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Lord Thag

Sell me on some good c64 games

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Hey all.

I've been an Atari 8-bit person since the thing was being sold in stores, but I've always been curious about the c64. I never owned one back in the day, but I did use them in school computer labs (mainly to play Sword of Fargoal). I've bought a couple, and sold them, over the years, mainly due to not having software to take advantage of them (this was way before SD card interfaces).

Anyway, long story short, I have a c64 mini and VICE set up now, and have been diving into the library...

...only to be pretty disappointed. I know the late release rpg/gold box/origin/ssi stuff is great, but outside of that, I'm finding a lot of the arcade ports to be slow/clunky in comparison to the Atari or even Spectrum. I had better luck finding stuff to play on the ZX Spectrum, honestly.

Which means I'm playing the wrong stuff.

This computer has a huge following for a reason, but I'm unfamiliar with the library, and all the stuff I'm trying is just ok at best, probably because it's the stuff that's great on Atari, which hit it's peak in the arcade era, when the c64 was just getting off the ground.

So, what are some of your favorite games? Point me in the right direction! ;-)

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C64 games I particularly like:

 

Project Firestart

Toy Bizarre

Turrican 1 and 2

Uridium

Ultimate Wizard

Impossible Mission

The Last Ninja trilogy

Airborne Ranger

Wizball

Aztec Challenge

Armalyte

Gunship

Space Taxi

Maniac Mansion

Paradroid

Trolls and Tribulations

Demon Stalkers

 

Just for starting out. I've generally found that, with some exceptions, when it comes to multiplatform games the C64 version plays the worst except in terms of music. For instance, all the Synapse games are superior on the Atari 800, and games that originated on the Spectrum are often better on the Spectrum. The Apple II version of Dino Eggs is better than the C64's (although it's still a fun game on the C64!).

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Thanks, I'll check these out.

From what I'm seeing, it seems like the c64 and Atari, for all the inter-community 'which one is best' arguing, actually complement each other well. They have quite a few games in common that are great on both systems, but outside that, the 'great' stuff is completely different.

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Thanks, I'll check these out.

 

From what I'm seeing, it seems like the c64 and Atari, for all the inter-community 'which one is best' arguing, actually complement each other well. They have quite a few games in common that are great on both systems, but outside that, the 'great' stuff is completely different.

 

 

I agree that the two libraries tend to compliment each other. This is a generalization, but things that were done well on one system tend to NOT be done well on the other. I love soo many games for c64 that it is very hard to rank them, but here's an attempt:

 

Here's a big list of games that I had in my "library" BitD:

 

Accolade's comics
Adventure writer
Agent usa
Arkanoid
Aztec challenge
Beachhead
Beachhead II
Beamrider
Blue max
Bruce lee
Buck rodgers
California Games (I liked all of these really)
Defender of the Crown
Fort Apocalypse
Ghostbusters
GI Joe
Goonies
Gyruss
Hardball
HERO
Impossible mission
Intl soccer
Jeopardy
Jumpman
Keith von Eron's (aka Microprose) Soccer
Kung fu master
Law of the west
Lemans
Lemonade
Lode runner
Lords of Conquest
Mario bros
Mastermind
Moon patrol
Motocross
One on One Bird vs. Dr. J
Pinball Spectacular
Pirates!
Pitstop
Quix
Raid over moscow
River raid
Seven cities of gold
Skate or Die
Spy vs Spy
Spyhunter
Star Trek - The Computer Game
Street Sports Football (again, I liked all of these)
Superstar Ice Hockey
Tapper
The Bard's Tale
Train
Zaxxon (Disk based waay better than cart)

 

 

Of those, my top ten will change from day to day, but here's a go at ranking them:

 

1) Pirates!
2) Superstar Ice Hockey
3) The Bard's Tale
4) California Games
5) Lords of Conquest
6) Raid Over Moscow
7) Beachhead II
8 Montezuma's Revenge
9) Zaxxon (Disk version)
10) Star Trek - The Computer Game
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I recommend two games/roms which are very addictive and will keep you busy on your c64 mini:

1. Mayhem in Monsterland

2. Sidney Hunter & The Sacred Tribe (rom from

Collectorvision).

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Back in the day I moved from ZX Spectrum to C64 hoping for a huge upgrade, but was kinda disappointed. That's why switched to Amiga after barely a year (even though it required some Wizard-level bargaining with my folks). I did not dig the gfx that much - I missed the hi res of the ZX Spectrum. I also couldn't afford the floppy and all the big important games either required it or was a ridiculous PITA to play from the tape (I remember doing my homework in 20 minute chunks required to load a DotC level).

 

Nowadays it's also a bit tricky since the "big" games such as Maniac Mansion or Bard's Tale are better served on other platforms such as Amiga or DOS. It'd be nice to see the list of top-notch C64 exclusives - such as Project Firestart, or at least the OGs eg, Last Ninja.

 

I'm actually crawling through the entire romset in a leisurely pace (+20K entries haha) and am somewhere mid-A atm. Quite enjoying all the bizarre and obscure little games which populate its library. Might post a few enties later.

