Diabolik in video games: the retrospective of an all-Italian series

Diabolik in video games: the retrospective of an all-Italian series

Diabolik in video games

Diabolik is a cartoon character who, at least in our country, shouldn't need any introduction, given the fame he enjoys. Born from the sisters Angela and Luciana Giussani and published by the Astorina publishing house since 1962, it has since been a regular presence in the newsstands of the peninsula and has come to become a real phenomenon of costume.

Diabolik is a ruthless and unscrupulous criminal who uses every means at his disposal to carry out his blows. Engaged with Eva Kant, who is also his accomplice in evil, he seems to be impregnable by the police, despite continually risking his life to achieve his goals.

On the occasion of the release of the second film that sees him as protagonist, Diabolik by Manetti Bros. (the first dates back to 1968 and was directed by Mario Bava), we decided to create a quick retrospective to discover all the video games of Diabolik, from the best known to the least known.

First tracks: a Diabolik for Commodore 64

Diabolik for C64 has never been completed The first tracks of Diabolik in the world of the video games you have with a short animated demo for Commodore 64 from 1992 made by Simulmondo, which, as far as we can understand even just looking at it (it is freely downloadable from various retrogaming sites), has not progressed in development. The demo, recovered a posteriori, is composed of a first animation, in which a figure in the background advances towards the center of the screen, finally revealing that he is Diabolik, followed by the game logo placed over the iconic eyes of the character, then by others two images, one of the criminal behind broken glass and the second of a dagger with which a bag full of diamonds appears to have just been opened. It all ends with a black screen that reads: "Soon on the screens of your Amiga, PC VGA 256 colors".

Information on the project is scarce. The Games That Werent site speculates that the C64 version of the game was canceled in the bud in favor of that Amiga. In 2010 Roberto Nicoletti of the Ready64 site asked the two demo authors, Ivan Venturi (graphics) and Nicola Ferraioli (code) about that Diabolik.

At the end of the Diabolik demo for C64 there was a reference to other versions of the game Initially both struggled to remember having developed it, then it emerged that it was basically the work of a couple of nights of work, then abandoned in favor of other games. This version was confirmed by Venturi himself, whom we contacted directly. According to his account, Diabolik was queued for Dylan Dog: The Killers (1992), which came out in stores in C64, PC and Amiga versions. Nothing playable was developed about Diabolik for the Commodore 8-bit, so we can consider it as a mere curiosity, rather than as something concrete.


It deserves a little Also mentioned in this special is Cattivik: The Videogame, a 1992 title developed by the Italian software house Idea and published only on Amiga. It was a 2D platform game with horizontal scrolling, linear, but well done, which had as its protagonist the weird character created by Bonvi in ​​1968 as a parody of Diabolik.

Diabolik on newsstands: the Simulmondo series

Simulmondo's Diabolik series was only released on newsstands The first game, indeed the first Diabolik games actually published date back to the end of 1992 and are the twelve episodes of a Simulmondo newsstand series starring the elusive criminal, who he held the bank for a good part of 1993. At the time, the historic Italian software house had focused heavily on distribution in what was a channel hardly beaten by video games, also inventing episodic adventures (well before Telltale). He launched several series with monthly releases dedicated to three characters from Italian comics: Dylan Dog, Tex and, precisely, Diabolik. He also launched original intellectual properties: Simulman and Time Runners. The idea was to combine video games with comics, whose audience often coincided. Even the price of the single release, 14,900 lire (just over five euros), was lower than that of any commercial game at the time. These were action adventure games displayed on the side, which shared the same graphics engine as the aforementioned The Killers. They were quite woody, very similar to each other in animations and dynamics, but nevertheless pleasant, especially if you were a fan of the characters.

The gameplay alternated between narrative sequences, simple fights and very solving puzzles. linear, which forced you to go back and forth to the fixed screens from which the game worlds were composed.

Naturally the narrative component was the most accurate, especially for the series dedicated to comic book characters. On average, it didn't take long to finish a single episode, but longevity was certainly not their main goal, as they were made with the duration of the comics in mind. Ivan Venturi remembers who at the time was director of Simulmondo's adventures line and who is still very active on the Italian development scene today: "The game (he referred to Dylan Dog, but the concept is also applicable to Diabolik ed) was designed to last twice the life time of a comic. The amount of money you spent on it was comparable to that of the comic. "The packaging of each issue, well cared for and designed just as if they were volumes of comic books, therefore easily collectable and not very expensive in terms of space occupied, contained two different versions: Amiga and PC. Usually the Amiga versions were shorter linear due to the smaller capacity of the floppy disks, while the PC ones offered small crossroads that increased the replayability factor, a feature that Simulmondo herself was proud of and that she did not fail to point out in the marketing phase. probably to attract the growing audience of PC gamers. It is interesting to note how the twelfth episode, Terror at the Theater, is in fact considered lost.

One of the intermission sequences of Elusive Criminal Many believe that after Simulmondo's Diabolik, the character has no longer appeared in the world of video games until 2007. In reality it is not quite like that. In 2001, Rizzoli published the little known Diabolik: Il Gioiello della Torre, essentially an interactive adventure for PC linked to the TV series Diabolik: Track of the Panther, in which a story of Diabolik was followed, with limited interactions and a particular focus. on narration. Unfortunately, there is no useful information on this product, in the sense that there are no videos on YouTube or elsewhere and no one seems to have tried or reviewed it. Currently there is a copy of it on Ebay, which if we want to testify at least of its existence, because otherwise it seems that no one has ever heard of it or has ever been interested in it.

The Titles of twelve episodes of Diabolik's Simulmondo necklace

Elusive Criminal The Gem of Solomon The Escape Steel Trap Dangerous Hours The Night of Fear 4 Unique Diamonds A Perfect Plan At High Price At Last Blood Deception Fatal Terror at the Theater

Diabolik: Original Sin

Diabolik: Original Sin had some really well done cutscenes. Diabolik: Original Sin by Artematica is the most advanced video game in terms of technology, as well as the latest in chronological ones, dedicated to the character. It was released in 2007 on PC, Nintendo Wii, PSP, PS2 and Nintendo DS. This is a well-made 3D graphic adventure, in which both Diabolik and his partner Eva Kant are controlled. It is at the command of the latter that the story begins: someone has locked her in a cell and she must be able to get rid of her. Her jailer wants to use her to blackmail Diabolik and force him to steal a work of art called The Original Sin, before she gets to the MaryVille museum. If he can't make it, he'll kill her. From here unfolds a plot full of twists and situations designed to thrill the fans of the character in the first place, but at the same time to appear even by those who do not know him at all. To put a spoke in the wheel at Diabolik is another of the classic characters of the series, the inevitable Inspector Ginko, well introduced within the story.

In terms of gameplay we are faced with a very classic point and click adventure, with puzzles based on logical deduction and the use of objects, all seasoned with some mini-game designed to evoke some characteristics of the character (such as his ability with the blowpipe).

Original Sin was a very classic point and click adventure. There are also many cutscenes, well done for the time, which help a lot in the construction of the narrative fabric. Unlike all the other Diabolik games we talked about in this special, Diabolik: Original Sin is the most readily available, both in PC and console versions, so you shouldn't have any problems if you want to play it.

Too bad that after Diabolik: Original Sin the character of the Giussani sisters has actually disappeared from the videogame scene. Probably his "original sin" is to be followed almost exclusively in Italy, despite the existence of translations of his books in many European countries and despite the old animated series Diabolik: Track of the Panther, which came out in Italy, USA and France between 1999 and 2001. Who knows if in the future we will see him return to the protagonist of a new virtual adventure.

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