Lyonsden Blog

Tag - Cartridge

2 New VIC20 Game Cartridges

VIC20 Pirate Cove & Star Battle

Picked up a couple of terrific classic VIC20 game cartridges off eBay to add to my collection this week. Pirate Cove and Star Battle, both of which are in fantastic condition. I’ve also spent some time scanning the boxes in and have added them to my ‘3D VIC20 Game Museum‘ too!

Pirate Cove is another excellent Scott Adams text adventure and along with ‘The Count‘, ‘Voodoo Castle‘, ‘Adventureland‘ and ‘Mission Impossible‘ completes my collection of his games on the VIC20.

 

VIC20 Pirate Cove

VIC20 Pirate Cove

 

Star Battle is a rather good Glaxians clone for the VIC20. I never had this as a child so really pleased to be able to add it to my collection now.

 

VIC20 Space Battle

VIC20 Space Battle

 

Tanglewood: A New Sega Mega Drive Release

Tanglewood Mega Drive

In addition to my affection for Commodore’s range of computers I also have quite a soft spot for the Sega Mega Drive. I was really excited when I discovered that ‘Big Evil Corp‘ had developed a brand new game called Tanglewood and were planning to do a proper physical release. I pre-ordered it on the spot. That was 8 months ago now though so I’d almost forgotten all about it. Almost.

On Saturday morning I received a sturdy looking cardboard box in the post with the ‘Big Evil Corp’ logo on it. I instantly knew what it was and my excitement level peaked again as I hastily ripped the packaging open to reveal the contents inside. I was not disappointed!

 

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Although I backed Xeno Crisis on Kickstarter over a year ago, that has still not materialised so this is the first brand new Mega Drive game I’ve clapped eyes on in well over 20 years. Although lacking the Sega Mega Drive logo on the cover (for legal reasons) they have otherwise captured the essence of what a Mega Drive game box should look like perfectly. Opening the case up reveals a beautifully made full colour instruction booklet (remember them?) and the cartridge in all its glory. The box even has that annoying retail hanger on the top for the ultimate in authenticity!

 

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Although I own an original Sega Mega Drive and Mega Drive II console, the console I actually use 99% of the time is an AtGames Flashback HD. I know these AtGames clones get a lot of stick online but personally I think it’s a great piece of kit for the money, especially for a casual owner like myself. It has super crisp HDMI out, wireless pads, a proper cartridge slot and it also allows game save states which are a godsend these days. I do occasionally experience the odd minor sound glitch or stutter in some games but never anything that spoils my enjoyment.

 

Tanglewood Mega Drive

Tanglewood Cartridge loaded on AtGames Flashback Console

 

Why am I mentioning this? Well I must admit I was a little nervous when I inserted the cart and switched my console on. With it being a brand new cart I was worried they might have done things a little differently causing the game to ‘break’ on my console. Would they even know about the Flashback HD and would they have tested their game with such a clone?

Happily all my concerns were completely unfounded and the cart was recognised straight away. I sank a good few hours into the game and experienced no issues with it what-so-ever. I’m enjoying the game immensely too, it looks beautiful, has some great sound effects and music and the main character is endearing and beautifully animated. It’s just an all round charming and fun game to play. I’m sure it would have featured high in the charts had it been released during the Mega Drive’s heyday.

 

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Mono Review

Mono

Mono is a brand new PAL game for the Commodore 64 created by a couple of guys in Switzerland, Clay Spoerri and Raphael Graf. It’s only available in cartridge format and costs €35 plus postage from their website. I bought this pretty much blind a few months ago as there was little information about it online. Sadly my first copy was faulty so had to be replaced (thanks Raphael) but the new one works perfectly so I thought I’d write a little review in case anyone else is interested in the game.

 

Contents

 

For your money you get a nicely designed plastic case with a cool manga inspired front cover featuring the pilot of your ship with some game screenshots and ship artwork on the back.

 

Mono

Mono Back Cover

 

Inside the case you will find a sleek black cartridge with the title of the game etched onto it. The cartridge fits into the C64’s expansion port easily, unlike some other recent cartridges that required shoehorning in! You also get an instruction sheet, mono pin badge, a sticker, postcard and a beer mat/coaster. It should be noted that the latter three items all relate to other games, only the pin badge relates to mono. It’s only a minor complaint but I would have loved to see a sticker in the box of the girl or your ship instead. Also the cartridge is loose inside the case – a foam insert would have stopped it sliding around inside.

