatic/Vulture) - Jekar is introduced as a Vulture who inhabits the supposedly uninhabited Kolorite mine that Vel takes her crew to after she escapes the planet. However, it is later revealed that he is a Silatic, a shapechanging lifeform, posing as a Vulture. Silatics are pacifists and Jekar most of all. Jekar is eventually killed by Velasquez as revenge against Osyluth for preventing her from killing Kreel.

Talon (male, Vulture) - General Talon is the second of four Generals we are introduced to in the game after General Kreel. Talon is a large and powerful man, totally ruthless and without empathy. He finds it quite hilarious whenever Kreel fails to destroy the hiding Sechians, especially so when Kreel's subordinates die in the process. He teams up with General Marilith to try to take over the galaxy but is killed by Osyluth.

Selat (male, Silatic/Vulture) - Vice Director Selat is a Silatic posing as a high-up Vulture commander with the hopes of replacing the Vulture overlord with a Silatic impersonation. He is also a total pacifist. He is captured by Vel who holds him for a while before deciding to let him go. Upon arriving back at the VCI, however, he finds Kreel has taken over operations and does not believe his cover-story about there being a Vulture splinter gang. Selat is tortured until he dies.

Osyluth (male, Silatic/Vulture) - Osyluth is also a Silatic though this is not revealed until half way through the third episode. Osyluth is the SKID commander on Kolor, and uses his influence to ensure that the TD only has to face a small fraction of the total SKIDs on patrol. To keep his cover, however, he protects Kreel when Vel breaks into the VCI to kill him. Osyluth claims to be a pacifist as well but he turns out not to be when he sabotages General Talon's ship. at the end of the game we find out that Osyluth has been using Vel to destroy all of the other generals so Osyluth can himself kill General Orlok as revenge for Orlok destroying his homeworld long ago.

Marilith (female, Vulture) - General Marilith is the third General we are introduced to. Genocidal and ruthless, she teams up with Talon to take over the galaxy but betrays him shortly before her ship is destroyed by Velasquez. Completely self-assured.

Aron Demeter (male, Sechian) - Demeter was working for the Vultures but leaves to join the splinter faction EGG and comes to the TD looking for help. Thinking himself a bit of a stud he hits on Vel ("Hey sugar tits! How about you get me some coffee?") who promptly beats the poo poo out of him. Vel is later assigned to escort him to EGG headquarters, but he is killed along with the rest of EGG when the VCI blows up the facility.
Kendrick (male, Sechian) - Lt. Kendrick is one of the other TD SKID pilots but is pulled off of a few missions because Velasquez and Koth score them instead. Kendrick hates Velasquez and is the one who sabotages her helicopter and later shoots her. After Velasquez is repaired, however, she goes and kills Kendrick. Kendrick comes across as a shy and jittery guy.

Frank Marko (male, Sechian) - The leader of the EGG splinter group. We only hear from him once when he requests help from Vel who tells him to go jump in a lake.
Belial (male, Vulture) - Temporarily made SKID Commander after Dispater's death. Doesn't last long.
Mammon (male, Vulture) - Replaced Belial. Lasts a bit longer but is destroyed when Vel blows up the VCI.
Kylie Kilailie (female, Sechian) - Leading news reporter. Velasquez can't stand her because she always portrays the Traffic Department in a negative light, but the TD protects her because she is married to one of their best contacts in the Vulture Media Net. Kilailie is every bad stereotypes of journalists rolled up into one, but gets unfortunately few lines.
Sareth (male, Selarian) - The leader of the Scorpions, the other vigilante faction that arises when the VCI is destroyed. We only see him a couple of times before he is killed.
Female Dispatcher (female, Sechian) - When we first come to Vultigard, who Female Dispatcher who is never given a name awaits us. She is a smart-rear end, just like Carl and Vel ends up shooting down her tower. She takes a two month holiday and Carl replaces her.
LO-139 (male?, robot) - LO-139 greets Vel when she arrives. He only has a few lines but appears to be an incredibly awkward robot, laughing at all of their jokes even though none of their lines are really jokes at all ("I have to go to the bathroom" "Hahaha you Sechians are so full of humour!")

Computer (male/female, computer) - A typical "computer voice", AKA Star Trek. Responds when Glasya is looking up information on Velasquez.
AREO-1/AREO-2 (male?, robot) - These are two of the cyborgs introduced by Roland Kane. AREO-1 is not working right and refers to Vel as Velvelarno. AREO-2 is only briefly seen after he kills Dr. Philip Ramses when he tells Vel her death has been judged necessary. A personality-less android.

