The real reason you got that machine (or emulator), right? Classic and new Amiga games talked about here. Have you seen the Games Library?
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:10 pm

I found some ADFs that I moved over to floppies.

Mini-rant #2: Cracks and the Obnoxious Ego
I load up the new ADFs and I get to a very plain screen telling me who cracked this game. I sigh and click the next button. I still have to use the code wheel. In other words, I'm not sure what the hell "Skid Row / Valhala" ever did to crack Curse, because the disks were made to be copyable in the first place. Yet they left the "copy protection" in place, which requires the use of a code wheel (which I have, of course). The arrogance! I can't believe they spent the time to insert their handles into a professional game - and that was it and somehow called it a crack! Dorks!
#rantOver

Anyway, the random screen freeze just happened to me again while using this new batch of code. So my original disks must be fine, as well as my HD install. I did find a very old passage on Lemon which said there were several bugs in Curse, so "save often", one of which was a screen freeze. I think there is something specific about my current party which is messing things up.

I'm going to try and adjust my current party. Worst case, I'll start from scratch. If it is still a no-go, I guess I'm screwed.

One. More. Try.
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Zippy Zapp
CA, USA

by Zippy Zapp posted Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:30 pm

That's a bummer. I don't actually think I ever played the Amiga version. The one I bought was the C64 version even though I had an Amiga. IIRC this was because it was released in 1989 while the Amiga version didn't come out until the next year... I didn't want to wait. :D
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:51 pm

THE PLOT THICKENS!

I now believe (or, at least hope) that there are actually two versions of Azure Bonds for Amiga out there.

Most of the Gold Box disks I've ever seen (and this includes C64 - of which I have Pool of Radiance) have stickers on the disks where each disk has a different shade of pale yellow. They aren't particularly pretty, but very distinctive.

My version of Azure bonds was actually released and printed in 1989. Check out the very generic semi-ghetto stickers on my disks. And yes, they are original - not cheap copies.
IMG_7885.JPG

When you load the game, one of the first screens tells you that you're looking at version 1.1.

The box even has a very cheap looking sticker, too.
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I did some more research. This game was a huge hit (esp on C64) and in 1990 there was a second printing. In 1990, the disks started to get the more typical SSI Gold Box sticker treatment.
download-2.jpg


I'm hoping beyond a sticker upgrade that there is a newer dot-release in the new disks (e.g. 1.2 or higher) with some bug fixes. I have a set on the way of the 1990 disks - pictured above. Hopefully in the next week this'll get sorted one way or the other.

I have no way of knowing which version my "cracked" ego-ADFs are, by the way, because the version number was overwritten by the cracker's handle. (Dork!)
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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA

by Shot97 posted Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:46 pm

My dad had a smaller floppy disk drawer dedicated to mostly gold box games. And yeah, the wonderful and fantastic colored glossy stickers is what I remember them to all look like. All of them. The only time I've run into those crappy looking ones, well... Check out the hall of light and those are the cheap labels they would put for the European release....

Wonder if you got a European copy? But they usually didn't have the big boxes though... To be sure they certainly sold them for a long time with not much of a cost cut. I'll always remember going to Slipped Disk, our Amiga store, and peering at this one rack decked out in "gold"; The Gold Box Games. From old to new, they were all these for years, and they didn't look dusty! But it took SSI awhile to give a crap about the Amiga. I mean these games originally came out in the late 80's, I think '87 was Pool of Radiance. But I'm pretty sure Pool was the 2nd to come out for the Amiga in 1990. Like it may have been that Curse was somehow released before Pool due to the time spent on Pool... Or perhaps Champions of Kyrnn was the first. Since your disks have 1989 for the copyright I'd say Curse came out before Pool, isn't that weird? Or maybe I've got things mixed up, I swear Pool came out in 1990 though on the Amiga. But yeah, they were all late to the Amiga. Another common complaint about Pool on the Amiga was that the game was already old and they were up to Secret of the Silver Blades when the first one came out. They were like "we like it, but please don't let it take this long for the other ones..." haha

I miss those disks.... They were in the collection I deemed to be unrecoverable and thus were trashed. I did keep the manuals though :D

