The Dawn of Kernel

This is a game targeting the Amstrad CPC 464 (or later, although it only requires 64K of RAM).

Loading screen In-game screen

A distress call has been received from the mining base on planet K3R-NL of the Leonis system. A virus has infected their network, causing a life support malfunction that has forced all personnel to evacuate the base.

The message includes an unauthorised payload: KERNEL LIVES

The Dawn of Kernel is a flip-screen shoot’em up requiring skill and reflexes to navigate a complex map full of deadly enemies controlled by a rogue Artificial Intelligence.

You can watch a teaser video of the game.


The game can be controlled with the keyboard or a joystick. The keys can be redefined.

The ship comes with one primary weapon and two secondary weapons. Extra ammunition for the secondary weapons can be collected during the game.

Action Joystick Keyboard (default keys)
Move left Cursor left
Move right Cursor right
Thrust up Cursor up
Fire primary weapon Fire Space
Fire secondary weapon ↓ + Fire Cursor down + Space
Change secondary weapon* ↓ ↓ Cursor down, Cursor down
Activate beam pad Cursor down

* for two button joysticks, the second button can be used to change secondary weapon

Press primary fire to skip and dismiss text.
Press ‘h’ to pause/resume the game.
Press ESC to skip the intro and to end the game.


After destroying a power station, one of the following items will be available to pick up:

  • Missiles: adds 3 rounds to the missile secondary weapon.
  • Bombs: adds 3 rounds to the bombs secondary weapon.
  • Shield cell: recovers 3 units of the ship shield.
  • Nova: destroys all the enemies on the screen.
  • Credits: adds extra points to the score.


  • Power stations: the AI requires these structures to defend its core, so they all need to be destroyed. Stations also provide power to energy fields on the same screen. Some power stations will provide a pick up when destroyed.
  • Energy fields: originally designed to repel K3R-NL’s native creatures the AI has reconfigured these fields to only affect your ship and weapons. They draw power from any station on the same screen, destroy the stations and the energy field will be disabled.
  • Mines: explosive devices that can be operated remotely. These devices were used to clear mining tunnels, but the AI has placed them in strategic locations as defence. Mines will explode when touched, unless you blast them first!
  • Sentry rockets: automatic units that will activate by proximity. Very destructive, but easy to avoid.
  • Sentry turrets: main defensive unit in the base. Placed in fixed locations, they need some time to aim, but don’t underestimate their fire power.
  • Diggers: used to open new tunnels in the mines. Diggers have a super-resistant hull and they can’t be affected by your weapons.
  • Scouts: small ships used to transport personnel and research new areas of the planet.
  • Watchers: these monitoring units are the eyes of the AI. Watchers have limited fire power and can be easily destroyed by attacking from the right angle.
  • Sentinels: fast moving guards designed to protect a wide area. Once locked onto a target they are relentless.
  • Cruisers: elite units with high power long range weapons. They are lethal. Avoid at all costs, or use your missiles to get rid of them as soon as possible.

The Dawn of Kernel Collector’s Edition

The game is available on cassette, 3" and 3.5" diskette. Please visit The Dawn of Kernel at Poly Play online shop for more information.


This game is powered by cpcrslib by Artaburu and Arkos 2 Player by Targhan.

Version 1.0.1 (2018-08-23)

Thanks to José María Velo, Antxiko and Fran Loscos for their help testing the game.

If you don’t have the hardware, you can still play it in an emulator.

Last updated Oct 21, 2023