NEO Zone

NEO Zone

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Lilys Woods (Atari 2600)

The Sneakers have taken your toys and scattered them thru-out the woods. You must make your way past the sneakers and their gang to rescue all of your toys.

This is a kid-friendly version of Pitfall created for the youngest Atari Fan that I know. I hope Lily enjoys playing the game.

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Here are the changes made from the original Pitfall:

Full Graphic changes(Based on the Alien Planet Hack)
Reduced number of Sneakers(Logs) that appear
Non-Lethal enemies
  Chomps(Gators) are harmless. When mouth is open they knock you into the Pit.
   All other enemies just take away points.
Pits are now harmless. You just fall into the underground.
Removed walls in the underground.
Pit warning indicator. Allows you to see when a pit is opening/closing

Only ten copies of the game were made. It has a special pink cartridge and a full color instruction manual.

Doctor Who (Atari 2600)

Rise Of The Cybermen

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The Doctor murmurs, "It's happening again. CYBERMEN!"

The Cybermen crash through the windows surrounding the Doctor. They tell him that they have been upgraded to "Human.2", the next level of mankind. Every citizen will receive a compulsory free upgrade and become like them. The Doctor asks what would happen if he refused. A Cyberman replies that if he would not be made compatible, he will be deleted, and reaches for the Doctor.

The Cybermen surround the Doctor and he raises his hands, fists clenched. He tells the Cybermen that he surrenders and will submit to the upgrade, but the Cybermen ignore him. A Cyberman declares the Doctor as incompatible and inferior: Man will be reborn as Cyberman but the Doctor will perish under "maximum deletion."

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I have been playing a lot of Malagai lately. It is a really good Atari 2600 game that a lot of people don't even know about. You should give it a try. You are trapped in a maze with some really weird Aliens and the only way out is thru 3 locked gates/airlocks. Guess who has the keys?

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As I play games I usually come up with a few ideas about making changes and Malagai was no different. The first thing that I wanted to change was the enemies. The original Aliens were just too similar and the game is hard enough without chasing the wrong keyholder. So I changed them all to Robots that each had a distinctive look. Next I wanted to change the player sprite. In Malagai you are a floating spaceman with a jetpack. It is a cool looking sprite but doesn't really fit the maze theme. I changed it to a running man sprite. As I was play-testing the changes I noticed that the original sprite sizes overlapped the mazes so I clipped them by a few pixels to square them between the maze walls. At this stage I already enjoyed the game more then the original.

So, That's it then. Another finished hack. Not quite. Why leave things alone when you can change them? I decided to change the three maze level colors. I prefer primary colors so the new maze colors are Blue, Red, Bright Green. Next up the Title screen. I think the name Malagai actually hurts a game like this. What does Malagai mean? Malagai is actually the name of the race of Aliens in the original game. Malagai is a good name for Aliens but a bad name for a game. Most people don't know what a Malagai is or how to pronounce it. How do you tell your friends about this great new game when you can't even say the name? So lets see, We have a game with Robots in a maze and the Robots can go into an attack mode. A few titles I came up with:
Robot War
Robot Maze
Robot Riot
They are all OK but they don't quite do it. Then I started thinking about movies with Robot type enemies:
Daleks?? Hmmmm. Always wanted a Doctor Who game for the Atari 2600. So Daleks it is. After a few minutes of trying to make three distinctive Daleks I decided not to use them. Wait a minute, Doctor Who also has CYBERMEN!!! That's it. And it just so happens that there was a revival of the Cybermen on the new Doctor Who show on SciFI Channel. So now  I have the name of the hack, RISE of the CYBERMEN!

I use Hack-O-Matic for most of my hacks and in the description of how I made this hack I leave out a lot of the tedious trial and error of searching for code that controls graphics, colors, etc.. Sometimes the smallest detail can take the longest to add or change. I am amazed at how a few changes and a tie-in to a show I like really increases the enjoyment I have playing the game. So there you have a rough overview of how I hack a game. I usually don't have a plan other then to make a few changes and it just evolves into something. Give it a try with one of your favorites.

Space Invaders Vector (Atari 2600)

Vector Graphics are basically line drawings from point A to B. Several Arcade Games have used this method, Tempest, Asteroids, Etc...
Here is a quick Space Invaders hack that I made in about 15 mins. I have always loved the vector graphic look and Space Invaders was perfect!



