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Those of you who enjoy exploration type games will love Darkness. The game map is not too confusing and there is plenty to see throughout the game.
User Review( votes)
The Icon 64 team have been at the forefront of invigorating the current generation Commodore 64 games over the past decade with his modern re-interpretations of classic games from the 80s with Darkness being a strong example with its homage to Ultimate Play The Game’s Sabre Wulf.
Starting things off is an intro screen explaining that while traveling over Africa, a plane carrying adventurer Stan and his girlfriend Megan crash lands in the jungle. Stan survives the crash but upon waking up, he sees no physical sign of Megan but hears her scream in the distance. Stan must find his way through the deepest and darkest jungles of Africa, armed with nothing other than rocks as his weapon, to take on the Darkness if he is to save his beloved Megan.
Adopting a top down view, Darkness is a flick screen arcade adventure featuring 100 graphically rich and vibrant screens for you to explore and get lost in. Whilst avoiding the hordes of nasty predators, Stan must locate 4 purple masks and 4 green masks hidden with treasure chests littered across all corners of the jungle if he is to take on the Darkness.
As you maneuver Stan through each screen, you will notice that it takes a couple of seconds for enemies to spawn, providing you with an opportunity to either quickly run across the screen or to set yourself up for the best mode of attack, protecting the precious few health points you have available.
To further help Stan with his objective, power-ups are available by clearing undergrowth or smashing large pots. Purple hearts will upgrade Stan’s weapon, Cyan hearts will help Stan move at a quicker speed while White hearts provide temporary invincibility.
Darkness provides a graphical feast with its vibrant and detailed environment. There are several areas within the game that are quite distinguishable, which not only provides a good level of variation to the game but also assists with navigation throughout the game. The Stan character sprite is very well drawn and moves smoothly through the jungle setting and the vast number of enemy sprites are equally well defined.
While the sound effects are your average fare, the music does a great job in topping off the game atmosphere. The in-game music is quite charming and feels like it has been inspired by classic Nintendo arcade adventure games but with the added benefit of having it being composed for the C64 SID chip.
Upon my initial play, Darkness proved to be a challenging experience. There are no checkpoints or save states to help you out, so it becomes critical to understand how to take best advantage of the enemy spawning process. The placement of enemies is somewhat randomized, so if you don’t like how enemies are positioned, you can flick between the screens to get a more favourable enemy placement. The enemies themselves are not difficult to dispose of, so a strategic and patient approach should result in quite a bit of progress being made.
Once you have collected all the green and purple masks and placed them in the appropriate location, you will be granted access to do battle with the Lord of Darkness himself.
Darkness does not bring anything new to C64 gaming platform, but it does provide an enjoyable gaming experience presented in high quality graphics and sound. For those who missed the game upon its initial release, I would easily recommend that you seek the game out and give it a try.
Game Design, GFX + Artwork by Trevor ‘Smila’ Storey
Game Programming by Achim Volkers
Music by Linus