My tribute to Repton, the greatest shoot 'em up ever written for the Commodore 64.
I believe that Repton is the most underappreciated game for the Commodore 64. It deserves credit for being the most detailed and complex shoot 'em up ever written for the machine in the early 80's (in my opinion). It literally adds new dimensions to the 1980 arcade game Defender, an extremely popular coin operated game of the day. There are enough differences for Repton to maintain it's own identity however. Repton was written by Dan Thompson and Andy Kaluzniacki. It was first published by Sirius in 1983. All three are my heroes. It was originally made for the Apple II, and later for the Atari 800.
With Commodore 64 emulation as strong as it is now, I would like to re-introduce people to a forgotten classic. I don't think Repton was appreciated for it's programming genius. Repton was born in a day when a games like this were to be marveled. Try programming a game like this with only 38,911 bytes of 8 bit memory to work with, and only eight sprites (a C64's moving graphic object). Wait a minute, there are more than eight moving objects on the screen? Exactly. That is one of the things about Repton that impresses me. There is a lot of internal juggling going on in this game. These guys knew what they were doing!
Most of all I would like you to experience a game that may have been overlooked, and above all, have fun!
Update: Andy Kaluzniacki's e-mail to me
First of all, I must start with saying the internet is an amazing thing. To me receiving a letter like this unsolicited is like finding a needle in a haystack. It has happened to me several times now, mostly regarding my other robot web site, and now my Repton Tribute site. I received an e-mail from Andy Kaluzniacki regarding this page. This is his letter:
Subject: Your REPTON site.
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 11:58:31 -0800
Wow! I don't know what to say. It's always nice to see that someone enjoyed that game so much. I sure had a great time writing it. It was Dan's original game idea, which we then collaborated on as I coded the original Apple II version. Dan then did the conversions to the C-64 and Atari-800.
I just wanted to say I really like your site, and I would like to link to it from my site. drewk.net.
[ physicist ]
Update: Now we may relive Repton again, or experience it for the first time. Andrew has created a version of Repton for Apple's iPhone! Go HERE to download a copy, or click below. You will need Apple's iTunes installed to view the site. In a way, I find it ironic... In the end, this is the one game that survived, yes!
Object Of The Game:
Basically, you are trying to keep the enemy base from being completed. The quarriers cannibalize pieces of your base to build their own, supplemented by the power that is stolen from your power grid by the drayns. The entire time you are engaging the various villains that are trying to stop you. The Drayns will steal power, which you can steal back by flying through their beam and breaking it. You may then return the power to the power tube. If the enemy base is completed, or all the energy is "drayned" from your power grid, the base will suck your Armageddon ship underground for a final battle. The game then takes a different turn, and becomes more like the 1981 arcade game Scramble.
You won't believe all the action on the screen after a few levels!
One more thing I should mention here: use your radar screen. You can see your enemies before they see you. Head into them while their off the main screen, strafing like mad!
118K Please Wait To Load
This is Repton's built-in instructional. The actual game play is much more chaotic!
Meet Your Adversaries
||Spye||Though not known to attack, it is a hazard to Navigation.|
||Quarriers||These steal pieces of your base
to build their
enemy base. The goal is to keep their base from completion.
||Drayn||Steals energy from the Repton power grid, which is used to build the enemy base.|
|These guard the enemy center. If the Nova Cruisers are hit, they break into four Singleships.|
||Minelayer||Lays destructive devices in your path.|
||Dyne||Discharges deadly energy beams!|
||Missiles||These are fired from the portion of the enemy base that is completed using pieces of the city your ship is trying to protect.|
You are Repton's Only Hope
The shield will protect you while you are still or coasting. You will become vulnerable while using your engines, or firing weapons. After flying through a beam of stolen energy created by a drayn, your ship will display an energized state until the power is returned to the power tube.
One more thing, you also have five "smart bombs" at your disposal. These will destroy everything on the screen. They are loaded using the space bar, and activated with your fire button. Use them wisely!
Drayn Dyne New New Smart Heat End Level Ship Bomb of Battle Game
Above are a few mp3 sounds. Please reload page if animations stop.
In 1983, I had a Sinclair ZX81, which I built from a kit I bought from an ad in a Popular Science magazine. I decided to move up to a real computer. I chose the Commodore 64. They had been going for about $500 for an entire system, and Price Club had a Commodore system with a luxurious disk drive for $27 9. Wow! I was about eighteen years old, and I think my parents chipped in some money for my birthday.
I would spend hours programming from any number of magazines that had program listings. They were ready to be typed in for the numerous types of computers that thrived at that time. The problem was that Basic language was slow, and could not compete with the coin operated arcade machines. The Commodore 64 was fully capable of games like these (or so we thought), but only if you knew machine language, the computer's native language. Those of you that know machine language know that it is not something the average computer novice can learn overnight.
The stores at the time had not begun carrying games for the Commodore 64 yet, it was on the cusp of the C64 software avalanche that history shows. I was forced to do my shopping for my games through the mail. A catalog had Repton for $39 plus shipping. I decided to splurge for the expensive program. I wanted to see what my Commodore 64 was capable of.
Like anything that I had bought, I appreciated it more. I learned all the "tricks," and "ins and outs" of Repton. I spent hours playing it in the mid 80's. I was pleasantly surprised when modern day emulation reached the realm where I could enjoy a game I hadn't played for years. The CCS64 emulator plays Repton flawlessly! Other emulators may do the same. The links below will introduce you to them.
If you have any photos of the original box, or additional information that you would like to share, please feel free to send them to me. I regret my box was lost years ago!
Commodore 64 Emulation Links:
The other UK Repton game that needs mentioning- totally different!
C64 Portal- A news server- no, the C64 is not dead, check it out!
CIA: Commodore Internet Archive
COCOS- The Commodore Computer Sitelist brought to you by Padua
The Arnold Commodore 64 Page
SHOOT!- The Commodore 64 Shoot´em Up Games Archive
CCS64- A Commodore 64 Emulator- By Per Håkan Sundell
The Star Commander: a program for transfering your C64 disks to your pc by Joe Forster. Support Joe :)
The Star Commander: buy a special cable to connect your 1541 disk drive to your computer. It works great!
Other Interesting Sites:
Museum of Dead, Gone & Obsolete Computers
Andy Kaluzniacki's Web Site
Brought to you by All graphics regarding Repton on this page were reconstructed with screen captures while running a Repton disk image in an emulation program on my pc. What you are looking at is a collection of actual computer bits that have been resurrected from their deep sleep from over twenty years ago!