Duster

1991 Image Works

Platforms: Commodore Amiga, Atari ST and PC

Yet another title caught up in the collapse of Mirrorsoft in late 1991. A title created by Realtime Software, known for both Carrier and Battle Command.

Duster was set in a place called Heaven in 3800 AD, where the world has become a breeding ground for vicious crop-eating pests with a high mutation rate. You are a crop duster, who not only has to save the world, but also make sure you keep your business going. This is done by earning cash with your crops, but also acting as a bounty hunter, taking on various contracts and missions.

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Visually the game was quite similar to Realtime’s previous games, with the main action rendered in 3D as you fly around the landscape, and with strategic sections handled via static images and menus.

Duster was first announced in 1990, and featured in magazines such as ST format and Generation 4, the latter getting quite excited about the game as a whole – with a series of screenshots shown.

The game looked pretty decent for the time, featuring some strange mutant ant-like creatures roaming around destroying crops. Quite a lot of windmills feature too, which seem like an odd thing to see in a futuristic title.

After the initial flurry of previews and news about the game – it all went quiet, when ST Format finally reported an update in July 1991. It detailed that a “change of direction” was occurring within the company and this had meant delays. It was still due for 1991 though, and now had Rowan Software joining in to help finish the game.

Everything would go quiet once again after this, and then the collapse of Mirrorsoft would occur. Amiga Power would report on the game in a “Where are they now?” feature in October 1992. They suggest that Rowan had actually taken over the development after Realtime had undergone a restructure, but since the collapse of Mirrorsoft, there had been no further update on the game.

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Rowan were already working on Reach For the Skies for Virgin games at this point, which suggests that the game died with Mirrorsoft, and no other takers were found to take on the publishing duties.

So just how far did the game get overall before its cancellation, and is there any chance that something has survived of the game after all this time? We hope to learn more soon, and if you know anything more about the game – please do get in touch.

With thanks to Ross Sillifant for highlighting + extra scans, Hall of Light , Abandonware France and Abandonware Magazines for the magazine scans and screenshots.

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