This Week on Antstream 2022-05-24 : Continental Circus / Simon the Sorceror / Spelunker

3 is the magic number. No more, no less. Whether it be populating your rap group, counting Spider-Mans or preparing a holy hand-grenade. Antstream agrees. Well, sort of...

Not a clown or an acrobat in sight

In order of reknown then, we start with F1 Continental Circus. This is a 1987 2D Racer that never quite grabbed as much attention as prior releases Outrun or Hang-on .
Arcade games by this point often needed a gimmick of some kind to stand out, and the title screen duly mentions patent 4021846, "An optical device, useful for three-dimensional stereo viewing not requiring any mechanical shuttering", licensed from the US Navy.
Thus, the gimmick - the arcade machine had goggles that you could use while playing to give a 3D effect. High tech indeed back in 1987, but I've walked amongst the crowds in 1980s arcades and they may not have been the most hygenic group with whom to be sharing communal eyewear.
Anyway, Antstream obviously doesn't implement that, and it also can't implement a physical gear shift, so you can't really tell if you're in High or Low gear, which can prove a little frustrating at the start of a race / after a crash.
Still, it's a fast moving and challenging example of it's genre and holds its place halfway between PitStop and WEC Le Mans solidly.

If looks could kill...

Next, Simon the Sorcerer on Amiga, a fine point & click adventure from 1997 on the Amiga. I said 'sort-of' up there in the first paragraph, because this isn't an entirely new addition. What it is, is the 256-colour AGA version of the game, the non-AGA 64-colour version having been on Antstream for a while. Not a huge difference, but the AGA version is a little sharper. In either version, it's a lovingly animated and witty adventure.

64-colour version on top, 256 on the bottom. Spot the difference.

Perhaps least known of the 3 (  in my house at least ) is Irem / Broderbund arcade title Spelunker, which looks and plays sort of like latter day megahit Spelunkey. It's a unique little platform exploration game where you have to find treasure and descend ever deeper through a series of caves. There are chests to open, bombs to plant, mine carts to ride in and so on.
Naturally, assorted creatures are out to get you, and a baleful green ghost pops up at intervals, eager to punish the living. Luckily, you can just shoot it. Your energy depletes constantly, and that'll kill you as much as the enemies will. But it's an arcade game that wants your coins, so it's supposed to be harsh. If only someone would make a modernised version with friendlier mechanics and...oh! Right. They did.
This is a refreshing little surprise, and the best of a fine trio this week.

Nice Speedos, dude.


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