Unoffıcıal / Fan-made



Shadow of the Beast —

Atarı 8-bit

Perhaps the most fascinating and surprising of all ports of Beast is one that was in development for the Atari 8-bit family of systems. Those included the 400, 800, and 130XE.

Very little seems known about it beyond that development began somewhen in 1990, but was never completed due to the business collapse of Harlequin.

This one doesn't bite.

F‍rom the builds released online it is clear that development had progressed quite far. A few of the areas are in place with environment art and parallax scrolling. Certain landmark objects exist, including the tree and castle entrances, and at least one kind of enemy object, those “eyeballs”. It is impressive that parts of each location are complete to a recognisable degree.

The port is playable but without a game. The player may traverse the areas, enter some doors and climb ladders but to a limited extent. It is possible to find the exit in the first underground area that leads to up to the overland forest, out via the well.

‍The recognisable aesthetic of the Atari system is striking here. The use of the expansive colour palette is especially great, as it fits the Eerie Forest's familiar sky perfectly. The available locations and sprites were said to be early work in progress with "ugly" colour palettes. Some of this work is already well crafted in places. Though it is not known whether Aarbron would have remained blue.

One of the most polished parts is the music, wonderfully composed for this system by Cornelius. The three areas all have distinct pieces based on the original works by David Whittaker.

‍The available builds online are for PAL systems only, resulting in corrupted graphics if timing is set to NTSC. It is possible that work would have been done to allow for NTSC timing, for release.

The mere existence of this Atari 8-bit port—even in its severely unfinished state—is beautiful.

1990 — Harlequin
Programming: Kevin Learwood & John McManus / Graphics: Stephen Goss / Music: Orall Cornelius

Thanks: Atarimania

Thıs ıs a sıte dedıcated to Shadow of the Beast, a property owned by Sony.