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Arcade Classics: Joust



  • Joust - Official thread
    This is the first post in a possible series of discussions that each highlight a single arcade classic. The goal of this series is to share game tactics, configuration recommendations, stories and general nostalgia--in addition to posting highscores.

    Game Name: Joust (White/Green label)
    Company: Williams
    Year: 1982
    ROM file name: joust.zip

    References (optional):
    This game was selected as the MAME Random game Of the Week (MAME ROW)#42
    Overlays available for both Konami and Atariu versions in the Overlay Repo.

    Desctiption:
    Joust is a single-player or dual-player game where the player assumes the role of a knight riding on the back of a large bird. Using a simple control scheme (LEFT-RIGHT joystick) and a button (FLAP), players steer their bird through the air in order to collide with enemies riding vultures. During a collision, the highest lance wins. An unseated player loses a "mount" and will re-spawn on a platform where they have temporary protection while spawning. An unseated enemy will turn into an egg. Eggs must be picked up before they re-hatch into a more difficult foe. Each wave offers increasing difficulty, more enemies, and/or changing platform configurations. Lava trolls will pull you into the lava if you fly too close. If you linger too long on a wave, a nearly unbeatable pterodactyl will appear.

    Emulation:
    Joust plays well on the Raspberry Pi using lr-mame2003 with CRT-PI shader enabled. It also works in other versions of MAME. The first run may appear to get stuck on a pixelated rainbow screen during startup. Several games that used similar hardware do the same thing. This is normal, as the memory configuration must be written once. Reset the game and it works normally after that.

    Tips/Strategy:
    It can help to have some reference, so here is an image with the platforms numbered:
    0_1499923480529_JoustPlatforms.jpg

    • Where to “hang out” – This really depends, but for the most part, I try to get into the upper-right side of the screen and hover just under the left lip of platform 3. This is a great "home" spot for a lot of reasons which will become clear below, but hovering here allows you to dismount most of the traffic below without a lot of risk from above. Any enemy coming from the upper-left will be in view for the entire width of the screen. You can easily duck under 3 and they cannot get you. Enemies coming from above 3 will have too much momentum to drop into your head and will fly over you. The only catch is that you have to watch the other side of the screen for enemies on approach through the edge. You can also roam around the top platforms a bit, but you will need some vertical space to win fights. Next to 3 is good hunting.

    • Learn to merge with traffic. Sometimes you need to get above the enemy, but they are flying really fast. Get a running start and try to match speed with them rather than attempt to frogger your way through. It is much easier to treat it like a freeway on-ramp. This goes for close calls too. If you are not sure about a collision, best to go with the flow and live another day as you match speed and reposition.

    • Don't attack. Let the enemy come to you. If you are in the home spot at the edge of platform 3, don't go flying around to kill the other mounts. Let them make their way to you from below. Eventually, they will start to come near and you can drop onto them. As you maneuver around, you can drop onto platform 6 to draw them in, rest your flap hand and when someone approaches, lift off. Sometimes you will go too high and they go right under. No problem. They will come back around. Don't rush to kill.

    • Use the inter-wave time to get to the top. You have a few moments after your last kill to fly around. Save your victory dance for Yar's Revenge. Get your mount to the home spot above the enemy spawn points.

    • Block enemy spawning. Get to platform 2 after every wave. While the enemy spawns, so long as you are standing on 2 they will not spawn there. This keeps them down at the bottom of the screen so that you can return to the home position between 2, 3 and 6 and they will float up to meet their doom.

    • Recognize that you need to flap to move horizontally not just vertically, and momentum is everything. Sure, you can run if you are on the ground, and a fast stop is possible by skidding, but the joystick does nothing in the air if you are not flapping. Apart from gravity, this fantastic physics dynamic is what makes this game super fun to learn (and maddening when it leads to your demise). If you want to move through the air horizontally, you either need to have the momentum from a run, or you must flap while pushing left or right. Rapid flapping and you will also rise quickly, but if you get the right timing, a few flaps and stick will have you moving very quickly through horizontal space. The same goes for stopping. If you need to change directions, you have to flap, otherwise you will glide in the direction you were going and it will feel like you are out of control. Once you master this, you will be quite nimble with your motion and it will become second nature, flapping when you need to in order to induce directional change or to maintain altitude. This is game design brilliance in my opinion. NOTE: It may not be obvious in emulation, but Joust uses only a two-directional joystick. There is no UP or DOWN—only LEFT RIGHT and FLAP. That's all you need!

