Ghost Battle is a little more than a arcade shooter platform jaunt, with exquisite timing puzzles allied with strong console-style graphics and sound. It's Thalion's last arcade outing and probably one of its best. Released for the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST.
STORY / GAMEPLAY Ghost Battle's story is quite typical: Your beloved princess is kidnapped by an evil magician and she's kept imprisoned inside a ...tree! You start your quest with an endless supply of...stones to fight with every attacking enemy. Fortunately, you can also pick up some handy items along the way, for extra aid to your quest, but you must be careful since each item is protected by a particularly strong and mean monster that will fight to the end to defend it! On the way, you can easily acquire a few more weapons that can inflict more damage when thrown, such as bombs. There are plenty of enemies to fight that they progressively become more deadly. These creatures vary from zombies armed with chainsaws (!) to flying eagles throwing fireballs (pretty odd huh?) and there are also many traps and dead pits that you must jump over and simultaneously shoot the monsters! Each level is quite wide and you must follow certain paths to find the exit. Fortunately an indication (a hand) shows you the right way. I personally found this a little useless though, as it is leading you away from several unrevealed spots in which you can find some useful items! The gameplay is rather tough since the slow movement of the hero is making playability frustrating at times and difficult to avoid or shoot the enemies that attack from different directions. Also, the collision detection can unfairly cost and it's pretty hard to calculate the distance when jumping over dead pits, ending up inside them and losing precious lives. Aside its cons, the game is gorgeous and fun to play and it's highly recommended for every Amiga or Atari ST owner!
The Atari ST version offers nice visuals but the game does not support any special effects such as multi parallax scrolling etc. All screens are well detailed and the backgrounds vary between levels. The game starts with medieval style details and ends up in modern military facilities! The sprites animation flicks though and doesn't flow while the scrolling is OK but not as smooth as on the Amiga version (the ST version has some frame rate drops when things get too crowded). Note that the ST version uses 16 colors on screen while the Amiga version has 27-32. As I sadi earlier, the collision detection is an issue for both versions and makes the game harder than it really is (SOTB anyone?). Soundwise, the ST version is very decent and offers a pack of nice sound effects along with some awesome tunes (each level has its own unique tune) composed by the great Jochen Hippel!
In-game music sample:
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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).