The Captain Comic series comprises two early metroidvanias for the PC, made by Michael Denio. It has a cult following.
The first game, The Adventures of Captain Comic, was released in 1988. The game is a treasure hunt, as the titular character retrieves stolen regalia on the planet Tambi. You do not start with a weapon. Instead, you must collect cans of Blastola Cola to power your gun (although the first can is right at your starting spot). Additionally, you cannot duck to shoot enemies on the ground, instead needing a corkscrew attack to kill them. Enemies have very simple patterns and explode when they touch you.
It was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System the following year, and released by Color Dreams on unlicensed cartridges. While the scrolling was made smoother and music was added, the controls were slippery and the enemies moved way too fast. The original game was (one of) the first scrolling platformers on the PC (as it predates Apogee Software and id Software) and is considered very good for its age; whereas the NES had plenty of platform games, and the port is considered one of the worst.
A sequel, Captain Comic 2: Fractured Reality, was released in 1990. It introduced larger levels, more variety in enemies, a grid inventory, and new items like a jetpack and a magic wand that transforms other items. It also introduced a very useful save function. Its plot involves Captain Comic responding to a distress call and beaming down to the surface of an unknown planet. There he meets the arrogant Skrejgib aliens, who want him to retrieve six crystals stolen by the planet's natives. Captain Comic finds the natives' underground hiding place, and learns the crystals have caused reality to fracture into alternate universes. He must go to each different world and collect each crystal to set things right.
It ends on a blatant sequel hook, but due to poor sales, no third entry in the series was ever made.
These works contain examples of:
- Big Boo's Haunt: The crystal mines.
- Check-Point Starvation: This game has no Save Points. Subverted with Check Points, which are every time Comic goes off the left- or right-hand edge of the screen onto another section of the level, or through a door.
- Copy-and-Paste Environments: The first game is a big offender.
- Copy Protection: If you're playing a copied version of the second game, one third of the way in a native will remind you you're missing something. And that something is not very expensive, so you should get it.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: The first game has such esoteric enemies as space pollen and killer beach balls.
- Fake Difficulty: It's easy to waste jetpack fuel when switching to your wand. Likewise, when you die and get sent back, you're not reimbursed any spent fuel.
- Heal Thyself: Shields. Grab one at full health and you get either an extra life in the first game, or a healing potion in the second. These are too awesome to use.
- In a Single Bound: The high jump boots.
- Now, Where Was I Going Again?: Fractured Reality, the storyline.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: The soundtrack of the NES version consists of badly mixed classical music.
- Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: The Senots earthquake.
- Screen Shake: During the earthquake in Senots.
- Sdrawkcab Name: Planet Omsoc, the Skrejgib, the city of Senots.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Arctic reality.
- Space Zone: In the first game, you go on a trip to the moon.
- A Taste of Power: The infinite jetpack fuel cell, found very late in the game. The last level forbids jetpack use.
- Teleport Spam: The teleport wand in the first game.
- Tomorrowland: Techno reality. Beware the epileptic flashing lights.
- Unwinnable by Mistake: Ration your jetpack fuel wisely. When it's gone, it's gone, and you can't finish the game. However, you only need the jetpack in two spots, and there's plenty spare fuel around.
- With This Herring: You don't start out with Blastola Cola. In the first game, you get one right away, but in the second you have to search for it.