Exile Tribute: The AtariST conversion

Atari cover

The presumed AtarST cover

Exile was released onto the Atari ST along with a conversion to its main 16-bit rival at the time, the Commodore Amiga. It is similarly, still available from Audiogenic as detailed on their web-pages.

In contrast to the Amiga versions, I am only aware that one release was made for the Atari ST.

The features

Peter Irvin gives an overview to the 16-bit versions;
The 16bit versions had superior graphics, animations, and sound, as you'd expect. The game had more detail throughout and whilst the map layout was similar it did have extra areas with more puzzles (e.g. the spiders). With the huge increase in Ram over the 8 bit versions the terrain could afford more variation which made the underground areas much more realistic than the 45degree passages before.

The 16-bit versions were all improved in this way beyond the original BBC version. From the perspective of a player of the BBC version it is interesting to hear of extra areas and features that were added not to mention the improved visual and audio features!

The conversion process

The Atari ST version, was done in conjunction with William Reeve (co-author of the BBC game Pipeline) at the same time as the Amiga cinversion. William descibes the background to his involvement on the Amiga page.

The two machines proved to represent very different challenges during the conversion process and it is this fact which William reflects upon:

the conversion to the Atari was a better job. The ST did not have hardware scrolling, and had an infuriating graphics format. So we needed to use a completely different (software-driven) scrolling engine. But in many ways the ST is more like the BBC [which also has an infuriating graphics format] - more horsepower, with fewer custom-appliances to help [also more like the Archimedes therefore]. The ST version was, bizarrely, faster, and looked better too. I was pleased because I had to develop a 'remote developing system' which worked really well - I created a 'virtual Atari ST' on the Amiga, in effect.

It is difficult to obtain exact details on any particular conversion of Exile and the best option would be to try to play it but I believe the major differences were in the visual and audio areas as Peter states above. Also I understand the Amiga1200 version had the best graphics but from William's comments it seems likely that the AtariST version looked better than the initial amiga conversions at least.

I have been sent two screenshots by Oliver Pike who was demonstrating the use of his cheat codes this time on the AtariST to reveal hidden objects and to 'spawn' extra versions of the objects in the game.

The hidden weapon present in early Exile versions

As if Exile wasn't hard enough!

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Last modified 03/02