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Dark Side (1988)            

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Details (Sinclair ZX Spectrum) Supported platforms Artwork and Media
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Incentive Software Ltd
Arcade
Major Developments, Chris Andrews, Paul Gregory, Stephen Northcott
48K
1
Kempston, Interface 2, Cursor
Eng
N/A
Audio cassette
UK (£9.95)
Driller
Game Map, Game Manual

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Amstrad CPC  10
Atari ST  NR
Commodore 64  9.4
Sinclair ZX Spectrum  9.3
IBM PC  NR


Same title from other publishers:
Commodore Amiga

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Reviews



Issue 32 (Aug 1988)
Added: 22 May 2011
If you were thrilled with Incentive's first 3D Freescape(TM) game Driller, you'll go potty over the new release, The Dark Side. Phil South dons his space suit and jet pack and checks out its added dimensions.
Many hundreds of years after Evath was saved from destruction by the imminent explosion of its nearby moon, Mitral, a new threat emerges from its leaden skies. Evath's other moon, Tricuspid, has been hijacked by the Ketars (Oo, painful. Ed) and equipped with a mega destructive laser device, called Zephyr One. With this fearsome weapon, the Ketars intend to destroy Evath, but the device must first be energised with enough power to destroy the planet. To collect the power necessary to destroy an entire planet, ECD towers (Energy Collection Device), have been built around the light side of the moon, with cables leading to the Zephyr One device on the dark side. The ECDs will take a certain amount of time to accumulate the energy, and so you have been sent by Evathkind to destroy the device before it turns Evath into a cloud of expanding gas.
You are a clandestine operative, trained to sneak and destroy. You have been dropped inconspicuously onto Tricuspid, and as is to be expected, you're armed with an Evath combat suit complete with jet pack and shoulder mounted quad laser weapon, which you can aim using the crosshair in heads-up display in your helmet. To prevent the destruction of your world, you must halt the collection of power to the Zephyr One by taking out all the ECDs on the surface of Tricuspid. And how do you take out an ECD tower? You have to find one in the network that's only connected by one cable and shoot the crystal on the top. If the ECD is connected by two cables you see, then the crystal will have enough power to regenerate almost immediately, thus defeating the object of wasting your own energy shooting it in the first place. It's essential then that you take out as many towers as you can quite early on in the game, as the speed with which the ECDs collect, depends on how many are still in operation. In this way the element of strategy and puzzles creeps into the game, as you search for the right ECDs to clobber, but in the right sequence and with a time limit. Phew! Enough for you to cope with? Good.
The Dark Side is very definitely a Freescape(TM) (and it really is trademarked, by the way), game, using the same brand of fast 3D graphics that brought gasps of surprise from everyone who played Driller last year. Although the views look similar to Driller, you view them through the Evath agent's helmet with all its displays, and this time the puzzles are even more fiendish, and the landscapes conceal even more secrets! It really is a game of many dimensions, and not just the three you get looking through your Evath agent's visor, either!
The gameplay is just as hard (if not a bit harder), as its forerunner. The first stage is mapping, getting to know the different planes of the moon's surface and filling in the squares in the plan view supplied with the package. Then, only once you have a decent map up and running, do you have the tools you need to plan an assault where you don't get killed. From then on it's up to you to look under and over objects, and shoot at everything to discover the right way to beat the Ketars. If you like your games hard. Then The Dark Side is the only choice for you, bucko.

