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Amstrad GX4000


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#1 Atari Creep

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 11:34 PM

So I came across this bad boy tonight in a Tweet. Looked it up because I thought the console looked interested. I have heard of Amstrad but seeing I am in the states I do not have much knowledge of them. This console however caught my eye!!!!! I think I am in love. :wub:  haha

 

Anyone on here have any experience with the GX4000? I would love to know what one of you know first hand and what you think of the unit. From what little I know, it is hard to get your hands on one. I guess they did not selling well due to lack of advertising. The games are expensive but I think I still want one! The console is sexy and the games look nice. Reminds me of a Snow Speeder from Empire Strikes Back. HAHA

 

Thanks guys!!!  :100:  :martini:

Capture_2016-11-21-21-49-05-1_zps4pbkb32


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#2 MaximumRD

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 12:50 AM

I know it is a rare pretty much failed console. Oddly, there is actually a flashcart for it! 

 

Here is a video (not mine) DESCRIPTION 

 

"Published on Mar 3, 2016

The unsucessful console Amstrad GX4000 gets a new life with the new flashcart C4CPC. With it, not only You can run the few games released for this obscure console but you can run homebrew games and especially you can run CPC games (both 464 and 6128) converted for it. Note that nowadays is difficult to buy games for this console because they are not common and usually they are expensive."

 


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#3 Lost Dragon

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 05:49 AM

It was basically Amstrad updating by then 5 year old CPC technology, in order to cash-in on the console craze in the UK at the time, Master System doing great, NES ok, Lynx was here, all eyes on Japan with PC Engine, MegaDrive etc...Commodore tried a similar attempt with the C64GS, both failed miserably....

 

 

For an 8bit console, the technology was none too shabby...

 

Amstrad had increased the CPC colour Palate from 27 to 4096 colours (compare that to the ST), of which 32 could be displayed on screen (compared to 16 on CPC and ST)...

 

4 Mhz Z80 CPU, AY-3-8912 soundchip and screen resolution of 160X200 on paper...not sure what resolutions were used in most games though.

 

It's biggest advantage over existing CPC hardware was the hardware scrolling, hardware sprites etc as seen in early games like Burning Rubber and Navy Seals.

 

 

 

Initally everything looked promising, lot of support annouced by UK and European software houses, with promises of games either written 1st or enhanced for the GX4000 appearing in UK Press...

 

 

Claims Sensible software's Wizzball sequel, Wizz Kid would be written specifically for the GX4000 (this has never been confirmed as far as i'm aware) and System 3 doing IK Deluxe...both never appeared.

 

 

It was advertised heavily in UK Press, not that it did it much good as by Autumn 1991 UK High Street chains like Dixons were clearing stocks as fast as they could of it and the C64GS...

 

 

Whilst Amstrad still had a R.R.P for the GX4000 of £99.99, stores had price of new units down to £19.99 which when you consider the weaker hardware based C64GS was selling for £29.99 new in clearance, shows how desperate they were to get shot of it.

 

 

 

I believe the limited Ram size on carts caused developers issues (128K?), with US Gold saying that was why 'World Of Sports' only featured 4 events, not great VFM at £24.99.

 

 

 

It soon became an utter laughing stock here in UK, appearing on Brit Soap Eastenders, being given away as  'mockery prize' in Zero magazine and support soon dropped reviews wise in magazines like Mean Machines, Zero, Raze etc.

 

 

Machine had real potential, but games like Switchblade did nothing to showcase hardware,....

 

 

Fire And Forget II looked AWFUL next to the Sega Master system version and really shouldn't of had such awful scrolling etc....

 

Gazza II scrolled well, but suffered awful A.I

 

Pang was superb, very colourful, great backdrops, Robocop II was another GX4000 graphical showcase, but collision detection etc off, making it very frustrating to play.....



#4 Lost Dragon

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 05:55 AM



Great look at its games here.

Chase H.Q 2 considered the Holy Grail for the format.

Hard to believe when early RetroGamer magazine ran a feature on it and interviewed those at Amstrad behind it, they really did think hardware was technically on par with the SNES :-))
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#5 Lost Dragon

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 06:34 AM

Bit more on the hardware, just to give an idea of how it was above NES/MS level, but not Megadrive/SNES by a long shot...

 

 

16 Hardware Sprites, each 16X16...

 

 

Simple X2 and X4 Hardware Sprite scrolling, pixel scrolling in horizontal and vertical

 

 

Whilst it featured the same AY soundchip, as the CPC range (awful) the way it was implemented, with a dedicated DMA controller, left the CPU free for other tasks.

