Sunday, 24 March 2013

Escape from the planet of the robot monsters / Atari ST

Despite its long name, Escape From The Planet Of The Robot Monsters is an excellent isometric shoot 'em up, with plenty of zappy, Dan Dare-esque action. Set on the synthetic industrial planet Planet X, the evil Reptilons invade and enslave the human workforce to create an evil army of robots with a plan to invade Earth. Team up with a friend or go it alone with your trusty ray gun and blast away at a variety of enemy robots while arming up with bombs to destroy Reptilon bosses and saving hapless slave hostages to increase your lives.

EFTPOTRM is a port of the arcade game was one of two arcade ports games that were bundled with the Atari ST in their Discovery Package when I eventually bought one with my brother in the early nineties for a massive sum of about £200. Having sold loads of toys to raise the required capital to bring us into the digital age (read: we wanted to play games all the time and my dad didn't want us to play games on his Atari ST that he was using for music making), we got some great action games to get us started. The Discovery Pack came with a ton of other software, including a copy of the Atari ST port Final Fight, which had no sound effects and just had a repeating soundtrack - I would have covered this in an earlier post were it not for the fact that no video on YouTube has a copy of this soundtrack and I cannot find a working copy of it on the STEem emulator to record from.

A really snazzy purple box full of disks and manuals via Ebay
As a result, Final Fight and EFTPOTRM in particular formed some of the first major cooperative gaming experiences, with me and my brother shooting through the entire game together on dual joysticks while this theme of heavy square-wave basslines and typically ST arpeggios ran in the background. Again, like most of the titles on the ST that used all four sound channels for the game music, shooting in this game disturbed the soundtrack and dropped out the lead square wave and replaced it with lovely sci-fi zappy firing sounds, thundering explosions and power up exclamations  These punctuated the game throughout so that it seemed like it was all connected and reacting to the game play. Though a fairly simple game, it remains challenging to get through and is just plain fun to play - especially with two players.