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Koronis Rift - buggy?


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#1 thorfdbg OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:49 PM

Hi folks,

over Christmas, I dug out a couple of old games, amongst them Koronis Rift. I somehow still don't quite get the game, or rather, don't get all the elements. Besides, something seems to be wrong here, as if the game has been misdesigned or not quite designed to the very end.

Let me explain:

While I understand that you need the detonator to blow up the enemy base in Rift 20, you can also use the RT unit and "loot" the enemy base, upon which it will also be destroyed. Then rift 20 can be cleaned completely, without any other effect. Is this a bug or a feature?

On some rifts, some of the hulks cannot be looted, they simply explode, leaving the RT unit behind. If you don't have a gun installed, you're locked up, cannot enter the mothership anymore and are doomed. Bug or feature?

In the above situation, it also happens sometimes/often that if you just continue to drive around, the RT unit surprisingly re-enters your ship, actually carrying some loot. It happens after a certain time, and there is no need to stay close to the original position of the RT unit. Unfortunately, you don't discover any new modules this way, just the order is then different. Bug or feature?

There are three module types I don't quite get. The UFO doesn't really seem to do anything. I was hoping that it would probably block the guardians, or probably disguise your ship, but it doesn't seem to do anything useful. It disables itself after a while with guardians in vicinity, but except that, nothing. The crosshair, I was hoping, would be something like an auto-fire, or auto-targeting mechanism, but neither does it do anything useful. The ECM neither seems to be very useful. I was hoping it would probably delay the approach of the guardians, but that's neither the case. So what is this stuff good for?

There are a couple of additional/various radar modules available in the game, most if not all of which seem to be useless. Ok, IIRC, they point northwards. Is this all? What do I need these for? I can certainly do without.

What's the fifth panel good for? I haven't found any module in any rift that brings that to live (including the UFO or the crosshair). It just remains empty.

Last but not least, you can easily avoid the guardians by returning to the mothership after 20secs of driving. Annoying like heck, but then you don't need any gun or shield, so is this just an oversight?

After all, this game looks like a neat idea that was probably never completed, or never underwent any serious QA and left Lucasfilms in a pretty desolate state. Or am I missing anything?

Greetings,

Thomas

#2 RAM OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:51 PM

I could never figure out what the various undocumented modules could do, but I'm sure that the crosshair ones did target some of the saucers. It's been many years since playing it though, so I can't be sure. If anyone has a guide to the modules though I'd love to finally find out what did what.

#3 NRV OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:09 PM

This post:

http://www.atariage....ost__p__2162770

has some info about that.

I think that there are bugs also, but I never played a final version.. only copies.. and they had different version numbers, so I really don't know if they were fixed.
Would be interesting to know more about the history behind this and the Eidolon..

#4 thorfdbg OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:23 PM

I could never figure out what the various undocumented modules could do, but I'm sure that the crosshair ones did target some of the saucers. It's been many years since playing it though, so I can't be sure. If anyone has a guide to the modules though I'd love to finally find out what did what.

I played a bit more. Indeed, the crosshair *does* work, though it seems it is sourcer or color-sensitive and doesn't necessarily work for all of them, only for a sub-set.

And so does the UFO, it is a bit tricky, though. The trick is as follows: When leaving the mothership, *disable* the UFO immediately. Then, as soon as the guardians are approaching, enable it. Now, *some* of the guardians are slowed down by the UFO-module allowing you to shoot them down easily. Beware, the UFO is "used up" rather quickly, so disable it immediately after hitting the guardian.

Interestingly, it is still worth all of its money even if it is empty.

I don't know what the various radars do, probably point to specific targets.

Greetings,
Thomas

#5 remowilliams OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:51 PM

Hmm, I thought I had a module guide around here somewhere but can't find it at the moment.

The actual game docs are at Atarimania

Here is a protected image of an original retail disk as well. :)

Attached File  Koronis Rift.zip   52.73KB   215 downloads

#6 capnarrr OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 9, 2011 3:35 AM

Yeah the Atari version of Koronis Rift does seem like a rush job. It's a shame too since the concept was rather fantastic and the graphics were superb for the era. A little bit more play testing and they could have squashed some of the bugs that kept this from becoming a classic...

