Iridis Alpha

Iridis Alpha, developed by Jeff Minter of Llamasoft and published by Hewson in 1986.

Longplay Information

Author(s): MadMattyMadMatty
System: Commodore 64
Subtitle Language:
Additional Info: No information available
Publication Date: 20/05/2024
YouTube Release: 31/12/2034
Duration: 02:50:44
File Size: 587.67 MB (601772.00 KB)
Downloads: 43 downloads
File Links:

Archived Submission Thread


Player's Review

Enter into the world of Jeff Minter's IRIDIS ALPHA. Manoeuvre in the bizarre world of high speed surrealism. Bombard your senses with dynamic visual experiences whilst keeping pace with fast and furious bi-directional scrolling. Mega blast your way through 5 planets each with 20 different levels. Get to grips with IRIDIS ALPHA. The key to your survival is-ENERGY!"

Jeff Minter takes on the classic shoot em up and intends to shake up the genre with Iridis Alpha. From what we know of his previous games, it usually about putting the player at as big a disadvantage as possible so is this going to be a play once and be done with it or perhaps the greatest game llamasoft ever put out?. It ultimately comes down to being the kind of player that plays games for fun or have an affinity for score chasing in really challenging games. Before going in you can select between easy and hard modes but I cant believe anyone would want to play on anything other than normal (easy). The main difference on hard (ugh) is that you can crash into the buildings.

The game stands out for having better sprite work than other llamasoft games as well being quite colourful with plenty of rainbow gfx throughout. if you are unfamiliar with the game watching the video for the first time, nothing will make much sense but stick with it. The game is split into two playfields working like a mirror. You only control one side at a time even though you will be moving both screens all the time. Both craft has it's own energy bar. Killing enemies fills the bar. Crashing into enemies empties it. The colour of your ship also reflects the energy level. That's a normal way of doing things right? except here if you fill your energy bar, you overload and go boom and equally if you empty it, you go boom. To help managing it, you can land and dump energy into the core whist also balancing the energy reserves of both craft at the same time. In the landed state you can walk across the ground whilst shooting but not that useful. You need to jump of the edge of the land in order to take off. If you managing to fill the core with energy, you will go into a bonus round for more points.

The bonus round (Phase II) requires you to fly to the top of the screen within a time limit. You shoot in the opposite direction to push your craft where you want to go but there is gravity and inertia working against you as well as obstacles blocking your path. IBalls will be attacking you and taking your time away so you shoot shoot at them when possible. This also where you earn extra lives if you make it through. Make it to the top and receive a score bonus. Back into the game, the idea is to fly fast but many attack waves wont allow you to do it as many of them home in on you. Flying fast raises your score multiplier and if sat still trying to shoot things you will score nothing. Many enemies will drop warp gates which will jump you between both playfields. This is a key game mechanic as the side you are not playing is degrading and if left to long, you go boom. This can be especially problematic with attack waves that don't drop the warps, but there is a way out. Every level has a warp gate that allows you to move between worlds which will also reset the entropy.

In this longplay I play through all 200 attack waves before the game loops. There are 100 attack waves to go after. Five worlds each with 20 waves (0-19) equalling 100 wavs. You have to do all that on both sides for 200 levels in all. As you complete waves, you are working towards unlocking the other planets. These unlock at a set number of waves completed so you are free to complete these on which ever planets you have access to. Each time you destroy an enemy you will move an arrow at the bottom of the screen which selects the destination of the planet warp.

I'm not sure how realistic it is to expect the player to survive long enough to finish all 200 waves. Without all the quality of life features modern emulators provide this longplay wouldn't have been possible. That said although I have a good idea what I'm supposed to be doing, I may not have the right strategy to tackle it as intended. The warp screen is automatically shown when unlocking planets and can be called up any time to show current progress. Once all 200 waves are complete and mega bonus is awarded before the game loops over.

Overall then, I don't think this is a particularly fun game. There are to many ideas thrown into the game and many of them are working against the player. As a C64 game though, it looks good, scrolls smoothly and controls reasonably well but there is definitely a difficulty curve to adjust to. Because nearly all enemies drop the playfield warps it's all to easy to accidently swap sides when not intending to. There are plenty of enemies that are just damned annoying and need to be tackled in a specific way to count as a kill only adding to any frustrations.

To close the video I show an extra game (Made in France) that appears when pausing the game. Its a simple game which has you dropping mirrors to direct your worm to the dot. Collect as many as you can before the time runs out. I then show another hidden mode in the pause mode (DNA) which looks to be just an effect generator where you can set some parameters to change the flow of the dna. Its worth noting that the music is procedurally generated and will be different each time the attract screen loops.