Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Article by plume: Me vs. Lee Enfield

Apart from Zooey Deschanel, the Commodore 64 has always been one of my ultimate loves, and I feel it loves me back. In ways which I cannot describe. For you would immediately be sick.
Although I do actually set up the original hardware every now and then, I am also an avid user of the tremendous C64 emulator 'VICE' working alongside 'Gamebase64'.

For those not familiar with the 'Gamebase' software, it is an emulator frontend and database which, with the right packages, will give you an incredible amount of options for each game added to it, such as scans of magazine adverts, the ability to play the soundtrack separately, screenshots and much more.
It supports a ton of different systems including SNES, Mastersystem, NES, Megadrive and of course, C64.
The latest version of 'Gamebase64' (v8.0) supports 22500(!) games, and for this article I was going to review 5 games plucked from this collection which I had previously enjoyed. Until I spotted the 'Random Game' button obviously placed in 'Gamebase64' by fucking wizards.
Here are 5 random C64 game reviews! JOIN ME.

1. Hindenburg (19??)

We start our journey on the 'Hindenburg'. "OH NO!" I don't hear you say. "The same 'Hindenburg which was ravaged by flames above Lakehurst airfield, tragically claiming the lives of 35 men and women and children and Germans"? I also don't hear you say that sentence, but I answer anyway:
"Yes. Also, this game exists".

Not pictured: Me being sick.

Using a joystick in port 2 (or your mind, futureman), you must guide the seemingly resurrected blimp through perilous skies, to rescue hapless citizens atop skyscrapers.
Once again, I don't hear you say "Why do the skies prove so perilous? Marauding mustang fighters? Birds with knives for beaks? Bees?"

No, Worse. Clouds.

As everyone reading this will be aware, clouds have been mankind's most formidable enemy since 1856, and...hang on, that's not right. Clouds are shit.
Yet in this game you hit one and you die. Which you will. A lot. Mind you, if you are mental enough to fill a massive balloon with 7062000 cubic feet of hydrogen, cram it full of chain smoking Nazi's and fly it through a lightning storm, you deserve everything you get.

Shit game. NEXT!

2. Blast 'em (1989)

Yeah! Spaceships and shit! The titlescreen that precedes the game claims: "Blast 'em, another fine game by Dr. Knox!"

Along with: "Blast 'em, a fantastic game with an intelligent design."

And this: "Those who want to get an autograph from Dr. Knox should look in the code for my address." (I'm not making this up, play it and see!)

Woah there! just who is this mysterious genius Dr. Knox? And has he managed to code something so mind shattering that it makes scholars sick and poo?
No. No he hasn't. Therefore for the remainder of this review, 'Blast 'em' will be referred to as 'Lie Simulator' and 'Dr. Knox' known as 'Dr Cocks'.

The title scroller of 'Lie Simulator' (Programmed by Dr Cocks) claims that the entire game was coded in 31 hours. So I see. Pressing fire to launch 'Lie Simulator' presents us with a ship at the bottom of the screen with the ability to move halfway up the playfield in all directions.

You should see it in motion. Looks like dogs exploded into sausages.

The enemy which cascades from the top of the screen consists of floppy disks, two types of wasp, and what looks like a waffle. Now, I have only been into space a limited number of times, but can definitely confirm that not one of these things have made the endless vacuum their natural habitat.
Their attack pattern is left to right. What else should I expect from an infuriated space waffle?

When destroyed, the enemies resulting explosion will also deplete your stock of lives should you get caught by it, often stripping you of two lives in a row. This is unfair, Dr Cocks. At least the music is decent.

Anyway, I'm off to "Ihlestr 18-2820, Bremen 77, West Germany" (again, I'm not making this up), to call on 'Dr Cocks' and make him eat waffles smeared with dead wasps. JOIN ME (again).

NEXT!

3. Typing Aid (19??)

That contemptuous bitch.

NEXT!

4. Slalom (1985)

Upon loading, I was greeted with a pleasant tune at the title screen which actually made me think of snow. Weird!

Upon pressing 'F1' and then choosing the lowest difficulty, I was greeted with a skier advancing down a slope, covered in it's entirety by snow. Weird!

Upon starting my descent of the mountain, I found myself admiring a decent parallax scrolling effect on the skyline and a reasonably good effort at sprite scaling on the trees as I weaved between flags, icy patches and what I can only describe as piles of shit. How did this feces get to be here? Yeti's? Weird!

Mothman descended upon the quiet Swiss village for his annual feed...

Sound effects are inoffensive enough, but overall there's just not enough content in 'Slalom' to keep me playing for long periods of time. Selecting the hardest difficulty only serves to ramp the game speed up ten fold, yet the course length stays the same, making it now last approximately twelve seconds. Weird!

Ultimately, it's kind of like the 'Winter Olympics'. It looks and sounds alright, but I'll only watch it for ten minutes.

NEXT!

5. Bob Moran / Lee Enfield (1988)

I don't even...what is...Gah!

I was so astounded by this game, I had to make a video of it. It's fucking astonishing! There's a reason why there aren't any other videos of this game on the Internet. it's because as soon as one is discovered, the server it is stored on gets destroyed by hammers made of bears.

The designers originally included a two player option but had to remove it after discovering that when two people played it at the same time, their arms would turn into snakes and they would instantly devour each others bodies.

The title screen looks pretty fucking bad-ass, with a squid lipped 'Bob Moran' (incidentally he was re-named 'Lee Enfield' for the British version, probably because being named after a gun is one billion times cooler than 'Bob') holding a sword to the face of a blue vampire. And a tiny castle. Yeah!

But no.

When warlocks first scoured civilisations for a vessel in which they could store their beast-magic, waiting for a suitable moment to unleash it upon our planet, they chose this game. Watch the video. (Only once though, lest you scratch out your eyes).

Oddly, the 'Lee Enfield' version wont work in emulators.
Doesn't matter, they both eat their young.

First, focus on the music. It's the maniacal composition of a complete fucking lunatic and it actually fits the situation perfectly. The game contains no text, so scrolls (I think), and other items appear as pixellated messes, with no description of what they are or what their use in the game is.

The controls are chronically unresponsive (it's not just me being a prick in the video) and completely break the game. Watch me unsuccessfully try to open a chest several times. It's hilarious!

But by far and away my FAVOURITE part of the game is the fighting. Seriously, it's unreal. Just watch! As you initiate battle with the denizens of darkness (namely a man in a green cape and the shitting Yeti from 'Slalom'), You both enter into a spectacular, limb thrashing, spastic dance. The most amazing event in the video is definitely when the Yeti joins me in the centre of a room and we completely spaz out together until it becomes too much for him and he explodes into a cloud of shit. It's majestic.
I advise everyone to play these games at least once in their lives. Except 'Lee Enfield'. Let the pain I endured, and this video, serve as the only reminders of a frighteningly destructive force which hides among us. Lee Enfield, Harvester of Souls, will one day arise to wreak his malevolence. And only you my friends, only you, will recognise the true face of abhorrent evil.

It has squid lips.