The Sentinel

Wonderful games have been made (and continue to be made) for the Commodore 64. It is useless to draw yet another list and spend yourself in magniloquent praise for titles that are now in the Olympus of the C64 Classics: Platform Games, Sports, Shoot’em-Up, Management, Strategic, Simulators, Adventures and many other genres with graphics, sound and playability at the highest levels…. but in this order of perfection there is also an exception. A game that does not fit into a specific genre. A little fluid game, with minimal sound and graphics. A game that for this very reason is a masterpiece: The Sentinel is that game.

Because, as happens in the best thrillers, it is what you do not see that makes the difference, and it is also so in The Sentinel: it is the ubiquitous eye of the sentinel that we cannot see from the bottom of our position that creates the pathos of unknown, and it is the softness of the almost evanescent sound in a deafening silence that creates the emotional tension in the gameplay while the slow and jerky movement of the player gives the whole a solid uncertainty and instills moment after moment small drops of trepidation and bewilderment.

But let’s start from the beginning: The game takes place in a three-dimensional virtual area divided into geometric boxes arranged in a checkerboard pattern and on different planes; an almost completely desolate surface except for the sparse presence of a few trees. On the highest point of this desert landscape stands the majestic and sinister figure of the Sentinel who continually inspects the entire horizon in search of intruders to absorb their energy. We are those intruders: at the command of an ante-litteram Avatar called “Sintoid” and completely immobile that can only look around and materialize trees to hide its presence, rocks to gain positions in height and other “Sintoids” in to move to: our aim is to succeed in evading our opponent’s Tolkien eye by moving higher and higher until we can surprise and absorb its energy, freeing the entire area from its deadly yoke.

Unfortunately the energy at our disposal is limited and every materialization has an energy cost: the use must be prudent, highly strategic and timely if we do not have to find trees or other objects to be absorbed in order to increase our energy heritage and which must be in any case at a lower level than us to be absorbed.

The “Sintoid” in the event that it is found under the relentless eye of the sentinel or one of his acolytes is not hopelessly doomed: he can use hyperspace to materialize immediately elsewhere at the price, however, of a dramatic energy expenditure that most sometimes it only means having postponed the tragic epilogue. In addition, if the sentinel fails to identify us in a clear way, he can resort to the materialization in our immediate vicinity of the “Meanie”, a diabolical emissary that inevitably forces us to jump with hyperspace and the consequences we have just mentioned.

All this takes place in a rarefied atmosphere and is marked by indistinguishable proximity noises that wrap the player like an invisible web, catapulting him into a world with no reference points at least at the beginning. The enduring silence of background fused to the sense of indeterminacy and the exasperating slowness in which everything is consumed catalyze the imagination of the player leaving it free to run in a swing of emotions and sensations. Personally I have always been fascinated by the Sentinel’s graphics: imposing, austere, impenetrable: a stylized design but in my imagination wearing a cloak to hide its body and arms and a hood and a mask to conceal its face!

A separate discussion must be made both for the graphics that today might seem trivial but that in 1986 was something pioneering in the development of three-dimensional games, and above all for the design of the levels: in The Sentinel there are exactly 10,000 different levels, each of which accessible with a code that is obtained only after passing every level! A scary number that I had proposed to gather in a moment of madness. Below I propose the list that I made at the time and that for the occasion I recovered:

