Evercade Cartridge Preview: TheC64 Collection 3
One of the world’s favourite 8-bit home computers returns to Evercade in February 2024 with TheC64 Collection 3, our third compilation of all-time classics from this beloved system. Once again, the included titles run the gamut from all-action arcade-style affairs to deeper, more complex experiences — so we thought you might appreciate a rundown of everything that’s included!
Strap in, then — there’s some real classics coming your way.
Summer Games II
Epyx’s multi-sport titles in the “Games” series are always noteworthy for eschewing the usual joystick-destroying “waggle” control scheme seen in other athletics-themed games, and Summer Games II is no exception.
Like its predecessor (which you can enjoy on TheC64 Collection 1), Summer Games II doesn’t confine itself to just conventional track and field events, instead offering a full range of indoor and outdoor sports to enjoy. Take on triple jump, high jump and javelin in the athletics stadium before spreading out to take on a whole range of disciplines, including equestrian, fencing, cycling, kayaking and rowing.
Like the other “Games” titles, Summer Games II supports up to eight players taking turns, making it a great party game, and some events even allow for simultaneous two-player competition. On your marks… get set… go!
Peter Liepa’s classic action-puzzler is a staple of the 8-bit era, and its C64 version is an all-time classic. Rockford is on a quest for diamonds, but they’re buried deep within a perilous network of caves, and it’s up to you to help him.
Boulder Dash builds on the foundation of earlier “digging” games such as Namco’s Dig Dug by challenging players to traverse tricky, predefined level layouts that span several scrolling screens both horizontally and vertically. Not only will you need to collect all the diamonds, you’ll have to make sure the falling rocks don’t trap you in a dead end!
Boulder Dash requires both brainpower and reflexes; thinking your way through each level is only half the battle, as many stages also require a good sense of timing to succeed. Good luck!
Heavy Metal Paradroid
An oft-cited classic from the C64’s library, and another title from the creative mind of Andrew Braybrook. Heavy Metal Paradroid tasks you with clearing out a series of spaceships that are plagued with runaway droids. This is no simple blasting mission, however; to succeed, you’ll need to take control of more powerful robots in order to defeat stronger opponents.
While there’s certainly a strong top-down shoot ’em up element to Heavy Metal Paradroid, there’s just as much puzzling and strategy. To upgrade from your basic “influence unit” to a more powerful droid, you’ll need to match wits with your robotic rivals in a game of skill and forward planning — and decide whether to play it safe with a minor, incremental upgrade, or go for a significantly more powerful, dangerous opponent right away. Are you up to the challenge?
If the prior games have given your brain too much of a workout, hit the open road for the all-action racing of Super Cycle, a high-speed motorcycle racing game with smooth, slick visuals and varied conditions in which to race.
Super Cycle strikes a good balance between simple arcade-style racing and more realistic elements such as gear changes. The virtual recreation of an analogue-style instrument panel also adds to the charm — but ultimately this is all about beating the clock and your best scores. Hold on tight!
This follow-up to Jumpman (found on TheC64 Collection 1) features another 12 levels of single-screen platforming action. As in the first Jumpman, you’re tasked with defusing bombs left behind by alien terrorists, and along the way you’ll have to deal with not only death-defying leaps across vast chasms, but also some truly fiendish level gimmicks.
Don’t let the “Junior” fool you into thinking this is a simple game for kids; Jumpman Junior is just as challenging (and rewarding!) as its predecessor, and will keep you coming back for more time after time.
Cyberdyne Warrior was the first game released by Apex Computer Productions, better known to some as the brothers John and Steve Rowlands. They shot to stardom among the C64 community as the creators of the Creatures games for publisher Thalamus in the early ’90s, but Cyberdyne Warrior shows they were ambitious creators right from the get-go.
Your task in Cyberdyne Warrior is to track down a series of rogue robots. In order to do this, you’ll need to explore open-plan levels of multiple screens each, defeat enemies, gather money and upgrade your weapons in order to succeed. This is no mindless blastathon; you’ll need to learn the layout of each level and develop a solid strategy to succeed!
