AMTIX issue 9, 1986 The Fifth Axis

Roger Kean quizzes Oliver Frey on the background to his painting for the cover of AMTIX issue 9, 1986 – The Fifth Axis

AMTIX issue 9, 1986 The Fifth Axis

To be fair most 8-bit games promised rather more visual excitement than they were capable of delivering and with the Activision Amstrad conversion of French Loricels’ The Fifith Axis receiving a review score high enough to make the cover, it gave Oliver a headache in coming up with a marvellous graphic. “I took comfort from the notion that it involved a rogue time machine which had scattered artefacts all over the time continuum. The player had to collect them all, and of course they were all out to get him.”

The result might be labelled a “Disco of Death” laboratory background delivered in dark strokes of indigo set against the harsh under lighting from squares in the floor which illuminate our hero and the varies robotic creatures arrayed against him.

“I wanted a striking contrast and took the risk of using a very bright pink globe as the object that draws the eye to offset the action figure in the foreground,” Oli recalls. And he has his back to the would-be magazine purchaser, not usually recommended by newstrade distributors. “But I thought turning the tables on usual design concepts would work. Once you have taken in the glowing globe and its alien inhabitant, it makes the threat all the stronger and then you see the man about to deliver a blow against it. That makes him an understated hero,” Oli argues.

“In my time I’ve done illustrations for disco advertisements and had a wealth of drawings of dancers in motion I could adopt. The real trick, though, is to make the picture busy, cram in the detail and by careful positioning of elements within the frame disguise the fact that gravity has a lot to do with what’s going on!”

The printed result displays Oliver’s skill with the dynamics of figures in action and lighting effects which both separate the characters as well as enfold them within the space.

This article was published in FUSION magazine

Published by Oliver Frey Art on

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