My own review of the game:

The difficulty is extremely off putting right from the start. Saucers target you immediately and can kill you in just a few hits. In the C64 version, saucers seem to miss you more often, giving you a better chance to explore and accessorize your tank. Not to mention, the game play and cursor movement are a bit more smooth, making the enemies a little easier to shoot down. I think the general idea is for you to only spend a few minutes on each rift since everything gets stronger during the course of the level, however there just doesn't seem to be enough time to explore, loot and equip yourself sufficiently to keep up with the increasing power of the saucers which get stronger based on total playtime.

The menus are very frustrating to navigate - accidentally having your cursor over the wrong place in your ship when moving a module around can mean overwriting your currently selected weapon, effectively ending the game. The C64 didn't let you move the cursor as the item was moving on the conveyor belt, so this isn't as much of a problem (you can still add a module over an existing one immediately after looting, though).

Any and all upgrades you get at the start of the game don't really seem to do much to enhance your tank, most of the time, equipping a new module or weapon is more of a liability than the power boost is worth. Not to mention the fact that the description of the modules in the instruction book are terrible at best. For those interested:

Laser = Gun that does a particular type of damage based on color. Enemies of that same color, tend to be able to take more damage of that color type before being shot down, but not to the point where its worth swapping weapons. The biggest problem with the guns in the game is that your generator and power reserve never seem to be able to keep up with them. You often find yourself with a new gun that can only be fired once every few seconds, leaving you vulnerable in the shield generation department...

Shield = Here's one of the things that simply isn't explained properly in the manual. Shields aren't "strong" or "weak" against lasers of different types to the point where its detrimental to have the wrong type equipped. Each shield you find has a certain number of hitpoints against all the different color types, just some (quite marginally) moreso than others depending on the color of the icon. Shields do regenerate, but at a rate relative to the power of your generator. I can't quite tell, but it seems like they regenerate faster when your power reserve is full.

battery = gives more power for gun shots - better battery means more shots fired between recharging for your gun.

generator = powers modules - insufficient power means your tank runs slower. also allows your gun and shield to recharge faster.

radar = points to the nearest module in that rift that has the same alien insegnia on it. Will point nowhere if there is not one of this type in the area.

ECM = i can't get this to do anything. Saucers still approach you when it's equipped at the same frequency, they still hit you at the same rate, they aren't any easier to avoid.

Drive = makes your tank marginally faster, not worth it really.

steering = makes your tank rotate faster, again not worth the slot.

Mapper = shows a map of the area in the second window at the top.

Sound = plays a lucasfilm game song in the background, sells for a lot of credits, otherwise pointless far as I can tell.

crosshair = still not sure how this works. I equipped it and none of the ships were easier to target.

Saucer = as explained above, equip when a saucer is near and it will slow down. didn't actually test this one myself...



There are a few fun bonuses I found playing through the levels:
  • All the hulks on the bottom part of rift 6 look like the giant gray toads - I think destroying one will make the others disappear as well, but I could be wrong about this. If you send out the repotech robot, it will open its giant mouth and swallow it - you can return to your ship for a new one.
  • Hulk #4 in rift 7 (the first hulk you encounter) looks like a blue version of the craft from ballblazer. If you loot it, you will get an undocumented module that looks sort of like a TV. Activating it will play a really bad version of what sounds like the ballblazer song.
  • Hulk #3 in rift 11 (also first you see) looks like a pink ballblazer craft. Looting it reveals a similar module that if activated plays a really bad version of the Rescue on Fractalus intro music.

While I understand that you need the detonator to blow up the enemy base in Rift 20, you can also use the RT unit and "loot" the enemy base, upon which it will also be destroyed. Then rift 20 can be cleaned completely, without any other effect. Is this a bug or a feature?


I think what is supposed to be happening here is the repotech robot is delivering the detonator to the enemy base, thereby destroying it. I tried several times to loot the base without the detonator equipped - the base still explodes but the game is put into the frozen mode you described earlier where the RT blows up the hulk but doesn't return. Saucers don't come because the repotech robot is still out hovering at the spot where the base explodes. You can force the robot to come back to your tank by deploying it again - it will bring an iconless module with the starting gear alien identification icon. Analyzing this in your ship will show it's worth 0 across the board. At this point, the game is perpetually stuck since there's nowhere to go the saucers will just get more difficult until you die.

