Do you remember those old Commodore 64 games when you didn’t know what to do, no explanation in the game on how to play it, no manual describing the story and no text or tutorials explaining what the hell was going on. And the games where also extremely hard and frustrating, but somehow you just accepted this and just play them over and over again. This is how it felt like to play Darkness.
In Darkness you move from one screen to another and there are over 100 screens, and you have no idea where to go and it’s extremely easy to get lost also without a map in the game you don’t know what to go so you just go back and forth and after while you will probably die and here’s one of the most frustrating parts of the game, You one have ONE life NO continues! Every screen has enemies spawning at random places and attack you very quickly so its very easy to get hit. Yes you have a little life bar and the possibility to upgrade your weapon, but that’s not enough! So after exploring many many screens and have no idea where you are and where to go, you suddenly die and its GAME OVER.. all is lost! This is not fun or challenging instead its hard, frustrating and evil!
Making a game like this today is very hard to accept when comparing how games are designed today. Back in the 80’s we didn’t know better and just accepted these frustrating games. But today games are so much better and fun. They have clever level design with built-in tutorials to make the player learn the game while playing them. Today’s games are about playing the games and having fun, giving the players extra lives to reach the goal. Darkness doesn’t live up to today’s standard and instead is a game from the past.
There are so small things that could have been added to Darkness to make it sooo much better and playable, first why not adding an in-game map? The “newly” released c64 game Fairy Well from 2012 had an great in-game map showing you all the screens, where you are, and what screens you have visited and where to go! It made the game so much more fun! Why not add this into Darkness? And why not add a couple of extra lives and continues? why not? People may not agree with me and this this is how it should be, evil and frustrating. But i think a couple of more lives would make it better. Also the game is pretty repetitive, you move from screen to screen and enemies spawn an attack you, i just don’t see the fun in this. If there would have been some puzzle elements added, maybe small quests, people to talk to and other stuff to motivate you instead of just running around and getting confused then the game maybe would have been a little more fun to play. Its a shame because the game has potential and the graphics are amazing and has great music and sound effects.
I love to support new games that are made for the C64. I love to support the publishers like Psytronik and RGCD that make these games real but a game like this is hard for me to recommend. If you want an old-style and frustrating game and want to support the developers then purchase this game, but if you are looking for a fun game i would probably recommend purchasing some other game from Psytronik or RGCD.