= 4. BUCK ROGERS: COUNTDOWN TO DOOMSDAY (95%, ISSUE 3)

Video credit: Paul Morrison for the Commodore Format Archive

There are loads of reasons that Commodore Format has a fond place in people’s hearts. One of them is accident rather than design: CF launched in the Autumn of 1990, when commercial creativity on the machine was arguably at an all time peak. There was just so much cool stuff to write about! Through 1990 and ’91 we saw things that the C64’s original designers couldn’t have imagined was possible a decade earlier. See CreaturesFirst Samurai, and the six disk RPG mega game that’s at number 9 on our list: Buck Rogers. 

Earth in the future is a wasteland; civilisation now largely exists on other worlds. On Mars, an army of genetically engineered mutants has been created. Its designers want to send them to Earth and use it as a planet sized laboratory. But a plan is in place to stop them: you are part of super hero Buck Rogers’ army and you must thwart the plan.

What follows is one of the most atmospheric and absorbing experiences you’ll ever have on the Commie. To call it a point and click adventure is to do it the most enormous of injustice: it suggests a sedate and gentile pace. Not so. Right from the start you get to pick your own army from scratch and send them out on missions. But it isn’t so straightforward: when training for a mission you can be put under attack and have to deal with the firefight before moving on. A dying captain warns you of what’s ahead; another fallen comrade must be reached before he dies too or you won’t get access codes to vital doors. The action is intense and often haunting: wandering around an “abandoned” ship is easily the equal of modern day stuff like Uncharted. You just never know what’s around the corner.

Such was Buck Rogers’ enormity, it only came on disc – and lots of them. That, coupled with the 24 quid price tag, meant it didn’t get seen by nearly as many people as it should have. Indeed so rare is an original version, we had to commission a video of it to accompany the piece. Make sure you check it out for a special Commodore Format themed adventure! CF

CF SAID: Edge of seat stuff, guaranteed to give bags under your eyes!

WE SAY: One of the most intense experiences you’ll have on a C64. And don’t let the number of disks put you off – it’s programmed so well you change them very rarely!  


CF