    • Pick up eggs when it is safe to do so. Don't get excited to grab those eggs. Points vary depending on when you grab them, but it is rarely worth a mount. Pick them out of the air if it is convenient, otherwise, clear the traffic and collect rewards when it is safer to do so.

    • Don't let the Shadow Lord hatch. Yes, he's worth a bunch of points, but the blue mounts are more trouble than they are worth. They flap incredibly fast, and are very hard to kill as a result, as they often bounce off the top of the screen. It can be busy sometimes keeping track of fallen eggs, so you do eventually have to grab them, but if you see a knightless buzzard doing this quick flap up and down, it is making its way to a hatched Shadow Lord and you need to grab that guy before he mounts.

    • Egg Wave: I always make my way to the top, usually platform 1 before the eggs appear. Then, you can grab them all with only a couple flaps. Run from 1 to 3 through the screen edge, land on 2, then slow down a bit as you fall to 4 so as not to overshoot an egg down there. Then, continue through the screen to 7, a quick flap up a step to 6, then slow down to catch eggs on 5, then hit the ground at 8. Sure, you can go the opposite direction too, just don't fly over any as you leap down from upper platforms. If a few mounts hatch and you cannot get there in time, no big deal. They are all red, and probably toward the bottom of the screen so should be easy kills. Head back to the Home position above 6 or above where they hatch and drop onto them. With practice, you can easily grab every egg before it hatches.

    • Play survival waves carefully. 3000 free points is a nice bonus just for not dying.

    • The ground spawn (platform 8) is inevitable. You are on a high traffic level, you die, and the only open respawn is at the bottom. It sucks. What do you do? Well, don't try to shoot up through traffic. You will surely die. Instead, let them come to you. Under platform 5 you are relatively safe and you can see the action. It is easy to flap a couple times to get above an approaching foe. I usually stand on the ground for a while so the enemy starts to descend and then I hover beneath 6, much like I would in the home spot above enjoying some protection from above while picking off the enemy as they try to avoid the lava troll from the right. Just be careful not to hit your head:

    • Watch your head. If you are hanging out under a platform such as the last bullet, flapping too high will have you bumping the platform above. Usually this is bad because the platform will nudge your mount over to the lip. If you are trying to stay safe underneath 6 for example, bumping your head will push you closer to 5 and might drive you up into the enemy. You want to stay close to the underside of 6, just try not to crash into it, and if you do, steer back under it.

    • Pick off enemies that are bumping their heads. It is easy to recognize an enemy trying to rise from under a platform. They flap, bump, nudge out, flap, bump, and eventually reach the lip and rise. This is so predictable. Just walk over to the edge and drop onto them.

    • Use the head bump at the top of the screen to your advantage. One advanced technique is to flap hard into the top of the screen. Your momentum will drive you up into the barrier and bounce you back down again. This is a redirection of the flapping momentum and it can be a great way to "dive" down and away from the enemy. Usually, you have to wait until gravity overcomes your flapping before you start to fall downward. With this technique, you bounce off the ceiling. It doesn't work the same way under platforms where your flap momentum is redirected to the sides.

    • Let fast foes fly over your head. Sometimes you feel a draw to constantly out-flap the enemy, but like you, they can have a lot of diagonal momentum. Rather than face a challenging collision, it can be easier to let them go. It’s like a Tom Cruise/Maverick Top Gun move. Hit the breaks and they fly right by. If you see them going fast enough, they won’t be able to stop, so you can often just stop flapping and they will arc up and over you, especially on waves where upper platforms are gone. The good news is that they will stop flapping too and they will be on the downward glide vector while you are already thinking ahead and can get above them on the next pass through the screen. The fast moving enemy just doesn’t make directional changes the way you can. They tend to coast more.

    • Killing the pterodactyl is hard. You have to get him directly in the mouth. If you haven't seen it yet, there is a wave eight or nine (you know it is coming because there is text on the screen that warns you) where the pterodactyl spawns immediately. Well, it flies in from the edge of the screen as the first enemy mounts start to spawn. You can complete this level by avoiding it and taking out the buzzards, but it will be flying around. If you can make your way to the center of platform 5 before the wave begins, the pterodactyl usually enters from below 4 or 7. Turn to face it as it approaches you and it often flies right into your lance. Then, immediately get above the spawning traffic and finish everyone off.

