Posts Tagged ‘moonlite software

14
May
15

Clyde’s Adventure for DOS

Having not played a DOS game in a few weeks and having my other plans fall through, I’ve recently had a quick go at the original Clyde’s Adventure. It was made by Moonlite software back in 1992 and is a puzzle-platform game. It has a sequel that I played quite some time ago.

The game uses EGA graphics and has a simplistic but very effective art style. I was impressed with the animations and colouring, which in some places actually looks like it was done with VGA capabilities. There are also animations for many of the static tiles, which brings a bit of life to the levels. Even the birds in the background move around. I did notice a little flicker under Dosbox, but I suspect that wouldn’t happen on real hardware.

Sound support comes in the form of simple Adlib effects and music. Unfortunately it seemed to not sound very good under dosbox on my windows XP machine, but was ok on my macbook. Perhaps I have a setting wrong on my PC, but on real hardware (or when working under Dosbox) the music during the levels is kinda catchy and the sound effects are quite nice. However it seems there is only one song that repeats over and over, I didn’t find it annoying, but if you do there is an option to turn off the music.

The game was quite unique at the time. Firstly there are no enemies to dodge or shoot and there are only really two ways to die: running out of energy, or touching something deadly such as spikes or lava. Energy is basically your health, and unusually you use energy when you move, jump or fall a long distance. Luckily you can find more in the level, but it is generally quite sparse. This means you really need to plan your path and know the levels in order to successfully complete them. Because of this it took quite a few goes and a few hours to even beat the first level.

Clyde carries a wand to temporarily destroy some bricks, and this combined with switches and magic triggers will reveal new areas, Gems to collect or bombs that can help open areas up. These create some interesting puzzles, especially when you’ve got limited energy.

Clydes Adventure is quite challenging, much more challenging than it’s sequel. I spent quite a lot of time learning each level, dying and having to try again. But strangely it wasn’t really frustrating, perhaps because there is no lives system, and you only really die by making a mistake with the controls or path you take. Being insta-killed on spikes because I jumped a little short did annoy me a little though, especially closer to the end of a level.

Because it is quite challenging and time consuming I didn’t get to play as far into it as I would have liked. So I might have missed seeing some of the features of the game. Still I really enjoyed what I did get to play, only it’ll almost certainly take me several weeks to finish it, if I have time to play.

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06
Jul
13

Clyde’s Revenge for DOS

Clyde's Revenge

Clyde’s Revenge

Clyde’s Revenge was made by Moonlite software back in 1995 and is a sequel to the original Clyde’s adventure. Moonlite software also made Hocus Pocus and Taking Care of Business. Clyde’s Revenge appears to be the last game Moonlite software made. It is a puzzle platform game much like its predecessor and appears to use an enhanced version of the Hocus Pocus game engine.

Their Logo

Their Logo

When you first start the game you get a nicely animated ASCII style menu that allows you to change the sound card settings and create a profile for yourself. This is unusual as this is usually done in either a separate program or within the graphical menu in game. It does make resuming a game from the level you are up to a little easier as it auto saves your progress in your profile.

Silver Key

Silver Key

The graphics are much the same in style as the original, but have the parallax scrolling background capability from Hocus Pocus. The art style echoes the older games improving some elements with extra animations and colour. Each level has a colour theme which changes every two levels. Because there are no enemies in game many elements of the levels are animated including energy pickups and hazards such as lava. In fact in some levels a large number of the static bricks are all animated. This means the game uses more processing power than Hocus Pocus because of how much is animating on screen.

Stones and Energy

Stones and Energy

There is a wide variety of sound support, more than most games. I used Sound Blaster digitised sound for sound effects and music and found both were quite good. The music changes along with the visual theme of the level you’re playing and reflects the nature of the game. The sound effects are kinda cartoonish in a way, mostly being ok. The sound effect for when you get hurt is however a big annoying scream which doesn’t seem to fit all that well.

Lava!

Lava!

The game is primarily a puzzle game so game play is significantly different. You are tasked with collecting all the stones that are around a level. This requires you to explore and find all the different areas of the level which are sometimes hidden quite well. There are a few different mechanics that help you travel around levels. Firstly there are the normal controls, which are pretty much like other platform games and are precise. Switches may open up new areas not necessarily on screen and sometimes walking somewhere will trigger a passage to open. Springs will throw you up in the air higher each time you bounce on them.

An interesting an different feature comes from the original Clyde game. Clyde has a wand which he can use to temporarily destroy some types of bricks below him. Sometimes this reveals a spring or switch which can further exploration attempts.

Scrolls

Scrolls

The game is difficult but easier than the original as the original took energy away just for moving. You only lose energy in this one by falling a long distance or being hurt. Even though there are no enemies, there are still plenty of ways to be killed in a level. It will usually take several attempts to complete a level. There are a few different difficulty levels which may make your life easier (or harder) including one for kids which has infinite health. So anyone will find a setting to suite them.

