Right, just to start but the System 3 link isn’t quite true, and we think this was based on the developers who were enthusiastically trying to produce games on the C64 and may have used the name in the hope that System 3 would be interested in publishing the game. The game was never meant for commercial release, though Maham confirms that it was released around March 1995 in some Iranian computer stores.
The game seems to be borrowing rather heavily from Last Ninja 3 and replaces some of the maps with a few tweaks, the main ninja with a brown beast and keep the same LN3 characters as the enemies, what we have is Beauty And The Beast.
Additionally the preview disk consists of an introduction and outro which features various graphics and music taken from other previously released sources, such as Wrath Of The Demon, Myth and even Arnie makes an appearance. Music, although credited unofficially to Reyn Ouwehand, actually consists of music from Tusker (Matt Gray), Shadow Of The Beast (Moppe) and various other tunes.
All in all, this basically looks like a hack, which pretty good bad considering it borrows from various sources. Maybe this demonstrates a possible use for the Last Ninja engine. There are quite a few levels to play, which differ slightly from LN3 and features some new enemies, such as guard dogs. This is pretty much as far as the game got.
Reza Shamsian got in touch around 2005 time and mentioned that the game was produced in 1995 when the guys were all around 16. This was whilst living in a country where you could not breathe freely and there were many constraints. The game was produced for the love of the C64 and because the machine gave them a lot of joy. The game was pieced together through various sources and learning assembly from a half translated book with many mistakes.
As a result the developers were afraid to introduce themselves to the world of full C64 development in fear of being mocked. It is a huge shame that the game never got quite finished, though unfortunately there would have likely been trouble with the game borrowing so much from the Ninja Series. Still, its nice to see and great that it has been preserved in some way.
In 2012, Maham Samanpajouh got in touch with GTW64 and shared some more background about the game’s development as well as a TAP image of the game with System 3 style loading from Last Ninja 2. Sadly he informed us that Reza had passed away as well.
Please see Creator Speaks for Maham’s notes on the game, and thanks for the extra screenshots which we have also added.
Contributions: Maham Samanpajouh
Maham Samanpajouh talks about work on Beauty and the Beast:
My name is Maham Samanpajouh producer of Beauty and the Beast in 1996 for Commodore 64. Thank you for your review on the GTW64. As the programmer and project director of this game, I have to say; I had only 16 years old when I finished the game. The original game was on Tape, which I do not know if you had it before or not. (I attached it for your reference).
Since I worked hard those days in order to finish the game, I would be glad if you could consider the followings into your review too.
- We used music of different artists, because nobody was expert that time on creating sounds and music for C64. Furthermore, there was not any Software for composing tracks on C64 as well.
- Me and Reza tried so hard to daub lots of the graphics for the game ourselves. I didn’t use the Last Ninja engine at all. I develop a basic compression method instead of Last Ninja Level Mapping Engine and this is the reason we don’t have more than 6-7 screens per level. This is while Last Ninja game normally has more than 20 screens per level.
- I developed the tape loader from scratch. It looks a lot like Last Ninja Cyberload Loaders but it is not. I’m sure Tape experts can proof this is a new loader and identify this as well since it is a new loader.
- The game totally has Developers Introduction, Initial Demo, 3 Different levels (Village, The Wood and The Castle) and a Final Demo. The game end is accessible by normal play.
- There may be many bugs inside the game because this game never tested by other people except us.
- We started to develop an other game named “œMountain Combaters” after Beauty and The Beast but the game never completed because it was too late. Basically, the game was ISOMETRIC like LN series and It was technically more advance than Beauty and The Beast. I manage to use raster techniques a lot and a level graphics engine like LN. Some Screenshots and an Initial Intro is available.
- We never published the game, we did not earn a penny and no one appreciated us for creating such game. Those days are gone now but one thing is still true that we do love C64 forever.
- My final sad words is Reza Shamsian who was my long-term school friend and involved with Storyboard and Graphics of both games is not with us anymore. He passed away 5 years ago because of a sudden Heart Attack when he was only 27. God bless him.
I hope I could give some comments about the only game, which was developed in Iran for Commodore 64 in 1996.
At the end, I appreciate your job done for Commodore 64 preservation. I would be glad if I could help on any part of this legacy project.
24/07/22 – Updated release year and added a note about its commercial release.
The thing I find super impressive about this is the dedication to detail in it – even so far as the cyberload style loader. In 1996-1997, when people weren’t, you know, doing that – the emulator based resurgence hadn’t happened yet, but the death of the market has. In that context, this is absolutely amazing. What’s weird, is I was around and playing games in 1997, and I just never ever heard of this!
What I found the most fascinating is that they did not use the Last Ninja game engine. Instead they made a look alike which is completely different game. I thought someone had just reskinned LN and system 3 were making use of the game engine for another game…what a complete left turn! Made in Iran by C64 fans and game players. Well done guys! Long live the shah!
I do remember Maham and Reza. I was in touch with both of them approximately during 1996 till 2001. I also developed a simple game for C64 which was practically a simple game for practicing some math.
The main development that I did was adding voice to the game in which after passing any level the result of the math question would be said by a simple voice so similar to Mike in windows.
I developed this game in 2001 and I asked Reza to published it for me. however, I got admission at university and never had the chance to follow it.
I am so sad that right now understood that Reza passed away. He was a talented person and good friend. He had a small company for supporting and selling C64 hardware and software from 1998 to 2002 or 2003.
Now, I am living in Finland and I have no access to my C64 archive. However, as soon as I manage a trip to my country I will upload and share my developed game with your archive.
C64 is a lovely home computer that I will never forget.
Bit of a strange one this. But it does show that if you have the understanding and knowledge of a certain game engine, then you can have a play around with almost any part of the game. A good try.