It is now February 27th, 2018. To cut a long story short, I think I started seriously collecting Commodore 64 games in January 2000. I joined eBay auction site on February 29th, 2000. So in two days, I have been a member for exactly 18 years. I am happy to have 100% positive feedback track record and 661 positives. I have never sold anything on eBay, so all the feedback is as a buyer.
Last week my ebaysearch Python script sent me an email. I was shocked to see it had finally found a Commodore 64 Trollie Wallie disk release! I had been looking for that disk version since 2007 and had almost given up. I already had a clamshell and C-cassette case tape versions of Trollie Wallie, but the disk version is extremely hard to find and what is more, there are pretty many hardcore C64 collectors who are after this game. I was shaking in excitement!
So when I received the email notification from ebaysearch to my Nokia 5 smart phone, I just could not believe it at first. I gasped for air and I quickly ran to my iPad. I realized that I must act very quickly! I opened the Mail application, clicked the link to the Trollie Wallie auction and selected Buy It now as fast as I could. But I was not logged in, so I got a login screen instead. With my hands shaking, I typed in my username and password, trying to get it right without any errors. It worked out, I could buy the item. Then I just sent the payment via PayPal and that was it!
The seller was in the UK and had specified Tracked Royal Air Mail as the shipping method, which suited me perfectly. After some 11 years of searching, I wanted to make sure that this extremely rare and desired floppy disk would make the trip safely to my home.
And here is a fresh photo taken today to prove that it did arrive. After all these years of wishing and hoping to find it, I am now super happy holding this wonderful floppy disk release:
Unfortunately Trollie Wallie is a very underrated platform game, although it does have some cult following like many titles by Interceptor Micros. There is a short article about Trollie Wallie in Wikipedia. According to the article, this game was originally released in 1984 and it is a sequel to Wheelin' Wallie. The article does not mention that there is also a third game in this Wallie series. It is called Wallie Goes To Rhymeland. I have all three both as tapes and disks, and I believe those Wheelin' Wallie and Wallie Goes To Rhymeland disks are pretty hard to find, too.
Certain lack of playability is probably the most criticized feature of Trollie Wallie. The game is indeed difficult and like many people say, the game mechanics could have been more forgiving and better. I have not made it far in this game, because I have always lost my patience. But I intend to come back some day and give it a try. I have heard of people who have actually completed Trollie Wallie without any cheats, so if you are good enough, it is doable! So this is a real "old skool" platformer that makes you work hard, it is strictly for those gamers who are up to the challenge!
I think Trollie Wallie has very good, colourful, psychedelic graphics. The fun starts with a super cool tape version loading screen. It was done by this game's programmer Andrew Challis' sister Claire. Claire also did all the in-game graphics, so fantastic job from her! Here is the loading screen:
It seems to me that everybody agrees that Trollie Wallie has absolutely great music. Why is this so? Well, let me start by saying that I do not know the facts for sure. I am going to give you just my personal idea as to what may have happened back in the 1984. I suspect the team behind Trollie Wallie said to themselves: "Hey guys, we need fantastic tunes for this beautiful, colourful game that we have created. But none of us is a composer. What can we do?". Someone replied: "We could use existing tunes and let Graham Hansford do the arrangements for the SID audio chip". Someone voiced an objection: "No way! We have no money to pay for the music licences, we cannot afford to do that.". Hansford replied: "Fuck the licences, I will rearrange Hot Butter's Popcorn and parts of Jean-Michel Jarre's Equinoxe. That's what we're gonna do!". And on they went.
So, for one thing, of course the tunes are fantastic because they were composed by real, professional musicians! Popcorn is a very nice tune, made famous by the band Hot Butter in 1972, but even their version was a cover of an original song. If you are interested in those music facts, please check out Wikipedia article on Hot Butter. What about Equinoxe? Well, I guess it is fair to say that Jean-Michel Jarre is a legend in his own right in that electronic music genre! Back in those days people composed real music, not crap like today. Graham Hansford's SID arrangements are superb!
I wonder whether Gershon Kingsley or Jarre ever tried to sue Interceptor Micros for using their music without permission.
By the way, Interceptor Micros is not the only company that used Jarre's Equinoxe without permission. Alligata Software did the same. Likewise in 1984 they released Loco with Ben Daglish's arrangement of Jarre's Equinoxe 5. I like both Hansford and Daglish arrangements very much, they have that very pure SID sound and a good groove that pushes forward! Great job, guys.
Here is the trollie_wallie.sid.
And here are MP3 versions of the SID songs. I used
sidplayfp to dump the songs into WAV-files, and then I used
lame to encode to MP3. Finally I used
mid3v2 to tag the MP3 files.
Trollie Wallie is a great, underrated Commodore 64 game that has much going for it. Because it is very difficult, Trollie Wallie requires lots of patience, very good timing and precise movements. You also need to plan your routes ahead. There is also an Amstrad CPC port of this game, but I have never tried it. I recommend the C64 original if you like difficult platform games.
If you are a collector looking for original Trollie Wallie, the tape releases do occasionally show up and are not that hard to get. On the other hand, the floppy disk version seems to be extremely rare and could take years to find. For me, Trollie Wallie disk was the last important game that I was still missing. After getting it, my C64 Wanted-list is complete. But despite that, I do not plan to quit collecting. I am still looking for some rare releases, but all of those have just "would be nice to have" status, there are no absolute "must haves" left any longer.
UPDATE 2018-02-27: Many thanks and maximum respect to the Commodore 64 tape preservation project for archiving original TAP tape images and providing them for the folks to use! It is very important to have the uncracked, original versions available.
Sometimes crackers think they have "improved" the games by adding cheat and training modes, but sadly that is not always a correct assumption! It was just a few days ago when I came across a cracked ORIC Manic Miner tape file where the crackers had removed the colour code verification from the game. When doing so, they had accidentally corrupted the game's code/data. Unfortunately they never realized it, because the code/data corruption occurs only after entering room number 17 called Home At Last. That incident proves that if you want to enjoy the original game versions exactly as they were released back in the day, you must avoid the cracked releases just to be sure that you will play a good version that works 100% correctly!
So here is the Trollie Wallie TAP tape image for Commodore 64. It has that cool loading screen pictured above! But it will take some time to load from the "virtual cassette", so please be patient. As I said, all credit goes to the cool guys at c64tapes.org who have preserved those tapes for later generations, all I am doing here is redistributing the game for you to download and play!
I would like to redistribute the original uncracked disk image too, but I cannot find it anywhere.
As far as I know, the c64tapes.org is planning to merge their site with retrocollector.org, so you should check out the latter site as well!