After we had finished Megablasters Rex wanted to start on a new game right away. I was a bit sceptical whether I wanted to enter such a huge commitment again. Megablasters had taken a great deal of time and effort and I wasn't sure if I would be willing to do that all over again.
Nevertheless Rex and I developed the idea for a brutal beat em up game. We intended to create the most brutal and bloody game on the CPC ever. It was meant to be an unrestrained Zombie game. We wanted to fathom what was possible on the CPC. At first I wanted to call the game "Zombie Massacre", but then Rex came up with the idea to call it "Rigor Mortis" - which sounded a lot better and more brutal than "Zombie Massacre".
We didn't really bother much about the story. The only thing we came up with was something like that: you played a genetically engineered human being that was meant to become an almost invincible, mindless killing machine. But once you grew older you realized what the scientists had done to you and what you had become. And now you want to take revenge on the whole humankind. So you flee from the laboratory and search for the people who have done that to you.
So in each stage you played this Zombie and had to find and fight one of the masterminds who were behind your torture and your existence: scientists, managers, fund raisers for the company, etc... In each stage you would also face the henchmen and defenders of these bad dudes as well as a number of innocent citizens.
As I had stated above, we wanted to find out how far we can go with a game and thus you were not only able to kill all the bad guys in this game, but also the innocent people. And you would be rewarded for that as well!
At first the Zombie would only be able to defend himself with his hands, feet and teeth. But during the game he would be able to pick up various objects that he could use as weapons against his enemies: woodblocks, knifes, guns, a chain saw, parts of dead bodies such as bones, feet or the bare spine with the head of the victim at its end - didn't I say that we wanted the game to cross the line?
When you were armed with your arms and legs only we thought about various methods how the Zombie could kill his prey: either just beat or kick it to death or probably just rip it apart or tear the belly of an enemy open, so that the bowels would come out, bite the head off or throw it to the ground and eat it up. As a special idea I wanted to have a mother with her baby in a stroller walk around. After the Zombie had finished up the mother he could jump the stroller and tear the baby in it apart - I obviously hated kids at that time...
When the Zombie gets hit he was meant to fall apart bit by bit. That is if somebody shot him in the chest, some parts of the chest and the back, where the bullet left the body, would fall off and the bloody bones would gradually come out with every consecutive hit. The same was supposed to happen to other parts of the Zombies'body as well, like the head, which would become a bloody skull or the arms and legs which would first start to show the bones beneath the skin and after some time fall off, so that the Zombie wouldn't have arms to defend himself anymore or would loose his legs, so that he could crawl on the floor using his arms to move himself. Crawling at the floor he could only cut his enemies down by tearing their feet apart or jump into them and throwing them to the floor to have his way with them there.
Once the Zombie had killed somebody he would be able to eat parts of the dead body to gain new strength and to restore lost body parts. For that Rex needed to paint all the major body parts of the Zombie alone and I needed to write a program that would create the Zombie character from the individual body parts in their current state of decomposition. So when the Zombie lost a part of his body the computer would create the new look of the Zombie for all the different animation phases in the background and then the game could continue with this changed graphics. The game may stalls for a second to allow the computer to make the necessary changes to the character, but I figured that the players would endure this pause to enjoy the various stages your Zombie could pass through in this game.
I also started to work on a blood splatter routine so that every time anybody was hit, beaten, kicked, bitten or torn apart fountains of blood would spray from body and land on the floor, the walls and the other characters. I wanted the game to be brutal, bloody and absolutely distasteful.
I also wanted to distribute the work differently this time. In Megablasters I had to do a major chunk of the work since all the nice enemies Rex had drawn needed to be furnished with some sort of artificial intelligence or at least a nifty movement pattern to make them walk around and give you a hard time. But in this game I wanted Rex to play a bigger role than me by painting lots and lots of big and colorful enemies that needed more or less the same movement program: search and attack the Zombie.
I created a double-buffered, overscan horizontal scrolling program in which a preliminary version of the Zombie character could move to the left and right and invoke the scrolling at the end of both screen sides. That is the screen wouldn't scroll with every movement made, it would rather start scrolling when you approached either end of the screen. I figured that this would give me and the computer more time to animate the other characters and the blood splatter on the screen, because scrolling new background into the visible area required some calculation time that I wasn't willing to spend.
Besides that scrolling demo I also started to work on a simple BASIC program to test my idea for the blood fountain routine. But I never got to finish this program. The first test looked okay though, but I was entering my second year at the University and I had just little time for the CPC left. So I told Rex that I didn't think that I was able to finish the game and that I also thought it wasn't worth the effort anymore and that I wanted to quit. Of course he wasn't too happy about that, especially since he had created so much graphics already. But without a programmer he wasn't able to continue this game and thus he accepted my decision and turned towards different projects.
Besides the graphics Rex had painted and my scrolling and animation demo there is another left over from this project: the graphics for the hidden game Deadris. See here for more information on this weird Tetris clone...