Cybernoid II: The Revenge
Armed to the teeth with a variety of heavy weaponry, your task in Cybernoid II: The Revenge is to infiltrate a pirate base and retrieve the goods they have stolen. Much like in the first Cybernoid, this is no simple task, however.
Featuring elements of exploration and platforming as well as frantic shoot ’em up action and one of the best soundtracks on C64, Cybernoid II: The Revenge builds on everything that made its predecessor great and turns the intensity up considerably. Practice definitely makes perfect with this one.
In this multi-scrolling shoot ’em up for C64, you’re trapped in another dimension and tasked with retrieving diamonds. You’ll need to freely explore each open-plan level, blasting enemies and installations along the way and collecting power-ups. You’ll also need to make use of teleporters to reach otherwise inaccessible areas — and take care not to grab items with harmful effects!
Netherworld is the work of Jukka Tapanimäki, who previously brought us Zamzara on TheC64 Collection 2. Like that game, Netherworld is a creative, well-presented and challenging game that will keep you busy for a while if you let it get its hooks into you!
Deliverance: Stormlord II
Dropping the puzzling elements of its predecessor in favour of a more all-action experience, Deliverance: Stormlord II is a challenging platformer that tasks you, once again, with rescuing fairies from hellish imprisonment. And yes, they’re naked again.
Deliverance: Stormlord II offers a distinctive experience by unfolding at a rather deliberate pace and tasking you with clearing challenging “encounters” rather than simply rushing from left to right as quickly as possible. It’s also a fairly early example of the concept of a “double jump” being used in a platformer, with our hero’s new ability to jump again while already in the air.
While it might initially look like an all-action shoot ’em up, Anarchy is actually a rather clever puzzle game. Your task is simple: blow up all the crates on each level with your tank. The tricky part is finding a means to get your tank into position to hit all of them since, being a big hunk of machinery, it doesn’t do so well in tight spaces.
Anarchy successfully blends arcade-style action with cerebral puzzling, and features delightfully hypnotic audio-visual presentation, with musical-style sound effects accompanying the action and impressive parallax effects on the backdrops. A sleeper hit if ever there was one!
The deliberately paced Exolon is a challenging combination of platformer and shooter, tasking you with negotiating a variety of perilous environments and clearing foes from your path using your blaster and grenades. This isn’t an “all guns blazing” kind of game, though; you’ll need to think through each screen tactically to ensure you keep yourself safe while clearing a path onwards.
Your task in Exolon is to reach the safety of your spaceship after negotiating 125 screens of danger, each with their own challenges to overcome. You’re not defenceless, though; your blaster rifle and grenades make short work of most obstacles if you can destroy them before they destroy you, and at certain points in the game you can upgrade to a powerful exoskeleton and double blaster rifle to really turn the tables on your enemies.
Street Sports Soccer
Like the other Street Sports games, Street Sports Soccer takes the basic rules of an established sport — in this case, football (as we call it over here) — and transplants them to an urban setting with smaller teams. In this case, you’ll compete in three-on-three action in various urban environments. Jumpers for goalposts? Try “factory doorway for goalposts”!
As with the other Street Sports games, Street Sports Soccer allows you to customise your teams from a selection of different characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and you can play the game either solo against the computer or simultaneously with a friend.
In Break Dance, a rather charming exploration of ’80s urban culture through a distinctly 8-bit lens, you’re tasked with proving you really know how to strut your stuff on the street through several different game modes.
The simplest of these simply tasks you with copying a sequence displayed by a partner, but as you escalate to tougher challenges you’ll have to dance against an ever-advancing horde of rival dancers and puzzle out the exact steps required to recreate a complex display. After all that, you can wind down by creating your own custom dance performances and saving them for your street-smart, 8-bit loving friends to admire later!
TheC64 Collection 3 will be available from February 29, 2024. Preorders open on Friday, December 15, 2023. Find out more on the official cartridge page.
With over 260 games available