Yay!

Yay!

Because it can take quite a few tries to pass a level I’m not all that far into the game. You have to practice a level just in order to finish it, where as in a game like Hocus Pocus you replay a level to get higher scores. This can make it a little repetitive until you are able to move on to the next level, but rewarding when you do. The platforming and puzzles are enjoyable, and like the other Moonlite software games I have enjoyed playing it immensely.

19
Mar
13

Taking Care of Business for DOS

Moonlite Software logo

Moonlite Software logo

Taking Care of Business (or TCB for short) is a single screen puzzle platform game made by Moonlite software back in 1994. Moonlite software made many platform games in the DOS era, most notably the Clyde’s Revenge games and my favourite Hocus Pocus. TCB is unlike the others in many ways, but has a similar art style to Clyde’s Revenge.

Menu Screen

Menu Screen

TCB is very much like the Block man game by Soleau Software in that you solve puzzles by moving tiles around in a simple platform environment. TCB is some-what more complex as there are many more tools, tiles and hazards to account for when trying to solve a puzzle. You are able to destroy bricks with your head or dynamite, create ladders, flip switches, and push some tiles. You will have to avoid lightning traps and blocks that disappear after you walk on them in one direction.

Solving the first puzzle.

Solving the first puzzle.

TCB is very unusual for a DOS game in that it is one of the few that uses high resolution VESA mode graphics. The graphics as I said have a very similar style to the Clyde games. The main character Demolisher Dirk looks very much like a muscular construction worker version of Clyde with a hard hat. Because the developers had used this style before the graphics appear quite polished despite being fairly simple. The graphics animate very smoothly even on a slow machine, so if you happened to put a VESA compatible card in a 386 (what a waste) it would work quite well. I love the animation of Dirk head butting a wall to destroy it!

Sound is available in the form of either PC Speaker or Sound Blaster sound. The digitised sound on the sound blaster is quite good, but not essential to your play experience. I didn’t try the PC speaker sound, if it were to be annoying it is a simple matter to just turn the sound off.

Stuffed up!

Stuffed up!

The puzzles are quite challenging, but the game is quite forgiving. There are no limits on the number of attempts of a puzzle and you can attempt the puzzles in any order you like. The game has a nice demo mode which shows all the game elements and how they work and it can show you a solution to a puzzle if you get stuck. The controls behave the way you expect, and are easy to use. The game has some nice online help so if you have trouble you won’t be lost for long.

and again!

and again!

I found the game quite fun, and I didn’t mind having to replay some puzzles to eventually solve them. There are 60 puzzles to solve so it will keep you busy for quite some time. There were some additional ones available but I’m not sure where you’d get them now. However the time you will spend will be limited as you will eventually solve all the levels, or get sick of trying on the harder ones. If you’re like me you’ll eventually forget how to solve the puzzles and be able to come back to play them again.

Taking Care of Business is charming and worth a download especially if you like the puzzle platformer genre. It reflects the quality of the other Moonlite software games which I’d also recommend.

11
Mar
12

Hocus Pocus for Dos

One of my favourite gaming genres is the platforming game, one of the first that I played was Hocus Pocus by moonlite software. This game puts you in the shoes of a young wizard who wanting to join the council of wizards, needs to perform a series of tasks to gain admittance. In addition he can’t marry his love Popopa until he has joined the council. The game consists of 4 episodes, each of which consist of 9 levels, the end of which will have a number of boss enemies. You complete levels by collecting the power crystals scattered around them. I only ever played the shareware game, and hence only the first episode – Time Tripping. The game is pretty much your standard run and gun fair, the enemies are pretty similar in how they behave across the levels but do have some graphical variation.  I played this game a lot as a kid, the main thing I was trying to do usually was maximise my score, you do this by collecting all the treasure including that which is secret, and by finishing the level within a pre-determined time frame. This requires knowing the levels back to front and practising the best path to collect all the treasure and crystals. It isn’t necessary to kill the monsters to progress through the levels, but it is easier if you do. The graphics are quite pleasing to the eye, and incorporate some nice backgrounds with parallax scrolling which even works quite well on the 386sx 20Mhz that I ran it on as a kid. We didn’t have a sound card on our old computer so we used the PC speaker for sound effects, which proved adequate but not as good as the adlib and sound blaster support. I recently got the registered version of this game and found the later episodes much more difficult that the first. The traps are more deadly, but there are more power-ups to assist you in your travels. The enemies are more varied but still very similar to those found in the first episode. One of the biggest differences is the end boss for each episode, you have to take a different strategy in killing each different type of boss.  Graphically, each episode is unique, but they borrow elements of design from each other sometimes re-using a monster, background or tile. This ties them all together without feeling like you’re playing the same episode again.

I still find this game fun to play today, but it lacks the depth that many other platformers have, so I usually play in short bursts. The registered version is worth getting, and you can still buy it from the 3D realms website.




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