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Commodore 64 Games of Note.md

Commodore 64 Games of Note

This list is an offshoot of Video Games of Note which is dedicated to games for that 6502-based home system, the Commodore 64.

Dynamite Dan

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This game was originally developed for the ZX Spectrum; this entry is about its C64 port.

Beautiful graphics. I believe the antagonists were implemented with "soft sprites" (groups of programmable characters), so that all(?) 8 hardware sprites were free to be used for the protagonist in a composite fashion that is both hi-res and multicolour. The music is also good. The game itself is quite hard.

Street Surfer

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In the mid-80's, when skateboarding became popular, a rash of such games appeared: Skate or Die, Skate Rock, and so forth. But this one made all of those look quite banal.

For one thing, Street Surfer was probably one of the first games based on recycling. The object is to collect and recycle as many glass bottles as possible.

Also notable for the fact that you could, on a skateboard, outpace cars on a highway.

Also notable for the fact that the theme music changes tempo to match your speed.

Pharaoh's Curse

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This game was originally developed for the Atari 400/800; this entry is about its C64 port.

It's difficult to say what contributes to this game's overall charm.

You can shoot the mummy, but the mummy can shoot back.

The triggers trigger traps on a delay which is perfectly predictable, so it adds a nice element of timing to the game.

Also: the bird!

Fire Ant

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Once I got used to the "tight handling" of the protagonist with the joystick, I liked this game a lot. The premise is cute. Each level introduces new things which you don't know what they do, and is not just a combination of known mechanisms.

Necromancer

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This game was originally developed for the Atari 400/800; this entry is about its C64 port.

It's a good example of a game which combines fast-pacing with variety while maintaining coherence across the variety. The Wikipedia article explains it better than I can.

Whistler's Brother

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Notable for gameplay mechanic: the player controls one character directly with a joystick, but also a second character indirectly, by influencing where they go, by whistling for them.

However, despite this interesting mechanic, I must admit I never really got into this game. Something about it failed to appeal to me — perhaps it was that the graphics felt kind of uninspired.

Zeppelin

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This game was originally developed for the Atari 400/800; this entry is about its C64 port.

Notable because you can shoot out bits of wall, or rather, bits of force field and Futuristic Domed City, and in this way it feels a bit like an airborne version of Cloak & Dagger. Also notable because it involves flying a dirigible in a cave.

Also notable for being a multi-directional scroller, but one in which you have only limited influence over which direction it scrolls in. Once you maneouver to a particular point in the cave, the direction will change apropos to that point. You don't seem to be able to get into a dead-end this way, which is probably good (much less frustrating than games in which you can,) but you do seem to be able to go in circles quite easily.

Slinky

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This one's pretty memorably weird, and deserves comment.

Once upon a time there was a game called Q*Bert which was quite famous and inspired a number of clones, and each of these clones tended to have their own idiosyncratic mechanics. And Slinky is one such clone.

The 2013-06-14 comment by zaphod77 on the Lemon64 entry linked to above explains those mechanics far better than I could. It does not, however, help them seem less arbitrary. I don't think anything could do that.