Best CGA & Hercules games

Getting old software/games running on older hardware.

Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby OldCat » 2018-7-05 @ 09:46

Title says it all, really, but allow me to add some flavour to it. I am trying to compile a list of best CGA and Hercules games to play on my retro stations with mono screens and this particular graphics cards (namely Tandon CSP1622 and Toshiba T3100).

  • key thing - these games should be fun to play, even after all these years
  • but any games that hold a special place in your heart will do (just write a few words why it's worth to try it)
  • the more obscure, the better
  • ideally games should look good on monochrome screens
  • ideally CGA ones should be "emulatable" (is that even a word?) on Hercules

I know there are lists of CGA games out there on Moby Games and various abandonware sites, but I would like to put together a list of best ones, fun ones, interesting ones.

Let me start with a few examples of titles I already have, like and am playin in 2018:

  • Colorado, Targhan, Starblade, Metal Mutant - all great 2D games from French developer Silmarils. They all work on both CGA and Hercules (emulation).
  • North & South - ton of fun and local multiplayer possible. CGA & HGC both.
  • Prince of Persia - timeless classic. Native CGA and Hercules support.
  • Prehistoric - tough as nails, but I have a soft spot for it. Native CGA and Hercules support.
  • BlockOut - 3D Tetris clone. Not that great today, but played a hell out of it as a kid. Native CGA and Hercules support.
  • Budokan - nostalgia factor mostly for me, but still can be enjoyable in small doses. Native CGA and Hercules support.
  • Digger - quick, fun, works via SimCGA (you have to jump through a few hoops) on Herc.
  • Sokoban - did not like it too much as a kid, but appreciate logic games more now. Native CGA and Hercules support.

I will expand the list further, but would love to hear what are your picks.
Last edited by OldCat on 2018-7-05 @ 11:06, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby henryVK » 2018-7-05 @ 10:50

Alright, Oldcat, my nominee is Spectrum Holobyte's 1984 submarine simulationGato.

I remember this game very fondly, because it was one of the first I played on my family's 386, after we had inherited the machine from my uncle. It is a CGA-only game, afaik, however, I don't know how it plays on a monochrome screen since we had VGA already. I suspect both palettes are used, magenta/white/cyan for the "periscope" and general map screen, and the other one with the dark blue for the "zoom map".

I vividly remember the suspense of stalking transports and evading destroyers in between the islands. Now I really want to go back and play it!

http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/gato/screenshots
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gato_(video_game)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awrqSHlqLgY

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Re: Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby OldCat » 2018-7-05 @ 11:09

Thanks, HenryVK!

Graphically, GATO looks very simple. But from the description "The islands on the map are randomly generated [...] The game has multiple difficulty levels, the highest of which requires the player to translate mission briefings which are transmitted only as audible Morse Code." it sounds quite interesting.
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Re: Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby henryVK » 2018-7-05 @ 11:32

Yeah, the explosions are also randomly ray-traced lines.
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Re: Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby dr.zeissler » 2018-7-05 @ 12:34

Popcorn 1988 was very nice on CGA. The effects look gorgeous. It's perhaps a CGA-only title and it runs very good on a XT-Class Computer. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PopCorn_(video_game)
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Re: Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby henryVK » 2018-7-05 @ 13:30

Looking for screenshots from "Popcorn" made another french title pop up. It's Loriciel's Mach 3:

http://www.mobygames.com/game/mach-3/

Kill the baddies, go through the gates and avoid stuff. Kind of neat, and some distinctive "frenchness". Like, what's up with the face at the top of the screen? Is it reacting to what the player is doing? Haha: :-O

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_VgFEV1b-o

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Re: Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby PTherapist » 2018-7-05 @ 13:56

Back in the day I ran these on a Hercules card with the CGA emulator HGCIBM. Ran them on an XT clone.

Felix - A Boulderdash clone, though significantly more taxing as you must collect ALL the gems and can easily be trapped even on Level 1.

Diggory - Collect all the items to unlock the exit before you run out of air.

Chopper Command - Fly shoot blow things up. Fairly basic but maybe a bit too easy.

There's others I played and thought were decent but I can't think right now
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Re: Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby BinaryDemon » 2018-7-05 @ 14:19

Life and Death - Doctor / Surgical Simulator
Check out DOSBox Distro:

https://sites.google.com/site/dosboxdistro/ [*]

a lightweight Linux distro (tinycore) which boots off a usb flash drive and goes straight to DOSBox.

Make your dos retrogaming experience portable!
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Re: Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby leileilol » 2018-7-05 @ 20:15

DigDug
Mean 18
Silpheed
Sopwith (or that hexed up "public domain" Red Baron ripoff, your preference)
Wheel of Fortune

(note: I did not try this on the ye old herc TSRs so I do not know. This is just a quick top-of-my-head list with fun-factor biased here)
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Re: Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby root42 » 2018-7-05 @ 20:31

Oh, Popcorn! I never had it, but remember screenshots in the magazines!

Ford Simulator comes to my mind. CGA only driving game / adware.
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Re: Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby Thandor » 2018-7-05 @ 20:33

On my T3100 I loved to play:

- Chopper Commando. Already mentioned by PTherapist. Fun simple little game and I actually discovered this game years and years after it's release date but liked it a lot even despite it's age.
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- Paganitzu. Loved all three episodes. Looks fine in CGA on a monochrome (or Reddish T3100) screen. On color monitors I highly prefer EGA.
Paganitzu inspired me to program a CGA game called Bloxinies which runs fine on 4,77MHz with 256k and CGA.
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- Arctic Adventure. Always liked it a lot, though some levels are quite difficult and once you've tried jumping over something for the 10th time (and still dying!) it's time to play a different map ;-).
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- Sopwith. All time classic!
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- Paratrooper. Simple yet effective.
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Games that come to mind that I didn't play much anymore: Alley Cat and Tower Toppler.
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Re: Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby OldCat » 2018-7-06 @ 08:11

Thanks a lot, everyone!

