Sunday, March 25, 2018

Golden Disk 64 11/90

For the second time, Golden Disk 64 sports a medieval siege scene on its cover. Compared to issue 08/90, this one is a bit more grounded in reality. For one, it doesn't feature any trolls. Instead, there is a collection of actual siege weapons, like catapults and a mobile tower. Also, this castle's drawbridge is up which should help tremendously to keep enemies out.

The two knights in the foreground are in similar positions as the two knights seen in the 08/90 cover, and the one on the left is even wearing the same helmet, just without the historically inaccurate horns. The way he's waving his axe and shield at nothing makes me imagine that he's running down the hill and shouting something akin to "RRAAARGH!".

I'm not very impressed with the people defending the castle from within, though. Just look at the chaos of spears that poke out of the battlements at random angles. It's as if nobody in there knows how to hold their weapons. On the other hand, the occupants' siege tower is on fire, so the defenders must've done something right. Either that or the attackers severely misjudged the aim of one of their own catapults.

Once again, the cover suffers from perspective issues. However, many medieval illustrations display similar problems with architecture, so let's just say that the artist was trying to emulate that particular style.

The artwork obviously refers to the text/graphics adventure The Yawn, which is the only game on the disk that takes place in a medieval setting. There is no siege going on in The Yawn though, and the game is way goofier than this depiction of castle warfare might suggest.

Thursday, March 8, 2018


Published on Game On 04/90

When platform games emerged in the early eighties, there was this period in (European) home computing where single-screen titles like Manic Miner were regarded as genre archetypes. This resulted in a lot of games in the same vein with awkward controls where each jump was a leap of faith and being one pixel off the mark often had disastrous results. Megamax is very much informed by these quirks and therefore feels like a platformer from the very distant past.

The title screen certainly looks very "old school" for a game released in the early nineties, with a logo consisting of chunky, double-sized sprites. The reveal of the letters is accompanied by the kind of screechy sound effects that movies or TV shows still like to use whenever somebody is playing video games somewhere off-screen. The game transitions into a piece of music from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera The Magic Flute. At least that's what HVSC's SID Tune Information List says; I would not have recognized the melody otherwise. It sounds pleasant enough, though, if a bit plain. Manic Miner also made extensive use of classical music, but its arrangement of the Blue Danube is an assault on the ears.