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The Evil Dead was an adventure game of "skill and strategy" published in 1984 by Palace Software for the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum 8-bit computing systems. The C64 version was programmed by Richard Leinfeller with graphics by Chris Neary and music by Keith Miller. The datacassette was priced, initially, at around £6.99, The ZX Spectrum conversion was published in 1984 and was written by Michael Fox. This was never released independently and came only as a 'bonus' with the 1985 Palace title 'Cauldron'. A conversion for the BBC microcomputer system was also available priced at £6.99.


ZX Spectrum loading screen

The official launch of Palace Software's first title did not go according to plan, something they had spent thousands of pounds developing & marketing. A press conference was called, held in the tourist attraction 'The London Dungeon'. Nik Powell made a speech about the future of the video games market, and how palace was leading the way. Just as the game's demonstration was about to begin, a Palace employee whispered in his ear that the disks had a bug. Nik had to cancel the entire launch and apologise to all the guests.

Palace Games had big visions for bringing famed horror franchises to home gaming in the 1980s. Evil Dead was to be the first in a line of games including Halloween and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (work had actually begun on 'Halloween' before it was scrapped). Palace Software continued to publish games up until 1988 when their parent company began to get into financial trouble. It eventually filed for bankruptcy in 1990 taking the software house with it. Everyone involved has long since moved on; Chris Neary ran Micro Blitz, a computer shop in Torquay up until 2007, but this went out of business, and it's unknown what he's currently doing. As of 2003, and the rest of the team; Richard Lienfellner is a Director of Electronic Arts. Pete Stone works for Konami, Stan Schembri for IBM, and Richard Joseph has his own website.


Commodore 64 title screen

ZX Spectrum title screen

The following review is taken from MobyGames.com. The games' viewpoint is from the top-down over head perspective. The play-field consists of the cabin interior, which is outlined in a kind of plan view, where doors are represented by a short white line which disappears and reappears upon opening and closing, and windows are represented by dotted lines which function in the same ways as the doors. Some details that are from the film, is the swing on the porch which is gently swaying in the wind, the fire place, which is ablaze, and the two old beds.

The crux of the game-play is as follows, you take control of Ash, represented by a white figure, and you must try to keep out the Evil Dead shroud, which looks like a green cloud mass, that has the ability to open the various windows to get inside, and you must try to close the windows to stop it possessing your friends, Linda, Cheryl, Shelly or Scotty. When one is taken by the evil shroud, they will become a green mutant. Periodically, weapons will spawn and disappear about the house which Ash can utilise to fight the mutants. Weapons consist of hatchets, shovels, and swords, and can be used for a limited time. As you fight the various new additions to the evil dead, they will split into various body parts before being completely finished off, so you will have to contend with disembodied arms, and legs, ghost spirits, and such. You score points for each mutant, or evil body part dispatched.


Commodore 64 screenshot 1

Commodore 64 screenshot 2

Ash’s health is expressed as a number, initially 10,000, and as you are attacked, and subsequently defend yourself, this number will proceed to diminish, and when it reaches zero, it is game over. The ultimate goal of the game is to score enough points to conjure up the book of the dead, and it will appear on the screen, and if you manage to collect it and throw it in the fire place, this is the way of concluding the game.
 
 
 
 
 
Year: 
 
Publisher: 
 
Developer: 
 
Platforms: 


 
Players: 
 
Game Type: 
 
Language: 
 
1984
 
Palace Software (UK)
 
Virgin Palace Gold
 
ZX Spectrum 48K
Commodore 64
BBC Micro
 
1
 
Arcade/Action
 
English
 
 
 
 
 
 
Writer: 
 
Graphics: 
 
Music: 
Richard Leinfellner
 
Chris Neary
 
Keith Miller
 
 
 
 
 
 
Writer: 
 
Graphics: 
 
Music: 
Richard Leinfellner
 
Chris Neary
 
Keith Miller
 
 
 
 
 
 
Writer: 
Michael Fox
 
 
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