Monday, 8 October 2012

From The Archives: Alternative Software Extras Part 1

Last month Retro Gamer magazines published my account of the life of veteran software house Alternative.  There wasn't much additional written material this time but quite a few images left over so here they are for your perusal with a sliver of info on each one.

If you want to read the full Alternative story, issue 107 is still available from the Imagine shop, click here

A similar screenshot to this actually appeared in the article.  It's of a game called BMX Ninja which was a "high concept" title by Alternative.  Curiously, the game was original banned by WH Smith (or they refused to stock it) because of some risque sprites in the background.  Alternative were shocked, re-submitted the game unchanged and it was accepted and subsequently stocked.

This is a screenshot from Charles Bystram's Cannibals from Outer Space.  Despite its intriguing title, it was unfortunately just a bog standard isometric game.
One of Alternative's early multi-media efforts on the PC, this time based around the mystifyingly popular wartime comedy Allo Allo.
An exceedingly green screenshot from the BBC version of Dead or Alive, a shooter in the mould of Gunsmoke and Who Dares Wins.

Like many, Alternative tried to take advantage of the C64's excellent abilities in the scrolling shoot 'em up genre.  This game, Gladiators, was a moderate success and scored 64% in Commodore Force magazine along with some favourable comparisons to SWIV.  The magazine wasn't so kind on author Steve Metcalf's other Alternative game, Magic Rufus, which got just 36%.

Another beeb screenshot, this time Indoor Soccer.  With those players and that pallette scheme, it looks more like Weird Nightmare Soccer!
Roger Hulley, complete with cheesy grin, shakes hands with Santa in November of 1989 as part of a promotion for Postman Pat 2.  Nope, me neither.

This is a screenshot from the game Suburban Commando.  It was a kinda fun platformer on the Amiga with colourful graphics and some nice gameplay.  It was Alternative's first movie license.
The card game by Frederick Hulley that inspired the name of Alternative's sub-label, Summit.
Roger is surrounded by some strapping lads in a promo shot for the release of Super League Pro Rugby in 1995.

 See kids, he does exist!
 Here's a couple of examples of how Alternative changed covers when they re-released games.  They were often obligated to do so and ensure the covers were sufficiently different from the original release.  Here, the Who Dares Wins 2 cover features three SAS-type figures in front of what looks like an Embassy of some sort and bears little reflection of the actual game.
More interestingly, Microsphere's original grim artwork for Skool Daze was replaced by this very Bash Street Kids-esque depiction for the Alternative budget re-release, no doubt to entice younger gamers.

Thanks to Rhodesvibes for some of these images.

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