Cyborg Bael (male, Vulture/robot) - Bael teleports into the TDHQ and kills Tol but fails to detonate the entire department before Vel kills him.
Mala Kreel (female, Vulture) - Glasya's daughter and General Kreel's granddaughter, Mala doesn't really understand the wars but seems to have wonderful parental influences, including Glasya telling her that all Sechians are evil bastards and General Kreel meticulously explaining to her the process of torture. Mala just wants to play with Ian, however, who she thinks is a "nice boy".
Anton Devornay (male, Sechian) - Anton is in charge of TD operations all over Seche and tells Velasquez that she can remain in charge until Tol's replacement arrives. Velasquez tells him to gently caress off. He appears serious in his approach.

Reporter (male/female, Sechian) - yet another reporter who portrays the TD in a negative light, claiming that the military centre they blew up was actually a "day-care centre".
Officer (male/female, Vulture) - An office aboard Kovia's warship. Has jsut a couple of token lines ("Yes commander")
Nemecek (male, Sechian) - One of the SKID pilots Vel takes with her when she escapes from the planet. Nemecek and Ikona don't like Vel very much though so they they steal the ship they flew to Kolor on and fly away, shortly before being shot down by General Talon. Nemecek appears pretty drat dumb. Both Nemecek and Ikona give a very southern impression to me.
Ikona (female, Sechian) - One of the other SKID pilots Vel takes with her. Ikona appears to be even dumber than Vel. ("We're buggin out like a bug Captain!")
Vulture Technician (male, Vulture) - Just a couple of nothing lines.
Ric Velasquez (male, Sechian) - Appears in a hallucination when Vel is having a brain hemmorhage. Tells Vel to be a good little girl and blow the gently caress up out of those Vultures. It is not explained if this is what Ric was normally like or if Vel's just imagining him like this but he comes across as an angry, mean, vengeful dude in the few lines he gets.
Orlok (male, Vulture) - General Orlok is the final general we encounter, right towards the end of episode 3. He truly does want peace for the galaxy and is hoping to use his influence to make that a reality. he comes across as someone influentual but gentle.

If you're interested in Auditioning for the game please get in touch. Commander Stab took screenshots of the entire storyline and posted it on the lets play archive if you're interested in having a read.


The online Spectrum remake that everyone -really- wanted

The Advanced Lawmower Simulator Online (With the brilliant Acronym ALSO)


  • Upto 16 players mowing the same lawn at the same time
  • 12 different characters from other spectrum games
  • 48 different types of broken lawnmower
  • Still just 1 working lawnmower, but this time the working lawnmower is placed randomly in the list to add to the excitement
  • Still just 1 button that does anything
  • 256 unique identical looking lawns
  • Fun and varied multiplayer gametypes, including:
  • Mower tag
  • Mower deathmatch
  • Mower racing
  • Avoid the rocks
  • Mow the flag
  • Timed mowing
  • Find the golden mower
  • Mow the most grass
  • Find the golden mower while mowing the most grass
  • Drink the most beer while finding the golden mower and mowing the most grass
  • Mow dirty words into the lawn and then run away before the owner gets home and sell his mower for 50 bucks and spend it all at the pub
  • Fill the compost bin
  • Seduce the owners lonely housewife
  • Mower obstacle course
  • Wait for the grass grow
  • Mower typing
  • Get petrol for your mower by siphoning from a truck or invading a foreign country
  • Ride-on mower jousting
  • Get bored of mowing and play DooM at your mates house -The mower toss


The best Nintendo ads in the world ever

Gosh, it's been awhile. I seem to be developing a tradition of posting lists on this site, and I'm certainly not going to break that tradition with today's post. Nintendo has always been about pure fun. Right from when they started as a playing card company through their phase in the smutty hotel business and to the video games era of today. They've never let things like good graphics, FMV cutscenes or decent controllers stand in the way of delivering unique entertainment to the masses. This spirit of fun is reflected in their ads, which vary from hilarious to downright disturbing. This is a list of ads which I feel are their very finest.

5: Super Mario 64

Technically this isn't an ad for the game, but rather one of those Government propaganda type things promoting good health by drinking milk. Its classic how that kid keeps trying to kill Mario.

4: Mario Kart DS

Hot Mario? The title at the start says it all. This truly bizarre ad demonstrates what happens when the Japanese have a go at making stereotypes..

3: Legend of Zelda SNES

This is exactly how Shigeru Miyamoto should have made the original Legend of Zelda. A cross between Michael Jackson's Thriller video and a junior high school production of Peter Pan. That would have been the greatest game ever.

2: Super Smash Brothers 64

Super Smash Brothers was the 5th top selling N64 game ever, despite coming so late in the consoles life cycle, and with an ad like this it's not hard to see why. I love it how Mario kicks Yoshi in the shins.