How about a vector Donkey Kong?


Wolfenstein VCS:The Next Mission (Atari 2600)

Wolfenstein VCS:The Next Mission

It is the height of WWII. Germany has conquered most of Europe, and Britain is suffering under constant siege by air. The dark shadow of fascism looms heavy over the free people of the world. You are Sgt. Kozwoski of the Polish special forces. Captured as part of a resistance cell opposing the German and Russian occupation of Poland, you are transported to the dreaded castle Wolfenstein just over the border in Germany for interrogation and execution, or possibly worse. Escape is your first priority, but as a member of the resistance you won't pass up this opportunity to hurt the German war machine and avenge the people of Poland!

Return to the halls of dreaded WOLFENSTEIN. All new enemies, rooms and floorplans await you in this upgraded version of the original Wolfenstein VCS. Badder, Brighter and more Deadly! Do you dare brave the depths of Wolfenstein VCS:The Next Mission? Wolfenstein VCS: The Next Mission is based on Venture, extensively modified to bring you an exciting and new gameplay experience!

Wolfenstein VCS:The Next Mission started out as a hack of Venture but the changes and reprogramming are so extensive that it has coined a new phrase for the collecting community, Hackbrew. Think of it as a new game that uses a heavily modified version of the Venture program.

When the original Wolfenstein VCS was released in 2004 it won an award for Hack of the Year. Believe me, The sequel Next Mission blows the original away.

Stan Awards 2004:

Wolfenstein 2600
by Scott Dayton and Robert Mundschau
Original Game: Venture

What started out as an inspirational idea, soon became one of the best hacks ever created. Robert M and neotokeo2001 have teamed up to reimagine the popular Wolfenstein franchise for the VCS. While it does not attempt to recreate the first person aspect of the 3-D version, Wolfenstein 2600 does do a wonderful job of catching the spirit of the game of the classic 2-D version. The hack features all new room and map designs that really make the old Venture Dungeon feel like a Nazi Stronghold! New look enemies and treasures complete the feel almost making you forget that this used to be a game about giant snakes and treasure chests. In this game, you'll encounter classic Wolfenstein foes like attack dogs and Nazi gunmen. You'll also find classic treasures such as chalices and Med Packs (which give you an extra life no less!). As if that was not enough the game also includes an amazing title screen!

This is graphic hacking at its finest and most complete. But the hack is not limited to a simple glamor make-over. The game play of Venture has also undergone a dramatic overhaul as well. Not only do the floors look different, there are now more of them. How many? Telling you would give away the biggest surprise of all, unlike the original Venture, Wolfenstein 2600 actually ENDS! That's right, you CAN escape from Castle Wolfenstein! However, I will tell you, there is a hidden bonus level for those who are very careful. But just because you can get out, doesn't mean it will be easy!

An improved weapon system makes sure you work your way out of the castle. You'll start with a short range knife and upgrade to a gun later, but don't go on a shooting spree, your ammo is limited. Luckily refills are provided. The enemies are smart, and quick and the building layout is against you. One of the most interesting changes is the way the old "hall monsters" from "Venture" have been changed into Nazi guards who actually patrol the hallway! No more mindless meandering about, these troops actually make a routine circuit around a given area, hoping to trap you! Getting from room to room is an adventure all in itself!

There is so much new and different about Wolfenstein 2600 that it almost seems unfair to call it a hack of Venture. Its more like a new game using the old Venture Engine. And that is why it is a part of my personal collection and the Stan Awards Hack of the Year!


Can you hack it? (Atari 2600)

I have been hacking Atari 2600 games for a few years and trying to learn programming on the side. What got me started?

While going through the message boards at an Atari website I came across something called the Fancy Label Club. Basically a group of people pick their favorite Atari 2600 game and design a new label for it. When you have your finished design you print them out and send them to all of the other members and hope that they do the same with their labels. Out of 20 people that were participating I received 18 labels.

I picked Demon Attack by Imagic to make a new label. I even went a little extra and came up with a new name for the game, Extinction!, And a new back story.