Issue 32 (Aug 1988)
Added: 22 May 2011
If you were thrilled with Incentive's first 3D Freescape(TM) game Driller, you'll go potty over the new release, The Dark Side. Phil South dons his space suit and jet pack and checks out its added dimensions.
Many hundreds of years after Evath was saved from destruction by the imminent explosion of its nearby moon, Mitral, a new threat emerges from its leaden skies. Evath's other moon, Tricuspid, has been hijacked by the Ketars (Oo, painful. Ed) and equipped with a mega destructive laser device, called Zephyr One. With this fearsome weapon, the Ketars intend to destroy Evath, but the device must first be energised with enough power to destroy the planet. To collect the power necessary to destroy an entire planet, ECD towers (Energy Collection Device), have been built around the light side of the moon, with cables leading to the Zephyr One device on the dark side. The ECDs will take a certain amount of time to accumulate the energy, and so you have been sent by Evathkind to destroy the device before it turns Evath into a cloud of expanding gas.
You are a clandestine operative, trained to sneak and destroy. You have been dropped inconspicuously onto Tricuspid, and as is to be expected, you're armed with an Evath combat suit complete with jet pack and shoulder mounted quad laser weapon, which you can aim using the crosshair in heads-up display in your helmet. To prevent the destruction of your world, you must halt the collection of power to the Zephyr One by taking out all the ECDs on the surface of Tricuspid. And how do you take out an ECD tower? You have to find one in the network that's only connected by one cable and shoot the crystal on the top. If the ECD is connected by two cables you see, then the crystal will have enough power to regenerate almost immediately, thus defeating the object of wasting your own energy shooting it in the first place. It's essential then that you take out as many towers as you can quite early on in the game, as the speed with which the ECDs collect, depends on how many are still in operation. In this way the element of strategy and puzzles creeps into the game, as you search for the right ECDs to clobber, but in the right sequence and with a time limit. Phew! Enough for you to cope with? Good.
The Dark Side is very definitely a Freescape(TM) (and it really is trademarked, by the way), game, using the same brand of fast 3D graphics that brought gasps of surprise from everyone who played Driller last year. Although the views look similar to Driller, you view them through the Evath agent's helmet with all its displays, and this time the puzzles are even more fiendish, and the landscapes conceal even more secrets! It really is a game of many dimensions, and not just the three you get looking through your Evath agent's visor, either!
The gameplay is just as hard (if not a bit harder), as its forerunner. The first stage is mapping, getting to know the different planes of the moon's surface and filling in the squares in the plan view supplied with the package. Then, only once you have a decent map up and running, do you have the tools you need to plan an assault where you don't get killed. From then on it's up to you to look under and over objects, and shoot at everything to discover the right way to beat the Ketars. If you like your games hard. Then The Dark Side is the only choice for you, bucko.

Issue 32 (Aug 1988)
Added: 22 May 2011
If you were thrilled with Incentive's first 3D Freescape(TM) game Driller, you'll go potty over the new release, The Dark Side. Phil South dons his space suit and jet pack and checks out its added dimensions.
Many hundreds of years after Evath was saved from destruction by the imminent explosion of its nearby moon, Mitral, a new threat emerges from its leaden skies. Evath's other moon, Tricuspid, has been hijacked by the Ketars (Oo, painful. Ed) and equipped with a mega destructive laser device, called Zephyr One. With this fearsome weapon, the Ketars intend to destroy Evath, but the device must first be energised with enough power to destroy the planet. To collect the power necessary to destroy an entire planet, ECD towers (Energy Collection Device), have been built around the light side of the moon, with cables leading to the Zephyr One device on the dark side. The ECDs will take a certain amount of time to accumulate the energy, and so you have been sent by Evathkind to destroy the device before it turns Evath into a cloud of expanding gas.
You are a clandestine operative, trained to sneak and destroy. You have been dropped inconspicuously onto Tricuspid, and as is to be expected, you're armed with an Evath combat suit complete with jet pack and shoulder mounted quad laser weapon, which you can aim using the crosshair in heads-up display in your helmet. To prevent the destruction of your world, you must halt the collection of power to the Zephyr One by taking out all the ECDs on the surface of Tricuspid. And how do you take out an ECD tower? You have to find one in the network that's only connected by one cable and shoot the crystal on the top. If the ECD is connected by two cables you see, then the crystal will have enough power to regenerate almost immediately, thus defeating the object of wasting your own energy shooting it in the first place. It's essential then that you take out as many towers as you can quite early on in the game, as the speed with which the ECDs collect, depends on how many are still in operation. In this way the element of strategy and puzzles creeps into the game, as you search for the right ECDs to clobber, but in the right sequence and with a time limit. Phew! Enough for you to cope with? Good.
The Dark Side is very definitely a Freescape(TM) (and it really is trademarked, by the way), game, using the same brand of fast 3D graphics that brought gasps of surprise from everyone who played Driller last year. Although the views look similar to Driller, you view them through the Evath agent's helmet with all its displays, and this time the puzzles are even more fiendish, and the landscapes conceal even more secrets! It really is a game of many dimensions, and not just the three you get looking through your Evath agent's visor, either!
The gameplay is just as hard (if not a bit harder), as its forerunner. The first stage is mapping, getting to know the different planes of the moon's surface and filling in the squares in the plan view supplied with the package. Then, only once you have a decent map up and running, do you have the tools you need to plan an assault where you don't get killed. From then on it's up to you to look under and over objects, and shoot at everything to discover the right way to beat the Ketars. If you like your games hard. Then The Dark Side is the only choice for you, bucko.
Unknown

Added: 1 Mar 2017
Released about half a year after Driller, Dark Side is the game''s only true sequel. Even then it takes place centuries later, though, as Ketar activity has been uncovered on the dark side of Evath''s other moon, Tricuspid. Soon researchers discover their evil plot to... harness solar power! Well, and then to destroy Evath with a "particle beam transmiter" as soon as enough energy is built up. The game once again comes with a huge backstory, which doesn''t make a whole lot of sense, is terribly written and riddled with typos. Like in Driller, the actual mission involves travelling to all sectors of the moon, but this time it''s to find and deactivate certain Ketar installations, called ECDs, to prevent them from somehow destroying Evath. However, they only can be take down in a specific sequence.

