Matt Chat 160: Project Firestart, the first survival horror game

Matt Barton's picture

This week's episode is a 20-minute retrospective of Project: Firestart, suggested by viewer (and fellow English professor) Chris Oatis. This is a VERY interesting game from a historical perspective, and there's a good case to be made that this is the first-ever "full" survival horror game. There's some contention, of course, since it's not true 3D (it uses a "pseudo-3D" comparable to early Sierra titles). Otherwise, everything that most people associate with the genre is in there, such as logs to flesh out the backstory, limited ammo, cinematic cut scenes, etc. The game is also interesting because it was released exclusively for the Commodore 64/128--in 1989! That decision just didn't make sense, as acknowledged later by the developers themselves. On a positive note, though, it's some REALLY impressive C-64 coding work, since it looks as good if not better than many games for the Genesis or Amiga/ST. You can read more about the game and its impact on the genre here.

Download the video here (only Matt Chat supporters, please).

Comments

Daniel Biehl (not verified)
Hi Matt! Just wanted to take

Hi Matt!

Just wanted to take a moment to tell you I appreciate the amount of work you've put into these videos and interviews. A lot of them really, really tug on the ol' nostalgia strings and your professionalism goes a long way. I look forward to seeing more of these videos from you in the future.

Thank you for your time,
Daniel Biehl

Mark Vergeer
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Matt !

Thanks for showing this. I have dug out my copy of the game ready to be loaded into my white 1541-II on my NTSC C128 in the study. I need to experience this game myself.

As always excellent work on the video. You definitely have got your own style going and man these videos look and sound professional. The effort and love you put into these really shows. Keep it up I say. My day always is even nicer when a new Matt chat is there to download/view/watch. Kudos my friend.

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Shawn Delahunty
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Joined: 08/01/2011
Interesting game

I really like the idea of how they played up the "cinematic" aspects of the game, slowly building tension and so forth. I'm very curious what happened with the development--being delayed that long, and ONLY coming out for the C-64 seems a real shame. It would be a cool project to create a remake for another system, or perhaps do a 'retro feel' remake for a modern PC.

It reminded me a bit of DarkSeed, not sure why.

I don't recall you ever doing a review of "DarkSeed" Matt... did I miss it? I know there are some reviews and play-throughs of the game on YouTube. That was an interesting (and sometimes incredibly annoying) Sci-Fi/Horror game. (I've still got the CD sitting on my shelf here, but haven't dug it out in a long time.)

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I had.darkseed on my Amiga

I had.darkseed on my Amiga 3000 back then. I enjoyed the art, though it's not on my list of great adventures. Iirc, there are some really bad puzzles and pixel hunting.

The overall mood and tension was great, though, especially with the headaches and flashbacks. Now that you mention it, there is a resemblance to project fs.

If you do a video Rec for it like Chris, I'll put it on the list!

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Archeogamger (not verified)
Great Review!

Thanks for this Matt. I love this game and I can personally say that PJ is one of the best games ever made for Commodore 64. Surprisingly actually it's really hard to find an original copy nowadays.

Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Yeah, you know it's hard when

Yeah, you know it's hard when even Bill hasn't been able to acquire one. ;)

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Archeogamer (not verified)
I will give Bill a shout if I

I will give Bill a shout if I see one copy around... ;)

Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
It's a shame it's so rare;

It's a shame it's so rare; man, that box looks GREAT. I'd love to have it on the shelf.

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archeogamer
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Joined: 08/08/2012
I can tell you that it's

I can tell you that it's probably easier to get a copy from USA rather than here in Europe. I haven't seen any copy available around UK and Europe for ages. Anyway, the box looks great, I agree!

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clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
darkseed when people loved

darkseed when people loved Giger. I'm facinated with his work, not in a "hang on wall" type way.. just purely in a WOW way.. i have several expensive Art books of his work that I can sit and look at a single picture and pick out stuff that is amazing. just simply facinating work.. I sitll remebre that was, or was one of the first games (giger demanded it for his art) to go into super hi rez graphics.. I also remeber the game was nasty hard.. you could do stuff that couldnt be fixed without a restart. I also rember one of he main guys who designed it... went onto writing HAPPY TV SHOWS! there is a mixed personality type, or maybe hehehe the correct type to right that type of stuff.. everybody aboard the ship to to heck.. packing a bonus baby in my head! (hmm.... that is a slight rip off of alien in a way now that i think about it).

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