A few last thoughts on the PAL Rogue by Mastertronic...
Thank you again to all who have read and considered this thread!
It started a bit bumpy...feel like a dunce for not trying PAL mode in emulation. Thank you again Kr0tki for your help.
Had tried a number of different emulator settings like OS options and memory settings but did not think to try PAL setup in order get the GUI aspect of the game to work properly.
Must remember to check or track down country/region of origin or distribution when trying out e versions of Atari games, whether for testing/playing on real Atari hardware or in emulation.
Special thanks to those who posted: jmccorm, Kr0tki, _The Doctor__ and dakidski.
Thank you very much for sharing your insights, knowledge and perspectives on the issue(s) of Atari 8 bit Rogue!
Very interesting indeed.
I have learned a lot from you all by way of this post: some of the technical differences and similarities between NTSC and PAL machines (i.e. computers, video game systems, tvs and monitors), some specific Atari NTSC and PAL hardware and software differences, and a fair amount about both Mastertronic's Rogue (PAL) and Atari Arogue (NTSC).
Plus I've learned more about the AtariAge forums community and the wide range of knowledge, expertise and talents that exist as well as the interesting and welcome diversity present.
I'll start with dakidski's post.
I agree: the version of Atari Arogue is a superior dungeon exploration/adventure game.
Overall it is both a better game in terms of playability/re-playability and a better representation of Rogue as a genre/subgenre.
Most importantly: it is much more fun to play. And you can actually play and survive (w/ decent odds) for a while (e.g. a few levels) experiencing some character development!
Atari Arogue (NTSC) offers a very cool dungeon crawler, mini D&D-like experience.
I learned a lot from jmccorm's posts: he provided good info on NTSC and PAL and Atari related angles of the issue(s); his posts led me to more Atari 8 bit Rogue research and the thread he linked concerning NTSC and PAL here at AtariAge, then onto Atarimania for their NTSC and PAL info, and to a few other interesting links as well for NTSC and PAL info, both generally regarding NTSC and PAL technology for all kinds of video related electronics, and specifically for Atari hardware.
Through googling NTSC and PAL related questions, I went to a few different monitor and tv manufacturers websites and to home theater user groups websites for answers concerning TVs and monitors; found out that NTSC vs. PAL issues vary widely between different TV manufacturers: although some TVs/monitors handle both, most seem not to without additional hardware (I believe the term used was a PAL converter(?)).
Some TV and monitor manufacturers are apparently more open to dual NTSC and PAL use than others...if you're curious, google your TV/monitor with "NTSC and PAL" added; you should be able to quickly find an answer.
Found out my only PAL video option without additional hardware or modification is an older Sony LCD monitor (same one I use for connecting my 4 port 5200 because of the RF and analog tuner!), an MFM-HT75W.
Also Atari 8-Bit Computers: Frequently Asked Questions had some good, useful and interesting info in section 1.15 on NTSC and PAL.
At this point I don't imagine trying to mod my NTSC gear or acquire an Atari PAL machine; although even more curious and interest is piqued to explore PAL and NTSC hardware running side by side at some time in the future, cannot see focussing resources and time on that right now...but I am open and interested in any PAL diehards out there who'd care to convince me otherwise (that I should check out PAL sooner/immediately).
Certainly not going to mod/acquire PAL abilities for Mastertronic's Rogue (PAL)...as dakidski stated, it is not a very good port.
It's gameplay is poorly balanced and doesn't really give a player a fair chance: in the hour plus I played Rogue (PAL) in emulation, I died over a dozen times, often as soon as starting the game I was attacked and was either a) killed immediately or b) left with 0 strength so my next random encounter meant game over.
The graphics are somewhat cool and the animation is good but the game just seems off (vs. other versions of Rogue I've played); the odds seemed stacked/programmed against the player and there are many, many very-all-too-brief games played. I thought Mastertronic's Rogue (PAL) might be like the Apshai games, but it isn't and it isn't really that much fun.
The one thing I do think is truly remarkable about Mastertronic's Rogue (PAL) is the GUI gameplay interface!!!
It uses an icon to direct player movement with the joystick and even more GUI-like is the pack inventory system which allows you to use the joystick to move the cursor over items and bring up menus to equip or use items. The player's joystick acts like a mouse.
I don't know of another 8 bit game (on any platform) that used a graphical user interface for gameplay purposes as Mastertronic's Rogue (PAL) does. This seems extraordinary for 8 bit software development and really the only place I ever remember seeing anything like it is in some 8 bit educational software that used very simple icons/graphics and a joystick or paddle to interact with users instead of direct keyboard input.
Use of a GUI is standard in 16 bit machines, but in 8 bit I'd never seen it as it is used in Mastertronic's Rogue (PAL) in direct gameplay. I certainly cannot recall a vintage/80's era 8 bit entertainment piece of software that did/does so.
Do any of you all know of other vintage/80's era 8 bit software titles that use graphical user interfaces to click on an icon and bring up a response/menu/etc within gameplay or as a direct and primary program function?
If _The Doctor__ or anyone else thinks it is worth asking the AtariAge community for a NTSC hack for Mastertronic's Rogue (PAL), I'll do it because I think this is a unique and special game (just not a particularly good one).
That said, I definitely do not want to make a difficult/obnoxious challenge or be a "gimme pig" and ask anyone to do anything for free that they wouldn't be inclined to undertake freely.
I genuinely started this thread a) trying to learn more about Mastertronic's Rogue (PAL) and b) to get Mastertronic's Rogue (PAL) to work on my NTSC hardware.
Again, thank you all very much for reading and considering this thread!