Freeware Garden: Powerglove

I told him I'd crush him and he just sat there; staring.

Though a freeware release for Windows, Mac and Linux, the equally fresh Commodore 64 version of Powerglove is a commercial offering that even comes complete in its very own, very homebrew cartridge. That’s delightfully different, isn’t it? No need to answer, I know it is, and what makes things even more intriguing is that the non 8-bit version of the game isn’t just an emulated one.

While retaining the wonderfully nostalgic sights and sounds of the Commodore version, Powerglove PC adds support for handy joypads, a bit of parallax scrolling and, optionally, more detailed sprites.

Oh, yes, and the important ability to play in full-screen and be able to really appreciate the subtle beauty of the C64 palette while listening to a lovely SID soundtrack through your modern speakers.

Despite the low resolutions, the Commodore 64 graphics do look superb. And, even though I never owned the micro, oddly nostalgic too.

The game itself is a traditional run-‘n’-gun platformer with good and taxing level design, a rich selection of baddies and an assortment of power-ups to pick up. Everything works as it should and, during its many inspired moments, Powerglove did remind me of ZX Spectrum classic Rex, what with its big, complex, cavernous levels and carefully paced exploration.

Interestingly and just like the venerable Rex, Powerglove also comes complete with an ecologically concerned plot. You are not just guiding its hero through a polar thermal reactor complex killing mechanical enemies. You are fighting to save the billions of humanity in a world where fossil resources have been exhausted and you’ll be doing this by locating five control diamonds.

Yes, control diamonds! Gotta love ’em.

13 Comments

  1. Optimaximal says:

    I thought the C64 used tapes..?

    • Konstantinos Dimopoulos says:

      And cartridges, though they were way more expensive. Also, 5.25″ disks too.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      It had a big ol’ cardtridge slot in the back. Some games shipped on cartridges, but the slot was mainly used for hardware expansions.

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        Phasma Felis says:

        Like a bitchin’ speedload cartridge.

        (For some reason the built-in floppy disc driver code in the C64 was far slower than the drive could support. You could fix it by running a small program that, later on, actually shipped with the 64, but without a hard drive you’d have to dig out the disc and re-run it every time you booted the machine, which BTW was generally the only way to close a program. Finally someone released a cartridge that you could just use all the time. Typical game load times dropped from two minutes to around 15 seconds.)

    • Tycow says:

      It did, but it also had a cartridge slot on the back too. :)

      I had Robocop 2 & 3, Flimbo’s Quest, and Toki on cartridge… ah, memories!

      EDIT: Ninja’d!

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      Phasma Felis says:

      I must’ve had hundreds of floppies for the old 64. Probably still in the basement somewhere. I was aware that tapes existed, but I never so much as saw one of them, or a tape drive.

  2. rustybroomhandle says:

    I only recently discovered Rex – what a great Speccy game! Shocked that I missed that one back then.

    • Niko says:

      Yep. It has amazing graphics and animations, and there’s even destructible environment!

      • rustybroomhandle says:

        And the only game ever in which you get to play species: Rino-Sapiens :)

        • Niko says:

          And multiple path choices and that weapon, don’t know how it’s called. You know, those tiny things that circle you and shoot in both directions.

  3. David Bliff says:

    Sounds so bad.

  4. buzzmong says:

    Hmm. I’m actually really tempted to buy the C64 cart of this. Would make a rather interesting Christmas pressie for my brother who actually has a c64 set up on his spare desk.

  5. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    I’ve been wanting to play a Mega Man-like game, and although this is a bit different, it was close enough to satisfy my urge. The music in particular is really good. Well worth the download, thanks for the recommendation! And please, keep these coming.