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Saturday, 22 January 2011

Quedex (Commodore 64)

If Delta had the good fortune to appear just when Nemesis was fresh in peoples' minds, then Thalamus' next game, Quedex, struck it lucky by turning up when people were still gaga over Marble Madness. "Oooh, look! You control a ball through a series of mazes! That'll be awesome!"

*cough*

The game got its name from its subtitle - The Quest For Ultimate Dexterity. So that's two reasons why I never played it back in the day... I never really liked Marble Madness, and why would I want to play a game to test my dexterity? Besides, I gave that enough of a workout playing shoot 'em ups. And so Quedex remained completely off my radar, with nothing there to pique my interest in the slightest.


This level has you chasing around after white squares. The excitement!

What doesn't help is that when the game has loaded, it actually tells you that it's "number 3 in a series designed to frustrate and enrage". I don't want that from my games! I want to have fun, to be entertained, even to relax. I don't want to be put on the verge of a stroke.

Still, moving onwards, I figured I'd have to at least see if there was any fun to be had from Quedex.


This teleport might take you somewhere good. It might not. Grrrr!

The game gives you ten "planes" to conquer, using your dexterity, which would have been directly related at the time to which joystick you were using. I had a Zipstik, so I would probably have been awesome at the game. Anyone with a Quickshot II would, likely as not, have been knackered.

In order to help you get the most out of the game, you're allowed to select the planes you'll tackle in whatever order you like. This is definitely for the best, because if (like me) you got to the second plane and got completely stuck, you'd feel like you'd wasted your money. If you'd bought it, of course.


Odd level, this one. The goal is right there... you can complete it immediately or try and pick up the tokens for extra points.

For all the game involves joystick wrestling as its mechanic, it does a fair job of providing variety over the ten planes. Number 1, for instance, has you negotiating a number of small floors with precision, with each floor requiring a different kind of manoeuvring. Number 2, though, sees you attempting to negotiate a maze by finding keys to unlock certain passages.

And that, for me, is where the game goes wrong. Because then it's not a test of dexterity, it's a test of memory and, at least to begin with, luck. When the levels are purely you against the clock, weaving in and out of obstacles or jumping across holes, it's really good fun. But when you're trying yet another teleport in the hope of landing next to that all-important key, then it's an exercise in pure frustration.


It's not all bad... this level makes me want a custard cream. Mmm... custard creams... hang on, we haven't got any in! Damn!

It's a bit of a shame, that. Really, what you've got here is half a game... maybe two-thirds. Those irritating levels really take the gloss off it, and from my point of view, are what will stop me from attempting to complete it. There are some game types I just can't hack, and those levels are just about the epitome of all that makes me mad in a game.

Quedex was Stavros Fasoulas' third game for Thalamus, and it proved to be his last. Not because Thalamus didn't like what he was doing... for all the frustration I found in his games, he was obviously a talented coder with a bright future in the industry. But he was called up for National Service in his home country, Finland, and was never heard from again. I read recently that he may be living in the United States now, and has left his gaming past entirely behind. Shame, that. Stavros, if you ever feel the need for an interview, get in touch... you've got a lot of fans that would love to know how you're doing.

1 comment:

  1. Great review. Where in the world is Stavros Fasoulas? (Could be a good game title that) His Wikipedia page says that he only ever surfed the internet once (not sure how the author would now that) so the likelihood of him seeing this might be slim.

    I wonder what he would think of all this type of stuff. Matthew Smith famously stepped out of the wilderness not so long ago and was amazed that people still loved his games. Its a shame if Stavros doesn't know that his games are still loved by people. Interestingly, the game company he helped set up is still going strong - Super Stardust HD was a blast.

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