Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Sword of Fargoal: The Euro Gold Version Fail (Undated).

Let's start saying that I love Sword of Fargoal and the Epyx boxed version. With the usual attention of details that Epyx devoted to artwork and manuals, the original release of the Jeff McCord's game was absolutely a masterpiece. 

However, few days ago I have managed to get a copy of the budget version of Sword of Fargoal for Commodore 64 which was released by a minor German label called Euro Gold.

Starting from the principle that we shouldn't expect a lot from a budget version due its economic nature, we could expect at least to find the basic details to play the game properly. Believe me, the Euro Gold version of SOF doesn't do it at all.

As soon as I have checked the inlay and I've immediately spotted that some relevant information were completely missing.

Sword of Fargoal, Euro Gold version, Front inlay

Sword of Fargoal, Euro Gold version, Internal inlay

As you have seen, apart from generic details about the story and what you can actually do in the game, there is no mention of how to perform the action described. For example, even if the existence of spells and a basic magic system is mentioned, there's no clue of how to cast spells as for all the rest actions.

When I realized that problem, I wondered if perhaps they just decided to introduce the complete instructions in the game, but after a quick test of the original tape, I had the proof that the game doesn't contain anything else than the original one.

How someone was supposed to play the Euro Gold version of Sword of Fargoal? At that time, there was no internet and the resources of information were always really scarce apart from official computer video game magazines which in some cases supplied a decent support to gamers. I can now only imagine the frustration of someone trying to play SOF guessing what to do. A real waste.

To play this game, you really needed this reference card which was wisely included in the original Epyx release:

Sword of Fargoal, Reference Card, Original Epyx Box. Source: Mocagh

Last and not least, this is probably one of the few games released for C64 without any official release date. I couldn't find anything on the inlay and even on the tape.

Sword of Fargoal, Euro Gold version tape
I really can't figure out when this version of the game has been released since Euro Gold didn't bother to put the release year anywhere. If you are a collector or a videogame historian, you know how important is to track a game release date to make comparison with other versions and put the game in its actual chronological context. Well, in this case we can't and we have just to guess that Sword of Fargoal/Euro Gold could have been released between 1983 and 1985 which is the main period of activity for this German label, but it's just a hypothesis which leaves this release, at least for me, undated.

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