Evercade Cartridge Preview: Home Computer Heroes Collection 1

Written by Pete Davison

Tags EVERCADE, Home Computer Heroes

We recently hosted our Evercade Showcase Vol. 2 for 2023, featuring an in-depth look at our lineup of amazing indie titles, including commentary from the developers themselves. If you’re yet to catch up, please take a moment to enjoy the full presentation in the video below:

Today we’re going to take a look at the Home Computer Heroes Collection 1 cartridge, a companion to our Indie Heroes lineup of console-centric releases. There are some truly excellent games in this collection, though the nature of independently developed titles means that some of you may not have come across them before. So that’s what today’s Evercade Cartridge Preview is all about — telling you a bit more about each of these games, and giving you an idea of what to expect from them!

Attack of the PETSCII Robots

Attack of the PETSCII Robots is one of two games that comes to Home Computer Heroes from the creative mind of David Murray, also known as retro tech YouTuber The 8-Bit Guy.

Attack of the PETSCII Robots has been one of several passion projects for Murray over the course of the last few years, and to date the game has been ported to a wide variety of different platforms after its initial release on early home computer platforms the C64, VIC-20 and PET. The name PETSCII Robots is a reference to these systems’ built-in character set, an offshoot of the global ASCII standard known as, you guessed it, PETSCII.

The version of Attack of the PETSCII Robots found on the Home Computer Heroes Collection 1 cartridge is the Amiga port, developed by Vesa Halttunen. Halttunen was a veteran of porting Amiga titles to other platforms, but PETSCII Robots was his first attempt at porting something from another platform to the Amiga. Thankfully, it all went very well, and the Amiga version of PETSCII Robots turned out great!

In Attack of the PETSCII Robots, you take on the role of an unnamed protagonist whose job it is to clear a series of killer robots out of various locales. Unfortunately, you tend to be sent into these locations without much in the way of equipment, so you’ll need to spend some time searching around for useful items and weaponry you might be able to make good use of.

Although resembling a top-down shooter in visual style, Attack of the PETSCII Robots is more of a strategic puzzle adventure game, drawing inspiration from classic tile-based RPGs such as the Ultima series. Charging in guns blazing is generally a quick means of getting yourself killed; instead, you’re usually best off making effective use of the environment to conceal yourself, manipulate the behaviour of the various robots and dispatch them in various creative ways. Why waste pistol ammo when you can drop them in a swimming pool or lure them into a trash compactor?

It’s a complex, challenging game that is sure to keep you busy for some time — and a great example of the ambitious sense of scope that modern indie developers bring to classic home computer platforms.

Planet X2

Another title from the creative mind of David MurrayPlanet X2 represents an ambitious attempt to bring the real-time strategy genre to the C64 platform. While some concessions obviously had to be made with the more limited hardware in mind when compared to today’s large-scale wargames, you’ll find Planet X2 to be an accessible yet challenging sci-fi affair with plenty of depth.

The concept of the game is that you are attempting to establish a new colony on a far-off planet, but alien rivals have got there first. By making use of your robotic vehicles to construct facilities and explore the terrain, you’ll need to dominate the map and obliterate your foes before they achieve the same objective!

Establish static defences around your vulnerable factories, push forward into unexplored territory to locate valuable resources, and eventually take the fight to the enemy — either by blasting them with your battle tanks, or by pelting them with powerful missiles from afar.

As a relatively complex game, getting Planet X2 onto Evercade was far from straightforward! We’ve worked hard with Murray and our team of playtesters to optimise the controls for joypad and effectively “console-ise” the game. And, not to blow our own trumpet, but we’ve done a damn good job; we won’t deny there’s a bit of a learning curve with this one to begin with, but once you let it get its otherworldly fangs into you, you’ll be hooked!

Farming Simulator: C64 Edition

As the name suggests, this is an official C64 adaptation of GIANTS Software’s popular Farming Simulator series, developed by the company’s co-founder Christian Ammann. Originally released as a bonus for those who purchased the Collectors’ Edition of Farming Simulator 19 for modern platforms, Farming Simulator: C64 Edition is a solid game in its own right.

Like most simulations, Farming Simulator: C64 Edition’s gameplay is open-ended, with the only limits on the experience being that if you run out of money, fuel or seeds, your game is over. Starting with a generous allowance of all three, you’ll need to plough the fields, scatter the seeds and wait for your crops to grow before harvesting them and selling them for profit.

