Diabolik in videogames: the retrospective of an all-Italian series

Let’s retrace the story of the videogame reductions of Diabolik, the character born from Angela and Luciana Giussani who since 1962 keeps company with Italian readers.

Diabolik is a comic book character who, at least in our country, should not need 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 become a regular presence in the newsstands of the peninsula and has come to become a real phenomenon of custom.

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

On the occasion of the release of the second film starring him, Diabolik by Manetti Bros. (the first dates back to 1968 and was directed by Mario Bava), we decided to make a quick retrospective to discover all the video games of Diabolik, from the best known, up to the less known.

First tracks: a Diabolik for Commodore 64

Diabolik per C64 non è mai stato completato Diabolik for C64 was never completed

The first tracks of Diabolik in the world of video games are with a short animated demo for Commodore 64 of 1992 made by Simulmondo, which, as we understand even by looking at it (it can be freely downloaded from several retrogaming sites), has not gone ahead in development. The demo, recovered a posteriori, consists of a first animation, in which a figure in the background advances towards the center of the screen finally revealing to be Diabolik, followed by the logo of the game placed above the iconic eyes of the character, then by two other images, one of the criminal behind a broken glass and the second of a dagger with which it seems to have just been opened a bag full of diamonds. All ends with a black screen that reads:”Soon on the screens of your Amiga, PC VGA 256 colors“.

Information about the project is scarce. The Games That W In 2010 Roberto Nicoletti of the site Ready64 asked the two authors of the demo, Ivan Venturi (graphics) and Nicola Ferraioli (code) numi about that Diabolik.

Alla fine della demo di Diabolik per C64 c'era un rimando ad altre versioni del gioco At the end of the Diabolik demo for C64 there was a reference to other versions of the game

Initially both struggledor to remember developing it, so it turned out that it was basically the work of a couple of nights of work, then abandoned in favor of other games. Venturi himself confirmed this version, which we contacted directly. According to his account, Diabolik was put in the queue for dLAN By Diabolik for the 8-bit Commodore house nothing playable was developed, so we can consider it as a mere curiosity, more than as something concrete.

Cattivik

It deserves a small quote in this special also Maltivik: the Videogame, title of 1992 developed by the Italian soft house It was a 2D horizontal scrolling platform game, linear, but well made, which had as its protagonist the strange character created by Bonvi in 1968 as a parody of Diabolik.

Diabolik on newsstands: the necklace of Simulmondo

La collana di Diabolik di Simulmondo uscì solo in edicola Simulmondo’s Diabolik necklace was released only on newsstands

The first game, indeed the first games of Diabolik actually published date back to the end of 1992 and are the twelve episodes of a series from the Newsstand of Simulmondo starring the elusive criminal, who held the bench for most of 1993. At the time the historic Italian softare He launched several series with monthly releases dedicated to three characters of Italian comics: Dlanlan Dog, Te Te E, precisely Diabolik and others dedicated to original intellectual properties: Simulman and time Runners. The idea was to combine video games with comics, whose audiences often coincided. Even the price of the single release, 14,900 lire (just over five euros), was lower than that of any commercial game of the time. These were action adventures displayed laterally, which shared the same graphics engine as the aforementioned The Slayers. They were quite woody, very similar to each other in animations and dynamics, but no less pleasant, especially if you were a fan of the characters.

The gamepla Altern alternated narrative sequences, with simple fights to the resolution of very linear puzzles, which forced to go back and forth for the fixed screens from which the game worlds were composed.

Of course, 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 wasn’t their main goal, as they were made with the duration of the comics in mind. Ivan Venturi, who at the time was director of the simulmondo adventure line, is still very active on the Italian development scene: “Game (he was referring to dLAN it was designed for last twice the life time of a comic book. The amount of money you spent on it for the time you spent on it was comparable to that of the comic book.“The packages of each release, well cared for and thought just as if they were volumes of comic books, therefore easily collectible and not very expensive in terms of occupied space, contained two different versions: Amiga and PC. Usually the Amiga versions were shorter linear because of the lower capacity of flopp disk disk, while the PC ones offered small bivi that increased the replayability factor, a characteristic of which Simulmondo itself was proud and that did not fail to point out in the marketing phase, probably to attract the growing audience of PC gamers. Interestingly, the twelfth episode, Terror In The Theater, is in fact considered lost.

Una delle sequenze d'intermezzo di Inafferrabile Criminale One of the interlude sequences of elusive criminal

Many believe that after Simulmondo’s Diaboliks, the character did not appear in the video game world again until 2007. In fact it is not quite so. In 2001 Rizzoli published the unknown Diabolik: the jewel of the Tower, 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 storytelling. Unfortunately there is no useful information about this product, in the sense that there are no movies on Y Currently there is a copy of it on Ebay, which if we want at least testifies to its existence, because otherwise it seems almost that no one has ever heard of it or has ever been interested in it.

The titles of the twelve episodes of the series of Simulmondo Di Diabolik

  1. Elusive Criminal
  2. The gem of Solomon
  3. escape
  4. Steel trap
  5. Dangerous Hours
  6. The Night Of Fear
  7. 4 Unique Diamonds
  8. A Perfect Plan
  9. Expensive
  10. To The Last Blood
  11. Fatal Deception
  12. Terror In The Theater

Diabolik: Original Sin

Diabolik: Original Sin aveva delle sequenze d'intermezzo realizzate davvero bene. Diabolik: Original Sin had really good intermezzo sequences.

Diabolik: Original Sin by Arematica is the most advanced video game in technological terms, as well as the last in chronological ones, dedicated to the character. It was released in 2007 on PC, Nintendoii It is a 3D graphic adventure of good workmanship, in which you control both Diabolik, and his partner Eva Kant. It is precisely at the commands of the latter that the story begins: someone has locked her in a cell andi must be able to free myself. Her jailer wants to use her to blackmail Diabolik and force him to steal an artwork called The Original Sin, before it arrives at the Marville If he doesn’t make it, he’ll kill her. From here unfolds a plot full of twists and situations designed to first excite the admirers of the character, but at the same time to be appeared even by those who do not know him at all. Another of the classic characters of the series, the inevitable inspector Ginko, is well introduced to 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 era un'avventura punta e clicca molto classica Original Sin was a very classic point and click adventure

There are also many intermezzo sequences, well made for the time, which help not a little 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 easily available, both in PC version and for consoles, so you should not have problems in case you want to play it.

Too bad that after Diabolik: Original Sin the character of the Giussani sisters has actually disappeared from the video game scene. Probably his “original sin” is to be followed almost exclusively in Italy, despite the existence of translations of his albums in many European countries and despite the old Animated Series Diabolik: Track of the Panther, which was released in Italy, USA and France between 1999 and 2001. Who knows if in the future we will see him return protagonist of a new virtual adventure.