Perihelion

1991 – 1993 | Morbid Visions | Psygnosis | Commodore Amiga | Role-playing game

Perihelion box

“A hardcore RPG player’s dream.” [AMIGA ACTION]

“Well, simply put, the intro to Perihelion is the best game intro I’ve ever seen, save Microcosm.” [AMIGA GAMES DATABASE]

“I have never played a game with more atmosphere to suit the theme.” [AMIGA REPORT]

“This is the best-presented submission we have ever received.” [PSYGNOSIS about the prototype of Perihelion.]

Perihelion – a world where advanced science and malevolent Gods exist side by side; where genetic engineering and occultism evolved together; where mutation is a way of life. Oh well. The game was created by only 3 people under pretty challenging conditions (don’t even ask). Taking this project to completion while going to school still remains to be the most difficult but most rewarding thing I have ever done.

As far as my role in the project goes: I did all the artwork, I was responsible for the concept, the rule-set and virtually the entire design of the game, provided the story narrative (in form of about 80 pages worth of in-game script and dialogue) and handled project-management duties. In retrospect I would do a LOT of things differently with Perihelion but nevertheless, in its day it had very high production values, some pioneering technical achievements and a highly sophisticated core rule-set and combat system which we never did quite manage to polish and push to its limits.

One signature element of the game was the shared, common 32-color two-tone palette which in retrospect was a pretty bold move but it was a key element in providing a unique look and a very consistent atmosphere.

The game eventually climbed to #9 on Amiga Action’s prestigious “50 best RPGs of all time” list.

…and here’s a little surprise:

DOWNLOAD – The full, playable version of Perihelion. It even includes a copy of the WinUAE Amiga-emulator, preconfigured to run the game (make sure to refer to the READMEFIRST.txt instructions).
DOWNLOAD – The soundtrack to the game separately, in old-school .MOD format.

Disk

Special thanks must go to Marek Tarnawski – apparently the biggest Perihelion-fan on the planet – for providing me with all these files.
Normally I’m not into distributing cracked versions of copyrighted software over the Internet, but since Perihelion has not been distributed commercially for at least 17 years – not to mention that its publisher doesn’t even exist anymore – I’m sure nobody really cares at this point. It probably even qualifies as “abandonware”…

It’s quite amazing and humbling that even after all this time there’s still a number of fan-sites and other material out there dealing with the game, like a link to this Lemon Amiga page which features numerous user reviews and even scans of magazine reviews, or this YouTube playlist of fan-made videos of the game:

And to wrap it all up, I’m often asked about what served as inspiration for the look, sound and feel of Perihelion. Well, as far as the visuals are concerned, the answer is almost surprisingly specific. The single biggest influence on Perihelion’s art-style was this painting to the right: Microdrive II by John Harris.
I was completely blown away by the atmosphere of this image: the palette, the scale, the combination of primitive monolithic architecture with sinister technology all tickled my imagination.

Inspiration for the audio came from many places, the most significant of which must have been the works of several emerging progressive death metal bands we were big fans of at the time. Their ominous, heavily synth-infused sound mixed with cues taken from movie soundtracks, jazz or even classical music seemed like the perfect starting-point to get the right vibe. A prime example of this type of sound is Empire of the Sands by Nocturnus, embedded below for your listening pleasure.

The parallels with Perihelion’s soundscape are fairly obvious, and the lyrics (which can be found on the YouTube page) enhance the effect even further – they even include a reference to a “fortress of steel”. Enjoy! ;)

29 Responses to Perihelion

  1. Derwish says:

    I love this game THANK YOU

  2. Jay says:

    I remember this game so fondly from my amiga days, but the zip archive is corrupt!

  3. edvardtoth says:

    You are right – it was a side-effect of a recent migration I had to do. It should be fixed now.

  4. Eirún says:

    “Help mí, másztö-ür… Áj felt dí börning tvájlájt bihájnd dóz gétsz of SZTÍÍÍL… Sztíííl… sztíííl…” :D Epic intro. Megalapozta az ízlésvilágomat ez a játék. Vagy 12 csapatot indítottam el a Sandstorm Citadel-b?l, de csak egy jutott el Fort Nightfall-ig… aztán elajándékoztam a gépet, minden szoftverével együtt. :’(

    Viszont, ha meglátogatod a linkben megadott weboldalt, amit mostanság kezdtem el gyártani, akkor szerintem nem kicsit fogsz elmosolyodni. ;) (Folytatom e-mailben egy gmail-es címr?l.)

  5. Stoffel says:

    Love this game, too.
    Playing it as a kid, i really was afraid all the time just because of the thrilling atmosphere!

    I think its very tricky but that motivated me even more.

    Played it till the end now 10 yars later.
    Thank you three and gratulations for this creation.

  6. Joel says:

    Legend! I loved this game. I never did finish it because of a save-game bug, but would love to now! More exclamation marks needed! :) Anyhow, the infinite walking bug was hillarious. Thanks for your work on the game.

