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Bomb Barrage, Monkey Drop, and Gate Racer (Old projects, New Games)


Atarius Maximus

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While I was working on Cave Raider, I have also been working on revisiting and updating some of my other older 2600 projects at the same time.  Monkey Drop was originally created in 2007, Bomb Barrage in 2010, and Gate Racer in 2013.  They were all expanded to standard 32k ROMs (no SuperChip this time) to give myself plenty of room to play and have some fun updating them.  They are all complete with the normal exception of possible bugfixes as they’re played more.  I fully expect that I missed some things in my initial testing. 

 

They now include SaveKey support with updated menus, graphics, music and sound effects, they have some refinements and updates to the gameplay, and they have some fixes to make them run properly on real hardware.   There are a few more updated games in the pipeline that I'm not quite ready to share yet. 😊 I’m including instructions for all three below as well as the latest binaries. 

 

A quick note on the SaveKey support:   At the end of each game, during the end game sequence the SaveKey is read/written to if appropriate.  It will briefly flash a "SaveKey Check" message on the screen and this is expected.  It's in there to prevent what would otherwise be a screen roll on real hardware - it takes a lot of CPU cycles to check the SaveKey.

 

Enjoy the games, and let me know what you think!

 

Edits:

Monkey Drop v1.01:  Bugfix update, as I discovered a scanline issue deeper into the game.  It's been fixed.

Monkey Drop v1.03:  Minor update.  I updated the end game sequence so the savekey check happens a bit later.  I didn't like how it happened immediately after losing a life.

 

Instructions for all three games are here:

Spoiler

Bomb Barrage

 

(This game was formerly named "Bombs Away!" and was renamed due to another homebrew project also using that name)

 

Our city has been invaded!  Soldiers are filling our city’s landmark buildings with bombs, and enemy aircraft are bombarding cities across the nation with bombs.

It’s your job to clear the bombs from each building and protect our city from the falling bombs with our advanced laser defense system.

 

Two Player Option

 

If you are playing on the Easy or Standard levels, a 2nd player can jump in at any time.  Moving the second joystick left or right will speed up the city defense shields, allowing you to have some control and assist the primary player with stopping the bombs from striking the city.  If the 2nd joystick is not used, the bombs will continue to follow their standard defense pattern over the city.

 

Gameplay

 

Bomb Barrage has 12 progressively difficult levels of play.  Each level has two stages, Bomb Defuse and City Defense. You will start off in a city building filled with bombs that need to be defused.  After Clearing the bombs from the building, you’ll move on to the city defense stage, where you will need to protect your city from bombs falling from the sky by moving your defense laser back and forth on the screen.

 

Bomb Defuse Stage

 

In the city buildings, you will control a remote controlled robot that can move around the different rooms of the building and shoot a charge that will defuse a bomb.  The bombs will randomly appear, and some have advanced electronics that allow them to move and pass through walls.

 

Each city building has an alarm defense system that you’ll need to work around.  A security beam patrols certain areas of each building, and if you touch it, you will be reset back to the entrance of the building.  There is no point penalty or loss of life for being caught by a security beam.

 

Occasionally a lightning charge will appear in the building, which will automatically defuse the current bomb on the screen and give you a nice bonus to your score.  After using the charge, the current bomb will disappear and the next bomb will appear on screen.

 

After clearing the room, you will automatically be taken to the next stage of the level.

 

City Defense Stage

 

The city defense stage involves using your city defense laser beam to take out the falling bombs.  Hold down the fire button to activate the laser.  Moving your joystick left and right controls the defense beam, and touching any of the falling bombs will immediately disintegrate them. 

 

Laser charges will fall on opposite sides of the screen, offering bonus points and an alternate laser power charge, one of which increases the difficulty a bit and one reducing the difficulty a bit.  Always grabbing them is worth the effort if you’re playing for a high score.

 

City Defense Shields

 

On the Easy and Standard difficulty levels, your city will have defense shields that hover back and forth over the city.  They will destroy any bomb that comes into contact with them, however you will not score any points for a bomb that is destroyed by a shield.  The defense shields cannot be destroyed.

 

Losing a Life

 

You can lose a life by allowing a bomb to explode on the bomb defuse stage, or by allowing a bomb to strike the city in the city defense stage.  You are granted six lives to begin the game, indicated by the six dots on the status bar, and you will gain a bonus life for clearing a level, up to a maximum of six lives at any given time.

 

Levels of Difficulty

 

Bomb Barrage has three levels of difficulty, selectable from the main menu before you start the game.  Once you select a difficulty level, it is set for that play session.  You’ll have to reset the game to choose a different level.

