The Single Button Joystick

Tag: Buck Rogers

Bucked, Rogered and Four hundred years hence!

by on Sep.04, 2013, under 16-bit, Amiga, Retro

Countdown to Doomsday TitleA couple of years ago, I posted a most amusing find on this blog; a piece of my childhood being auctioned off at a ridiculous premium. What I failed to do then was speak about this terrific game and my experiences with it.

 Recent events have also led me to acquire a copy of Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday for the Mega Drive, a version I have been very curious about for close to twenty years, but I digress!

 Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday was a complete triumph in SSI, TSR and all those concerned. It adapted a futuristic role playing setting (based loosely on the TV show and novels of the same name) into a traditional Gold Box Dungeons and Dragons rule set.Buck Rogers Scary

Besides the setting, there were two important changes between the Buck Rogers series and the older Forgotten Realms games. The player’s character ‘pieces’ were no longer customisable, but instead were picked from a selection of 40-50 preset designs. This might seem restricting, but the results were far more impressive. There was enough variation to make a great looking crew. Some of them even had headbands! Treasures of the Savage Frontier came out two years later and had far poorer looking icons.

Buck Rogers Characters

Choose from these great looking icons!

The most important change in this game is the inclusion of class specific skills. Ten years later Third Edition D&D rules would introduce skills, but Buck Rogers would use this very well in 1990.  Skills ranged from Rocket Piloting and  Zero G training, to First Aid and Leadership.

The game features some idiosyncratic character classes, really capturing the comic book future. Rocket Jocks are your party leaders, rocket pilots and second tier fighters. Generally good with a firearm, it is best to not have them in the front lines.

Savage Frontier. Poor Icons.

Savage Frontier. Poor Icons.

Engineers keep your ship running, as well as being important in laying explosives as well as programming things. Rogues are the same as they are in regular D&D, except they bypass security doors/cameras as well as cut people when they aren’t looking. Medics, weakest of all, are vital as healing in Buck Rogers isn’t as simple as drinking a potion or sleeping for weeks inside a dungeon.

 Apart from Terrans, playable races in the game are based on genetically modified humans. Venusians, Mercurians and Martians are all slightly modified or have simply changed over the hundreds of years living in and around their respective planets. More interesting are the Desert Runners (half beast men/women who inhabit the deserts of Mars) and Tinkers (half chimp mini people who are great engineers and medics, because of their dexterity and diminutive size).

 The game gives you (after a few introductory missions) a whole solar system to explore, a multitude of secondary missions (all of which should be taken) and a great cast of characters. Buck Rogers himself makes an appearance. I have many good memories of this game back at the end of primary school, particularly how long it took Chooie and I to beat the second part of the game. No GameFAQS in 1992!

I saw this game, a year or so after playing the Amiga version, on a Mega Drive in a shopping center. It looked so different! Rather than static pieces moving across the game board, the characters animated when they walked, and the map view was isometric! This fascination stuck with me until last month, when a happy series of accidents happened and I managed to acquire a copy! When I get my Mega Drive up and running, I’ll report back!

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Bux Roger$ and the 25th and a half billion dollars.

by on Sep.15, 2011, under Amiga, Retro, Short updates

I’ve been around this old internet a while now, and every once in a while you see something that makes you confused, angry and amused. After neglecting eBay for a while, I went to check out what kind of Amiga games were on offer. As you’re probably aware I did find some gems at a reasonable price.

Continued searches for Amiga oldies have led me to this piece of insanity.

I don't think that says "Radiant Silvergun" anywhere on it.

TWO HUNDRED DOLLARYDOOS for an Amiga game.

I love this game to death and seeing it eBay gave me some so ideas to write about. I’ll be wanting to pick this up in the future, but not for that price!

For the moment I’ll settle for this mid 3rd millennium super hero.

As a Cold War analogy, there is none finer.

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