Monk-y On The Run: L’Abbaye Des Morts

Dragon, Aged.

Reader Adam Britton sends word of Spectrum-tacular indie game L’Abbaye des Morts. You want to give this a go, I think. I just lost half an hour to it, and developer Locomalito calls it “AN OBSOLETE VIDEOGAME FOR A DARK PASSAGE OF HISTORY”, which is obviously excellent. He actually wrote it on holiday in Southern France, and it’s a (loose) interpretation of how a Christian sect known as the Cathars were hunted in the 13th century. Go play! Or just go and marvel at Locomalito’s excellent site, which boasts retro boxart for all his games.

A video of L’Abbaye Des Morts came to me for protection, and I’ve sheltered it beneath the jump.

Caw, this is a nice bit of work. Neat level design, satisfying puzzles, fun soundtrack, cute aesthetics. Tight like a fat man in an airplane toilet.


  1. Eclipse says:

    you definitely need to play Hydorah, best Locomalito game so far

    • BAReFOOt says:

      Is that the hunter? I like hunting down religious crazy people. Sorta like an Inquisition, but helping instead of hurting the world. ^^

    • Ozzie says:

      Oh Hydorah is indeed brilliant. It’s so stressful that it helps you to relax, really!
      Too bad I have such a crappy machine atm that I can’t play it!
      Oh and the game stutters sometimes when you use the gamepad, but otherwise it’s a brilliant retro Shoot ‘m Up that does probably nothing new but still feels fresh. Best of all, it’s hard, but entirely fair!

  2. Rinox says:

    The persecution of the Cathars in 13th century is an underused game setting.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      It’s true!

    • Zetetic says:

      You really think so? I thought that by Cathars of Duty : Medieval Warfare 2 it was getting rather tired.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Together with 99.9999999% of our fascinating human history. :-(

    • Ian says:

      @ Lars: I’m sure when they run out of interesting ways to portray World War 2 they’ll get right on it…

    • Rinox says:

      @ Zetetic

      I dunno, I still get a kick out of getting a 15-kill streak on the crusaders with my double begging sticks.

      Tactical boiling oil UNLOCKED

    • tomwaitsfornoman says:

      @Lars: Agreed. Somebody really needs to make a game about being an Aztec badass and killing 80,000 people in four days.

    • jonfitt says:

      I’d take issue with that bit of Aztec self promotion. Nobody kills 80,000 people in 4 days without explosives. Even if you’re going for 4 days straight, that’s one person every 4.32seconds. Even if you had them lined up and standing still, and someone following you with food and water, you couldn’t stab that many times without your arm falling off.

    • Fumarole says:

      How unimaginative. Just stampede them off a cliff.

    • Bret says:

      More importantly, it was 80,000 prisoners.

      That ain’t playing a frontliner.

      That’s Auswitch shower technician pro 2.

      Ain’t badass in the slightest to be killing unarmed schmucks.

      Might be historically educational, might have artistic value, but geeze, I don’t want to meet the guy who’d call it fun.

    • Samuel Bass says:

      The persecution of the Cathars would actually be a pretty strong setting for an Assassin’s Creed game.

      Goes to show that there’s a ton of historically interesting settings that could be used if we could get past the whole “muscley sword / gun man” thing and be willing to accept a wider variety of settings. For one, I’ve always wanted to do a Crimean War set RPG, complete with gangrene meter.


      By we, I mean the people who make the games, the people who publish ’em and, to a certain extent, the people who buy ’em.

      Oh, and this is a lovely little game. Took me back to the days of playing random budget titles on my friend David’s Spectrum – although the narrative is surprisingly deep.

  3. Ganders says:

    Amid the sea of pixely games on the internet this one was too cute to pass up, and it’s a lot of fun. Would’ve adored this on the old commodore.

  4. JackShandy says:

    I remember this. I love the simple little bits of storytelling in it the most- escaping and taking shelter in the church, the “A Prayer of Hope” screen, the hangings. Lovely stuff.

  5. sonofsanta says:

    You seem to be carrying the pun torch now. This turn of events meets with my approval.

  6. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    This game is cathartic.

  7. sbs says:

    “Tight like a fat man in an airplane toilet.”

    this should be on the box

  8. thebigJ_A says:

    I can’t beat this.

    There’s that room with the note that says to jump to prove your faith, but if you jump, you either die or nothing happens. I couldn’t find what the switch by the dragon opened. I couldn’t figure out how to reach the switch in the room below the dragon.

    Wow. I never knew I suck at vidja games.

