Welcome retro fans to the Antstream Arcade mid-month update! This week we have another selection of superb classic games available for subscribers, as we present our highlights from the new releases that you can play right now. Let the retrogaming begin!
Minskies Furballs - Commode Amiga, 1996
If cute puzzle games in the vein of masterpieces such as Columns and Puyo Puyo are your thing, then this lovable game from 1996 should have you coughing up your very own furballs in excitement. Descending the screen are bands of endearing felines, and the alignment of each coloured cat can be manipulated in order to collect four or more together of one colour. Do this and they disappear (creating space) while simultaneously sending a troublesome grey block into your opponent’s play area. While you could perhaps uncharitably accuse Minskies Furballs of being a touch on the derivative side, it’s such uncomplicated and winsome fun – especially in two-player mode – that you’ll soon be lining up those kitty cats into the small hours on the Antstream Arcade!
Ant-Tactic: The only way to get rid of an obstruction is to explode a quartet of cats next to it, eliminating kitties and block all at once.
Ant-Fact: Developer Binary Emotions released just one other game on the Amiga, The Speris Legacy.
Ant-ernative: Try Dizzy Panic, another shape-matching game, also available on the Amiga via Antstream Arcade.
Arabian Nights - Commodore Amiga, 1993
Sticking with the 16-bit era, Arabian Nights is an Amiga exclusive from 1993 that demonstrates the technical capabilities of the Commodore computer in a beautiful and neat cartoon platform adventure. Playing the Arnold Rimmer-esque role of Chief Gardener’s Assistant Helper Second Class, Sinbad Jr., is innocently trimming bushes and de-weeding in the royal garden when Princess Leila is abducted from nearby by a demon. Framed for the kidnap, Sinbad Jr., must do all he can to rescue Leila – but first he has to bust out of prison!
Ant-Tactic: While Sinbad Jr. can wield a sword, it doesn’t have much range. Use it carefully against the guards, darting in and out of melee in order to avoid taking damage.
Ant-Fact: In addition to the regular platform segments, Sinbad Jr. takes to a magic carpet in one level and a speeding mine cart in another.
Ant-ernative: Switchblade may lack Arabian Nights’ jaunty theme, but is still a commendable platform game for the Commodore Amiga, also available on Antstream Arcade.
Hunchback - Commodore 64, 1983
A change of era as we leap back to the time of the 8-bit computers, specifically the Commodore 64 and this early effort from Ocean Software. Playing the titular stooping hero, Quasimodo, the task is inevitably to rescue Esmerelda, who sits imprisoned on the other side of the castle. Can you guide Hunchy across the battlements using the conveniently-placed ropes and dodging the many guards firing arrows at our hapless hero? If so, the unjustly imprisoned fair maiden awaits you.
Ant-Tactic: Learn how to time the rope jumps, as it’s a skill you will need to rely on.
Ant-Fact: Hunchback is a very early arcade conversion of an obscure Century Electronics coin-op game.
Ant-ernative: Check out Hewson’s Stormlord for more fantastical retro platform adventuring.
Mugsy & Mugsy's Revenge - ZX Spectrum, 1984 & 1985
Now listen ‘ere pal, this is a golden opportunity to make some scratch now that the law have decided that drinking is no longer a permissible activity…well, not officially, anyway, if you gets my drift. So pull some goons together, preferably packing heat, and let’s get into the liquor business. Watch out though, ‘cos we ain’t the only ones peddling the bent booze; make too many wrong moves and it’s the big house fer you, or even worse, a lovely warm Chicago overcoat.
Ant-Tactic: Managing Mugsy’s crew is a key element of the game: too many goons and he loses control, too few and he’ll run the risk of getting pinched or chilled off.
Ant-Fact: Melbourne House’s release of Mugsy’s Revenge came with the original Mugsy on its b-side, giving you even better value for your filthy lucre. Noice!
Ant-ernative: Shift to the other side of the law in Contact Sam Cruise, another noir-ish Spectrum game that uses a similar graphical style to the legendary Skool Daze.
Tinhead - Sega Mega Drive, 1993
This US-only Mega Drive game might be an obscure one to many of us on this side of the pond, but that takes nothing away from a charming and entertaining cartoon platformer. Playing the eponymous adorable robot (modestly dubbed Defender of the Edge of the Galaxy), it’s your job to free all the stars that have been inexplicably vacuumed up by the malicious Grim Squidge. Across a series of zany and demanding levels, Tinhead must run, jump and shoot the minions of Grim Squidge in order to save the galaxy from plummeting into a cosmic void. Eek.
Ant-Tactic: Practice using Tinhead’s novel three-way shooting – it will prove invaluable during the tricky later levels.
Ant-Fact: Ports of Tinhead to the Commodore Amiga and Atari Jaguar were planned, but never materialised.
Ant-ernative: If you like a bit of colourful 16-bit platform action then Gremlin’s fantastic Zool and Zool 2 are also available on Antstream Arcade.
Also new to Antstream Arcade this week, we have another previously US-only Mega Drive game in the shape of World Trophy Soccer, an American interpretation of European Club Soccer. Spectrum superstar mascot Horace is back in action, and tackling arachnophobia in Horace And The Spiders, while the strange blobby hero is also starring in his very first game, Hungry Horace. For retro adventure fans there’s the Commodore 64 graphic text adventure A Very Big Cave Adventure, while 8-bit shoot-‘em-up freaks are well served with the Spectrum and Commodore 64 game Sidewize, with the former also boasting Thalamus’ brilliant Sanxion. Also available is the porcine C64 game Oink!, based on the comic of the same name, and the cerebral Vera Cruz, a fascinating test of the detective grey cells. Concluding this round-up, appropriately, is Wolf Team’s Final Zone, a mech-tastic isometric blaster set 100 years in the future.
So what are you waiting for? Download Antstream Arcade now and find something new and awesome to play!