0000 06045387 0001 02254153 0002 88534263 0003 36478937 0004 81747818 0005 53670951 0006 76964997 0007 64949596 0008 76465990 0009 58618458 0010 67510065 0011 65614978 0012 40693494 0013 26006956 0014 05801695 0015 78871093 0016 99655727 0017 87507474 0018 89584716 0019 73490728 0020 91287667 0021 82598093 0022 79066357 0023 67748965 0024 65980879 0025 57574486 0026 14014389 0027 52784469 0028 37293679 0029 89224492 0030 06127473 0031 58595499 0032 46810851 0033 55222257 0034 08256658 0035 58674839 0036 58999784 0037 59878425 0038 44125494 0039 26256459 0040 47249305 0041 61744991 0042 74557326 0043 46368774 0044 04479116 0045 97607185 0046 92342485 0047 97154749 0048 68769439 0049 05451918 0050 56303937 0051 03788788 0052 87387467 0053 68027574 0054 62678839 0055 63769945 0056 52606067 0057 42876970 0058 55907246 0059 65581831 0060 95647539 0061 69911956 0062 79796354 0063 87985696 0064 44879549 0065 95694567 0075 44189987 0076 39689467 0079 74678080 0090 24268648 0099 06929398 0100 47600944 0101 64655497 0102 75836066 0110 95646138 0113 66416626 0118 98889865 0122 67399708 0126 24141225 0130 55473113 0136 52399957 0149 74262866 0150 92856449 0151 75259299 0157 65346486 0165 77474644 0169 67979831 0173 96433672 0175 56589875 0195 80593240 0196 63069376 0198 91591840 0216 06229482 0223 73596626 0230 98064180 0231 11773790 0232 66496003 0239 93898494 0253 28547375 0254 61859426 0255 98487964 0256 33168044 0267 65282592 0279 71577855 0285 56771317 0289 99545418 0295 18916040 0303 64461465 0304 46774653 0316 05231827 0325 47619344 0329 41958187 0334 49927902 0335 88187167 0337 95784882 0343 57403478 0345 65847345 0353 07970267 0362 73264911 0364 82488853 0377 41834205 0378 87003447 0392 11517965 0393 37288254 0393 59972236 0396 24775958 0411 44256789 0413 13657569 0417 78817707 0431 89405885 0433 65398789 0436 69656796 0445 85640279 0452 77759207 0455 38055649 0460 87626722 0468 76927947 0477 99472368 0486 56469861 0489 25589648 0492 55725869 0500 85561920 0505 84656435 0513 36469008 0515 25033660 0525 53876035 0526 55454830 0526 91820997 0542 78631937 0552 15407275 0555 68784954 0558 66177670 0575 69512879 0588 06351546 0588 35614899 0596 98460262 0612 07946750 0614 81557778 0620 36398672 0628 92935652 0650 38800807 0656 63322799 0664 19007248 0676 78858968 0693 35654391 0694 28954598 0706 94042695 0710 69374549 0719 14392968 0726 58717139 0731 96695548 0735 58049380 0740 27368506 0748 93819774 0759 53191405 0776 84683226 0779 44598798 0790 86635378 0801 69838314 0811 47484457 0813 40459596 0816 09852993 0835 52763578 0835 65466799 0837 52966794 0840 27659740 0845 54808358 0849 17658815 0854 87942668 0872 99666155 0873 85975042 0879 19511724 0894 49947842 0895 61403487 0911 62090524 0912 95815676 0919 12777566 0928 46557880 0930 43576896 0930 44193959 0945 75877793 0957 35975837 0961 58190846 0962 35357466 0982 76545927 0984 25760669 0988 16644745 0998 74658546 1004 65496192 1009 55500878 1017 58966193 1029 65799368 1041 44681906 1055 96005692 1076 26235442 1078 59014491 1082 37646193 1101 59489448 1111 55537879 1113 99288666 1118 46860651 1135 49640829 1139 46649755 1160 85857597 1171 50376878 1185 09151387 1196 77438047 1201 01775662 1210 82879051 1215 87764717 1230 80484650 1248 46624798 1254 68841455 1269 87812985 1281 64506626 1298 39641939 1308 73650549 1311 67758170 1313 58857943 1318 58896035 1337 03799482 1340 70783799 1347 19770797 1361 80296867 1376 34985869 1385 64390487 1402 98275559 1403 98237625 1404 17841954 1428 86227056 1435 19647046 1447 46025541 1464 47558444 1466 69595765 1471 34573625 1495 81886688 1497 75819677 1504 72395773 1523 46199980 1534 97504779 1547 46922737 1558 69755287 1566 97789060 1579 21978237 1588 58349584 1603 95910527 1620 89499676 1626 65457146 1632 54874549 1649 77386757 1657 54295654 1663 79719601 1674 55907950 1700 