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Star Castle (Atari 2600) RC1

Thumbnail 1 for Star Castle (Atari 2600)
After a (too?) long break after the first release candidate and a lot of extra Hard WorkTM of many people, we proudly present you: The first beta release of Star Castle Arcade for the Atari 2600!

The attached zip file contains two ROMs, one for Stella (suffix ".bin"; make sure to get the latest version, always a good idea!) and one for the Harmony cart (suffix ".cu"; BIOS 1.05 required!).

The game is 99.9% done, so what this version needs most is some extensive play testing with fresh eyes.

The difficulty starts too high or ramps up too fast? The homing mines become too aggressive? The sounds are not well balanced? The controls feel sluggish? You found a bug? ... Eagerly awaiting your feedback!

The changes done since the last release are too long to list them all here, you will notice the most relevant ones anyway. Here are the more important ones:
To allow better maneuvering, the vertical size of the play field area has been increased, the ships size has been decreased.
You got a 3rd bullet to fire simultaneously. How great is that?
Difficulty now ramps up with the score, not the castle.
Sounds and graphics have been added or greatly enhanced. Thanks to Nathan Strum and Ivan Machado (LS_Dracon)!
For your pleasure, the rings are now more nicely animated. They also now behave more like the arcade version.
Many, many small changes to make the game more close to the arcade version
Improved high score saving
For some more details, please visit my blog.

RESET (during the game): abort game
SELECT (at the title screen): change palette (NTSC, PAL, B/W)
Setting the LEFT DIFFICULTY to A will cause game to start at a higher difficulty (~50% of the maximum difficulty). Very helpful for testing, too.
Setting the RIGHT DIFFICULTY to A will cause the ship to be destroyed by the rings (instead of bouncing off). This is nasty!
Note: You must start a new game to make difficulty switches changes become effective. No cheating for high scores! ;)

The game now maintains one high score per difficulty setting. Besides the palette, the initials are saved now too. So, except when playing against your friends, you never have to enter your initials again!

Note: Note that the high score table is not stored to your Harmony in this version, so it will be deleted when you switch off your Atari. But it works with Stella.

Change log (RC1):
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