Thanks very much to an unnamed contributor who has flagged up this blog post showing some interesting graphics from what look to be some abandoned Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum games:
Recovered off a 3″ disk, nothing more has been shown or recovered of the games, so its hoped that we can find out more soon about them. Thanks to James Dunn (@namco_) , it seems the Alien VS Predator screen is based on a PD SAM Coupé demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ok8iUzPS_FQ
So was it an attempt at making a proper game, or a conversion of the demo?
The archives seem to be of developer Paul Griffiths, including an interesting mock up of a Dragon Ninja style game with large characters, and a game called Castle Capers which seems to have been designed by Genesis Software’s David Clarke.
Via the comments, the artist himself for the Dragon Ninja and Alien vs. Predator screens – Gordon Wallis got in touch, and who shared the following details:
“I worked with Paul Griffiths on the ZX Spectrum conversion of Mike Berry’s C64 game ‘Reckless Rufus’ (the logos from that would likely be from the Amstrad conversion, which Paul also handled). I’d sent a tape of some of my Spectrum graphics to Alternative Software, who published the game so, either Alternative passed the tape onto him, or I may well have included some of my personal projects on one of the tapes I sent Paul during development.
Material for the Spectrum version of AvP actually predates my SAM Coupé demo, but not by much. I’d imagined it as an Ocean-style, multiload, multi play-style game. When I got the SAM, I reworked and recoloured everything I’d done on the Spectrum (usually by loading the Spectrum SCREEN$ into Flash!, converting to Mode 4, adjusting the palette and filling in colours) but the SAM version is the only one that turns up, since it’s on loads of PD libraries now. That, and several others, are still downloadable from my own website. Wasn’t aware it’d been uploaded to YouTube though!
The Dragon Ninja stuff really only happened because I loved the arcade game and so, being happily unencumbered with any understanding of coding or memory constraints, I couldn’t understand why the Spectrum version was so bad (tiny, monochrome sprites in a small window of the screen). I set about trying to draw everything as close to full (arcade) size as possible, transcribing some of it, as best I could, from screenshots of the arcade game published in magazines. Though I think it all ended up slightly larger, in an attempt to fit things within the 8×8 attribute blocks.
My original version of that SCREEN$ had the two player characters in full colour (one with cyan jeans, the other white) and (I think) a rudimentary cityscape in the background at the top of the screen – probably just differently coloured blocks of PAPER colour. I’ve still got the paper copies of some of it, hand drawn onto Pixel Pads I’d bought at a ZX Microfair, and may have bits and pieces on SAM disks I’ve yet to fully explore, but the original stuff on tape is probably in a box somewhere at my parents’ place.
Neither were in any way official or in development, but graphic and game design was a hobby of mine, growing up. Reckless Rufus on the Spectrum remains the one commercially published game I’ve ever worked on, but I’m trying to remain active on the SAM Coupé scene.”
So there we have it, those two games were at least not proper developments and were done mostly for fun. It’s a shame, as the Dragon Ninja graphics looked brilliant!
My pleasure, and thank you! I was equal parts surprised, thrilled and baffled to see some of my stuff from the late 80s/early 90s turn up here, being just an enthusiastic hobbyist. Funny to think that Paul kept some of it, if all those screens are from his archives.
Spent most of today screen-capturing AvP material for both the SAM Coupé and Spectrum to put up in my DeviantArt gallery but it looks like all my Dragon Ninja stuff is on paper (some of which I have) and on tape (which I don’t currently have access to).
FRANK – “Moved Gordon’s comments into the main piece. Thanks Gordon!”
Thanks Gordon, that’s great to get some confirmation. I’ve just added your comments into the main piece above.