1984 Ultimate Play The Game
Platform: BBC Micro
Generally if we talk of unreleased games and Ultimate, instantly we think back to the infamous “Mire Mare” game which has haunted game lovers for many years. Instead of finding the Holy Grail of games, we have done with the discoveries of Solar Jetman and Lunar Jetman on the C64.
And adding to the list which doesn’t contain “Mire Mare”, yet another lost Ultimate game has been found out of the blue and totally shocking one or two Ultimate fans Cookie on the BBC Micro.
Older generations of gamer may not have played this very old Ultimate game, so here is a brief explanation of those not in the know:
The game itself puts you in control of Charlie the Chef, who keeps his ingredients locked in the larder. The ingredients can escape and bring out various nasties with them. Charlie must stun escaping ingredients with flour bombs and knock them into the mixing bowl, while ensuring the nasties get sent to the bins. Nice and simple stuff!
Cookies existence on the BBC Micro was to be something of a shock to many people, especially Stairway To Hell (http://www.stairwaytohell.com), who were recovering lost BBC Micro titles through their website. Regular contributor to Stairway To Hell, Dick Greening caused shockwaves by contributing the previously unreleased (and complete!) disk image of Cookie. How??
Remarkable was the fact that no official BBC Micro version was ever heard of until it surfacing like it did. Even Rare’s own website stated Cookie was only ever released for the Spectrum. Was this therefore a conversion not for our eyes? With Mire Mare being a quiet subject with Rare, we may well have not meant to have known about the game.
The game has converted extremely well, with the additional use of colour to enhance graphics on the Beeb. Gameplay is left untouched, featuring playability that matches its spectrum counterpart. Not only is the game finding significant, but there are also unheard musical delights composed by none other than Martin Galway; a find in itself. Great renditions of Food Glorious Food and other jingles add to what is a fantastic conversion.
So how did this particular effort manage to escape the dungeons of Ultimate/Rare? – GTW attempted to contact Dick Greening to find out more about how he obtained the game, but sadly he was not to be found. It is possible that Dick was a friend of Paul Proctor, and obtained a copy once the game was cancelled. Well, Dick got in touch with GTW recently (Jan 2010 Though please get in touch with us again!, your email address was lost!) and mentioned that Cookie arrived in his hands via a games circle swap between three friends. The third was a BBC engineer that Dick met whilst working at the BBC – they cracked and swapped tape-based games via the Royal Mail system. It seems this is how the game was picked up somehow.
It is strange that a complete game like this was left unreleased, when other BBC Ultimate titles did get a release. Possibly Cookie was a late comer, and arrived at a time when Ultimate felt they were not getting much profit from the machine. It still remains a mystery, but crucially the game is finally here and can be enjoyed as originally intended.
A fantastic finding! – Go and grab it from http://www.stairwaytohell.com
- Code – Paul Proctor
- Graphics – Paul Proctor
- Music – Martin Galway