 

Mono

Mono Game Contents

 

Gameplay

 

Mono is a vertically scrolling shoot ’em up that features a couple of fairly unique and pretty important gameplay elements that set it apart from similar games. Firstly your ship wraps around the edges of the screen. Move off the left side of the screen and you’ll reappear over on the right. Move off the top or bottom of the screen and you’ll reappear at the opposite end. Once you get used to this it’s actually a great gameplay enhancement and one that becomes essential with some of the bosses you’ll encounter later in the game. However it does take a few minutes to get used to and led to me dying on my first play-though. I kept accidentally moving off the bottom of the screen straight into the aliens spawning at the top!

The second unique feature is that your score and your ships life are one and the same. As you play you’ll notice a series of positive and negative numbers scrolling down the side of the screen. Kill an alien and a positive number will appear. Take a hit and a negative will appear instead. So long as you do more killing than getting hit you’ll be fine. However take too many hits and your score dwindles to zero leading to a ‘game over’.

Like many shoot ’em ups there are weapon power-ups to be had, but again these are linked to your score. Score well and power-ups will appear on screen for you to collect. However take some hits and you will lose your last power-up until you are back down to your standard issue guns. As soon as you start building that score back up the power-ups will start flowing again.

 

Mono

Title Screen

 

Level Design

 

There are six levels in the game, each one themed differently with it’s own colour scheme, music, background, enemies and boss. The backdrops scroll down the screen smoothly but are pretty simply affairs, based around various shapes or patterns – bubbles, lines, pyramids, blocks and even a circuit board (populated by 6510 chips!).

The alien designs are also pretty simple but they’re nice and clear and each feature unique move and firing patterns. Some of the bullets fired home in on your position too which makes for some tricky situations if you don’t take the enemies out quickly enough. There is some overlap of enemy use from one level to the next but the game adds new enemies to each new level to mix things up.

Every level culminates in a boss fight where a group of bullet sponge enemies appear for you to take down before you can progress onto the next level. I found it was during these segments of the game that the screen wrapping feature came into its own, allowing you to stay literally one step ahead of the enemy, out of their line of fire, whilst chipping away at their health.

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Game Length and Difficulty

 

You can play Mono using either the keyboard or a standard joystick which is the option I chose to go with. My thumb also appreciated the fact that your ship auto-fires. No need get cramp stabbing away at that fire button like a madman!

One thing that I have to mention here relates to the game difficulty and length. Those 6 levels are quite short, taking maybe 2-3 minutes to complete each. They’re also pretty easy to get through too as the score-life mechanic is very forgiving. To put this into perspective I was able to beat the game on my second play-though in around 15 minutes and that includes brief interludes where I was taking photos for this review!

I’m guessing that is a feature rather than an issue though. For me it seems the game is built around replaying it and trying to improve on that high score as you learn the move sets of the enemies and best ways to take them out without getting hit.

Sound

 

Mono has some great music playing throughout the game and it changes slightly for each new level. There are no sound effects at all in the game because all the SID’s voices are being utilised to produce the soundtrack. However this is no bad thing, at least to my ears as I really enjoyed the music.

 

Mono

My High Score: 181

 

Verdict

 

I realise that for some, €35 for a game that can be bested in 15 minutes may not be perceived as value for money. If so you’ll need to way up the pros and cons I’ve mentioned already in order to decide if this game is for you. Sadly there is no digital purchase available so it’s the Cartridge version or nothing I’m afraid.

Speaking for myself I’ve really enjoyed my time playing Mono, although the graphics are a little simplistic the gameplay is tight and rewarding and the music is terrific. The physical packaging is fantastic and looks great on my shelf. I’ll definitely be replaying it often to improve my score and it’s the perfect game to play if you’re limited on time… you know from the outset that a game will never last more than 15 minutes!

I think the price is quite fair too and on a par with the majority of other cartridge releases so all things considered it gets a recommended from me. 🙂

Farming Simulator C64 Edition

Farming Simulator C64 Edition

So here’s my look at Farming Simulator C64 Edition and the various options available if you want to get hold of a copy. Apparently this started life as an April fools joke but took on a life of its’ own as one of the programmers had friends active in the C64 scene.

 

Farming Simulator C64 Edition

Title Screen (on a 1084S monitor)

 

Digital Version

At the moment there are only two ways to get hold of the game in the here and now. The cheapest and by far the quickest is to head on over to the Farming Simulator website and pick up a digital copy of the game for €4.99. Although it states ‘PC Version’ you will actually get C64 software cartridge/disk images that you can run on the included emulator, C64 Mini or on a real C64 via an SD2IEC type device.

