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LOAD "DARKLAND 1 & 2 REVIEW"

Darkland Darkland 2
Classification: Game / SEUCK Game / SEUCK
Publisher: The New Dimension Psytronik
Programmer / Graphics: Alf Yngve / Richard Bayliss Alf Yngve / Richard Bayliss / Martin Piper
Music/Sound: Richard Bayliss
Year: 2014 2023
Rating: ★★☆☆ ★☆☆☆
Disk: Link to itch.io Link to itch.io
Screens: Darkland Splash Screen Darkland 2 Splash Screen
Comet64 Friendly Darkland 1 is compatible with the Comet64. more info...

Let me begin by saying, there are not many SEUCK (Shoot Em Up Construction Kit) games that I enjoy. The major reason for this, is that they typically don't run well (or at all) on my NTSC Commodore. Secondly, games created using the SEUCK all seem to run and perform pretty much the same as one another. That is, they tend to be sluggish and buggy at best. Even when I'm forced to play them using VICE in PAL mode, at some point, the game will crash on me or get the jitters so bad, it can't be played.

Now, with that out of the way, I'll say that when I first found the game Darkland a few years ago, I was pleasantly surprised by it. Although the score banner on the bottom does not show up on the screen, it does play on my NTSC system and seems to be quite stable. It is probably my favorite game created using the SEUCK.

It's a pretty simple game; traverse the dark and treacherous land, blasting away alien invaders. The trick here is the lack of lighting. The land is dark (hence the game's name) and the aliens are dark squid-y sort of things that use the darkness as cover. All you have is your shotgun and a flashlight. Target the alien invaders with your flashlight and blast 'em away before they get close enough the grab you in their tentacles.

I liked the atmosphere Alf created in this game, and the use of eerie sound effects to let you know there's a baddie somewhere in the dark around you was a really nice touch. The game is a fun spooky game to play in a dark, with only the dim glow of your 1702 monitor to light the room. For a SEUCK game, it's as close to fun as I've had with the platform. Surprisingly, Darkland is also playable via my CommodoreServer V-1541 virtual drive account.

Unfortunately, however, I can't say the same for the sequel, Darkland 2.

First of all, this one is unplayable on NTSC; only PAL is welcome here. Why this limitation, since both games are so similar? I have no idea. From what I've seen, there's nothing in Darkland 2 that couldn't be done in Darkland. The major difference that I could see between the two games is, Darkland is horizontal, while Darkland 2 is vertical. And, in my opinion, the horizontal game-play is much more enjoyable than the latter. Darkland 2 just seems much more constrictive, with less space you have to maneuver; not just because of the aspect ratio, but your player is also larger in size.

I also don't get the same creepy feeling playing Darkland 2. The aliens have more detail added to them, and they do have a few attack patterns/strategies to change up the game play a bit. But, for whatever reason, I find the original more entertaining to play.

In Darkland 2, there's a sort of Gauntlet element to the game play, as the larger squid aliens can act like a “base” of sorts, sending out smaller squid-y things out after you until you can take it out. It's a nice touch, but it doesn't make up for what the game lacks over the original.

Conclusion

★★☆☆ - Of the two games, I would easily recommend the original Darkland over the sequel. It's still a SEUCK game, but as limiting as that is, it's the most enjoyable SEUCK I can remember playing.

Darkland (NTSC)
Darkland 2 (PAL)

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reviews/darkland.txt · Last modified: 2023/10/30 12:40 by David