• Graeme Mason

New Games Round-up: April 2021

Welcome to the latest Antstream Arcade new games round-up! Today we highlight another marvellous alliance of six fresh and shiny retro games, all ready to stream for Antstream Arcade subscribers. From fast-paced racers to dungeon crawling exploits, here’s the lowdown on another set of gaming classics.


Gauntlet 2

Released in 1986 by Atari, Gauntlet 2 is the sequel to one of the most famous multiplayer arcade games of all time. Expanding on the template laid down by the original, Gauntlet 2 changes a few things while retaining the epic and relentless dungeon crawling of its predecessor. Take control of the warrior, elf, wizard or valkyrie as they explore the dungeons, recover lost treasure, quaff potions and beat up the countless enemies that await them. With several new elements such as stun tiles, invisible walls and fake exits, there’s plenty excitement more awaiting brave adventurers in Gauntlet 2!


Ant-Fact: Many of the ideas and levels in Gauntlet 2 are taken from the submissions of a competition held by Atari after the amazing success of Gauntlet.

Ant-Tactic: Of the new enemies, watch out for the Thief (steals powers), acid puddles (lots of damage) and dragon (deadly fireballs and flame breath).

Ant-ernative: Datasoft’s Force 7 is a fantastic cross between Gauntlet and Aliens, as is Team 17’s Alien Breed. Plus of course we have original Gauntlet!


Super Sprint

We remain in the arcades of the Eighties for another top-down multi-player game, albeit in a completely different genre. Taking place on just one screen at a time, up to three players can compete against computer drivers on a series of increasingly tortuous tracks. The goal is simply to finish the three laps before the other drivers, thus ensuring progress to the next race. Obstacles such as oil slicks regularly appear, threatening to destroy your chances of winning, while spanners can also be collected; these helpfully upgrade your car in either traction, acceleration or top speed. Super Sprint is a true driving classic of the arcades and, like Gauntlet 2, even more fun with friends!


Ant-Fact: Buoyed by the success of Super Sprint, Atari released Championship later the same year. Other than a new set of tracks, the gameplay is almost identical.

Ant-Tactic: Braking is for wimps! Eschewing any semblance of safety, slowing down can only be achieved in Super Sprint by stopping accelerating. Mastering this at the right moments will result in less accidents and more wins.

Ant-ernative: Codemasters’ Grand Prix Simulator is one of many home videogames that pays homage to Super Sprint, and we also have the official semi-sequel Championship available on Antstream Arcade.


Dragon Spirit

This vertically-scrolling shoot-‘em-up abandons the standard spaceship avatar, instead putting the player in charge of a fireball-spitting dragon. Renowned for its steep level of difficulty, the dragon can shoot at enemies in the air and bomb those on the ground. Featuring a total of nine hectic and dangerous levels, this is a super tough realm of mythical beasties and landscapes to tackle if you’re to rescue Princess Alicia.


Ant-Fact: The game’s eighth stage is renowned as one of the harshest in gaming history. With multiple enemies causing all sorts of stress for the player, Dragon Spirit’s designers decided it would be a good idea to render the game almost totally dark. Great. Thanks.

Ant-Tactic: Throughout Dragon Spirit lay red and blue eggs, and these can be split open with bomb fire, setting free a valuable power-up. It’s imperative these are sought out and collected if you wish to progress.

Ant-ernative: For more dragon-related shooting fun, check out Saint Dragon on Antstream Arcade.


Joust

This strange but excellent videogame is another titan of Eighties arcades and is none the poorer for its innate oddness. Developed by Williams Electronics and released in 1982, the player sits upon a flying ostrich, competing against computerised knights astride similar creatures. As the title suggests, there’s no shooting in Joust; each combatant must dislodge their opponents from their ride using their lance. With the fire button making the ostrich fly faster and many enemies to take down, this is definitely a good game for anyone seeking something a little different. For more on Joust, check out our interview with creator John Newcomer: https://www.antstream.com/post/the-making-of-joust-with-john-newcomer


Ant-Fact: Before he began designing videogames, Joust’s creator, John Newcomer, was a toy and game inventor.

Ant-Tactic: The player’s bird can run at high speed, making it a useful tactic in a jam. It can fly fast too, but is hard to control when whizzing across the screen. Zoom with care!

Ant-ernative: There’s nothing like Joust! But if you’re after another madcap game, how about the pig-obsessed Butasan from Jaleco?


Marble Madness

We spin on a couple of years now to 1984 and this ingenious rolling marble game from the mind of Mark Cerny. Many years ago, bored kids created real-life marble runs, guiding those small glass spheres down homemade alleys and gulleys. Inspired by this, Marble Madness presents a series of increasingly-labyrinthine downward mazes through which the player must guide their marble within a certain time. Hazards await, however, including our favourite, a slim tube that swallows marbles whole!


Ant-Fact: The original Marble Madness arcade machine ingeniously used a trackball for control rather than the standard joystick.

Ant-Tactic: The Black Steelie is a dangerous enemy marble that nets a valuable 1000 points should you destroy it. Beware, however, as this is a tactic laden with risk.

Ant-ernative: The Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum game Spindizzy is a brilliant re-imagining of Marble Madness – but beware, it’s a toughie!


Fire And Forget

We slip wearily out of the arcades and back home with our final game of this round-up. Inspired by the genre-hopping convention of arcade games such as Roadblasters, Fire and Forget does exactly what it says on the tin. Behind the wheel of the lethal Thunder Master car, use the cannon to blast anything that gets in your way – actually, just blast everything! Also on Antstream Arcade we have Titus’ follow-up, Fire & Forget II, for the Commodore 64.


Ant-Fact: Our friends at Games That Weren’t recently uncovered the story of a possible Fire & Forget arcade machine from Titus. Check out the story here: https://www.gamesthatwerent.com/2020/12/fire-and-forget-2/

Ant-Tactic: Don’t forget to collect the cones; they replenish your car’s fuel supply.

Ant-ernative: For more behind-the-car racing, check out Top Gear 2, the Sega Mega Drive racer also available on Antstream Arcade.




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