One of my first home computers was the much beloved Sinclair ZX Spectrum and one of my first games was 1985 platformer Dynamite Dan. Sadly, as much as I loved the game, I was terrible at it and inevitably turned to cheating to bolster my chance of completing it. Fortunately, I has a cheat device for my Spectrum that allowed me to POKE values into the computer memory, a capability that could grant all manner of cheats if used correctly.
As I was a regular reader of Crash! magazine, it was only a matter of time before they would print a code, and so it was that an unlimited lives POKE appeared, giving me the much needed edge required for me to complete the game. And that was that. I didn’t play it again, ever. This cheap trick ruined the game for me, I could get past any obstacle the game could throw at me, safe in the knowledge that if I was hit, or fell, I could continue towards the end. That didn’t stop me cheating in other games, but I think Dynamite Dan was the only game that I ever truly ‘broke’ by cheating.
Here is somebody else, doing the same, in a speed run:
Perhaps I should revisit the game and try again? Or perhaps, on the evidence from the video, the only way I’ll ever survive this game would be to resort to more POKEing…
I was emailed a link to the freeware PC Game, L’Abbaye des Morts and was not so sure what to make of it. Especially after I read this description:
In the 13th century, the Cathars, who preach about good Christian beliefs, were being expelled by the Catholic Church out of the Languedoc region in France. One of them, called Jean Raymond, found an old church in which to hide, not knowing that beneath its ruins lay buried an ancient evil.
Okay, I am intrigued, but I still wasn’t sure. Then i saw this video and I knew, with its ZX Spectrum style game design, that I needed to play it.
Game download and 2 hours later I was a fan. Its an addicting game that is well made which is pretty amazing. Because according to the author of the game, Locomalito:
This little game has been created at nights during our vacation in southern France. The whole style is spontaneous and sincere, straight out of our trips in the region during the day. Be sure to visit the Languedoc if you feel somehow attracted by the game ;-)
This boardgame is based on the great ZX Spectrum game “Maziacs”, which was programmed by Don Priestley. According to the site, Don was kind enough to allow the designer of this board game to use the same name and concept.
From the rules: In this game you play the part of a hero that goes into a dangerous maze to look for a great treasure. The maze is full of monsters called Maziacs who will try their best to kill the hero. Fortunately they’re not very intelligent, but can be deadly if you’re caught off guard…
The game uses tiles to build a new random maze each play and mechanics to create a unique path towards the treasure. This path is slowly uncovered by the player by asking prisoners that can be found randomly through the maze. Also, the Maziacs will appear randomly and try to kill the hero, but as long as he has a sword, he’ll be safe. There’s also a mechanic that will adjust the chance of a new Maziac appearing based on the number of Maziacs already on the board and the distance from the exit.
In the end, it’s all about beating the game system, either as a solo or cooperative game, trying to maneuver through the tight corridors fooling Maziacs into dead ends and finding the correct path to the treasure.
The game is free, so why not drop by and print yourself a copy.