I’m more excited by Evercade’s Thalamus Collection than Tomb Raider

Last Updated on April 26, 2024

As a Commodore 64 fan, the Thalamus Collection represents something deeper than a pneumatically-enhanced Indiana Jones clone.

Back in the late 1990s you couldn’t open a magazine without seeing the fit curves of Nell McAndrew. As lovely as she was, however, I just couldn’t get into Tomb Raider. Perhaps it was the temperamental CD-ROM drive on the Compaq, or the game’s control mechanism. Maybe it was the sense that it was a bit of a Raiders of the Lost Ark rip off…

…or maybe I was still too engrossed in the world of Amiga to worry about a PC game.

Whatever the case, Tomb Raider didn’t really jive with me. So much so that I have to confess: I’ve never played the original games, on any platform.

(I have played some of the remake on the Google Stadia, but that’s not an option these days. And even the existence of movies starring Angelina Jolie’s lips did nothing to persuade me to raid any tombs.)

I’m sure all that is about to change over the coming months. The confirmation of the “Tomb Raider on Evercade” rumour is superb news. First, it is an excellent launch title for the Evercade’s new Giga Carts, and will almost certainly boost the platform.

Second, it gives players the chance to play the games in their original guise, without the distraction of frustrating issues as seen in the recently issued remastered editions.

The cart contains all three original Tomb Raider (PlayStation version) games by Core Design.

  • Tomb Raider (1996)
  • Tomb Raider II Starring Lara Croft (1997)
  • Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft (1998)

As well as shipping solo, the collection will also be bundled with the new Evercade VS-R and the new Evercade XP-R editions.

So yes, I’m looking forward to the Evercade’s Tomb Raider collection. I’m just more excited by the Thalamus Collection…

Commodore 64 Thalamus games are coming to Evercade

Thalamus Ltd was one of the top publishing names on the Commodore 64, issuing a string of shooters and regularly getting high review scores in magazines.

(We’re sure its formation as an in-house label of Zzap!64 and Crash! publisher Newsfield Publications Ltd was purely coincidental…)

Sanxion is probably the game that began my interest in Thalamus titles. An unusual side scrolling shooter that featured a top-down radar view and waves of enemies, developer Stavros Fasoulas did a decent job with the graphics. The audio was courtesy of Rob Hubbard, and the game included a striking rendition of Sergei Prokofiev’s “Dance of the Knights” (from Romeo and Juliet) on the intro menu screen.

(Sometimes, I’d just load the game to listen to the music…)

The Thalamus Collection 1 boasts a curious mix of titles:

  • Hunter’s Moon Remastered (orig. 1987)
  • Armalyte: Competition Edition (orig. 1988)
  • Hawkeye (1988)
  • Snare (1989)
  • Retrograde (1989)
  • Creatures (1990)
  • Summer Camp (1990)
  • Heatseeker (1990)
  • Creatures II: Torture Trouble (1992)
  • Winter Camp (1992)
  • Nobby the Aardvark (1993)

While Thalamus is probably better known for shooters like Sanxion and Delta (neither of which are featured in this collection), the inclusion of Creatures and its sequel is interesting. These games, released in 1990 and 1992, were hugely successful platform puzzlers, and give the collection plenty to keep going back for.

These games cover Thalamus Ltd’s lifespan before its dissolution in 1993.

If you’re been keeping tabs on classic C64 releases, you’ll have spotted that many of the collection’s titles are pre-installed on the C64Mini. But as small as that device is, I can’t play it on the train.

And I guess this is where the levels of interest collide. I really want to relive the 8-bit gaming era with pocket-level convenience. For something like Tomb Raider, I’m more inclined to use a console connected to a TV – like the Evercade VS.

If I was limited to a choice of carts, I’d opt for the Thalamus Collection 1 first. This is based on preference, of course, but also on the suspicion that the Tomb Raider Collection is likely to be available everywhere. Evercade has previously troubled the gaming charts, and I reckon that the prospect of Lara Croft games on a widely available handheld will keep the platform’s sales up into 2025.

Of course, I’ll be playing Creatures and bemoaning the lack of Sanxion and Delta on the Thalamus Collection 1, but that’s another matter…

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