Blood and thunder rule the country: The vicious Death Adder inflicts war on the kingdom and kills people by the dozen. Amongst the numerous victims are the relatives of three great heroes, who finally, when even their best friend gets slain right in front of their eyes, swear revenge.
So much for the usual excuse to have player controlled muscleheads beat up some baddies. But all of this is not communicated overly well in the actual game, is it?
After Gloom and Alien Breed 3D, the announcement of Breathless must have raised some interest. After all, both previous games had featured pretty coarse graphics, whereas these new screenshots… wow! When it finally came out in early 1996, the biggest fear was even averted: it did run smoothly enough even on just lightly expanded A1200 equipment with only little graphical degradation. Double wow!
If you look over the shoulder of a core or hobby gamer today, you will surely find a gamepad in their hands. Such a controller is a must-have equipment and even the showpiece of every console. Further bundled with a sensational game title, the console appears as an irresistible package in the stores. But in the 80s, strange flowers sprouted here and there. At that time the joystick was still very popular and the home computer sector could not be imagined without it. Such a joystick was then also included with the Atari XE console. But for the overall package, Atari even included a keyboard for "advanced games" and – to get to the point – a lightgun. The toy in futuristic design was the means of virtual pest control in the included game Bug Hunt. The novel firearm, together with the launch title Bug Hunt, was the driving force behind Atari's first computer-derived console release. This seems very daring nowadays, since the control via controller is so natural. But in its time, the Atari marketing department apparently saw an advantage in the versatile usability of its console. The XE Game System was supposed to offer real arcade feeling with the help of this lightgun, which you could otherwise only get for many coins at the slot machines. Later, Nintendo also produced a lightgun called Zapper for the competing NES and marketed it together with the game Duck Hunt. In the end, it was clearly the NES that won the race for market share and the lightgun has largely disappeared, not least because of the lack of cathode ray tube monitors. So, did Atari bet on the wrong horse on the usability side, or was perhaps even the game offered in the overall package the drawback? An answer is purely speculative of course, but I mounted the horse, put on the cowboy boots and strapped on the shooting iron.