Atari 800 GP32 0.4 Review


dogstar

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Ok, my batteries just died on my gp32 so I'm going to take this break to write up a quick review of Atari 800 GP32 version 0.4.

There are a lot of emulators out there on the GP, but be sure not to overlook this one. This is a wonderful, option-filled emulator that worked with practically every game I tried. If you owned an Atari 800 or 5200 then this is a must-have, but even if not you will find tons and tons of high-quality original games for this system on the ftp sites. The bonus is that these games won't take up a lot of space on your SMC; the games typical range in size from 8k to 32k for the carts and up to 80k for the disk images. I owned an atari 800 back when it first came out; this was after the intellivsion and before the amiga and it was a great game playing computer then and it's still a great game playing computer.

Did I mention this thing is loaded with options? It is loaded!
It has a disk management option where you can set up up to 8 drive images. For instance, Ultima 3 takes three disks and alternate reality: the city takes 4 and this is great for this. Oh, also if you are familia with the 800 you know that games took forever to load (well, not quite as bad as the Commod-Door of course), but this emulator loads the games from disk instantly.
1. It has load and save state so you can save your games AT ANY POINT.
2. It has cartridge management and can play all 800 and 5200 cartridges (and even the unusual ones with extra memory, etc).
The other options are:
3. Run bins directly.
4. Load tape image (yes, the 800 had a tape drive before the disk drive and let me just say it was slow, slow slow, but still you can now play all those great tape games out there. Were there any?
5. Special Atari Settings (such as fast io).
6. Select System (you can emulate 800, 5200 and all the different models of that series, 800xl, 130XE, etc)
7. You can load custom keyboard maps
8. create a pcx screenshoot of your game in progress
9. set the sound stereo or mono
10. set the artifacting mode (not sure exactly what this does)
11. customize the brightness (nice)
12. set the frame skip (you won't need it, this emulator rocks at full speed)
13. Do a warm start (just like the real computer this is pretty often useless for resetting some games)
14. Do a full reboot (cold start is your friend :)


Again, the emulator is full-speed as far as I can tell and I had an atari that I played for several years. All the games that I tried worked fine. The sound is great and there are few graphic glitches that I noticed. This emulator did not once cause my gp32 to reboot as the gpengine emulator does ever so often. It is important to select the right system (ie, 5200, 800, etc) and load the correct keyboard map depending on the system the game was intended for. I did have one problem with one of my favorite games: Ali baba and the 40 thieves. This game only uses the 4 arrow keys and I couldn't figure out how to access those keys. I am hoping I can map them to the directional joystick some how (developer, any hints?).

Finally, here are a list of games that I consider my favorites. YMMV of course.

Ali Baba and the 40 thieves (my personal favorite and first rpg. The real challenge is getting through the entire game without killing anything. then you get a special ending.)

Alley Cat (fun original game. You are an alley cat leaping after the mice!)
Alternate Reality: the city (deep sprawling rpg)
Atari Tennis (this tennis holds up well to any version of tennis really. super fun)
Drol (nice graphics)
Gateway to Apshai (like nethack)
Great American Cross Country Road Race
Montezumas Revenge (fun platformer)
Picnic Paranoia (great fun and original)
Shamus (detective game, graphics are clean on this one and it plays great)
Zombies (my #2 fav. This one really stands up well and is a lot of fun to play on a handheld)
Lode Runner (what can I say, this version is great and I played for many many hours when I was younger)
Ultima 3 (first huge rpg that I actually finished! I still consider this one the best ultima)
BC's Quest For Tires (fun platformer with cartoony graphics)

There are many more, including all the 5200 roms such as star raiders and space dungeon but these will get you started. Have fun!

I rate this emulator 8/10 and I am a hard reviewer. I don't give out 10s ever. There is a place on your SMC for this emulator. Give it a try and be sure to thank the author!
 

dogstar

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NiN^_^NiN posted on Jul 11 2003 said:
LONG LIVE C64 :D

boulderdash rocks hehe

I must try this atari system tho not 2 many of them in australia ya know

:ph34r:
Yes, I loved boulderdash too. Didn't add it to the list since it is on many other consoles (probably new better versions too).

Also forgot to mention BC's Quest for Tires. It is a really fun platformer and kinda reminds me of jungle hunt. The cartoon graphics are great.