Screenshots are a lovely idea, I will do some, taken from a real hardware (just need to dig it out T3100 as well, specially for you Thandor!).

@dr.zeissler - trying to run Popcorn on Hercules, but failing. Need to test on CGA first.
@HenryVK - Mach3 is so cool on old hardware. Also, have a look at Space Racer, it is quite similar (and also from Loriciels).
@PTherapist - I remember Felix, didn't like it too much back then, though. I will give it a try.
@BinaryDemon - ah yes, the essential classic, sadly forgotten. If you didn't bring anesthesiologist along, the patient would scream and die on the first cut. Brutal!
@leileilol - I can't for the life of me get into DigDug. Sopwith comes up often - must play it then. Others, I haven't really heard about.
@Thandor - Arctic Adventure, I remember that! Paganitzu looks pretty weird, need to check that one.

Apologies for late response, I have run into a bit of a technical problem yesterday with my Hercules setup. For those interested, here is the description and depiction of the problem: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=39993&start=9100#p682395 and here is the solution: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=39993&start=9100#p682507
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Re: Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby henryVK » 2018-7-06 @ 09:03

I will check out Space Race and raise you yet another Lorciels Title, 1986 french only, weirdo RPG Tera: La Cité des Crânes.

They clearly had their own thing going on, graphically. I'll have to check this one out, just for its all-permeating frenchness.

http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/tera- ... des-crnes/
http://crpgaddict.blogspot.com/2017/03/ ... -1986.html

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Re: Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby reenigne » 2018-7-06 @ 09:38

]I had a lot of fun playing Fire! - parallax scrolling on CGA!
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Re: Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby OldCat » 2018-7-06 @ 10:09

@henryVK - Tera: La Cité des Crânes looks very intriguing. I am getting strong Valerian vibes from it. Original Valerian, the comics, not the crappy movie.
@reenigme - could you provide a link or a screenshot or anything to help me find the game? I have so far found Fire & Forget, Fire & Ice, Return Fire, Astro Fire and a lot of others, but nothing called Fire!
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Re: Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby reenigne » 2018-7-06 @ 10:33

OldCat wrote:@reenigme - could you provide a link or a screenshot or anything to help me find the game? I have so far found Fire & Forget, Fire & Ice, Return Fire, Astro Fire and a lot of others, but nothing called Fire!


The MobyGames page I linked to has some screenshots. It would be against the forum's rules for me to send you a link to the game, though.
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Re: Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby Thandor » 2018-7-06 @ 10:35

OldCat wrote:Thanks a lot, everyone!

Screenshots are a lovely idea, I will do some, taken from a real hardware (just need to dig it out T3100 as well, specially for you Thandor!).
@Thandor - Arctic Adventure, I remember that! Paganitzu looks pretty weird, need to check that one.

I couldn't resist taking the T3100 from the shelf!

This is Paganitzu on the T3100:
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I also had another interesting game on disk: Pinball Night Mission. It can run in various graphic modes and it also runs on a CGA-adapter. I like this game because it's fixed screen (as opposed to later games like Epic Pinball that roll the screen up and down following the ball).
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Re: Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby root42 » 2018-7-06 @ 11:14

Rick Dangerous has native CGA support and looks pretty nice:

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Re: Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby OldCat » 2018-7-06 @ 11:30

@reenigme - ah, apologies, didn't notice you have put a link in there.
@Thandor - brilliant! Love this machine. Fun fact: T5100 had EGA plasma screen with 4 shades of orange, did a bit of comparison between T3100 and T5100 a few months back:
viewtopic.php?f=63&t=56507
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Re: Best CGA & Hercules games

Postby OldCat » 2018-7-08 @ 10:29

Spent good chunk of yesterday running these games on my Hercules PC. Bad news is that many either don't work at all via emulation (Paganitzu, Night Mission Pinball, Fire!, Popcorn) or look shite on Hercules due to how CGA emulation works (Sopwith, Chopper Commando).

Good news, however, is that many work and I have found some additional ones to recommend:
  • Tried Tera, but it's very complicated and not that much fun, unfortunately. It does work on Hercules using SimCGA, though.
  • Arctic Adventure works via emulation, but man is that one hard!
  • Found out that many Silmarils games support Hercules natively: Boston Bomb Club, Wind Surf Willy, Crystals of Arborea. If you have problems with them, try versions from Silmarils Collection by DotEmu. There is plenty of versions on the internet that don't work on CGA and Hercules.
  • D/Generation is another great game that works on CGA and can be emulated. Be sure to look for D/Generation CGA download, otherwise you can have trouble with it.
  • Eye of the Beholder - I am still struggling with it, I know it works on CGA, but am having problems emulating it. Using some programs I can get to character creation screens, but it hangs randomly. Will let you know when I solve this particular riddle. Also, if you get an error mentioning "cga.ovl", it means your version is missing some files.

20180706_152608.jpg


I am tempted to split this thread in order to have good CGA games separately from Hercules native games plus CGA emulation . At the time being, though, let's roll with it!
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