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 Post subject: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:55 pm 


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I know the hardware's in the title, but this thread is really about the library of games for the machine.

There's a C64 available near me that's at a pretty decent price, and I'm muling over wheteher to pick it up or not.
I never had one myself growing up, but some of my friends did so I got a little exposure/nostalgia for it.
I'm thinking it might be a bit of fun to type in short programs in BASIC, and get familiar with the commands, as I never messed with that type of computing experience(not even in DOS, which I never really used aside from school computer labs, and I've forgotten all about it(my familly got a computer pretty late in the game, maybe 1997, or maybe even 1998, so it was Windows from the start for me))

But regarding the game library : is there good stuff in there? games that would get mentionned in the Sidescrolling thread because it's a decent enough action game, or arcade-y title, or arcade port, etc

Or am I better building a DOS pc for that type of experience? (I think I'm really wanting to own a retro computer nowadays. Been eying the MSX platform too, but they're pricey...)


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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:48 am 


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While their game libraries were certainly vast, post-Golden Age arcade games were like every 8- and 16-bit Western home computer's weak point as far as I can tell. Smooth scrolling wasn't a thing until Commander Keen and yadda yadda yadda. So the answer to your question is either "not really" or "yes, but you have to reach a bit", depending on who you ask.

That being said, I know there have been a number of threads on the topic:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2050
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=15059
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=37670

With emulation of computers from that time period you generally don't have to worry about lag like you do with console emulators, and it's usually less of a headache than dealing with the original hardware, too. I've done a little bit of BASIC coding in Altirra and some 6502 assembly with MAME's Apple ][e driver. I'm generally less interested in C64 emulation as a result, but for the handful of titles that warrant it, there's WinVICE. Set the drive speeds to match the real deal and it's about as much of that computing experience as you'll be able to stomach.

I'm sure more knowledgeable folks here would be more than happy to sell you on the X68000 to scratch your itch.
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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:36 am 


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It's very good: try Zamzara, Midnight Resistance, Turrican I/II, Rainbow Islands to name just the few off the top of my head and there are lots of good Shmups and you might want to give Double Dragon a try too ;)
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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:44 am 


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Depends purely on how badly you want an original machine. The coin-op conversions vary wildly in quality, probably non are really playable for any real length of time now that the original versions are so widely available. There's some original stuff worth a play - Wizball, Impossible Mission, Hawkeye, Forbidden Forest, Aztec Challenge, Turrican, Giana Sisters, but how long they hold the attention these days is anyone's guess. I'd probably have picked up a C64 mini if it were as easy to side load as a SNES, but apparently it only allows one extra game at a time, and the included line up is mixed. Its version of Buggy Boy remains a stand out oddity, and IK+ is still a stone-cold classic though.
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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:49 am 


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Don't forget the famous-for-music The Last Ninja series, too...absolutely huge library. Elite should also be mentioned.

Simple enough system that you can probably get a feel for it running an emulator on a website.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 12:26 pm 


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MintyTheCat wrote:
It's very good: try Zamzara, Midnight Resistance, Turrican I/II, Rainbow Islands to name just the few off the top of my head and there are lots of good Shmups and you might want to give Double Dragon a try too ;)


I'd forgotten about Zamzara - absolutely amazing game put out on a budget label if I remember correctly, then later given away as a cover mount.

Double Dragon was shocking though - both versions.
The US version of Street Fighter was quite decent for the time, the UK one was one of the most atrocious conversions that ever existed, the music was ace though.
I have a soft spot for Enduro Racer despite knowing deep down that everything about it is terrible - again the music is brilliant.
There was a good conversion of Mr Do!, and Salamander was actually impressive for the hardware. It's version of Boulder Dash is still the definitive one as well.
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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:16 pm 



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I'd say if you didn't have a C64 as a kid there's a 1/100 chance you'll actually spend any length of time playing something. Make that 10/100 if you did have one growing up. Truth is most stuff didn't age very well at all, and without the nostalgia factor.... i just don't see it.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 8:54 pm 


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Marc wrote:
It's version of Boulder Dash is still the definitive one as well.


I don't know about that. Atari 800 version is the original and has comparable graphics and argubly better sound. I have that version on disk via Super Boulder Dash and it's good stuff.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:36 pm 


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Thanks for the feedback everyone. Lots of really interesting points to consider. Very varied opinions, too

@Minty yeah I was surprised to see there's a decent amount of shmups that look very playable


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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:40 am 


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There is one thing about the C=64 that gives me pause, and that's the high proportion of games on tape. The issue is loading times. I believe there are some modern interfaces that attempt to fix this shortcoming, but it is still something to consider.

With the MSX, you have a lot of games on permanent media, and then a lot of games on the easy-to-use floppy disk media, which can be written from any Windows machine if you just have a USB floppy drive and the right free program.

