We chat to Rich Stevenson, the veteran coder behind the SNES version of Jungle Strike
had you played the Mega drive game already, and how did development begin on the super nintendo version?
No, the first time I played Jungle Strike was when we started on the conversion. It was quite messy and not straightforward. We were told we’d be sent the source code to the Amiga version, but they sent us over the Desert Strike source code instead. The correct ones never arrived, so we had to take a different approach to converting the game.
what was the new approach?
Simon Short was tasked with playing the game from start to finish and videoing every level, as well as covering every area of the map. As you can imagine, it was a lengthy process. Then we started working on the helicopter logic, which thankfully was very similar to that of Desert Strike, so the source code wasn’t totally useless. Then, the graphics were redrawn, and we worked with a number of the in-house graphics team, all of whom had to watch Simon’s videos in order to redraw the backgrounds and sprites.
what differences or changes did you have to make when porting the game?
With the backgrounds all recreated from the video footage, there were some changes from the original. We were also limited by the number of unique characters which could be displayed, and had to reposition some of the sprites as a result. The map editor I had previously developed helped us to identify any problems as we designed the backgrounds, and this sometimes meant deviating from the original
you hid a number of secret messages in the game…
Yeah, a few of us thought it would be a great idea to hide some secret messages which could be accessed by entering codes. I made the mistake of leaving a screen which invited people to call my home phone for a chat, and totally forgot to take it out of the US version. The result was a lot of calls in the early hours of the morning from people calling me and shouting things like, ‘Yeah-haw, Jungle Strike, love it!’ and putting down the phone. Obviously after six months of this, I decided it may be time to change my number!