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  • Graeme Mason

Hidden Gems Of Antstream Arcade: The Commodore 64


For our latest post in a month-long festival of 8-bit Commodore gaming on Antstream Arcade, we reveal six of those brilliant C64 games you may have missed. These playable little gems are well worth seeking out on Antstream Arcade and are guaranteed hours of fun – which one will you discover next?


Netherworld – Hewson, 1988


We start this hidden gems feature with a diamond-collecting classic from Hewson and Finnish

programmer Jukka Tapanimäki. Trapped on the Planet Of Purgatory, the player collects crystals so they can escape to the next level via a teleporter. Naturally, there’s a whole army of demons and tortured souls to avoid or destroy – fortunately, your sleek craft is fitted with a powerful four-directional laser.


Featuring lovely multi-directional scrolling, responsive controls, great music and an addictive level of gameplay, this novel and entertaining shoot-‘em-up flew a little under the radar back in the Eighties.



Bombo – Rino/Mark Greenshields, 1986


While it may be, erm, slightly similar to a certain popular arcade game of the mid-Eighties, Bombo does more than enough of its own to justify its inclusion in our Commodore 64 Hidden Gems. Over several colourful and detailed locations of historical importance, an evil menace has strewn an array of bombs.


As the local do-gooder, it is up to Bombo to defuse them, preferably in flashing order, for a nice juicy bonus. Unfortunately for this bomb expert, pesky aliens have chosen this moment to invade and are guarding the explosives – can Bombo save these iconic sites from total destruction?



Galencia – Protovision, 2017


Galencia is a hidden gem with a twist – it’s one of Antstream Arcade’s growing collection of homebrew games, released in 2017. Galencia is a classic space fighter, called into action when the bee population reaches catastrophic levels, causing their alien guardians to arrive and begin eliminating the threat: humans! Inspired by famous arcade fixed shoot-‘em-ups such as Galaxian and Galaga, Galencia brings in several new elements such as boss fights, meteor storms and an ebb-and-flow difficulty curve that thankfully gives the player some valuable respite!



Lazer Force – Codemasters, 1987


The Commodore 64 wasn’t exactly short of shoot-‘em-ups – but this little budget gem from

Codemasters has captured our hearts for its sheer variety and challenge. A manic vertically-scrolling section precedes another shooting segment inspired by Atari’s Centipede. Then, there’s a brief landing assignment before the final level, a desperate escape via an increasingly-tight tunnel. Rock-hard, frantic and strangely compulsive, Lazer Force was excellent value back in the day, retailing for just £1.99. Even better, on Antstream Arcade, you can play this Commodore 64 hidden gem for free!



Mission A.D. – Odin Computer Graphics, 1986


The Odin team produced many excellent games in its time, most of them boasting the slick visuals and presentation that are present in this game. The Free Democratic World is under assault, and the boffins have predicted that soon the forces of the Earth will be unable to repel them. Consequently, all the world's countries unite and devise a defence system; unfortunately, one rogue state rebels and sends assassins to take out the scientists. Over to you to track the killers down over the complex and eliminate them before they complete their deadly mission. The very future of the planet is in your hands!



Bristles – First Star Software, 1983


For our final Commodore 64 Hidden Gem, we brush back to the start of the computer’s life and this novel painting sim from First Star Software. Peter The Painter has a busy week ahead of him, with several houses requiring urgent redecoration. However, these are no ordinary abodes – each one is a health and safety nightmare. Lifts constantly spring up and down, and whizzing buckets threaten to send Peter spiralling back to the ground floor. And just wait until that pesky Suzy starts putting her handprints in your fresh paint! Fun, challenging and easy to get into, Bristles is a sweet and charming game from the early C64 era.





Are you looking for more C64 games that you may have missed? Why not try devious puzzler Flip And Flop, also from First Star Software? Or futuristic sports sim Hypaball and the hard-boiled detective drama Murder Off Miami? Finally, there’s the western drama Dead Or Alive, where you must shoot the bank robbers before they plug you, and don’t forget to quench your thirst in the saloon! Check out these and hundreds more C64 games on Antstream Arcade!




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