If space and money were no object, I'd definitely pick up a C64 myself. I'd probably get a Spectrum or A800 first though.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 1:12 am 


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If I end up picking one up, I'll definitely forgo the disk/tape drives and use only an SD2IEC and an Epyx Fastload Reloaded and that's it. Loading should be pretty fast, but still there. It'll be interesting to see if I have patience for those loading sequences :lol: I've never had to go through that, as I'm a ROM cart kid through and through(never had a computer until '98-ish pc). Atari 2600? stuff cart in and power up and BAM! NES? BAM! SNES? BAM! Playstation? Well, there is a bit of loading being reintroduced there... but I digress :lol:
But yeah, definitely a point to consider re: loading times

But yeah I love how most of the MSX games are on ROM carts. Oh and a flash cart is a must for that since the games are so expensive

I wish I could find an MSX2 for $50 :lol: but alas, it isn't going to happen


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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:35 am 


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It's mostly the tapes that have painfully slow loading times, disks aren't actually that bad, at least on the MSX/2 and Sharp X68000 (emulated, of course, but with the standard loading times). The more annoying one, as far as I've experienced, is the FDS. Although the loading times themselves are standard for a disk drive, some games require you to constantly switch the disk's side, which gets very annoying.
It's your call whether you want to buy it or not, of course, but like has been said, emulation of the C64 (& friends) is very good, and is always a decent place to start, so you can always decide whether to buy it at a later time or not.

Definitely check out some of Manfred Trenz's games (Turrican(s), Katakis, etc), definitely among the best on the machine. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:51 am 


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There's some great stuff on C64, but as people above have mentioned, as it moves into the late 80s, the ports start suffering. For fast-paced action games, I really like:

Uridium
Buggy Boy
Impossible Mission
Zenji
Commando Arcade (needs a flash cart)
Jam It!
Matrix (Jeff Minter)
Realm of Impossibility

And if you like more-strategic action games, there are games like Paradroid, Citadel, The Sentry, and Airborne Ranger. I also remember the port of Bubble Bobble being really solid, and there are some good ports of pre-crash classics. It even has a good Mario Bros (sadly unreleased). If you can run PAL, I also recommend the Cabal port. Turrican is a neat game, too, but TBH I think the best of the series was Mega Turrican. I can't really recommend Gianna even though the Commodore fan in me wants to.
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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:25 pm 


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Every time people suggest "the best games" on C64, it's always stuff that would be kusoge on any other platform. Tons of "you have to take their age into consideration" excuses. I might check out some of the recommendations from this thread, but even if there's one or two I think that's about it.

Turrican absolutely is not a good game. There you have it.

C64 is crazy interesting for its hardware and its history though. Get one and try making some stuff for it. And once you've made your first infinite naughty word loop in BASIC, move on to 6502 assembly and get your hands dirty with the cool stuff :3

If I ever manage to make a good game for the NES, I'll port it to C64 so the system gets to have at least one good game.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:05 pm 


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Heh, isn't that the truth. This thing has definitely given me some Zorro-related trauma. Ghosts n Goblins was bad enough that someone made their own port a couple years back. Really gives a similar "this hardware can do better!" vibe to all of the people who've made or hacked together a Pac-Man for the 2600.

Ghouls and Ghosts is perhaps the best you can expect from it - if Tim's name is on the box your ears will be O-K.

My older brother owned one of these, with hundreds of pirated games on disks as was the style at the time. That I can recall precious few of them doesn't speak great of it:

* The nightmare that is Zorro.
* The hot lantern-collecting action that is Bruce Lee.
* Rastan, but the game crashes halfway into the first screen. (One of the best experiences I had on the console imho.)
* The passable but short and repetitive Aztec Challenge.
* Some monster game where you can swap its body parts.
* Barbie dress up simulator. (Perhaps the best Barbie game of all time?)
* This game where you're a fish or a fishing hook or something. FISH!
* The Mario graphics hack of Giana Sisters.
* Strip poker.

Looking back on it later, the RPG library isn't much to sing home about either. Just another box for people to port things to.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:56 pm 


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Sumez wrote:
Every time people suggest "the best games" on C64, it's always stuff that would be kusoge on any other platform. Tons of "you have to take their age into consideration" excuses. I might check out some of the recommendations from this thread, but even if there's one or two I think that's about it.

Turrican absolutely is not a good game. There you have it.

C64 is crazy interesting for its hardware and its history though. Get one and try making some stuff for it. And once you've made your first infinite naughty word loop in BASIC, move on to 6502 assembly and get your hands dirty with the cool stuff :3

If I ever manage to make a good game for the NES, I'll port it to C64 so the system gets to have at least one good game.