Back of Box quote:

Your Starship has been hurled into another Dimension after being sucked into a Black Hole. You have crash landed onto a Desolate and Barren Moon with only surface mobility available to you. Suddenly your Radar picks up incoming objects. Who could it be? WHAT COULD IT BE? As the objects come into view you can hardly believe your eyes. It seems the Residents of this place have evolved from a form of Dinosaurs. Yeah, a form of Dinosaurs with Lasers and a BAD ATTITUDE! Now your only problem isn't just getting Home, You must also try to Survive. In this place it's not the Dinosaurs who faded into History. Now it is the Humans who will face EXTINCTION!

Instructions: Move, Shoot, Survive

Fast forward a year later, I came across an article about how you can change the graphics of the Space Invaders in the Atari 2600 game. I spent an hour or so trying different things and wondered if making changes in other games was possible. Why not try Demon Attack? I then went about changing Demon Attack into the game Extinction! that I had made a label for the previous year.

Changes made:
Imagic Logo changed to new Title
Player Ship Graphic changed
Enemy Graphics changed
Color Changes
Raised level of ground(increased difficulty)
Changed Score Font
Changed Reserve Ship Icon


As you can see the changes are mostly just graphics. You would be surprised how much fun I had playing the new version of my favorite Atari 2600 game. From that point I was hooked. And now over 50 completed Atari hacks later I once again aimed my sights on that old favorite. This time the changes are much more extensive. Welcome to:



Marooned on the ice planet Krybor, you watch legions of eerie creatures scream overhead. They hover ominously. They give you no quarter. Attack and destroy them, or be destroyed! Armed with your Laser Cannon, you confront the ultimate challenge:

Or so you thought. Seems like that was just the training mission. Now prepare for the REAL THING!! INVADER X!!


The Invaders are back once again. This time they have some new tricks up their sleeve. Watch out for their new stealth technology!!

The Stealth Technology makes the game much harder.

If you enjoyed Demon Attack and always wanted a sequel, then this game is for you. It will challenge the best Demon Attack players

Changes made to Demon Attack:
Full graphic changes
Full sound changes
Scoring lowered
Difficulty increased
Supercharger compatible
New color rotation for enemies (makes it seem like more types then there are)

From the beginning this hack was intended to be a Demon Attack 1.5 or Demon Attack Plus. I love the original version of Demon Attack but can play it for hours without any challenge. I can play until it locks up or in later versions can play until I decide to quit. My intended direction with Invader X was just to make it harder and keep the score from rolling. It has grown from there.

And it didn't stop there. I then made a competition version of Invader X to be used in a contest. The winner recieved the actual Invader X Competition cartridge that plays on an Atari 2600. In the competition version of Invader X you are given three lives and no extra lives are awarded.


It has been a lot of fun updating and improving one of my all time favorite Atari 2600 games. Anyone can do it with a little bit of imagination and some free time. It only takes a few minutes to change the Invaders in Space Invaders and I guarantee that when you get to play your own creation it is really cool!!!

Here are a few other games that I have worked on. Can you guess what the original games were?

Dawn of the Dead

Alien Menace

Santas Helper

Alien Greed (Original Homebrew Game)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ghostly apparition caught on camera

Ghostly apparition caught on camera at Perth tearoom hailed as best evidence of paranormal in 10 years

perth tearoom ghost
The 'ghost' in the tearoom, shown circled in red

A CAFE owner has called in the ghost-hunters after claiming to have seen a spirit on his security camera.

Chills went down Dan Clifford’s spine when he checked his CCTV and saw what he’s convinced was a ghostly apparition hovering over a table set for two.
He summoned a team of ghost specialists, who said the sighting – said to be a figure of a woman – was the most striking evidence they had come across in almost 10 years.

Dan, 35, said yesterday: “The first time I saw the shadow moving on the camera my heart went nuts. I thought there was an intruder in the shop.

“But when I looked closer I realised it couldn’t be a live human being – I could see right through it.”
The CCTV image was taken in the dead of night after something set off a motion sensor. And Dan claims it’s not the only evidence of ghostly goings-on at his Curiositeaz Vintage Tea Room in Perth.
He said: “Over the past few months, all the staff have experienced something.
“Some have heard voices. Others have witnessed chairs moving and one was pushed forwards and felt a chill right down their spine.

