A Gothic action romance in 8 bits …
(Winner – Organiser’s Choice Category – The New Dimension 2016 SEUCK Compo)
Axis-occupied Transylvania, 1942. One brave Allied soldier volunteers to mount a daring raid against an entire armoured SS battalion, with only his trusty rifle and his wits to protect him. What could possibly go wrong? Pretty much everything, as it turns out …
Just before he is dragged away into captivity as a POW, however, the wounded soldier spills his blood only the sepulchre of Princess Mariska, who was killed centuries ago by the Holy Inquisition under suspicion of vampirism. As night falls in the ruined crypt, an eerie figure rises from the tomb, and senses the fate of the one whose blood restored her to “life”. Driven by powerful instinct, she sets out to free her “knight errant” from the invaders who have taken him captive. Will his strange saviour succeed in her quest, or will the hazards of modern warfare prove more than a match for the powers of the undead?
A Commodore 64 game, designed on the SEUCK engine (Shoot ‘Em Up Construction Kit), with enhanced coding (by me), music by Richard Bayliss, and extra bitmaps by Igor Errazkin. Download from http://tnd64.unikat.sk/Seuck_Compo_2016.html (download link at bottom of page).
Use fireballs to dispatch enemy forces, but aim to drink at least 10,000 points’ worth of blood by attacking enemy foot soldiers in melee. The more blood you can drink, the better your odds of facing the final challenge and unlocking the true ending. However, beware not to melee any soldier carrying a cross. Also avoid contact with vehicles. Touch prisoners or war to set them free (and claim a little donation of much-needed blood in the process, of course).
All Rights Reserved, © 2016
Once roughly described as “The Sound of Music” meets Quentin Tarantino …
(Winner – 2017 Spanish SEUCK Compo)
Transylvania, 1944. Holy Mother Romana Pasztor is arrested by the SS for sheltering refugee children in her nunnery, and the children are taken away to a feared concentration camp run by an experimental unit. Desperately, she prays for anything that might save them, only to find herself suddenly confronted by a strange, pale, red-eyed woman in a medieval dress. Thus begins a most curious alliance of holy and unholy …
Guide your vampirised nun through the towns of Varatec and Bistritz, and along the Borgo Pass, fighting the SS every inch of the way and rescuing the captured children (Save all six to see the true ending). As you are only a newborn vampire, you will need weapons to prevail, so look out for abandoned SS firearms and roadside bombs (Do not touch the latter, if you value your unlife, but shoot them for spectacular damage against the opposition).
Designed on C64 SEUCK, with coding enhancements by me and Richard Bayliss, music by Richard Bayliss, and extra advice on coding by Jon Wells.
All Rights Reserved, © 2017
VALKYRIE 3 – THE NIGHT WITCH
(Winner – 2018 TND SEUCK Compo)
Transylvania, 1945. Disaster! Having turned the evil Obersturmführer von Hellman into one of their own kind, and leaving him entombed in the ruins of his own bunker as eternal punishment, the vampires are embarrassed and dismayed to learn he has escaped, mastered his supernatural powers, and started a whole new research program dedicated to making him undisputed lord and master over all mortals and immortals. They must organise an immediate air raid to destroy his stock of V-2 rockets, or all is lost. Unable to do this themselves, they call on the aid of Lieutenant Alyona Orlov, a young, brash, and vengeful pilot of the Soviet 588th Night Bomber Regiment, known disparagingly by the German forces as the “Night Witches” …
Fly your Polikarpov Po-2 biplane “Sasha” over three zones of ground and aerial defences, both conventional and supernatural, and destroy fifteen mission targets in order to put a stop to the mad occultist’s plans. You can upgrade your main gun with weapon pick-ups, and as you progress through the missions you can also level up a magical attack. For Alyona, ironically enough, is also the descendant of a long line of Ukranian white witches, and the spirits of her ancestors are only too eager to pass their power on to her at this crucial time.
Designed on C64 SEUCK, with coding enhancements by me and Richard Bayliss, and music by Richard Bayliss. Photographic likenesses (in the end sequence) are of actress Audrey Hepburn (Lady Romana) and aviator Amy Johnson (Lieutenant Orlov). Gameplay and design were inspired by such classics as Capcom’s “1942” and Compile’s “Power Strike 2” for the Sega Master System.
