The Let's Play Archive

Compute!'s Gazette

by Chokes McGee

Part 7: Chokes McGee - Turnabout

Let's Play Turnabout!
Oct. 1985, Vol. 3, No. 10


Something horrible has happened at a local boomerang factory. The whirling monstrosities have come alive and are prowling the building, looking for a weak point to break through. Our only hope is for someone to go in, trap them into tiny rooms, and stop them from spinning. Permanently.

You step inside. The doors close and lock, and as hundreds of boomerangs swarm towards you, you realize what's happened: You are a blood sacrifice, sent to keep mankind's real rulers placated so we can continue our species' meaningless existence. You know the truth now, and all it leaves in your ears is the monotonomous sound of swishing wood and the thin wah-wah of sad trombones.

Click Below to Watch Chokes' Montage of Failure!

This is seriously the worst a video game has kicked my ass in years. It's got to be some way my brain doesn't operate normally that keeps me from beating it, right? Or is this game seriously this hard?

Anyway, the goal is to take the Klu-Klu-Land-gone-batshit grid up there and box a boomerang whirlygig into an area where it can't move in any of the four directions. (This can also be accomplished by trapping them in a 2x4 block with another whirlygig, although only one of them will disappear.) The doors can be pushed from either the topmost part or bottom-most part, depending on which way you want them to swing. When the bonus timer runs out, the game starts running at double speed. If you manage to trap and destroy all the whirlygigs, you go on to the next level.

The game claims it has multiple levels and that more whirlygigs will start appearing the higher you go. You and I both know that's a lie. There's only one level and no one's ever beaten it. They could claim level 5 causes it to hardboot into Legend of Zelda only with Mario as the main character. Who's going to be able to disprove it? Not me, that's sure as hell clear from the above video.

The Good

It's a well made game, but for whatever reason, I find myself completely outclassed by it. The sound and movement and timing and premise are all there, but holy crap is it hard to just accomplish the task I'm given.

Also, they made the death noise a sad fail trombone. Seriously. That is a thing they actually did in the year of 1985. Some people's genius really can't be appreciated until future generations.

The Bad

Doors clipping through the whirlygigs are probably the single biggest problem here. It really sucks when you go to slam the room shut one of them, the thing moves up one line while you're doing it, and suddenly, you're standing next to an empty room with a whirlygig right next to you going, "How you doin'? " It may actually be the reason I find this game so difficult. That and the fact there's no good way to reset the doors once you've flipped a bunch of them, which makes life even more unpleasant.

Also I can never remember that the starting address is 49152 and keep forgetting to use SYSSTAMPER on it. This is extra ironic since $C000 is probably the most widely used ML programming space on the C64. Sigh.

The Weird

jfc 80s

seriously I'm a mainlander and I want to see Da Black Shorts rearrange his haole face

Oh hey! StarDos is actually a pretty well known and not terrible thing. I'm not sure if it's been mentioned yet, but the C64-to-1541 native I/O bus programming was absolutely terrible. You could often get 3-10 times increase by just providing your own custom I/O stack. Epyx was especially touted for their Epyx Fastload cartridge, which basically replaced the C64's native routines for as long as they were plugged in. If you didn't have one of these (or a knockoff) and were a hardcore C64 gamer then what the hell was wrong with you, that's more time you could've been spending hardcore gaming. Epyx's famous routines were also included as preloader wedges with their most popular software, i.e. Impossible Mission.

StarDos was a bigger deal because it was hardware based. That made it probably the best option, although prohibitively expensive by th


The Verdict

There's only one way to summarize this one.