Pulsator

Martech

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Yet another Martech game into the archives, and one which is surrounded in mystery!… Just what exactly was this game about?  CVG had this to say about the game, along with some screenshots which you can find under “Scan shots”

“Martech is set to release Pulsator, a multi-maze shoot-em-up with a challenging puzzle, for the Spectrum, Amstrad, Commodore 64/128 and MSX. The game offers 5 game levels, each consisting of 49 rooms. On each level is a “Pulsy” who has to be rescued. This is done by finding the key which unlocks the door to the prison. The aliens on each level become progressively more intelligent and will deplete your power if they touch you. The landscape of each level also becomes increasingly more difficult and hazardous to negotiate.

The game is far more complex than simply finding your way through a maze. various pathways are blocked by gates, of which there are six types, numbered one to six. The gates cane be opened or closed by passing over sensors. The sensors are also labelled one to six. if a particular type of gate is closed and you pass over its associated sensor then it will open. if a gate is open and you pass over its sensor it will close. it is this element of the game which makes it far more exciting than simply solving a maze. Pulsator will sell for £7.95 on the Spectrum and £8.95 for the Commodore, Amstrad and MSX. Commodore disk versions will cost £12.95 and Amstrad disks for £14.95.”

The game was also advertised around the place, but its the C64 screenshots in CVG which all but confirm that the game was well underway and almost completed.

So does this mean that Martech scrapped the game because it was too poor?… We are not sure just yet, but we are speaking with some people who used to work for Martech to try and find out more and see what happened here.

Seems a shame that this “Metaplex” style game was never to see the light of day.  The Spectrum version did get a release… http://www.worldofspectrum.org/infoseekid.cgi?id=0003933

One recent finding thanks to Jan Harries is that the music was confirmed to have been composed by Rob Hubbard. So yet another Rob Hubbard tune we hope to recover as a result of finding this one as well – and it could well be the final lost Rob Hubbard tune left to find on the C64.

But we mention “Metaplex”, and it may not be a coincidence that the game is very familiar in style.  That is because Metaplex was actually done by the same development team as Pulsator – called Softeam.   Softeam is actually credited to the C64 release of Metaplex, so we believe that the coder could be the very same coder who worked on Pulsator.  If you look at the score panels between both games, then you will see that the screen area size is identical.   It is very likely that Metaplex also shares similiar code to what was used in the C64 edition of Pulsator.

Sadly the clues are limited at present to who Softeam were, and who were behind all the conversions.  One potential lead is that the loading screen is credited to “Malcolm Smith”, who may well have done the screens for all versions.  Can he be traced, and can he shed light on who were behind the C64 editions of Metaplex, and ultimately, Pulsator?

We have bought the Spectrum edition of the game to make scans (to get the extra C64 screenshot), and interestingly you will see that the C64 gets prominently mentioned in the instructions.    It seems the game should have been released!   Why wasn’t it?   A story still left to tell for this one…

Contributions: Jan Harries, Compounded, John Gibbons

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