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Archon: The Light and the Dark

MobyRank MobyScore
FM-7
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4.0
Macintosh
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PC-88
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Description

Archon: The Light and the Dark is a strategic board game with some similarities to chess. Two sides, a light one and a dark one, consisting of 18 pieces each compete on a board divided into (9 by 9) squares. You win the game by having one of your units on each of the five powerpoint squares, by removing all opposing pieces from the board or by imprisoning the last remaining creature of the opposing side.

However, you can't just remove a piece from the board by landing on it. When two pieces clash, the outcome is decided in the battle arena during one-on-one real-time combat. If the real-time combat takes place on a dark square, the dark monster gets a health bonus (longer life bar). On a light square the light side gains an advantage. There are also some squares whose color changes over time (from afternoon, to dusk, to night, to dawn etc.), which adds an extra layer of strategy to the game.

Unlike chess the two sides are not identical. Both sides consist of mythological creatures. For example the light side has among others unicorns, valkyries and a djinni while the dark side features basilisks, banshees and manticores. The differences are not just cosmetic. Two special pieces are the light wizard & the dark sorceress, they can both cast magical spells like: imprison a unit on the board, shift the flow of time (change day/night cycle to your advantage), bring one unit back from the dead etc.

The different pieces have their own movement restrictions regarding the number of squares they're allowed to travel on the board and whether or not they can jump over other units (like the knight in chess). Units also behave different in combat; some units are faster than others, some use melee attacks while others fire projectiles.

Archon can be played with either one or two players. The NES version, which was released a few years after the other versions, has improved graphics for the real-time combat part. Each type of square has it's own colored background and the unit sprites are larger.

Screenshots

Archon: The Light and the Dark Apple II Challenge your opponent to a duel. (Action sequence).
Archon: The Light and the Dark Atari 8-bit Intro
Archon: The Light and the Dark Atari 8-bit Shifting back to dark
Archon: The Light and the Dark Amiga Unicorn vs Dragon

Part of the Following Group

User Reviews

Another C64 classic Commodore 64 Jeremy Howe (8)
Play Chess With Chun-Li PC Booter Yeah Right (57)
A great alternative to chess for those strategically-impared. PC Booter Trixter (8734)
Very original and highly addictive action/strategy game. Commodore 64 Tom White (39)
Great Game, Wrong Machine PC Booter Tony Van (2688)
A true classic. PC Booter Tomer Gabel (4388)

The Press Says

The Video Game Critic Atari 8-bit Jan 12, 2004 A 100
The Video Game Critic NES Apr 22, 2001 A 100
Game Freaks 365 NES 2005 9.3 out of 10 93
Tilt Amiga Feb, 1988 18 out of 20 90
The Atari Times Atari 8-bit May 09, 2001 90 out of 100 90
NES Archives NES Jul 20, 2007 B+ 83
All Game Guide Commodore 64 1998 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70
Micro 7 Atari 8-bit Jan, 1984 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 67
Your Spectrum ZX Spectrum Jul, 1985 7.5 out of 15 50
Sinclair User ZX Spectrum Jun, 1985 2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars 40

Forums

Topic # Posts Last Post
Amiga release in 1985? 2 vileyn0id_8088 (9898)
May 25, 2014
Atari 400 800 Version 4 Pseudo_Intellectual (44571)
Jun 13, 2011

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Archon appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Archon III

A pair of 13 year olds worked on a game they called Archon III: Exciter for a while, never completing it, and the beta version widely circulated the internet, until eventually myth mixed in with fact and it was wrongly believed to be a genuine unreleased official follow-up.

Cover art

The game's striking and distinctive cover artwork is apparently an homage to the work of Dutch artist M.C. Escher, combining his typical preoccupation of repeating and inverted tessellated patterns of animal silhouettes as well as a rendering of an exotic polyhedron. Though it is not a direct adaptation of any of his works, it is evocative of the 1948 wood engraving Stars.

Electronic Arts

As of 2001, one of the four large meeting rooms on the first floor of the "Mission Control" building of Electronic Arts Redwood City, CA campus is named "Archon". The four meeting rooms are named after EA's first four games.

Palm OS

This game has been ported to the Palm OS (Palm Pilot/Handspring Visor).

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15h anniversary issue) - #20 on the "150 Best Games of All Time" list
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 03/2013 – One of the "Ten Best C64 Games“
  • Happy Computer
    • Issue 04/1985 - #5 Best Game in 1984 (Readers' Vote) (Commodore 64 and Atari 8-bit version)

Information also contributed by Chris Mikesell, Martin Smith, nullnullnull, PCGamer77, Pseudo_Intellectual and FatherJack.

Related Web Sites

Contributed to by Quapil (4741), Trixter (8734), PCGamer77 (3027), Sciere (257204), Kabushi (122912), Martin Smith (63130) and Terok Nor (18743)