• Graphics
  • Sound
  • Playability
  • Lastability
FormatCommodore 64
DeveloperGeorg Rottensteiner
Price£3.99 (cassette)
£5.99 (budget disk)
£11.99 (deluxe disk)
ReviewKent and Mark

Main review

Joseph J. Gunn, that’s your name. An archaeologist, a passionate one at that and one day you make the discovery of a lifetime, an unknown pyramid in the deserts of Egypt. This must be the long lost tomb of the Crocodile King! And for some reason you know about that King even if he has been erased from history… Winds are blowing, there’s a sandstorm coming and you must enter the tomb! As You are standing at the entrance of the tomb and can see that you can go down a small ladder, pick up a scarab, jump over a deadly hole and meet your first little puzzle – how to get the door opened? You look through your belongings… perhaps this scarab fits the little hole in the wall, you think. Suddenly the door opens – ah, the quest begins.

At first glance of this game you might think the author has played Montezuma’s Revenge or Rick dangerous too much, but as you progress through the game you will see that not only is it better, its way more entertaining. Almost every room holds a small secret, some form of joystick agility challenge or a puzzle.

Talking about joystick movement. It took me a while to get used to the movement. Left and fire or right and fire makes Joe jump, rather than as, at least most players are used to, fire and up or fire with an upward diagonal. When you push the joystick down and press fire you search the ground you are standing on, things might be hiding under the skulls you know, and fire and up takes you to the inventory list. If you have picked up several items you can scroll through the list by holding the fire button down and moving the joystick vertically. Later in the game you will encounter overhead ladders which you can use your hands to move across; just point the joystick up and Joe happily reaches for the ladder and you can move left or right. To let go, just point the joystick downward.


So the game itself is, at it’s core, a basic platform game with rooms that you have to go through. You might have to do certain things in one room to get further within another room, but I wont tell anything in this review about the puzzles ahead because I don’t want to spoil the fun. The graphics are functional, its not the best I have seen and not in any way the baddest either and they really work and Joe’s animation is superb! One has to be very careful where you put Joe’s feet sometimes, so look where he’s going or you might trigger something off! The music score is really great but after playing for a few hours you will need to turn it down.

A few hours? Yes thats right, this game has around seventy locations and goodness knows how many puzzles; Joe Gunn will have you occupied for many many hours. It’s simply huge, really difficult at times, and fun! I have to salute the author of this game, especially since it’s his first on the C64, and encourage him to do more games for this platform. As you might have noticed by now i like this game a lot and, from what i have seen on the net, so do other players; it feels like the author of the game has put a lot of time to get this project to a finished state and I take my hat off to him for that. (Is that hat a Fedora, then? – J =-) This kind of quality release is scarce in the Commodore community nowadays, thank you!

Second opinion

Just when you thought it was safe to put away the Livingstone hat Joe Gunn hits the C64 in majestic style – just as well really because everyone was starting to doubt the elusive tomb of the Crocodile King had ever existed at all. However it does, because assuming the role of Mister Gunn you have happened upon his front door, and I guess it says his name on the mailbox. “Super!”, you think, “I’m now going to be the world famous archaeologist that I always wanted to be!”. Well not so fast Joseph – this could be tricky. Many traps and enemies will undoubtedly be lying in wait.

My first impressions of the game were very good and I couldn’t help feeling that this game had been expertly and lovingly crafted by it’s creator because, without being overtly flashy, it seems to exude quality and atmosphere. Firstly the sound in the game is very nice; great interactive background music that sets the mood well. The background graphics are hires which gives the environment a suitably low key feel but the colour limitations do not prevent some screens from being rendered quite beautifully and detailed in parts. And the sprite for Joe himself is very simple, but when he runs, swings, climbs and jumps he is well animated. This animation really locks in tight with the simple but effective control system and the result is a nice sense of spatial awareness that you get – as a player I felt really integrated with my surroundings. Good examples of what I’m getting at can be found in a few places where the platforms are tightly bunched that climbing to the top is an effortless exercise. Indeed that alludes to the great map, screen and puzzle design throughout, it really is a game that begs to be explored and is rather enjoyable in doing so. Attempting to hinder your journey are a few foes, the snakes being the ones posing the most risk.

Aside from a couple of extremely minor “glitches” I found (very petty things: one of them being when Joe goes idle, he enters an animation and gets forced to turn to the left, even if he was facing right.) the overall presentation is excellent. What we have here, in my personal opinion, is a rare game where all the elements come together and really do form a truly memorable gaming experience. There is purposeful challenge in this game and it’s not the sort of title where you can complete it in one life on your first try. It has several simple but compelling gameplay features that are well tried and tested. Mortality, exploration, puzzle solving, set pieces and more combine to make a very enjoyable game that implores that you complete it. If I were to recommend this game it would be an understatement, so do yourself a favour and grab a copy.