Joust is a transcode of the official Williams Joust game from the arcades which was originally released in the summer of 1982. It was a huge hit, being one of the first arcade games to feature both cooperative and dueling levels if two players play at once (and "survival" levels for 1 player). Unlike previous transcodes to the Coco 3 by Glen and others, the arcade original in this case also used the 6809 CPU chip (same as the Coco 3), making the transcode somewhat easier and faster to develop. Glen still had to emulate the sound and sprite chips however, and get the transcode running fast enough to make up for those chips to be emulated (the original arcade's 6809E runs at 1 MHz; the Coco 3's 68B09E runs at 1.78 Mhz).
Glen added some enhancements of his own. There is a config menu program in BASIC that you can run separately before the game, where you can configure some of the games defaults (like monitor type, keyboard or joystick control, how many points for a free man, etc... see screenshots above). Another special feature he put in is a special SAVE program, which is used to save high scores from your last session. In order to make the game more easily compatible with various floppy drive, hard drive, SD card and Drivewire solutions, this BASIC method was used and is compatible with all (and should remain so with any new options in the future). The way it works is that you play Joust as per normal, and once you want to finish your gaming session, hit the BREAK key, which exits you to BASIC. If you type RUN "SAVE" at this point, it will save your high scores to disk, and those will automatically load the the next time you play Joust.
The sound effects in the game are compressed samples (decompressed as they load, which is indicated on the loader screen), which means that they are very authentic to the arcade originals. As with Donkey Kong, it literally feels like the real arcade game... because it basically is. It shares the same keys for insert coins (5) and 1 or 2 player that MAME does.
The gameplay itself is identical to the arcade as well; the one or two human players have joust with opponents (on flying ostriches and storks) by hitting them from a higher elevation. When a player does this, the opponent changes to egg, which you have to collect before it mutates into another opponent, and their mount flies out to get them. There is also the (almost) "unbeatable" pterodactyl that shows up if you take too long to complete a level, survival waves, egg waves, the lava troll, etc. And excellent transcode.
Author: Glen Hewlett, based on original arcade 6809 code by Bill Pfutzenreuter. ZXO compressor by Einar Saukas, 6809 Decompressor by Doug Masten.
Publisher: Glen Hewlett
Released: August 17, 2021
Requires: Color Computer 3, 512K RAM, joystick optional.
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