  7. Qmy says:

    I looooved this one so much but I never played it. I didn’t have Amiga back then. I only saw it at my friend. Somebody please send a walkthrough…

    Gratula a készít?knek nagyon igényes kis cucc ez. Hajrá magyarok. De az a leírás tényleg kéne, mert ha jól emlékszem a 2. városból sehogyse tudtunk tovább jutni.

  8. RayRayTea says:

    Oh wow! If it weren’t for the fact I was constantly getting lost, this would probably be one of my fav games. The atmosphere was fantastic – I wonder what are the guys that worked on the game up to now?

  9. RayRayTea says:

    I mean the rest of the team obviously ;)

  10. NagyMarci says:

    Hát ember, nagyon köszönjük!!!!!
    Emlékszem, még NAGYON régen sokat nyomtuk osztálytársakkal, bár akkor az Amiga már kifutóban volt így csak egyvalakinél tudtuk tolni ezt a remekbeszabott játékot.
    Mondanom se kell, azóta se találtam sehol, mert nem emlékeztem a címére.
    Úghogy millió köszönet a felöltésért is!!!

  11. Marien says:

    Super game for super computer. I still have an A1200 and I like play this game . I finished this game with human character only and without spells :) BTW I own original this game ;)

  12. Wepl says:

    An extraordinary great game. Thanks for that.

  13. penszo says:

    the game is legendary. unfortunately those days have passed forever. Now they do not make such timeless games. I take my hat off.

  14. Martin says:

    I love this game ! The Intro from this game is awesome and music too. I agrees with penszo. Nobody makes games like perihelion now. The games developers makes colorfull but boooring games. Is there any tutorial or manual about this game in polish language ? What happens at the end of the game ? Did Unborn dies ?

    Greetings from Poland :)

    danzieger@poczta.onet.pl

  15. elend says:

    Tha graphics to this game were super awesome. One of the best works I have ever seen on the Amiga. I didn’t play the game much, though, since I don’t like RPGs that much.

  16. Ollie says:

    Thanks edvard, it’s great that people like me who missed out on the Amiga scene can now experience some of its greatest moments :)

  17. J Skold says:

    Oh. My. God.

    I can´t believe I stumble upon this after all these years – I LOVED Perihelion, played it back in school and immersed myself in its´ very distinct and unique world even though I probably didn´t get half of the fiddly details (such as the runic system). My old Amiga 500 and all my games – including this one – was lost in a burglary ages ago, so this is a godsend. Thank you for this game, and for the memories!

  18. Supermarine says:

    Probably the computer game in the world, that I would most like to see remade or made a sequel for!

    Love it! The most intense atmosphere and storyline ever written. Goes from suspense and excitement to downright fear.

    And I just love the turnbased combat system mixed with the suspense of (almost – atleast for what was possible on the amiga at that time when it came to first-person) realtime movement.

    You did a legendary job on that one Edvard, and Zoltans music was just the coolest!

  19. Gingersik says:

    It was one of the best games i ever played. My question is:
    Why you guys ever did a remake?

  20. Konrad says:

    Saw this game in some old polish computer games magazine my uncle gave me (I’m against throwing away books) and… I’m speechless.
    Truly amazing game, thanks for letting me feel the old-school charm again!

  21. Milo says:

    Thank you for this note and the game. This was/is game which fueled my imagination when I was a child (and this was not easy feat for the small piece of software). You should know that still there are people who are chatting about “those times” and name “Perihelion” was mentioned more then once during their nighttime conversation.

  22. ermanno says:

    I love this game, but never i can played because the copy that i founded years ago in Italy there was all broken of full of bugs.. Thanks again.. finally i can try a play this beatiful old school rpg.. :-)

  23. eric says:

    long ago, when I was still in old europe I discovered your game with my A600. Loved it

    I am sure I will re enjoy it today while living now in Asia.

    It’s because of people like you, who gave me dreams with a computer, that I am now in the IT industry (dreams == yes, we can)

  24. Terror says:

    This is by far the best RPG game ever. Thanks for sharing files. Now it is like dream come true I can play Perihelion again !!!

    I remember when I finished the game almost 20 years ago, I made myself cup of coffee and stared all again.

    Thanks.

  25. David says:

    Hi Edvard

    Perihelion was an interesting game back in the Amiga days, and the graphics were (and are still) beautiful. Since you worked on the game, how about a “making of” article that tells the story of how the game was made? That would be very interesting to read about.

    Thank you

    David

  26. Michael says:

    Brilliant game, stunning artwork! Edvard Toth is THE MAN!!! :)

  27. Harikuki says:

    Love this game ! thanks ! ;-) Amiga ruleezz :D

  28. MArcello says:

    I also loved this game, it was beautiful and catchy. And the ending, my God, I was sad and happy at the same time, immersed in that wonderful music playing over and over, I was unable to turn off my pc for hours! Thank you for this wonderful experience.

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