Commodore User

Strange Loop
By Virgin Games
Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #21


Here is a Spectrum cast-off that C64 owners need not be embarrassed to tell their friends about. Even the manufacturers - Virgin Games - reckon that the C64 version of Strangeloop knocks spots off the original.

The original game was written by Charles Goodwin, author of the excellent Gates Of Dawn. Now I had better say straight away that the new version is by one Simon Birrell. He asked me to make sure I credited him for the C64 version - so there you are, Simon, a promise kept.

Strangeloop is set aboard a space ship floating helplessly in outer space. Considerable damage has been inflicted by meteors and most of the ship's vital equipment is not functioning. It's you to the rescue as you search the enormous, 250 room space factory.


Mapping is essential if you are not to get hopelessly lost. You only have a limited oxygen supply so true is paramount in Strangeloop.

Your space man is difficult to control - tending to bounce off walls and pull against your desire to have him walk in a certain direction.

After a couple of hours play, I discovered the reason for this. Our hero was never intended to explore this giant complex on foot. One of the rooms contains a jet cycle. Once you get hold of this, your control over our hero improves a million percent. Actually, it's not just a case of hopping on the jey cycle and away you go. As with all progress in this game there is a puzzle to be solved. The thrill I got when I won my jet cycle can't be described so I am not going to spoil it for you by telling you how it's done.


As the gravity control has been braoken aboard ship, the whole place is scattered with floating debris. Points can be earned by blasting this as you go.

Blasting is not really what Strangeloop is about though - so blasting objects, although it can get you into the hall of fame pretty easily, doesn't really mean anything.

To win in this game you've got to use your brain as well as your joystick. The puzzles are all fairly logical - I say fairly because there are a couple of real stinkers in there, so don't say I didn't warn you.


As you travel, you will find objects that you can carry with you in your pockets. Pressing the S and J keys enables you to select an item and use it in an attempt to solve one of the puzzles.

Some of the logical puzzles I talked about are things like a rusting robot. Well, it's pretty obvious that a rusting robot can be put to rights with an oil can. But there is some very sophisticated machinery on board including computers, a laundromat, and de-compression units - and how do you deal with an unhappy robot?

As you travel, there are messages on the walls of some of the rooms. I am not sure how useful these are but I do know one thing: there are plenty of red herrings about. Real ones. I picked up one of these and put it in my pocket. When I went to use it the message indicator told me it was a red herring. Laugh? I nearly smashed my C64 to smithereens.

Strangeloop graphics are superb. The machinery is colourful - with lots of metallic moving parts. Sound effects complement this - a dull thud as a huge press closed, or a lunatic screech where a room is completely out of control.

To tell you how good I think Strangeloop is I think I should explain that I am lucky enough to play lots of computer games at work. Very few games, therefore, get brought home to play at night or at the weekend. So far they include Impossible Mission, Ghostbusters and Dam Busters. Strangeloop will be the fourth. A real Screen Star if ever I saw one.