I’ve been asked a few times over the years if there’s a project I’ve worked on that’s a personal favourite. Of course Cannon Fodder has to be up there, but there’s a game I worked on well before I joined Sensible Software that I put so much effort in to, even today when I look back, I look back with immense pride, that game is The Executioner.
The genre of this game was very much in the mould of Gravitar, Lunar Lander and that 8 bit classic, Thrust. Now don’t ask me why but the publisher wanted to add some trimmings to the game design, trimmings that were just not needed if we had developed a solid “Thrust” style game.
So what makes this so special to me? When I started working on this one, I’d pretty much found my flow with the whole creation process of making video game art, which is today known as pixel art. I was listening to a lot of The Cure back then and their Mixed Up album was a regular in my CD player along with some classic Pink Floyd and Roger Waters. I wanted to create something special, a dark, ominous look but still retaining that arcade look I was a fan of.
Hawk, the publisher was not really a publisher, it was a label created by Impressions in an attempt to portray a much more stylised sleek label. This was evident with the logo (and box art) which I was given to re-create for the Amiga, albeit on a rather wonky scan. Being and amiga only title I thought it would work well to use 64 EHB mode for this screen and so with a lot of work removing rogue pixels, adding colour and generally making it presentable the original grey scale scan became the logo seen in the game.
Looking back over the actual game it is apparent the whole space navigation and torture aspects of the game just don’t work. It would have been much better to have stuck to a more fluid level structure without the stop/start nature of these additional game play elements. Oh and why oh why did we not have keyboard controls!
If you do play it on an emulator, give it a whirl with keyboard controls set up as the joystick,
A – Rotate Anti-Clockwise
S – Rotate Clockwise
<Shift> – Thrust
<Enter> – Fire
<Space Bar> – Shield/Tractor Beam