by Neil Collins
Pastfinder is a classic C64 title from 1984 by
Activision and is one of those games that didn't look
that good on the surface, but it's a very good game once
you understand what you need to do.
The aim of the game is to
control a spacecraft that crawls along the planet
surface working your way around the map by entering
various zones to find artefacts. You then need to drop
these off at the nearest station, which is indicated on
the map. The more artefacts you drop off, the higher
your rank becomes. The key to playing this game well is
mastering the ship controls, which after a few hours of
practice becomes second nature. The difficulty with the
controls is that when you push forward on the joystick,
the craft leaps off the planet surface but it also
increases the craft speed. This can cause a lot of
trouble in tight situations where the levels have been
cunningly constructed to make you inadvertently crash
into an enemy or a wall.
played the game for approximately 6 hours, I now
understand why this game was so popular with a lot of
gamers back in 1984. It's a tricky game, but it is very
enjoyable once you get the hang of it. My only criticism
is the lack of decent sound and music, but what it lacks
in the audio department it makes up for in originality
and gameplay. It's a fantastic piece of programming that
still plays well today...
HOW WAS IT COMPLETED?:
Using an infinite lives cheat.
SO WHAT HAPPENS?:
As you progress through the ranks, you finally reach the
rank of Cosmic Hopper. If you manage to safely return
200 artefacts to the base a short message appears that
reads 'YOU ARE GREAT'. The game then continues so
that you can rack up a larger score, but the game is
YIKES! What a poor ending to a cool C64 game :( Oh
Activision - what were you thinking!
For me, this is a classic. I love the background
generation, which seems to have inspired Andrew
But is this the TRUE ending? Had you visited every
Classic game, Great to see it up on the site Vinny.
If I remember, I visited almost all of the map. The
ones I didn't were impossible to access.
I also read up a bit on the game and it seems that
the aim is to get the specified amount of artefacts.
I remember poking the code to see if anything
happened with more artefacts but it didn't.
Really cool game though. I never understood the fuss
when I was a kid, but having put a lot of time into
it I fully appreciate the game now.
A nailed on classic, as others have said. We can
forgive and forget the 'ending' ;)
Never played it back in the day - and I hold my
hands up - I still don't think I have today. Some of
these old Activision titles just didn't look
interesting to me back in the day - I didn't even
like the boring covers, stuff like Master of the
I will give it a go one day.
As for the ending - very disappointing considering
it seemed like a bit of a ball ache to complete.