What's the fifth panel good for? I haven't found any module in any rift that brings that to live (including the UFO or the crosshair). It just remains empty.


The 5th screen does appear to be pointless.


Very Quick walkthrough for those interested in seeing the end of this:

Map of the Rifts

  • Go straight to rift 4, drive forward and loot the hulk for the detonator.
  • Go to rift 5, grab the shield module at 3, the power reserve at 6 and the generator at 1.
  • Skip all the other rifts and go to rift 20.
  • I seem to recall the enemy base is at point 5. If you do a 180 right as you land and go in between the mountains you should see it. All the other "hulks" are just bases with guns that I think you can skip. They shoot a gray laser that is absorbed by all your shield's colors. Fortunately, your tank has a longer range and can shoot them from a distance if you position yourself right. Try to ignore all the saucers that come at you, your shield and generator should be good enough if you rushed here to absorb any of the damage they can do. At the last base, equip your detonator and send out the repotech robot, the base will explode and you'll be greeted by a very lackluster end screen.

I think I can finally put this beast to rest after all these years. :)

#7 Wrathchild OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 9, 2011 3:58 AM

Cartridge ported versions of this game were available from here. Also The Eidolon.

Edited by Wrathchild, Mon May 9, 2011 3:59 AM.


#8 therealbountybob OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 9, 2011 4:23 PM

nice review capnarrr :thumbsup:
I always wished I could work out what to do in Koronis Rift will have to play it again :)

#9 MEtalGuy66 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 13, 2011 5:36 PM

Cartridge ported versions of this game were available from here. Also The Eidolon.


Niether of those works on real hardware or in the emulator.. They crash..

I am speaking of the 128k XEGS supercart images.

I burned them on EPROMS and put them in an XEGS supercart, and they both crashed.. So I tried them in an emulator, and they crash there as well..

Koronis rift crashes at the title screen.. The Eidolon crashes right after the Lucasfilm logo.. Same behavior on both REAL XEGS carts, and Atari800win..

What's the deal?

#10 rdea6 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 13, 2011 6:39 PM

This bank-switched cartridge occupies 16 KB of address space between $8000 and $BFFF. The cartridge memory is divided into 16 banks, 8 KB each. Bank P (the last one) is always mapped to $A000-$BFFF. Four lowest bits of a byte written to $D500-$D5FF select the bank mapped to $8000-$BFFF, bit 7 disables the cartridge.

Koronis rift Emualtor information from Atari800win4.0 XEGS 128 switchable rom.

#11 Rybags ONLINE  

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Posted Fri May 13, 2011 7:04 PM

That KR image worked in Altirra here.

Needs to be a Type 35, not 14. The difference between the 2 types is that 35 can disable all the ROM via setting bit 7 with a write to page $D5.

Fairly sure all the Lucasfilm carts just copy from ROM to run in RAM, explaining the need to switch off the cart.

#12 MEtalGuy66 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 13, 2011 8:01 PM

It DOES NOT WORK in the exact same cart that a REAL Ballblazer or Rescue on Fractalus ROM works in..

I see that if you pick "switchable XEGS cart" in the emulator, it works.. What is the hardware equivelant of this on a real cart??

#13 Rybags ONLINE  

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Posted Fri May 13, 2011 8:34 PM

Schematics for the common cart types are here http://www.atarimax....org/acarts.html

Ballblazer schem: http://www.atarimax....ts/xegsschm.gif

Bug Hunt schem: http://www.atarimax....ts/xegssch2.gif

They don't seem to have the switchable XEGS cart though.

In theory it should be close enough to the normal XEGS cart but Q7 from the 74LS374 should be involved in the CS logic.

#14 MEtalGuy66 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 13, 2011 8:58 PM

Yeah Im well aware of whats listed in the Jindroush archives..

Welp, Ive never seen one of these carts you are talking about..

What production cart actually used this scheme?

Because Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus damn sure did not.

#15 Rybags ONLINE  

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Posted Fri May 13, 2011 9:04 PM

No idea. I tried the BB, KR and RoF images I have and they all seemed to work fine mounted as both types.

You sure you're using an XEGS type image and not an AtariMax one?

#16 MEtalGuy66 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 13, 2011 9:06 PM

If you run the Eidolon or Koronis rift images on Atari800win, as a STANDARD 128k XEGS supercart, they both crash..