 

Easy

 

In the bomb defuse stage, bombs will explode on a slow timer, about 8 seconds.

City Defense shields are activated, and can be controlled by a second player.

The speed at which bombs drop will progress move slowly for each level.

 

Standard

 

In the bomb defuse stage, bombs will explode on the default timer, about 5 seconds.

City Defense shields are activated, and can be controlled by a second player.

The speed at which bombs drop is set to the standard rate.

 

Expert

 

In the bomb defuse stage, bombs will explode on a fast timer, about 4 seconds.

City Defense shields will be deactivated.  Because of this the 2 player option is not available on Expert.

The speed at which bombs drop will be progressively faster as you progress through the game.

 

Scoring

 

Falling Laser Charge PowerUp: 0-18 points randomly assigned

Lightning Charge PowerUp: 200 points

Defuse a Bomb: 10 points

Zap a Bomb: 10-40 points, depending on the height of the bomb when it is destroyed.  You’ll receive more points the higher up the bomb is on the screen.

 

High scores for the standard level are automatically saved to the SaveKey or AtariVox if you have one plugged in.  When the game ends, it will display your high score and latest score only if you are playing on the standard difficulty level.  If you are playing on the Easy or Expert levels, it will show your latest score.

 

Powerups

 

Lightning Charge:  In the city buildings, a lightning charge will randomly appear.  It sometimes disappears quickly, you may have to be in the right place at the right time.

If you touch it, the current bomb on the screen will automatically be defused and you’ll move on to the next, and you will score 200 bonus points.  It’s worth the extra risk for the bonus points if you can get to a charge, and because you don’t have to fire at it, it can make clearing the room a bit easier.

 

Falling Laser Charge: On the city defense screen, you will notice falling laser charges on the far left and far right of the screen that drop randomly.  If you zap a charge on the left side of the screen it will enhance your laser and make the laser stream longer.  If you zap a charge on the right side of the screen it will change your laser cannon to a pulse cannon.

Each time you touch a falling charge, whether you need it or not, you will receive a small bonus to your point total.  If you’re gunning for a high score, it’s worth it to zap them at every opportunity.  Because of their placement, it’s easy to accidently zap a charge when moving to the edge of the screen, so be careful about accidently zapping the pulse cannon charge.  You’ll get the bonus points, but it can be more difficult to defend your city with it.

 

Strategy

 

  • To achieve the highest scores, always go for the lightning charge powerup and always grab as many of the falling charges as possible.
  • Try to zap the falling bombs as quickly as possible, you’ll receive more points.
  • You won’t get the bonus points, but your odds of survival will increase at higher levels if you avoid the falling charge on the right side of the screen.  The laser pulse cannon is harder to use.
  • When stuck with the laser pulse cannon, it may be better to focus your eyes closer to the middle & bottom of the screen rather than the top.  There is a minimum charge length that will always zap a bomb closer to the bottom of the screen.
  • Use the security beam to your advantage.  There are times when allowing the beam to reset you to the bottom of the screen will put you closer to the next bomb.

 

High Score Saving:

 

Your high score will be written to the AtariVox or the Save Key, but only for the standard difficulty level.  

 

You will see “Savekey Check” when the game attempts to read or write to the SaveKey.  If you’d like to clear your high score, hold the joystick down on powerup.  You will see the SaveKey check screen turn blue to indicate that your score has been cleared.

 

Monkey Drop

(This game was formerly named "Primate Plunge".  The name was commercially used for the game that inspired this one, so I changed it)

 

Gameplay:

 

Navigate your Monkey through the falling jungle, grabbing and jumping off branches as you
descend.  Pressing the fire button will give you a slight speed boost to try and grab those
branches at the last second!  The longer you fall, the faster the branches will scroll!

 

Scoring Points:

 

You will get points for every second you're grabbing on to a branch as you fall.

 

Difficulty Levels:

 

Novice:  The game starts off a little slower, and the pattern of branches never changes.  A parachute powerup will appear periodically.

 

Normal:  The game switches between four branch patterns randomly. A parachute powerup will appear periodically.

 

Expert:  The game starts off at a higher difficulty level, and there is no parachute powerup. The game switches between four branch patterns randomly, and the branches are smaller.

 

Other items to note:

 

Hold the joystick down on powerup to clear the SaveKey.

 

Powerup:

 

A parachute pack will be dropped periodically.  You'll have to take a risk in grabbing it as a misstep could cost you, however you will receive double the amount of points while holding the parachute as you normally would while holding a branch.  It's worth the risk for a high score!

 

High Score Saving:

 

Your high score will be written to the AtariVox or the Save Key, but only for the normal difficulty level.  

