Clyde’s Adventure for DOS

Having not played a DOS game in a few weeks and having my other plans fall through, I’ve recently had a quick go at the original Clyde’s Adventure. It was made by Moonlite software back in 1992 and is a puzzle-platform game. It has a sequel that I played quite some time ago.

The game uses EGA graphics and has a simplistic but very effective art style. I was impressed with the animations and colouring, which in some places actually looks like it was done with VGA capabilities. There are also animations for many of the static tiles, which brings a bit of life to the levels. Even the birds in the background move around. I did notice a little flicker under Dosbox, but I suspect that wouldn’t happen on real hardware.

Sound support comes in the form of simple Adlib effects and music. Unfortunately it seemed to not sound very good under dosbox on my windows XP machine, but was ok on my macbook. Perhaps I have a setting wrong on my PC, but on real hardware (or when working under Dosbox) the music during the levels is kinda catchy and the sound effects are quite nice. However it seems there is only one song that repeats over and over, I didn’t find it annoying, but if you do there is an option to turn off the music.

The game was quite unique at the time. Firstly there are no enemies to dodge or shoot and there are only really two ways to die: running out of energy, or touching something deadly such as spikes or lava. Energy is basically your health, and unusually you use energy when you move, jump or fall a long distance. Luckily you can find more in the level, but it is generally quite sparse. This means you really need to plan your path and know the levels in order to successfully complete them. Because of this it took quite a few goes and a few hours to even beat the first level.

Clyde carries a wand to temporarily destroy some bricks, and this combined with switches and magic triggers will reveal new areas, Gems to collect or bombs that can help open areas up. These create some interesting puzzles, especially when you’ve got limited energy.

Clydes Adventure is quite challenging, much more challenging than it’s sequel. I spent quite a lot of time learning each level, dying and having to try again. But strangely it wasn’t really frustrating, perhaps because there is no lives system, and you only really die by making a mistake with the controls or path you take. Being insta-killed on spikes because I jumped a little short did annoy me a little though, especially closer to the end of a level.

Because it is quite challenging and time consuming I didn’t get to play as far into it as I would have liked. So I might have missed seeing some of the features of the game. Still I really enjoyed what I did get to play, only it’ll almost certainly take me several weeks to finish it, if I have time to play.

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