To celebrate August being C64 Month, we’re writing about a different Commodore 64 game every day! Start from the beginning here!

1988 was the year for horizontally-scrolling shmups. After R-Type dominated the arcades and showed the rest of the world how it was meant to be done, everyone started making similar games for home systems. Katakis was the best one.

Featuring huge player sprites, huge explosions and even more huge boss characters, Katakis took the R-Type formula – one that was designed around expensive arcade hardware that could throw sprites and colour around the screen like it was no big deal – and not only squeezed it into the humble C64 but made it even bigger.

R-Type’s sometimes serene pace made way for Katakis’ turbo-charged freneticism, and the uneven difficulty of Irem’s classic was made linear, though some would say it started off way too hard and just kept going. Still, when you’re playing a game on your home computer you don’t have to worry about finding a constant supply of coins to keep playing, so it worked out OK.

Most of us C64 aficionados already know the story about what happened to Katakis – just like The Great Giana Sisters, the game was pulled off the shelves for being too similar to its source of inspiration – but thanks to pirates we can all still play it today. And this is something I think you would enjoy doing today!

Man, that shark boss though. That thing was freaky.

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