Review by PressPlyOnTape
You could be forgiven for thinking that RGCD’s C64anabalt originated on the Commodore 64 before being converted to a multitude of modern day platforms. With its 8-bit style graphics and simplistic yet addictive gameplay this Indie title looks born of the 8-bit era. However, in an interesting twist of fate the award winning runner started life as an open source flash game created by Adam Saltsman before making its way on to other systems and finally landing on the humble C64 in 2011 when Paul Koller converted the game for RGCD’s C64 16KB Cartridge Game Development Competition.
For the uninitiated, C64anabalt is a 2D side scrolling endless runner with the aim of the game to simply stay alive for as long as possible. Set in what appears to be a post apocalyptic world the main character begins the game by quite spectacularly smashing out of the side of a skyscraper before beginning a rooftop to rooftop escape. Using only one button, the gameplay is simple yet infuriatingly moreish: as the main character runs for his life, press fire to jump from one rooftop to the next timing each jump so as not to crash into the side of a building or overrun your landing and miss the next jump. Add into the mix windows to smash through, crates to trip over and the fact that your player gradually and continually speeds up his run and you have a game that is deceptively addictive and will keep you coming back for more.
The original Canabalt has been a massive success on modern platforms – especially mobile devices, it’s easy pick up and play style and addictive “just one more go” gameplay lends itself perfectly to gaming on the go. However seeing a game that originally required a 2.3 Ghz processor and at least 128MB Ram to run translated so effortlessly to a system that has only 64K of RAM and running at a little over 1Mhz is an incredible feat of programming. The graphics have translated perfectly across to the C64 and special mention must go to Mikkel Hastrup who has done a simply amazing job of creating SID versions of the original music.
C64anabalt is a stunning achievement and shows that not only is the C64 still capable of providing exciting and addictive gameplay experiences but also that a game created in 2011 yet featuring graphics and gameplay mechanics from a so called bygone era can still be hugely relevant today.
Available from RGCD’s website as a free tape or disk image to use with your favourite emulator, the purists among you can also purchase a cartridge version for use with an actual C64.