The other day I shelled out a bargain $30 for Amiga Forever which comes with a bunch of old games and a really easy to use interface. I used to play around with WinUAE (and I believe Forever may use it) but this is so much easier. The first game I wanted to check out was Deuteros, one of my favorite games from ‘back in the day’. I got sidetracked with Kick Off and then Ports of Call, and eventually sought out the glorious space game…
I’m about to attempt a kind of review of this game, but its going to be difficult, since I’m not sure if my fond memories cloud my judgment! So I load up the game and am greeted by the quirky animated logo…
This is so cool, and I can’t believe no other games (?) ever did it. It’s one of the many small details that makes the game take on its own unique feel and atmosphere.
In fact the detail throughout the entire game, from the interface to the sound all come together with such skill that you almost forget that you are playing through gameplay sequences that would be considered as boring as making paint dry, if it were attempted today. Ok, maybe not that bad, since I did play it for a good 3 hour stretch (and found it hard to stop). I’m not sure exactly what made me want to, but here is what the gameplay consists of for most of the game:
– Train dudes, press “advance time”
– Research part, advance time
– Build part, advance time
– Launch ship, advance time, deploy part 1 of 8 (no advance time needed!!)
– Shuffle personnel around in a very drawn out, annoying process.
– Build new base on new planet and repeat above.
Yep, the advance time button is hideously annoying! There are some frustrating and boring tasks, and there’s very little action. But this game, for something made in caveman times, has some serious immersion and atmosphere. It really feels like you’re part of a post-apocalyptic space faring people. The visuals ooze style and flair, the ship designs are awesome and the interface screens (particularly earth’s flaming surface) are works of art. The midi sounds are brilliant, each screen has its own sound – beeps for research, oppressive industrial sounds for mining, and super cool mechanical ship loading sounds. The boring task of launching a ship into orbit is almost made fun with the noise and gloomy Giger-esque ship interior (complete with rear view screen for some reason).
I think another factor that really adds to the immersion is the interface. You’ll rarely ever see any text interface which is just a functional “button” floating in space attached to a “game interface”. In Deuteros the main interface is a mess of wires and screens, eyeballs and globes. You don’t just press “launch ship”, you’re inside the ships cockpit, and the launch button is on the actual console. So you get the feeling that you are moving around in the game environment, rather than commanding things from a distance, unattached to anything.
So far I’ve progressed to meeting the Methanoids, and have built up a stockpile of resources to wage war on them, however during their first few attacks I’ve been beaten back pretty badly (man this is a hard game!). I swear they knew I was stockpiling, damn cheat computer! I think I’ll need to adjust my strategy next time…
Well I hope you enjoyed my hastily written, unplanned and so called review of one of my favorite Amiga games, Deuteros. It’s a great trip down memory lane, and if you somehow missed it I highly recommend checking it out!
Now… can I implement these design features in our game… humm…