Download from 2018 SEUCK Compo page. Hosted by Richard Bayliss of The New Dimension.
This is the final game in the “Valkyrie” series, and fulfils my dual ambition of completing this trilogy and of getting a same-sex romance into it at the eleventh hour. Well, since the whole series is basically about inconveniencing the ‘alt-right’ of the 1940s, one might as well make their descendants uncomfortable in the process …
All Rights Reserved, © 2018
LEGION OF THE DAMNED 3
Centuries following a supernatural war that reduced most of the once-great continent of Aurvandil to an anarchy of feuding barbarian factions, the peaceful village of Coed-Elyon relies upon its ancestral knowledge of the lost elven magic to protect itself from the greed and savagery of the hordes … no more, alas. For the most ruthless and reckless of the hordes have summoned a demon of the ancient times to deprive the villagers of this advantage, little caring that it will wreak endless collateral damage before its lust for death and chaos is sated.
The only hope now rests with Xandra Windheart: a witch and rogue whose mastery of the sword thankfully matches her mastery of spells, making her the only inhabitant of Coed-Elyon likely to prevail against the hordesmen and the legions of undead that their recklessness has unleashed upon the world. Even these skills may not be enough, however, and if Xandra is not only to survive but to find a means powerful enough to exorcise the demon it may be necessary to recruit an ally to her cause …
Designed on C64 SEUCK, with coding enhancements, and music by Richard Bayliss. This game is my little, albeit fairly blatant tribute to Sega’s “Golden Axe,” and features numerous tricks I have never before attempted on SEUCK, including storable spells / smart bombs, character transformation, and extra animation on the main player character.
Download from 2019 SEUCK Compo page. Hosted by Richard Bayliss of The New Dimension.
Proceed on foot, using your sabre to dispatch enemies in close range (unless a better opportunity presents itself, hint hint). Avoid rivers and spikes. Your ultimate mission is to destroy the runestone set into the shrine atop a desolate tower, which is enabling the demon to cross over into the mortal world. You can be assured the demon will have something to say about this, so tread carefully …
You can ease your mission slightly by rescuing the small, winged fae you may encounter on your travels. Although a pale shadow of the great elven warriors and magi of the ancient days, these beings still have the power to grant you a little magical protection in exchange for your physical protection. Each fae you collect grants you a single spell that you may activate at any time to destroy all on-screen enemies (A red screen border indicates that magic can be used). Press the S key to activate a spell.
However, do not bother saving your magic for the final conflict, as fae spells will be rendered ineffective in the presence of the cursed runestone. For some threats, nothing beats a little judicious brute force.
All Rights Reserved, © 2019
SYNTHIA IN THE CYBER-CRYPT
In a nearby parallel universe, where the unfortunate discovery of alien technology and the resulting arms race caused the Cold War to turn apocalyptic in 1962, the human race is nearly doomed. Its last survivors are a group of scientists on the verge of being hunted to death by the very war machines they were commissioned to design. Their only hope rests with an environmental custodian robot affectionately named “Synthia” by her inventor, to whom she has a strong emotional attachment (which may or may not compensate for her total lack of combat programming and personal defence).
Guide Synthia through the fall-out bunker, avoid the rogue defence systems, and collect any equipment that you think might be able to help you in your quest to penetrate the inner sanctum and rescue the scientists. The fire button is used either to collect objects, or to attempt to use the “held” object wherever you see a clue marker (a flashing question mark). The held object is displayed over your lives counter (the twin lines of power cells at the bottom of the screen). Only one object may be held at a time, with one exception (the infrared goggles) which is displayed separately when collected. However, an object may be collected any number of times from its relevant storage area, if you find you need to drop one object in order to take another.
Both the gameplay and graphics of “Synthia” are a very conscious tribute to such 8-bit platform adventures as “Monty On The Run”, “Finders Keepers”, and the “Dizzy” series, which likewise took a more pacifist and evasive approach to gaming than is typical, and especially for a game designed on SEUCK (the “Shoot ‘Em Up Construction Kit”). Indeed, this game required very heavy reprogramming to make the old scrolling shooter engine into something platform-worthy and non-linear. Hopefully it will be worth the effort …
Download game, ending cinematics, and manual from 2020 SEUCK Compo page.
