02
Sep
13

Rick Dangerous II for DOS

Rick Dangerous II

Rick Dangerous II

Rick Dangerous II was released in 1990 following the previous game the year before. It was quite popular on platforms such as the Amiga, Atari ST and the older 8 bit computers it ran on. It was also ported to the PC where it didn’t seem to be as popular. I got the game along with the first one from a good friend of mine from high school. It was quite some time after it’s release in 1997. I still played it anyway and found it enjoyable, but slow to play.

Early in Hyde Park

Early in Hyde Park

The game was released at a time when the top of the line PCs had 386 processors and VGA, but many people still had old XT or AT systems that they didn’t want to upgrade because the machines were still quite expensive. The Amiga and other systems that were around at the time were far superior to the old XTs and ATs, but roughly equivalent to many 386 systems in 1990.

Moving Platforms

Moving Platforms

They made the DOS port compatible with as many PC systems they could. Rick Dangerous II supports both CGA and EGA/VGA graphics, although I suspect the latter is just EGA as VGA was backward compatible with EGA. The game also has the choice of both Adlib and PC speaker sound, although I couldn’t get the Adlib sound working under Dosbox.

Title Screen in CGA

Title Screen in CGA

The graphics and sound are good for the PC on each of the different devices, but don’t hold a candle to most of the other ports for other systems. The closest visually/aurally is the EGA and Adlib combination, but for some reason using EGA halves the speed of the game-play.  I suspect this is because of badly optimised EGA code slowing the game down, but I can’t be sure.

Hyde Park in 4 colours

Hyde Park in 4 colours

Rick Dangerous games are known for their brutal difficulty, requiring players to memorise the levels and play through them repeatedly before being able to beat a level. The PC version seems to pretty easy to me when played on the EGA mode, mostly because it’s so slow. This is one of the few occasions I’d recommend playing the CGA mode as this makes the game more challenging and closer to what it was intended to be.

The Robots are different!

The Robots are different!

I did eventually play the whole game through on an older machine we still had around, and it was quite fun. But it’s not really a shining example of what PC games of that era could do. It is a pretty good port of the game in the context of the old XT/AT machines, but really the EGA/VGA could have been much better.

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