Status: Preview, Findability: 4/5

Our next game comes in the form of the unfinished Jailbreak by Michael J L(Wanderer), a programmer for the C64 under groups such as Rampar and The Survivors.

The idea as the name suggests was to break out of prison over several stages of varying gameplay. Set in the future, the first part of the game has you running down corridors and shooting guards. The second part has you running to escape in a ship, where guards and helicopters attempt to stop you. The
final part took place in space, with your ship at the bottom of the screen and a alien ship at the top. You had to shoot pieces out of the barrier until there was enough room to get a shot at the ship.
The final level (the best part according to Michael) is currently unknown about, but sadly the source code was corrupted and lost… So the game preview currently ends abruptly.

It is for this reason that we add Jailbreak into the archives. Had the final level not corrupted, Jailbreak would have been offered to publishers. Instead a cracking group got hold of the game and sent it out everywhere, busting chances of this game ever being finished off and released properly. It is not the best game in the world, but a playable effort from Wanderer, and one which would have been a nice title to play. The preview requires some bug fixes, but you can see the potential in the game.

Apparently according to Michael, there is another version which has improved graphics by someone called "Fred", which we hope to find one day and release to the world. It is unsure if anything can be salvaged from the corrupted source code… it is always possible, and we may explore this route to restoring this
game to its full glory, for people to enjoy as Michael intended.

Check out the Creator Speaks with Michael to get the full details and story of this game. In the meantime, also check out the download and see a piece of history yet again. We hope to find out more very soon…..

More soon we hope!…

Contributions: Michael J L

Supporting content

Available downloads

Creator speaks

Michael J L speaks about work on Jailbreak...

"Here's a long lost game that was never finished. Written by myself (Wanderer). I was a programmer for the C64 under groups like Rampar and The Survivors. I live in Canada, this game was released without copyright, via BBS to North America. It was never finished and never really made it anywhere.

As a coder on the C64 I have always been fascinated with how other people's games worked. There were so many games that were entertaining and challenging that you wouldn't want to put down the joystick.

When I tried to write games, they weren't challenging to me because I knew how the code worked and how the enemies would respond. I always wondered if other coders were able to make games that they could play and be challenged. I'm sure whoever wrote Zaxxon was able to sit down and play his own game for hours. This is what I wanted to achieve.

Jailbreak was my attempt to write a real playable game on the C64 that would be a challenge to play, even for the programmer who made it. My intention was to see if some of the smaller software companies might pick it up. Seeing some of the low quality games that had been released and sold, I felt that my best effort would certainly be marketable.

The credits indicate a person named Fred designed the graphics. However I can now say, years later, that he was responsible for the marketable version only. The version that was released actually used character sets that I designed and the sprites were taken from various games and modified. The final version with Fred's improved graphics never did see the light of day.

The premise of the game was that you were breaking out of a jail set in the future. The first part of the game had you running down corridors and shooting guards. You will note that there is graffiti on the wall of the prison. It reads "RFO." This stood for Rage For Order which was an American import group that I was a member of at the time. The second part of the game had you running to your escape ship. Guards and helicopters would attempt to stop you. This part was seemingly playable even for me.

The last part took place in space. Your ship was at the bottom of the screen and an alien ship was at the top of the screen. The ship at the top was the entire length of the screen and moved left and right. A revolving barrier went around the ship. You had to shoot out pieces of the barrier until there was
enough room to get a shot at the ship. Of course this wasn't easy. The ship would be firing up on you. The most challenging part of this game was trying to convert your missile sprite position into screen coordinates to remove the portion of the ship's barrier that you hit. The top ship was entirely character
based, not sprite based.

The final level was the best part of the game. Sadly, one day I went to finish that level of the game and the source code was garbled. Every now and again while coding, I'd load up source code only to find that it had been corrupted. I believe this was as a result of numerous "save and replace" operations on
the disk and not validating the disk afterwards. For this reason the game abruptly ends with a message saying that there is no final level.

If the final level had not been destroyed, the game would have had the graphics revised and shopped to various software shops. I decided to release the game as it was, incomplete, to the public. It was uploaded to all of the major bulletin board systems (BBS's) as you see it.

A group chose to take my game and level pack it. Where the game used to show a black screen and load the next level (which was already packed) it now shows an ugly border flashing and the de-pack text on the screen. I found this to disrupt the game play. There was no need to level pack a game that was packed already. They claimed to have "cracked, trained and level packed" the game. The game was not protected, already cracked and if I'd felt it warranted a trainer I would have included one. By this time though many groups were hungry for releases and even other scene-programmers games were not above being

Another group, whose name eludes me released a one file version of the game which I felt was pretty cool. Jailbreak would have been a nice little game if the last level hadn't corrupted. And as such it remains a game that wasn't."

Michael J L.

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