Man, harsh!
Mostly true though, if I think of stuff that still stands up today I'd go:

Buggy Boy (best conversion)
Boulderdash
Brue Lee - crazy simple, but very kinetic, still has a certain something
Wizball (best version)
Uridium - good enough that Hyper Sentinel is almost the same game an still enjoyable 20+ years later
Paradroid
IK+
Hawkeye
The Sentinel


Ghosts 'n' Goblins was the bomb, I think a lot of people forget that these machines were far less advanced than the NES/SMS. Powerdrift, Renegade, Salamander, Black Tiger, Cabal and Mr Do were all examples of pretty good conversions given the limitations.
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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:58 pm 


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More interesting takes. Thank you guys for taking the time to write here

I definitely find Turrican to be an odd game, what I've seen has never impressed me and I've never had the urge to play it (to my eyes, it doesn't quite seem to stack up to what japanese gaming has to offer), although I wouldn't mind trying it in emulation for a bit. But your character having no i-frame is legit bizzare, the tinyest monster being on top of you for 2 full seconds will just drain your lifebar straight up. Wtf? The blocks you shoot and that release absolutely all of the available powerups is also some alien design to me... I just find that an odd design choice and it has me scratching my head. The collect-a-ton aspect also puzzles me in a run 'n gun game... Does Mega Turrican on MD fixes these issues? I might give it a shot down the line when I get around to picking up a flash cart, with what louisg said.

I think most of us here were spoiled by NES/Master System, as far as 8-bit gaming-at-home goes. I mean, the NES/FC has at least like, a hundred very good (some excellent) action games that still hold up today. And at least another hundred or two that are decent/worth your time. What a crazy good system for R2TRKMF and top down action.

Yeah my willingness to fiddle with the system and to code for it is probably gonna be the deciding factor for picking one up here, after considering all opinions in the thread


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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:22 pm 


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I'd get an Amiga if I were you. Unless you already have one.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 10:35 pm 


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freshtop wrote:
I'd get an Amiga if I were you. Unless you already have one.

I do not!

What are Amiga games worth playing today, for someone who has no nostalgia for them, IYO?


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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:07 pm 


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Gloom 3


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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:52 pm 


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Marc wrote:
MintyTheCat wrote:
It's very good: try Zamzara, Midnight Resistance, Turrican I/II, Rainbow Islands to name just the few off the top of my head and there are lots of good Shmups and you might want to give Double Dragon a try too ;)


I'd forgotten about Zamzara - absolutely amazing game put out on a budget label if I remember correctly, then later given away as a cover mount.

I got the demo on a cover cassette and abotu 8 years ago I bought it on cassette :) It's really good with a nice metallic art style. First game I ever completed was Turrican followed by Midnight Resistnace - both ont he C64 :) Yes, many my age have fond memories of the machine but I don't play it these days, but I'm betting that many still do. I tend to play the famicom when I play anything but last couple of years I've played hardly any games.
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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:54 pm 


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In this day and age no one needs to rley on disk and tape for the C64 as there are so many flashcards and loading carts out there. The C64 is still activiely developed for hardware wise and it's massive in Germany still and you'll regualrly see new hardware int he mags and such. Have a look around for solutions but maybe get a book or soemthing of C64 cover artwork as it rules - NARC anyone?

Image

The 80s were such a mean time and mixing drugs and such in kids' entertainment was all compeltely kosher :P I do miss those halcyon days :)
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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:20 am 


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That's a dope cover

I actually like NARC arcade. such a display of POWER VIOLENCE but hey : it's the good guyze doing it so it must be ok, right? right??? :lol:

love the dealers/druggies enemies and how some shoot syringes at you. Gotta also love the name of dat crime syndicate : KRAK. Very subtle. lol

Just all around, over the top good fun (might actually qualify as over-the-top over the topness... damn, just completly ridiculous).
I think I'll get that Willams Arcade PS2 compilation featuring it, at some point


Last edited by FinalBaton on Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:30 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:22 am 


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Sumez wrote:
Every time people suggest "the best games" on C64, it's always stuff that would be kusoge on any other platform. Tons of "you have to take their age into consideration" excuses. I might check out some of the recommendations from this thread, but even if there's one or two I think that's about it.


But some of those excuses aren't entirely unfounded; you have to take the hardware into account. And "best games on the C64" doesn't imply that they are on par with the other platforms's games, only that they are better then the rest of the C64 library. :)

FinalBaton wrote:
I definitely find Turrican to be an odd game, what I've seen has never impressed me and I've never had the urge to play it (to my eyes, it doesn't quite seem to stack up to what japanese gaming has to offer), although I wouldn't mind trying it in emulation for a bit. But your character having no i-frame is legit bizzare, the tinyest monster being on top of you for 2 full seconds will just drain your lifebar straight up. Wtf? The blocks you shoot and that release absolutely all of the available powerups is also some alien design to me... I just find that an odd design choice and it has me scratching my head.


