Cart: The Sacred Armour Of Antiriad Cab: C64 / Spectrum / CPC / DOS Coin: Palace Software
I remember about as much from my C64 days as I do my time at junior school: jack shit.
Don’t get me wrong: I recall both with a great amount of fondness, but specific events and faces are pretty thin on the ground. Of the few games that do still shine through the mists of time, few shine brigher that Palace Software’s Sacred Armour Of Antiriad.
A notable and leftfield developer for its time, Palace produced a string of outstanding games throughout the 80’s, including the iconic Barbarian and the deviously charming Cauldron series’. Nestled in between these titles was Antiriad: one of the first truly convincing post-apocalyptic visions of the future to be seen in a game.
As was the case for the time, Antiriad was in essence a challenging, pixel-perfect platformer that is as punishing now as it was then. It’s a wonder that my generation of gamers didn’t give up in the 80’s given how insanely hard the average game was – with Antiriad seeming harder than most. Making it past the first few screens was a challenge, with the release of the complete map in the magazines of the day merely fuelling the sense of foreboding and challenge.
There’s a RED zone?!
I never managed to complete Antiriad – never managed to make it to the tantalising chamber at the top of the map – but that never stopped me from plugging away, with the thrill of reaching a new screen being as sweet as the immediate defeat that followed was bitter. It’s a harsh juxtaposition of emotions that few games today dare to strive for, save for the likes of Demons’ Souls. Given the success of From Software’s finest, I’d say it’s territory we need to venture back into.
Oh, and it’s probably the first and last game that I’ve ever bought based purely on the fact that the cover was super cool.