Not much has changed in terms of the world''s structure. Tricuspid''s map has the same polyhedron shape with 18 sectors as Mitral, and the hero is once again dropped alone on the surface. But instead of a boring mining probe, the player is equipped with an awesome jetpack, which can be turned on at any time to fly above the scenery, which is often required to find secret passages and avoid enemies or obstacles. This makes sure that Dark Side still is a game of resource management, even though there are no drill rigs to call upon. The jetpack consumes fuel whenever it is used, and at the start the supply is not very generous. So among the items of the Tricuspid bucket list should be the goal to find shield charge stations, the first of which luckily is found in the starting sector. But shield is not fuel, and so the player also has to find some stacked twin pyramids, which allow to exchange one for the other.

But much more urgent is the need to find and deactivate the ECDs, as time is at a strict limit that only gets extended when taking down an ECD. But contrary to Driller the HUD doesn''t contain a time display, so you never know when it''s going to end, leading to many surprising Game Overs. At first the mission seems much more straightforward than Driller''s, as all targets are essentially large pillars and visible in plain sight, but that comes with many caveats. The ECDs are all connected by cables on the ground, and as long as it is supported by two adjacent ECDs, a deactivated unit will always recover immediately. So the player has to trace the connections, destroy the lone ECD at the end point and then follow the cable to the next ECD. This is not always as easy as it sounds, because of course there are countless obstacles in the way, and eventually it comes to ECDs that are interconnected on multiple lines. The final ECD, found on the eponymous Dark Side of Tricuspid, can only be reached after finding four teleporter crystals all around the moon, and solving a convoluted teleporter puzzle.

To prevent things from getting to easy, the Ketar stationed several red tanks on Tricuspid, which take much longer to destroy than it's worth bothering with them. At some locations radar beacons are installed, which should be destroyed, but they are often placed strategically to fool the player into walking past them, whereupon they are caught and thrown in a prison cell. It's possible to bribe boxes at the door by shooting at them to "pay" them either with shield or fuel. Escape leads to a huge tunnel below the surface, which spans the whole circumference of the moon.

Still, Dark Side is easier and not nearly as opaque as Driller, and can be solved in just a few sessions. Acting fast is much more important, though, so taking good notes where to go at which point is essential. To provide an additional challenge, Incentive Software included 40 "cryptic hints" in the manual that somehow related to the game in a counter-intuitive way, clues like "Don't be square-Go for it!" or "Emulate the journey of Scott the adventurer." One of those who could explain what all these meant by the closing date was promised "a 2 week, expenses paid trip for two, to Baltimore, USA" - at least for UK players. It is not known whether a similar incentive was given for the North American release, which was published by Spotlight Software and sported a much more elaborate cover illustration than any of the British versions.

The original engine didn't experience any noticeable improvements over the predecessor, and the version differences between the 8-bit platforms are largely the same as with Driller. The Atari ST and Amiga, on the other hand, received even more special treatment. Enemies can now move around the sector they're placed in on predetermined lines, as do some other objects. Dithering is re-introduced to these ports, sometimes used to simulate (static) shading in dark areas, or for some neat lighting effect like the blinking of the ECDs' sun receptors. The starting position is moved a few steps backwards on these two platforms, maybe to give a better initial overlook of the first sector and/or to keep the player out of range of the now mobile enemy tank. The gameplay is also optionally accompanied by music, although it is little more than constant portentous whirring, with a beat building up in the background and some quiet notes here and there. It's also either that or sound effects.
Unknown
HardcoreGaming101.net
Added: 1 Mar 2017
Released about half a year after Driller, Dark Side is the game's only true sequel. Even then it takes place centuries later, though, as Ketar activity has been uncovered on the dark side of Evath's other moon, Tricuspid. Soon researchers discover their evil plot to... harness solar power! Well, and then to destroy Evath with a "particle beam transmiter" as soon as enough energy is built up. The game once again comes with a huge backstory, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, is terribly written and riddled with typos. Like in Driller, the actual mission involves travelling to all sectors of the moon, but this time it's to find and deactivate certain Ketar installations, called ECDs, to prevent them from somehow destroying Evath. However, they only can be take down in a specific sequence.