As for your comments on cracks... yup... I mean you know my opinion there.... They were the most arrogant MFers ever stroking themselves in front of a bunch of other arrogant MFers doing the same thing, and somehow because they managed to paste their name into an IFF image or load an intro they feel they're worthy of praise. And from what I remember, yes, most of the GOld Box games required me to still input the various copy protection, which I do have. Except Pool of Radiance, that one did get a good a crack that bypassed the protection and only had their logo for that one copy protection screen.

sigh... and some people out there are doing their best to preserve all those cracks.... BURN THEM ALL I SAY!
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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA

by Shot97 posted Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:40 am

Zippy Zapp wrote:That's a bummer. I don't actually think I ever played the Amiga version. The one I bought was the C64 version even though I had an Amiga. IIRC this was because it was released in 1989 while the Amiga version didn't come out until the next year... I didn't want to wait. :D



I always want to give the C64 a lot of credit with a whole bunch of these RPGs that speak to me so strongly. Indeed, quite a few of these giant epics did not originate on DOS, very few did actually... Nobody played games on DOS back then! Blows my mind that people think a few million IBM sales to businesses or people who wanted to work at home actually meant something when those people never bought another new program after that. Certainly not games. Might and Magic started on the Apple II.... So did Ultima I believe.... Bards Tale as well... The programmers all seemed to have an Apple II back then... But hey, the C64 despite selling countless millions in America and everywhere gets the same treatment the Amiga gets in that everyone seems to think it was all Europe after 1985....

Nope.... A whole lot of mid to late 80's indepth RPGs/Adventures/Simulations started life in America on the 64. And damn they look good on the real machine with a CRT. I've always wanted to dive in more with the 64 myself... There were games like Pirates and Pool of Radiance that my father got twice... Once for the 64 and once for the Amiga... and indeed a 3rd time when I begged for the DOS compilation many years later.

Unfortunately I have to say that despite how I'd love to use these games to make it clear that it's not just the Amiga people are getting wrong out there with the speed and the aspect ratios, same thing with the 64.... Well, these games are all a pain to play on the 64.... And I have fast loading stuff... I love Wasteland on the 64 because it never came out on the Amiga (WHHHYYY?!) and screw DOS.... I did my best to play Might and Magic (the 1st one) on the 64, but I always ran into issues with it reading one of the disks... Very odd.... Ended up playing the NES version of all things.... Pirates I love on every system ever, including the 64, it's worth the load times.... But for me if a big game like this made it to the Amiga, that's where I want to play it. I'm very patient, but I just can't handle these 4 disk games on the 64 with actually 8 sides in total plus a save disk. And I feel Wasteland is worth it, so I should probably give the gold box games a try... but ah, I've got enough on my plate showing people these were the games people bought on the Amiga in America, got to be someone else out there who knows the truth about the top selling computer of all time and can show it....

Sometimes that slowdown helps you appreciate things though... When my dad bought that DOS compilation, SSI just threw them all onto a CD, they didn't tweak a damn thing. No Windows95, no speed corrections.... Exactly as it was back then minus the floppy disks. This introduced me to the program "Moslow" for DOS, because the gold box games were meant to be played on a 4.7 mhz IBM... But that program sucked.... It slowed it down to where the game would no longer show 6 minutes of intro in 6 seconds, then crash.... But the timings were all off, it would be smooth one second but jerk itself faster to where you had no idea how much damage you did to the last guy. I played Champions of Kyrnn using Moslow and DOS, a terrible experience. Then I searched until I found DOSFellow and WinUAE, then I played them slower on the Amiga, and oh so much better! - What might have been had SSI cared enough to optimize those games for Windows? If Moslow had been a better slowdown program? If these games did not utter any sound or music through the PC speaker? I didn't even know what emulation was, I just knew I was not seeing things like I originally did.

It's kind of strange seeing Intric8 getting so much into Curse where as he really only gave Pool a glance. But I guess I went out of order as well... Watching my dad... I first remember playing Death Knights of Kyrnn back in the day, the 2nd of another series of gold box games. I first beat Champions of Kyrnn, then my dad made a joke about that being easy compared to Pool of Radiance.... Oh I'll show him! hhahaha.... and yeah, Pool is just so vast and big.... It's great though. Hope you get back to it, but this might have been a good one to get you sucked in with. Champions of Kyrnn is also a good one for those trying to get into the gold box games.