 

I mentioned 32 colours on screen? think pseudo max 32 colours...so 16 colours from 4096, but sprites could use colours independent of those already on screen.

 

 

UK Press initally warmed to it...

 

 

ACE thought it was the best 8-bit console, bar the PC Engine, Zero seemed impressed by hardware, C+VG impressed by it's graphical potential, but not keen on the Audio or controllers.

 

On flipside:

 

 

James Harding of The Times said that the console was "promptly outgunned by the 16-bit Sega Mega Drive and Super Nintendo – it failed the cardinal test of entrepreneurship: stamina

 

 

 

 

Ah, it was System Designer, Cliff Lawson, way back in RetroGamer Magazine issue 19, who said the GX4000 was technically on par with the SNES :-)

 

 

This seems to smack of being a British Atari in motion here with Sam T, telling Next Generation magazine Jaguar was technically on par with Playstation and Saturn :)

 

 

The Atari comparison's don't stop there....

 

 

Good few high profile titles annouced, added to those already mentioned:

 

Out Run and Kick Off II

 

 

Also, going the 7800 route (lot of potential, hardware released at time it was seen as outdated, too little, too late, conversions of old games from existing platforms...)

 

 

 

Ocean were supposed to be converting Toki to GX4000, rumour had it 1 level was complete and coder, David Looker, was already running out of cart space, so asked Ocean if game could be done on bigger cart, they refused...not had this confirmed, but again it draws comparison to how games suffered on 7800/Jaguar....

 

 

Supposed GX4000 Toki screenshot appeared in Amstrad Action mag, though most believe this fell in line with so many UK Press screens, a mock-up created just to give press something to show.


Edited by Lost Dragon, 22 November 2016 - 06:47 AM.

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#6 Atari Creep

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 10:25 PM

All great info guys. Thanks a ton. In was able to learn more about it here and on a few sites.

I guess what I was more looking for is personal experiences with the console should anyone on here have one. I think after the holidays are over I am on a quest. Such an interesting little unit.

Thanks again guys! You folks rule.
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#7 Lost Dragon

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Posted 24 November 2016 - 04:15 PM

Absurd prices here in UK put likes of myself ever trying one, when i was a Retro collector....

 


Wishing you the very best in tracking 1 down and looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it.

 


You might find some of it's games bloody frustrating...

 


Navy Seals looks superb (for 8bit hardware) but your terrorist foes are pretty ruthless, move very quickly, all seem crack shots and your basically wearing a massive bullseye on your back when your climbing ladders.....


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#8 Atari Creep

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 12:16 PM

Absurd prices here in UK put likes of myself ever trying one, when i was a Retro collector....

 

Wishing you the very best in tracking 1 down and looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it.

 

You might find some of it's games bloody frustrating...

 

Navy Seals looks superb (for 8bit hardware) but your terrorist foes are pretty ruthless, move very quickly, all seem crack shots and your basically wearing a massive bullseye on your back when your climbing ladders.....

I will keep an eye out for one but not going to be too active in looking for one. If it comes my way then awesome. If not, oh well!!!!! It is a hard one to find at a reasonable price for sure!!!!


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#9 Lost Dragon

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Posted 11 December 2016 - 04:21 PM

This is the problem with GX4000:It's a very expensive console to track down in the wild and it lacks enough killer exclusives to really justify it's high price. C64 cart version of Navy Seals is no shambles and 'better' versions exist on ST/Amiga... Pang is great on ST, Amiga, C64, PS1... Batman:The Movie:8 bit versions are good, but it's the ST/Amiga versions which were really special Klax i'd want on Lynx... Robocop 2:GX4000 i'd def take over C64 version, but would really go for Amiga version...but it's frustrating on a lot of systems.

 

But 8 and 16 bit versions are different enough to warrant both :)



#10 Lost Dragon

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 11:10 AM

For The atari Creep :)

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#11 Lost Dragon

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 11:29 AM

More for The creep and any other potential buyers...

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#12 Lost Dragon

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 01:11 PM

Bit more guidance for anyone looking into the system...

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#13 Lost Dragon

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 01:26 PM

There you go, last batch.

 

I'm a firm beliver that even the most mocked hardware platforms get a fair shot at showcasing what games to try and which to avoid and deserve a second chance.

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#14 Lost Dragon

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 03:18 PM

Found a few more...

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#15 Lost Dragon

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Posted 09 May 2017 - 10:50 AM

More UK Press coverage etc.

 

Plus Capcom's Duck Tales was planned for the system!.

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