Sergei – The Showdown (At the Isle of Belphegor)

1989-1995 SideFX/Kimera Studios

Platform: Commodore Amiga

Our next title has come under various names over the years, Sergei, Sergei – the showdown and Sergei and the Isle of Belphegor. It sounds like a trio of games, but this was just one single development from Denmark that was being done between the period of 1989 and 1995.

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Over the years the game has had an internet presence and has since vanished, though thanks to archive.org – we are able to recover materials and details about the game.

Programming was by Jon Rocatis, with graphics by Dennis Hansen and music by Simon Holm. The team originally had started out as SideFX, but then later organised themselves into an early company called Kimera Studios. Both Dennis and Simon would later go on to work on major titles for the games industry. Dennis was also involved on a C64 title called “Ball” that we have within our archives.

The interesting thing about the Sergei game on the Amiga, was that it was seemingly in long development over a 6 year period. Why was it this long? Dennis gives indication as to why on his old archived resume, where he mentions working on the game whilst studying and doing all the graphics and sprite animation using Deluxe Paint and Brilliance.

So what kind of game was it? When you look at the images, the game seems to depict a sort of Rick Dangerous/Chaos Engine style shooter, with a fully armed hero who goes around blasting everything in sight. There is a shop where you can also buy further weapons to increase your arsenal.

There were some assets saved from Simon’s old webpage, but sadly the MP3 music file from the game is missing. Via the project page on Simon’s site, we learn of the shop being called “Little Shop of Horror”, and levels including the notorius town of Scumville, the Swamps, Caves, Temple and the base of Boris (who we assume is the main bad guy). Hopefully we can find larger screenshots in the future (or even something playable of course!)

Thankfully Simon’s other website that was archived had some working screenshots, but also a snippet from him about the game:

“This was the game that started it all. As three very good friends we started to work on the game in our spare-time in the summer of 1989. Being only three, a programmer, a graphic artist and me as the composer & sound designer we were all involved with all the aspects of creating a video game. In 1992 when Commodore went out of business, and the future of the Amiga computer was uncertain the hope of having the game released began to fade away.”

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So we know why the game was cancelled. Via the Kimera Studios homepage from archive.org, we learn even more about the game and what happened in the end:

“This was our first project together. Developed on the Commodore Amiga, we worked on the project for almost six years, but only in our spare time – work and education took up lot of our time. We also learned a lot of things the hard way, this being our first game.

The game was playable and a lot of fun to us, but newcomers found it unreasonably hard – not so strange as Rick Dangerous, and Ghost n Goblins were among the inspirational games for it. In retrospect games in the good old days games were really hard! In 1995 we decided to stop development and used it as portfolio material. It eventually helped two of us to get our first job in the game industry in Funcom, Oslo.”

Of course, by 1995 the Amiga market was also in sharp decline. Had development been full time, this could well have seen release and it is a huge shame, as it looks like a lot of fun!

However, although the game was never finished – it was their starting point to get into the industry, and according to Dennis – there were talks to try and perhaps get the game finished as a remake back in 2007, but there wasn’t any time and it seems that idea has now completely faded away.

The question is whether anything of the game could be saved and shown. We hope to get in touch with those involved very soon and save something of this promising game. Just how far had it got overall? Was it almost complete?

With huge thanks to Anonymous Contributor for pulling most of these archived links, details and information together and also to archive.org for making it possible to save much of this information. Also to Gzegzolka on EAB for saving some other screenshots too.

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