SEUCK original design – Jonathan Hare and Chris Yates.
Music, password system, loader graphics – Richard Bayliss.
Story, design, graphics, SFX, reprogramming – Eleanor Burns.
All Rights Reserved, © 2020
The Dizzy games were well known to 8-bit computer gamers in the late 80s and early 90s: a series of object-based puzzle platformers following the adventures of the eponymous Dizzy the egg as he solved mysteries, escaped dungeons, and rescued his friends and family in a tongue-in-cheek fairytale world. This is my attempt at a 3D version (compatible with fairly low-end PC hardware but not Mac, sadly).
The new factory town of Morgenholt, located deep within ancient fay woodlands, has recently been troubled by a mysterious and baleful haunting. Squire Whateley, leader of the town and owner of its factory, has sent for the most daring and resourceful hero in the kingdom to investigate and put an end to this menace. Which is where a certain familiar ovoid steps into the scene. Has boxing gloves, will travel …
“Dizzy” created by (and copyright of) the Oliver Twins.
Programming, story, and graphics by Eleanor Burns.
Sound and music by Lost Radikals.
Eleanor Burns, 2018.
SHADOW OF THE ROSE-CROIX
A Gothic PC adventure, with music by Clusterfuck (Requires DirectX8 or above).
This 3-D occult and Tarot-themed adventure game was a little labour of love I began a couple of years ago on Visual Basic 5 … which was obsolete even then, of course, and never designed for this type of work, but I do enjoy trying to get interesting results out of limited tools.
The invaluable tutorials that enabled me to create workable 3-D graphics in VB5 were written by programmer Jack Hoxley and are well worth a read for anyone interested in the mechanics of making little worlds and trying to give them character and atmosphere (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).
In order to install the game, unzip both of the files. Once unzipped, take the whole “SRCSounds” file just as it is and move / copy it to the c:\ drive (Do not put it within any other folders / directories).
Open the other file – “SRCGameSetup” – double-click the setup icon, and follow the instructions. Once installed, the link to play the game – “ShadowsRoseCroix” – will appear in your start menu.
This game is loosely based on an old Commodore 16 and Vic-20 game called “Ghost Town” programmed by Udo Gertz back in 1985, possibly the first “survival horror” game I ever played, eerie in spite of being utterly minimalist (There were many ways to die, but only ever shown as a text message on a blue screen, suddenly flashing up as and when you lost your one and only life … as you often did). I was initially going to make this game a straightforward remake of it, but since the solution to that game is now well known, I ultimately decided to make an original game with a few homages to it (such as the blue-screen deaths, and a couple of similar puzzles).
It is also heavily influenced by the object-puzzle arcade adventures of the mid-to-late 1980s, such as the “Dizzy” series and its various ZX Spectrum and C64 clones.
The wonderfully creepy mood music for this game was composed by Cardiff Punk / Goth band “Clusterfuck.” Check them out at Tantrum Records.
Rural France, Late twentieth century
A strange, half-forgotten dream and the map sold to you by a mysterious street vendor led you to this forest, but you have no real notion of why you came. Now you are here, though, you feel both fear, and an odd sense of déjà vu. You feel that some terrible event occurred here, yet you are drawn to the place almost with a sense of love. You get the urge, however unwise, to investigate further…
Cursor keys move the character, usually at a running pace.
Cursor keys (with Alt held) change position of camera, zoom and angle.
PgUp and PgDn change the vertical angle of camera.
Hold down W to walk (half speed).
Press X to examine scenery / area. Clues often indicate where best to examine.
Space to jump.
C to change character modes … when the time is right.
O to choose between your collected objects for the right one to use.
Ctrl to try to use your currently-held object, to climb a ladder, or to use certain nearby objects.
M to toggle music on or off.
Q (or the Mouse Button) to quit to Windows.
Look out for the “?” sign in your status panel, indicating nearby clues.
All Rights Reserved, © 2017