The Ravaging

1999-2000 Pukka Games

Platform: PC

The Ravaging was a 3rd person action adventure PC game that was being developed by Pukka Games between around 1999-2000, where you controlled an angel from hell. According to “10ahu” from this old Assembler Games thread (who we assumed worked on the game), it was an action title which was worked on by a tiny studio of great people.

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10ahu had found the demo rotting away on a CD from back in the day, which had other assets and video files that sadly got corrupted. The part of the disk with the demo was fortunately still working though. Within the demo folder were also a series of development notes about how to run and control the game.

Everything was first highlighted to us by LiqMat(rix), who had got a copy of the demo from the old thread. He had managed to get the demo working on modern hardware and offered to share a video he was producing to showcase how the game looked.

LiqMat(rix) found that there were three working test levels in total, one with working AI baddies and plus quite a bit of notes from the developer in a text file format, which explained aspects of the game’s development. The build is very early and rough, so it is very likely that later versions could be out there to still find.

As for the game itself, an archived version of the Pukka Games website had the following to say about the game and revealed more of its story:

“The Ravaging is a tactical/action 3D game set on the planes of Hades, an enormous hierarchical structure ruled over by the Angel of the Abyss, Satan. The planes are divided into sections, called Sub-Planes, containing a horrendous assortment of demons, puzzles and traps, all of which stand in your way.

As a newly qualified Demon Lord, your natural desire is to slash, burn, maim and deceive your way to the top, where on, completion of the game, you take Satan’s place on the ice-cold ebony altar of pain which is his throne.

To progress through the game you make challenges on the rulers of Sub-planes. If you are successful your Status will rise and you will gain in ‘experience’ which may be ‘spent’ on improving your abilities or that of your horde. You will also earn the right to demand demons from the loser to add to your own horde. Magic skills can be improved through learning, discovering or stealing artefacts.

In this way as you progress through The Ravaging your magic powers and legion will grow ever stronger. However, thousands of Pit hounds and the ability to summon Demogorgon, the Lord of Chaos, do not a successful challenger make. All of The Ravaging’s characters are endowed with enough intelligence to make life very difficult indeed.

Sneaky, tactically devious and incapable of mercy, the inhabitants of Hades have more than one way to fry an upstart baron. It is up to you to find their weaknesses, the one chink in their leathery hides that renders them vulnerable. (If a 110 foot, psychopathic lava-god could ever be considered vulnerable.)”

According to Clive Townsend, it was revealed that once The Ravaging was complete, the same engine would be used to make a Saboteur 3. He revealed that The Ravaging was canned after their prospective publisher Telstar closed down and the deal fell through.

We have added the demo here for download, and also included all of LiqMat(rix)’s instructions on how to get running on Windows 10. If you don’t fancy that, then check out the high quality video on our Youtube channel.

Clive later shared more about the development with GTW:

“Pukka Games was initially set up by two brothers, Anatole and Damon Branch. I’d worked with Anatole in London, and we’d come to an arrangement… I’d work on a 1-level demo of Saboteur 3, and they’d work on a demo of The Ravaging. Whichever game found a publisher first would be made by the three of us, and we’d do the other after.

I wrote my 3D engine entirely in software, as graphics cards were rare in those days. Damon created a super-fast engine using graphics cards, and Telstar signed up the project. We lived in Birmingham, Exeter, and London at the time, so set up Pukka in Somerset – roughly in the middle.

This was 1998 (last millennium!), so we didn’t have Unreal or Unity – we had to create the whole 3D engine ourselves. Damon worked on the rendering engine and I worked on the world structure. Anatole and others modeled and painted the artwork – hard work when the early graphics cards could only handle tiny low-res textures, and few polygons.

I created a system for the enemies to explore the map and learn optimum routes. We’d set them running (often literally) overnight, and return in the morning to find out how intelligent they’d become. When Telstar closed their games division, we re-used the engine for a Warhammer 4000 license which looked amazing. And this was still in the 90s! That game also fell through, but that’s another story.

It’s a shame that the game was never finished. Anatole’s twisted mind created so many wonderful creatures. But the plot and details are still unique today, so maybe one day…”

Sadly Clive confirmed that he no longer had anything of the game, just a few screenshots and some old VHS tape that he may look to convert in the future. However, after looking at the video of the game running – he suggests that this could well have been close to (if not) the final build before cancellation.

In the meantime, LiqMat(rix) also found that one of the artists (Anatole Branch) uploaded some videos showing modern versions of the dragon and gorilla characters from the game:

With a huge thanks to LiqMat(rix) for putting together the video and detailed instructions for getting demo and highlighting details about the game and Clive Townsend for his input.

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