 

Farming Simulator C64 Edition

Gameplay screen (1084S monitor)

 

Collector’s Edition

The next method, which will bag you a physical copy of the game, is to purchase the physical ‘Collector’s Edition’ (available now) which includes the C64 Edition on a CD, housed in a 5.25″ Floppy Disk ‘look-alike’ wallet. You can pick this up from Amazon for £39.99.

Inside you will find the C64 version of the game as shown below

 

Farming Simulator C64 Edition

The 5.25″ Floppy Styled Cardboard CD Wallet

 

At first glance it appears to be a 5.25″ Floppy Disk, but in reality it’s actually a carefully designed cardboard CD wallet. Inside you will get a nicely designed ‘C64 Edition’ CD with a digital version of the game on it along with the necessary emulators to run it on a PC should you wish to do so. There is also a copy of the manual in PDF format, presented in multiple languages.

 

Farming Simulator C64 Edition

Rear of the CD wallet

 

Farming Simulator C64 Edition

The CD sliding out of the “Floppy Disc” wallet

 

Now this might seem like an expensive way to get hold of ‘Farming Simulator C64 Edition’ but you do get a really nice big collectors edition box, 10 stickers, a beanie hat, a DVD containing a ton of tutorial videos, 5 concept art cards, exclusive DLC content, a miniature John Deere tractor, 2 A2 posters and of course the full PC game on DVD for the PC.

 

Farming Simulator C64 Edition

Farming Simulator 19 Collectors Edition Box

 

Farming Simulator C64 Edition

Contents of the Farming Simulator 19 Collectors Edition (Official Image)

 

If you are only interested in the C64 version this might not be the choice for you. However if you’ve got even a passing interest in playing the PC version then this option begins to make a lot of sense.

 

Farming Simulator C64 Edition

Here’s the control setup for the C64 version of the game

 

The C64 Cartridge Version

Finally, if you want Farming Simulator C64 Edition in a physical C64 themed box complete with the game on a proper C64 Cartridge then you can place a pre-order for the game from Protovision. This will also ship with an instruction book and the aforementioned CD version of the game for use with emulators or the C64 Mini.  The cost for this version is €50 plus postage. Granted it’s a lot more and you don’t get the PC version but for collectors this will be a tempting choice. At the time of writing this post they currently have no stock available.

*UPDATE 1 – 9th December – As of this morning they have 12 copies of the game left in stock!

*UPDATE 2 – 18th December – After snagging one of those 12 copies it has now arrived safely so here’s a few pictures of what you get inside. Unlike the PC Collectors Edition this one has been made especially for the C64 and in very limited quantities it would seem!

Inside the box is the same copy of the game on CD as found in the PC collectors edition. There is also a nice little instruction booklet and of course the main event… a proper physical cartridge containing the Farming Simulator C64 Edition game itself.  Needless to say I’m really happy I managed to get my hands on a copy of this!

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*UPDATE 3 – 21st December – Looks like the cartridge version is no longer available to purchase. The listing for it on Protovision’s website has vanished. Not sure exactly when it disappeared.

Happy farming, whichever version you go for!

 

 

 

Hunter’s Moon Remastered

Hunter's Moon Remastered

Nearly a year after backing it, Hunter’s Moon Remastered finally arrived through my letterbox today! This is not a game review, just a quick look at the physical game and what is included.

 

Hunter's Moon Remastered

Hunter’s Moon Remastered – Sleeve Front

 

The game comes on a brilliant white cartridge housed in a clamshell case. The cover features gorgeous artwork by Oliver Frey (the guy that used to do the covers for Zzap!64). There is also a high quality cardboard slipcase for it featuring the same artwork but set against an alternative black background.

 

Hunter's Moon Remastered

Hunter’s Moon Remastered Sleeve Back

 

Packaged with the game are the following extras:

  • A very high quality instruction booklet
  • Snazzy Thalamus bookmark
  • Postcard featuring that Oliver Frey artwork again
  • 2 Thalamus stickers.

 

Hunter's Moon Remastered

The full Hunter’s Moon Remastered package

 

Sadly my C64 is off limits at the moment whilst I redecorate the study so I can’t even load it up and have a go! Needless to say, once my 64 is back in action this will be one of the first things I get stuck into!

 

Hunter's Moon Remastered

Close-up of the Hunter’s Moon Remastered cartridge

 

I believe Protovision will be stocking the cartridge version of the game at some point in the future, whilst a digital version is available now from itch.io.