A few months ago the 8-bit guy announced that he was busy programming a new game for the Commodore PET. He already programmed Planet X2 for the C64 and Planet X3 for DOS. I bought Planet X3 and played it for a while. The game is well put together, has a nice finish in artwork, manuals and music and it even runs great on an 8088 with CGA-graphics. When he mentioned a game for the PET I was interested as well. Not that I own a PET but the game would run on a C64 as well so it would be fine for me.

The 8-bit guy mentioned that he was going to discretely put the game on-line on his website to avoid another mega-job of packing and shipping thousands of copies at once. Project X3 was a kickstarter project and as he mentioned in his video's he greatly underestimated the sheer work that is involved in copying disks, labeling, packing and shipping. Incidentally I thought about the PETSCII game and checked his website seeing that he released the game just one day earlier. I ordered a boxed copy of the game and got a download link as well. I copied it over to my C64 (using an Ultimate II+ cartridge) to play the game on real hardware.

The actual gameplay


The first look and feel of the game is good. It's a good idea to grab the manual and look at the controls before you start pressing all kinds of keys. Of course I didn't look in the manual first and got weird results with the controls because I accidentally pressed the caps-lock button!

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Attack of the PETSCII Robots in action!

Once you've used the controls for a minute they turn out to be pretty straight forward and natural. I've found that you can press up (the i-key) and keep it pressed and then change direction to left, right or down. If you keep downwards pressed (k-key) and then want to move up you have to release the k-key first. When you have to walk for a longer period it's easier to 'start' with the up-key pressed in and then navigate around while keeping the up-key pressed in and momentarily press the other direction buttons into the direction you want to go. If you play the game and try it... you'll understand what I mean :). All in all it's not a big deal!

Gameplay wise it's good to walk around and explore the area. Also I tend to take care of every PETSCII robot I come across immediately. Not all of them attack you but in the end you have to destroy all the robots to finish the level. If you destroy them at first sight you spend less time hunting for that last robot that is hiding out somewhere.

Also be very careful with the plasma gun because you can easily kill yourself if you shoot and stand too close to a wall or something. Especially when you've almost finished a level it's frustrating and you'll probably ask yourself why you wanted to destroy that last basic hoverbot with the plasma instead of firing 10 times with the regular pistol :).

All in all ...


I have played the first level now and definitely will explore more of the game. The game is a well-thought concept with nice graphics. Especially considering that it's roots are Commodore PET-roots. The effects in explosions and the way how doors open are nicely done, too.

What I like is that David Murray tries to get a game running on the slowest hardware possible. He dives into the matter and is committed to make it run nice and properly. I think he managed to succeed again with Attack of the PETSCII Robots :).

Interested in his own video's? Check them out below! In these video's he demonstrates the game on the PET and VIC20 as well and he explains how the game came to life.

My New Game - Attack of the PETSCII Robots - Part 1


Attack of the PETSCII Robts - Part 2

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