Commodore User

Soldier Of Fortune

Author: Tony Dillon
Publisher: Firebird
Machine: Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #61

Soldier Of Fortune

Funny old things, Zodiac power sources. One minute they're all safe and sound, lying in the right hands, doing no harm to anybody, and the next off they go being nicked and put to bad use. Then, just as you're being told how to get them back, would you believe it, the ground opens up, spits out fire, and then swallows up the geezer who you are talking to.

Still, geezer or no geezer, you have to get the Zodiac power source back before twelve moons pass, or Kryllis (your average baddy) will succeed in his quest to rule the world. Armed with a feeble magical weapon, a small handful of lives and 100 gold pieces, off you trot across the left to right scrolling landscape, not completely unlike a cross between Ghosts And Goblins and Firelord.

The coins are used to buy lots of different goodies in the hundreds of shops that line the pathways. You can buy different weapons to replace the one you start with. Unfortunately, each of these weapons only has a limited life - normally 100 uses. Once used up, they disappear, and it's back to the starter weapon. You buy lots of extra lives (provided you can afford it) as well as scrolls. It's with these scrolls that you can barter for specific objects. Some shopkeepers, for example, won't sell you a certain item unless you have the moon scroll. Obviously you quickly run out of coins, and more coins can be obtained by (a) shooting the nasties that occasionally feebly try to stop you, such as fire-zombies, or strange floating phantoms; or (b) you can shoot large cauldrons a few times, each hit resulting in either the release of a coin or a nasty. You have to catch the coins quickly, as each time they bounce, they crack and lose value until they disintegrate. Needless to say, the more money you have, the better equipment you can buy.

Soldier Of Fortune

At various points along the long and dusty roads, you'll find buildings that aren't shops. One such constructions is the Sky tower. A tall, vertically scrolling pillar of screens that can yield some pretty rewards. Another is the House of Fun, where you'll find a large dragon flying around that changes colour when shot in the head, more than a little like Space Harrier.

In fact, I think I can safely say that every single aspect of this game has been 'borrowed' from another, and has been slung together to make a very good arcade adventure. Maybe not Graftgold's best ever game, but excellent nonetheless. The graphics though not huge, are colourful and more than adequate. Sound effects are simple and effective and some of the clangs and whistles are quite attractive.

The scrolling is first rate, and as far as I could tell, there's no slowing down or flicker at all, even when something like the swirling dragon comes on screen.

Soldier Of Fortune isn't the best game I've ever played on the C64, nor is it the most addictive, but it's fun, and interesting enough to hold my attention for a few days, which is really saying something considering my attention span.

Tony Dillon

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  • Return Of The Jedi Front Cover
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  • Wec Le Mans Front Cover
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  • Soldier Of Fortune Front Cover
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  • Last Duel Front Cover
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  • Phobia Front Cover
  • Laser Squad Front Cover
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  • Robocop Front Cover