Throwback Thursday – Nebulus

It’s honestly probably been about 25 years since I last played Nebulus on the Commodore 64, and yet I can remember the control scheme like it was just yesterday, and the way the shots you fired went careening around the circular path of the tower. Hitting enemies meant dropping down a platform which could lead to death, and whilst jumps were easy enough, you could get careless and see yourself plummet downwards.


What always stood out for me though, and probably for every single person who ever played Nebulus back in the late 80s, was the insanely good graphics. Was it 3D or not? The way the tower turns with your character Pogo is unreal for its time. I just showed the Commodore 64 version to my wife on Youtube, asking if she’d ever played it and she said, “I don’t think so, looks mid-90s to me though?” It’s testament to the work of John. M Phillips, the developer of the game, of just how talented the man was, producing visuals which could keep us wondering.

Game Boy (as Castelian)

There were also some odd submarine mini-games in-between the tower levels which felt extremely out of place, playing like a side-scrolling version of Bubble Bobble. Maybe it was for you to take a breather in-between those tension filled journeys upward, but they did nothing for me. Audio is a bit 50/50, with plenty of sound effects which do the job alright enough, but the little we have in music is pretty garish. It’s not just the C64 version either, the Amiga, NES, and Game Boy versions all play silently bar the sound effects.


It’s an excellent game overall however, one that needs to be played by those who maybe unaware of just what these bedroom developers were capable of pulling off back in the good ol’ 1980s. There’s plenty of formats for you to dig the game out on, as well as sequels, so it shouldn’t be a difficult experience to hunt down! Nebulus, going round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round- *falls over*

Commodore 64

Catch me walking round in circles @auto2112

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