“We’ve also had a number of mediums stopping in because they felt something when they walked by.
“Some have told of feeling the presence of a woman, which fits with our newest image.
“I have always believed in the spirit world but I’d never experienced anything like this until we opened Curiositeaz less than a year ago. It’s all been very exciting.”

Dan has shown his CCTV images to ghost enthusiasts from Paranormal Investigation Scotland, and has talked to them about the other strange happenings at his cafe.

He has also fitted high-tech new cameras which takestill and moving images if sensors detect anything larger than a cat.

He said: “We are very interested to hear what the experts have to say about the recent sighting.
“We want to prove to any sceptics that we have not tampered with any images.”
A spokesman for Paranormal Investigation Scotland said: “This is the most convincing image we have seen in almost a decade, so we were keen to start looking into it.”

The experts will return to the cafe next month, with some of Scotland’s best-known mediums in tow. They’ll monitor the tea room overnight for signs of ghosts.

Old People Hate Zombies


(A customer at a very popular superstore has his five-year-old daughter in line with him. An elderly customer is in front of him talking to the cashier.)

Cashier: “Hello, how can I help—”

Customer: “How dare you.”

Cashier: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “How dare you wear that keychain!”

Cashier: “I don’t understand.”

Customer: “That!”
(The customer points at the cashier’s keychain, which has a zombie on it.)

Customer: “How could you support that man in Florida? He ate another man’s face while he was naked! How dare you!”
(The cashier is completely stunned, but my daughter suddenly steps up to the aggravated woman.)

Daughter: “Lady, that man wasn’t a zombie. He was just crazy. Zombie’s aren’t real! You should know that. You’re about a hundred!”

Monday, April 9, 2012

Robert The Doll (Paranormal)

 ROBERT: The Haunted Doll
Robert's story begins with Mr. And Mrs. Thomas Otto in the year 1896. One particular servant who was assigned to take care of their son, Robert Eugene Gene, ( called Gene by the family)had a reputation for dabbling in voodoo. She decided she had enough of the Otto's cruelty and decided she would do something about it. She constructed a doll for Gene that was about 3'tall and stuffed with straw. People were amazed at it's very life-like features and the fact that the doll became the immediate constant companion of Gene. He named the doll "Robert".

Servants and family members as well as visitors to the house said that they often heard Gene upstairs talking to the doll. What scared them was when they would hear the boy answering himself back in an entirely different voice than his own.

Strange things began to happen in the Otto household. Neighbors claimed to see Robert move about from window to window, when the family were out. Gene began to blame Robert for things that would occur. People claimed to hear the doll giggle, and swear they caught glimpses of him running about the house.

Gene began to have nightmares and would scream out in the night. When his parents would enter the room, they would find furniture over turned, their child in a horribly terrorized state with Robert at the foot of the bed "Robert Did It".... was all the boy could say. The doll was retired to the attic when they couldn't take any more nighttime upheavals and he remained there for many years.

When Gene inherited the house after his parents death, Robert was rediscovered in the attic and it appeared that the doll's hold on Gene was just as strong as it was years before. Gene's wife thought the doll was unsettling and put him back in the attic but Gene would have none of it. Gene decided Robert needed a whole room of his own and he put Robert in the turrent room, by a window. It wasn't long after that Gene's sanity was questioned.

It wasn't long before the people of Key West heard about Robert, and his reported evil ways. Many people walking by the home reported that the doll watched from the turrent room, and made faces at them as they passed... School children were afraid to walk past the house alone. Gene reported that he found Robert in the rocking chair by the turret room window, displeased with his accommodations...home. Finally Gene himself had enough of Robert.

But Robert had other plans. Visitors that entered the house could hear something walking back and forth in the attic, and strange giggling sounds. Guests no longer wanted to visit the Otto home.

Gene Otto died in 1972 and the house was sold to a new family. Robert was found again, this time by the 10 year old daughter of the new owners. . It was not long before Robert unleashed his displeasure on the child... The little girl claiming that the doll tortured her, and made her life a hell.. Even after more than thirty years later, she steadfastly claims that " the doll was alive and wanted to kill her."

