CLUB

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The Games

The games U S Gold made and published were good and most of the time enjoyable,but you would have one every now and then that would come up that you would say..I pass on that.


Here is some info on some of the games U.S.Gold published in its time from 1983 to 1996.

Dropzone

Dropzone is a shoot 'em up video game developed by Arena Graphics in 1984. It is a bi-directional, horizontally scrolling shoot 'em up in the style of Defender. It was designed and written by Archer MacLean, his first commercial video game. In fact, "Arena Graphics" is just a shell name for MacLean himself. It was released for the Atari 400/800 and Commodore 64, then later ported to theNintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, Game Gear and Game Boy Color.

Dropzone borrows many elements from the arcade game Defender,including the same font style, alien depictions and title screen depictions.


Story

On the surface of Jupiter's moon, Io, a human scientific research base is under attack by aliens. The player dons a jetpack armed with a laser, a cloaking device and three smart bombs, to rescue the scientists and return them to the base.


The gameplay is much in the style of Defender, as well as Stargate, Scramble and even Robotron: 2084.Players control the hero trying to rescue the scientists on a horizontally side-scrolling game field.Players must elude or engage various aliens—some slow, others faster—and return the scientists to the base's eponymous dropzone. The aliens capture scientists walking along the ground. The player must shoot the enemy aliens and catch the falling scientists. Sometimes the aliens will carry lethal androids instead, which must be avoided.

The ranks awarded to players at the end of a game are (in order):

  1. Not Listed - practice recommended

  2. Dextral Dodger
  3. Trekie
  4. Moon Cadet
  5. Planetsman
  6. Ace
  7. Planet Marshal
  8. Planet Lord
  9. Star Warrior
  10. Solar Prodigy
  11. Megastar - mission completed

There were 99 levels of gameplay, each increasingly more difficult. After level 99, the levels would repeat starting level 95.


It was one of the first games that U.S Gold released,Then they were called U.K.Gold then,But its the only game with that name,They had changed the name by the next game.

Development

MacLean purchased an Atari 800 as soon as they were officially launched in the UK in 1981 and started writing what would eventually evolve into Dropzone. The game would be released for the Atari by US Gold in 1984. It was then converted to the Commodore 64 by MacLean himself. Of the C64 version of the game, MacLean said:


"The [Commodore] 64 Dropzone is about 46k [kilobytes] long and consists of 15,000 lines of sparsely commented code with around 350 subroutines and around 3000 labels. Those who can reach Megastar status on the 64 should have had enough practice to attempt an Atari supervised Dropzone mission. The Atari, being the Porsche of home computers, is capable of running Dropzone 2.5 times faster than the 64 and can handle any amount of blobs on screen, even when you release a Strata Bomb. It is visually, sonically etc., identical and about 12K shorter. However, the 64 is still a respectable BMW316."

The name Dropzone was not settled on until shortly before the game went gold.


Publishing

MacLean entered into a publishing deal with U.S. Gold for the European distribution of the game. After 18 months, however, they stopped paying him royalties claiming that the game was no longer selling (in reality, the game kept selling for five to six years). In addition, MacLean travelled a great deal and saw it for sale in areas outside of Europe and even in the United States. After seeking legal advice, four years of legal wrangling with the publisher followed, until they finally settled out of court for copyright infringement. With the proceeds from the settlement, MacLean bought his first Ferrari.


Reception
  • The Commodore 64 version of the game was awarded a Gold Medal in issue 3 of Zzap!64 magazine, with an overall rating of 95%.

Sequel

The sequel, Super Dropzone, added new weapon types and end-level bosses. It is available for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (titled 'Super Dropzone' on all packaging, but only 'Dropzone' on the title screen), Game Boy Advance and PlayStation. Only the Game Boy Advance version saw a North American release, the others were European exclusives.

