Space Pope

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Space Pope
Title image of the game
Game No. 271
Developer Dov Sherman
Company
Publisher
Musician
HVSC-File
Release 1991
Platform C64
Genre Shoot'em Up, V-Scrolling, Weird!, S.E.U.C.K-Game
Gamemode Multiplayer
Operation {{{Width}}}{{{Width}}}
Media Icon disk525.png
Language Language:english
Information created with SEUCK, current version: "Ego te dissolvo! Aaahh! Edition" (2013),
Blasphemy Warning!


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Description[edit]

Space Pope and Robonun save the interstellar Catholic World.

"In the distant future space station Vatican 1 falls under attack from evil beings from planet Heck and the Catholics of the Christian galaxy turn to their hero Space pope and his trusty sidekick Robonun." That's all the SEUCK title screen reveals about the background story.

As in every SEUCK game, the player has to shoot a way through hordes of enemies, in this case to save the intergalactic Christendom from the evil aliens. You can do this either as Space Pope or Robonun or in a team of two players with both characters. You "shoot" with the good book also known as Bible in dark or light red hardcover to pulverize the enemies to stardust as seen in bad vampire movies or read in various horror novels.

Design[edit]

Within SEUCK's limits, Dov Sherman did a decent job in terms of graphics, especially the sprites are animated quite well, whereas the background is rather simple though it provides some minor changes in the course of the game. The SEUCK standard SFX match the space shooter scenario very well, though they can really make you deaf or crazy in the long term. Normally, SEUCK does not provide any music, in the Priest Maxi version from 2013 there is a title song, a PETSCII title picture and a storable highscore list.

Sometimes "Space Station Vatican 1" seems to be a sea of concrete.
The random enemy shots which were bugged in the Fat Fucks version were fixed in the Priest Maxi re-crack.



Hints[edit]

General[edit]

With fire button on joystick in port 2 or 1 you start a game as Space Pope or Robonun. From the beginning till the loss of the last life, a second player can join the game by pressing fire on the other joystick, but only once, i.e. not endlessly like in Gauntlet. Each player starts with 7 lives of which 6 are displayed in the lower border below the score. Every 10,000 points the players receive an extra life, you can collect 10 lives, though you are never shown more than 6. By pushing RESTORE  you can quit a game and enter the main menu.

Overview of important game objects[edit]

Space Pope and Robonun
Space Pope and Robonun Preservers of the Catholics and heroes of the game.
Bull neck demon
Bull neck demon Planet Heck infantery, quite common standard enemies. They either just stand or move following individual patterns from the top to the bottom of the screen with occasional horizontal moves. They fire a single shot vertically downwards. If you don't hit them, they sometimes get stuck at the lower edge of the screen where you can take all the time of the world to finish them. The blue variant needs two hits to be sent to hell but brings 70 points just as the red version.
Demon in space-capsule
Demon in space-capsule The high tech demons are rather fast and have a variable movement pattern. In most situations there is a whole squadron of them firing their double shots vertically downwards. Sometimes they get stuck in a corner of the screen if you do not kill them before. There are again a red and a blue variant of which both bring 60 points but the latter needs two hits to be killed.
Demon shooter
Demon shooter These bricked in demons fire some kind of laser beam horizontally over the screen. Instead of running into their laser fire, you should just eliminate them beforehand, which is a little fiddly due to SEUCK's flawed sprite collision, but since the targets can't run away, you should take the time as soon as you killed all the moving enemies, which brings you 170 points.
Demon in quad
Demon in quad Those motorist demons are the fastest of their breed. They can enter the screen from everywhere and leave it in every direction. Normally they appear, drive something like a half circle an keep firing in their travel direction all the time, which can be dangerous, especially if they move diagonally, not to speak of the deafening noise they produce. Killing them, however, not only produces a heavenly silence but also 500 points.
Demon fire
Demon fire These ectoplasmic phenomena appear on crosses, but only when a player gets close enough. So whenever the background graphics look like graveyard again, get ready for fireball salvos which are sent randomly in every direction all over the screen. Sometimes even more than one are located on a single cross as you will sometimes notice if you hit and the salvo continues. There are green ones which bring 110 points and red ones which bring 150 points, even the devil is puzzled about the reason for this difference.
Undeads
Undeads Especially on graveyards you meet hordes of these blokes who pretty much move like zombies in the movies move, from the top to the bottom of the screen with occasional sideways steps. Since they do not shoot and tend to get stuck at the end of their tour, they are mostly harmless and consequently only bring 30 points.
Trapdoor monster
Trapdoor monster Particularly close to goodies a trapdoor might open, two eyes appear and fireballs cross the screen in every direction. It's tricky that the trapdoors sometimes do not open, before you passed them. You can only hit their inhabitants when the trap is open, which leads to 170 points.
Demon eye
Demon eye This is the last enemy you encounter in the last part of the game. There are only few of them, they are not camouflaged as the trapdoor monsters or demon fires but bring 270 points.
Holy objects
Holy objects Having mastered a certain part of the way without dying, these goodies appear with increasing frequency. You collect them by touching them which is rewarded by 1,000 points. Sometimes you find mere fields of these things, no wonder, you are in Space Vatican. Even a fistful of them might lead to an extra life even if you already thought to be doomed.

