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30th May 2021: Bustin' Makes Me Feel Good

I again revisited my childhood recently when I went up against Gozer (but not really) in the old ZX Spectrum Ghostbusters game. I've learned over the last few years that I can't really trust my childhood memories, but as far as I remember it, I managed to get to the final Stay Puft section several times on our old 48K machine, but could never make it into the building to win the game. I'm not sure how, as it wasn't as hard or awkward as I remember it.

There wasn't really much to it, and once I'd messed around a little bit to figure out what I was doing, I completed the game on my first effort.

I don't think the people who made this game really watched the film though, as there's no mention of Gozer, and Zuul is a building on the map where the Keymaster and Gatekeeper are trying to get to. Whereas in the film, Zuul is the Gatekeeper. But oh well.

There is. It's this logo.

There is. It's this logo.

Missing the ghost by a mile

Missing the ghost by a mile

Hoovering up the street spooks

Hoovering up the street spooks

Ghost trolls me by flying under the trap

Ghost trolls me by flying under the trap

Mass hysteria breaking out in the city

Mass hysteria breaking out in the city

Sneaking past a very small and very bouncy Stay Puft

Sneaking past a very small and very bouncy Stay Puft


There was another Ghostbusters game I played a lot of in the distant past that I never managed to finish, and that was the Amiga version of Ghostbusters II. Back then, it took me weeks of intermittent play to figure out how to get passed the first level. After that, beating the second level came a lot faster, but I could never figure out how to complete the third and final level.

Well, all I can say is: save states for the win. I didn't need them on the first level, managing to finish it on my third and final life. But I used their capabilities on the second level, and quite a lot on the third as I figured out finally what to do.

And so at long last, I managed to defeat the big dumb Carpathian, even though I lost Egon along the way. And that was just a cheap shot from Vigo, considering the real life status of the actors.

But again the trend continues with these developers not watching the movies they are adapting into games. In the manual for this one, it says the Ghostbusters brought the marshmallow man to life to help them defeat Gozer. But in the film, the marshmallow man was Gozer in his/its destructor form. Sheesh.

Get outta here Edward Scissorhands

Get outta here Edward Scissorhands

Scoopin' da goop

Scoopin' da goop

You remember that bit in the film, where the Statue Of Liberty gets attacked by a swarm of Slimers, don't you?

You remember that bit in the film, where the Statue Of Liberty gets attacked by a swarm of Slimers, don't you?

Janosz gets slimed

Janosz gets slimed

Winston makes a break for it with the baby. Yes, that's Winston, apparently.

Winston makes a break for it with the baby. Yes, that's Winston, apparently.

Giving Vigo the ol' zip zap

Giving Vigo the ol' zip zap

26th November 2020: Bugs!

I didn't play this game much back in the 80s, as it was mostly other family members that took on its challenges. But whoever played, I don't think any of us got very far. We were more interested in jumping on the enemies and receiving the "PARALYSED AN ANT !" message than we were in actually trying to rescue anybody.
Yes, this is the very old game Ant Attack.

Those poor people had been stuck in this very blocky city for more than 30 years, so after a bit of tinkering to map the keyboard controls to my controller with antimicro, I got stuck into doing my duty at long last.

Though using the controller and using save states made this a lot easier than it used to be, it was still infuriating. The game itself is very sluggish, so sometimes when I pressed a button nothing happened. And sometimes when I pressed the button to turn, my character turned twice, sending him running back into the jaws of the ants that were in pursuit. Poop. As you can imagine, it also made the more platform-y elements quite awkward.
The camera was also a pain, as it would regularly move so the character was no longer on screen. It was easy enough to reset, but it was still weird. Though I guess it is quite an achievement that such an old game even has a camera like this, that can be rotated the way it can.

I'm glad I've completed another unfinished game that I played years ago, but I'm even more glad I'll never have to play it again. Though in a way it was cool to go through quite an important game in the industry's history.

Ok, how do we get out of this?

Ok, how do we get out of this?

Oi! Now is not the time for a nap.

Oi! Now is not the time for a nap.

Dropping grenades on ant heads

Dropping grenades on ant heads

This is a very psychedelic victory screen

This is a very psychedelic victory screen


This game, called Nightshade, is one of the very few Speccy games that I have managed to retain some clear(ish) recollections of. You play as a dude who has to go running around a city to rid it of four demonic entities that stalk its streets and buildings. In order to kill them, you first have to find the enemy-specific weapons to take them out, which are also laying around the city in random locations. And in order to get to the weapons, you have to dodge a swathe of annoying creepies and critters who constantly spawn directly in your path.

Me, my bro and my next door neighbour used to try our hand at this game fairly regularly in the late 80s, but always found it very difficult, and only occasionally managed to kill one of the main enemies. After playing through it recently, I can fully understand why we found it hard. I had to heavily employ the save state feature of the emulator to get through this one, as it was almost impossible to avoid the monsters that appear directly in front of you and hit you before you have a chance to react. Even though you can get hit 15 times before it's game over, there's no way I would have managed to get through it with the sluggish controls of a spectrum game. To be fair, the controls were more responsive in this than the other Speccy games I've played recently, but that's not saying much.

Not feeling too well

Not feeling too well

Run away!

Run away!

It's the Grim Ruper!

It's the Grim Ruper!

Sending the ghost back to hell

Sending the ghost back to hell

10th March 2019: Ain't That Grand

I only have three PS1 games that I never finished, and about 6 months ago I had a look at trying to do just that with one of them, which was the very first Grand Theft Auto. When I first picked it up in the late 90s, I had a few weeks when I played it quite a lot, but I never tried to finish it. I just spent time driving round, being an idiot and getting into trouble. I think I only remember getting on to the second map once, and didn't like it as I was so used to the first one, so never bothered getting any further.

Fast forward to last year, and I booted it up on my PS3 to give it a long due proper attempt, but I just couldn't play it. The frame rate was so low, and its weird constant zooming in and out style just made me feel so sick.
A few weeks back I had the plan of trying the PC version, so again got a cheap copy from ebay, and installed it using DOSBox. While it's a little better, it still has all the same issues sadly. I think most of the slow down and jankinees is because of the zooming in and out, and while I found a cheat that let me zoom in and out manually, it only seemed to work while I was stationary, and when I started to move, the game resumed the auto zooming.
Also, for some weird reason, the game (or DOSBox) pays no attention when I try to limit the frame rate, which I tried to do just to try and smooth it out a bit.

Oh well. Whatever. It's not like I haven't got dozens of other games to try and finish instead.

Drivin' around town

Drivin' around town

Getting decked by some random dude on the street

Getting decked by some random dude on the street

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