Electronic Zoo never produced much decent stuff on the C64, but that was to change with the stunning ‘Orcus’.
A sideways scrolling shoot-em up which featured a shop with 29 (!) different add-ons on offer. Haydn Dalton informed GTW that the game also featured over 5,000 sprites altogether and many levels of awesome graphics.
JCH supplied the music, an incredible array of tunes, some of which sound almost human like. Luckily these slipped into HVSC, and are available from here to listen to in a suitable SID player.
So basically the game featured the full works and playability to kick Armalyte’s butt, and judging by the preview, it had it in it to do so.
Mike Ager contacted GTW and told us that the game was never completed due to him, Haydn and JCH not being paid, and the tight deadlines included.
In the meantime, Jazzcat has uncovered a very rare and much more advanced preview of level one. Infact, level one is stated to be 90% complete in this DCS crack (See a pattern here?). This is a superb look at the game, which gives a much better indication of how it was shaping up. There are colour splits, sfx, more enemies and sophisticated attack patterns. Check it out!
Interestingly enough, all the previews we have were cracked by Donut Cracking Service. It seems that Haydn passed on previews to a guy called Micheal (Mik) Bailey, who MAY have more of the game. Haydn believes he passed a much fuller version onto him… so could there be a more complete DCS crack out there?
Hopefully soon we will be able to bring you ORCUS in its final state, which many C64 users have been wanting to get hold of for years. For now, you can play some early previews of the game, with some basic attack forms and early previews of the main game’s shop.
As an additional bonus, Jazzcat has uncovered some rare music and SFX demos done by JCH. Although the music is already in HVSC, the SFX is not!… and there is a bundle of SFX which has not been used in the game and are quite unheard of. This includes a very cool GET READY and GAME OVER set of effects which sound like speech, but have been cleverly generated using the 3 SID voices. Enjoy!
Unfortunately Mike Ager has never responded to any of our messages regarding the game, so we are left to just leave this message to Mike (in case he ever comes across these pages):
“Dear Mike – it would be an honour to preserve your work as part of our preserving our UK games history. Already we have gone to great lengths to try and preserve your work, by recovering all of the demos of Orcus and the graphical assets for Mega Twins – but we’ve hit a point where we have found as much as we possibly can.
Unfortunately many games are being lost all the time, due to there being no concern over this aspect of history in comparison to the film and music industry – and all of what we do now to preserve the history of gaming is in our limited spare time. Already we’ve started having trouble preserving particular tapes or disks as they start to decay, so try as much as we can to ensure as much of our gaming history will be available to future generations.
We can’t save everything, but your C64 work is highly regarded by many and it would be brilliant to see what remains of Orcus and Mega Twins that you were developing at the time – maybe even see them finished off! Certainly what with the Amstrad and Spectrum Mega Twins being recovered in recent years, it seems a shame the C64 version can’t be found as well, especially before the media it sits on deteriorates for good.”
Will the game ever be fully recovered?
Contributions: Mike Ager, Phil Davis, Jazzcat, Kenz, GRG