Robert is still dressed in his white sailor's suit and is clutching his stuffed lion. He lives at the Key West Martello Museum. Employees at the museum continue to give accounts of Robert being up to his old tricks still today, and some visitors claim the expression on his face changes from time to time, and that you can see visible signs of aging in Robert's features.

Some people account for Robert by saying the old voodoo mistress cursed the doll while making it by placing an evil human soul inside which she possessed from some previous voodoo spell.

CLICK HERE To Visit Robert The Doll
Link goes to the Official Site for Robert The Doll

Ghost Lights (Paranormal)

Are they ghosts, UFOs or some unexplained natural phenomenon? Perhaps you'd like to go observe one and decide for yourself.

 They appear in the distance with a regularity that seldom disappoints those who come to view them. Glowing in the night with an eerie, soft color, they sometimes pulse, sometimes dance about, usually near the ground or horizon. Their source is a mystery. When the curious try to approach them, they vanish, as if purposely keeping their true nature a secret.

They’re called "spooklights" or "ghost lights" and they have baffled observers for centuries. Many theories have been offered to explain their presence, including hallucinations, UFOs, automobile headlights (either direct or reflected), ball lightning, electrical discharges caused by tectonic forces, swamp gas – and even, as the name implies, ghosts.

Growing up I had personal experiences hundreds of times with spooklights. We were living in rural Indiana just outside of Muncie in the 70's. Where we lived the houses were a few miles apart and of course there were no street lights anywhere and the houses were surrounded by fields interspersed with wooded areas.

While walking or riding bikes along the roads at night my friends and I would often see single lights hovering out in the fields. They usually appeared to be only a few feet above the ground and would seem to follow you as you progressed down the road. Rarely would they approach you within a few hundred feet. The lights were almost always white but sometimes would have a yellow tint.

We often joked about the lights getting you when you were alone on the road and it certainly was very scary at times. For some reason we started calling them torpedoes. After one such encounter at night alone with a torpedo I arrived at home very shaken and ran to tell my dad about the light. Sure enough when he went outside the light was still there. He called a neighbor who came over and also saw the light. They both took shotguns and went into the field to investigate it.

The light would disappear when approached but would reappear in a different location within a hour or so. The lights were shot at with shotguns and rifles but did not affect them at all.

The local police were called several times to investigate and never found anything. In the end we were not allowed to travel between houses at night and as far as I know the torpedoes are still there. At least there were when we moved in the 80's. No one was ever hurt and nothing else came out of the lights except for freaking people out.

Anyone else ever have a run in with these lights? 

Continuously appearing spooklights are found around the world. Here is a roundup of several of the most well-known spooklights. Perhaps there is one near you.
Big Thicket Light

Also known as the Saratoga Light or the Bragg Road Ghost Lights, this light can be found along Black Creek near the old ghost town of Bragg in eastern Texas. Viewed on a dirt road that leads into swamp land, this spooklight carries the well-known but almost certainly fictitious legend of the railway brakeman who was accidentally beheaded by a passing train and who now searches the area for his head with a gas lantern; the spooklight is said to be that lantern. The tale is folklore that has been attributed to several spooklights. The Big Thicket Ghost Light has been described as starting as a pinpoint of light among the swamp trees that grows to the brightness of a flashlight, then dims and fades away. Its color has been likened to that of a pumpkin.

Brown Mountain Lights

Sightings of these lights go back at least 800 years when the native Cherokees thought them to be the spirits of slain warriors. That these lights go back so far rules out any man-made illumination, such as auto headlights. The lights have since been well documented by subsequent residents of the area. There have been dozens of observations by explorers, some dating back to the 1700s, and by Civil War soldiers; several newspaper reports and magazine articles have been written about the lights. They have been described as being white, yellow or red; some say they are stationary while others testify that they move around. According to Joshua P. Warren's L.E.M.U.R. team, which has studied and photographed the lights, they often "line up into 'troop formation' and 'march' across the ridge, disappearing over the top." The peak time for viewing is in the Fall.

Dovedale Light

Strange lights are said to dance above the river in the scenic "Peak District" of the UK. One notable encounter took place in March, 1993 when two students watched two very bright round lights of unknown origin "dance" above the river in perfect synchronization. They watched the lights for about three minutes and estimated that they moved from between 10 to 100 feet above the surface of the river. The lights were again seen by more witnesses several months later.

