Damocles is the second game of the Mercenary series created by Novagen Software.
Damocles is the second game of the Mercenary series created by Novagen Software. The title, also known as Mercenary 2, was released in 1990 for the Amiga and Atari ST.
Paul Woakes is not the most famous name in the history of game designers, perhaps because of his shy nature. But yet, this English coder, co-founder of Novagen, was a true visionary and innovator of game mechanics.
Mercenary had already introduced in 1985 the concept, almost revolutionary at the time, of "open world," a virtual place that players can freely explore. Everything was in full 3D, which was impressive considering that the game was running on the Atari 8-bit, Commodore 64 and other 8-bit computers.
Damocles, instead, was created for 16-bit platforms only, a decision that allowed the shift from wireframe to filled polygons. The graphics and visuals are much more realistic. It's worth mentioning that the Amiga and Atari ST chips, unlike PC's graphics cards, were not designed for 3D support. All the rendering was software-based, so making a game like this required excellent coding skills and ingenious solutions to keep the number of on-screen objects under a certain level. Woakes did this exceptionally well.
But polygons were not the only improvement. Instead of a single planet, Damocles offers an entire star system, with different worlds to visit and explore. The celestial bodies follow the physical laws of orbital mechanics, as well as the theory of relativity, and this can be useful to solve the game.
The goal is to save the planet Eris from destruction, avoiding a collision with a comet. You will have to fly from planet to planet (or use teleport), land and explore cities, collect information, and solve puzzles. You have total freedom, and there are five different ways to solve the game. Imagine a game like Frontier, but with the ability to fly, land, and visit cities in all planets. Not bad.
Of course, the risk is to feel a bit lost sometimes. If you prefer games with limited actions or locations, you might not appreciate this game. But if you want to immerse yourself in an almost realistic, sci-fi virtual word and get things sorted out in your way, well, this game is for you.
Review by: Manu
Published: 7 June 2019 3:43 pm