Dorque & Imp
Dorque & Imp is an unreleased platform game by Swedish developer Norse.
Thanks to Unseen64 for information here and of course to developer Peter Waher for sharing the demo levels!
Last updated: March 3, 2017
Dorque & Imp was one of the few games developed in Sweden, and as might be expected, most of the information on it comes from Scandinavian magazines. In 2008, Unseen64 posted a short article on the game, reporting on a post on Lost Levels. The post attracted main programmer, Peter Waher, who uploaded binaries that contain three levels from the game:
The game was almost complete, just as you assume. We also had contacts with publishers who wanted to publish the game, if we changed some of the contents.
Instead of pursuing this path, the company decided to pursue another project from Interplay, which (due to being under-financed) resulted in a break-up of the group. I, for one, decided not to work more with games development. (At the time, Bonnier Multi-media, which was starting at the time, was interested in offering us employment.)
The Lost Levels post by "akuma" had a translation of a preview in the Norwegian equivalent of Nintendo Power, Power Player. The translation is below, unfortunately I did not save the original scans, posted nearly 10 years ago.
Super Nintendo games are now being developed in Sweden!
We are used to thinking that Nintendo games are being developed in Japan, USA or England. Maybe sometimes a stumbler from France or Germany, but the fact that söta bror (=kind brother, Norwegian nickname for Sweden) would make a game for Nintendo is something few would dream of. But right now, the first Swedish SNES game is being developed in this basement location in Stockholm.
Dorque & Imp will be an elegant platformer with 4 worlds, a plethora of items and countless enemies. The clever Dorque is an apprentice of a rather sketchy wizard, and a showdown between the two is inevitable.
-The end will be fair, says Peter Wahler, who is responsible for the programming.
-To begin with we just thought we should get used to the computer and the technique that goes into making video games, but we caught on so quickly that we decided we dared start making our own game, says Jim Studt, the person responsible for the graphics.
Together with the Tv-Spill Börsen (=Video Game Stockmarket), who today funds their project, they are in the midst of founding their own company, Norse, which marks the beginning of a new softwarehouse. They contacted overseas companies for production and marketing of the game at this spring's convention in England
Cheated by PC Games
-It's gonna be different now, compared to the PC games i have worked on. We who were involved with Legend of Myra were fooled completely. The publisher, Grand Slam has yet to pay us a single dime, Jim says. Dorque and Imp consists of 4 worlds, where Dorque sets out to find as many items as the wizard needs to become allmighty.
2 of the worlds are completed. When Power Player catches up with the team of programmers, they are already hard at work to finish up the demo that will be shown in England. Peter shows us how far they are come. He has 100 000 command lines which helps him to quickly change the envoirment on the screen. He is programming in assembler, and can in principal cut and paste artifacts and backgrounds from the pictures that Jim has created in a image software program.
Two other guys are part of the team, one of them for the music. It looks so simple and fun to make a video game. -The truth is that most of the work up till now has been hard. And also you can't see it - only if it's not working, Peter explains. - The hardest part is making colored pictures that can be used in as many places as possible. We always have to remember that the game can't take up too much memory, memory is expensive, Jim explains.
Not that many colors afterall.
Why are you making a game for Nintendo and not Sega?
-Nintendo's 256 colors versus Sega's 64, Jim answers quickly, but he does admit he is dissapointed he has to settle with less colors because of memory and time issues.
- There is 2 high thresholds you have to overcome before you start creating games. First you have to obtain Nintendo's programming manuals, which explains how you get started. These manuals are only available at "certified" game developers, and you have to know one of these.
Just as big of a problem is the software that automates the coding. This is business secrets on the highest level, and it's there Peter with his math and info education has done everything from bottom up. These tools can be used over again for future games...
The advantage of starting out on your own is that you learn from your mistakes, find your own and maybe groundbreaking solutions and most of all get new ideas from the development. For Dorque & Imp's graphical world Jim has been inspired by Tolkien's fantasy world, and spiced it with a few nordic elements.
