PCZ ISSUE 143 - JULY 2004



Last month in Emu Zone, alert viewers will recall that we talked about the deeply ironic difficulties involved in trying to use your PC – which will happily emulate every other gaming system under the sun - to run old PC games. While programs like DOSBox offer a partial solution, frankly by far the smartest plan is usually to find a port of the game you want to play onto another system. This is fine for games from the mid-90s onward (when most successful PC games would be converted to one or other of the 16-bit or 32-bit consoles), but for earlier stuff you’re often still scuppered, because the only other format many early PC titles were converted to was the Apple Macintosh. Dammit. Oh well, never mind. See you in next month’s Emu Zone!

Ha ha! Emu Zone is joking, of course. Emulation of the Mac is but a mere trifle to the excitingly powerful PCs of today, and the best way to achieve a virtual Mac is with the splendid freeware emulator Basilisk II. Capable of emulating a huge range of Macs from the early black-and-white models right up to the later Performas and Quadras, Basilisk is easy to use (Apple generously make their System 7.5.3 OS freely available for download) and highly compatible, running most of the games Emu Zone threw at it without complaint.

This enabled your intrepid reporter to relive the joys of such classics as Crystal Quest (still the only action game EVER to properly justify mouse control), Royal Flush (the first ever computer pinball game licenced from a real arcade table), and most excitingly of all, the Marathon series.

Marathon was created by Bungie, who’d later go on to make the legendary Halo, and you can clearly see the beginnings of the later game in the Marathon titles. One of the first (if not THE first) FPS games to be in true 3D, and the pioneer of the “rocket jump” among many other things, Marathon greatly increased the sophistication of the genre from the mindless maze-blasting Doom clones popular at the time - something for which Emu Zone personally has never forgiven it, but which served as an inspiration to FPS game designers and developers everywhere, many of whom quote the game as one of their major influences. (Though it’s largely unknown and unacclaimed outside of the coding community, due to its never being properly brought to the PC.)

Basilisk actually runs the much-nicer-looking sequels Marathon 2 and Marathon Infinity rather better than it does the original, so Emu Zone recommends you check those out first.


Marathon’s deathmatch was famously stylish.

A calm moment in the frantic Crystal Quest.

Temperamental pinball in Eight Ball Deluxe.



Jet Set Willy - The Final Frontier (Amstrad CPC, 1985)

Having put right Emu Zone’s long-standing neglect of the Commodore 64 last month, it seems only right to also mention the other oft-overlooked 8-bit classic, the Amstrad CPC. A highly capable machine which was totally overshadowed by the twin behemoths of the C64 and the Speccy, the poor old Amstrad was largely bereft of original games, but often boasted by far the best ports of games born on its two competitors. Nowhere is this phenomenon better illustrated than by the strange tale of the Amstrad version of seminal exploration/platformer Jet Set Willy.

Released under the same cover as the original 1984 JSW, the Amstrad port actually featured far more rooms than the Speccy or C64 versions, and indeed was later used as the basis for the official sequel on the other formats. Meanwhile, the same year as both the first Amstrad version and the Speccy/C64 sequel (confusingly entitled Jet Set Willy 2 – The Final Frontier) were released, a new version of the Amstrad game was written, hastily chopping out all the extras and featuring only the rooms from the original game (but adding, of all things, a high-score screen) and re-released at a budget price.

Baffled gamers everywhere sobbed into their copy-protection colour charts, but for possibly the only time ever, it was Amstrad owners who got to enjoy the experience of having the best thing first. (One day Emu Zone will do a special devoted entirely to the tortured and convoluted history of the Miner Willy games. But that day isn’t today.)



(Left) A rare (and temporary) Amstrad exclusive.


Emulation Zone is brought to you in association with the International World Of Stuart Foundation.