It’s been a while I didn’t post anything here. A few personal issues killed my mojo, and I didn’t feel it right to pass it down here. Fortunately, things are getting better, and I spent some time today digging through my backlog of stuff and open projects. Months ago, I backed a Kickstarter for a brand new and ambitious game for the Apple II: Nox Archaist by 6502 Workshop. I opted for the deluxe package, and I am not disappointed! Big box, great Art, wax-sealed parchment, 5.25″ floppies (as well as a USB key), a crystal, a coin, a cloth map, and plenty of goodies for your desktop. Overall, the quality of the package is outstanding!

Nox Archaist is an RPG game in the direct lineage of the Ultima series. I have a vivid memory of playing Ultima II on the Apple II of our high school computer club. A blast from the past. The gameplay is excellent, and it brings the player up to speed quickly and in a well-organized way. Although I am at the beginning of my quest, I can say that the game’s programming, done entirely in assembler, is excellent. The animated map is fantastic, and it unveils as the character walks it, meaning that we don’t have a bird’s eye view of the world. Every animation, especially the water effects, is gorgeous (that was already something that caught my attention with the basic implementation in Ultima II). The fighting system reminds me of Archon: The Light and the Dark game, which is pretty cool. I didn’t have the chance to test the use of spells, so I cannot gauge how easy they made it to use.

You can play Nox Archaist in various ways. Out-of-the-box on a desktop computer (Mac or PC) using the application shipped on the USB key. We can also run it using an emulator (such as AppleWin here). And, of course, on original hardware. It all worked well except for the audio on my pimped Apple IIe platinum. Although I configured my MEGA Audio to emulate the Mockingboard, I could not get the music or the sound effects. Only the basics via the motherboard speaker were audible. Unfortunately, the game supports automatically only the Mockingboard. Meaning that there are no settings I can play with. Worst case scenario, I will use a real Mockingboard while playing the game.

In one sentence: I am delighted with this new 8-bit game!