Death Weapon (C64) released

So how about some arena-based blasting on the C64 for a quiet but annoyingly warm Sunday evening then? Well, there’s always Death Weapon from… erm, yours truly on the C64CD label that popped up as a last minute entry into RGCD’s 16K cartridge competition. So why not grab a joystick and blast those nasty little aliens into oblivion!

The gameplay was originally based on Jeff J Gosden’s Death Dealer from 1989 but had elements from other titles grafted into it and one thing to look out for in particular is the control scheme; moving the joystick guides the Death Weapon around the screen but it fires backwards unless the fire button is held down. That’s a combination of what Death Dealer does and the Hallucin-O-Bomblets sub game of Jeff Minter’s Batalyx, which was also the inspiration for the enemies materialising into the playfield rather than emerging fully formed from the borders. Another title that had ideas unceremoniously robbed from it was Intensity by Andrew Braybrook, more specifically it influenced the background graphics and the pretty parallax starfield behind them.

There’s a couple of graphical tricks going on to make elements of the game appear to be using colours not in the regular C64 palette as well, parts of the background use PAL blending – when two colours of the same luminance are placed next to each other on odd and even scanlines – to get what appear to be new colours and some of the enemy sprites are utilising a similar trick, alternating between two colours every frame so they appear to blend together. This is best experienced with a good old CRT display, as are the player’s bullets which are generated from one sprite which flickers back and forth between the two jobs at 50 frames a second.

None of this is new of course, but there’s some reasonably well commented source code over at Github for anyone fancying a prod around.

2 thoughts on “Death Weapon (C64) released

  1. As always, thanks for the source share!

    Love the really colourful and pretty graphics! The ‘different’ control method is also welcome and adds a ‘twist’ to the standard blasting. Kind of reminds me the the shoot while ‘running away’ attack in Citadel and Paradroid.

    You tend to do updated versions of these games sometimes, so I would love to see ‘Super Death Weapon DX’ with some nice growling music and maybe power-ups and/or bonus point collectibles. Maybe different player ships selectable on the title screen with slightly different control characteristics? Dunno.

    Anyways, I really enjoyed this. Great job!

  2. Ta very much, most of the game came together around the control system so it’s nice to know people like it. =-)

    I did think a little about an updated version but wasn’t convinced there’s enough meat there without a fairly radical rethink of how enemies work and so forth, otherwise it’d get too repetitive. Perhaps though…

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