1992 Thalamus

Platforms: Commodore Amiga and Atari ST

Restrictor was being developed by Arc Developments during the early 1990s for the Commodore Amiga (and also reportedly the C64). It was to be an original title from Arc, developed for Thalamus where you could drive and also fly, with around 4 planets to explore and various alien waves to fight.

For years there has been a screenshot showing the driving section from the game, but contributor Ross Sillifant located some more scans from French magazine Joystick, issue 19 (September 1991), which shows one of the flying vehicle levels, but what also seems to be a sort of platformer section where you control a person.

Development seemed to drag on for a while, when Thalamus eventually went under around 1993 time. Taking a number of titles with it in the end. We knew little about the title, but thankfully Arc Development’s Richard Underhill got in touch in 2021 with some details about the game:

“This game used multi-layered sprites to give the same illusion of depth that Sega’s Galaxy Force, by basically scaling position over a perspective look-up table and asynchronously scaling sprite images before they were needed (which C64 Overlander also did – that was part of its problem). The perspective table alone would have caused memory issues on the C64.

There was an Atari ST version but this had issues with the screen format, that required extra pre-shifting to take place as well as scaling. I was pessimistic as to the performance I would get, but it worked out surprisingly well.

I would say that the space scenes were relatively close to being a good playable experience with most of the moment to moment gameplay in place, but the planet-based driving was very basic.

This project was terminated on the demise of Thalamus and was also in development at the same time that I was working on C64 Pang. Neither Ocean or Thalamus were made aware of the fact at the time!”

Richard worked on the game with artist Paul Walker and musician Chris Guard. It was was described by The One magazine as being a cross between OutRun, R-Type, Galaxy Force and Afterburner all rolled into one. The vehicles were all ray traced at first to ensure they looked good in the various directions required, and were designed in Sculpt 3D on the Amiga.

It is hoped that maybe something of the cancelled game can be found and shown, so watch this space!

With thanks to  Infuomeézaa for the heads up about the article in The One magazine.


4 Responses to Restrictor

  1. There’s an article about this game with multiple screenshots, including a ‘RESTRICTOR’-logo in the old magazine, “The One”, Issue 22 from July 1990, Page 20, with the title “Full Throttle”.

    The PDF-version of that magazine should be easy enough to find.

    The article explains the ambitious plans, how they used ‘Sculpt 3D’ for hours to create the car, and now they just ‘render’ the car from different angles, or something.

    Worth a look for anyone interested.

    • Stone, you never cease to amaze me. This is fantastic – bookmarked once more, as this will be very useful when looking up information.

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