So I’d been sleeping under a rock and missed the whole Epyx last last year had put a bunch of games onto steam! I’d just been talking to someone about Impossible Mission as I had no idea what was going on in the first one, but as a kid I’d actually beat Impossible Mission II! Oddly enough the Summer Games & Jump Man Jr are absent, perhaps some long standing deal elsewhere. But at prices between $12 & $28 ($1.55 & $3.61 USD) I was hyped and bought a bunch.
I was curious which system would they be for? Commodore 64? Atari 400/800? Commodore Amiga or ST?
Turns out there was an IBM PC version. I never knew, but back in ’88 I was still using my Commodore 64, and everyone else I knew had either an Amiga or Atari ST. School had those QNX machines but that was just a big missed opportunity from everyone an everything.
The steam/PC version. .. is certainly not right out of the box. As you can see from the box it supports CGA/EGA/Tandy/VGA-MCGA. And it’s configured for EGA by default. Strange, as the MCGA/VGA is the best of all platforms with it’s 256 colours. However here is where it falls flat very quickly is that back in ’88 they didn’t code for that big thing last year, the 1987 AdLib. Ooff! Even worse no IBM PCjr audio (same as the Tandy) either.
So yes it’s glorious PC SPEAKER. Yuck.
What went wrong?
The Cinemaware Anthology: 1986-1991 managed somehow to get an Amiga emulator that boots up from ROM disks and is so transparent it’s easy to forget there is any emulation.
So let’s use 7zip and rip it apart!
10/11/2014 10:29 pm 402,960 .bind
10/11/2014 10:29 pm 19,962,368 .data
10/11/2014 10:29 pm 27,136 .rdata
10/11/2014 10:29 pm 87,040 .reloc
24/05/2021 09:36 pm .rsrc
10/11/2014 10:29 pm 174 .rsrc_1
10/11/2014 10:29 pm 402,944 .text
28/05/2019 08:12 pm 20,901,904 Anthology.exe
So inside of the executable there is 20MB of data. let’s rip further:
28/10/2014 09:29 am floppy
24/10/2014 11:21 am img
22/10/2014 12:37 am maps
28/10/2014 09:30 am os
28/10/2014 09:30 am rlst
28/10/2014 09:29 am romdisk
floppies, rom lists, rom disks and an OS?
28/10/2014 09:30 am .
28/10/2014 09:30 am ..
03/07/2013 12:02 am 262,144 Kick12.rom
27/10/2014 09:45 am 1,794 rdd.rom
2 File(s) 263,938 bytes
Really? Did they get some kind of sweetheart deal?
I copied of UAE, and fired it up, and yep it’s v1.2
Pretty cool. And sad too as Pixel Games UK obviously couldn’t secure such a cool deal, and all we have is the sadly inferior PC versions. And that is the crux of it, on the one hand I want to support them, but the PC versions frankly are unplayable. Jump Man barely can pick up 2 keys at the same time so it’s almost impossible to run and jump. Maybe it’s a DOSBox thing, maybe its an ancient DOSBox, I don’t know. On the other hand the only one that really doesn’t suffer keyboard issues, is from it’s design and that’s Rogue.
so I’m really mixed on this. And 33 years ago someone should have told them at Epyx to get one of those ‘peanut’ machines and get the PCjr sound effects going or at the least get one of those new fangled AdLibs that Sierra Online kept harping about.
Speaking of Sierra check out Not All Fairy Tales Have Happy Endings, by Ken Williams. It’s not so much about the games, but more so about the business wheeling and dealings, and yes the AdLib and peanut are important.