• Tag Archives C64
  • Epyx Fast Load

    USA 1985

    The Commodore 64 in addition to being an excellent computer for its time was also an incredible games machine. The one significant drawback it had was long load times…sometimes very long. Being a computer and using a disk already meant longer load times than a cartridge based video game system but the disk load times on a Commodore 64 were much slower than they should have been for various cost saving and backwards compatibility measures for the VIC-20 that were really unnecessary. Anyway, being a computer with easy programability and expansion ability, this was a problem that could be overcome.

    One of the first solutions to this problem was the Epyx Fast Load cartridge. It sped loading up to 5x and when you were talking load times that could sometimes be measured in minutes or with games or applications that would have multiple loads, this was huge. The Fast Load cartridge simply plugged into your user port and no other effort was necessary to enjoy much faster load times.

    In addition to speeding up loading, it also added a few shortcuts commands. For instance (from memory) typing ‘$’ would give you a directory listing and typing ‘←*’ would fast load the first (or only) application/game on the disk. What was most important, however, was the faster load speeds.

    The Fast Load cartridge was released in 1984. It did have a few downsides. Mainly, it did not work with some copy protection schemes that came later. Of course, this was just another incentive to pirate games or to use pirated versions stripped of copy protection even if you bought the original. Eventually it became common and ultimately virtually universal for fast load schemes to be built into programs. This made the Fast Load cartridge much less useful but at the time it was released it was virtually a ‘must have’.

    The ad above is from circa 1985.

  • Beverly Hills Cop (Tynesoft, 1990)

    Beverly Hills Cop (Tynesoft, 1990)


    Beverly Hills Cop, based on the movie of the same name with Eddie Murphy, was developed by Tynesoft and released in 1990 for several home computer platforms, including the Commodore 64. This was a pretty late release, at least for the Commodore 64, and I believe that it was only released in the U.K.

    Most versions feature four distinct subgames that are in large part influenced by other popular games. These include a warehouse shootout, a driving level in which you chase and shoot at several trucks full of weapons, a level in which you must run across the yard of a mansion while having a shootout with a variety of bad guys, and finally, there is a first person perspective level. The warehouse level plays very similar to Green Beret/Rush N’ Attack and the driving level plays very similar to Chase HQ. The first person perspective level is somewhat limited in terms of movement and you face only one enemey at a time.

    While there is certainly a variety here, none of the levels are particularly well done. As is the case with the vast majority of games based on movies, this one just isn’t that great (and that’s being generous). The graphics aren’t great, the sound and music isn’t that great, and the game play isn’t either. It also doesn’t really follow the plot of the movie.

    In addition to the Commodore 64, this game was available for DOS, the Atari ST, Amiga and a few other home computers. However, none of them are really much better. If you want to play this game, you will have to track down an original or resort to emulation. Except for hard core collectors, I would recommend the second option in this case if you really want to give this one a try.

    Screen shots above are from the Commodore 64 version of the game.