The Gurdon Light

This ghost light has been seen by hundreds of witnesses who live near or travel to the area around this small Arkansas town about 75 miles south of Little Rock. Seen along a stretch of railroad tracks, this light is also explained with the "headless brakeman" legend. Because of its remote location (you have to hike about 2-1/2 miles off the road to the spot where it can be seen) auto headlights have been eliminated as a possible cause. Those who have seen it say it is usually white or blue in color, and sometimes orange. One distinguishing feature is that it has a distinctive border to it.

The Hebron Light

Hebron has been home to the mysterious Hebron Light for decades. One of the most remarkable incidents involving the light occurred in July, 1952 when two officers of the Maryland State Police allegedly chased a 10-inch ball of light down a dark road in their patrol car. There have been sporadic sightings of the light before and since, but many say that it has been inactive since the mid-1960s.

The Marfa Lights

The Marfa Lights in Western Texas, nine miles east of Marfa, are arguably the most well-known spooklights in the US. Within driving distance of the McDonald Observatory, the Marfa lights have been viewed for over a century. According to a State of Texas brochure, the first recorded sighting was made by a rancher named Robert Ellison in 1883. Apache Indians thought them to be stars that had dropped down to earth. Today they can been seen at night by passersby who park in a pullover spot on Hwy. 90. They are described as changing in color and intensity, and usually move about. Most skeptics believe the Marfa Lights are nothing more than distant auto headlights on another highway, but that doesn't explain the pre-automobile sightings. The town of Marfa even hosts an annual Marfa Lights Festival every September.

Monday, March 19, 2012

INVADER X (Atari 2600)


Marooned on the ice planet Krybor, you watch legions of eerie creatures
scream overhead. They hover ominously. They give you no quarter. Attack and
destroy them, or be destroyed! Armed with your Laser Cannon, you confront the
ultimate challenge: SURVIVE!

Or so you thought. Seems like that was just the training mission. Now prepare for the REAL THING!! INVADER X!!

Label Artwork
 Invader X is based on the  game DEMON ATTACK which was released for the Atari 2600 by Imagic in 1982 and was programmed by Rob Fulop.

 From the beginning this game was intended to be a Demon Attack 1.5 or Demon Attack Plus. I love the original version of Demon Attack but can play it for hours without any challenge. I can play until I decide to quit. My intended direction with Invader X was just to make it harder and keep the score from rolling. It has grown from there.

The original Demon Attack is a  colorful shooting game that really shows off the fast action that the Atari 2600 is capable of. It is an excellent game that is always at the top of any gamers top ten list for the 2600.

Players that have mastered Demon Attack have a few problems. The original release of the game has what many people believe to be a game killing bug but this is not actually the case.

The game was originally programmed to end after the 84th wave, as Rob Fulop did not expect anyone to get that far. Two days after its initial release, a kid was able to beat the game. After this initial run of cartridges, Fulop went back and changed one line of code so that the game never ends, but never gets harder after the 84th wave.

Invader X
 So If you have a Demon Attack cartridge released in 1982, Then your game will lock up after wave 84.

This quick fix has created another problem. A good Demon Attack player can routinely get to wave 84. Since the game does not get any harder after that point it just becomes a marathon. Rolling the score is another issue. Rolling the score is when a player exceeds the maximum score that the game keeps track of.
Invader X
 When this happens the score reverts back to zero.
It is kind of hard to brag to your friends what a great game you played when you can't even track your score.

The last issue that I addressed was the cosmetic look of Demon Attack. Invader X has completely redesigned graphics and a unique color rotation on the enemies that makes there seem to be more types then there actually are.
Invader X
 Demon Attack already had great sound effects but they have also been changed for Invader X. There is now a throbbing bass track in the background that really brings out the feeling of your impending doom. Think Jaws meets Space Invaders.

Changes made to Demon Attack:
Full graphic changes
Full sound changes (Nukey)
Scoring lowered
Difficulty increased
New color rotation for enemies (makes it seem like more types then there are)

At heart it is still good ole Demon Attack but I think the original idea was accomplished. A small production of real Atari 2600 cartridges playable on any Atari 2600 will be made available in Summer 2012.

Demon Attack

Demon Attack