You will see “Savekey Check” when the game attempts to read or write to the SaveKey.  If you’d like to clear your high score, hold the joystick down on powerup.  You will see the SaveKey check screen turn blue to indicate that your score has been cleared.

 

Gate Racer

 

 

Gameplay:

 

The object is to race through the gated race course as fast as you can, avoiding the oil slicks.  You have to deal with the inertia of your car as you move back and forth, and navigate random oil slicks that get in your way on the racetrack.  New to this version is the addition of road debris (represented by a large playfield-colored block) that bounces around the racetrack occasionally.  Hitting it will temporarily obscure your car, take time off the clock (the timer stops while you're in contact with it), and serve as a general distraction while you're trying to drive.

New to this version:  There can now be two oil slicks on the road at one time rather than one.

 

Pressing the fire button will give your car a quick speed boost, which can be useful for quick maneuvers if there's an oil slick in the way, or to quickly speed past some road debris. Timing is everything with that.

 

Winning the Game:

 

This is new to this version.  Because the timer rolls over after 10 min, I added a winning condition when you reach 9 minutes on the clock.  You'll be presented with a trophy and a celebration tune if you beat the game.  This will write "9:00:00" to your high score, and is the highest score you can achieve.

 

Difficulty Levels:

 

Below is a table that outlines the options enabled for each difficulty level.

                                                                                                                             VELOCITY   OIL SLICK   LARGE CAR   POWERUP
Kids:     Oil Slick Off, Small Car, Powerups On, Velocity Control Off        0        0           0         X        
Easy:     Oil Slick Off, Small Car, Powerups On                              X        0           0         X
Standard: Oil Slick On, Small Car, Powerups on                               X        X           0         X  
Advanced: Oil Slick On, Large Car, Powerups Off                              X        X           X         X
Expert:   Oil Slick On, Large Car, Powerups Off                              X        X           X         0

 

Notes on Game options:

 

  • Velocity is whether or not your car has inertia, and is only turned off for the kids level.  
  • The Oil slick causes your car to slide back and forth and can potentially slam you against a wall or gate.
  • The Larger car makes it more difficult to navigate the gates on the racetrack, requiring more precise movement.
  • The powerup appears occasionally, and provides you with two gates worth of invincibility. It's a flashing block.

 

High Score Saving:

 

Your high score will be written to the AtariVox or the Save Key, but only for the standard
difficulty level.  High Scores for Novice and Expert will display on-screen as long as the game is not turned off, however they will not save as your high score.

Your high score will NOT be displayed on screen unless you've selected the standard difficulty setting. 

You will see “Savekey Check” when the game attempts to read or write to the SaveKey.  If you’d like to clear your high score, hold the joystick down on powerup.  You will see the SaveKey check screen turn blue to indicate that your score has been cleared.

CombinedScreenshot2.png

Gate Racer v1.0.bin Bomb Barrage v1.0.bin

 

MonkeyDrop_v1.01.bin

MonkeyDrop_v1.03.bin

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38 minutes ago, Atarius Maximus said:

Well, I suppose anything IS possible, but I don't have the expertise to create a switchable 96k multi-cart image. :)

I'm not sure how likely I would be to do that, I'd first spend time playing each game independently to decide about putting them on cards separately. 
 

  ..Al

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19 minutes ago, Albert said:

I'm not sure how likely I would be to do that, I'd first spend time playing each game independently to decide about putting them on cards separately. 
 

  ..Al

Agreed, I saw it as a hypothetical "is this actually possible to do" question.  Putting these three unrelated games on a single cartridge isn't something I would have thought of or would necessarily want to do, and whether or not any of them are released on cart individually here is entirely up to you.  I am happy to see some people enjoying the games either way. :)

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1 hour ago, Albert said:

I'm not sure how likely I would be to do that, I'd first spend time playing each game independently to decide about putting them on cards separately. 
 

  ..Al

What about the skills of @CPUWIZ?

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1 hour ago, Atarius Maximus said:

Agreed, I saw it as a hypothetical "is this actually possible to do" question.  Putting these three unrelated games on a single cartridge isn't something I would have thought of or would necessarily want to do, and whether or not any of them are released on cart individually here is entirely up to you.  I am happy to see some people enjoying the games either way. :)

Your very generous sir.

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6 minutes ago, Albert said:

It's not really an issue of whether or not it would be possible (it would be), more of a matter of, "Do I want to put these three games on a single cartridge, or do them individually?"

 

 ..Al

Absolutely I see you gentlemans' point. The awesomeness of 3 at one time sparked the thought.

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