Our next title is another title developed by Duncan Kershaw back around 1990 with his Reflective Designs company. As with Harrier Strike, the game seems to be based on the same engine as Steel Eagle. Duncan says that the game was lined up as a sequel directly to Steel Eagle.
Deep Star’s game engine features some enhancements and looks very polished overall. The parallax effects in particular are very nice. The game comes with a shop, just like Harrier Strike and Steel Eagle. But also the game comes with some thumping music by Mark Wilson. The music originally was thought to have been previously unheard, but it turns out the author of GTW cannot browse HVSC very well, and the tunes were already in HVSC since 1998 (ripped way back in 1997). Thanks to Ian Coog for confirming this!. The game had 3 levels (not 2 – thanks Dink!) in total produced with mid-level guardians to try and destroy.
The game was being written for Players, but sadly at this time people were starting to get bored of space shooters and as a result it was decided not to release the game. It was again offered to Julian Jones for his Fun Factory label in 1992 (which you can see from the letter to Julian). Fun Factory never quite got to release any C64 games though and Deep Star was laid to rest.
It’s a shame that no-one picked up the game to release, or even a magazine cover could feature the game – as it has meant rotting away on a disk for about 23 years. Until now that is – we are very proud to present the game for the first time thanks to Duncan going through his work disks. A huge thank you as well to Vinny Mainolfi who helped to turn off the originally defaulted cheat mode and getting the game to start from the title screen (which was hidden from the frozen preview due to the cheat).
iAN CooG has also kindly provided GTW with a SID rip of all the tunes from the game, and which you can grab from the downloads area.
Although it was thought to be a preview – it does seem that the game is in fact complete – with a game ending screen in place. Some of Duncan’s games were particularly short, and this was no different.
You can now see for yourself what could have been yet another Players title by Reflective Designs.
Contributions: Vinny Mainolfi, Duncan Kershaw, iAN CooG, Dink
Duncan Kershaw talks about Deep Star:
“I’d forgotten that Mark did the music, some nice tunes in there. Shame I didn’t write that game earlier in the C64 life cycle. By the time it got finished everyone was bored of space shooters. Feel free to release the code. See if you can spot my reuse of other game graphics…
This DEEP STAR build was used to sell the concept. Believe it or not, I still have the cover letter I put together to send with it (see downloads) – After Interceptor went pop, I was contacted by one of the old MD’s asking for submissions… I don’t think he ever got this new company of the ground.”
16/12/13 – Ian Coog confirms that the tunes were already ripped in HVSC. Still not sure how I missed this… :-/