Lunar Lander - Atari's 1979 classic finally given justice on the C64

While everyone is busy playing golf on Jupiter, Mars and Neptune, it's quite easy to forget that we were not always so fortunate, and couldn't always visit the far reaches of the solar system so easily. Back in the 1960s men had to risk their lives to land rudimentary landing craft just to be able to land on the moon and play golf outside of Earth. This game relives those pioneering steps of mankind as you struggle with the forces of gravity, limited fuel and the lethal rocky mountains of the moon just as they did.  Classic Atari arcade game Lunar Lander has some notoriously dodgy ports made for it on the C64, but finally the game has been given the justice it deserves. A really nice attempt, particularly as it's the vary first attempt at programming a C64 game by Michael Cassera of Defiance Studios.

The game begins with a wonderful retro introduction, designed to look like a 1970s green and black screen terminal, even down to the way the text scrolls on the screen to display the game's title. Holt's "Jupiter" then begins playing in that early 80s SID style and you can read the instructions or go straight to the game.   It's easily the most faithful port of the original for the C64 by far.  The vector graphical style of the mountains has been recreated nicely, the ship size is just about right.  And while the gameplay differs slightly in that the ship can only rotate by 45 degrees at a time, but this doesn't detract from the gameplay.  This is just as hard and fun to master as the original.  Also as the game was developed in the USA, NTSC fans will be glad to know the game was developed for NTSC first. Although PAL machines can run the game just fine too, audio is playing at slightly slower speeds than intended.

Compared to the woeful original Lander games made for C64, this not only makes it to the top, but also stands out as a fantastic brand new C64 release in its own right.  You can read more about the development processes of this game and follow the progress of new projects over at Defiance Studios' blog. Personally I can't wait to see what Michael / Defiance Studios come up with next.  In the meantime enjoy this awesome arcade remake.

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Posted by hayesmaker
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