B.C. II: Grog's Revenge

B.C. II: Grog's Revenge is a 1984 video game by Sierra On-Line for the Commodore 64,ColcoleVision, and MSX. It is the sequel to B.C.'s Quest For Tires and is based on B.C., the newspaper comic strip by Johnny Hart.


The player controls Thor, a caveman, who rides a stone unicycle. Thor is searching for the "Meaning of Life" within several mountains.

The player must navigate through the mountains, collecting clams. 


Like the comic strip, they are used as money, in this case to pay the toll to another caveman, Peter, to access the next mountain.


There are two modes of play. The first is along the mountainside, where the user can move all four directions, but must avoid falling off the cliff, slamming into the wall, hitting a rock or a hole, or encountering the creature Grog, who will yell "GROG" and knock the player off the mountain. There is also a green dinosaur that will eat the player's "tire" on contact. 


The player may enter caves to enter the second mode. The caves are dark except for a beam of light emanating from the player, and clams must be collected without running into stalagmites. At the end of a mountain, there is a bridge to a new mountain. 

If the player has enough clams, the game continues; otherwise, it is necessary to return to find more clams.


Zzap! 64 gave the game a 91% rating, describing it as a "stunningly impressive programme"


After the exhausting task of rescuing his loved one in BC's Quest for Tires, the stone-age cartoon hero Thor is out and about again, this time to find the meaning of life. 


It is said to be found atop an ancient mountain, the last in a range of five. A network of caves run through the very mountains themselves, and a long and winding track runs around them.

Linking each of the mountains are toll bridges that Thor must cross, getting him a step nearer to his goal. This is where his problems start. . . .


On screen, the mountains are shown one at a time on a small radar in the bottom right. On this radar are shown all cave entrances, a symbol representing 

Thor, and one of Grog. The part of the mountain Thor is currently on is shown on the top half of the screen in reasonable graphical detail. 

It scrolls left to right, depending on the direction he's going in. The scrolling is smooth but does get a little jerky at a higher speed.

To cross a toll bridge, Thor must pay the exorbitant sum of 100 clams to a waiting toll-man. Luckily, the mountains have a plentiful supply of clams lying around, and in case you've never seen a clam on a mountain, you should know that these are lesser-spotted craggy peak clams.


The clams are to be found on the tracks running around the mountain or within the caverns. The caves are dark and so a source of light is needed to see the way through. 

Thor, being way ahead of his time, carries a flashlight with him. Unfortunately, the torch isn't very powerful and only a small amount of the screen is shown under its light. 

This effect is very realistic and makes the going tough on higher levels.


To pick up a clam, Thor must ride over it on his stone-age unicycle (equipped this time with a tire). Once he has collected 100 or more, he can take them to the toll bridge and move on to the next mountain.


If Thor should have 25 or more clams over the quota, he will buy an extra life -- there are five to start.

The levels are lettered A to E, E being the final stage containing the secret of the meaning of life. Should you get that far, you will discover the programmer is something of a cynic. You'll also discover that the only thing left to do is to try again on a harder range of mountains (there are three in all).


As already his forerunner BC's Quest For Tires, the game is based on the comic model B.C by Johnny Hart that was first published in the 50s.


This also explains the comic look of the game. In contrast to its forerunner the colours were kept very restrained. The screen that is mainly kept in grey and blue is structured into 3 parts. The upper two thirds of the screen are the main screen, where the action takes place. 


The lower third of the screen is divided in two parts. In the left part you see the score and how many clams our hero and his competitor Grog have already collected. 

The right part of the lower area serves as radar and shows the mountain on which Thor is driving (yellow rectangle) from the side view. 

He can also see where his biggest enemey - the hairy Grog - is (white diamond). 

Because he is on the way to Thor and wants to take revenge for every single clam he has "stolen". 


This puts our protagonist under time pressure and gets the game something like a time limit.

There is not really any music in the game, however, the comic look of the game is accompanied with many small and funny sounds.