    • When the Home spot disappears as platforms disintegrate, just stay above the traffic. It can help to stay off the very top edge of the screen as sometimes the faster mounts will hover along that top edge and of course, you cannot get above them. Better to stay down a bit from that edge so you have some headroom to get above them.

    Highscores, comments etc.
    Post comments, highscores (screenshots) and game-related stories below!



  • Highscore: 99950

    0_1499916934898_B65313FB-3730-4624-A1CF-27FC7D6D0D66.jpeg



  • I'm awful at this game, I only got 13k



  • @lilbud Participation counts for something!



  • At first I didn't like this game, now I think it's pretty fun. I think I like the sequel a bit better though...



  • @galaga said in Arcade Classics: Joust:

    At first I didn't like this game, now I think it's pretty fun. I think I like the sequel a bit better though...

    Uh oh. Best we not talk about the sequel here.



  • @caver01 Why? Lol.



  • @galaga just a difference of opinion, but if you want to borrow my format, by all means, we could have a Joust 2 thread. :-)



  • You didn't mention the (probably accidental) secret door: come in for a bouncing landing on platform 4 from the right -- if done correctly, you'll bounce along, rather than the mount standing up. Skid past the screen wrap and you'll slide along 7 and THROUGH the gap, popping out below 6!


  • Global Moderator

    @caver01

    Uh oh. Best we not talk about the sequel here.

    Next you'll be telling us that 'Caddyshack II' wasn't the superior film.



  • @mediamogul He won't, but I will

    Caddyshack 2 is awful


  • Global Moderator

    @lilbud

    Caddyshack 2 is awful

    How dare you sir! Someone's mother probably made that and it's likely that woman was a saint.



  • @rkoster said in Arcade Classics: Joust:

    You didn't mention the (probably accidental) secret door: come in for a bouncing landing on platform 4 from the right -- if done correctly, you'll bounce along, rather than the mount standing up. Skid past the screen wrap and you'll slide along 7 and THROUGH the gap, popping out below 6!

    I mentioned it in the MAME ROW post, but glad someone brought it up. It’s hard to recommend that trick as a strategic move though.



  • @mediamogul said in Arcade Classics: Joust:

    @lilbud

    Caddyshack 2 is awful

    How dare you sir! Someone's mother probably made that and it's likely that woman was a saint.

    No, @lilbud is right. Caddyshack 2 was a big mistake. It only serves to dilute the original for people who don’t know the difference. It’s awful. Somebody (maybe that mother you refer to) thought that if Bill Murray can play Carl Spackler, why surely Dan Akroyd can too. Shame on them.



  • @caver01 It's mostly useless strategically, I agree! :) I've used it as a quick escape from the pterodactyl though.


  • Global Moderator

    @caver01

    Man, you guys are heartless. I suppose you also didn't even shed one tear when they made that poor dead man dance to calypso music in 'Weekend at Bernies 2'. Doesn't anyone have an appreciation for classic cinema anymore?



  • I’ll mention another interesting oddity in the game. When the top center platform disappears (end of wave 6?) it usually leaves a ghost pixel or two on the right side. Also, if you work with another player in a co-op game, it’s possible to have the entire platform left behind as ghost pixels. It is very difficult to do it, but basically, you have to have a player spawning on the generator on that platform at the end of the wave before the platform disintegrates while the other player completes the wave. This involves leaving an egg, then committing suicide in the lava. Not exactly worth the effort, but an interesting bug.



  • @mediamogul said in Arcade Classics: Joust:

    @caver01

    You guys are heartless. I suppose you also didn't even shed one tear when they made that poor dead man dance to calypso music in 'Weekend at Bernies 2'. Doesn't anyone have an appreciation for classic cinema anymore?

    Methinks it’s not that you like bad sequels—yer just a Jonathan Silverman fan. I get it.


  • Global Moderator

    @caver01

    I've got to admit, the man is a national treasure.



  • @mediamogul said in Arcade Classics: Joust:

    Weekend at Bernies 2

    I get it now, you only like horrible sequels to good movies. Let me know how Short Circuit 2 was. Or Highlander 2



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