55152629 1714 69856682 1730 20727788 1731 77386584 1733 27286787 1743 55630457 1770 77640255 1776 22749296 1790 75769444 1804 21481664 1816 97635550 1830 88519875 1835 65847518 1842 48679796 1864 89737451 1877 58694325 1898 09281664 1900 42739240 1907 93845564 1913 71262346 1931 63682495 1938 63587397 1956 46686859 1961 00295996 1980 99278197 1986 43225492 2000 91989545 2001 45371151 2021 30454459 2024 07599790 2054 74564579 2065 07880776 2077 60969995 2101 92771837 2105 85640648 2127 83768117 2149 47889499 2166 74995718 2175 79658734 2178 63364918 2183 44186872 2210 19614774 2214 17462795 2240 45893201 2243 67644822 2271 72348845 2278 02796888 2290 49622545 2313 52239704 2314 91816029 2332 61765269 2361 85499979 2366 58664748 2379 66578895 2390 72358954 2399 49911292 2414 94498324 2424 44570619 2435 54586844 2462 40480112 2465 67758881 2491 80767879 2495 58139759 2509 87782056 2511 97354679 2532 58155865 2536 96569087 2538 46979479 2561 75559874 2571 54741749 2577 32637750 2598 88847931 2608 62778284 2639 49566546 2644 06044039 2662 49898909 2670 16871402 2685 49507146 2706 97486415 2712 25895264 2740 35369764 2743 76505985 2767 75383765 2772 86864102 2804 01959384 2808 57927490 2825 06744282 2833 99777556 2845 49258979 2871 45822755 2912 54488596 2917 34719608 2933 95108879 2946 46098641 2960 64498091 2978 47199582 2997 71167961 3001 90544776 3024 38969569 3044 38132050 3051 68386858 3077 91873453 3081 87474229 3089 73123585 3123 34747707 3128 19279927 3142 82206657 3147 89190467 3157 82556720 3168 36837893 3193 48647545 3214 92236495 3230 61872789 3249 87666009 3269 58678925 3280 30455317 3298 93969870 3302 90994779 3325 48369935 3351 66803736 3352 85564827 3382 58486694 3398 91086236 3419 09521788 3426 73047342 3448 75866372 3463 50000814 3471 48645316 3494 47775657 3497 95020242 3528 37571283 3535 54924278 3549 02338934 3570 17551658 3592 60462381 3600 73526532 3604 42485715 3626 98586440 3633 41595597 3644 48972884 3651 99886447 3668 63276701 3669 08630825 3693 75833578 3713 28577276 3742 89390290 3751 30879676 3770 77076576 3775 59596391 3798 90688576 3812 68591358 3829 79075716 3857 04645387 3872 67248676 3873 45584340 3897 27776139 3918 01974898 3922 48669096 3952 66175977 3957 86548813 3980 45708659 3997 71945948 4002 12258513 4040 68249515 4052 71718478 4060 55775879 4087 05678649 4097 82376783 4116 99899219 4128 15079777 4140 01907958 4152 87209116 4171 85872478 4176 29965989 4202 96011592 4205 45094975 4230 67979099 4246 89345667 4269 54156395 4293 53387795 4296 87657281 4320 96473548 4338 44583468 4349 07695678 4375 95986045 4387 57946926 4413 34847888 4432 94288791 4455 28795154 4462 25999703 4471 54545495 4484 61377689 4492 28475189 4503 58717897 4515 84513177 4536 54253292 4556 13782676 4585 55666946 4592 01919672 4619 56613058 4654 87471637 4658 85656147 4685 48765569 4708 50377756 4712 54847848 4743 67792752 4747 05630780 4771 93719380 4778 47111501 4799 67279983 4806 83574957 4822 57676035 4845 52799756 4853 26261949 4868 84481282 4869 51597544 4893 14897569 4899 72352786 4904 65159296 4933 33290035 4936 51666648 4971 72195675 4980 44897541 4991 45408668 5016 10425597 5021 46334436 5023 38205770 5033 68054550 5055 66446956 5057 95769125 5061 89443233 5091 28457513 5105 64968401 5124 84316164 5139 18364677 5147 49356715 5152 07657368 5177 17198636 5195 66602863 5198 57783566 5221 39055528 5243 18495949 5246 44085553 5270 18650948 5291 77245206 5304 90686369 5330 68998080 5331 25692280 5352 75442480 5358 48900126 5367 06892640 5375 05440442 5404 70891461 5407 40765064 5436 77674944 5440 54446568 5455 47996874 5457 62976446 5465 05687059 5493 91305942 5500 55543691 5521 39055528 5533 57766865 5541 15561586 5570 19767876 5585 91851746 5605 96819909 5626 68697561 5643 28969891 5672 89589595 5674 46232034 5709 64522893 5721 83919178 5739 10778719 