I've yet to complete Dark Queen of Kyrnn, kind of forgot about it after awhile. For being based on the same engine (most of them) they gave you such variety. Dark Queen had you walking around under the water... I've yet to even play the odd Science fiction Buck Rogers gold box games, but hey, there it is in space! Most of them I've completed several times, even the engine departures like Eye of the Beholder. Not Hillsfar; that game was stupid.... Always some of my favorite games of all time though. And for the most part, they never get covered, any version. You can't just get away with using the same engine over and over unless something special is there... And if it requires too much time? You make the time. My dad certainly did... You just slowly piece your way through it.... and YouTubers; Perhaps it's not the worst idea ever to simply not release a video until you've collected enough for a big game like this... Just saying... Nobody is going to care that I've been gone for a month if when I return I'm back with something special.

Needs to be more coverage of a game like this, and many others. People need to sit down and learn how to map, because it's not that hard to do, it does not waste time, it in fact enhances the experience so much... No clue book is required if one simply sets out to step in every square.... Nothing like winning one of these on your own... You've come this far Intric8, I hope you'll make that a goal for one of these... Cause I'm telling you, you're missing out on something special but you won't know until you try it. I've finished some of them 4 times and I always map fresh. Should I ever finish my Pool of Radiance review, I'll proudly be the only video to ever devote time on making a map, and thus learning the town. You don't even need the map if you've written the map, you know where you are. Those clue books keep your eyes on that book, end up wasting time if you ask me. Turn the non linear game into a linear one. If you're getting sucked in here; sooner rather than later, force yourself to map everything. Try to finish one without a guide. Wait too long and I'm with you, ain't no way I'm playing Pools of Darkness without the guide, too damn big.... Eye of the Beholder, stupid game turns you around and screws you over besides being huge... But most of them and a host of other games were nice and neat 15x15 squares from area to area. I can't imagine not mapping Pool of Radiance, which features one enormous outdoor area... I mapped it all on so many pieces of graph paper, even taped them together. The landscape etched out in your own squares.

I believe in Curse you'll be coming to a dungeon where you meet an apparition of a head, you get the impression he's insane... Cackles with laughter and comes out to heckle you now and then as you journey up and up, from level to level. You can map these areas and thus appreciate these moments he appears, connect with it, perhaps be scared and rest for better spells or to heal... It can work you up and simply help etch that into your memory.... - Or you can use the guide and go in a straight line to where the stairs are to go up. You'll see him very quickly, get annoyed of him, form no connection, forget it all.

One time, gotta try it. I'm going to try to show people it's a can't miss facet of gameplay in my never quite finished Pool of Radiance review.... But of course it's cool you're looking into them at all. Thanks for including us in this unfortunate drama you're going through.
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Shot97
Detroit, MI, USA

by Shot97 posted Sun Apr 23, 2017 4:07 am

The site I go to for adfs has at least 4 different adfs for each Curse disk... Including a non cracked original!!!!! WOW!!!! hahha....

Alas they are all version 1.0 though. That does not necessarily say anything, as evidenced by A-Talk III only having 1.0 anywhere you search, but Mr. Intric8 managed to get a newer version when he bought the thing. Since the cracking groups had very little true pride if you ask me, I can't imagine many of them bothering with a newer version of a game they already "cracked"; or should I say they left the copy protection and graffitied over the intro? :D - So glad I never ran into those things back in the day. My time was better spent at the corner printing store as my father copied page for page of the manual for an hour in the case of him not buying the game.

God...How could anyone play this game and get any enjoyment from it at all without indeed owning it or copying every last page of the manual? 85% of the story is told through the manual.... I guess that could have something to do with nobody covering it these days. :D
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:36 am

Alas they are all version 1.0 though.
Really? Older version than what I have, which was made in 1989? Wow.

If you look at the copyright on the box and the disks, mine all say 1989. Wikipedia also shows Curse having come out in 1989 as an initial release date.

Since the new(er) disks have an updated 1990 date on them, hopefully it has a bug fix here or there that will make it work with my system.

But, for now at least, I have to wait.

In the meantime, I have 2 options:

1) Pull my NTSC 1200 out, or the ol' 500, and use it instead to see what happens.
2) I've got Savage Frontier to play later this spring. But I could start the beginning of the game just to see if the same issue occurs. FWIW the game freezes never happens during party creation. It's only when I'm walking around town or (more often) in the middle of a battle.

Hm...

Including a non cracked original!!!!! WOW!!!! hahha....

