Dark Side

Publisher: Microstatus
Machine: Amiga 500

Published in Zzap #51

Dark Side

On the dark side of the moon Tricuspid the Ketars have started construction of a weapon to avenge their defeat in Driller. Aimed at the planet Evath it draws power from a network of Energy Collection Devices (ECDs). At the apex of each ECD there's a solar cell which transmits its power down a matrix to the Zephyr One weapon. Your mission is to destroy all the ECDs - no easy task considering you're alone with just a jetpack to carry you around.

The basic gameplay of the original Dark Side is unchanged: travel around by foot or jetpack and unravel the 3D puzzles which protect the ECDs. The only real changes are, inevitably, the presentation.


Although I wasn't totally enamoured by the original C64 version, the music was what made the game for me, setting the scene and game atmosphere superbly. On the Amiga, the programmers have performed miracles by rewriting it and using stereo to the full, creating a beautifully slow, pounding soundtrack in the process.

Dark Side

The garishly colours in places I could do without and the update is not amazing, but Amiga owners fresh to Freescape, or those eager for more, will find plenty here to keep them occupied for quite some time.


The technical achievement of Freescape is obviously somewhat diminished on the 16-bit machines, where solid 3D of the Starglider II-type is increasingly commonplace. But if the actual game graphics are unspectacular, the superlative control panel, with neat touches like the save/load panel which slides down, and great music as well, show a commendable effort to exploit the Amiga.

Then, of course, there's the 16-bit speed of the graphics - flying around with the jetpack is much more realistic now, though not quite up to Starglider II speeds. And finally there's all those wonderful puzzles which are, after all, the heart of the game. In short, well worth a look, although clearly overpriced.


Dark Side

Presentation 87%
Attention to detail on the control panel gives a real 16-bit 'feel'.

Graphics 78%
Faster, but still a touch jerky with brighter, sharper colours which may not be to everyone's taste.

Sound 84%
Reasonable spot FX which can be swapped for an atmospheric soundtrack.

Dark Side

Hookability 76%
A bit difficult to get into, but all the old playability is still there.

Lastability 80%
A substantial challenge, but no more puzzles than on the 8-bit machines.

Overall 81%
The Freescape games offer a unique and innovative style of gameplay.