5766 73358953 5767 33548734 5798 35561846 5810 75259448 5817 56539286 5840 69919924 5854 98613593 5872 56598894 5887 37179466 5888 18826306 5914 78876680 5935 34753865 5948 44158339 5977 24358276 5978 97618495 6011 54936919 6023 42610959 6042 89955578 6072 35458574 6074 96278880 6105 47434182 6120 89905814 6139 36866267 6142 57429407 6159 80063378 6162 46560156 6182 69246463 6186 05749938 6195 06130669 6225 63032574 6255 55727809 6256 36644244 6271 45908796 6296 49819239 6299 37260269 6319 67979977 6328 41361858 6341 70279567 6362 91645538 6374 48145808 6404 08568678 6421 65077736 6443 09766676 6454 96016795 6491 47953490 6525 84275717 6530 84395348 6557 15461627 6566 79837640 6578 75922043 6592 54865696 6626 81454408 6629 17165928 6657 15461627 6670 91993084 6673 71066034 6711 63327034 6716 45751980 6746 94779084 6760 89684519 6780 62007132 6799 92080377 6812 98466005 6823 61480364 6843 54845271 6845 50187799 6876 36781117 6888 87675849 6908 37588642 6920 36954279 6922 78044857 6944 04575676 6968 69979397 6981 33530188 7014 68768458 7023 48078866 7058 78147445 7062 17135627 7081 89885498 7104 57756946 7121 73968899 7155 35325448 7167 40556958 7174 87745808 7189 37772256 7205 67950069 7228 43534952 7239 55393558 7269 00483696 7274 59585160 7313 41693892 7319 24367636 7335 58973547 7359 98675968 7361 73086023 7400 25122960 7407 21344783 7433 10629794 7450 85578653 7458 96482732 7469 28053043 7491 68741038 7500 57474845 7521 09473094 7528 98457357 7551 78663408 7578 77083591 7593 75449707 7609 64774128 7613 44238957 7630 44084197 7656 62959496 7661 08865800 7688 67367747 7699 68545897 7720 78489823 7737 58664965 7754 69440075 7775 19263118 7775 87726196 7781 64842993 7808 98616470 7819 57819469 7845 43088856 7857 84416622 7891 29755797 7892 52983976 7921 46625039 7939 36942452 7967 92904193 7979 69260595 7986 98744974 8006 34884289 8016 69624082 8052 43182088 8054 84845160 8076 19490860 8090 90774759 8097 51962466 8113 48486965 8147 64659865 8154 58619978 8189 55481135 8196 94449696 8215 59933001 8243 65345948 8246 87265376 8286 70954551 8293 17796528 8321 79666978 8330 79607795 8344 74795686 8367 64988147 8380 62431865 8400 08154310 8403 65589908 8424 93560958 8447 99251264 8475 37550296 8476 99703663 8492 55703467 8505 18883639 8528 46134357 8552 58566264 8555 16670667 8585 42065833 8601 05288502 8603 98542697 8646 61544153 8648 96594647 8677 46973813 8678 43402574 8698 59614562 8707 20548846 8731 89499692 8739 43487692 8765 98056853 8769 51949885 8798 61498959 8813 61472483 8833 22167057 8863 93066239 8872 49299454 8910 15469524 8911 45957177 8952 82477888 8955 38219500 8996 56566166 8999 77480167 9039 71995992 9050 06905249 9085 57749447 9101 41996624 9113 81445827 9123 10151064 9138 52690704 9154 68412419 9161 64459442 9185 12867055 9198 43249937 9199 57653348 9234 73784752 9235 32645939 9273 99972417 9278 99378655 9293 10151064 9308 85970507 9320 66396444 9343 04874455 9365 14830964 9378 25808769 9396 57677788 9409 13453201 9417 36918975 9447 75024249 9455 96187437 9487 47742501 9493 63665079 9497 80932528 9532 93669327 9534 44998689 9535 01459175 9568 28582569 9580 89974357 9613 84193133 9628 29598067 9646 36536934 9651 99651730 9676 58144686 9686 14459996 9717 04006764 9734 45921736 9756 65098889 9778 82265136 9795 45956877 9801 50449863 9816 35664704 9840 49123738 9849 07092384 9878 83346694 9886 57605580 9887 06548862 9917 03898564 9919 68007699 9926 97352798 9959 49158288 9971 26967619 9998 98288136 9999 76750745

Finally, I propose a couple of pokes to have infinite energy even if, I warn you, they spoil the fun:

To be inserted after resetting the game just loaded:

POKE 6679,173 (infinite energy) POKE 8512,10 SYS 16128

The SYS command will return you to the game with the activated Cheats.


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