Dreadnought was a multi-scrolling shooter being developed by Icon Design back in late 1988. The game was coded by none other than John Buckley of Solar Jetman fame.
The aim of the game was to control a fleet of ships which would be used to protect a large scaled dreadnought ship from incoming attackers. You would use a scanner to detect where enemies were coming from and then defend that part of the ship. Any damage gained would need repairing by landing on the ship’s runway.
According to John, the game was actually finished as far as he remembers. At the time though APS had a lot of programs cancelled. Additionally, Jason Brooke was put in to do the music and sound effects, and eventually his music was found around 2012 time. In 2023, Jason confirmed that this was his music and that it was indeed for this very game.
The first tune is said to be from a high score area, the second being a game over tune – and the next two tunes being for within the main game itself (likely title screen + in-game).
Although Argus Press were thought to be the publishers, we believe it was actually Melbourne House – who advertised the game very briefly. The advert scan we have added is from Issue 8 of ACE magazine from May 1988.
An actual preview of the game was thankfully leaked out, and shows most of the titling and one of the levels. We’re not sure if there are more levels tucked away, but the game very much seems like a quick budget blaster that was being done. The graphics look quite nice, though the game itself isn’t too spectacular.
Unfortunately the scanner feature actually crashes the game, so it suggests that this preview still had some way to go. According to the crack, the game was to be released shortly.
John no longer has any of his disks, so it may be down to finding one of the graphic artists and seeing if they kept anything from back then.
Plenty more research and finding to do! But for now, check out the preview!
Contributions: John Buckley, Ste Cork
John Buckley speaks to GTW64 about Dreadnought:
“Yep I did Dreadnought. I think it was for Argus Press. It was all finished as I remember but APS had issues at the time and a lot of their projects got cancelled. Jason may of been penned in for the music but I cant remember. Someone called Stuart did the graphics but I cant remember his last name but he was a friend of Ste Cork who you may know.”
Jason Brooke speaks with C64.com about Dreadnought:
“Meanwhile, David Whittaker was rather busy! He wanted me to join him. Eventually, when he offered me a joint directorship in Musicon, I handed in my notice. I teamed up with him in November 1987. Loads of companies were ringing us up urgently needing music for their games. We never saw the games but were given a brief description and a couple of days to complete each task. Outrun and Pac-Land spring to mind because I liked the music I had to convert from the arcade versions.
They used to send audio tapes. I had to listen to them and reproduce them for the less capable sound chips of the home computers. As for original pieces, I remember writing Vixen for Martech. We also took on Icon Design’s in-house work which included a game called Dreadnaught. I remember playing that one through Dave’s huge loud speakers. Basslines on the C64 always sounded so much better through big speakers! I loved some of the thick sounds you could achieve on the C64.”
08/02/2023 – Jason Brooke confirms that it was his music, and it was intended for this game.