80s arcade classic gets near-perfect port to 80s PC

A while back I wrote about game developers who are recoding terrible 8-bit versions of arcade games, to take full advantage of the era's home computer technology. Given that the games and hardware are decades old, it's a particularly melancholic form of nostalgia, wrapped up in youthful disappointment and adult mastery of obsolete platforms. But, by Eris, look at the final cut of Amstrad CPC R•Type, above.

Here's what was commercially released on the platform, rushed to market by the publishers:

These are running on the same hardware. 1980s childhood: fixed it for you! You'll need an emulator to play it.

Amstrad CPC R•Type [Download page]


  1. I thought it would be cool to do this for the Genesis/MegaDrive which had some really good arcade ports, but also some kinda bad ones that probably could have been good with bigger budgets.

  2. The main difference here is the choice of color/resolution mode. The original game uses the CPC’s high-resolution mode which only allows two colors per character square. The new version uses the multicolor mode but with half the horizontal resolution. The choice made by the original developers was probably so they could reuse the graphics and code from the Sinclair Spectrum version of the game, a common practice back then as both machines had the same processor. Amstrad development was often an afterthought as the machine wasn’t as popular as the Spectrum.

    1. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what I read the comment section on BoingBoing. Thanks for that cool bit of trivia, hyperreal.

    2. The commercial parameter (re-use of assets and the platform’s unpopularity in the UK) will indeed have been the overbearing factor (as always). I’d just like to point out that many a demo group (particularly French ones) succeeded in displaying multi-colour animations in high-resolution mode (‘Mode 2’) on the CPC. See this discussion http://pushnpop.net/topic-35-1.html and I think this demo did this effect http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkJ5S0y-CxM

    3. Actually all pixels in every CPC mode are individually addressable (here using the 4-colour Mode 1, with an added interrupt-driven split 3/4ths of the way through the screen refresh to gain an extra colour.)

      But the original *is* a speccy port so the graphics are identical to the spectrum version which *does* have such cell-attribute modes.

  3. Looks amazing!  Too bad my CPC went to landfill about 15 years ago, thank God for emulators!

  4. Clicked on the video out of random curiosity… and then, unexpectedly a smile came on my face.  I’m now the Grandma of a 12 year old boy, and I remember playing the old games that were only available at the entrance to my grocery store in the 1970’s.

  5. Even the Oric-1/Atmos are getting new apps built for them these days .. check the Top Games Overall listing here:


    And you’ll see Space 1999, Pulsoids, Impossible Mission, Stormlord, and 1337 – all of these are new releases for these wonderful old 8-bit machines, built for them in the 21st century by loving devotees of the arcane arts of 8-bit hacking .. it took 20 years, but the Oric-1/Atmos machines *finally* is getting the software to show off its power! :) 

  6. I loved R-Type as a kid, but am I the only person who thinks the original version (the second video above) actually looks better?  

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