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BERZERK HACK apeArcade


apeArcade

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BERZERKapeArcadeCARTRIDGE

I have tried to make this hack as close as possible to the original Stern arcade game, which mainly involved tweaking the animations, colours and typeface. However, due to unforeseen issues caused by slowing down some animations (particularly the robot explosion) substantial portions of the code had to be rewritten to keep gameplay fair. Some irritating graphical and audio glitches have also been removed; and I have made some minor alterations to the game sound effects. Thanks to: The Cutting Room Floor, Retro Gamer, etc for all the background information employed in the creation of this hack.

 

This is my first hack so please do not comment on the poor quality of my coding (unless it is constructive) as I consider it a miracle that I got it to work at all!

 

I hope you enjoy my hack!

 

BERZERKapeArcadeBANNER

 

Major Changes

  • All colours matched to original Stern arcade game as closely as possible: maze, robots humanoid, even bonus score.
  • Evil Otto now looks identical to the arcade version, and his bounce is “springier.”
  • All robot animations are now much closer to the arcade versions; especially the scanning eye sequence, which is identical: moves RIGHT TO LEFT and “behind” head.
  • Robot explosion animation matches closely to the arcade, with the shrapnel now expanding, slightly, (1 pixel) beyond robots’ feet: don’t get too close! It also lingers longer for slower robots.
  • All 10 original robot colour variants are now present and correct, although multiples of the same colour have mostly been removed from the sequence due to memory constraints. The new sequence consists of 11 different colours (red reused) where the last variant is cyan. In the arcade game the cyan robot is the final change that lasts until the game ends, so to partially mimic this I chose to make it appear for 11 mazes, then allow the colour/speed sequence to reset. I thought this was the better option because it keeps gameplay more varied over a longer period.
  • 3 new faster robot variants than the original Atari fastest, making for not only a more varied, but also MUCH MORE DIFFICULT GAME!
  • The Humanoid animation has been tweaked and slowed down, making for smoother, less jerky, motion.
  • Choose Humanoid colour now matched to the original arcade luminous green (Player1) or magenta (Player 2) by flipping the Colour / BW tv console switch.
  • “Electrify” animation now incorporates an extra Humanoid pose (face on) to match the arcade, and also displays the colour flashes.
  • Player’s maze entrance now blocked by robot colour-coded doors (top and bottom only - I couldn’t fit the code for the side doors onto the scan line)!
  • “Robo-Teddy," a reworked version of the Atari Teddy Bear / child / easy game icon replaces the “1” in games 10-12, to indicate non-firing robots.

 

 NEW: PAL60 binary 

To get Stella to recognize the PAL colour palette: select the game in the list, click OPTIONS tab at the bottom, click GAME PROPERTIES tab, click DISPLAY tab and finally from the FORMAT drop down options, select PAL60, then press OK. Enjoy!

 

apeArcadeLOGO

BERZERK_4k_apeArcade.bin

 

COMING SOON(ish):
Space Invaders Arcade

BERZERK_4k_apeArcade_PAL60.bin

Edited by apeArcade
New extra bin file added
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Very nice!

I haven't played much Berzerk in the arcade, and not in about 42 years. So it's pretty hard to compare it to memory. 

 

I thought the original Atari 2600 port was a very, very good conversion, one of the best arcade conversions for the system.  I didn't think it could be done much better, but I like most of the changes.

 

I am on a keyboard, as I don't have my stelladaptor handy at the moment to plug in a real joystick, so I had some control problems due to my keyboard not supporting N-key rollover, and I coudn't do much to compensate for that, but I had a good time playing this anyway.  The colors are really well done.

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4 hours ago, MrTrust said:

I can't trigger Evil Otto.  Does he not come out on the default difficulty?

 

Not on the 1st game variation. Pick game 2 or higher.   

 

I played a few rounds.   Will play more and compare the 2 version, as its been a while since I tried 2600 Berzerk.  On my Stella Emulator, Evil Otto has a visual after-image when he bounces up - half of Otto appears / blinks away below Otto's main ascending sprite. FYI. 

 

Thanks!

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7 hours ago, Bomberman94 said:

Very interested in this one - is this NTSC only or also PAL (available)?

