Retro Adventures II

Back in the 80's I owned a variety of home computers including the superb Atari 800. The only major downside to this wonderful machine was the time it took to load a game from tape - it could literally take hours and most often than not - it would crash just before it had finished loading and you'd have to start again!

As it was such a pain to load games, the "little loaders" were played more often - was either that or end up doing homework or chores around the house! Of these little loaders, my all time favourite was a game called Alien Swarm by Bruce Thompson:

I never did own the original and as hard as I've tried, I've never been able to track down a retail copy. I even attempted to track down Bruce Thompson himself, but eventually gave up. If you want to try the original game, you can play using an Atari 800 emulator. The game is located here: Atari 800 Alien Swarm

My lasting memory of this game was it's unique mechanic for the use of "energy". If you died, then it wasn't necessarily game over. Provided you had sufficient energy (after a deduction for getting hit) then you would move on to the next wave. Your bullets used up energy and you had to collect energy reserves to enable you to fire.

The marauding aliens were all spawned from this one worm like creature, and were intent on stealing your energy reserves at all costs. A variety of enemies were spawned as you progressed further and your score got higher. Some of the enemies were absolute shits - the "smart bombs" that tracked your movement were especially annoying - particularly when a million other things were flying around you! To make matters worse, the worm's tail would stop your bullets dead - so if you were trying to shoot down an alien that had stolen an ammo and the tail was in the way - you're out of luck! It's gone!

Managing your energy reserves was key. A good strategy was one where you didn't completely fill all your energy bars to the top, but rather kept it around 1-2 bars. The reason for this is that if you die - you lose any energy you're carrying! In addition, 5 energy reserves are subtracted from whatever is left when you die. If there were 5 or less reserves then, well, it was game over.

As a sort of tribute to this game, and since I've been enjoying mucking around with PlayMyCode, I decided to re-imagine Alien Swarm.

It's still a little rough and ready and very much a work in progress, but it's getting there.  I have take a few liberties here and there too - there's no longer just the one worm to watch out for, but many (depending on how far you progress!)

There's also a nice little feature where you can fire up a shield (as seen above) and then go and "ram" any aliens that are on the deck and searching for energy!   The shield will also protect you from falling ammo blocks, bombs dropped by aliens, and it will also deflect bouncing bombs.  However, watch out - it won't stop the worm thing from hitting you!

As always, being a PlayMyCode game, it will be completely free, along with the source code!

I'll post a playable link when it's finished :)


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