Fairlight II

by Bo Jangeborg, Niclas Osterlin, Susan Rowe
The Edge
Sinclair User Issue 57, Dec 1986   page(s) 116

Label: The Edge
Author: Bo Janeborg
Price: £9.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

So there you are stuck outside this castle in the land of Fairlight feeling pretty good about yourself.

You cracked the problems of Fairlight I finally completing your task when you handed over the Book of Light to the Dark Lord. Ere, hang on a minute. What's this?

Another quest? Yup.

Through the land of Fairlight and beyond, through castles, forests, seas and rocky plateau, or through hundreds of puzzles and problems and seemingly exitless rooms, past myriad sprites of people and animals and little blobby things to take on the Dark Lord once and for all...

Fairlight II is big - 128K loaded in sections on a conventional Spectrum or in one go with music on a 128K machine.

The Edge means business. Fairlight II is not for weekend adventurers. You're going to have to be up all night...

Imagine Fairlight I, doubled in size with a much wider variety of graphics, both in terms of background locations and sprites.

There are natural creatures like wolves (utterly convincing animation) and humans - a girl you discover early on apparently just wandering around - but in dark corners monsters of every description lurk, the most bizarre of which (that I discovered anyway) seemed to be a deadly black pudding.

Much of the first part of Fairlight II is set out of doors. A wooded forest with twisted trees, occasional clear sections with scattered bolters and ruined buildings. There is plenty to investigate but mostly a lot of problems requiring answers walled up doorways, locked doors, passages that lead nowhere and the girl. She is, the Edge says enigmatically, very important, I'm none the wiser.

Much is generally familiar - same control keys, same basic functions - diagonal movement, pick up, fight - some similar looking rooms to Fairlight I.

The concepts of weight and momentum of objects are still present, all important considerations when solving some of the Ultimatesque visual problems scattered throughout the game.

More that is new a redesigned system of pockets (five objects only held at any one time, hundreds to choose from). The world has edges where the reckless may suddenly find themselves tumbling over a sheer cliff face.. The variety to the screens has been increased considerably. The use of 'part filled screens' was a noteworthy feature of part I and here the technique is carried further - one box - like room occupies a small area of the screen barely larger than Isvar (your character) himself - it looks and even 'feels' claustrophobic.

The graphics are true 3D. You walk behind trees or parts of trees and other objects in a stunningly realistic way. Whilst there is still no scrolling time when moving from one to the other is reduced to almost nothing.

To get from one part of the game to another you must solve certain problems. It's only possible to get to the second section in one way. Conversely, just because you do manage to get to the section it doesn't mean you have accomplished everything in Section 1. You may get half way through Part 2 before you realise that there is some other object you need or some other action you should have performed. The Edge is making.no compromises with this one.

Criticisms? Very few. I have to say that I never did like the design of Isvar the central hero who always looked a little too much like a dodgy Mediterranean car salesman for me, but that's hardly a major quibble.

As someone who never did solve Fairlight I by making Fairlight II even tougher, The Edge may not have frightened off a few novice players.

On the other hand the hard core will absolutely adore it and I can't say I feel differently. When can I get the cheat sheet.

Overall: 5/5

Summary: A stunning and epic sequel to Fairlight I with more of everything from plot to graphics. This one's a toughy.

Award: Sinclair User Classic

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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