Welcome to the world's first-ever icon-driven adventure:
Shadowfire - rescue from Zoff V


The Emperor
The object of the game is to rescue ambassador Kryxix from the clutches of the evil General Zoff who has him imprisoned onboard his ship, Zoff-V. Plans for a new type of spaceship (the Shadowfire of the games title) are contained in a micro-disc hidden in the Ambassador's spine. If Zoff has the plans, the empire will be in great danger, and it is only a matter of time until his inquisitors will discover them.
The Emperor has assembled the so-called "Enigma Force", a group of six reckless mercenaries, to take care of the situation. The team consist of Torik a winged humanoid, Sevrina a safecrafting murderess, Syylk an Insectoid, Zark a ex-legionaire and a Weapons droid called Maul. The team is completed by Manto who operates a transporter that allows them to infiltrate Zoff-V.
Each of the six members of Enigma Force can be controlled and moved independently, and each has differing stats (such as strength, stamina, and carrying capacity) and unique skills. Characters may attack and be attacked by guards and other NPCs as they move around the fortress, and require weapons to defend themselves. All this in one hour and forty minutes of real time before the ambassador cracks under interogation and tells the bad guys Prince Charles phone number or in other words just 100 Minutes to save the universe.
The world first icon-driven adventure awaits you....


The screen is divided into six sections. The 'Upper screen' section is called the "Mission command screen" and displays which character is active. Upper-Left part shows the active character and the status plus messages of all characters: whether they are moving, engaged in combat, weak or dying or performing certain action such as picking locks. The 'Upper-Middle' part shows the active character's location. 'Upper-Right' part shows the piccy of the selected hero in all his shiny glory.
The lower half of the screen (here with yellow borders) changes depending on the situation and shows additional information and all selectable actions. Along the bottom a weight-scale bar will register the weight of objects carried.


Controls of this adventure-game are completely 'icon' (symbols) based, which means you have no need of fiddly text inputs. Icons are just little pictures which appear on the screen to represent various items, such as a character,a weapon movement, and so on. Consequently, it´s possible to play the entire game with a single joystick, a lightpen or a mouse.
The screen represents your control panel through which you can communicate with your team. The cursor is placed over an action icon like 'pick up' or 'drop' which is activated using the fire button, then moved to the object icon desired.
Your first task is to beam Manto aboard Zoff V, were he can place the transporter to beam down the other team members...
1. Team select screen
manto anim_1
Choose the tranporter droid Manto

First you have to choose Manto from the Team Select Screen.
Move the cursor over Manto and activate him. You will be moved to
the next screen then.

2. Character stats screen
manto anim_2
Select the 'Yellow monitor' here

You´re now in the
Characters status screen
with Mantos actual conditions
and states. Now choose the yellow monitor for the Objects Screen.

3. Objects screen
manto anim_3
'Pickup-Icon' — 2. 'Transporter-Icon'

In the Objects screen you have to choose the Pick-up Icon.
While the Pick-up icon is activated now, move over to one of the Transporter-Icons in the Object-Screen on the left side.
4. Ballistick controller
manto anim_4
'Activate-Icon' — 2. 'Ballistic Controller-Icon'

The Transporter is now in your inventory screen (center).
Now you can carry the transporter
to the Zoff-V for later use.
Select the Activate-Icon, then move the cursor to the Balistic Controller Icon left in the Objects-Screen.
5. Destination selection
manto anim_5
Choose one of your transport positions

You will be directly moved here.
The Ballistic Control gives you
3 possible transport positions
onbard the Zoff 5.
After choosing the destination,
Manto will be sent directly onboard
the Zoff-V.
6. MANTO arrives at ZOFF-V
manto anim_6

1. 'Drop-Icon' — 2. 'Transporter-Icon'

Manto is now onboard the Zoff-5
as seen on the location screen.
To get his buddys down there,
he has to use his transporter.
Select the Drop-Icon and the choose the Transporter-Icon from your Inventory screen.
7. Transporter in position
manto anim_7-2
'Activate-Icon' — 2. 'Transporter-Icon'

Transporter is now ready. Choose the Activate-Icon and select the Transporter-Icon in the Objects-Screen. Don´t forget to arm the team members before the transport.
8. Get team member onboard
manto_7 anim
Choose 'Zark' to transport him onboard

Now choose the team member you want transport onboard the Zoff-V.
Let´s choose Zark Montor.
The left screen shows all the characters at your current position.
9. ZARK arrives at ZOFF-V
manto anim_9
'Pickup-Icon' — 2. 'Transporter-Icon'

Zark will transported directly to the same position as Manto. You will see his Icon in the Location View Screen.
Use Pick up Icon for the Transporter when you move ahead.


One man orchestra Fred Gray contribution to the C64-version of Shadowfire were amazing. The heroic and athmospheric tracks fits perfect to this rescue mission. Great work.

'From Bedrooms To Billions' exclusive interview footage.
Fred Gray: The composing of the Shadowfire soundtrack (C64)


Three versions of SHADOWFIRE have been released for following systems: Spectrum 48k, Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC.
Shadowfire was unique at the time in that it was released in April 1985 with the ZX Spectrum version on one side of the cassette, and the Commodore 64 version on the other side. This ensured that Shadowfire rode high in the individual format charts, as both Spectrum & C64 sales counted as one, increasing the perceived popularity. The AMSTRAD CPC version was released in 1986.

SPECTRUM 48K version

The spectrum 48k version plays much faster and smoother than the other versions. This mission needs a smooth control, a fast and detailed graphic system is indispensable for this purpose.
This game shows how an icon based system should be. Also nice appoaches in micromanagement.
An athmospheric in-game tune would make my day...

C64 version

This version has the great graphics and music. A good graphic recognition is essential for an icon based system.
The use of multicolor graphics did the best job in this step.
Some special graphic effects build
(Iris and the status bars) caused
a slower gameplay.

The music here were amazing and pulled the user right into the action.
Amstrad CPC version

The Amstrad version is the latest version and brings a good playability. Not as fast and smooth like the Spectrum version.
Graphics and designs were taken partly from the other versions.
For a time-critical conversion, this was the best what can be done here.


Shadowfire was released with 2 different front covers, each for different markets. The british publisher BEYOND uses the original cover-art design from Denton Designs, which was used for the whole Europe releases.
The US publisher MINDSCAPE was responsible for the distribution on the US & CANADA market. For this purpose Mindscape designed a new front cover. It could be possible that the original cover-art from Denton Designs was too sexy (or not brutal enough) for the US market.

USA & Canada