There are a couple of further recurrent elements like planets, a space shuttle or something resembling a giant cyan curling stone or airhockey bat with incense clouds. But the objects not mentioned in the table above are only immovable background graphics.

Known bugs and flaws[edit]

Game design bug at the end of the game[edit]

Lost in space: Having accomplished the whole game, the Space Pope is trapped due to the game design bug.

The developer made a mistake when designing the transition from the end to the new beginning of the game. If you pass the "Congratulations" sign too far left or right, the player sprite will appear on a position where it is trapped. This would have been avoidable if the last part had been designed as wide as the first.

So stay close to the sign when crossing the invisible finish-start line. Once you got stuck, you can only push RESTORE  to finish the game and as the case may be enter the highscore list.

SEUCK specific flaws[edit]

Sometimes you can throw whole libraries of Bibles without any effect due to the flawed SEUCK sprite collision.
  • As in all SEUCK games the sprite collision is not accurate. Due to the large shots (Bibles) of the players, this will only occasionally lead to problems, but killing the demon shooters in their walls seems to take ages sometimes.
  • The decimal score display "only" goes till 999.990 and then jumps back to 0 - though the case might be a rather theoretical one, since you must play through the game roughly 25 to 30 times to reach such a high score.
  • Another bug not unknown to SEUCK but also other games with many sprites is the so-called sprite lag. Whenever too many sprites are in the screen, the whole game speed slackens and the sprites begin to flicker.
  • On PAL systems there is a 1 to 2 pixel high flickering which might be a SEUCK problem but also a minor flaw in the PAL-adjusting of this NTSC game in the Priest Maxi version.
  • Not only in SEUCK games, but in many V-Scrolling games (cf. Paperboy#Cheats) the speed of the player influences objects such as horizontally thrown Bibles whose position on the y axis is not adjusted to the scrolling. Even zero gravity cannot explain this violation of the laws of physics, let's just call it a miracle!

Solution[edit]

Don't cheer too early, still a lot can go terribly wrong.

When you face the end of the game in form of that "Congratulations" sign graphics, be very careful. There is one more attack wave and the risk of being trapped by the game design bug. If you escaped from both, the game will start anew without any changes in difficulty or whatsoever.

Cheats[edit]

In the "Ego te dissolvo! Aaahh!" version by Priest Maxi you can equip Space Pope and/or Robonun with unlimited lives and/or invincibility, which deactivates the highscore list.

In the Fat Fucks version (which crashes due to wrong trainer registers) there is the offer of "unlimited energy", God alone knows what it might be good for.

Critics[edit]

TheRyk: "I am no SEUCKomaniac at all, but rather shun those games. The more surprised I was to discover a rather playable and mostly well-done SEUCK game. Inspite of all the flaws SEUCK implicates, Sherman did the best he can to make those flaws as endurable as possible and moreover, did a great job in pixeling and animating the sprites. The crazy FX fireworks is a perfect match. The difficulty level is also well-balanced; though you will die quite often as a beginner, you are provided with enough lives to learn rather quickly. Beside a rather empty stretch in the middle of the game, it's getting more and more difficult continuously. What some people might regard a sacrilege, making a little fun of religion, is another aspect I particularly like, believing that God is no spurner of a good laugh Himself. I rate this game unprofane 7 out of 10 points."

Miscellaneous[edit]

Trivia[edit]

Since this game was created with SEUCK and probably never published commercially, but rather spread by private copies, many things remain mysterious. The release year is not mentioned in the game and remains uncertain, though a certain ReadMe mentions 1991. The crack of the Fat Fucks is not dated either. Beside his name, nothing is known about the developer Dov Sherman. The fact that the Fat Fucks version only runs on NTSC video standard, indicates that Sherman might be from the US. The first name Dov is Hebrew and means "bear". If the developer is really a Jew, this might give the bizarre story of the game another comical facette.

Versions[edit]

SEUCK-Guru Richard Bayliss writes on CSDb about the Fat Fucks that they were "[...]a fun lamer label for the late 1990's which released trained SEUCK games[...]" but also didn't know enough about SEUCK memory mapping to train them properly which lead to bugs such as broken random shots. Based on such a "cracked beyond repair" version a certain Priest Maxi finally on Holy Thursday 2013 released a re-crack "out of competition" at TND's SEUCK compo. In that version Fat Fucks bugs are fixed, it runs on both PAL and NTSC and provides a storable highscorelist working with KERNEL load, so it should also support cartridge loaders like Action Replay or modern hardware such as SD2IEC, IDE64 etc.

Blasphemy warning[edit]

In the ReadMe file mentioned in the Trivia section, it says: "This game contains blasphemy which some users may find offensive." Richard Bayliss/TND also comments the Priest Maxi Version: "Warning: This game consists of harsh language!" So if you are a very devout Catholic, you should maybe better stop reading right now and forget about the game, since the author of this article being a Protestant cannot tell you what Catholics have to do as penance for playing this game.

Cover[edit]

  • No official cover released For this game no official cover was released.

Highscore[edit]

Topscore of TheRyk
  1. TheRyk - 75.280 (26.07.2013)
  2. Werner - 27.790 (18.04.2013)
  3. Sledgie - 12.120 (12.04.2013)
  4. Ivanpaduano - 7.970 (12.04.2013)

#2 Werner #3 Sledgie
#2 Werner #3 Sledgie


Links[edit]