Poltergeist V1


Status: Preview, Findability: 2/5


Our next entry is for a title that has been out there for some time, but we’re not 100% certain how genuine it is. This is for what may have been an earlier edition of Codemasters’ Poltergeist.

You may recall that the released game was a bi-directional scrolling shooter, with a Nemesis-style weapons system, but eagle-eyed viewers would have spotted that the cover didn’t really depict what the game was actually like.

On the cover was a main protagonist with a Star Wars light-sabre, looking like a character out of Ghostbusters. Perhaps that was the original intention for the game?

This crack which was released by The Darkness and Genesis Project in 1988 is basically Poltergeist, but has a completely different main sprite, enemy sprites and status sprites. The main character is no-longer a ship, but instead a wizard like character with some kind of light-sabre. The first level is different as well. The weapon panel is also changed to letters, spelling out “DARKNESS” and has all the credits removed.

The character being somewhat closer to the cover has given a suggestion that this could have been the game’s original incarnation before Gavin Raeburn turned it into a space shooter – though i’m not fully convinced at this stage.

I feel that there is real potential that the game had very different plans for it originally, but this particular crack is just a version of the game which has been hacked to bits. When you look through the code, you can still see references to “Ships left” in the text, which would have surely been “Persons left” or similar.

Hopefully we’ll get hold of Gavin himself to confirm at some point soon – but for now, check out the title for yourself and see what you think.

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