Masters of the Universe – The Movie

January 1988

Gremlin Graphics

Gremlin Graphics (Derby)

Graphics (Atari ST)

My first full-time job in the industry was helping out with the graphics for Gremlin’s Masters of the Universe – The Movie. My job was originally going to be freelance work but having shown the guys at Gremlin my ‘portfolio’ I was offered a full-time job with them. And so my career in the Games Industry proper began.

Masters of the Universe had been in development for some months when I came on board so my job was to join in and produce backgrounds and some sprites for the Atari ST version.

Based upon the movie with Dolph Lundgren in the role of He-Man, the game comprised a number of different mini-games that were connected together by a scrolling shoot ’em up section that saw the player running around the streets of 1987 America blasting the evil Skeletor’s henchmen. As He-Man made his way around the streets, his friends contacted him and ordered them to go to various locations to engage in the mini-games.

An 80’s cinematic landmark realised in an interactive form…

These were an Operation Wolf-style shootout outside an electrical store, a beat ’em up against ‘Blade’ and ‘Beast Man’ and a vertically scrolling shooter with He-Man on board a flying disk blasting yet more of Skeletor’s minions. With all eight ‘Chords’ collected the player activated the ‘Cosmic Key’ and returned to He-Man’s home planet of Eternia for one final beat ’em up against Skeletor himself.

The hand-built title screen

(Bit of ridiculous trivia – in the days before affordable flatbed scanners, the title screen graphics were created by overlaying a piece of tracing paper with a grid on it over a copy of the movie poster and by hand laying down the image a pixel at a time…it took me two solid days, but it seemed to work! )


More information on the various formats of the game can be found on Moby Games’ Masters of the Universe: The Movie page.