Jim Power In Mutant Planet is one of the latest games for the 16bits era, offering great visuals and sound! The Amiga and ST versions were developed in 1992 and a few months later the game was developed for the SNES and MS-DOS as Jim Power: In Lost Dimensions 3D which offered more advanced visuals with 3D-like effects and a few different stages. Note that the game was also released for the 8bit Amstrad CPC.
STORY / GAMEPLAY Jim Power is a prime example of an action shoot 'em up (and platform) game that rarely fails to grant the player with great times of action as well as stunning visuals and sound (much like the Turrican games)! The story takes place somewhere in the future where you play the part of a secret agent (and an avid shooter) from the Special Warfare Unit, on a mission to rescue the President's daughter who's been kidnapped by an evil creature named Vulkhor and taken as a prisoner to a beautiful -but also hostile- planet called Mutant. The main goal on each level is to run and shoot before the time runs out, taking out hordes of mutants (like zombies, beasts and other human-like creatures that wander around), as well as to avoid a variety of deadly traps like spikes, dripping acids or moving platforms! The quest seems hard enough! You must also note that the hero does not have an energy bar except of just some lives, so any contact (or any misstep) with anyone or anything of the aforementioned hazards, will result to instant death! Your weaponry consists of a rapid fire gun and a bunch of smart bombs (that look like fire-saws). You main gun can be upgraded by collecting several bonuses left from the dead enemies. You may also find and collect extra time bonuses in order to extend your ... actual survival. Two out of the five levels in total, are played like a pure shoot 'em up game. These are Level 2 and Level 4 in which Jim is equipped with a jet pack and flies shooting everything in his path. Note that at the end of each level, Jim is again obliged to gear up his jet pack and combat gigantic bosses!
GRAPHICS / SOUND The ST version is so good looking but handles way fewer colors and less background and foreground details compared to the Amiga (as expected). Actually, the game was originally based on the Amiga's graphics hardware which uses some amazing sprite tricks: Color sprites are repeated across the screen, every 32 pixels which means that the backgrounds are actually hardware sprite repeats! Since the Atari ST cannot support hardware sprites, the game's visuals are limited to its hardware (but still look awesome for an ST game). There are some minor frame rate drops here and there, but leaving this issue and any comparisons aside, the Atari ST game is pretty decent. The sound on the ST consists of a sampled intro music (like the Amiga's but in lower frequency), a 3-channel chip music and some basic sound effects (but not sampled unfortunately). As the game was released in 1992, I would expect from the developing team to at least use the extra hardware capabilities of the STE computer, supporting hardware sprites, a better color palette and stereo sound effects! But, apparently Jim Power on the STE is...a Jim Power on the ST!
In-game music sample:
Some videos belong to retroshowcase.com (indicated); others not
CPU: Motorola 68000 16/32bit at 8mhz. 16 bit data bus/32 bit internal/24-bit address bus. MEMORY: RAM 512KB (1MB for the 1040ST models) / ROM 192KB GRAPHICS: Digital-to-Analog Converter of 3-bits, eight levels per RGB channel, featuring a 9-bit RGB palette (512 colors), 320x200 (16 color), 640x200 (4 color), 640x400 (monochrome). With special programming techniques could display 512 colors on screen in static images. SOUND: Yamaha YM2149F PSG "Programmable Sound Generator" chip provided 3-voice sound synthesis, plus 1-voice white noise mono PSG. It also has two MIDI ports, and support mixed YM2149 sfx and MIDI music in gaming (there are several games supported this).