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Posted (edited)

If you can endure the opening level, i recommend Platoon on C64 as it has some very atmospheric stages which suit the machines limited colour palette well and the music adds a lot to both stages:

 

 

Skip to around 16:00 for night level with V.C attacking you in the Bunker:

 

Edited by Lost Dragon

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Posted (edited)

Other than that?

 

Sly Spy:

 

Bionic Commando

Buggy Boy

Paradroid and Heavy Metal Edition

Salamander

Katakis

Myth

Exile

Lords Of Chaos

Times Of Lore

Turbocharge

Z

Retrograde

Creatures 1 and 2 ( not my kinda games, but they are held in high regard )

Vendetta. .nice mix of game styles.

The Untouchables

Navy Seals

(Ocean did occasiobally produce wonders based on a movie licence)

LED Storm

Ninja Spirt..far more playable than ST or Amiga versions

Pacific Land

Hunters Moon

Citadel (Martin Walker)

Aliens (Electric Dreams)

Dan Dare 1 and 2

Traz

Ball Blasta

Skyfox

Kentillia

Ace and Ace II

Master Of Magic

Spellbound.

 

 

Some really awful C64 titles are often worth checking out just for the SID tracks by Rob Hubbard (knucklebusters) or others (Street Gang by Players).

 

 

As a C64 owner back in the day after moving from the Atari 800XL, i would happily buy an awful game just for the music.

Edited by Lost Dragon
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After Atari 800 XL i had a C64 back in the days before moving to Amiga.

 

I have to admit, that i played most C64 games only for the great music. I love the SID sound :) and the composers like Rob Hubbard, Martin Galway, David Whittaker, Jeroen Tel, Chris Hülsbeck and so on...

 

So here are some games that i remember with great music:

Commando

Crazy Comets

Thing on a Spring

Bionic Commando

Katakis

One Man and his Droid

Monty on the Run

Spellbound

The Last V8

Hawkeye

Cybernoid II

The Last Ninja

To be on Top

Hollywood or Bust

Panther

Shadow Skimmer

Rambo

Krakout

Thrust

Lightforce

Sanxion

Delta

Comic Bakery

Combat School

 

I'm sure i forgot some ....it was long time ago....

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Posted (edited)

C64 Cart Games can be something of an oddity i believe.

 

 

 

Tapper on cartridge is missing levels found on tape and disk versions?

 

Zaxxon and Super Zaxxon on Cartridge written by different developer to tape/disk version, closer to arcade as a result.

 

Double Dragon superior to tape version, cartridge had extra sprites loaded in from memory.

 

 

Pang is quite rare but very impressive.

 

 

Mayhem..We need your assistance here

 

 

Back onto normal versions..I found C64 Mr Do! more responsive than the A8 version.

 

Spy Hunter has more populated roads than the A8 version, but looks washed out, colours wise.

 

 

First Strike (Elite) is a far better Afterburner type game than the official conversion.

 

Some liked PSI-5 Trading Company

 

Zamzara is a nice budget game with an Enemy Mine inspired sprite.

 

Other worthy mentions:

 

Raid On Bungeling Bay

The Castles Of Dr Creep

Enforcer aka Katakis II

 

 

Soulless (Psytronik)

 

If you like Project Firestart. .

 

Try Organism as well:

 

Edited by Lost Dragon

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"Tapper on cartridge is missing levels found on tape and disk versions?"

"Zaxxon disk version closer to arcade"

 

 

I can confirm these with recent testing. The cart version of Zaxxon might have made you happy if you were coming from the Atari 2600 version, but the disk version is sooo much better in terms of gameplay that it almost makes one think of cart-Zaxxon as some kind of demo.

 

The cart version of Congo Bongo is also missing levels that are in the disk version.

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Other than that?

 

Sly Spy:

 

 

 

I love these multi-stage games from this era. That looks really cool. Its amazing how I keep seeing games the C64 that I've never seen before. The library is truly vast.

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"Tapper on cartridge is missing levels found on tape and disk versions?""Zaxxon disk version closer to arcade"

 

 

I can confirm these with recent testing. The cart version of Zaxxon might have made you happy if you were coming from the Atari 2600 version, but the disk version is sooo much better in terms of gameplay that it almost makes one think of cart-Zaxxon as some kind of demo.

 

The cart version of Congo Bongo is also missing levels that are in the disk version.

Conspiracy to sell more disk drives, that incidentally, cost more than the computer? Or memory constraints of the cartridge? :rolling:

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Cartridges in the early years could be max 16K, while obviously disk games could be 48K or even up to the full 64K, so that makes quite a difference in how much content you could fit.

 

In the later years, the C64GS generation, bank switching cartridges had evolved so they were able to put in 128K or even 256K IIRC in a single cartridge, but we're talking a time span of 5-6 years without a single official game cartridge.

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A few others among the many fine titles listed so far:

 

Archon & Archon II

Summer Games & Summer Games II

Winter Games

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