There are many more I forget and I will probably be sick when I think of them and failed to put them on this list. I literally had thousands of 5.25 disks full of pirated atari games when I was a kid (none of them labelled by the way :))
 
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ShadowXX

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Jul 11, 2003
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This Emus is fantastic,
i have played 4 Hours 'Rescue On Fractalus' (aka 'Behind Jaggie Lines') and it was more fun then playing TR-Angel of Darkness....

(you forgot many great games like: Rescue On Fractalus, Ballblazer, Conan, Bruce Lee, Dropzone, Ghostbusters, DimensionX (the C64-Killer-Game :) ), Archon I & II, One and One......the are so many other great games..)

TRY THIS EMU....you won't regret it....

J.S.Shadow
 

NiN^_^NiN

YOUR AUSSIE GP32 GURU!!!!!!!!&#3
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yeah i know boulderdash is on many systems but the c64 1 has the best sounds (gotta love the sid chip :D )

I played the orignal version which was on apple and that was ok but none compare to the c64 1 even the arcade version sucks compared to the c64 version

:ph34r:
 

abbibi

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Great review! I grew up with the 800. It's an awesome system! My favs as a kid were River Raid, Frogger, Jumpman Jr, Qix, and Coconotes. I tried playing coconotes again recently, and the game sucks. I don't know why I spent so much time playing it as a kid.

If you're interested, the Ultima games also came out on the Atari ST, with better graphics. Although I have to admit I prefer using the 800 emulator to Castaway. If only the 800 emulator incorporated the built-in Missle Command game from the XEGS (I bought one of these suckers for myself after my 800 broke).
 

Vanamonde

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NiN^_^NiN posted on Jul 11 2003 said:
yeah i know boulderdash is on many systems but the c64 1 has the best sounds (gotta love the sid chip :D )
The 800 version of Tapper is pretty dire compared to the C64 version.

Any other game reccomendations?
 
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dogstar

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NiN^_^NiN posted on Jul 11 2003 said:
yeah i know boulderdash is on many systems but the c64 1 has the best sounds (gotta love the sid chip :D )

I played the orignal version which was on apple and that was ok but none compare to the c64 1 even the arcade version sucks compared to the c64 version

:ph34r:
Just for the record, boulder dash was originally built for the atari 800 in 1984. So really I think this is one case where the atari version is probably the best. It was built and designed for this system and the version feels perfect. It also makes use of several atari features such as the trademark palette shifting. I played the NES version then I just played the 800 version last night and I have to say there was no comparision. The 800 version just rocks. It has that polished feel that usually only an arcade game has.

Here's the history of boulder dash if you're interested.

http://boulder.cl4.org/releases.html

Now I can't wait to try all those C64 games I missed. I hope frodo is a good emulator as well.
 
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Flack

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Frodo is very good. I am like you when it comes to reviewing emulators, I am very hard on them, and I think Frodo beta 8 is probably an 8 or a 9. It's that good.

And speaking of good, VERY nice review man. These are the types of articles I'd like to see more of.
 

Flip & Flop

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NiN^_^NiN posted on Jul 11 2003 said:
yeah i know boulderdash is on many systems but the c64 1 has the best sounds (gotta love the sid chip :D )
can't agree, always liked Boulderdash on Atari over the C64, because of the sound. on C64 it sounded dead i.e. no life in the sound at all.
 
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Flip & Flop

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dogstar posted on Jul 11 2003 said:
Just for the record at boulder dash was originally built for the atari 800 in 1984. So really I think this is one case where the atari version is probably the best. It was built and designed for this system and the version feels perfect. It also makes use of several atari features such as the trademark palette shifting. I played the NES version then I just played the 800 version last night and I have to say there was no comparision. The 800 version just rocks. It has that polished feel that usually only an arcade game has.

Here's the history of boulder dash if you're interested.

http://boulder.cl4.org/releases.html

Now I can't wait to try all those C64 games I missed. I hope frodo is a good emulator as well.
well said.
I travelled to London from Tyneside to the first Atari show just to buy Boulderdash Construction Kit. naturally, they did not have it at the show, so I paid and waited for it to arrive in the post.
the disappointment was made up for by meeting Jeff Minter (he was showing off his ST light synth).
 
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Flip & Flop

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Vanamonde posted on Jul 11 2003 said:
The 800 version of Tapper is pretty dire compared to the C64 version.

Any other game reccomendations?
on Atari...
Rainbow Walker, Flip & Flop, Trains, Miner 2049'er, Choplifter, Star Raiders, Beer Belly Berts Brew Biz...

just so many..........................................

for comparison, try Elektraglide on Atari and C64 :)
 
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