Total Eclipse was released on all major 8-bit and 16-bit platforms in 1988. It was the third game to use Freescape - for its time, a radical 3D engine which allowed players to navigate their way through a variety of 3D environments. Although sluggish, it was still a stellar leap from what 8-bit gamers were used to at the time. The Freescape engine was developed in-house by Incentive Software - the development house behind the game.
PlotThe game took place in the 1930's, and put you in the role of an adventurer who had just landed his bi-plane outside an ominous pyramid deep in the Sahara desert. It was also hard not to notice the sun was slowly being covered by the moon - the beginning of a total eclipse. The Egyptian Sun God known as High Priest Re had placed a curse on the moon - it was up to you to navigate through the pyramid's labyrinth of rooms and corridors and stop the curse by destroying Re's shrine before the moon completely covers the sun and explodes into shards of polygonal fragments.
Game MechanicsPassage of time throughout the game is represented by a wrist watch on the game's HUD - rather radically for the time, the game's two hour time limit was in real-time. As you negotiated the pyramid, traps, mummies or high falls would cause the player's heart rate to rocket. Time played a vital role in that it could be "spent" reducing the player's heart rate by resting. As well as keeping an eye on heart rate, players also had to keep an eye on their ever-dwindling water supply - which could be replenished by interacting with wells, troughs and other water-carrying vessels. The player also had a pistol to defend himself against any enemies as well as activating switches. Keys were also represented by the Egyptian symbol of the Ankh - the player could obtain these Ankhs by shooting them. These Ankhs were vital to unblock barriers and get to other areas of the pyramid.