Jon Wells is probably one of the most talented but unfortunate C64 programmers towards the end of the C64’s life. Ultimately, Jon is a great programmer, but sadly his time on the scene came as the C64 started to die out commercially.
Breakthrough is one of Jon’s many titles which he was working on to try and save the games scene back in 1993-1996. Infact, Jon refuses to allow his games to die, even today and therefore this is why many titles by Jon are not in GTW (Which is a regular question i’m asked by others on the scene). Jon insists that one day all his titles will be finished at some point.
So why include Breakthrough?… Well, this is the first version which Jon created back in 1993, and was put on Commodore Format’s Power Pack. Jon later scrapped this and tarted up the game considerably, and later more impressive shots were seen in later issues of Commodore Format.
What makes Breakthrough particularly special is the fact that its a SEUCK game. A SIDEWAYS scrolling SEUCK game, and one that doesn’t require you turning your TV on its side (Ala. (c) Shaun Pearson :) ). No, Jon hacked the SEUCK code and managed to make it go sideways instead, adding a new dimension to SEUCK titles and new possibilities. Well, if I hadn’t had told you this fact, you may have played this preview and not believed for a second it was a SEUCK.
This worked by Jon building the maps in the same way as a Vertical SEUCK map, but with a screen at a time built for each screen of each level. So in effect it was like having a series of still screens. These still screens all bolted together from left to right, and created the sideways scrolling routine for Jon to use.
Breakthrough was certainly just that. Of course, SEUCK is limited with its use of power-ups, but Jon was a master of adding his own coded power-ups, and even added large baddies which exploded together and not in annoying chunks.
The game featured some very good quality graphics, and where colour was a limitation, Jon just swapped in new colours at intervals. If completed, it would have been a good SEU. The game also featured some stunning music by Feekzoid, which I assume will still be used in the updated version. Sound effects are typical SEUCK based effects.
I can only assume that this version was scrapped, as Jon was not happy with it. I’m not sure, but there were rumors that a new version was being done without SEUCK. Jon confirmed that it was always going to be a SEUCK effort.
Around 2008, Jon Wells released Sideways SEUCK which had some bits from Breakthrough previously unseen which was released as a demonstration of the tool. This we have added along with a screenshot.
Jon confirmed around 2008 that this game was scrapped and will never be completed. We had hoped that we would be able to bring bring you the later version of the game which was screen shotted in Commodore Format in about 1994-95 (See gallery). This was still within the SEUCK engine. The later screenshot looked a heck of a lot better, and also featuring what looked to be weapon power ups. Very nice. However, Jon confirmed that this was merely a mock up screenshot produced for Commodore Format, with new graphics done by Mike Arrowsmith. When Mike had to finish for his University studies, the game was abandoned and the mock up graphics never used.
And so that was it… unless the mockup graphics some day show up to add to the archive – this is very much a case closed!
Contributions: Jon Wells, Gamebase64 for the file, Vinny Mainolfi for the rare scan shot
14/10/13 – Jon Wells confirms that the later CF screenshot was merely a graphical mockup done by Mike Arrowsmith.