Exile, Commodore 64

Jeremy Smith and Peter Irvin‘s groundbreaking Exile first came out on the BBC Model B in 1988 and was later converted to other systems.

Including the Commodore 64.

Of all the versions of Exile I’ve played I’d have to say that the Commodore 64 version is arguably the best. Because the graphics are so nice. Because the gravity, inertia and feeling of flying around on a jet pack, in a free form, windy world, are just so good – so ahead of their time.

The controls are a bit weird (for picking up and using objects), granted, but the speed with which your man zips around, and the control you can take over him (if you know what you’re doing) is absolutely tremendous.

Descending lower and lower into the caverns, the adversaries become more vociferous in their aggressiveness, many can fire rockets at you, so you’ve got to be on your toes. A quicksave slot in a emulator helps, because playing Exile without reloading is marginally less fun than messing around and experimenting with the in-game physics.

Exile is actually one of the first really sophisticated gravity games ever released on home computer systems. The two designers, Smith and Irvin, definitely created gaming brilliance.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exile_(1988_video_game)
Guide: http://tin.at/c64/exile/exile.sol.htm

Wizball, Commodore 64

Sensible Software‘s bizarre but brilliant 1987 Commodore 64 shooter with a difference!

At first, Wizball takes a little while to get your head around – the controls and what to do – but when you’re in full control of your faculties (and movement – by picking up power ups and using them Nemesis-style), and know how to use your companion Catellite, you can go to work collecting coloured droplets to build up your cauldrons. Got that? Simple.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wizball

Ancipital, Commodore 64

Jeff Minter‘s seminal shooter Ancipital features psychedelic sprite-based visuals and fast blasting/running/jumping action.

It’s like a weird run-and-gun game with strange gravity. And you controlling a goat running around, shooting stylised sprites, and wondering what the hell is going on.

Llamasoft released Ancipital for the Commodore 64 in 1984.

More: Ancipital at retrogames.co.uk

Paradroid Metal Edition, Commodore 64

Arguably the best version of Andrew Braybrook‘s timeless Commodore 64 classicParadroid.

Paradroid Metal Edition is a suped-up version of Paradroid with faster scrolling and more responsive controls.

The new metal graphics are also great in Paradroid Metal Edition – no doubting that – and the extra speed and frame rate makes for a smoother Paradroid to play.

Paradroid really is a game you can pick up and delve into for an hour or so, playing a robot version of “little fish eat big fish”… The idea being: you’re a little robot and have to fight your way up to big robot, and clear a big spaceship of other robots… The tension and atmosphere are palpable. The game mechanics are simple and beautiful.

Paradroid is not considered an all-time classic for no reason, and if you’ve never played it, you have never lived!

And if you have beaten it, then you are among an elite group of retro gamers that is growing all the time…

The original Paradroid was first released by Hewson Consultants in 1985, and this Metal Edition was released a year later in 1986.

Tweet from Andrew Braybrook

Andrew Braybrook was only trying out the Morpheus graphics look when he made Heavy Metal Paradroid.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradroid

Scarabaeus, Commodore 64

This obscure Commodore 64 classic is one of THE scariest – and most confusing – games of all time. Both in one!

In Scarabaeus you have to explore an ancient Egyptian tomb, chasing ghosts, avoiding zombies and spiders, and eventually making your way to the Pharaoh’s tomb in the centre of the third level.

Scarabeus is hard to play because it is not initially clear what you’re supposed to do.

The instructions are not much help either.

Key to solving the game is in collecting good potions and rejecting evil potions, and solving hieroglyph puzzles, in order to win more zombie traps. And also knowing how to run away from monsters to avoid being captured helps too. And, also: knowing how to use the elevator between levels. If you turn the winch handle incorrectly you can injure yourself. You need to save your health for the final level.

And you are constantly under pressure from chasing zombies and spiders. At least on the second and third levels.

The monster graphics in Scarabaeus are kind of strange, but that adds to the unsettling atmosphere. The sound effects are hella scary too. The alert when a spider comes near you… DAMN SCARY.

Scarabaeus is a unique Commodore 64 game really worth working out how to play. It’s a strange game, but it’s a decent challenge. Check the guide below for more pointers.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarabaeus_(video_game)
Guide: https://www.c64-wiki.com/wiki/Scarab%C3%A6us

International Karate Plus, Commodore 64

Archer Maclean’s IK+ (International Karate Plus) ushered in a new wave of fighting game on the Commodore 64, back in 1987.

Gone were the days of sluggish beat ’em ups, and in came an altogether faster and cleverer fighting game. This one being somewhat dignified with the martial art of karate.

It is still – to this day – very satisfying to deliver a perfect punch to the gut, or land a flying kick to the face. The skill interludes in-between bouts are pretty maddening fun too.

But it is the core of the game that makes International Karate Plus so good. The rules and moves are simple. You’ve got to be good to pull them off.

Rob Hubbard wrote the memorable music too.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Karate+

California Games, Commodore 64

Perhaps the least orthodox Epyx multi-event sports game, but arguably the best out of all of them, California Games was first released in 1987 to much acclaim.

It features: half-pipe, roller skating, surfing, BMX, footbag, and frisbee.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Games

Summer Games II, Commodore 64

Sequel to the award-winning Epyx multi-event sports game, Summer Games II is arguably even better than its predecessor.

This one features: triple jump, rowing, javelin, equestrian (show jumping), high jump, fencing, cycling, and kayaking.

Each event is a fantastic game in its own right, and graphically: Summer Games II is still very impressive. At the time of release (1985), it really wowed the critics. And games-players alike. Like all the Epyx sports games: still great to pick up and play now.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_Games_II

Summer Games, Commodore 64

The first of the ground-breaking/award-winning Epyx multi-event sport games, Summer Games was first released way back in 1984.

It features pole vaulting, platform diving, 100m sprint, 4 x 400m relay, gymnastics (vaulting), freestyle swimming, and skeet shooting.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_Games_(video_game)

Winter Games, Commodore 64

One of many classic Epyx-published multi-event sports games from the Eighties, Winter Games is a collection of playable snow and ice-based Olympic events, but without the official license.

In this you’ve got: biathlon, figure skating, bobsled, ski jump, Hot Dog (a kind of fancy ski-jumping), speed skating, and driveway clearing. Actually, there is no driveway clearing. I just made that up.

At the time of initial release Winter Games was hailed as a masterpiece of gaming, and it still plays very well even today. Many people consider it the best of the Epyx sports games. What do you think? Is it better than World Games, or not? Get commenting below.

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_Games