• Category Archives DOS
  • Tower Toppler / Sports-A-Roni (Commodore 64)

    Tower Toppler and Sports-A-Roni by U.S. Gold for the Commodore 64 and other computers.

    This ad from 1988 is for a couple of late 1980s computer games distributed by U.S. Gold in North America. Tower Topper is a platform game while Sports-a-Roni is a sort of parody of the Olympics or other sports games.

    Tower Toppler is probably the most well known of the two. It was originally released under the name of Nebulus in the U.K. but the name was changed to Tower Toppler when it was brought to the U.S. Maybe Nebulus was thought to be too nebulous of a name… Tower Toppler is an excellent game and a unique sort of platformer. Your goal is to make your way from the bottom of the tower to the top while avoiding various enemies and obstacles in order to plant a bomb to destroy the tower. There are eight towers to destroy that you can think of as eight different levels. Uniquely, your character stays in the center of the screen and the tower seems to rotate as you move to the left or the right.

    Tower Toppler was released on a wide variety of systems, including the Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST, Game Boy (as Castelian), NES (also as Castelian), Atari 7800 and DOS based computers among others. For overall gameplay experience, I recommend the Commodore 64 version. The Commodore 64 version made an appearance on the C64 DTV in 2004 and was also released via the Wii Virtual Console in 2009.

    Sports-a-Roni is a bit more obscure. It was also released on several platforms, including the Commodore 64, Atari ST and DOS based computers. There are 8 “sports” events including pogo, pillow fight, run up the wall, river jump, boot throwing, the pile of plates, pole climbing and sack race. In its original European release, this game was called Alternative World Games. It’s not a spectacular game but if you enjoy games like the Epyx Games series then this might offer a nice change of pace. However, I don’t believe this one has had any re-releases so you’ll need an original disk and hardware or be content with emulation. I would again say that the Commodore 64 version is the best overall.

  • Pete Rose Pennant Fever (DOS)

    Pete Rose Pennant Fever (DOS)


    Pete Rose Pennant Fever was released in 1988 for DOS based computers. This game had the unfortunate luck of being released the year before Pete Rose was banned from baseball for gambling on the sport. It would be interesting to know how long this game was marketed and whether the scandal hurt or helped sales…

    Pete Rose Pennant Fever was an innovative game in many ways. It was the first PC baseball game to offer a career mode. It could be played by one or two players. It allowed you to build your own expansion team and place them in either division. You could play through ten seasons, dealing with injuries, player retirement and other issues. You could also use money earned from previous seasons to pay for free agents and you could also draft rookies. A variety of camera angles are used and the player can play any position. The gameplay itself wasn’t anything special but the career mode added a strategic element that most baseball games of the time did not have.

    Pennant Fever set the stage for many other baseball games to come. There were no sequel’s, probably because of Pete Rose’s gambling scandal, but it would be interesting to see where they would have taken it. Instead, the genre was taken over by the likes of Electronic Art’s Earl Weaver Baseball.

    Pete Rose Pennant Fever was also released on the Atari 2600 in 1988 and the Atari 7800 in 1989. The Atari 2600 version is quite well done given that system’s limitations. However, the Atari 7800 version seems to only be a slightly enhanced version of the 2600 game. Too bad as that system was capable of a lot more. The DOS version is really the one you want to play if you want to try this game out. Assuming you don’t have an old DOS machine around you’ll have to get it running in something like DOSBox or I believe there are patched versions that will run in modern versions of Windows out there but I haven’t tried them.

  • Might and Magic II

    Might and Magic II (Commodore 64, Apple II, DOS)


    Might and Magic II, subtitled “Gates to Another World”, was originally developed as a computer role playing game for the Apple II in 1986, ported in 1988 to the Commodore 64, DOS, and Macintosh and later also ported to the Amiga and other computers as well as the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. It is the sequel to Might and Magic Book One: Secret of the Inner Sanctum and offers a few improvements over that game including improved graphics, a “delay selector” to control the speed of the game, an indicator to make it obvious when input is necessary, and auto mapping (if you have a character with the appropriate skill).

    In this game you control a party of six characters at a time though up to twenty-six can be created. You can also import your characters from the previous game. In addition, you can hire up to two additional characters to join your party. They are controlled in the same way as the rest of your party but you have to pay them a certain amount of gold every day based on their level. New characters, more spells, a larger number of quests and secondary skills were also added (including the cartographer skill that allows auto mapping).

    While Might and Magic II spends a lot of time on combat (battles could be massive), there are also plenty of clues to be found, mysteries to be solved and things to discover. There are a number of features unique to RPGs of the time including the fact that your characters age (and can die of old age). Time travel and sci-fi elements were also thrown in to this otherwise fantasy-based RPG.

    Might and Magic II received mostly positive reviews and the series was a long lasting one, stretching into ten games for the main series plus a number of spinoffs with their own sequels. Some of these are better than others but I highly recommend the first two and the next 5 or 6 are pretty decent as well. The most recent one (Might and Magic 10) was just released in 2014 and while it is a decent game it obviously bears virtually no resemblance to the first few.

    Might and Magic II has been featured in a few compilations but the most recent I could find was a Windows version released in 1998 that included the first five games and some additional stuff. If you want to play this game you are going to have to break out some old hardware of one kind or another or use an emulator. Pictures above are from the Commodore 64 version of the game.