Category Archives: Palace Software

Cauldron, Commodore 64

Palace Software‘s 1985 release Cauldron is one of those game that looks great, but is so difficult that it is not much fun to play overall.

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Voodoo Nightmare, Atari ST

Created by Zippo Games and published by Palace Software in 1990, Voodoo Nightmare is an original and fun isometric action adventure with a pleasing mix of overworld exploration and dungeon-crawling.

You control – I don’t know what it is – a bizarre character called Boots Barker, who kind of looks like a cross between an iced lolly and bottle-opener. Is he meant to be a voodoo doll? Or a fetish? Even the manual offers no explanation as to what Boots Barker actually is, but I guess it’s not really that important… He is one of the weirdest game characters I’ve ever seen though.

The aim of the game is to explore the jungle; find and solve puzzles; and also find and complete dungeons as you encounter them. The first dungeon – The Spider Temple – is a fairly simple collect-the-gems-style maze game. When you collect them all you appease the spider boss and are returned to the overworld to continue your exploration, and onto the next dungeon. So no boss fight. At least initially.

Graphically, Voodoo Nightmare is colourful and well-drawn and even has night and day periods. The enemies are a bit skittish (ie. ridiculously fast-moving and unpredictable), but are easily dealt with by either jumping on them or throwing knives at them. They also disappear at night, which is strange!

Some of the mazes in the game are quite complex, so play can get a little frustrating at times (just trying to find your way around), but solutions to puzzles do click into place if you invest enough time into exploring. Is it worth the time? I would say it is. Voodoo Nightmare is a hidden gem on the Atari ST.

More: Voodoo Nightmare on

Cauldron II: The Pumpkin Strikes Back, Commodore 64

The sequel to Cauldron, Cauldron II: The Pumpkin Strikes Back was a brilliant ‘curveball’ from Palace Software, back in 1986, and is still a great game to play now.

Whereas the first Cauldron game put you in control of a witch who was searching for the ingredients of a potion to defeat the evil “Pumpking”, Cauldron II puts you in control of a bouncing pumpkin survivor of the Pumpking’s defeat, and whose aim to defeat the witch who deposed him. The game takes place in the witch’s castle and hidden around the various different rooms are items that enhance the pumpkin’s defensive and offensive capabilities.

Cauldron II: The Pumpkin Strikes Back is known for its high level of difficulty, but the key to survival is in finding those defensive items as soon as possible. When you start the game you can begin in any number of different places, so having a map to hand might help you quickly orient yourself.

Cauldron II is a Commodore 64 classic from British software house Palace Software.

More: Cauldron II on Wikipedia



The Sacred Armour of Antiriad, Commodore 64

Released by Palace Software in 1986, The Sacred Armour of Antiriad (known as “Rad Warrior” in North America), is an action platform game featuring a half naked hero, called Tal, who must find a set of armour (called “Antiriad”), wear it, and go off on an adventure looking for trouble.

The world Tal explores is full of hostile creatures, so to defend himself he can either throw rocks at them (when naked), or shoot them, when in the armour. Although the pulsar beam module must be located first before the suit can shoot.

The Sacred Armour of Antiriad is one of the first ever “Metroidvania” type games released. It was developed and released at the same time as Nintendo‘s Metroid, although the developers of both games had no knowledge of each other’s existence – the similarities between the games are a coincidence.