- Delta Patrol (1986 on Amiga, Atari ST)
Description official description
Delta Patrol is a side-scrolling spaceship shooter involving waves of enemy formations in the Delta Sector of deep space. This horizontally-scrolling shoot 'em up with 32 levels is something of a predecessor to Armalyte. It's set in the Delta region of space, in which the Hsiffan Khanate species have a powerful presence, using their technology to steal and analyze Terran ships.This environment is the home to outcasts and criminal elements of space pirates, misfits and alien creatures of mayhem. You've been assigned to the Delta Patrol, an elite intergalactic police squadron,for the express mission of taming this region of all antisocial and murderous entities.
The player is in control of his space cruiser engaging formations of the enemy, gaining power up points with victories over each attacking formation. There are obstacles to be avoided, and your default ship isn't strong enough to survive half of these, so in time-honored tradition power-ups are available via a credit system, while trying to intercept and connect with blocks for higher speed, faster fire rate, and increased energy.
Intense battle time erodes power and the player must constantly be aware of these opportunities to stay in action.The more credits you have, the more blue tokens (offering weapons) are offered - if you don't have many, fatal-to-touch grey tokens are unleashed.
Enemies encountered are the spiral Gyro, Space Donuts, and the alien mothership. Your own powerful cruiser is equipped with plenty of firepower, including the Fish Weapon, designed to disperse the atoms of even the most fearsome space creatures.
The 32 levels each feature different static hazards, as well as the actual Hsiffan forces, which come at you in programmed attack patterns.
The player must also be alert to avoid the Sea of Dreams, where gigantic waves can overwhelm his cruiser and drag him into the depths forever.
Credits (Commodore 64 version)
|Practical guidance and production
|Cover Artwork (UK)
|Cover Artwork (US)
Average score: 74% (based on 13 ratings)
Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 8 ratings with 1 reviews)
So, when Gradius/Nemesis got ported to--EDIT eh, let's just focus on Delta.
A well crafted shootemup homegrown in the Commodore scene! The game is produced by Thalamus, a reputable company delivering quality C64 releases. Delta (or whoever calls it Delta Patrol) is created by Stavros Fasoulas, known for his excellent coding and graphics in his games. Last but not least, there is the aural wizardry of Rob Hubbard.
THE GRAPHICS. It may look a bit barren at first (good ole space, ya know). The objects are well pixellated. There is perhaps a bit much of metallic grayness, but there are spots of colors to relief. Nice effects like the star field or the (for some reason) always rotating main ship. Smooth 50 FPS scrolling and sprite movement is granted as it should be.
MUSIC. SID chip plus Rob Hubbard equals sheer awesome.
C64 games released on tape usually have some tunes playing while the tedious process of loading is going on for several minutes. With the previous Thalamus shootemup game, Rob Hubbard made legend with the Sanxion Loader. This time, the Delta loader is not just a single tune, rather jukebox where you can mix your own music. Pick from a selection of short loops for melodies, bass lines, beats, and effects, they can be combined as you wish.
After the game loaded, you are greeted with the cool main theme. It is inspired by the soundtrack of an art movie called Koyaanisqatsi, but made much more blasting and actiony. During gameplay the sound effects are pretty uninteresting on the long run. If you press F5 at the main menu, they can be traded for some enchanting atmospheric music that is both very dinamic and slowly keeps evolving. All the tunes serve the game's purposes well, and also are a blast to listen to in themselves. they can make the most boring and tiresome household chores feel like heroic deeds.
THE GAMEPLAY. It keeps introducing new elements as it goes on (you may take this granted, but after checking out a bunch of shootemups, I don't). Some environments might repeat, but the gameplay evolves and has a lot to offer trough its 32 stages. No everlasting boss-fights with oversized bullet-sponges, instead there are some interesting enemy formations and some regular big enemies troughout the levels.
You have 3 lives and die by one hit, but at least you don't loose your upgrades. Neither are you put back to the beginning of the level, instead you just have to face the creatures or hazards that killed you previously. This spares a good deal of unnecessary repetition.
Hit detection works well and is forgiving to your favour.
Your ship starts up almost uselessly slow and weak, but if you don't miss the proper power-ups that are in places to be expected, you have good chances. The more you collect from a kind of power-up, the more that skill levels up.
A Note on the power-ups. They are to be found at the sections of gray blocks with icons on them. The gray blocks themselves cannot be picked up, and you can crash into them. If you destroyed the appropriate enemy formations. Some of the gray blocks will turn blue. Those are the ones to be picked up, but only one in every block section, the other ones turn back to gray.
Somewhere to mention that F1 in the main menu toggles between single player and two player mode. This is not simultaneous, the players take rounds.
You can have either sound effects or music, but not both during gameplay. Why is this a thing in so many C64 games?
When you pick up power-ups, the icon of the skill that is improving gets animated for short while at the bottom of the screen. It starts working only AFTER the animation stopped. This gets me killed sometimes, thinking I already have increased power when not yet.
It takes long to get to the part where it becomes positively challenging, and 3 lives may not be enough to be able to explore the real depth of this game. Until that, it may come across as a bland repeat-and-memorize game that could be played blindfolded after you learned the levels. And one has to be a very hardcore professional to get beyond level 20-something, even with earned extra lives.
It's a feature, but still, it's so mean when some enemy formations punish you by degrading your firepower if you shoot them.
The Bottom Line
A generally little known game, but an insidious cult classic among hardcore C64 enthusiasts, that hold its secrets.
Commodore 64 · by 1xWertzui (1135) · 2017
|May 12, 2022
The music in Delta Patrol is heavily based on the organ theme Prophecies by Philip Glass from the 1982 movie Koyaanisqatsi.
- Commodore Format
- February 1991 (Issue 5) - listed in the A to Z of Classic Games article (Great)
- Retro Gamer
- September 2004 (Issue #8) – #92 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
- Your Sinclair
- 1990 - Worst Game of the Year (The fact that its publishers Thalamus shared some ownership with Newsfield who published rival magazine Crash! is surely coincidental)
- ZZAP! 64
- Newsfield Reader's Awards 1987 - Best Music (readers choice)
Information also contributed by Bas de Reuver
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Martin Smith.
Antstream added by lights out party.
Game added August 15, 2004. Last modified September 30, 2023.