Booty was originally released to critical acclaim way back in 1984. Personal Computer News gave Booty 8 out of 10. For their entry to the 2018 ZX DEV MIA Remakes contest, Salva Kantero and Davidian decided to re-imagine this classic ZX Spectrum game. It received 6th place overall, scoring 12,210 points from the judges. Dougie Mcg finds out if their remake has turned out as a good or bad tribute to the classic game.
Salva Kantero (Salvador Cantero) has been tinkering away at creating 8-bit games for quite a few years now. In 2016, he teamed up with musician Davidian, releasing the very impressive Car Wars on the Spectrum and in 2017 he released Robbie Strikes Back, a tribute to the original Spectrum game Pssst!, on the Amstrad CPC.
The plot of the game is set out as follows: Jim the cabin boy wants to take advantage of the stay of his boat in Port Royal to fulfil his own plans in the future. As bold as brass, he is ready to keep the 125 pieces of treasure which are distributed by the galleon warehouse and flee as far away as possible. So in a break from tradition you are playing the bad guy who is solely out for personal gain encompassing the true spirit of being a pirate!
Booty was originally coded by John F. Cain and released by Firebird on the 13th October 1984. It was an instant hit, receiving rave reviews including a 93% 'Crash Smash'. This was British Telecom's first arcade game and they certainly did not fail to deliver the goods. Fast forward around 35 years and we have a remake of the original formula. Salva Kantero brings a fresh approach to the classic formula with new graphics and level designs. This is not so much of a remake as a completely new game and it is all the better for it.
The basic gameplay remains the same with the gradual process of unlocking numbered doors with numbered keys to collect the 125 items of treasure. As in the original, there are twenty separate interconnected rooms to tackle on the way to escaping with your fortune. Along the way there are pirates, rats and parrots to avoid and doing so can often be tricky, requiring expert timing.
The game features some wonderful platforming elements with disappearing floors and floating platforms to traverse. Every level comes with its own tune, all of which capture the atmosphere perfectly. The music by Davidian is outstanding throughout and will be stuck in your head for weeks afterwards.
The levels become progressively more difficult and often require entering and exiting via different doors in order to unlock the gates and claim the treasure from places previously impossible to reach. The problem-solving element adds significantly to the gameplay and will sometimes have you scratching your head over the best path to take.
This never seems laborious though and the game is fun to play from start to finish. There are now two versions of Booty (The Remake) to play. The first has various colourful backgrounds and the second uses black for every screen. This cuts down on the clutter but loses some of the charm in doing so.
This is a wonderful tribute to the original game. The gameplay seems fresh yet familiar at the same time and the puzzle elements of the game strike the perfect balance between challenge and enjoyment. The music is different for every screen and engaging throughout.
As is the case with so many games like this, the ladders mechanic can often result in cheap deaths where the slightest misjudgement can be extremely frustrating. This could also be seen as part of the challenge though and is in no way game breaking.
Booty (The Remake) is a perfect example of how to pay homage to an old classic. It captures the spirit of the original while offering a brand new challenge. The level design is excellent throughout and the game is a truly enjoyable experience.