  9. Jannakar says:

    No attribute clash. IMMERSION DESTROYED.

    • James G says:

      Bah, what’s the point of emulating the Spectrum graphics style if you don’t reproduce attribute clash. Was actually making the same point to Paul of Mode 7 fame the other day, and he mocked my purist attitude. I still hold that is you set out to mimic a style, instead of just draw loose inspiration from it, you should pay attention to detail. (Of course, I’m not sure if this did set out to mimic the Spectrum, or if the visual style is a looser connection, like VVVVVV borrows from the C64.)

    • phlebas says:

      Only one thing for it. Somebody port it to an actual Spectrum emulator.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Most people going for “lolretro” are doing well if they can even stick to the right palette or resolution.

      Hell, I’ve seen “8-bit” games where sprites get arbitrarily rotated off the pixel grid. :/

  10. Temple to Tei says:

    Wow, instant non-existent memories from the screenshot.

    If the Worshipful One is listening (or any of you lesser mortals who actually understand clever things about this typewriter and tv device)
    I see an option for my avatar: the patch-eyed-not-a-lightsaber-wielding character from Grialia.
    4th screenshot on this page link to

    Any ideas how to crop with the most basic of tools?

    I am always like this when people leave -does not really hit me until a couple of days/weeks later.
    As I type I realise Kieron’s name is no more.

    • JB says:

      @Temple to Tei – I’ve sorted a couple for you, i’ll PM you the links shortly.

    • JB says:

      Done, check your PM’s.

    • Temple to Tei says:

      Thank you JB, we shall spare you when The Tei orders the death of all unbelievers (he may not actually be ordering the death of all unbelievers, but we are free to interpret how we wish)

      Yours is the more peaceful, contemplative view.
      Spent, ooooh, a good while having a go myself hoping for the more militant version.
      Yay, for Paint!
      (and now to see if it works)
      (and then to try and figure out minecraft terrain files)

  11. Magius Paulus says:

    “Wow, instant non-existent memories from the screenshot.”

    My thoughts exactly. The structure of the graphics and the sound are indeed epic. Looking forward to waste some time with this tonight, for old times’ sake.

  12. Max says:

    I already passed this one over without realizing it was by the same guy who made Hydora and 8-Bit Killer. Now I’ve got to give it a playthrough.

  13. jonfitt says:

    I realise now that I don’t have the patience for monster dodging games with instant death.
    I got to the garden under the Church and got stuck in a loop of: jump, death, jump, death, jump, death…

    Where’s my Multiface 3…..

  14. Robsoie says:

    Looking at the video some of the screens reminded me strongly of Jet Set Willy.
    How much i hated this game on my old cpc464 and how much i was each time compelled to actually try to go further. This was an absurdly difficult game in which every pixels counted when trying to time a jump between moving obstacle, and the worst is that you had only a few lifes and no continues.

    I guess i was plain insane and masochist when i was young.

    • terry says:

      Agreed, if Datasoft’s Bruce Lee taught me to love platform games then JSW taught me to hate them. Bruce Lee was and is a joy to play, largely because a lagered-up parakeet could complete it, it’s super short and there’s a variety of surreal landscapes, but most importantly the jumping was fluid and satisfying in exactly the way Willy was not. Even Manic Miner became a frustrationfest of ridiculous proportions because of the combination of pixel-perfect jumps with a slow-moving awkward parabolic curve, but at least it only had 20 odd screens. JSW was like Matthew Smith kicking you repeatedly in the balls and calling you a pussy.

    • phlebas says:

      I once completed the Spectrum version of Bruce Lee 9 times over breakfast and was quite upset when my parents turned off the computer to make me go to school.

  15. Eric says:

    In addition to being a neat little game, I think L’Abbaye des Morts is narratively fascinating.

    I wrote about why over here, if any of you are interested. ;)

  16. Duckeenie says:

    What! no colour clash?

    Looks really well done. Takes me back to my dizzy days, no not that kinda dizzy! Oh NVM.

  17. Robsoie says:

    Thanks for mentionning Bruce Lee, it triggered my nostalgia brain cell.

    I enjoyed this title a lot, i remember a specific screen with several floors that had some electric sparks going that you needed to time to jump over safely and was the most difficult place in the game, but there was no real “But that’s impossible !” moments.

    Manic Miner and its follow ups, the Jet Set Willy serie introduced the “But that’s impossible” concept that could only be the product of an insane evil brain plotting to overthrow any sentient thoughts from the player.
    And it indeed made painfull balls too ;)