Original C64 Author: Paul Norman
Atari Conversion: Vance Kozik

(Text from Rear of Cassette label):

The forest is getting more ominous and there are some strange rustling noises coming from the bushes. Only your skill as an archer can protect you now. Move quickly, aim accurately, destroy the monsters and you just may escape from the "Forbidden Forest".


REVIEW by Nightcrawler

You play as the unnamed archer and must dispose of all manner of creatures within the Forbidden Forest, using just your bow and arrows as weapons and your running ability as your defence. The idea is to kill off various monsters, but for what you ask? Love? Riches? Fame? Fun? Actually it seems to be just for points and also so you can do a silly little dance after each killed enemy!

As the game begins you find yourself in the Forbidden Forest with bow and arrows at the ready, awaiting victory or doom. A sideways scrolling screen allows you to run (walk) left or right but unfortunately you cannot move in any other direction. Pressing the joystick fire button will load an arrow into your bow and your archer will automatically be aiming straight upwards. By turning the joystick left or right, your archer can aim in 3 different diagonal directions. Pressing the fire button a second press will release an arrow in your chosen direction. But, remember to load your bow again, so that you're ready for your next shot!

The first adversaries encountered are the giant spiders, four of these will come at you one at a time in a diagonal direction and you need to aim for the body and fire! Unfortunately if you run they will follow beside you at the bottom of the screen and because you unable to fire in a straight horizontal direction, you must keep running until they are off the screen where they then reappear at a diagonal position again. Kill these and you get a victory dance that lasts longer than the fight itself accompanied by some nice music.

Next up is the obese bumble bee (why it could not have be called something more menacing like the giant bee, or killer wasp I'll never know!), who hovers just above you and occasionally swoops to sting. Just fire an arrow up his bum to shut him up. Trouble is you get the victory dance and the same, now not so nice, music again.

Then onto the most challenging creature…the crab-dragon! Oh, sorry I mean dragon (it looks like half a crab, see screenshot left) who shoots balls of flame at you as he darts across the screen. You need to run from the flame, reload and fire at his head. It does seem like time slows down when you run though as the dragon and the flame move at half speed. Once defeated you are rewarded with, you guessed it, a dance with some very annoying music!

If you have survived the creatures and music thus far, you will now have the sky hovering Forest Phantom to contend with, while being chased by his hordes of skeletons who come at you one at a time. Concentrate your efforts on the Phantom though, as the skeletons are endless until the Phantom is dead. Upon death the Phantom slowly disappears, which takes about two minutes, then we have the Zzz, music, zzz, dancing, zzz.

When you wake up the last enemy is the floating totem pole! Ok, he's called the Demogorgon. With flashes of lightening and eerie music he appears, shoot him between the eyes if you know where they are and get ready to dance! You start the game with five lives and fifty arrows and are awarded with 10 arrows each for killing the bee and the Phantom, plus an extra life for killing Demogorgon.

The levels are coded 1-A for level 1, monster A (spiders) to 4-E level 4, monster E (Demogorgon). Once you've killed Demogorgon it's back to the beginning, but with slightly faster monsters this time, so time those arrows just right! An easy game to win, but very hard from level 3-C onwards as the dragon shoots you too quickly. The author Paul Norman's background was as a musician, this is shown by the quality of the music and sound effects, but the repeated playing gets really annoying. About 35% or the game is action the other 65% is watching the archer dance to music. Could have been so much better!

"The Forest of Gloom"

Archer's Victory Music



The Giant Spider can usually be killed by standing exactly still when you start the game, quickly loading an arrow into your bow and shooting as soon as he is about to touch you. Likewise, the Bumble Bee can be shot fairly easily with a vertical aim.






Alternate Covers:





Top Ten Hits (1988)

from Rear of Cassette label):
Deep within the creepy scrolling forest-scape you go, with only a bow and arrows to defend yourself against the horrific creatures on your quest to defeat the evil Demogorgon. Day fades into night as you go further, tackling giant spiders and bumble bees, skeleton swordsmen, and forest phantoms. Only then do you meet the Demogorgon - visible only in flashes of lightning! Can you survive the horrors of the Forbidden Forest!


Other Versions/Games in the series:

The original Commodore 64 version of Forbidden Forest was more playable, harder and featured an additional two adversaries - Giant Frogs, which rain down from the sky to squash you and a venomous spitting Giant Snake!

The dancing archer and music obviously originate from the C64 version, and the Dragon is more clearly defined compared to the poorly drawn copy in the Atari version.

C64 - Dragon


Atari 8-bit - Dragon

One surprising difference between the C64 and Atari versions is the addition of gruesome, bloody deaths in the Commodore original as your Archer is bitten, chewed, squashed, melted, etc.

Cosmi released the first sequel in 1987 for the Commodore 64 entitled BEYOND FORBIDDEN FOREST. This not only featured a variety of new forest dwelling creatures, but also the ability to move into and out of the screen, adding an extra dimension to the game.

Sometime between 2001 and 2003 Cosmi Software released Forbidden Forest, a modern PC version of the game. Unfortunately, apart from a few poor reviews, not much can be found about this game. A demo did exist at one point on the official Cosmi website, but has since been removed. However, screenshots can be found using the the weblink at the bottom of this page.

Paul Norman, the original author of Forbidden Forest, was also behind many of Cosmi's other titles, such as Slinky!, Aztec Challenge and Caverns of Khafka. The latter two were re-imagined when converted to the Atari 8-bit.

(Screenshots from the recently released and since buried PC version)

(Some information on the C64 version and author Paul Norman, including a photo!)

The Harry Potter Lexicon
(Facts on The Forbidden Forest from the Harry Potter novels)
(Interview with ex-Atari programmer Vance Kozik)