Hints
Aim of the game

The aim of the game is to find the meaning of life before Thor runs out of wheels (lives). Thor loses a life by:

  • runnin into boulders or holes
  • smashing against stone walls
  • driving over cliffs and falling down
  • crashing against stalagmites in the dark caves
  • letting his wheel get eaten by the green dinosaur that he meets in the higher levels.

All these causes for death are - as usual for comics - overdrawn and often make the player snort heartily with laughter!

The mountains are marked A - E. On the peak of mountain E is the meaning of life.


Controls

After the start of the game

Number of players
F1   = 1 player
F3   = 2 player (in turns)

Schwierigkeitsgrad
F1   = mountain chain 1 - easy
F3   = mountain chain 2 - middle
F5   = mountain chain 3 - hard
Every mountain chain is divided into different mountains (levels)


During the game

Thor follows the movement of the joystick in all 8 directions.
Thor drives faster as long as the fire button is pressed.


Solution
  • The aim of the game is to finde the meaning of life. This is on the peak of the last mountain of every mountain chain.

Cheats C64 only,more soon.

Pokes

Unlimited Lives: POKE 27201.108


Warp Tunnel

In every mountain (level) of every mountain chain there is a special tunnel that directly leads to the next mountain (level) without having to use the bridge, a so-called "warp-tunnel". But in it a special number code needs to be pressed to call up this effect. E.g.:

Mountain chain 1 - easy: The warp-tunnel is always directly right next to Thor's starting point.
from mountain A to mountain B: press key 2   twice in the tunnel
from mountain B to mountain C: press key 3   twice in the tunnel
from mountain C to mountain D: press key 4   twice in the tunnel
from mountain D to mountain E: you can find out yourself . . .


Up'N'Down

Up'n Down is a racing video game developed and published by Sega. It was first released in 1983 as an arcade game, then later ported to the Atari 2600 and ColecoVision video game consoles and by U S Gold for the Atari XE,Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum home computers.

Gameplay

Up'n Down is a vertically scrolling game that employs a pseudo-3Dperspective. In the game, the player controls a purple dune buggy that resembles a Volkswagen Beetle. The buggy moves forward along a single-lane path; pressing up or down on the joystick causes the buggy to speed up or slow down, pressing right or left causes the buggy to switch lanes at an intersection, and pressing the "jump" button causes the buggy to jump in the air. Jumping is required to avoid other cars on the road; the player can either jump all the way over them, or land on them for points.

To complete a round, the player must collect 10 colored flags by running over them with the buggy. If the player passes by a flag without picking it up, it will appear again later in the round. The roads feature inclines and descents that affect the buggy's speed, and bridges that must be jumped. A player loses a turn whenever the buggy either collides with another vehicle without jumping on it, or jumps off the road and into the grass or water.


                                                 Long play of the C64 version,

                                                One of the best versions made.

Atari 2600 port

Screenshot of the Atari 2600 port of Up'n Down


Sega released a port for the Atari 2600 in 1984; the 2600 version was noted for its jarring background music. According to Game Sound: An Introduction to the History, Theory, and Practice of Video Game Music and Sound Design by Karen Collins, the arcade version's "bluesy F-sharp minor groove" was transformed by the Atari 2600's sound tunings into "a very unsettling version based in C minor with a flattened melodic sound". 


The Video Game Critic criticized the 2600 version of Up'n Down for its "annoying" background music and "horrific graphics", but nonetheless awarded the game a B+ rating in part due to its "challenging and undeniably fun" gameplay. 


The AtariAge rarity guide gives the 2600 version of Up'n Down a rating of "7 - Very Rare", the most rare rating of any game released by Sega for the 2600.


Which one would you buy,this one or the C64 version,I know what one I would buy.

                         U S Gold Commodore 64/ZX Spectrum versions UK print advert

                                                              Big image here

                       Commodore 64/ZX Spectrum Arcade Hall Of Fame UK print advert.

                                                               Big image here

                                       Advert showing other games by US Gold.