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Tir Na Nog, Dun Darach & Marsport

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I'm surprised not to have seen these games namechecked more often on here, but while thinking about my favourite 8-bit games this is the trio that really stick out for me.

tir_na_nog.png

dun_darach.jpg

mport1.gif

In a way I guess you could say they were like a proto-Morrowind, in terms of their sprawling structure and maps, and like a proto-3rd person adventure with their slick animation and obscure puzzles.

The one I played the most was probably Marsport, for the main reason that I actually got somewhere with it. I even mapped it at some point, and the puzzles were more manageable than in the other, Cuchulain based stories (putting a pair of "Boots" in the lock to the chemist for example).

Tir Na Nog/Dun Darach though - never got anywhere with them. But I loved them anyway for their sense of place and atmosphere, and especially for the animation of the main character, which I copied frame by frame onto graph paper and copied (minus hair) for a game my mate and I tried to make on his ST!

I wonder how they stand up now. Any more love for Gargoyle Games' adventures around here?

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Classic, classic titles.

I feel all warm inside now...

Thanks for the reminder Davros.

*Runs to attic to grab Spectrum +2*

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Loved all three of these games, and in fact they are among the few Speccy titles I've still got out of purely nostalgic reasons (no working Speccy). I used to think the animation was incredible and I guess it was for the time.

Loosely related to Heavy on the Magick which was also quite an excellent game.

And yep - I mapped them too ;)

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Glad to be of service. I feel the urge to start a Magic Knight thread too. Mmmmm, Stormbringer. I've got my Amstrad CPC copies in the loft, but no CPC to play them on. I needs to gets me a CPC emulator.

Oh, and Gargoyle did Heavy on the Magick too, didn't they? Equally huge sprites in that, and I also had no idea what I was meant to be doing.

heavy_on_the_magick.png

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Glad to be of service. I feel the urge to start a Magic Knight thread too. Mmmmm, Stormbringer. I've got my Amstrad CPC copies in the loft, but no CPC to play them on. I needs to gets me a CPC emulator.

Oh, and Gargoyle did Heavy on the Magick too, didn't they? Equally huge sprites in that, and I also had no idea what I was meant to be doing.

heavy_on_the_magick.png

Fuck me Davros, you're on a roll tonight!

I had forgotten all about Magick...

You beauty!

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Glad to be of service. I feel the urge to start a Magic Knight thread too. Mmmmm, Stormbringer. I've got my Amstrad CPC copies in the loft, but no CPC to play them on. I needs to gets me a CPC emulator.

Oh, and Gargoyle did Heavy on the Magick too, didn't they? Equally huge sprites in that, and I also had no idea what I was meant to be doing.

heavy_on_the_magick.png

Heavy on the Magick was wonderful.

All the Gargoyle games were well ahead of their time. Attempting to transfer the text only adventure into a fully controlable visual world.

And no I didn't have any idea what I was doing in any of them either.

Their arcade games released under the name FTL were great too.

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Dun Darach was so hard, I seem to remember spending ages chasing a rat around the city for some reason, also those bloody thief women nicking your items !

You were supposed to be able to get a job but I never did, my brother and I eventually completed it using a walk through, it still took hours and even with the solutions the puzzles still made no sense.

still how many years before Shenmue was this ?

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still how many years before Shenmue was this ?

Dun Darach was very Shenmue-like wasn't it, walking around a whole town, going into shops etc. I guess in those days the ambition behind a game like this wasn't tempered by things like clear sign-posting/pacing/difficulty settings, so it was just hardcore riddles and quirky logic. I remember the rat - didn't you have to watch where it went to find a secret room or something?

(Googles solution...)

Last month it was Shadowfire, this month Dun Darach. He's cracked the game wide open but rather than give you the complete solution so soon, here are a few pointers. There are four picture galleries and each of the pictures matches up with an object. In room one, you'll need an arrow, an adze, a hoe and a needle. You'll then be presented with a broach that you should give to Pita. In exchange, she'll tell you that "Rats are not rain" - a hint that you should follow the rat when you see it. It'll take you to a secret door where you'll find the jailer.

Jesus, my 31 year old brain would have trouble with that, so it's hardly surprising that my 12 year old one struggled. How exactly does "rats are not rain" mean you have to follow it? ;)

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I have many happy memories of traipsing around in Tir na Nog getting absolutely nowhere. Then Crash published a walkthough that took hours to wade through. My reward? a flashing screen and incessant beeping. One of the worst game endings ever. I think the programmmers actually apologised for it later.

