Welcome to ARMALYTE WEEK, here at JustOneMoreGame.
Why Armalyte? Why this week?
Maybe I have something special up my sleeve for you…
Today, here’s 10 things you didn’t know about one of the Commodore 64’s greatest games.
- John Kemp, Dan Phillips & Robin Levy loved playing Salamander at their local arcade, but were disappointed by the ports of similar games (eg Nemesis) on the C64.
- John liked Salamander’s two mode, where players could bump each other into the scenery. He gave Armalyte the same feature.
Likes, dislikes & design decisions:
- The Cyberdyne boys disliked games where player death meant being sent back to a ‘checkpoint’, stripped of all your weapons. (Hence Armalyte’s ‘continue with most weapons’ feature.)
- They also decided early to make the game ‘multi-load’, in order to increase graphical variety and make the levels much longer.
Bullets, but none made of chocolate:
- Armalyte’s player-ship hitboxes were made small, so you could dash about the screen with more concern for the aliens & bullets, than the scenery. This was unusual at the time – unlike the ‘bullet hell‘ shmups of today.
- Dan Phillips accidently created the ‘super weapons’, when his bullet code omitted the command to clear the previous bullet.
- Until July 1988, Martin Walker (responsible for the SFX/music) referred to the game as “Armalite”, in his Zzap 64 diary. The name was eventually changed to “Armalyte”, due to its existing use by an arms manufacturer.
- Thalamus encouraged gamers to buy an original copy of the game, using their (Willy Wonka style) ‘Gold Rush’ competition. Four copies of the game had a special ‘gold’ code – that would win you a plasma globe. (Remember, in ’88 they were THE hot gadget!)
The sequel that never arrived:
- Armalyte 2 was abandoned very early in development; the developers needed financial security, and moved from Thalamus to work ‘in house’ at System 3.
- Armalyte 2 was to feature: a weapons shop, eight-way moving missiles, bouncing lasers, and most interestingly, variable attack waves. The C64 would choose one of three attack wave ‘styles’ (per level) at the start of the game. This would been a big change from almost any other shmup of that era.
If you’re a fan of Armalyte, or classic horizontal shmups, keep your eye on JOMG this week.
You won’t be disappointed. 😉