Shadowfire Review | Personal Computer News - Everygamegoing

Personal Computer News

By Beyond
Commodore 64

Published in Personal Computer News #108


Beyond broke new ground with its landscaping technique in the immensely successful Lords Of Midnight. Now it takes another innovative step forward with Shadowfire, a graphics only, non-arcade quest-cum-strategy game which it claims is the world's first ever icon-driven adventure.

Shadowfire is set in the future where spacecraft can travel between stars, but not planets. Plans for an interplanetary ship, Shadowfire, have been developed, placed on micro-disk and, for some bizarre reason, embedded in the spine of one Ambassador Kryxix.

General Zoff, a traitor, desires universal domination. He has kidnapped Kryxix and stashed him on the skyfortress Zoff V. As mission controller of an organisation called Enigma, you must rescue the ambassador before time runs out.


Enigma is a sort of Magnificent Seven, although Superb Six might be more appropriate. There's Manto, a transport droid, essential for getting the rest of your crew aboard Zoff V. Maul is a weapons robot, designed to be an efficient killing machine but untested.

Sevrina, Maris and Torik are alien criminals skilled in marksmanship, lock-picking, weaponry and explosives. Completing the team are Zark Moontor, the human leader and unarmed combat expert, and Syylk, an insectoid.

Control of the game is managed entirely by the selection of icons (small graphic images) using a joystick, lightpen (Commodore 64 only) or keyboard. All you have to do is move a large cross-hair to the desired icon and press the fire button (or equivalent) to select it.


The screen is divided horizontally. At the top is mission command, split into three areas. To the right is a picture of the character in play while a countdown clock and a cluster of six status icons, the colour of which indicates how the character is faring (e.g. inactive attacking, getting weak, etc) is on the left. In the centre is the view screen, an iris (64) or blind (Spectrum), which opens to reveal where the character is and who else is nearby.

The lower section is used for three main displays - objects, movement and battle - which are called up on request. Each includes icons that allow you to jump back to the previous display (or cancel a command) and access the other displays.

The objects screen lets you equip a character. This shows weapons and equipment in the same location as the character, objects being carried (blank at the start) and a cluster of action icons. The cluster lets you pick up or drop an object, activate an object (e.g. arm a weapon system) and make an object ready for immediate use. Objects include rocket launchers, smoke bombs, toolkits, key cards, self-destruct units, transporters and assorted rifles. A bar indicates weight carried.


The movement screen shows a mixture of hollow and solid directional arrows together with a text description of the location. A solid arrow indicates that movement in that direction is possible; selecting one will cause the character to move accordingly.

The battle screen contains similar directional arrows and permits the character to peek into an adjacent location, to attack, defend or retreat.

The graphics are generally excellent. My only criticism is of the small and differently coloured monitor icons which allow movement between screens. The optional, volume-controlled, music is first rate. Playing the game using the icon selection method couldn't be easier.

There's a great deal in this complex game and the countdown element enhances the challenge. Beyond promises a later program which will allow you to modify many of the elements in Shadowfire.

Although Shadowfire is not a game to get the adrenalin pumping, it does offer an absorbing mission. One thing's sure - you'll find it different from anything you've ever played before.

Bob Chappell

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