Monday, November 9, 2009

Apollo 18

"Apollo 18, mission to the moon" is a Commodore 64 title published by Accolade but developed by a company named Artech, based in Ottawa, Canada. That company is still around. By the way, they made another great game for Accolade, called "The Train, Escape to Normandy". The programmers for Apollo 18 were Phil Armstrong and Lise Mendoza.

Back in the day when I actually had a Commodore 64, this game was a bit of a mystery. Let's just say that I didn't have the manual and it was impossible to figure out what you were supposed to do. I mean, you could not do anything as it would abort within 2 seconds of starting the game (more exactly, after you're done with the telemetry thing).

The big appeal of this game is that it's really different, the graphics are amazing, there is digitized speech and it's from Accolade, which rarely disappoints.

The video above shows the first mission, the blast off into space. Don't want to brag but it looks like I pretty much aced it.

The trick here is to press the joystick button right when the error bar (which moves to the right) is dead center (reduced to nothing, basically). It's a little bit like the golf swing in Leader Board Golf. Now, if you fudge it, not all is lost since you can kinda compensate with the next error bars that come along. For example, if you have a +050 error, you may want to press early for the next bar(s) to get some negative error and compensate. Also, if you look at the flight path on the left, you want the rocket to be close to the middle. So, if you are way below, you should purposely inject some negative error (press earlier) and if you are way too high, you should really add some positive error (press later). It's not that hard once you understand that you can easily compensate for earlier mistakes.

At some point (starting at the 2nd stage, I think), you have to keep the needle of the gauge, on the left of the error bar, in the middle (that's for the gyros).

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