No, Im not using the flash cart versions..

#17 a8isa1 ONLINE  

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Posted Fri May 13, 2011 9:13 PM

If you run the Eidolon or Koronis rift images on Atari800win, as a STANDARD 128k XEGS supercart, they both crash..

No, Im not using the flash cart versions..


The images are for a switchable XEGS cart (S/XEGS). Bit 7 toggles on/off.

Images won't work with a standard XEGS cart.

Many versions of Atari800 support S/XEGS cart images. I don't know if Atari800Win Plus does.

#18 MEtalGuy66 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 13, 2011 9:19 PM

Yes.. It does..
What Im trying to do is make a REAL cart..

I'll figure it out myself, and let you guys know how to do it when I'm done.. This is obviously something that needs to be better documented..

I guess I'll try inverting the output of Q7 and hooking it to /OE on the EPROM.. This way, if you set bit 7, it will effectively turn it off..

#19 a8isa1 ONLINE  

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Posted Fri May 13, 2011 10:35 PM

Yes.. It does..
What Im trying to do is make a REAL cart..

I'll figure it out myself, and let you guys know how to do it when I'm done.. This is obviously something that needs to be better documented..

I guess I'll try inverting the output of Q7 and hooking it to /OE on the EPROM.. This way, if you set bit 7, it will effectively turn it off..


The first I heard of this type cart was while reading the documentation for Raster's and Bob!k's S/XEGS Ramcart. I don't remember the hardware details at all, other than all the logic being in a GAL. I'm guessing that RD4 and RD5 are on pullups with the bit-7 latch to override.

#20 Wrathchild OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 15, 2011 5:40 AM

I believe Nir Dary was possibly constructing some of these and it didn't need a GAL. Here's a couple of images he'd sent me:

Attached Thumbnails

  • Prototype top.jpg
  • schematics.jpg


#21 krupkaj OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 15, 2011 6:07 AM

Why not use S/XEGS RAMCART 128KB from Bob!k and Raster?
http://raster.infos....art/ramcart.htm

edit: Sorry, I did not read the whole thread ...

Edited by krupkaj, Sun May 15, 2011 6:09 AM.


#22 MEtalGuy66 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 15, 2011 10:39 AM

To make it work in a STANDARD XEGS SUpercart, all you need is a single additional flip-flop to hold the state of D7..

Just take a 74ls74, and piggyback it on U2 with only pins 7 & 14 hooked common (vcc and GND)...

Then hook pins 1 and 4 of the 74ls74 to vcc (pin 14)...

Hook the clock input (pin 3 of the 74LS74) to pin 11 of U3..

Hooke the data input (pin 2 of the 74LS74) to pin 18 of U3 (D7)..

Now take a drill or a grinder, and isolate cart slot conductors A and 14.. (make sure conductor 13 is still supplying +5v to the VCC rails on the cart when you are done)..

Last, hook the two conductors you just isolated (A and 14) to the inverted output (pin 6) of the 74ls74..

Works fine for me..

#23 Wrathchild OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 15, 2011 3:21 PM

Wasn't aware of this - but Sal has them, presumaby the flashcart version, for sale.

#24 MEtalGuy66 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 15, 2011 4:35 PM

WHat I said above is in addition to rewiring the rom socket on the cart to accept a 128k rom, of course..

One thing I'll add is that Nir Dary had a good idea, and I also reccomend it: On the reset/clear circuit on the flip flop (the circuit that hooks pins 1 and 4 of the 74LS74 to +5v,) use a 2k resistor on the line that supplies +5v, and then hook a 10uF capacitor from pin 1 (or 4) to GND.. What this does is ensure that the flip-flop is in a state that provides a HI (inverted LO) output at pin 6 of the 74LS74 (to RD4 and RD5) when the cart is first powered up. Otherwise, you can get intermittant lock-ups on power up.

If this is all too confusing, here's a diagram:

SXEGS.gif

#25 stevem00 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 21, 2011 1:56 PM

I can't find an image of Koronis Rift or The Eidolon to put on maxflash 8Mbit cart. The ones I've found from the usual sites are not recognized the MaxFlash studio as valid, or when they are valid, won't load properly on my 800XL.




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