Blood Money - DMA/Psygnosis

Blood Money

DMA/Psygnosis - Commodore 64 - 1990

Reviewed by Alex Vormbrock (a.k.a. Herr Schatten).

Blood Money is a game by DMA Design (the creators of 'Lemmings'). It's the sequel to the awfully bad 'Menace'.

For a more in-depth look at the game I advise you to read my review of the Amiga original, as this review will concentrate on the differences between the 16-bit versions and this 8-bit port. However, I'll give you a quick overview: You control various crafts through four huge levels. Shooting enemies earns you money that you can spend in shops on powerups. That's about it. The extras aren't very special, but the level design holds some surprises.

The most astonishing diference to the Amiga original: The game is much better on C64. The hit detection is a lot friendlier this time. Additionally, the levels have been shortened, so it's actually possible to beat them. Most unfair scenes have been removed, too. This especially applies to level four. New are some scenes in which you have to maneuvre very carefully through tight passages. Oh yes, and you can't select the order in which you want to play the levels anymore. You'll have to tackle them from easiest to hardest (which probably is the best order anyway). However, the great 2P simultaneous mode is still there.

The graphics are ported nicely. Only some of the bigger objects got a bit pixelated. This is probably due to memory limitations.

Sfx and music are good. But the latter lacks the extraordinary melancholic quality of the 16-bit counterpart. And, yes it's still only one tune you hear throughout the game. And it's still impossible to have music and sfx at the same time.

Overall, apart from being not very original, Blood Money for C64 is a very entertaining and highly underrated game. I can recommend it to everyone who doesn't particularly dislike 8-bit shmups. Avoid the frustrating 16-bit versions, though!


Here you can see me blowing up some candy in level one of the game.


To the left you can see some rotators. These things annoy the hell out of me. They appear in two different types. One type is constantly moving and one type stands still, but you can move it by shooting. Often you need a bit of luck to catch just the right timing for passing between them. I don't really like spots like these. Fortunately, these rotators don't appear in later levels.


This is the boss at the end of the first level. He seems to be a twin brother of that ever reappearing ship from Gradius. He's surprisingly tough for a first boss and almost impossible to beat without a spread shot.


Level two has a somewhat nautic theme. These colourful medusae are superbly animated. It's almost a shame to blow them up, but we are young and we definitely need the money.


Thank goodness we never encounter the lobsters which these pincers belong to. There must be a lot of them around, though, as the claws keep getting in our way quite frequently.


A very pixelated snake blocks the entrance to level three. Since it never comes to the left side of the screen and it's absolutely no problem to dodge its fireballs, this boss is ridiculously easy to beat.
Once it is defeated, another snake appears. And after that another. They are coloured differently and move in slightly different patterns, but are both dispatched just as easy as the first one.


Ahh. Level three. This ice world is my favourite. I dig that little astronaut sprite. Unfortunately, the pixels which are supposed to form the flame coming out of his jetpack look more like someone shoved a stick up his rectum. Poor guy.


In this level, things really start to get a bit difficult. Here you can see me dodging a plethora of missiles (of which are now only three left, because I blew up the rest).


Boss time again. And things are getting very silly here. Anyone who manages to get killed by this alien whale thing must be tremendously stupid, as you can only get hit by the few bullets it emits if you do it on purpose. Let's move on to the next level. Hopefully, someone can remove that stick before we proceed.


You can tell by its organic look that level four is the last one. Watch me sending some cheerfully coloured wormlike creatures to hell.


The second half of the level consists mostly of very narrow passages. Sometimes you'll have to measure your distance from the walls by pixels. It's really, really hard to get through these parts and it doesn't help at all that the scrolling changes direction at points where you didn't expect it to do.


Incredibly silly looking last boss, which is, once again, incredibly easy to beat. Just shoot the things out of which he spits these green balls and brainy is wasted quickly. Don't expect too much from the ending, though. It's one of the 'congratulations!' kind...


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie