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Disappointing C64 Arcade Ports


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#1 VectorGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 8:23 AM

I'm building my collection of C64 cartridge-based arcade ports and I'm disappointed with the quality of some of these ports and scratching my head as to "what the heck happened."

While ports like Donkey Kong, Frogger, Moon Patrol, BattleZone and Omega Race are excellent, on the flip side Congo Bongo, Galaxian, Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man are downright terrible.

Pac-Man looks like they took the code from the 5200 version and dumped it on a C64 cart. While I like the 5200 port of Pac-Man, I'm disappointed that there weren't improvements made given more machine to work with.

Ms. Pac-Man stinks. She moves like stuck in molasses and it looks like they chopped 36 square inches off of the maze.

Galaxian - what the heck happened here? The game isn't even playable in my book. The audio effects (if you want to call them that) are downright dreadful. The ColecoVision port is excellent while the 2600 version comes in second with its gameplay making up for the less than perfect graphics.

Congo Bongo is furchtbar. The graphics are painful on the eyes and the second screen is impossible.

#2 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 8:32 AM

That's the problem with a good percentage of arcade conversions, regardless of target.

Someone gets the licence and is so eager to get to market and make some money back that they wheel the first working turd out the door, knowing that hype will overshadow poor reaction for sufficient time to make a tidy profit.

You could also extend that to movie -> game ports. I remember my mate who was a big Michael J Fox fan buying Back to the Future for the '64, only to realise it was utter crud after a few minutes gameplay.

Edited by Rybags, Mon Aug 3, 2009 8:33 AM.


#3 chrisbid OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 8:45 AM

was there ever a good home port of congo bongo? better yet, was there ever a good 2D isometric game that wasn't a pain to play? that perspective in video games, while looking extremely cool, just seems to always be too difficult to bother with.

#4 darthkur OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 9:15 AM

was there ever a good home port of congo bongo? better yet, was there ever a good 2D isometric game that wasn't a pain to play? that perspective in video games, while looking extremely cool, just seems to always be too difficult to bother with.


Yes, the Apple ][ port is quite good and even features all four boards.

#5 crunchysuperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 11:39 AM

better yet, was there ever a good 2D isometric game that wasn't a pain to play? that perspective in video games, while looking extremely cool, just seems to always be too difficult to bother with.


Bently Bear would have a word with you.

;)

#6 fiddlepaddle OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 10:05 PM

better yet, was there ever a good 2D isometric game that wasn't a pain to play? that perspective in video games, while looking extremely cool, just seems to always be too difficult to bother with.

I always liked crystal castles and marble madness. And wouldn't Q*bert fit in that category?

#7 fiddlepaddle OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 10:08 PM

...Back to the Future for the '64...

Was that a non-US game? or a (ahem) homebrew? I never heard of it for the N64.

Edit: oops! I see: C64, not N64...

Edited by fiddlepaddle, Mon Aug 3, 2009 10:10 PM.


#8 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 10:16 PM

"C64"... I think it was done by a UK based company, so mightn't have been globally released.

#9 atarian63 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 10:31 PM

I'm building my collection of C64 cartridge-based arcade ports and I'm disappointed with the quality of some of these ports and scratching my head as to "what the heck happened."

While ports like Donkey Kong, Frogger, Moon Patrol, BattleZone and Omega Race are excellent, on the flip side Congo Bongo, Galaxian, Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man are downright terrible.

Pac-Man looks like they took the code from the 5200 version and dumped it on a C64 cart. While I like the 5200 port of Pac-Man, I'm disappointed that there weren't improvements made given more machine to work with.

Ms. Pac-Man stinks. She moves like stuck in molasses and it looks like they chopped 36 square inches off of the maze.

Galaxian - what the heck happened here? The game isn't even playable in my book. The audio effects (if you want to call them that) are downright dreadful. The ColecoVision port is excellent while the 2600 version comes in second with its gameplay making up for the less than perfect graphics.

Congo Bongo is furchtbar. The graphics are painful on the eyes and the second screen is impossible.

many of these were made in the early days of c64. nobody knew what the thing was much less how to program well for it. It also was not much of a player in the market yet so probably not much effort was put forth, It's amazing it caught on with those early titles. Yucko.

#10 2600Lives OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 3, 2009 10:55 PM

The thing with the Commodore is that a game could be INCREDIBLE, or be so godawful it isn't even funny. Look at Metal Gear. UGH. I know for a FACT that the 64 is capable of far, far better than that. You could only have sound effects OR music? What the FUCK? Bleh.

