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[The Game] Strategy Guide Cheat Corner

Vectron [Arc] Magnar Black Cyclon Blade Lords Akin Core Dump
The Game
(released in 1990)

ARC is a platform game with flipscreen action. With beautiful graphics, it captures the player who is then drawn into the intruiging puzzles which complement the action. You are qarat, an android capable of morphing into a speeder, on a quest to destroy the Arc.

What MSX Club Magazine said about Arc (1990) :

(no 33, jan-feb 1991, pp 58-59.)

  • "A national product with Konami aspirations!"
  • "Everything is highly detailed and there's also a sense of humour!"
  • "I [the reviewer] dare to claim that ARC is the best national MSX game-production ever."
  • "ARC is at this moment a unique game."

What MSX Computer Magazine said about Arc (1990) :

(no 44, feb 1991, pp 45-46.) screen shot

  • "With ARC it's proven that Holland does have very good programmers..."
  • "The first impression is: this can't be a Dutch product, this is almost of Japanese beauty."
  • "A must-buy!"

ARC package cover ARC has always been 'the odd one out' to me. It is the most expensive game I've ever sold, due to the hardware copy protection.
This was pretty expensive to develop. Our claim that 'It can not be copied' caused a lot of hobbying pirates to have a go at trying to.
To the best of my knowledge, there wasn't a working copy in the first decade of its life. With the advent of usable emulators, breaking these things became much easier, and ultimately led to at least the first parts being playable. (The copy protection is checked at multiple points in the game.)

ARC status panel The main innovation (technically speaking) was that we no longer used hardware sprites, because I'd devised a system that could handle software sprites very quickly by exploiting various peculiarities of the MSX video-hardware. This way, we could have multi-coloured sprites all over the place, without too much loss of speed. This made the game unique for the time, because no one had tried to code software sprites and ended up with drab colours for their sprites. Qarat - our hero

Innovation number two was 32 colours on screen. It was the first time this was done in any game outside of Japan, and I recall that at that time only the Japanese Herz company (who created Psycho World and Hydefos, among others) used screen splits at all. Screen-splitting is a (now very well known) technique whereby you use the Video Display Processor to generate an interrupt signal when reaching a certain horizontal scanline. When tapped correctly, you can have two or more different palettes (of 16 colours) on screen at on time. (But it can be used for many other things too, but I won't explain that here.) It was quite revolutionary at that time.

Some thought the end of game boss was too hard. It isn't, really. Just crouch, and fire like hell with the 'bullet' weapon. It takes a lot of hits, but you should be able to kill it. If you avoid the explosions from the lasers...

But before I knew it, I was working on a new game called Magnar!

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