Xyphoes Fantasy is a 2D side-scrolling action adventure game developed in 1991 by Silmarils exclusively for the Amstrad CPC 6128. It's a highly-recommended Amstrad CPC game mainly for its visuals and sound! The game comes in 1 disk and runs only on 128k systems.
Story/gameplay: In the land of Norem, an army of warriors called The Skulls, have forced Norem's magician lord to lose all of his powers. The desperate man has chosen you as the hero who will trek across Norem and prevail against The Skulls and their evil leader, Kan. And not only that, but your girlfriend was kidnapped too by the evil Kan! You need now to fight your way through four different levels that mix shoot em up action with 1-on-1 sword fighting against Kan's finest warriors. The world is mean and the enemies very hard to compete, so grab your sword and start ripping their heads off. Gameplay and level designs looks like a mix of the well-known Amiga smash hits, Shadow Of The Beast and Wrath Of the Demon titles (not in quality, of course). During your quests you must collect various objects on your way (these are trophies that will end the reign of Chief Skull). If your bag is not fully filled, access to the next level will be refused. At the end of each you must fight with your sword against the most terrifying barbarians (one at a time). Gameplay is rather simple, including hitting incoming foes, jumping on platforms, one-to-one fighting and so on. You even riding a horse (at level 2)! In general, gameplay is not bad either, but it's a highly-recommended CPC game mainly for its visuals and sound!
Graphics/Sound: Ok now let's get serious. When I first played this game, I couldn't believe in my eyes! I thought that I was dreaming as I've never played such a game on an Amstrad CPC, provided its 'weak' hardware! The graphics and music are out of this world - something that the CPC users (and in general the 8bit home users) could only dream of. The graphics engine here offers overscan screens, beautiful sprites, smooth animations (except some instances when too many sprites populate the screen) and lots of colorful backgrounds. It seems developers have used all the colors an Amstrad can generate, simultaneously (27 in total)! Technically it is a very impressive game. There is also a sampled tune on the title screen while the gameplay sound uses Atari ST-like sound transfers (soundtracks and effects)! Overall, the game itself is a brilliant example of what an Amstrad could do when programmed properly...Well done Silmarils once more! And for the record, some members of the development team were later involved in the demo scene.
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Amstrad CPC 464/664/6128
CPU: ZiLOG Z80 4MHZ MEMORY: 64 KB or 128 KB of RAM depending on the model (capable of being expanded to 512k using memory extension boards) GRAPHICS: Motorola 6845 address generator, Mode 0: 160x200 / 16 colors, Mode 1: 320x200 / 4 colors, Mode 2: 640x200 / 2 colors, A colour palette of 27 colors was supported SOUND: The CPC used the General Instrument AY-3-8912 sound chip, providing 3 channels Mono Sound (via internal speaker) but capable to offer Stereo Sound provided through a 3.5 mm headphones jack (with pretty impressive outcome!). Also, it is possible to play back digital sound samples at a resolution of approximately 5bit. This technique is very processor-intensive though.