Welcome, Guest.
Please login or register.

Login  | Register  | PW? ]
You have 0 points
News Articles Screens Video Cheats FAQ Files Forum

Posted by pomegran on Aug 9, 2010 21:46 (Aug 9, 2010 21:46)

If there was ever a paragraph to get a teenager to buy their game in the 80s, this was it:

"Five channel sound which utilizes two separate speech channels with sampled dialogue and effects. Super fast 360 degrees fire power. Collectable pods to enhance your spacecraft´s shield, fire power, manoeuvrability and speed, Hi-Score, ultra score and galactic hall of fame."

Yes, we are talking about Martech's Mega Apocalypse.

Released in 1987 on the C64 (with Spectrum and Amstrad versions not long behind), it had built up a considerable amount of hype. Little nuggets of information were constantly drip-fed to the press including the "5 channel sound", "two-player allies or enemies game modes", "140 sprites on screen at one time" as well as "pulsating starfields", it was sounding too good to be true. Add to that music by the maestro Rob Hubbard and graphics by Bob Stevenson (of stunning loading screen fame), how could it fail?

Mega Apocaplypse was actually the sequel to Chris Nichol's previous game Crazy Coments. Crazy Coments was supposedly based around the 1983 Gottlieb arcade game "Mad Planets". However, Mega Apocalypse was actually closer to the Gottlieb arcade game in the way it played (and looked), allowing you to rotate your ship through 360 degrees, unlike Crazy Coments where you simply shot up the screen. Implementing this rotation mechanic on the C64 however did have it's issues ...

Whilst Gottlieb's original had a joystick and spinner, the C64 had to rely on the standard 8-way, single button joystick. This meant that the only reasonable way to implement rotation of the ship was to keep the fire button pressed whilst moving left or right (depending on which way you wanted to rotate). This had the unfortunate downside of leaving you stationery whilst rotating. Not ideal in a high-speed shoot'em up I think you'll agree.

Although this can be a tad frustrating at times, don't let that put you off what is one of the best pick up and play shooters for the C64. It is simple to play. Round after round of planets to shoot, getting faster and more frequent. That was about it. It also had a simultaneous 2 player option along with the ability to simply watch what is called "star mode" - the ability to watch the background star field all by itself (press the CBM-Key and "Q").

Graphics are of a particular high standard. The planets look fantastic as they grow larger and larger and zoom around the screen at a very high speed. A special mention must also go to the star field which rotates and pulsates constantly, incredible when you consider this is all happening with 2 players on-screen from an 8-bit machine somehow developing 5 channel sound (using the "Non Mask Interrupt" according to Nicol).

Which brings us to the sound. Not only must a special mention go to Rob Hubbard's excellent 7 minute Crazy Coments remix but also the speech. Not only did it contain multiple samples during the game (on power-up pickup) but also at the start of each round. All this at the same time as the music; no dropped channels or pauses in gameplay (just take a look at the Spectrum AY version to see what I mean). Quite a technical achievement.

Personally I could not resist buying it, even at nearly £9 (!). I wanted the 5 channel sound, the 140 sprites, the Hubbard remix. Yes, I was a graphics and sound whore. There. I admit it. Did I enjoy it? Well, apart from never getting over 140,000 points, yes. Do I still play it today? Occasionally. It only serves to remind me how brutal gaming was back then.

Supposedly Nicol developed a SNES version back in 1997 which looked great but alas was never released. Take a look on YouTube under "Apocalypse SNES Prototype". Might even try and dig it out myself ...

 Our Rating for Mega Apocalypse
Fun Factor
Single Player
Login to submit your vote!
URL Snag
Post Comment
Comment Rules
  1. No advertisments, flooding or spamming
  2. All comments should be on topic
  3. Use proper language to express yourself: no cursing or swear words
You may not post comments as a guest. Please register or login to your account.
Create a new account?
Forgot your password?
#4 Aug 10, 2010 12:36:17 ( Aug 10, 2010 11:36 )

OK - let me know what you would like it to be Send me the scores you would like against each category in the next reviews.
#3 Aug 10, 2010 10:40:12 ( Aug 10, 2010 09:40 )

Thanks.  I think it deserves more than 0.1 for multiplayer though.  It has both co-op and versus modes.
#2 Aug 9, 2010 23:24:51 ( Aug 9, 2010 22:24 )
Very original gameplay and a fantastic soundtrack.
#1 Aug 9, 2010 22:53:56 ( Aug 9, 2010 21:53 )

 Good first review matey!
Retro Fusion Interviews Jonathan Cauldwell
A Christmas Cracker...

Posted Dec 29, 2011 16:44 by boyo
Comments (4)

Retro Fusion catches up with Bit...
Ice Cream....
Dec 27, 2011 21:52

Di's Baby
Long before ripping out spines in Mortal Kombat or carrying out hit and [...]
Dec 21, 2011 20:47

Summer of Sonic Event - London 2011
Wish it was Summer again...
Dec 1, 2011 22:14

Virtua Tennis - 10 years on....
10 years that's AGES..
Nov 30, 2011 17:20

Space Junk released for iPad, iP...
In space...
Nov 28, 2011 23:25

Where’s the love for the 8-bit...
Show me the love...
Sep 22, 2011 20:24

Do fanboys dream in 128K?
I dream therefore I am...
Jul 22, 2011 20:12

Remember Cassette Games?
Beep, Beep!!!! Beeeeeeeeeeeep.......
Jul 17, 2011 17:21

At what point did playing old, e...
I'm old, but I'm not retro!
Jul 6, 2011 20:42
Article Rating:
1. An interview with Fred...
Type: Article
Author: boyo
Views: 4637

2. 10 PRINT "Speccy Rules"

3. Sensible World of Spin...

4. The Great Escape

5. Knight Lore

6. Ste Pickford - Blog En...

7. Take home a Blitz Dizz...

8. The Fantasy Art of Oli...

9. Wizball

10. Gem : Little Computer ...
Latest Comments
Dec 29, 2013 22:55 by boyo
 Well this never took ...

Apr 2, 2013 16:27 by rpothers
Missed the boat I think..Ha...

Apr 2, 2013 15:05 by rpothers
Hey, how can I help?

Mar 25, 2013 18:58 by boyo
Hey Andy - so your up for a...

Mar 24, 2013 18:04 by andyplc
I'll have some of it
home forums blogs games articles media video Advertising
News | Articles | Blogs | Files | Video | Cheats | Achievements | FAQ
Great Games: Eurogamer

Popular: Pinball Fantasies | The Secret of Monkey Island | Starquake | Microprose Forumla 1 Grand Prix | Streets of Rage 2 | Galaxian | Knight Lore | Sensible World of Soccer | Wizball | Turrican