Mayhem In Monsterland

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1998 – 2000 Thalamus Interactive

Platforms: PC & Colour Gameboy

1993 signed tough times for the Commodore 64, as the market finally began to crumble around the once mighty 8-bit. With only a trickle of games coming out each month, and mainly budget releases, the C64 really needed a good send off before its inevitable commercial death. With Mayhem in Monsterland (and also Lemmings, Alien 3 around the same time) we were not let down by any means.

Perhaps 100% from one magazine was a little too over the top, but Mayhem was certainly that little bit special compared to other games around on the C64, featuring a whole range of effects and graphics only thought possible of in demos and in console games. It was the perfect way to end the C64s life on a high. Although it didn’t quite achieve the sales that were wished for, Andy Roberts saw the potential in converting the game and updating it for the PC platform and began work on a conversion for DOS based platforms.

This would be no straight conversion of the C64 version, and many more features were to be added to make it a valid conversion and to enhance faults of the original game.

A small demo was created by Andy himself with a title screen and the C64s graphics ported onto the PC temporarily. Mayhem moved perfectly around the landscape, and things seemed to be shaping up fairly well. Though as progress was beginning to happen, DOS was seemingly becoming obsolete, and the release of Windows XP signalled doom for the conversion. Andy would have to learn C or similar to do a conversion which would run on most machines, which was something there was no time for. The game as a result was canned.

But this was not to be the end of it Back with Thalamus Interactive a year or so later, Mayhem was seen as the perfect game to convert for the Colour Gameboy. Andy dug up his conversion idea and Jon Wells was yet again assigned to producing some initial demos to see how it would all work. Again, as with the DOS version that failed, a run around demo was created with the graphics ported down from the C64 for test purposes. Looking rather good, Mayhem could run around a limited and looped landscape with ease.

Bad luck was to strike yet again though, as the Mobile games market began to open up. The Rowland Bros (creators of the original game) decided to get into the business and turned to their farewell C64 effort to get started on the mobile platform. Before Andy could even pitch the conversion, it was cancelled as it came to light about the Rowlands plans. It is a shame both couldn’t have come out, but maybe its Gameboy release would have hindered the mobile version. It would have had to have featured much more than the original though to compete with the likes of the Mario games, but Im sure it would have fought well.

All that exists are two demos, one PC and one CGB. Nothing completely playable, so we are not really missing much. At the end of the day, Mayhems Magic Dust DID make it, so at the very least there is something out there new to enjoy

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