game of the month
BIFFDROPby J. D. CASTEN
A challenging and imaginative action-adventure game from Antic's star game designer discovery, J.D.Casten. The BASIC program runs on all Atari computers of any memory configuration. Antic Disk subscribers, RUN"D:BIFFDROP.BAS"
"Wow! This stuff really hits the spot," declared Slyvester Biffdrop
as he slurped down his last drop of Diet Crab Cola. He was enjoying
every minute of his vacation at Balogna Beach. Lying in the sun getting
a xanthic tan was Sly's favorite sport. This vacation as well deserved
after surviving his many perils in "Escape From Epsilon" (Antic, June 1984),
but the relaxation was soon to end.
"Phone call for Mr. Biffdrop!" cried a small boy from a nearby pay phone. Sly quickly disposed of his Crab Cola bottle and ran to the phone.
"Hello," he panted.
"Hi Sly," a voice returned, "this is your Aunt Icked. Now listen, I didn't send you to Balogna Beach just so you could get a xanthic tan. Go down to Gulls' Grotto and get that ring back for the museum. Bye Sly." CLICK.
Type in Listing 1, check with TYPO, and SAVE a copy. Plug a joystick into port 1 and RUN the program. You start with five lives and gain an extra one for each room you successfully pass through. The game is over when Slyvester loses his last life or when he gets the ring. If he does get the ring, the time taken to do so is displayed to the nearest minute.
THE STORY SO FAR
Two weeks ago a flock of sea gulls had flown to the Icked Medfly Museum and stole a valuable ring. They're holding the ring for ransom at the infamous Gulls' Grotto. Slyvester Biffdrop, Inspector of Mysterious Mishaps for Icked Industries, is assigned to recover the ring. He's now at the entrance to Gulls' Grotto.
One mile south of Balogna Beach is one of the world's most dreaded areas-Gulls' Grotto. Few have returned from this extremely dangerous series of caves. Here is a list of some items said to be found in the Grotto:
Gruesome Gulls - They fly throughout Gulls' Grotto. Their touch is deadly to Sly.
Eggs - The gulls have laid numerous eggs throughout the Grotto. Sly must kick an egg (touch it with his webbed foot) to dispose of it.
Doors - Doors lead to other rooms in the Grotto. A door opens only when Sly has destroyed all the eggs in a room.
Lasers - These turn on and off intermittently. One zap and it's goodbye Sly.
Spikes - Sly's experience in "Escape From Epsilon" has taught him that spikes are very sharp, and are deadly if fallen upon.
Ladders - Sly can climb up ladders, but not down (a hereditary phobia).
Jelly Cubes - Sly can walk and fall through these, but you can't see Sly when he's in one.
Hard Cubes - These look like Jelly Cubes, but Sly cannot penetrate them. Hard Cubes and Jelly Cubes are usually mixed together, so you must help Sly find his way through the mazes of cubes (counting footsteps sometimes helps).
The Ring - The ring is in the last room (room eight) of Gulls' Grotto. Touch the ring, and you (and Sly) have won!
Get to know Sly - test his limits to see just how much he can do. Sly is a duck and has wings, so he can fly to a limited extent while in midair. Practice controlling his jumps and falls. When you come to a new room, position Sly in a safe spot and figure out a strategy for that room. If you can't find a way to get through the room, have someone else take a look at the situation with a fresh point of view. It is possible to get the ring-please do not call Antic for the solution.
NOTE.- Portions of this game listing use quite a few Atari special characters. So refer often to the Antic "Listings Conventions" page as you type in the program. Be especially on the lookout for the [CTRL][B] special character which prints out as a thick vertical line at the right of its space. In some settings this character can be hard to spot. For example, on line 580 the third inverse P follows a [CTRL][B] special character which wouldn't be hard to mistake for part of the P
J. D. Casten is the author of the two most popular action games that
have appeared in Antic so far-"Risky Rescue" (April 1984) and "Escape From
Epsilon" (June 1984). Last month we printed his first text adventure
game, "Advent X-5." And this issue features "Biffdrop," his fourth
game to appear in Antic during 1984.
Antic's star game programmer "discovery" lives in Eugene Oregon and is a 16 year old high school senior. He plans to major in computer science at his hometown university.
Readers of Antic can look forward to Casten's biggest opus yet, "Operation Omega," a super expansion of "Escape from Epsilon." When Casten finishes the game, it will be his first major machine language program and contain nearly 750 scrolling screens.
Staring in Casten's last two action games is the dauntless Slyvester Biffdrop (not spelled Sylvester). Unfortunately when Antic published "Epsilon" the author didn't inform us that Sly is a duck, so we illustrated the program with an Indiana Jones type hero. In "Operation Omega" Sly will be joined by a flying rodent named Oswald Dipthello.
What makes JD. Casten's games outstanding is their fast movement, smooth graphics and humorous plot backgrounds.
Casten is also working on his second text adventure game. But be won't turn it in until he's satisfied that the new parser recognizes words more sophisticatedly than 'Advent X-5 " did.
When be was 13 years old, Casten got his first computer It was a Timex-Sinclair which he quickly upgraded to an Atari. At that time, he also bought the very first two issues of Antic. He says the magazine showed him what a wealth of information was available for the Atari and that he could learn to program games.
Casten's advice to starting programmers is to keep practicing and tinkering. "If you want to do it, you will," he says. "The information's there, you just have to use it."
Admittedly, Casten is a spurt programmer. When he's inspired he might work 12 bours straight and then finish a program in a week. But afterwards he might not do anymore programming for a month. In his spare time, Casten reads science fiction and fantasy, plays quite a lot of Dungeons & Dragons.
And what do the initials J.D. stand for? John David. But everybody's been calling him JD. for years.
Listing 1: BIFFDROP.BAS Download