Hi Bomberman94,

I used the NTSC format because it has a wider range of colours with which to try to match the original arcade game. 2600 colours are very dull in comparison so even in NTSC I found it a struggle. I will look at a PAL version - I didn't think there would be a call for it!

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15 hours ago, guppy said:

Very nice!

I haven't played much Berzerk in the arcade, and not in about 42 years. So it's pretty hard to compare it to memory. 

 

I thought the original Atari 2600 port was a very, very good conversion, one of the best arcade conversions for the system.  I didn't think it could be done much better, but I like most of the changes.

 

I am on a keyboard, as I don't have my stelladaptor handy at the moment to plug in a real joystick, so I had some control problems due to my keyboard not supporting N-key rollover, and I coudn't do much to compensate for that, but I had a good time playing this anyway.  The colors are really well done.

I am glad you are enjoying it guppy. I agree the Atari port is excellent and I haven't changed any of the game mechanics, just the visuals and the greater variety of robot colours /speeds.

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7 hours ago, MrTrust said:

I can't trigger Evil Otto.  Does he not come out on the default difficulty?

Hello MrTrust, My hack plays exactly the same as the Atari original so, as confirmed by Cafeman, Evil Otto starts to appear from game 2. Full game level details can be found by downloaded the Atari Berzerk manual from Atari Age 2600 site.

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3 hours ago, Cafeman said:

 

Not on the 1st game variation. Pick game 2 or higher.   

 

I played a few rounds.   Will play more and compare the 2 version, as its been a while since I tried 2600 Berzerk.  On my Stella Emulator, Evil Otto has a visual after-image when he bounces up - half of Otto appears / blinks away below Otto's main ascending sprite. FYI. 

 

Thanks!

I think (hope) you are referring to Otto's "squashed" form as he hits the ground. This is in the Atari version too, but it is difficult to see properly because it appears only for a split second. The Arcade original clearly shows the "squashed" form because it is on screen for longer: it is meant to imitate a ball deforming as it hits a surface and bounces off. I slowed down my animations to match the arcade machine more closely (which caused huge timing problems with the code which I hadn't bargained on so large portions of it had to be rewritten to accommodate this small change!) Ironically, this is one of my proudest achievements because of how it emulates the arcade Evil Otto bounce so surprisingly well! What I should have said is that the glitch is present in the original arcade game so I copied the glitch to my hack to make it more authentic!

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14 minutes ago, LatchKeyKid said:

Cool!  Was it difficult to keep it down to 4k?

Unbelievably difficult, yes! The original code was very tight anyway and I just kept wanting to cram in more and more stuff. Like a nutter I was checking every set/reset carry instruction to see if it was absolutely necessary just to save single bytes here and there - probably shouldn't admit to that! The main reason I gave the bin file the 4K addition is because I aimed to create a more expansive version, perhaps with random mazes etc some time in the future, but I started to play around with Space Invaders instead!

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2 hours ago, apeArcade said:

Hi Bomberman94,

I used the NTSC format because it has a wider range of colours with which to try to match the original arcade game. 2600 colours are very dull in comparison so even in NTSC I found it a struggle. I will look at a PAL version - I didn't think there would be a call for it!

PAL colors are not that bad - here’s an interesting read:

 

 

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Just finished the PAL60 version that is now available above (hope it works on your setup - love that CRT!). It has been quite a learning process, for although PAL may have fewer colours, it also has slightly different ones! This has allowed me to match some of the robot colours more accurately to the arcade versions: particularly the deep plum and blue/green ones. Hope you enjoy it!

 

In future I will enjoy creating both PAL and NTSC versions of my hacks!

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1 hour ago, apeArcade said:


Just finished the PAL60 version that is now available above (hope it works on your setup - love that CRT!). It has been quite a learning process, for although PAL may have fewer colours, it also has slightly different ones! This has allowed me to match some of the robot colours more accurately to the arcade versions: particularly the deep plum and blue/green ones. Hope you enjoy it!

 

In future I will enjoy creating both PAL and NTSC versions of my hacks!

Thank you - that was totally nice to make this version! I will test it and then report 🤗

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That is no problem at all! When I realised the colours were different I saw an opportunity to fix the robot colours I wasn't happy with. Overall, I think I prefer the PAL version because the saturation / brightness balance seems better: NTSC colours are a little desaturated to my eye.

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