It certainly is somewhat odd, and not that good of a game, but many of these features/mechanics aren't unique to the original game at all, and I wouldn't call it a bad game by any means. My biggest gripe with the series (not all of the games), is with the camera behaviour, which only scrolls when you're about 3/4 of the way close to the edge of the screen.

FinalBaton wrote:
Yeah my willingness to fiddle with the system and to code for it is probably gonna be the deciding factor for picking one up here, after considering all opinions in the thread


You can just download an assembler and an emulator, and use your PC as the dev platform, though. That's what I do for the Famicom (though unlike the C64, you can't program on the NES -- unless you have its BASIC equipped variant).
Programming for the C64 (and similar) is nice, but programming on it is not very glamorous. After having used Borland C++ 3.x for DOS, I thank the heavens for modern text editors/IDEs. :)

Don't let this from buying it if you want it, though. I also think it would be a pretty nice system to have, especially considering both the huge amount of stuff that exists for it (not necessarily games), and the stuff that still gets made, as has been said. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:26 am 


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__SKYe wrote:
is with the camera behaviour, which only scrolls when you're about 3/4 of the way close to the edge of the screen.

I totally get your gripe with that, man. That's also something I loathe in games and by itself is enough to turn me off a piece of software

__SKYe wrote:
Don't let this from buying it if you want it, though. I also think it would be a pretty nice system to have, especially considering both the huge amount of stuff that exists for it (not necessarily games), and the stuff that still gets made, as has been said. :wink:

That's true enough


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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:35 am 


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MintyTheCat wrote:
The 80s were such a mean time and mixing drugs and such in kids' entertainment was all compeltely kosher :P I do miss those halcyon days :)

>)

Not so much fun if you were black and an evil crack cocaine risk, but for everybody else...yeah. I suppose that's one good thing about NARC at least - they went after the drugs. Oh no, the NARCS man (Did the conversions save any of the excellent sound quips? I fear not, the NARC board was gigantic as you all know.)

I actually have a pile of vintage 8-bit computer games somewhere because the box art is so good, bought years ago. I'll probably never play some of it on original hardware, because I'd have to own one of about every system to even scratch the surface.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:26 am 


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FinalBaton wrote:
I definitely find Turrican to be an odd game, what I've seen has never impressed me and I've never had the urge to play it (to my eyes, it doesn't quite seem to stack up to what japanese gaming has to offer), although I wouldn't mind trying it in emulation for a bit. But your character having no i-frame is legit bizzare, the tinyest monster being on top of you for 2 full seconds will just drain your lifebar straight up. Wtf? The blocks you shoot and that release absolutely all of the available powerups is also some alien design to me... I just find that an odd design choice and it has me scratching my head. The collect-a-ton aspect also puzzles me in a run 'n gun game... Does Mega Turrican on MD fixes these issues? I might give it a shot down the line when I get around to picking up a flash cart, with what louisg said.

I agree that there are some unusual design choices, but IMO they do woek actually nicely in those games. You just have to unlearn what you have learned before. I actually never considered Turrican I+II as run'n'gun games, as the exploration aspect was always on the forefront for me. They are really easy, too. I used to finish each with 20-30 extra lives in stock.

Mega Turrican (in fact all of the Factor-5-designed console Turricans, as opposed to the Manfred-Trenz-designed parts I and II) almost completely ditches the exploration aspect in favour of very linear levels, and they are much worse games for it. The console Turricans are okay-ish run'n'guns on consoles that house much better examples of the genre. The home computer Turricans (I+II) are more or less their own genre. Whether that's something you appreciate is a matter of taste.

However, as much as I still enjoy them despite their apparent flaws, you don't really play any Turrican game for the game, you play it to listen to the fantastic music, which is why playing it on the C64 is probably not the best choice, as those versions don't have in-game music at all.

Back to the original topic, there really isn't very much on the C64 in regards to worthwhile action games except for the handful already mentioned.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 1:06 pm 


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Herr Schatten wrote:
You just have to unlearn what you have learned before.

Yeah looks like this is the mindset I'll have to have when I try them, good call. It's true that the music is unbelievable in I & II. Guess I'll give them a go on the Amiga whenever I have an itch for exploration-action game.


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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:28 am 



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Commodore 64s are worthwhile for the music.

My favourite games were

Last Ninja 1 and 2
Head over Heels
IK+
Delta
Rambo (press the return key on the helicopter sequence to get a boost mode which takes you to safety without conflict)
Ghosts and Goblins
Uridium
Spy Hunter
Hypersports
Combat School
Platoon
Bruce Lee
Katakis
Rick Dangerous

Just to name a few.
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 Post subject: Re: Is the C64 worth picking up for action games?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:08 pm 


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The C64 port of Alien Syndrome was pretty decent, and way better than the SMS one.
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