Retail Price: £9.99
Author: MD Software, JP Dean, EM Dean and Focus Creative Enterprises
Knightmare is a TV licence with a difference, based on the ITV/Anglia series which starred school-age role-players in a fantasy castle of computer graphics. In the Activision game, a sad distressed knight has been cast through time and space to a place he does not know, and he must survive.
He can ask things, look, dig and even drink, selecting commands and responses to other characters'suggestions from a multiple-choice set.
As the knight progresses through these dank dungeon rooms, he encounters people, and there are beasts who can help him by answering his questions. Like him, they talk in speech bubbles. But he will also encounter goblins, snakes, and bats.
A burning candle at the side of the screen shows how much life the knight has left.
More information is available from two oracles - but one is helpful and the other is malicious. And because it's not a detective game, you cannot cross-question them about their replies. If the knight survives long enough, he can gather Merlin's Magic. There are many spells, and only by trial and error can you find out what they do. One squashes the nasties, but not all are so useful; if things get really desperate, resort to hurling bricks at the goblins.
Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: book-like presentation, 'turning pages', from one screen to the next, using isometric views of monochromatic rooms.
Knightmare is very complex, and though most of the actions you must take make sense, when you have to repeat things it gets monotonous. Visually Knightmare is very attractive, with the individuals detailed and accurately drawn - and the oracles have a very commanding appearance. The main fault of Knightmare is that it's very, very hard - and will prove a great challenge to the most capable adventurers.
This one's a toughie - it took me ages to get out of the first two screens. Knightmare has great graphics but the pace is a little too fast. Though the word commands are difficult to use at first they soon become easier, and very fast. Still, Knightmare will take a long time to master - which may or may not be a recommendation.
A nightmare indeed - there's one correct response to every situation, no variation is permitted, and the system of Knightmare soon gets too dictatorial.
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