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A review of the Knightmare computer game, as featured in the Atari ST Action magazine.

Review of Knightmare, Atari ST Action

[By Allie West, March 1992, © Europress Interactive Ltd.]

Hmmm, this reviewer seems to have some animosity towards the TV series. Perhaps he was a rejected dungeoneer who was still smarting at his team getting turned down. He could also have done with some proof-reading.

THE FIRST JUG...

As the wind howled viciously around the castles's turrets and bit heavily into our already numb fingers, the lightning illuminated the grim hall with an eerie essence that left the heart colder than ice. Shadows cowered and danced in the hall's many corners and the ghosts of the past swirled upwards towards the oak raftered ceiling in the chill night air. The roaring, spitting fire did nothing to warm our fears and the two dimly lit figures standing to the left of the fire proved only to dispel our hopes of survival.

Upon entering the foreboding castle, one that would not look out of place in Transylvania, we could only imagine the horrors that might lay inside - open coffins, rattling chains and blood stained corridors. Moving forever onwards, driven only by our strange and somewhat innocent curiousity, we finally emerged into the great hall situated at the centre of a sprawling fortress.

Treguard's castle only ever existed in our imaginations and the great legend books of the land, being cited along with great names such as King Arthur, Robin Hood and Terry Wogan. None of our little group believed that in our wildest dreams we would find ourselves walking through the very pages of such books and staring at the tattered, but impressive flag of Treguard.

This was truly an awe-inspiring, situation.

After what seemed an embarrassingly long silence, the larger of the two figures finally spoke, his gravely[sic] voice sounding remarkably similar to Sylvester Stallone. "Welcome to your Knightmare my young friends, a land of intrigue, magic and danger."

If my ears heard correctly, and they usually do, Treguard said Knightmare! My fears circulated steadily upward until they lodged themselves firmly in my throat with claws digging in as far as possible. Oh God, so it's true. Treguard the legendary hero and Treguard the Dungeon Master were one of the same and we had entered the twilight zone of all our knightmare's...WE WERE ON TV! AARGHH!!!

I had always wanted to appear on TV and I know that my companions shared my sentiments, but when faced with the reality of being viewed by millions my heart sank like a lead weight deep down into the depths of my stomach. Why couldn't it at least have been a good TV programme?

After all the customary and traditional rigmarole that accompanies the beginning of such quests and adventures, a glimmering and blinding light appeared at one end of the great hall and it was quite apparent that this was the portal to the land of our worst dreams.

As we stepped through the light all we could think of was finding and retrieving the treasured items from the four quests. This was it, this was the ultimate quest...

THE SECOND JUG OF ALE

The first impressions of our new world was one of slight disbelief. The landscape was not composed of materials and elements familiar to us back on our own plain, although we could identify with shapes, colours and contours, our surroundings were very bitty and hard on the eyes. Colours merged together and at times it was if we were trying to look at the rainbow through multi-coloured glasses. The land was very dimly lit and the strain on the eyes was most off-putting.

Luckily, the gravitational pull and atmospheric density of the Knightmare plain was almost identical to our own. We found it extremely easy to move around with pathways and obstructions easily identified, and he had no trouble whatsoever picking up objects we found scattered throughout the adventure.

However, we sometimes failed to notice some objects such as keys and twigs due to the merging of the objects colour and that of it's surroundings - having to retrace our steps to find such an object caused much tension within our group and wasted far too much time. There were many items along our journey that aided our needs and increased our strength and vitality such as food and weapons, and towards the end of our adventure we could hardly carry the items even when carefully distributed between the four of us.

We were fortunate that Treguard and his Elven helper Pickle (to while away some of the quieter times of our journey we made bets with each other as to what kind of pickle he was, be-he Ploughman's, Branston, Sandwich or Tomato) were at times able to give us help and clues should we reach a tricky situation. Many of the clues were priceless in their information and without such help I have no doubt that we would have been roaming that dreaded plain until eternity ended.

THE FINAL JUG OF ALE

I have, as yet, failed to mention the abundance of evil creatures that roamed the corridors and wilderness, creatures that further the bounds of our imaginations and defy Mother Nature herself. Some creatures were impossible to defeat with strength far superior to ours, many a time we felt sure that our end was near but at these points we were miraculously able to depart from the plain and establish a 'saved position' within our adventure should we wish for a second attempt. For future adventurers I feel it is necessary to give some advice when confronted with such manifestations should you wish to follow in our footsteps.

We found that the best way to escape and defeat these creatures was to attack them a couple of times and then retreat one pace, the creatures will then follow, and for a few seconds will not hit back. This gives you enough time to seriously wound them. By following such procedures, we luckily escaped with few serious wounds.

Now, as I sit here by the roaring fire telling stories of bravery and excitement over my beloved jug of ale, the adventure I have told of seems so distant and so long ago. I know that you see me as a frail old man and can hardly believe that I was once a brave warrior.

The adventure was one of the most demanding periods in my life but it has made me a better person and has made me appreciate life to the full, although I would not recommend the experience to everybody. My quest was very complicated, but strangely, intense fun.

Should any of you try delving into your own Knightmares, beware the lack of coherent help before you embark on your adventure, and bring along your own compass. You will find no such things here and they would have been greatly appreciated when we ventured through Treguard's fearful madness.

But enough of my talk, tell me traveller, what's your Knightmare...?

 

GAMEPLAY: 9/10

SOUND:        7/10

GRAPHICS:   6/10

RATING   =    91%

 

(Thanks to Philip Alderman for sending this article to me)

 

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