#11 chrisbid OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 4, 2009 4:49 AM

better yet, was there ever a good 2D isometric game that wasn't a pain to play? that perspective in video games, while looking extremely cool, just seems to always be too difficult to bother with.

I always liked crystal castles and marble madness. And wouldn't Q*bert fit in that category?



i will admit i enjoy those games, but the perspective still manages to make those games more difficult to master. i would add those are the best isomectric games due to the fact that their controls are stripped down to pretty much movement only, there are no additional firing/jumping buttons to deal with unlike congo bongo, zaxxon or say Sonic 3D blast

Edited by chrisbid, Tue Aug 4, 2009 4:50 AM.


#12 Dauber ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 4, 2009 1:45 PM

Jr. Pac-Man was a disappointment -- the maze doesn't scroll! They just took the big maze and zoomed out so it wouldn't have to scroll.

#13 Kurt_Woloch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 5, 2009 10:58 AM

Well... there has been a second C64 port of "Congo Bongo" which is much better, but I think it's not cartridge-based, but disk-based. Every time you finish a level, it loads the next one from the disk into memory. But it at least has got the correct isometric perspective.

I also wonder what happened with "Galaxian". Apparently, they tried to do everything with software sprites instead of relying on the C-64's capabilities, which in fact are somewhat comparable to those of the arcade machine. As far as I know, the arcade machine creates the fleet by displaying background tiles and scrolling that part of the screen... which is exactly what you can do on the C-64 too. Then they use the sprites for displaying the enemies in attack and the player. I think the arcade machines supports 6 or 8 of those sprites at a time... the C-64 has got 8 sprites too. The only advantage the arcade machine has is another set of sprites called "bullets" which displays the... well... bullets, and the starfield. Those two elements could pose difficulties on the C-64, but I don't think that's a reason for doing the game the way Atarisoft did it.

I must say I was also disappointed of the port of "Marble Madness". In fact, the only version EA did right when they first released it was the Amiga version, which was very close to the arcade. All other home computer versions were done with a somewhat shrinked playfield, and the physics used are wrong, so that the marble doesn't exactly behave as you'd expect it to. Even the Atari ST and the PC got that watered-down version.

Two more "butchered" ports were those of Burger Time and Missile Command, both done by Interceptor Software. Missile Command is as slow as can be (I think your crosshair moves by about 8 pixels per second), and Burger Time doesn't hold true to the arcade version at all, changing or leaving out many of the features. For instance, in that version of "Burger Time", you have to restart a screen everytime you lose a life, and everytime a new screen starts, your pepper supply is reset to a fixed number. Also, letting the enemies fall down on a bun doesn't work. And of course the screen layouts are also different.

I'm also a bit disappointed by the port of "Outrun", although I admit this is a difficult game to do on the C-64. But was it really necessary to have the road have the same color as the grass outside of it? And the perspective also differs considerably from that in the arcade. "Road Blasters" seems to be by the same programming team and also does this.

#14 Video OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 5, 2009 2:42 PM

You gotta remember, that back then, arcade ports for home consoles and computers were relatively new Ideas, especially considering that many arcades were very custom built machines (console in an arcade body is a newer Idea, though I'm sure they existed back then too) Also, many people would purchase the "right" to publish a game in disc or cart form, and would make it for EVERYTHING they could, meaning a lot of really sorry ports of the games for every system.

It wasn't untill later that makers found if they didn't stretch their resourses so thin, they could produce better, or more accurate games, and people would buy more.

Personally, I loved the C64, but then again, I had the 2600 to compare it to, and we didn't have a real arcade around here at any point, we mostly had arcade machine clusters in some places, mostly with Pac-man and Pole position type games. (I honestly think one place would sell the machines, and the place next door bought them or something)

Anyhow, just remember that all the early ports ar pretty shoddy, if you wantbetter ports, for the most part, you want later ports. More experiance in the developer, mor knowledge of the machines, and the understanding that people want quality as well as the name.

#15 atarian63 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 9, 2009 8:21 PM

I'm building my collection of C64 cartridge-based arcade ports and I'm disappointed with the quality of some of these ports and scratching my head as to "what the heck happened."

While ports like Donkey Kong, Frogger, Moon Patrol, BattleZone and Omega Race are excellent, on the flip side Congo Bongo, Galaxian, Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man are downright terrible.

Pac-Man looks like they took the code from the 5200 version and dumped it on a C64 cart. While I like the 5200 port of Pac-Man, I'm disappointed that there weren't improvements made given more machine to work with.

