Throughout the Eighties budget software house Atlantis released a stream of colourful and fun
games, most of them retailing for a pocket money-friendly price of just £1.99. Set up by Michael Cole and Roger Coghill in 1984, Atlantis survived until the start of the Nineties, its games often developed by bedroom coders before it established an excellent relationship with The Shaw Brothers, three siblings specialising in cheap and cheerful games for the ZX Spectrum in particular. With many of its games available to play for free on Antstream Arcade, here’s our recommendations of where to start. It’s the Atlantis Super Six!
Cerius – ZX Spectrum, 1988
We begin our look back to Eighties budget house Atlantis with this roll ‘n’ gun game from,
appropriately enough, The Shaw Brothers. It’s the year 5066, and early in the month of January,
which is still as depressing as ever. You’ve been dumped on the planet Cerius, light years away from Earth, with the express mission of destroying a legion of Phibiatron guards and their overlord, Rogorf. Across a series of screens, the Avenger V4 tank pootles, its deadly cannon taking out the enemies while utilising the teleports to shift levels. Inspired by the Spectrum classic Exolon, Cerius is an uncomplicated shooter that is as smooth and polished as you’d expect from The Shaw Brothers. Also available on Antstream Arcade is Cerius’ sequel, Interalia: Cerius II.
Superkid In Space – Commodore 64, 1991
It’s Superkid! In Space! Young Tom Essex, having saved countless OAPs from vicious gangsters in the first game, is back and this time he’s the sole remaining hope for the entire human race. Dastardly alien forces have surrounded the Earth and are threatening total destruction unless we let them take all of our planet’s minerals and natural resources. With his super strength and cunning, Superkid jets off into space, ready to blow those horrible xenos back where they came from thanks to a set of four high-power nuclear bombs. But first he has to land his ship safely! Superkid In Space is also available on the ZX Spectrum on Antstream Arcade.
Heartbroken – ZX Spectrum, 1989
We head back to the Spectrum with another classic Shaw Brothers arcade adventure from Atlantis. In a plot that will appear familiar to fans of the Capcom arcade legend Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins,
Heartbroken is the tale of an unnamed hero on a quest to rescue his love, the princess Mertha, who has been kidnapped by an evil warlock. An army of ghosts, trolls and ogres stand before you –
fortunately you’ve got Merlin’s magic firebolt at your disposal and who knows what other magic you can conjure if you manage to find the ancient wizard’s spell book? Heartbroken is a charming 8-bit platform game for the ZX Spectrum on Antstream Arcade.
Robot Rumpus – ZX Spectrum, 1985
Robot Rumpus is one of Atlantis’ earlier releases, but that’s not to take anything away from this fast and fun arcade game. The game stars Rory Robot and he is on an important mission: terrorist robots have taken over the robo-complex and he must escape as quickly as possible. However, first he has to collect the power gems that reside in each room, dodging the enemy droids before heading back down to the exit. Should he succeed then the Terror-bots will be deactivated and peace will return to the complex. With only 15 levels, Robot Rumpus may sound like an easy task – trust us, it isn’t!
Rollin – Commodore 64, 1984
Budget games often riffed on arcade classics in the early-mid Eighties and this is a sweet and
playable Commodore 64 interpretation of the Konami arcade game, Amidar. In Rollin, the player
controls a paint roller, frantically painting in the rectangles of each maze by covering the
surrounding boundaries. Various narked humans pursue roller across each level and one touch from them means a life lost. Fortunately, roller can temporarily distract the chasing pack by making them jump in the air, thus gaining some valuable free painting time. Have you always dreamed of becoming an inanimate object? Released exclusively on the Commodore 64 back in the day, now you can become a paint roller and play Rollin, for free, on Antstream Arcade.
Killing Machine – Commodore Amiga, 1992
Atlantis moved into the 16-bit world in 1992 with this colourful vertically-scrolling shoot-‘em-up.
Originally a Commodore 64 game from two years earlier (also available on Antstream Arcade), Killing Machine’s plot is identical in the C64 game. Having survived a tumultuous space battle, the player is seeking to cross the deadly planet that their emergency landing craft has dumped them on. While far from innovative, Killing Machine’s bright display, power-ups and incessant blasting action will surely be a hit with all shooter fans.
But wait, there’s more! Also from Atlantis on Antstream Arcade: the first Superkid game, available
on Spectrum and C64; football management simulation League Challenge; a-maze-ing Spectrum
collect-‘em-up Jock And The Time Rings; and the diamond-collecting, long-arm-of-the-law dodging antics of Commodore 64 game Cops ‘n’ Robbers.
Thanks for reading and watch out for another Antstream Arcade Super Six soon!