Did you happen to try and load that game up? If so, did the 2nd or 3rd screen say "version 1.0" in light blue text at the top of the screen?

EDIT:
And the box and its contents were "Made in the USA". I don't think it or the disks were European at all. Just something really funky going on. All of the European disks I've ever gotten - and I pretty much avoid them all now - never even had stickers. Just weird 1-color prints on the plastic, usually white ink. Not sure why they did that but in a way I'm glad. It helps me quickly determine if its something I want to invest in these days with a simple glance (usually 'no').
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:30 am

Well, I checked out HOL and their disk scan shows the disks I currently have in route. (Don't get me started on their screenshots!) ;)

I'm really hoping the 1.1 version I have is some strange anomaly. But I will test them with another machine and see what happens. And I'll be doing a sanity check towards my other Amiga Gold Box game this week, too, just to (hopefully) put my mind at rest that this is Curse-specific.

And I do wonder if the original ADF you found would play differently for me. Technically if it is 1.0 that is not what I have. Seems strange that 1.1 would introduce a bug, though, but who knows? So many variables...
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:59 pm

Some good news.

Today I fired up Gateway, created a new party and started adventuring in that game. Early indications are that it is 100% completely fine - no issues. I did this because I worried that the Gold Box engine might be balking at some unknown thing in my A2000, which would really be a disaster. Doesn't look like that's the case. It does leave open a bit of a mystery as to what's going on with Curse, but perhaps my new disks will solve that issue. FINGERS CROSSED.

@Shot you found it strange that I jumped into #2 (Curse) rather than a full deep dive into #1 (Pool). It's kind of convoluted, but I can explain.

As you know, I'm kind of hard core about using original disks. Very eclectic, I know I know. But Pool for Amiga ... I simply haven't found it. Or, I should say, I've never found it for a reasonable price. I got Curse - beat up as the box is - for only $14! The manual and code wheel alone is worth that much to me.

Also, when I was planning my trip to Hawaii I wanted to read either Pool or Curse via audio book. It's a great way to consume a story in a busy lifestyle. And I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to finish actually reading the paperback in the same timeframe. After reading the reviews of the audio books for both Pool and Curse, unfortunately the actor in Pool sounds really, really bad. The woman who reads Curse is pretty good once you get used to her cadence and style. She does a pretty good job of switching voices from character to character and reads like you'd expect. In pool, it just sounded dreadful. I may pull the trigger and deal with it at some point, but I really wanted to enjoy it and not do it as a means of "work" to get it done, you know what I mean?

Anyway, I finished Azure Bonds the book last week (the book doesn't have "the curse of..." in the title by the way). And - jeez - the plot had so many twists and turns! Kind of mind boggling, that story. It's like they took 5-6 modules and mashed them all together. It's just one thing after the next. Pretty good and really got the D&D juices flowing. And the author of curse wound up working on the game, too. Truthfully, it's not necessary to have read the book at all to play the game. In fact, I created a party that had the characters from the book as my characters in the game. But every now and then you actually encounter the real characters in the game, so it's a little funny/weird. But they are more like background paintings that are more or less winks to the (tiny) group of people who might have read the books back then and also played the game.

By the way, I played Gateway for over an hour today, and I have to say I'm pretty impressed with the improvements I can see they made in it from previous versions. There are still some oddities, but the auto-aiming for bows/arrows, for example, is really nice. The graphics of the encounters are pretty nice, too.

Good lord - the awful sound effects are still the same, though. Hah! Every time someone dies, that same cruddy groan "Owoahhh" haha. So bad.

Anyway, I'll probably play for another hour or so just to make sure all's well (feels like it is) then put it away until my new Curse disks get here. I don't want to play for too long or I know I'll get sucked in. Gateway looks and feels pretty cool.

It's worth noting that I do have an excellent boxed copy of Pool on C64 which I got for a steal and have been waiting to play. I like the speed of the Amiga for this kind of game, but if I do run across some Pool disks, I think I could use the code wheel and journals/manual from my C64 box. That'd be a nice budget way to do it if I get impatient. I've been looking for Pool on Amiga for a long time. It's just really hard to find - I guess no one wants to sell theirs!

<3
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Mon May 01, 2017 5:15 pm

My "new" Azure Bonds disks have arrived. Deep breath - wish me luck!
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