Release notes – Death Weapon (C64)

It’s the final day for contributions to the RGCD 16K cartridge competition and your correspondent has been working on a second release for it from the C64CD stable; Death Weapon is an arena-style shoot ‘em up where the player must destroy all of the other spacecraft on each stage to progress. What’s a little unusual is the control scheme, holding fire whilst pushing the joystick will launch a bullet in the direction of travel but moving the stick on its own will still manoeuvre the craft but cause it to fire in the opposite direction. Enemies materialise at regular intervals and for a few moments are immobile and glowing, shooting them in this state will earn the player a score bonus.

The original inspiration for Death Weapon was the game Death Dealer, a simple action game which was developed in the late 1980s by Jeff J Gosden (and exists in a second form as The Perfect Weapon) but with a few inspirations borrowed from the Hallucin-O-Bomblets sub game from Batalyx by Jeff Minter – the idea of reversed firing came from there and was combined with Death Dealer’s forward-facing guns – and Andrew Braybrook’s Intensity – primarily this was where your correspondent borrowed ideas for the backgrounds and the parallax effect on the starfield – which were released in 1985 and 1988 respectively.

Death Weapon (C64)

A couple of tricks have been employed to seemingly produce more colours than are usually present on a C64 and to make the player’s bullets appear to be semi transparent; these don’t entirely work under emulation or indeed with online videos, but with an actual C64 connected to a CRT display as nature intended they do fool the eye surprisingly well. The source code for Death Weapon can be delved into at our Github account as usual – the work files for Char Pad or Sprite Pad for the graphics and GoatTracker for the music are included – and the game itself is available from the relevant tabs on this very website or via a dedicated page at our shiny new Itch.io presence.

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