Force of Four was a cheeky Gauntlet clone which was being coded by Wayne Beckett for Alternative Software (Who also produced Space Rider).
GTW found out about the game thanks to Craig Kelsall who saw the title being developed whilst working on an earlier version of Future Bike for Alternative (Which later got completed at Hi-Tec, probably due to Dave Palmer moving and setting up that company).
However, although the game was coming on well, it never surfaced. We’re not entirely sure at this early stage why – possibly it was for the simple fact that it was a Gauntlet clone, but also could have been that Wayne was pulled onto another project when he later did work for Hi-Tec software. As far as we know, there was no Spectrum/Amstrad versions and various sites seem to indicate that nothing existed at all. It could have been a C64 specific development though.
Wayne confirms that the game was never completed – he recalls spending far too long on the coding and wanting to make something far better than the C64 Gauntlet game at the time. He had developed a time sharing system for unlimited enemies, so they could move.
Sadly it is reported that Codemasters took the idea after the designers explained the idea to them, and it was subsequently used in Ninja Massacre. It could be argued the idea was already borrowed from Gauntlet itself, but still…
After not making a huge amount of money already from Space Rider, Wayne decided that games was not the place for him, so he abandoned gaming and went to work at Datel Electronics. Sadly Force of Four was lost over the years, so we may never see the game in the flesh sadly!
In 2021, Jarrod Bentley kindly dug out a screenshot of the abandoned ZX Spectrum edition. It’s likely the C64 version would have looked very similar to this.
Case almost closed!
Contributions: Craig Kelsall, Wayne Beckett, Jarrod Bentley