Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Games that remind me of my childhood Number 29 : Icicle Works (Commodore Plus 4)

Since it is still the festive period, I thought it would be a great opportunity for a Christmassy GTRMOMC.  Not only that, but after my previous post about Ghost Town, I'm still in Commodore Plus 4 mode.  So, Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you....  Icicle Works.

Icicle Works came as part of a game bundle supplied with the computer when our family purchased the Commodore Plus 4 back in 1985. 

Written by Doug Turner for Commodore, the game is essentially a Boulderdash clone, so any one who is familiar with that game, and the hundreds of other clones (ie Repton, Emerald Mines etc.) will feel right at home with this one - and you'll love it too.  You play Father Christmas, and other than the festive graphics, the game is exactly the same.

There are 16 rooms to explore, and the aim of the game is to complete each room by constructing each of the 16 toys by collecting the presents scattered about in each room.


As with Boulderdash, you have various obstacles to avoid - Massive snowballs dropping on your head instead of boulders, snow storms instead of amoebas, and polar bears and penguins that will kill you if you let them touch you.  Of course you can use these maniacal animals to help you in your quest for presents by dropping snowballs on top of them.  In fact, some of the later levels require you do to this in order to collect enough presents to construct the toy.

Quite an addictive little game 30 years ago (yes, 30 years - gosh I feel old),and it's still great fun to play now, even if it can be a little infuriating.

Here are some maps to help you play, including the door locations and where each door will take you.

AND, here are the various toys which need to be constructed in each room.

The front cover


The tape

The box
My Mum and Dad use to play this game a lot, and this is how they recorded their progress.  This piece of paper is 30 years old!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Games that remind me of my childhood Number 28 : Ghost Town (Commodore Plus 4)

There are a few games that we had on our Commodore Plus 4 computer back in the 1980's that will always stand out, and in that memorable list, it features all games created by legendary C16 and Plus 4 programmer Udo Gertz.

Ghost Town is one of them and is a wonderfully simple adventure game released in 1986 by Kingsoft and published by Anirog in the UK.

Looking back at the game now, it's quite a simple affair with only a small handful of rooms to explore, but I remember spending hours playing this game and trying to complete it - something I never managed to do until only recently.  It's crazy that I can now finish it in under 10 minutes, but that is one of the reasons why I love playing old computer games - for their simplicity, and the ability to complete them in such a short space of time - ideal for killing a few minutes to spare.

The story goes that some wizard called Belegro has cast a spell on a once prosperous town, turning it in to.....  Yep, you've guessed it - a Ghost Town.  Having arrived in town, you must explore the 19 rooms featuring as stated on the game box "High Resolution Graphics" (yeah, 156x192 was hi-res back then!), utilising various objects which can be found scattered about to complete the game.  Once you've solved the simple puzzles and kill Belegro, you can free the town from the spell once and for all, and collect the treasure awaiting you.

The title screen.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it.

There's a glove in the tree, but how can I reach it?

Oooh, a hidden key.  Does touch the bush, but I need the cutters.

Ahh, the ladder will be useful to reach the glove in the tree, but I need a key.  Find a key in the potion AFTER you've killed Belegro

Simple enough....

Which door should I enter?  Perhaps the "?" on the previous screen might help?

Another simple room, but some breathing apparatus is hidden somewhere here.  Just need a spade.

Erm, which door should I use?

Avoid the Sacred Column at all costs, but look for something useful so you don't get electrocuted later on.

That spade will be useful, but how can I breathe under water?  And I need to smash the jar to get the boots.

Boris the spider makes a guest appearance from Tom Thumb.  Don't touch him

Don't touch the laser beam.  Also, be careful not to get electrocuted

The little axe will be useful for smashing something.

A lightbulb can be found here.  It's needed to illuminate a room.

Ouch...  I think I need some boots to stand on the nails

These traps can only be seen with some additional light.

Easy enough to avoid

Don't be tricked...  Just head for the top item.  The secret code is 06138

Kill Belegro and avoid the rock

Get the treasure (but you'll need the key from an earlier screen)

This is how you're rewarded for all that hard work, and wasting 10 minutes of your life on this game!

Commodore User didn't rate this game much in its May 1986 (Issue 32) magazine, and only gave it a measly 2 stars out of 5 overall, but I don't care.... I love this game.  It's simple, has memorable graphics and sound, and will always remind me of fun days when I was younger trying to complete this.  Hey, I was only 8 years old at the time!

Commodore User's Review - Issue 32 (May 1986) - Click to enlarge
The box art - Click to enlarge

The tape - Click to enlarge

AND finally, for those of you still interested, here's me playing (and completing) Ghost Town on the Commodore Plus 4...