-It may have gotten some viking inspiration. We had the idea of including Odin to one of the worlds, even though Nintendo only allows the use of Greek gods to be used in games on their systems. But we can always rename him.
-We have begun thinking about doing a sequel. It would be fun to make something that has it's story lifted from Stockholm, where you could go our shop here and say hello to us, Peter laughs.
There was also a preview in the Swedish magazine, SuperPower. The website from the original publisher has a scan of the article. It shows the game in a state that appears to be more advanced than the demos (at least the HUD layout is different). I mirrored the scans below. Alas, even though I lived in Sweden for over a year, I don't know any Swedish to translate!
More recently, Piko Interactive acquired the assets from the original developers and made a completed version of the game, renamed Dorke and Ymp. From the looks of the screenshots, they fixed some of the issues that are present in the demo levels.
The binaries are chock full of ASM code and other text strings, including file paths and references to the names of the songs in the game. This game was programmed on either a Windows/DOS machine or OS/2. An example of some of this text, which shows samples presumably taken from Cybernator and Another World (Out of this World):
Slap Basengstras Synth basses Snes: Cybernator &c:\SNES\RIPSAMPS\CYBERNAT\CYBSBASE.USS
Snare Drum Sy22s Snare drums (C) 1994 Daniel Adler Data c:\source\winmedit\wmdtins\uss\sdsy22.uss
DryBassDrumSy22s Bass drums Module Spa.mod +c:\source\winmedit\wmdtins\uss\drybdrum.uss
Shaker2DrumSy22s Percussion Module Spa.mod *c:\source\winmedit\wmdtins\uss\shaker2.uss
HighQr2DrumSy22s Chromatic percussion Snes: Cybernator &c:\SNES\RIPSAMPS\CYBERNAT\CYBHIGHQ.USS
Hihat closedy22s Hihats Snes: Another World &c:\SNES\RIPSAMPS\ANOTHERW\ANWHHCLO.USS
MidStrings orche Strings Snes: Another World &c:\SNES\RIPSAMPS\ANOTHERW\ANWMIDST.USS
LowStrings orche Strings Snes: Another World &c:\SNES\RIPSAMPS\ANOTHERW\ANWLOSTR.USS
Synth stringsche Synth pads Snes: Another World &c:\SNES\RIPSAMPS\ANOTHERW\ANWSYNST.USS
Flute stringsche Pipe Snes: Another World &c:\SNES\RIPSAMPS\ANOTHERW\ANWFLUTE.USS
12 String minore Guitars (C) 1994 Daniel Adler Data +c:\source\winmedit\wmdtins\uss\12strmin.uss
12 String majore Guitars (C) 1994 Daniel Adler Data +c:\source\winmedit\wmdtins\uss\12strmaj.uss
Note that they didn't necessarily use any of these samples in the actual game! Daniel Adler was one of the programmers of Dorque & Imp.
Peter Waher posted three levels of the game. The graphics look pretty good, though I find the main character, Dorque, waving his arms around without moving his head to be a bit creepy for some reason. The music is really driving, but is somewhat muted. Imp is the sidekick, who spits stuff out of his mouth, and is the main means of attack. You can also use him to float you up to higher platforms, but in these demos it is hit or miss whether or not works effectively. You can collect keys and bombs, which you can activate by pressing select. There are three levels, described below. Overall, it shows a game that is in the midst of development, and has not be play tested that much.
|The Imp shoots stuff, but it is hard to see the enemies with the lighting!||A chest|
Probably the most complete of the three levels is the mine level. The main problem is that the lit area of the screen is too small to be able to see the enemies before you hit them. There are also places where it is pretty much impossible to advance without taking a hit on spikes.
|Fighting cupids and crows||Sky Palace?|
This level is also fairly complete. I found places where it was possible to get stuck if you didn't have the right items, though.
|No matter how many times I tried, I could not reach the top platform.||Store|
I tried as a ton of times, I could not reach the topmost platform that has the key you need to proceed further into the level. Definitely not done yet.
|Preview in the Swedish magazine SuperPower (page 1). From here.
|Preview in the Swedish magazine SuperPower (page 2). From here.
Download the three levels demos here