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Got absolutely nowhere with either of the CuChulainn games; could never work out what I was meant to be doing.

Heavy on the Magick was a great game, 'though. Apart from the frustration of pressing the wrong key and walking into a dangerous obstacle. Like your ogre "helper".

Praised for getting "5-channel" music out of the Speccy, wasn't it?

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Not many people seem to have played Marsport. I'd say that was definitely the most accessible, and it even had some shooty shooty action in it. It was basically set in a sort of tower, so you had a clear idea of progress as you went to each new floor.

Having said that, I remember looking at the solution and realising I was about 25% of the way through. I thought I'd got pretty far.

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I have many happy memories of traipsing around in Tir na Nog getting absolutely nowhere. Then Crash published a walkthough that took hours to wade through. My reward? a flashing screen and incessant beeping. One of the worst game endings ever. I think the programmmers actually apologised for it later.

The end sequence for Dun Darach was a very small hand waving in the middle of the screen , at least I think it was supposed to be a hand, but it could also have been a flame :blink:

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So still about ten times better than the Tir Na Nog ending then. It was only years later when I read about the apology that I realised the ending was supposed to be like that. Before, I had just assumed my infinite lives (or whatever) cheat had buggered it up.

Edit: your avatar's "Death" from the old top trumps horror set isnt it? Fear factor: 100 :(

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Played Marsport loads more than the others. Sci Fi was more my thing and the clues weren't as vague either. Iirc my cousin started mapping it, I lent a hand, he eventually finished it but I missed it so I've no idea what the end sequence was.

Heavy on the Magick was novel, but the text interface was a bit clunky and the double size sprites were none too pretty after the other games. It did allow more complexity and variety though, so I suppose you can't have it all.

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Yes, Marsport was definitely less cryptic.

Your username has made me want to play Sacred Armour of Antiriad now...

Lobbing stones at monkeys just doesn't seem right, these days; monkeys are fun (well, since Super Monkey Ball).

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I didn't have the patience to do the Gargoyle adventures back then. I would usually have played about 43 games within the hour as well as going outside for a game of chippy-in for about 10 minutes and mapping Dan Dare 1 and 2.

I may have the patience now, but I still need some action.

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I never played Dun Darach. And I was shit at Tir Na Nog, Marsport and Heavy on the Magick.

Oh well. I was still quite impressed with the scope of the latter two.

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I never really played Tir Na Nog as adventures were never really my thing but i bought it anyway and that walking animation - fantatsic in its day. Shame i never stuck with it really but i found it a bit easy to get lost as many levels looked similar.

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So still about ten times better than the Tir Na Nog ending then. It was only years later when I read about the apology that I realised the ending was supposed to be like that. Before, I had just assumed my infinite lives (or whatever) cheat had buggered it up.

Edit: your avatar's "Death" from the old top trumps horror set isnt it? Fear factor: 100  :D

Well spotted ! Nothing beats death! I didn't think anyone would get my avatar, did you know horror top trumps go for around 30 quid on ebay these days ?

Something else to look out for while car booting.

I cant think of many good end sequences for any Spectrum games, Its amazing they managed to squeeze as much as they did in 48k, so i guess endings werent high on the agenda.

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Well spotted !  Nothing beats death! I didn't think anyone would get my avatar, did you know horror top trumps go for around 30 quid on ebay these days ?

Something else to look out for while car booting.

I cant think of many good end sequences for any Spectrum games, Its amazing they managed to squeeze as much as they did in 48k, so i guess endings werent high on the agenda.

30 quid?? <starts rummaging through attic>

I always thought Highway Encounter's ending was pretty good. But yeah, I think it would be difficult to construct a top ten.

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Wasnt there a similar game on the speccy that had much bigger characters, Dark Sceptre or something like that, pretty sure it wasnt by the same people.

I could never work out what the hell I was supposed to be doing on Tir Na Nog and Dun Darach either, finished HotM and Marsport tho :)

I loved the blown up chunky look of Heavy on the magic.

mmmm I can feel a Dragontorc thread coming on too...

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Dark Sceptre was written by Mike Singleton of Lords of Midnight and Doomdarks' Revenge (as well as other things).

Indeed - got 'round attribute clash through the devious addition of a thick black outline around each character.

Cunning.

But yes, nicely animated side-on action, so I can see where the similarities to Dun Darach et al. come in. Nice fight animation, I seem to recall.

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