What Atic Atac could have been!
||Machine Type: Spectrum 48K|
|Submitted on: 4th of February, 2020
||Download or play online
BloodBaz sends us a game that he’s been saving since last year, and it’s a remake of the 1983 Ultimate classic, Atic Atac! This is the first game of the competition to be based off of an existing work, and is also the first to require a full 48K of RAM! I can't wait to see what wonders await us. With recent remakes like Tiki Taca and inspired works like Melkhior’s Mansion, one would hope that Crapic Attack would be just as good – then one would look again at the header of this webpage and get a terrible sinking feeling.
After the program has finished loading, we are presented with a basic menu, allowing us to select our character, view the control scheme (barely) and also admire the author’s “border effects”, which look like a freeze-frame from the Star Gate sequence out of 2001: A Space Odyssey being viewed through a Lenslok decoder.
Upon making our choice, we are thrust into the action, with baddies flying every which way in dazzling full-colour graphics, and the sound of footsteps and ricocheting axes emanating from the beeper, combining to form an exquisite arcade experi... hmm, this isn’t what I was expecting. Instead, we are dropped into a room rendered in patented “ASCII-vision”, with our hero being modestly represented by an asterisk. One thing you will notice right off the bat is the lack of lives, health, score, enemies and inventory. This essentially turns the classic arcade adventure game into a crossbreed of a walking simulator and a collectathon.
However, not everything has been cut, as the original layout has been painstakingly recreated from maps. This has the double benefit of both contributing to the authenticity of the game and making it much easier to play – goodness knows I haven’t got the patience to map out a sprawling world like this one for the purpose of review. I recommend using a guide to navigate the rooms.
Another of the few upsides is that the character (in both senses of the word) moves fairly quickly across the screen, and this is thanks to the program being compiled with Boriel’s ZX BASIC. This technically makes Crapic Attack the first machine code game of the competition. Three firsts in one game! Blimey, the innovation rating will be high on this review for certain!
I did, however, notice a few bugs pertaining to the collision detection. For example, once you collect the yellow key, it will appear in your inventory. Unfortunately, its name is a bit too large to fit properly, so it wraps around to the next line of the screen, corrupting the playfield graphics and opening up a hole through which the character can enter the void. But, this is a minor issue in what is otherwise an unfortunately rock-solid piece of coding.
So, we trundle through the game, picking up each item in turn until we have collected all three parts of the ACG key. Once we return to the start room, we are punished for winning by a deafeningly high-pitched tone from the beeper (said tone actually damaged my Poundland earbuds). True to Ultimate style, we also get a short poem as compensation for our troubles.
Overall, Crapic Attack is a remake of Atic Atac which might be at best described as “minimalist”, and at worst described with words too vulgar to publish here. The various cut elements which make this game easier (namely the lack of enemies) also make it harder in that it becomes tedious beyond belief. The only objective I can possibly imagine is to get as low a time as possible. My best time is 5 minutes and 45 seconds, and I’d like to hear from anyone who can get it lower (it definitely can be beaten with a bit of memorization of the route). You can click on the link in the info-box to download both a TZX tape image and the game’s source code.