By now you’ve probably heard about the upcoming Evercade cart featuring an incredible 14 Commodore 64 games. You may even remember some of the titles.
But are they worth playing again, 40-odd years later?
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the games on the THEC64 Collection 1, along with all relevant details, videos where available, and my own recollections of the games.
Summer Games, Epyx (1984)
Genre: Sport, 1-8 players
Summer is here, and it’s time for international sporting competition on Evercade! Show your Summer Games skills in a variety of disciplines including swimming, diving, gymnastics and athletics — and do your best to come out on top against up to seven of your friends.
This is a great game to start the list with, a turn-based multiplayer sports game that mixes simulation with arcade qualities. Surprisingly good graphics and playability for that era of 8-bit gaming.
Winter Games, Epyx (1985)
Genre: Sport, 1-8 players
Winter is coming, and what better way to celebrate it than with some snowy sporting fun? Winter Games allows up to eight players to compete against one another on Evercade, taking in disciplines ranging from the perilous ski jump to the majestic grace of figure skating.
Unsurprisingly, this is the winter take on Summer Games, relying on winter Olympics events. Similar to the previous game in all but the events.
Impossible Mission, Epyx (1984)
Genre: Platformer, 1 player
“Another visitor! Stay a while, stay forever!” Dr. Elvin Atombender is preparing to blow up the world, and only you can stop him with your trusty Evercade. It’s not going to be an easy task to get around his robots and discover his passwords — but we guess that’s why they call it an Impossible Mission!
The first Commodore 64 game to feature digitized speech, Impossible Mission pits you against enemy robots while attempting to infiltrate an enemy lair. I never took to this game, but it has a lot of fans and is worth checking out.
Jumpman, Epyx (1983)
Genre: Platformer, 1-4 players
An all-time platforming classic comes to Evercade! As Jupiter Jumpman, it’s your job to clear out the bombs left behind by the evil Alienators. There’s some perilous gaps to leap ahead of you, but there’s a good reason you’re called Jumpman…
One of the oldest Commodore 64 games on the list, Jumpman is a port of the Atari 8-bit console game. As such, the graphics are appropriately basic. But this is a very playable game that will thrill and frustrate in equal measure.
Lee, Datasoft(?) (1984(?))
Genre: Platformer, 1-2 players
Take on the role of martial arts master Lee and search for the secret of immortality on Evercade. Gather the magic lanterns that will allow you to approach the mysterious wizard’s lair — but watch out for the unwanted attentions of the spry ninja and the hulking Yamo, the latter of whom can be played by a friend!
The exact details of this version of the game are currently unknown. The original Bruce Lee game was released by Datasoft in 1984, and this is either a complete remake or a de-licensed release without any connection to the legendary martial arts expert and movie star.
Either way, the original was a superb two-player game that is worth revisiting on Evercade.
Gateway to Apshai, Epyx (1983)
Genre: Action RPG, 1 player
One of the first ever action RPGs comes to Evercade! Tasked by the wizard Merlis with clearing a path to the mysterious Gateway to Apshai, you have eight levels, each with sixteen dungeons, between you and victory. Oh, but along the way there’s treasure. Lots of treasure.
This is a very basic-looking adventure game, one that passed me by completely back in the day. This action/adventure dungeon crawler features an incredible 7680 rooms, so is worth checking out if you like dungeon RPGs.
The Movie Monster Game, Epyx (1986)
Genre: Action, 1 player
Take out your frustration on an entire city in The Movie Monster Game for Evercade! Choose your gigantic warrior, then take on a variety of challenges around the globe in this classic B-movie inspired action game.
The 10-year-old me considered this to be childish nonsense upon reading the reviews (still played those Transformers and Action Force games though, didn’t I?) but almost 40 years later it looks like I missed out on a lot of fun.
Interestingly, a giant Transformer appears in the game, along with other recognisable monsters, across various globe-spanning challenges.
