Monday, 27 May 2013

ULTIMATE COPS - A new games compilation for the C64!

Greetings fellow Retronauts!

For this blog entry I will be focusing on a new game compilation for the C64 that is now almost ready for release.  ULTIMATE COPS will feature four complete COPS games by Alf Yngve - along with two bonus COPS games - one of which is a brand new release and one is a previously unreleased game.  Here's how this collection of games came about ...

They are the LAAAAW!

Back in the early 1990's Alf Yngve released a game for the C64 called COPS.  A slightly modified and improved version of the game (Cops V.2) followed soon after.   This game caught the attention of a lot of people with it's detailed and superbly animated sprites and nicely designed backgrounds.  After the release of Cops V.2, Alf was definitely 'one to watch' and he did not disappoint with his subsequent games that proved to be very popular and he was constatntly impressing gamers with his ability to think outside the confines of the SEUCK editor.

The original classic - now with a slick new front-end!

A sequel to COPS soon followed and continued the adventures of Mike 'Mad Dog' Mctavish and Singh 'Big Bang' Kapoor.  This time the Cops were taking a well earned vacation from all the crime in Euro-City - but crime never takes a holiday and soon our heroes found themselves battling villains at their holiday resort!  Holiday Cops features a slightly different graphical style to the original (including more nicely drawn locations) and some dangerous situations for the Cops including a tricky boat section!

Crime never takes a vacation - but fortunately,
neither do the COPS!

The third COPS game was produced at around the same time the first Jurassic Park movie was released.  In order to grab a slice of the dino-mania the movie generated at the time the game features a 'Dino-Land' section in the the game with assorted dinosaurs giving chase to the Cops!  Other locations include a bank vault and airport section.  This game was originally bundled with the Psytronik release of the Alf Yngve game Archetype and featured a new front added by the C64 demo crew Xentrix.

The previously unseen Cops III artwork - how much action in one pic?!

In 2012 Alf decided to produce his biggest and most ambitious COPS game yet.  COPS: The Final Chapter concludes the story of Mike 'Mad Dog' Mctavish and Singh 'Big Bang' Kapoor.  For the final part of the saga the Cops are brought out of retirement in order to rescue the kidnapped Pope (!) and take on a multitude of baddies along the way.  Alf really pulled out all the stops for this game which features separate (pseudo-interactive) intro and end sequences and some clever level designs including an amazing exploding bridge section!

Get to the CHOPPAH!

When Alf told me he was working on a fourth Cops game I thought it would be a nice idea to bundle all the Cops games together into one compilation - and that's when I came up with the idea for ULTIMATE COPS.  Rather than release the games in their original form the games have all been specially enhanced for this 2013 release.  The first two Cops games now feature brand-new front-end designs coded by Richard Bayliss with graphics by Steve 'STE'86' Day.  I decided to tackle the redesign for Cops III myself in order to move away from the (still impressive) demo-style front-end of the original release to a design that more closely matches the other games in the pack.

COPS III - Complete with new front-end and new soundtracks!  Rarr!

The artwork for the ULTIMATE COPS compilation is rather special - and there's a little story to how this came about.  A while ago I decided to digitally restore the cover of Zzap!64 issue 1 so I could hang a big print of the cover on my wall.  As part of this restoration process I managed to remove the text and Zzap! logo from the cover and painted in the missing sections on the picture underneath - which left a fully restored version of the Oliver Frey 'Elite' painting.  A few years later Oliver Frey and Roger Kean got to see my restored Elite picture and they were so impressed with my work they asked if they could sell it on in return for a royalty payment.  Rather than receive royalties I asked if I could use an existing Oliver Frey design as the artwork for a Psytronik release - and they agreed!

I was working on ULTIMATE COPS at the time and while I was perusing the various designs on Oliver's site I spotted the painting he had created for Chase HQ II (featured as the cover for Zzap! 64 issue #68).  I figured this would be PERFECT for ULTIMATE COPS as the game begins with you in the back of a red car shooting at motorbikes - and there's a helicopter later in the game.  Oliver & Roger sent me a gorgeous hi-res print to work with and I set to work fitting the artwork into the Psytronik template.  The pressure was on to create a logo that would compliment the amazing artwork, but I was happy with the first design I came up with and that's the one I went with in the end.

Oli Frey artwork on a Psytronik release!  Awesome!!

To round off the compilation brand new bitmap loading screens have been produced for the games.  Carl 'Mase' Mason has done a superb job with the new loading screens for Holiday Cops, Cops III and Cops:The Final Chapter - which is a stunning conversion of the Oli Frey cover artwork.

ULTIMATE COPS will be released on C64 tape, disk and as a DELUXE download in June 2013.

Thanks for reading, and remember, WINNERS DON'T DO DRUGS! (Er, unless you are Charlie Sheen).

Kenz /

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Jon Wells - C64 Classix available on tape, disk + digital download!

Greetings retro chums!

To tie in with the first bundle of Psytronik games to be released on the iPhone I also released a C64 disk version of the pack designed to be played on real C64 hardware.  Jon Wells C64 Classix (Volume 1) contains the full versions of Sceptre of Baghdad, Escape from Arth (the 2008 Special Edition), Blitz 2000, Blitz 3000 and a specially enhanced version of Shaolin (now entitled Shaolin+, with revamped controls and a new end sequence).

The compilation was originally designed to be a DISK ONLY release as I didn't have bitmap loading screens for the tape versions.  That was until Carl Mason stepped in and offered to produce new loading screens for the games - and he did a stunning job with them too!

Hiyaa!  Bruise Lei prepares to open a can of whupass on the C64!

Having bitmap screens for all the games meant I could go ahead with a tape release as well and, thanks to the mastering skills of Richard Bayliss, the tape versions are now available!  Shaolin+ and the Blitz games also feature cool loading tunes plucked from the SID archives of FeekZoid.

The chances of anything coming from Mars ...
... Are NIL - if you bomb their colonies into oblivion!
And that's not all!  I'm also pleased to announce that the C64 version of the compilation is also now available as a DIGITAL DOWNLOAD!  The special download bundle includes the .tap (tape) versions (complete with the splendid new loading bitmaps and funky FeekZoid choons), .d64 (disk) versions and, due to popular demand, .prg versions of all the main game files - these can be run in devices like the IDE64 and other similar devices.

The tape, budget + premium disk and digital download versions of Jon Wells C64 Classix Vol.1 are NOW AVAILABLE from the Binary Zone RetroStore and will soon also be available for the C64 emulator on iOS devices courtesy of our friends at Manomio.