Spikey In Transylvania is my one true love”, says graphic artist Jonathan Temples [AKA Smyth]. “I loved the old Commodore 64 Ultimate games like Entombed, Staff of Karnath and a cowboy-themed one called Outlaws. CodeMasters mentioned they had never released a full-colour Dizzy game for the Commodore 64, so we gave the Commodore 64 an adventure game with all this mixed in.”

There you go. Scene set. Spike’s a cracker, one of those games you never hear a bad word about. Our hero’s mates are locked up in a labyrinthic castle and it’s your job to get them out. You do it by solving a series of gradually harder puzzles. You start in the village, where you must get past a guard who’s blocking the castle drawbridge. Rats, ghosts, fire and lightning can all drain your energy, adding an arcade feel and a change of pace to some sections. 

There are your standard sets of switches to pull and gates to unlock, but it’s the humour in the meatier puzzles that have people holding this game in such affection: there’s a jailer, for example, who can be bribed with a Pink Floyd tape and Walkman.

It can certainly be tough, especially when the castle’s ghosts start to swoop down on you as you navigate pits of lava. And though its budget nature means it’s not the longest of adventures, there are still sixty screens crammed into a single load.

Programmers Genesis were justifiably Commodore 64 celebrities at the time, with many punters buying into Spike just because the box said it was by the guys who’d done CJ’s Elephant Antics. They weren’t to be let down. The smallest mention of this game on our social media today provokes a volume of discussion you’d normally expect from Mayhem, and unsurprisingly so. It’s ace. CF


The box for the game says Spike In Transilvania, but the press release to journalists said Transylvania. The programmers – and the game’s title screen – refer to it as Spikey In Transylvania. And just to mix it up a bit more, the game’s title screen calls it Spike The Viking. You’ll also notice that the Spike of the game’s artwork looks nothing like the Hagar The Horrible look-a-likey of the game, probably to avoid any legal action. It probably also accounts for the removal of “viking” from the title.


 CF SAID: “No end of fun. Well worth the money.”

WE SAY: Satisfying puzzles, atmospheric graphics and some nice humour. One of those games everybody seems to love. 

Thanks to C64.COM for the Jonathan Temples excerpt. Read the full chat here.

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