Eye of the Beholder 64 Preview - We find out what this upcoming C64 Dungeon Crawler port is really like!

For the last few days we've had a very early working version of Andreas Larsson and team's C64 port of Eye of the Beholder.  With 100% of the game's levels completed, the game only has some bug fixing and a few remaining features to complete.

We've covered the game's development numerous times over the last few years - including a look at an engine prototype from Andreas's first attempt at porting the game to the C128 in 2006.   This was scrapped due to storage requirements for the game but modern C64 cartridge formats and some pestering from friends convinced Andreas to return to it for the C64.  You can find out more about the game's background from Andreas and the team in our exclusive interview and readers Q&A from last year.

So right now you're probably wondering: Does it run ok on C64?  Has the whole game been squeezed onto a C64 cartridge?  Will I be able to run this on a stock C64 machine? The answer to all of these questions is yes!   The current build we are testing includes 100% of the game's levels, as well as all the traps, monsters, items, NPCs, Heroes and events from the Westwood original.

I've successfully completed the first 3 levels of the game and reached the Dwarven Ruins and the game runs like butter on a real C64.  I even loaded up the Amiga version to compare screen rendering and battle times against the Amiga version... I'm even running it on an accelerated A1200 with 128mb fast ram and an 030 processor, I hardly noticed any speed difference between crawling the dungeons on Amiga vs C64. This is an insanely good port.  But the team didnt' stop there, you'll also be able to take advantage of a 2MHz processor if you have a C128 (although I don't think it even needs it), AND the C64 version even goes further than the Amiga original and implements the super useful auto map from the PC (and AGA homebrew) versions.

Compare the graphical differencs between the Amiga original and C64 versions below - Ilkka Sjöstedt and Lars Verhoeff have done an incredible job converting the original graphics and enhancing the UI to the C64's strengths.

Amiga Version
C64 Version
Eye of the Beholder 64 currently has 1351 mouse support built in, a semi-implemented (currently unusable ) joystick mode, non-mouse keyboard mode (not implemented yet), but the 1351 mouse mode works fine on original C64 hardware, or with a Micromys v4 (PS/2) mouse adapter for C64.  It also works on Vice with 1351 mouse emulation switched on, so the game controls are already working pretty well. When combined mouse and keyboard work together brilliantly - Using WASD/QE keys for the 6 directional movement, and mouse clicking for attacking - this control system feel great - I wish more developers would support the C64 mouse! 

For more information on ways you can run the game on release:  I'm using the Ultimate 64 which has easyflash cart support built in. But the game will run fine on your original C64s, you'll just need a way to play EasyFlash cartridges when the game comes out.  I'm still hoping the game will get a physical release of some kind, but if not, you'll be able to run the game on real hardware or on an emulator that supports the EasyFlash cartridge format.

Whilst the Eye of the Beholder 64 is near complete, the developers' busy schedules mean they are optimisic for a Q1 2020 release, here's Andreas with more information:

"ETA is most probably Q1 next year. We’ll see. Depends on me and my availability to code. It will be me releasing it. We don’t have official IP rights atm so currently it will be a non-commercial release. That might change, but that is the status right now." I'll continue to test the game, with a live stream on my Twitch channel Monday 28th October - 8PM UK time.  Please feel free to drop in and check out this incredible masterpiece of a game running for the first time ever on an 8 bit machine.  Huge congratulations to Andreas Larrson and the team for a monumental feat of 8 bit engineering.  Just follow to get notified when I go live, I will also post on Twitter, and my Discord channel.

Posted by @hayesmaker64

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