Archipelagos (video game)
European Atari ST cover art
Archipelagos is a 1989 first person action and strategy video game developed by Astral Software and playable on Amiga, Atari ST, and MS-DOS-enabled PCs. A remake of Archipelagos, called Archipelagos 2000 and developed by Anthill Studios was released for Windows in 1999.
The game takes place on a series of islands (the titular archipelagos). These islands were created by a mysterious race known only as the Ancients. The Ancients also created another race, the Visitors, who ended up being their downfall, as the Visitors rebelled against their creators, ultimately killing them. As the blood of the slaughtered Ancients soaked into the land, the worlds they had created became twisted and poisoned. This is the world the player now finds themselves in, with the task of restoring the islands to their former, uncorrupted glory.
The game is played from a first person 3D view. The player is not a specific character, but rather a kind of disembodied consciousness. Each level consists of a landscape made up of one or more lost islands. Each level has a stone obelisk, a number of egg shaped boulders, and various hazards, such as animated trees, souls, or other enemies. The aim of each level is to destroy all of the boulders. Once all of the boulders are destroyed a timer starts. The player then has 90 seconds to reach the obelisk and destroy it.
Various obstacles stand in the player's way. There are animated trees which spread the blood of the ancients from their roots as they move around. Moving into an area contaminated by the blood damages the player. Also, once the timer has been started by destroying all of the boulders the trees become enraged, and swarm towards the player. Later levels introduce other creatures and hazards, but the essential gameplay remains the same throughout the game. As the game levels are procedurally generated from seed numbers there are 9999 levels in total.
Archipelagos received largely positive reviews upon release. The Atari ST version received review scores of 92%, 84% and 9/10 respectively from The One magazine (issue 7, Apr 89), ST/Amiga Format magazine (issue 11, May 89), and Atari ST User (unknown issue, Jun 89) The Amiga version scored 79% from CU Amiga (Jun 89) and 90% in Zzap (Issue 51, Jul 89) Elements of the game highlighted in reviews included the 3D graphics, which were seen as very advanced for the time, the atmospheric nature of the game, and its originality.
Computer Gaming World stated that "graphically, this game is stunning, perhaps even shocking ... the game concept is innovative and the play becomes increasingly engrossing". It concluded "Archipelagos is a distinctive product that well deserves to be imported". STart described Archipelagos as "one of the most original games I've seen, both in gameplay and in original concept", with an "odd and eerie setting that works despite an eminently forgettable scenario". The magazine recommended it to those who enjoyed puzzles or "truly weird challenges". The game was reviewed in 1991 in Dragon #169 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 4 out of 5 stars.
- "CU Amiga and Zzap reviews of Amiga version of Archipelagos". Archived from the original on 30 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
- "Little Green Desktop page showing review scores for The One, ST/Amiga Format and ST User". Archived from the original on 29 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
- Lee, Wyatt (August 1989). "Islands in the Stream of Consciousness". Computer Gaming World. p. 19.
- Plotkin, David; Reese, Andrew; Cushman, Carolyn (January 1990). "Strange New Worlds to Conquer". STart. Vol. 4 no. 6.
- Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (May 1991). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (169): 61–65.