1: Gameboy Micro

Apparently this ad only ever aired in Canada.. and.. yeah.. thats probably not too surprising. I won't ruin this ad for you, you'll just have to watch it to find out what happens.


Reflections on Firestart

Project Firestart, the game I produced for the 2006 Retro Remakes competition has been out for two months now, and in one more month it'll be judged against the dozens of other games that were also entered into the competition. I think it’s about time I write out some thoughts on the making of the game, as well as the reaction from the gaming community.

It was in the middle of July that I discovered that, the best site for finding brand spanking new remakes of old classic games, were having another competition for Best Remake. I immediately decided to have a crack at it, and even signed up for the competition before I had thought of a game to remake. I went through several different ideas before finally settling on doing Project Firestart.

The original Project Firestart was a game in the survival horror genre (predating Resident Evil by about a decade) and itself was inspired by 1970s and 1980s sci-fi horror movies. Set on a research station deep in space, your character has been assigned to find out why contact was lost, and predictably you find out they've all been eaten by man made mutants. At least in comparison to other games of the time, it featured beautiful graphics, smooth animations and in-depth gameplay. Project Firestart was one of the many games in desperate need of a remake, and I thought that I would be the one who could pull it off.

I talked about this with a mate, Mark, and he was enthusiastic about it so he decided to help me. Over the next two and a half months we worked away on the game, I focused on the code (it was programmed in Blitz Basic 3D) and Mark focused on the models. We had decided to remake it in 3D as a first person shooter, figuring that would be the way the game would be made if it was made today, and also because the gameplay seemed natural to translate into an FPS. It wasn't until we were getting close to the deadline that we realised exactly how in over our heads we were - infact I was really stupid for thinking I could give justice to such a great game and redevelop it in only ten weeks as a first person shooter, despite the fact I had a full time job and Mark had a full time course - however I put my heart and soul into the game and somehow managed to finish it in time for the competition. Today it still stands as the only game i've completed and released.

The game had plenty of problems however, and it failed to reach up to the lofty expectations I had for it. All of the voice acting in the game was scrapped and replaced with subtitles. We ran out of time to create the monsters, which we had intended to model from scratch, so I ended up taking a premade Zombie and painting it green to use as a substitute. Naturally it looked awful, one person commented that it looked like a Mutant teddy bear. We found out too late that we couldn’t use the brilliantly designed levels Mark had made in 3D Studio Max, so in the last two weeks I recreated every level from scratch in Cartography Shop at a much lower level of quality. It didn't help that I didn't have the time to pick and use a wider variety of textures either. Having a limited number of beta testers and not enough time for them to test it was a real pain. And of course there was the bug. 'The' bug. The one where the game would sometimes crash (more so on some computers) in the middle of a game and exit out to windows. Usually Blitz Basic 3D is very good with finding bugs in its debugging utility, but it didn't even hint at what could be the problem here, and I could never nail it down. Maybe it was simply a poor use of memory and polygon count that kept killing it.

I expected reviews of the game to be largely average or mediocre. I was somewhat surprised to find out exactly how varied they were, some proclaimed it as the greatest game they've played from the competition, others said that it was terrible. There was very little middle ground at all. Some praised the terrifying atmosphere of the game, others said it didn't have an atmosphere at all. Some said it held up well compared to the original, others said it was unworthy of being compared. Some said they never saw a bug in the game, others said it was too bugged to be playable. The game was sometimes compared (usually negatively) to System Shock 2 and DooM 3, I never felt this was fair as me and Mark were just a two man team with zero budget working in a tight time frame, plus we had never intended to remake those games anyway (akin to complaining a remake of Pong is not as fun as Rockstar's table tennis). There were also some comments about lacking features, such as an invert mouse switch. All in all however the positive comments outweighed the negative ones, and several people went so far as to post messages to me to thank me and tell me how much they had enjoyed my game.

My personal view on the game is it is actually pretty good, as far as remakes go (some remakes, particularly competition remakes, are bloody awful). Its fun and has some intense moments, particularly when you're protecting survivors, playing on Nightmare mode or running low on ammo. It has a wide range of difficulty levels, which should keep beginners right through to experts satisfied. Graphically it is a mixed bag, some of it looks awful, other parts look okay, and the guns in particular look really cool. The sound is pretty good, especially the creepy techno song I used in it. The bugs are a real nuisance for some people. It isn't a long game, but it is a compulsive one with that 'one more try' feeling that can keep you up until 3am. Controls are as easy as can possibly be in a first person shooter, defying the horribly complex configurations of most FPS games by implementing a system that relies entirely on the mouse and a couple of keystrokes. It isn’t nearly as fun as original (for fans of the original at least) but it is a fine distraction in its own right.

