Chaos Review For Spectrum And Atari St

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Grebn, Nov 6, 2005.

  1. Grebn

    Grebn Member

    Jan 17, 2005

    I was first introduced to Chaos during my Games Workshop infested days, via a Your Sinclair covertape in 1991. It was like playing a board game on a screen - to anyone who's ever sampled it's surreal charms, you probably won't need any convincing. We in the know are aware of what a gem it is!

    The premise of the game is simple. Up to 8 wizards, any or all of whom can be controlled by human or computer players, have to kill until they're the last one standing.

    To this end, each wizard is granted a selection of spells - many of these will be creature creation spells, whereby a magical ally (be it giant bat, skeleton, giant, rat, elf or dragon - there's plenty to choose from), if successfully cast, will be summoned into a square adjacent to your wizard.


    Other than creating minions, you also have a selection of spells that can be used to alter events - some of these are ballistic, such as fireballs, but others can create magic woods that give you more spells, turn the mind of enemy wizards' minions, or raise the dead.

    The main tactic of the game is keeping your wizard safe, but close enough to cause damage. Also essential to success is exploiting the strengths of your various creatures - undeads for example (such as ghosts, skeletons, wraiths and vampires) can only be killed by other undead or magical creatures. Some winged beasts (dragons, griffins, giant bats) can be used to carry your wizard around, which is handy for zipping him around the map.

    Other creations have their own special abilities - some, like the elves, have long ranged weapons. Others can make multiple attacks. Use these skills to get at the enemy minions - once you kill a wizard, all of his monsters will die with him.


    As you can see from the screenshots, the graphics are very basic indeed. This actually helps to keep the game watchable - as the screen fills up with dead bodies, magic trees, castles and minions, the simplicity is a blessing. The sound effects are minimal.

    The game controls are simple, although unless you've got a Chatboard, they're a bit of a pain. The cursor is controlled in 8 directions with the following keys:

    A D

    S selects a character to move, or the square into which a spell is to be cast. The spell menus (which appear between turns) are operated as displayed.

    In addition to the ZX Spectrum version, a Public Domain clone was created for the Atari ST, which runs very well in CaSTaway (although the controls are kept the same, so it's either chatboard or a lot of jogging round a virtual keyboard). It's incredibly hard to find the gamefile, but if anyone wants to play it, I don't think I'd be contravening forum policy by offering up a Public Domain ROM. So email me and I'll send it to you. It's visually similar to the Spectrum version (albeit with a splash more colour), but plays just just as well.

    Finally, the last thing that makes Chaos so interesting is the history of the game. It was made by the same person (whis name escapes me) who created Rebelstar for the Spectrum, before going on to make Laser Squad and Lords Of Chaos (essentially a sequal to Chaos).


    The game was first devised as a boardgame and presented to Games Workshop for possible publication. It was turned down. Their loss!
  2. Tarka

    Tarka Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Hants, UK
    That was an interesting review - I almost skipped over it as I rarely use the ST emu - Shame I do not have a keyboard but thanks for the review
  3. EddCase

    EddCase Still Fresh

    Oct 3, 2005
    Hampshire, UK
    This game was awesome. I had completely forgotten about it untill i saw your review, some of the spells such as magic forest, where you climbed into one of the trees for a few turrns to get a new spell to cast or the odd occasion when disbelieve didn't work on your golden dragon as you acctually managed to make a real one... We used to play this one after school far better with friends but the Speccys AI was very good too and did pose a challenge. I've got to go find me a copy of this. I might have the old tape in the loft :)


  4. vic20-ian

    vic20-ian Member

    Jul 17, 2003
    There is a fantastic version of this game for the C64 called Arena by Cult Games.

    2x2 screen size scrollable play area, 8 wizards each human or computer controlled, spells, galore, played it for hours.

    If anyone wants a D64 image let me know, it's not in the public domain as I can't get it to work on emulators due to protection - even my image will only load on smething with perfect 1541 timing and emulation

    Anyone want or know how to remove the protection? You'll need a C64 and 1541 otherwise.
  5. weirdocollector

    weirdocollector Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    The .t64 image is available on the net, and it plays perfectly on emulators (I've tried VICE, but I do no see any reason for it to not work with other emus).
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2015
  6. Axeman

    Axeman Axemeister

    Apr 5, 2003
    Newport, Wales, UK
    I spent more time playing this tan anything else on the speccy probably (game-hours wise anyway!) . One of the best 2-4 player games around :)
  7. joenumpty

    joenumpty Still Fresh

    Dec 21, 2005
    The programmer's name is Julian Gollop and he recently programmed the most excellent Rebelstar Tactical Assault for the Game Boy Advance. I understand from one of his latest video game interviews that he's planning to do a new version of Lords Of Chaos in the same style as Laser Squad Nemesis, so that should be awesome. If anyone's interested, there's a photo of Julian Gollop on my Lords Of Chaos tribute site.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2015
  8. EdSalisbury

    EdSalisbury Still Fresh

    Feb 1, 2006
    If anyone is interested, I'm working on a web-based version of the Atari ST version of Chaos. It's not completed yet, but could use testers (especially those familiar with the game). Check it out at Chaos
  9. Vic20-Ian 2

    Vic20-Ian 2 Still Fresh

    Jan 9, 2006
    Now works on Vice!
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2015
  10. pubzombie

    pubzombie Member

    Sep 10, 2007
    hi guys - does anybody have a copy of the instructions for the Arena C64 version? what key ends the round and casts the spells. whatever i am pressing crashed vice.
  11. johnnyrocket

    johnnyrocket Still Fresh

    May 22, 2010
    Great review, I used to spend hours playing this game way back when. Theres a pretty good browser version called Chaos Tournament which has enhanced graphics but the same great gameplay.

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