Zarch (also known under its ported name of Virus) is a computer game developed by David Braben (better known as the co-author of Elite) in , for the release of the Acorn Archimedes computer. Zarch started off as a demo called Lander which was bundled with almost all releases of the Acorn Archimedes.
In 1988, Zarch was ported (under the new name, Virus) to the Atari ST, Commodore Amiga (coded by Jez San and his Argonaut team), and IBM PC (coded by Chris Sawyer). It was later ported to the ZX Spectrum by Steven Dunn. A few clones/games based on Zarch have also been created fairly recently, namely a version for Linux, also called Zarch, a remake for Windows (written in Blitz BASIC) called Z-Virus, and a version crossing Zarch with Pac-Man called ZarchMan.
The game was groundbreaking for the time, featuring a three-dimensional mouse-controlled craft (the "lander") flying over a tile-rendered landscape that dazzled reviewers in a primarily 2D-dominated game industry - ACE ( Advanced Computer Entertainment) magazine led with the headline "SOLID 3D - the future of games?" when it reviewed Zarch with a score of 979, the highest rating ACE had given at that time, only bettered by the later Amiga port Virus at 981.
Virus was one of the first solid 3D games and was also the first to have 3D lighting effects and shadowing, although these are less sophisticated than those of Zarch.