Marauder, Hewson (1988)
Genre: Shoot ’em up, 1 player
Marauder is a thrilling C64 shoot ’em up, now making a grand comeback on Evercade. As Captain C.T. Cobra, pilot your Marauder battlecar into the depths of the planet Mergatron in an attempt to retrieve the Jewels of Ozymandias from the ruins of a long-lost civilisation.
I feel like I’ve played Marauder, but have no definitive recollection of it. It certainly isn’t in my own collection of C64 titles so it must be one I played at a friend’s house. I probably either failed to get the hang of it or had my attention caught by another game. Either way, it was released by Hewson (no mugs in the game development stakes) so is worth a play based on that fact alone.
Stormlord, Hewson (1990)
Genre: Platform, 1 players
Stormlord‘s classic arcade adventure action comes to Evercade! Defend Stormland from the evil queen, and rescue the fairies she has captured along the way. Make clever use of the items you find along the way — you’ll need brains as well as brawn here.
Drawing from fantasy imagery of the time, Stormlord courted controversy, particularly in the USA where the SEGA Genesis version was pulled until the topless faeries were given clothes.
A memorable platformer, it owes a bit to Ghosts & Goblins while taking the idea in a completely different direction. Graphically stunning, the game’s presentation and theme music make it particularly memorable.
Iridis Alpha, Hewson (1986)
Genre: Shoot ’em up, 1 player
It’s a great pleasure to welcome gaming legend Jeff Minter to the Evercade library, and with one of his most interesting, creative and unusual games, too. Iridis Alpha challenges you to get blasting on two planets at once — can you handle the entropy?
One of Jeff Minter’s classics for the C64, Iridis Alpha was visually similar to Thalamus’ Sanxion, the difference been the split screen in that game was more of an aerial view. Here, it represents two planets. This unique challenge is just one reason to give Iridis Alpha a go.
Battle Valley, Hewson (1988)
Genre: Shoot ’em up, 1-2 players
In Battle Valley, now for Evercade, it’s your job to capture enemy bases using your tanks and helicopters. Work fast, though — the Doomsday clock is ticking, and the world is at stake!
So many games failed to reach my part of the world, and this is one of them. Battle Valley always looked like a graphically impressive scrolling tank shooter, and promises to be a hidden gem among the Commodore 64 games on THEC64 Collection 1.
Alleykat, Hewson (1986)
Genre: Shoot ’em up, 1-2 players
The Alleykat racing championship is here, and you and your Evercade are invited! Strap yourself in for some high-velocity shooting action, and see if you can make enough in winnings to survive the whole season!
Alleykat was a well known title on release, mainly due to it being marketed as Andrew Braybrook’s sequel to hit shooter Uridium.
Street Sports Baseball, Epyx (1987)
Genre: Sport, 1-2 players
If you’ve ever felt that baseball could do with more concrete, then Street Sports Baseball for Evercade is here to provide. Take to the improvised field and play ball — just watch out for unexpected obstacles!
Given this game represents low-budget, DIY gaming in the streets, it is surprisingly good. In fact, there is an added layer of nostalgia here: recalling playing an old Commodore 64 game that recalls playing baseball in the street.
Graphically quirky, the lack of scrolling wasn’t a big deal back in the day, but may seem a bit jarring now.
Smart but narrow Commodore 64 game selection
Overall, this is a smart collection of well-known and less well-known Commodore 64 games. It’s pretty much what you would expect from an Evercade cartridge! In fact, it’s arguably one of the better Evercade collections in terms of game quality. While later big-hitting C64 titles are missing, there is plenty here to play with just the Evercade’s standard control system.
However, there are clearly a lot of games from the same two publishers (Epyx and Hewson) which suggests many games are either unavailable or tied up with big industry fish who care little for retro gaming. (E.g. Rare was bought by Microsoft in 2002.)
Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine and MakeUseOf.com.