The Commodore 64 has produced many a classic and well talked about game in the past, and this game truely does fit into that category. Unfortunatly, its often well renouned for the trouble it caused, rather than the playability of the game itself… though the C64 community doesn’t forget either.
The Great Giana Sisters was created by Armin Gessert and had graphics produced by the future creator of the Turrican series, Manfred Trenz back in 1987. At the time, Super Mario Bros was at a all time high in the craze stakes on the NES console, and Armin created his own clone in great style.
A very cunning swap of ‘Great’ for ‘Super’, ‘Giana’ for ‘Mario’ and ‘Sisters’ for ‘Brothers’, proved too much for the legal eagles at Nintendo, whom, heavily protective of their much loved plumber, took legal action to prevent the sale of the C64 clone.
Nintendo were very slightly late in their prevention however, and the game managed to get on sale for a week, before being ripped from the shelves. Leaving a rare selection of copies to have got out into the real world. One such owned by myself thankfully (Cover scans coming soon), and by lucky others in the C64 community. A true rarity which countless C64 people will tell you when you mention Giana.
The game itself is a very playable incarnation, although not quite having the same content or impact as SMB (The swimming levels are missing), it does give it a run for its money. However, it comes with some superb music by Chris Huelsbeck (Especially on the intro screen) which plays throughout. The game is well worth checking out and playing.
For the Mario pureists out there, a cracking group did once modify the graphics and create a hacked Mario clone, but albeit only the main sprite really changed.
A real classic for wrong and right reasons.
Contributions: Ian Osbourne, Midgard, Fabrizio Bartoloni, Retro Gamer magazine
Available downloads for this entry
The graphics you see in the final version is different from the WIP stages:
“I also found creating the main character [Giana] to be quite a hard task. It took me a very long time to find out the best look for her. I had lots of different variations but there always seemed to be something missing. It just took a really long time.”
“I ended up having to draw three different title pictures in the end,” recalls Trenz as he looks back at the constant scrutiny that their game was under. “The first one was deemed to be far too cute, the second one was apparently far too gloomy and it was finally the third effort that ended up satisfying the management.”