Steve Bak‘s insane-but-fun platform game, Hercules, was first released on the Commodore 64 by Interdisc in 1984.
By “insane” I mean: the game is deliberately deceptive to the point of driving the player to insanity! 🙂
The whole concept of leaping from platform to platform in Hercules is turned on its head by what I can only describe as “dirty tricks”. That is: traps set up by the designers, to make your life hell, as you play a level. Step onto the wrong platform: you’re toast. Jump onto the wrong rope: it’ll disappear. There are also plenty of occasions in the game where you have to make a ‘leap of faith’ jump into empty space, in the hope that a platform will appear. Sometimes it does, and the route to the exit opens. Oftentimes you’ll end up in the flames at the bottom of the screen though.
Hercules is known as a classic – even though it does have appallingly basic and garish graphics – because the gameplay is so difficult as to be satirical. Death is often swift, frequent and hilarious, but the game has been designed to be quickly replayable. And there’s a random element to level selection, so playing any one of the 50 levels over and over doesn’t get boring too quickly.
To complete Hercules would take a Herculean effort, in terms of memory, skill and reflexes. Are you up to the challenge? I know I’m not, but I do enjoy playing Hercules, just for fun.
A sequel, called Gods and Heroes, was released by the same author in 1987.
More: Hercules on Wikipedia