Oh No! (Commodore 64)

by PaulEMoz in , , , , , , ,


There is no way... no way, that you could would buy Oh No! just from looking at the cover art. There's a cow with a space helmet on its head, an odd-looking furry animal, a desert and, in the background, a spacecraft.

The spacecraft is the important part. Oh No! is a shoot 'em up, and although the storyline is odd, the game most certainly is not...

In Oh No!, the year is 1,000,000 AD, and you are a breeder of space oxen. These beasts are very highly coveted by other entities, who will stop at nothing to get their hands or other genetically-modified appendages on them. The rustling bastards. So you must mount up on your trusty space-steed and put a stop to their stealing shenanigans.


The first planet is the easiest, but you'll still have to be cautious...

It's much simpler than it sounds as a game... confined within one screen, you must blast anything that comes within range and stop them from taking the oxen off the screen. If all the oxen are lost, the game is over. Them's the rules, and they're easy to follow...

And indeed, the game is simple in theory. Once you start playing it, though, you'll see that it's much more difficult in practice.

Oh No!, to my mind, stands right up there among the finest of frantic shooters. What it essentially does is to cross Robotron: 2084 with Defender and Missile Command. Wait... let me explain.


That pink thing looks familiar... if it wasn't nicked from Defender, I'll eat my hat.

You have a playfield where you have to protect your oxen... they're like The Last Human Family, but in bovine form. But unlike in Robotron, they're not killed when enemies get to them. Instead, they're captured, and you have a limited amount of time to rescue them before they're taken off the playfield. See, that's like Defender.

The game is split up into different planets, and each planet has nine waves, with each being progressively more manic than the last. There's no break between waves. Once you destroy every enemy in a wave, the next one rushes in without a second thought. If you want any kind of a break for your trigger finger, you'll have to wait nine waves for it.


Leave her alone, you BITCH!

As your only objective is to save your oxen, it's important to keep them close together or, if it all gets too much, let them all go except for one and be sure to defend that one to the end. That's the Missile Command aspect... it's very similar to your endgame there, where you concentrate on keeping one city intact.

Oh No! was well-reviewed by ZZAP! 64, but I'm not sure how well it sold or was received in general. Comments on Lemon64 seem to be mixed, but I absolutely loved this game when I bought it and I still play it occasionally now. It's a really pure shoot 'em up high-score experience, guaranteed to get the adrenalin pumping. Lovely stuff.

Advent Calendar - December 20th.

by PaulEMoz in , , ,


Robotron 2084 (arcade/MAME/everything)

It was really hard coming up with games for these later numbers. I had to get creative in a few cases, bending the rules and possibly even flat-out cheating. Hey, needs must. It didn't help, then, that the person I bought my "20" game from on eBay accidentally posted it to the wrong person. I had my money refunded, but it basically left me up shit creek for the blog.

Still, not to worry. I've said I didn't want to use years wherever possible... but in those cases, I meant the back ends of the years, with games like Tiger Woods 10 or FIFA 11. However, when it comes to futuristic games... I'm going to allow them. And so my fallback for today is the awesome arcade shooter, Robotron 2084.


Things are pretty easy at this point. Don't get used to that.

These days, Robotron 2084 is regarded as a classic. And rightly so - it's not just a brilliant game in its own right, it's also been (and continues to be) the inspiration for any number of modern games, Geometry Wars possibly being the most famous of them. However, I have to say I didn't so much as see one machine back in the arcade heyday, and so I never got to play it in its proper form. I've only ever played it through emulation, which is great, but this is one game that emulation has apparently never got quite right. Maybe one day...

What made Robotron 2084 such a revolution was its twin-stick controls; one stick to move your character, and one to fire in any of eight directions. It's not just clever, it's absolutely essential for this game to work properly. It simply wouldn't be the same if you had to shoot in the direction you're moving... not only that, it would be insanely difficult.


Now that's more like it. Watch where you're walking!

It's hard enough as it is. Right from the off you're overwhelmed by sheer numbers. You do get a bit of a chance to play yourself in... to begin with, you only have slow-moving grunt robots to contend with. Now is the time to get used to the controls in readiness for the imminent assault. And then, there's The Last Human Family to rescue...

Yes, the only silly sods left alive have to go putting themselves in harm's way on every level. Luckily, there are no consequences to their getting wiped out... but saving them gets you valuable bonus points, which all go towards the collection of precious extra lives...


The Brain Wave. Do this right and you can really rack up the points.

And you do need those lives. It's not that difficult a game up to around wave six or seven... but once the tanks are introduced you're in real trouble, and if you get past them then sheer numbers are likely to overwhelm you and bring about your downfall. The number of grunts homing in on you is frightening at times, but the sheer exhiliration you feel when you manage to fight your way through them and come out the other side is something that few other games can match.

When it comes to "zone" games, there aren't many better than Robotron 2084. I never got to play it when it first came out, but I've probably made up for that over the last decade. I've never been very good at it... I know people that can score over a million whereas I'd be happy with 200,000. I've never reached that yet... but I was over the moon to finally reach Wave 10 recently. That might not sound all that great, but you just give it a try and see...