A revolt on a distant prison island must be foiled by you in this first-person shoot ‘em up. Reaching the control room will suffice, but a further challenge of finding the six pieces of a hidden bomb can be undertaken if you’re brave.
The game features texture-mapped visuals and a variable screen size, making it suited to anything from a humble A500 (most Doom-style games needed at least an A1200) or a well-accelerated machine.
The prison complex is on several levels, with teleporters linking different sections, and the chance to reach the final control room via several different paths. You don’t get a weapon at the start of the game, and ammunition is in shorter supply than usual, meaning that you can’t just shoot randomly and hope for the best. Another way of killing people off is to set them on fire
Developing the game took about a year; it was slowed down by the fact that the developers (all four of them) were all teenage school students.
According to composer Artur Opala: "While Citadel was being finished, I watched a TV programme about the Electronic Arts team, who were working on a new game in Paris. When I had heard that, for them, a single game involves a year of work of over 300 people, I thought I'd misheard something. Only then I realized what exactly we had done." [source: ppa.pl]
The levels have been designed by all the developers.
The music was composed initially on an Amiga 500 and then Amiga 1200 with the Blizzard accelerator, with a simple sampler and the ProTracker program.
The voices in the intro are by all the developers, as well as a teenage girl named Monika (nicknamed "Drzazga").
The game has been designed to run on an Amiga 500, which was the most popular Amiga model in Poland back then. As a result of memory constraints, there is no in-game music. The sound effects (the beeps of letters typed into a terminal) in the introduction are actually part of the music; they work properly only on an Amiga 500, but go out of sync on Amiga 1200.
The game concept was created when the programmer, Paweł Matusz, decided to try and create a working Doom-lookalike on the Amiga, despite general consensus being that this sort of game is impossible on this computer. A successful prototype was created a few weeks later (with graphics by Radek Czeczotka); Virtual Design was formed soon afterward to develop the game into something for commercial release.
While the game had good sales in Great Britain, Germany, France and Poland, the developers had a lot of problems with getting their due from the publisher, Arrakis Software and were forced to sue. The legal battle raised some minor interest in Poland, even among mainstream media. While Virtual Design had won, the publisher didn't have the money to pay them and went bankrupt. Virtual Design employees had received very few, if any, financial profits and the company folded soon afterward.
Since then (according to Artur Opala) the game, as well as its code, is officially free to distribute.
Świat Gier Komputerowych
January 1996 - Golden Disk'95 editors' award for the best Polish game of 1995
January 1996 - Hitek'95 readers' award for the best Polish game of 1995