Saturday, June 24, 2017

Archer Maclean Pool

Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker is terrific and technically superb but it wasn't long before I was falling asleep at the keyboard. Sorry, but that's snooker (Zzzz). However, I then realised that I had never played Archer Maclean's Pool...

Pool is an exciting, fast-paced pub game with a far shorter playtime compared to the dullness of snoozeville snooker. American and English variations of the game are available with the added options to play through tournaments or to set up trick shots. If you've played Whirlwind then you'll instantly take to this but I doubt any newcomers will struggle with the interface, which is instinctive so very easy to grasp. Use the mouse to alter your viewing angle but don't forget to chalk the cue before setting up the shot with the right amount of power, spin and direction. There is a wide range of computer opponents from the amateur to the godlike, so it's best to practice before taking on the pros!

Graphics are... well... it's a table with balls on it, so there isn't much to drool over, but the framerates are very smooth and shows just what 8MHz can deliver. The 3D engine works ever so well to offer easy angled point of views when lining up your shot. Let's not forget the game's comical side with taunting balls, evil-eyed fans or the flies on the table!! Sound effects are nice and rather varied with clinks, plops and the oddly humorous cue-chalking moments. Overall, it's a mostly silent experience but I do find the celebrational cheering after a win to be quite annoying! lol

What I love about this game is the superb design which feels natural and realistic. After your first shot, you realise just how incredibly superior the hidden mathematical calculations are that make the physics appear so believable. There are near-limitless possibilities for each shot you make, which is quite incredible. I cannot ever imagine anyone having anything but good things to say about Archer Maclean's Pool. Sure, it's best in the pub with a couple of cold beers, but this virtual version definitely comes a close second. Make time to play this today, a faultless release by Virgin.


 - 8BitChip have the hard drive installable game (works on the faster Mega STe, TT, Falcon).
 - Stonish has it on Gravatics #93 floppy disk and this also features Kid GP!!
 - AtariMania has this listed in their library with scans of the manual.


Friday, June 23, 2017


ImageWorks released Phobia back in 1989 with a gorgeous oldskool styled cover. Stunning artwork with lots of colour, action and a cruel glare from evil eyes which reflects the gameplay perfectly because its one of the hardest games I have ever played. All the hallmarks of a potentially outstanding shooter are there but it's impossible without a trainer as there is too much going on at once. If ever there was a killer shoot 'em up, this is it - Arrgghhh!!!

I bought Phobia for only 99 pence and it was sealed so the box and contents are in superb condition. I wonder why nobody ever bought it? Hmmm, maybe I'll be brave and record a video and write a review? Maybe...


 - ST Format #1 reviews Phobia but wasn't too impressed with the difficulty - lol wimps!!
 - D-Bug has a download with a trainer and hard drive support.
 - Stonish has the floppy disks and I liked Timelords #29 Menu CD (1MB).
 - Here is a fantastic video recording by Stefan Lindberg.
 - My tweet after playing Phobia for a few minutes... ARGGHHHHHH!!!

I should have known this was going to be hard with such a hideous screen. The next pic is my ship being blown up, again!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017



The Atari ST has so many great games that feature superb pixel art and I figured I should start a new section specifically for these drawings. So let's kick things off with Colin Swinbourne's artistic skills for Empire Software's Deathbringer which has a hideous loading screen, just look at his teeth and the hatred in that evil glare from those sinister eyes!! The intro which follows is freaky but with great sound effects and a comical ending that you will love. I hope you all agree that Colin's skills are a fantastic way to kick off this new section. Review to follow soon :)


 - 8BitChip have the hard drive installable game.
 - Stonish has the floppy disk version of Midland Boys #47. (Menu supports DMA h/w if detected)
 - Gears Of Games has an incredible YouTube video you should watch/subscribe!
 - AtariMania lists the other games Colin Swinbourne has been involved in. Yeah, Joe Blade!!