Retro Gaming Advent: Day 2 Kings Valley

I must have spent years of my childhood playing this game, the basic premise is not that dissimilar from Load Runner, except with more of a puzzle twist, you are an explorer trapped in a series of pyramids and you have to collect all the “Soul Gems” to open the door to the next level. Collect them in the right order while avoiding traps and monsters and using a variety of tools.

I’ve managed to find a few remakes of this game: Kings ValleyKings Valley TelosKV2Kings Valley Teaser, and I’ve previously tested them to see that they work, I just can’t remember which is which and I’m too busy at the moment to mess around with them to find out.

If I recall all of them but Kings Valley Teaser work fine on Windows, the teaser is a project in progress. The one marked Telos supposedly replaces the main character with The Doctor from Doctor Who…

I plan on putting together a blog post about the Kings Valley series at some point but given I’ve committed to posting a free retro remake a day this is all I’ve got time to post at the moment.


It’s Not Pac Man Honest…

One of my colleagues was stumbled onto a video of Manic Miner today and looking at it it turned out that the game I had in my head as being associated with the name Manic Miner wasn’t actually Manic Miner at all. Turns out I’ve been confusing Manic Miner with Pick Axe Pete! (The exclamation mark was part of the name of the game) on the Magnavox Odyssey2. Anyway I loaded up a video of Pick Axe Pete! and in the sidebar I saw another old friend, KC Munchkin.

I was pretty young when I played on the Odessey and I didn’t own one myself I just played it at a friends house, but I’d just always assumed it was Pac Man, turns out it’s not Pac Man but a completely different game. Okay so it’s so similar that they withdrew it because Atari sued them, but it’s still kinda different…

From Wikipedia the differences between KC Munchkin and Pac Man are:

  • There are only 12 pills (called munchies) in each maze, which begin in four groups of three but move through the maze independently and at speeds that increase as each one is eaten. The final munchie moves at the same speed as the Munchkin and must be intercepted rather than followed.
  • The super-pills are called blinking munchies because they flash and change colour.
  • Some of the mazes become invisible as soon as the player starts moving.
  • It has a programmable mode, where the player can create mazes.
  • It has a random mode, where a new map is generated each time the game is played.
  • The box where eaten ghosts regenerate rotates, so the ghosts may exit from any side. Also, the player character is free to enter the box and, if powered up, can consume new monsters at the moment they regenerate. Although the box is always at the center of any maze, maze design allows walls to be placed against the box so it doubles as a revolving door and danger zone to pass through.
  • The ghost monsters are called munchers, and your character is called Munchkin.

Oh and Munchkin had antennae… I quite like the idea of moving power-pellets/munchies in a Pac Man like game, especially with the increase of speed as you eat the others. It’a a shame that this game had to be withdrawn.

Oh and just in case you were wondering this is what Pick Axe Pete! looked like:

JRPG Plot Flow Chart

Click For Full Size

Joe Juba Has put together a flow chart detailing the plot of pretty much every 90’s JRPG I have ever played. I plan on using this as a template to create an Uber RPG that contains every single one of these plot points. I don’t really, but it’s a good read.

I recognise a whole bunch of Final Fantasy, some Chrono trigger and some Secret of Mana right from the get go. Need to have a closer look to see what else is hidden in there.

Via BoingBoing

Reissued: David Ahl’s BASIC Computer Games

I have a vague recollection of this book, I think at the time I was too young to actually appreciate it, I think I got a hold of it when I was 5 or 6…

The book contained the BASIC code for 101 computer games that you had to type out yourself in order to play, I think I only ever managed to get one or two of them running. More than the computer programs I remember the illustrations which were just mental. Considering that none of the programs in the books actually had graphics the illustrations helped you visualize what was actually happening.

They sparked your imaginations and turned a bunch of text prompts into a game that was occurring in your head and on the computer. I guess the difference between this kind of game and a modern computer game is like the difference between reading a book and watching a movie. When you read a book your imagination fills in the blanks, with wonderful graphics, when you watch a movie you are stuck with someone else’s vision and someone else’s rubbish acting.

You can get the book in two versions, one with the original art and one without. To be honest I don’t see why you would get the one without the art because the art brought the games to life.

via Retro Thing

Gaming Nostalgia: Penguin Adventure (MSX)

Way back in the dawn of time before MetalGear was a twinkle in Hideo Kojima’s eye, Kojiama created a game which is the source of my love of penguins, Penguin Adventure. In Penguin Advenure you take on the role of Pentarou a penguin tasked with saving the penguin princess Penko Hime. The princess is very ill and only a magic golden apple can save her.

Your quest was to go from the penguin temple to the magical tree retrieve an apple and get back to the princess in time to save her life. Unlike most modern games where a time limt is set to complete a quest then summarilly ignored, in penguin adventure if you took too long to complete the game, the princess would be dead when you got back to the temple. (It’s been quite some time since I played this game but at least one website says that the only way to get the happy ending is to pause the game once and only once).

During your adventures you traveled through variations of 10 different level types:

Forest Cave
River Ice Path
Snowy Woods Frozen Ocean
Underwater Desert
Bonus Warp

While running throught he level you had to avoid various obstacles and collect fish, among the obstacles were cracks in the floor. Now you could almost play through the whole game without realizing this but some of the cracks were actually shops, which rather than avoid you had to fall into. In the shop there was usually one of three shopkeepers.

The three shop keeps offered a variety of items at differing prices, I seem to remember the father christmas one being the cheapest, he might even have given you an item for free. The mean one actually swore at you telling you to buy something Dammit. Some of the items were invaluable for your quest, some were merely useful, some were essential to complete the stage you were playing (Namely the map).

I’m not going to go into what each of the items did but if you are curious you can look here.

Every 3 or so levels you would meet up with a fire breathing dragon, appropritately coloured for the level, either Blue or red. The dragon could be beaten in one of two ways, you could either shoot him to bits using the gun, which of course you’d bought from one of the shops, or if you didn’t have the gun you would have to drive a set of pegs which were in front of the dragon into the ground by jumping on them. Once the dragon was defeated the ground would collapse under him and he’s fall into the water and if the first digit of the time remaining was even a bunch of gold penguins would jump out to join in your victory dance (The number was dependant on the digit, 2, 4, 6 or 8 penguins) I remember despite this not having any effect on the game I would always try to time it to get 8 gold penguins.

I loved Penguin Adventure when I was a kid and I still think fondly of it, looking back at it now, the game was incredibly well designed, and considering the limitations of the MSX hardware (It was about the same level as a NES) it was really innovative.

Penguin adventure was published by Konami and was released in 1986. It is the sequel to Antarctic Adventure.

Here is a video of Antarctic Adventure for comparison:

For more info look at the following links:

Unicorn Dreams

Moby Games


Giant Bomb