The single greatest achievement of the Remake is the fact that it has introduced gamers to the original game, and made them fans of it, which is a worthy achievement of any remake and this alone made it worth making. An enhanced version of Project Firestart will come out next year with some, if not all of the problems with this version corrected, plus a lot more content and gameplay. If you haven't played my game yet then it may be worth having a look at if you're a fan of First Person Shooters.




Download from Retro Remakes site (includes screenshots)

Review of the original game (with instructions on how to play it on a PC)


RetroReview: Moonstone - A Hard Days Knight

I can remember the very first time I saw Moonstone on the Amiga. It was at a computer users convention in Invercargill, and the person who owned the game said that "This is the Amiga's answer to Doom". While that claim was probably exaggerated somewhat (The Amiga is now dead and buried, save a hard core legion of fans) Moonstone is still a kick ass game.

There can be only one!
Moonstone attempts to be a hybrid of turn based RPG and real time Fighting. Set in some medieval land, England probably, you play one of four Knights assigned to reclaim the Moonstone from 'The guardian of the Valley' and return it to Stone Henge or something. There’s a vast land filled with swamps, deserts, forests, plains, lairs, cities and towers. You have to explore pretty much all of it to find the four "Keys to the valley" required to fight the guardian, while fending off attacks from the hordes of monsters, the other three Knights and the insidious Dragon. This task is made somewhat complicated by the lack of a save function and the limited lives available.
Its only a fleshwound!


Moonstone features surprisingly good combat scenes. Even though there us only one action button (can anyone else remember the days that Joysticks only had one button?) your Knight can block, dodge, lunge, swing, chop, stab, strike backwards and throw knives. You fight boars, ratmen, swamp things, ratmen, trolls, dragons, more ratmen and the other Knights. You can even battle a mate for bragging rights. However it gets really frustrating fighting a Monster that can kill you in one hit, and also its a pain in the ass when you have to fight three ratmen at the same time. There’s a crap load of gore in the combat scenes however this is far more humorous then horrifying.

Burninating the Countryside, Burninating the Peasants!


The heart and soul of Moonstone is its multiplayer action. The game supports four players (either human or AI) and each player takes turns moving their Knight across the land, attacking enemy lairs and eventually, each other. The RPG side of things is really simplistic as there is only a small amount of weapons, spells and armour, but this is more of a plus as it makes the game less confusing and easier to learn how to play.

The vast land of Moonstone. Its really really big.

Moonstone could have used some more variety (admittedly the original game took up three discs!) but other then that, it is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon with three mates. As you can see from the screenshots, the graphics are absolutely fantastic given their age. I give it four healing potions out of five.

Publisher: Mindscape Platform: Amiga / PC Year: 1991


Traffic Department 2192

The original Traffic Department 2192 is an old game that very few people have even heard of, but those who have played it never forget it. It is a mission based action game with an epic sci-fi storyline. Cloning, vicious tyrants, guerilla warfare, narcotic spice, trust, betrayal and revenge, all set in the far future on a Desert planet (Maybe its just a bit like Dune).

The original game

The game, unfortunately, didn't have very good gameplay. And it is impossible to run the game on a modern machine without making use of DosBox. So I have decided that the game is well overdue to be brought into the 21st Century, and if nobody else will do it, I will.

My attempt at remaking it

My new remake runs at over three times the resolution of the original game and is coded in Blitz Basic 3D. I've started preliminary work on the game, and I have been hacking the original data files with a hex editor so I can use the original graphics without doing a whole lot of screengrabs. Thus far I have been able to pull across all of the vehicle sprites and map tiles, as well as the city maps themselves. The city is rendered in full 3D while the Hoverskids are still (currently) 2D sprites.

These are some of the features I intend to have in my remake:

  • The storyline and missions from the classic original.
  • New gameplay style. Although the gameplay will resemble the gameplay of the original, it will have full 360 degree movement (instead of just eight directions) and the vehicles will slide around corners. The AI should also be much deadlier than in the original.
  • Full flexibility. End users will be able to create their own characters, missions, campaigns, vehicles and cities, with the same tools that I used to adapt the original game.
  • User profiles. These keep track of your current progress in a campaign, as well as your total kills and successfully completed missions. Unlike the original game, you don't lose all of your kills when you progress to the next campaign.
  • Single missions. The game will come with a set of single missions with new storylines that can be played in any order at any time. These missions will also allow the player to play as characters other then Lt. Velasque.
  • Different camera modes. A first person mode is likely.