Trenton Webb became Commodore Format’s third editor in the Spring of 1992. When the magazine first hit WH Smith eighteen months earlier it had been 100 pages thick, but was still unable to review every new game. Now, though, against a backdrop of the Japanese consoles and a booming Amiga market, things were different. The full-priced games were drying up, so Trent’s first broad stroke change was to give the £3.99-ers more space in the magazine. Ostensibly, these double page spreads were to give games “the attention they deserved”. In reality, it was to fill the reduced number of pages in what was still very much a games focused magazine.
Demon Blue was the first budget outing to get two pages to itself, and there was a demo on the Power Pack too. Happily, the adventure more than justified the spotlight. It was a classy effort from MicroValue that was better than a lot of crud that had been appearing for three times the price. Here’s some background:
Demon Blue is a waddly blue sprite in a 100+ screen platform world. It looks a bit like the Greek underworld, and he must escape it. To do that, you have to wander the land and find six keys. There are enemies, of course – and giant pits full of nasties ‘n’ spikes to leap over. Fire and water will drain your energy too, and that is precious because you only have one life.
The game’s twist – and the reason it’s so notable – is that our hero is unarmed. No uzi, no rocket launcher, not even a massive stick. You can’t hop on your enemy’s head Mario style, either. But what you do have is a neat star that constantly orbits you. If that makes contact with a foe, it’ll kill ’em. So a lot of the skill in this game is timing your positioning, runs and jumps so that the star is at a point it’ll wipe out what’s in front of you.
What we’ve got here isn’t particularly original on paper, but when you see it up and running it really shines. Every screen has something new to see. There’s loads of neat animation, and if you know anything about Greek mythology you’ll recognise a lot of the backdrops. The orbiting star thing is neat, and adds a sort of puzzle element to things.
The only thing spoiling the party is the high level of difficulty, compounded by the fact you only get that one life. That said, the game’s so good-looking and quirky you force yourself to become better at it to see what trap, trick or puzzle comes next. A lot of thought went in to Demon Blue, and there’s life in it. You should give it a go. CF
CF SAID: “Tough. But great entertainment.”
WE SAY: Sure, you could make it easier by giving him a weapon – but then Demon Blue wouldn’t be so unique.
- Read James Leach’ full review
- Go back to the CF’s Best Of Budget homepage
- Play Demon Blue (requires C64 emulator). Arnie was also available as a demo on Power Pack 18.
The Demon Blue video was created for us by Paul Morrison. He’s writing a book about 8-bit games called They Were Our Gods.