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Aliens and a lot of pixel blood

Review: Project Firestart (C64)

We enter!

We enter!

Time for another classic game review: today it’s one of my very favorites back on the C64, the space horror action adventure Project Firestart!
It was back in July 1989 when I was reading the game review of PF in the cult and now abandoned German game magazine Power Play written by Michael Hengst, I was instantly hooked and had to buy the game!

Let me tell you that the game’s pixel blood level is very high. The story is about a research ship near Saturn that doesn’t answer anymore on the space radio. So you jump into your fashionable green lined bodysuit to be sent to the ship to look if everything is OK.

Just a storage room!

Just a storage room!

Shortly after entering the ship you will encounter the first splattered corpse which shows up in a very shocking atmospheric scene. The developers managed to get a lot of claustrophobic feel into the game design and to me this game still causes shudders on my back when I play it. It’s like this ‘you don’t know behind which corner the next alien jumps onto you’-feel!

... what the??!

... what the??!

Truly the atmosphere on the vessel with all it’s corridors and lifts and it’s complex structure is very dense! You have to run half through the ship to the terrarium support room to do something there to get on in another part of the ship! While that of course crossing a lot of mean monsters. And weaponry is very few what makes the mission a hard challenge!

The plot thickens

In the firestart labs.

In the firestart labs.

While the Gameplay proceeds, the plot of the story takes it’s branches. So you are going to find out that there are some survivors, a woman in Cryo sleep and a villain agent who is making things more tricky. Not to mention about a super alien breed that starts to slip from his egg soon.

You have to think actually how to get rid of that beast because it cannot be killed by usual weapons. But there are some areas on the ship to lure the creature into. You know extreme radiation or cold are not very healthy!

The Cryo Chamber is being breached by a creature. About time to rescue the damsel in distress.

The Cryo Chamber is being breached by a creature. About time to rescue the damsel in distress.

There are a lot of things to take care of before you can leave. I don’t want to spoil it for ya but you can’t get back, the way you came along! And will you rescue that chick in the cryo chamber or not? It’s up to you! Yes this game already offered some more non-linear plot!


Let me calm you down a bit! Until the game ended you kill the beasts, save the girl, blow up the ship and payback the villain! ….. well unless you didn’t became tripped fodder in between!

Corpses are paving your way!

Corpses are paving your way!

The game graphics are great for their year and the dramatic music adds a frightening mood! There are several rooms to discover on the ship, some of them which I still wasn’t able to enter because I got killed immediately … perhaps that one special room ends always up in a kill scene then?!?
One minus thing about the game to mention is the slow disk loader and the floppy DJ’ing, but then again a C64 emulator with speed-up option becomes magic!

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  1. May 14th, 2006 at 00:41 | #1

    THIS GAME WAS WONDERFULL….. FULL RESPEKT!!!!!!!!
    LUV’ DA 8 BITS >D

  2. May 14th, 2006 at 00:42 | #2

    Ah, those times! Yes I remember that game. I enjoyed it so much than I had dreams about it! (yeah including the girlfriend ;) heh ) I wish EA would publish a modern version of that game. Sigh.

  3. philip
    May 14th, 2006 at 00:43 | #3

    Comparto totalmente tu descripcion del juego, recuerdo me temblaba el joysctick cuando descubria un cuarto con cadaveres, la musica y el sonido era bastante bueno, gracias por hacerme recordar mi querido c64 y mi 1541.

  4. David Whitt
    May 14th, 2006 at 00:43 | #4

    This was a game I remembered having excellent graphics and a truly spooky feel to it, but for the life of me I could not remember the name of it! I searched everywhere and finally came across this site. Funny how nostalgia works since in my mind the images of blood and gore were frightning but now when I look at them they look comical. Then again it’s been 15 years and the graphics were great for back then. Thanks for the review!

  5. tony r. moretti
    May 14th, 2006 at 00:44 | #5

    best c64 game ever. i am looking to buy project firestart complete with the box and instructions. can’t find it anywhere not even on ebay. if anyone who reads this wants to sell the game email me.

  6. Sharon
    May 14th, 2006 at 00:45 | #6

    I love this game!!! I’ve been playing it on the x64 VICE emulator!
    Watch out for that A. Promiveriate! haha
    Sharon

  7. Sharon
    May 14th, 2006 at 00:45 | #7

    I used to play this game back when it came out. I’ve been looking for it for a while and recently found it. If you are looking for it, email me. I’ll point you in the right direction :-)

  8. Johnny
    September 7th, 2006 at 15:19 | #8

    I LOVE FRIED MINCE!

  9. Eleanor
    September 7th, 2006 at 20:42 | #9

    Hey Johnny! That’s weird cuz I love fried mince TOO! And this game makes me hungry MMMMMMM!

  10. Sam
    September 7th, 2006 at 20:57 | #10

    I played this game for the first time recently (Yep, thanks to the WinVICE emulator), and it is fantastic. There is also a really good 3D (1st-person) fan remake of this game! The author only had 2.5 months to complete it for a competition, so it’s a little rough around the edges, but it’s scary as hell, and I think, a really good tribute to this classic game!

    You can download it here. It’s been scaring the pants off me and keeping me up ’til 5am the last couple of nights, so that should be recommendation enough for you!
    http://www.remakes.org/comp2006/screenshots.php?page=8

  11. September 8th, 2006 at 00:30 | #11

    Sam, that’s extremely cool! I didn’t knew somebody made a 3D remake of it! Does it have the same story/plot like in the original? The screenshots look a bit dark, maybe he should have made them a bit brighter.

  12. Sam
    September 8th, 2006 at 02:12 | #12

    Yep, it has the same storyline/plot, but due to time constraints, the author didn’t have time to do the remake as well as he’d like, so certain things are missing – For example, you still get to read computer logs, but not all the info/log entries are there from the original game. Ignore the screenshots. The game is dark (but that’s what monitor brightness controls are for!), but that adds to the atmosphere and makes it scarier. All the plot twists/developments are there from the original game, with cutscenes (basic, but still good). Like I said, this remake is a little rough around the edges, but I think it’s fantastic – Scarier than the original, and with a very cool feeling to it. Highly recommended! It also runs at a decent speed on my old Pentium III.

  13. Sam
    September 8th, 2006 at 02:18 | #13

    The other thing I forgot to mention: The remake has great music! A cool intro theme with plenty of menace, and a perfect piece of music for when the mutants pop up. Different to the original, but just as effective.

  14. Mark
    March 10th, 2007 at 23:49 | #14

    I just bought this game for 12 euros on Ebay, I’m the happiest camper alive atm. The box, manual and disks are in great condition seeing the age of this game.

    This is going right into my display case :D

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