Not much has changed in terms of the world's structure. Tricuspid's map has the same polyhedron shape with 18 sectors as Mitral, and the hero is once again dropped alone on the surface. But instead of a boring mining probe, the player is equipped with an awesome jetpack, which can be turned on at any time to fly above the scenery, which is often required to find secret passages and avoid enemies or obstacles. This makes sure that Dark Side still is a game of resource management, even though there are no drill rigs to call upon. The jetpack consumes fuel whenever it is used, and at the start the supply is not very generous. So among the items of the Tricuspid bucket list should be the goal to find shield charge stations, the first of which luckily is found in the starting sector. But shield is not fuel, and so the player also has to find some stacked twin pyramids, which allow to exchange one for the other.

But much more urgent is the need to find and deactivate the ECDs, as time is at a strict limit that only gets extended when taking down an ECD. But contrary to Driller the HUD doesn't contain a time display, so you never know when it's going to end, leading to many surprising Game Overs. At first the mission seems much more straightforward than Driller's, as all targets are essentially large pillars and visible in plain sight, but that comes with many caveats. The ECDs are all connected by cables on the ground, and as long as it is supported by two adjacent ECDs, a deactivated unit will always recover immediately. So the player has to trace the connections, destroy the lone ECD at the end point and then follow the cable to the next ECD. This is not always as easy as it sounds, because of course there are countless obstacles in the way, and eventually it comes to ECDs that are interconnected on multiple lines. The final ECD, found on the eponymous Dark Side of Tricuspid, can only be reached after finding four teleporter crystals all around the moon, and solving a convoluted teleporter puzzle.


Added: 13 Dec 2008
The revolutionary 3-D graphics technique, Freescape, made its debut late last year in Driller, where an emergency mining operation was carried out in order to save Evath's distant moon, Mitral, from a Ketar-engineered explosion.

It's taken the Ketars 200 years to plan their revenge. This time they've constructed a giant crystal weapon, known as Zephyr One, on Evath's other moon, Tricuspid. Intended to harness the sun's energy and direct it at Evath, the huge crystal is linked to a network of energy collection devices (EGOs). If the EGOs are allowed to reach maximum power, Zephyr One fires and, with no chance to retaliate, your planet explodes.

The mission - to shoot and disable the EGOs- is highly confidential. You are dropped inconspicuously into a safe zone on the moon's surface with the minimum of equipment: space suit, jet-pack, quad lazers, a shield and a small supply of fuel.

Tricuspid has 18 sectors including the dark and light sides of the moon. In each, the 3-D landscape is observed through the viewing panel of the space suit. Buildings, trees, walls and walkways stand out from the regular surface of the moon. You can look up or down, rotate to view objects from any angle and tilt to the right or left.

Tricuspid is a moon of many secrets: strange symbols mark its buildings, tunnels are hidden beneath the ground and a range of places can only be accessed by deciphering a series of puzzles. The EGO network itself needs to be tackled strategically; a column linked to two other active EGOs regenerates immediately when it is shot, so only ECDs with a single working connection can be disabled permanently.

Powerporters (suspended slabs) provide instant teleportation. Restricted areas can only be accessed via a telepod, but for security purposes, essential telepod crystals have been hidden in various places around the moon.

Ketar defences click into action as you approach. Detector devices teleport intruders into prison while plexors break down your shields as soon as you come within range. However, dwindling power supplies can be boosted by walking into fuel rods or shield pentagons.

Allow your energy to run down, fall into the grip of the plexors or fail to complete the task in time, and Evath's fate is sealed. Persevere long enough to reach the final EGO on the moon's dark side, though, and your distant homeland might just survive...

Producer: Incentive
Price: £9.95 cassette, £14.95 disk
Author: Major Developments



The long-awaited Driller sequel

CRITICISM
"The impossible has been done! Incentive have taken the best game of 1987, improved on it, and made it one of the best games of 1988! There was no doubting the excellence of Freescape - the graphics generation technique used in Driller - but some criticised the lack of game content. This criticism could in no way be levelled at Dark Side; it's not just a fast action game (albeit only 5% faster than its predecessor) requiring accuracy and coordination but also a very strong strategy game - cartographers will love it! My favourite feature of Dark Side is the way you can enter a screen, turn on your jet-pack and zoom up to a great height, then look down on the screen you're about to encounter and plan your strategy. This and Cybernoid must reign among the best games of the year so far. When Dark Side came in for review I played it solid for almost a day, and I can't say that about many games nowadays!"

PAUL ... 95%

"Following the considerable success of Driller, the Freescape technique has once again been used to incredible effect in Dark Side (hopefully, though Incentive's next enterprise will use Freescape in a different fashion; it's such a brilliant system, I would hate for each successive game to become 'just another Driller variant'). Dark Side is an extremely captivating game, and after playing for only a short while it's possible to become totally absorbed in the proceedings. For the player, the world of Tricuspid really exists: movement within the alien environment is smooth and utterly believable, and the missio
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This title was first added on 5th March 2008
This title was most recently updated on 1st March 2017


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