Category Archives: Durell Software

Thanatos, ZX Spectrum

Thanatos is an unusual side-scrolling action game designed by Mike Richardson and programmed by Rod Barrington for Durell Software in 1986.

The game is unusual because you play as a dragon… Yes, that’s right: a dragon! And not any old dragon, but as “Thanatos the Destroyer” – a fire-breathing behemoth with a heart.

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Saboteur II: Avenging Angel, ZX Spectrum

This 1987 sequel to the pioneering Saboteur is so much bigger in scope than its predecessor, but retains much of what made it good in the first place.

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Saboteur, ZX Spectrum

Written by Clive Townsend and published by Durell Software in 1985, Saboteur is a stealth action platform game that was something of a hit with ZX Spectrum users back in the day.

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Scuba Dive, Commodore 64

Scuba Dive on the Commodore 64 must rate as one of the worst conversions of all time.

The ZX Spectrum original is an enjoyable and playable classic.

This version is a joke… The first area is just a single screen (unlike the original, where the surface was explorable over a number of screens). The sea creatures are blocky and look ridiculous. The graphics overall are pathetic (especially the scrolling, which makes the side panel judder when exploring the undersea caves), and the gameplay is a pale imitation of the imperious Spectrum version.

Whoever made this version of Scuba Dive for Durrell Software did a terrible job, quite frankly. It should have been much, much better.

Scuba Dive, ZX Spectrum

Scuba Dive (Durell Software, 1983) features such a simple game idea, but one that works exceptionally well on the ZX Spectrum.

Diving deep down, past guardian octopus, and into a complex series of underwater caves looking for treasure… It’s tense stuff, as you swim as quickly as possible on the lookout for pearls, treasure chests, and air refill stations.

Bang your head on a rock and you lose what you’re carrying. And to score points you have to return your plunder to the boat floating on the surface. It’s a tall order, but Scuba Dive is very playable, so it’s fun at least trying.

Level 1 is the easiest level, with fewer sharks and predatory fish (touch one and you’re dead), and Level 4 is so insanely jam packed with deadly creatures that there’s a question over whether it’s possible to progress at all.

Scuba Dive is a must-play Speccy classic. Forget the Commodore 64 version – it’s absolutely terrible. ZX Spectrum Scuba Dive is the one to play.

Fat Worm Blows A Sparky, ZX Spectrum

Quite possibly the maddest (and best) video game title of all time, Fat Worm Blows A Sparky was a critical hit back in 1986 when it was first released.

The brainchild of programmer Julian Todd, Fat Worm Blows A Sparky is an overhead, 3D maze game where you control a worm-like creature that moves across the surface of a circuit board of a ZX Spectrum. You have to collect 50 Spindles that are hidden about the landscape, before making your way to the disk drive in the centre of the maze to clone yourself.

If that sounds weird: playing it is even weirder. Fat Worm Blows A Sparky has to be one of the weirdest games of all time. But also very playable and fun. This is what great gaming is all about!

Fat Worm Blows A Sparky is an all time ZX Spectrum classic – never to be forgotten. And is fun to grab. So, go find it. And give it a try.