Ms. Pac-Man stinks. She moves like stuck in molasses and it looks like they chopped 36 square inches off of the maze.

Galaxian - what the heck happened here? The game isn't even playable in my book. The audio effects (if you want to call them that) are downright dreadful. The ColecoVision port is excellent while the 2600 version comes in second with its gameplay making up for the less than perfect graphics.

Congo Bongo is furchtbar. The graphics are painful on the eyes and the second screen is impossible.

Weakness of the c64 and it was very early in the progamming lifetime of the machine. As in they didn't know or care how to code well for it. The machine was not a success yet so not much effort. Kind of like A8 after 85. They knew but did not care anymore.

#16 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 10, 2009 6:59 AM

Holy crap, there was a port of Metal Gear for the C64? Is there any game that this machine didn't get? Amazing...

I've been toying around with most of the Atarisoft releases and I'm pretty disappointed. The graphics look nice (nice bright colors), but the gameplay is generally worse than the 8-bit versions.

Oh and on the subject of Congo Bongo. All the cartridge versions (save for the TI-99 and Colecovision versions) were done by Sega and only contain two screens. Yes this version sucks on just about every system. The disk versions contain 3-4 screens and are generally very good. As previously mentioned the Apple II port is excellent. I grew up with the 8-bit version and didn't even know that there were two other screens until I got a copy of the Apple version.

Tempest

#17 mbd30 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 8, 2009 5:28 PM

better yet, was there ever a good 2D isometric game that wasn't a pain to play? that perspective in video games, while looking extremely cool, just seems to always be too difficult to bother with.


Marble Madness

#18 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 9, 2009 3:13 PM

Ms. Pac-Man stinks. She moves like stuck in molasses and it looks like they chopped 36 square inches off of the maze.


Umm...what? I don't know if you're playing a weird version or something, but mine (Thunder Mountain) moves speedily and fluidly. And if the screen was shrunken, I didn't notice. My only complaint about it is the difficulty; it's hard as hell.


better yet, was there ever a good 2D isometric game that wasn't a pain to play?


Blue Max.

#19 VectorGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 9, 2009 3:21 PM

Ms. Pac-Man stinks. She moves like stuck in molasses and it looks like they chopped 36 square inches off of the maze.


Umm...what? I don't know if you're playing a weird version or something, but mine (Thunder Mountain) moves speedily and fluidly. And if the screen was shrunken, I didn't notice. My only complaint about it is the difficulty; it's hard as hell.


Is Thunder Mountain a different publisher? I believe mine is AtariSoft.

#20 darthkur OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 9, 2009 5:13 PM

I happen to like the arcade ports for the C64. The Atarisoft ones are great as are Commodore made ones among others. The Atarisoft made Donkey Kong for the C64 is the best port of that particular game, in my opinion. The thing with ports is that you must not expect a perfect rendition of the arcade original. This goes for all systems. Otherwise you're just setting yourself up for disappointment. I enjoy them all specifically because they are different.

#21 Mayhem OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 10, 2009 4:35 AM

I think Thunder Mountain re-released a number of the Atarisoft ports during the mid 80s, so the two versions should be the same. For the record, I liked the Ms Pacman conversion, certainly miles better than the Pacman effort. Best Atarisoft game imo goes to Moon Patrol, plays very nicely.

Best conversion on cartridge from the early days I think is Wizard of Wor.

Holy crap, there was a port of Metal Gear for the C64? Is there any game that this machine didn't get? Amazing...


It was based on the NES version not the MSX original.

#22 VectorGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:29 AM

I agree that Moon Patrol and Donkey Kong are excellent ports. As a matter of fact, it was the C64 version of Moon Patrol that peaked my interest in the game.

#23 Austin OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 13, 2009 3:58 AM

I never had a [working] C64, but I played some games on emulators back in the '90s and remember Black Tiger being a really good port. The visuals were obviously really distorted, but it seemed all the gameplay was there (and it was quick, too).

#24 Mister VCS OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:06 AM

A lot. Out Run, Super Hang On, Afterburner, Paper Boy, Galaxian, Galaxy Force, Chase HQ....and I don't like C-64 Moon Patrol (ugly colors!)


Congo Bongo is furchtbar.


"Furchtbar" is a german word... I am surprised that this word is used in the english language...

Edited by Mister VCS, Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:07 AM.


#25 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:19 AM

Congo Bongo is furchtbar.


"Furchtbar" is a german word... I am surprised that this word is used in the english language...


It's really not, this is first time I've ever seen it at least :P Thanks rmaerz, learned something new today, it's a gold-star day!




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