With four vehicles to drive and a delightful little isometric “open world” to explore as you establish your agricultural empire, Farming Simulator: C64 Edition is a great title to kick back and relax with when you just want to get away from it all and live a simple life… a simple life with lots of heavy machinery around.

The Sword of Ianna

This title from Spanish outfit RetroWorks marks the MSX2’s first appearance on Evercade. And it’s a great title with which to show off this platform’s capabilities, featuring excellent animation, solid gameplay and atmospheric music.

For the unfamiliar, the MSX range wasn’t a single computer like the C64 was; rather, it was a “standard” originally established by ASCII Corporation and Microsoft, and manufacturers subsequently came on board to make their own MSX computers. After the original MSX specification was established in 1983, the MSX2 came along two years later with more advanced graphical capabilities, better sound, more memory and additional built-in features.

The MSX is noteworthy in that it was immensely popular in Japan, and in fact is the platform that a lot of Japanese developers favoured prior to the widespread success of Nintendo’s Family Computer — that which would become the NES when it came west. Indeed, many popular franchises that went on to enjoy great success began life on the MSX, or at least had MSX-exclusive installments.

The Sword of Ianna is a platform adventure in which you take on the role of warrior Jarkum as he begins a quest to overcome chaos and restore order. Unfolding in a large 2D world, you’ll need to explore and fight in order to achieve your goals, as well as gathering helpful items and equipment that will help you on your quest. A challenging and visually striking adventure awaits!

Citadel Remonstered

While first-person shooters are primarily associated with MS-DOS and Windows PC systems, there were several released for the Amiga over the years. The original incarnation of Citadel was one of them, released in 1995 to great acclaim, impressing reviewers and players alike with its slick texture-mapped 3D visuals and atmospheric sci-fi action — though it did require a higher-end machine to get the best out of it, making it a title primarily for the most dedicated Amiga enthusiasts.

Citadel Remonstered represents developer Virtual Design returning to the original Citadel and giving it a good going-over for a 21st century rerelease. As the name suggests, Citadel Remonstered is an attempt to create the definitive version of Citadel, and it’s certainly a solid first-person shooter that works well with console controls.

In Citadel Remonstered, you’re the sole survivor of a spacefaring expedition sent to find out what happened to the space base known as the Citadel. In short: aliens. Thus, the only solution is to make your way to the core of the Citadel, plant a bomb and then get out of there as fast as possible before you obliterate your own existence along with the alien threat.

Tanks Furry

One of two Amiga games from independent developer collective Project R3D on the Home Computer Heroes Collection 1 cartridge, Tanks Furry is an enjoyable arcade-style affair where you can play through an all-action campaign solo or with a friend, or take on up to three of your pals in multiplayer deathmatch.

Taking some heavy cues from classic tank-based arcade games in the gameplay department — and a touch of inspiration from a well-loved strategy series in the visuals department — Tanks Furry is a fun, highly accessible arcade-style game that will be just the thing to wind down with after a few hours immersing yourself in the challenging gameplay of Planet X2 or Attack of the PETSCII Robots.

In the campaign levels, you (and, optionally, a friend) are tasked with destroying a series of tanks before they blast you into oblivion. Each stage features static scenery and destructible walls, so you can make your own pathways or attempt to conceal yourself and be a little more strategic.

In versus mode, meanwhile, it’s everybody for themselves as up to four players battle it out for supremacy on a series of battlefields!

Bridge Strike

Finally, Bridge Strike is another Amiga title from Project R3D that closes off the Home Computer Heroes Collection 1 cartridge in style.

Bridge Strike is a vertically scrolling shoot ’em up in which your job is to raid a seemingly endless river, blasting bridges to cut off the enemy supply lines along the way.

You’ll face numerous challenges as your journey continues, including heavily armed boats on the river, various types of aircraft in the skies, increasingly perilous canyons to fly through, dangerous weather conditions and, of course, your own dwindling fuel level.

A stiff challenge awaits, so bring a cool head and an itchy trigger-finger — you’ll need both!

Home Computer Heroes Collection 1 is set for release on October 31, 2023. Find out more and preorder here.


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