Creatures, Commodore 64

Also known as “Clive Radcliffe Exterminates All The Unfriendly Repulsive Earth-ridden Slime“, Creatures is a beautifully-realised platform/puzzle game with colourful graphics and challenging gameplay.

The game was programmed by John Rowlands, with graphics by Steve Rowlands, and was published by Thalamus in 1990.

There are three different levels, each with three different stages. The first two stages are side-scrolling platform games, where Clyde must kill or avoid hostiles and also collect a certain number of creatures to buy magic potions at the end. These magic potions increase Clyde’s defensive and offensive capabilities if you can bag them.

In these platforming levels Clyde can jump (obviously), and he can also shoot small bullets when you press fire. These drop as they fly horizontally, due to gravity, so you have to fire them carefully for them to find their target. Clyde can also breathe a useful and more powerful jet of fire – if you hold down fire to charge it up, before letting go – and this must be used to get by certain enemies. Clyde can’t move while he’s charging his fire breath, though, but he can still jump. Cue: lots of tricky sections where you’re having to time your jumps, while charging the fire, to get rid of a barrier that is continually shooting at you…

The final stage of each level is a static screen ‘Torture Room’ where Clyde must save one of his friends from the hands of some dastardly demon or other. These torture rooms are very funny and also very difficult at the same time. You’ll see what I mean when you get there. There is little to no margin for error.

Presentation throughout Creatures is top class, and the feel of Clyde is spot on.

If there are any niggles, it’s that you can’t scroll backwards on a level once you’ve gone forwards (something that always pisses me off in side-scrolling platform games), and also that Creatures is pretty unforgiving overall. So expect some frustration.

Creatures was a critical and commercial success back in 1990 and is well-remembered to this day. For good reason. There was also a sequel, called Creatures II: Torture Trouble, which came out in 1992.

More: Creatures on Wikipedia

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