Return of the Beast (ROTB for short)

ROTB intro screen 1 ROTB intro screen 2
ROTB intro screens 1&2.
ROTB game screen 1 ROTB game screen 2
ROTB game screens 1&2.
ROTB game screen 3 ROTB game screen 4
ROTB game screens 3&4.
ROTB game screen 5 - warping to next level ROTB game screen 6 - end of game
ROTB game screens 5&6 (warping to next level and end game).

Return of the Beast (ROTB for short) is 4 way scrolling space shooter with some of the most impressive game intro music ever done on a Dragon 32/64 or Coco 1/2 level machine... without requiring a sound chip. This music playing code was done by Ciaran Anscomb, and is based on SID emulation (the sound chip made famous in the Commodore-64). The game itself is loosely based on the arcade smash Time Pilot '84 and has 4 colour scrolling terrain, with fine details like craters, buildings, water, etc. and two different types of aliens to shoot. It has great sound effects, and a warping effect when going between levels (which also will change the base colours of the level - shown in game screen 5 above). There are special convoys of 4 ships that look like giant insects (see screens 2 and 3 for examples) - if you can wipe out multiple sets of these, you then warp to the next level. The game can be played with either joystick or keyboard controls. It also features 16 rotation directions for the players ship, rapid fire, and very good use of color for a lower resolution (128x96x4) game.

It should be mentioned that this is technically a playable demo; however scoring, goals to reach the next level, etc. is already implemented so it is basically a full game at this point to me. I am not sure what else Stewart was/is planning to add; maybe boss monsters, etc.? Because of it's test status, it has a couple of test keys that you can try in the game; the A key will change background colours on the fly, and the C key will warp you between levels.

This is one of the most impressive game "demos" that I have ever seen and really is fully playable. Great job by Stewart, and I hope to see a "complete" version in the future.

Stewart also wrote a blog starting in 2017 that went through his history of game programming for the Dragon and into the development of Return of the Beast itself, including a lot of technical and coding details. You can start reading that here:

It should be mentioned that the game, as it currently stands, is pretty well maxing out the 32K of RAM it runs in. Stewart is planning to "finish" the game as a full 64K project, adding a bunch of things to the existing 32K version. Awesome!

Title: Return of the Beast (ROTB for short)

Author: Stewart Orchard, 3 channel music player by Ciaran Anscomb

Publisher: Stewart Orchard

Released: 2017

Requires: Color Computer 1,2,3, 32K RAM, joystick optional.

Download the disk version here.

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