Later series being easier - what is the cause?

Series, Teams, History, Behind the scenes etc. - all discussed here.
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Re: Later series being easier - what is the cause?

Post by FrightKnight » Sat Nov 22, 2003 2:53 pm

But deservedly patronising, if nothing else.
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Did Knightmare become easier?

Post by Quitch » Mon Apr 11, 2005 5:19 pm

I've been nostalgic over Knightmare for a while. In my opinion it was the best kid's TV program around then, and probably would be now (I don't like children's TV presenters, didn't like 'em when I was a kid either... except the broom cupboard ;)), but I've only just found this site.

I read the article from '99 about whether the show got easier. I'm sure this has come up before (and if it has, please link me to the debates) but I'd like to get my view in there :)

The author focused on the number of winners. IMO this wasn't really an accurate measurement, rather how far a team penetrated the dungeon was a better measure. I liked the early series best, in part because they were in doors, but mainly because it all seemed harder. Simply passing level 1 was a feat in itself, rather than the mandatory stretching your legs it became later on. To me the appeal in knightmare was that so many teams fell so soon, it's what made it interesting! In later levels the teams didn't worry about their item choices, they couldn't get it wrong. Level 1 couldn't be failed. In the beginning level 3 was something mysterious and fearful, but also exciting because it was so rare that anyone reached it. Later on we saw level three all the time... and yes the short-cut idea was a bad one.

Not exactly coherent I'd agree, but Knightmare did become easier. However, as Tim's history article hints at, there were politics going on in the background, and it wouldn't surprise me if pressure from above was as much to blame as the bad idea of reinventing the formula (we liked it just find, no need to tinker :P).

If Knightmare is ever released on DVD (the old ones, I've not seen the new ones) I'd be first in line to buy it :)

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Re:Did Knightmare become easier?

Post by ross » Mon Apr 11, 2005 8:35 pm

The short cut idea was a bad idea.

Did the show get easier though. hhmmm tough one. A lot of people say that series 3 was the hardest, certainly no one won, and only 3 out of 12 teams made it into level 3.

Out of those 9 teams that didn't make it to level 3, 5 of them made it to level 2, and 4 didn't.

Lets have a look at those 4 teams deaths who died in level 1.

1st team:

Team 1: Gavin, Tom, Craig and Brian from Uddingston
Quest for the Sword : Duration 11mins

OK they died on the Serpent's tongue, and were let off, and then died on the quicksand. "Our directional sense was poor" admits Gavin Gillespie, who was the dungeoneer in this team. A poor team (although I don't like to say that as they did get onto the show,) having died twice on level 1, I think they were a poor team. However not the worst in this series.

The 2nd team:

Team 5: James, Philip, Pulok and Jamie from Ipswich
Quest for the Shield : Duration 13mins

OK died on the floor ledge. Again another poor team.

3rd team:

Team 7: Kelly, Emma, Sarah and Tami from Norfolk-on-Sea
Quest for the Shield : Duration 17mins

They needed a crayon but despite getting 2 out of 3 on the level 1 wall monster, didn't get an obvious hint on what to take.

4th and final team:

Team 8: Douglas, Richard, Derek and Matthew from Weston-Super-Mare
Quest for the Crown : Duration 13mins

Rearrange the following words to make a well known sentance.

Tell there snake Motley pool the in a is.

(OK not that well known, but you get the idea.)

Again I don't like to say it but this was quite a poor team. I do wonder how the team got onto the show. Imagine if you were another team who also applied and didn't get onto the show, and had been beaten by that lot. (Although as I didn't have to make the decision perhaps its easy for me to say that.)

In summary I think 3 of these 4 teams were quite poor, and 1 team was perhaps unlucky.

Out of the teams that made it to level 3, Martin and Leo got the frustest and didn't know the answer to one question. That undid them. Ross's team were quite good (no I am not THAT Ross,) (that was put in for avoidance of doubt, I myself didn't ever go on Knightmare nor even apply for it) (hey I was 11 when it went off the air, and although the minimum age for applying was 11, more often people were either 13 or 14.) Yes as I was saying Ross's team were quite good, but panicked a bit when the sword chased them.

I can't help but feel that Martin and Leo would have won if they had been on the show in the later seasons.

Scott's team (team 9) who died at Merlin were unlucky in my opinion. I think most people would answer day instead of dawn when asked "what follows night." And it was a great jump, although he wasn't quite straight when he jumped, hense he went of to the side.

Julies team (team 10)were perhaps unlucky. Again they didn't know the answer to one question from Merlin. And perhaps the goblins could be nice for once wouldn't hurt would it. ;) ;)

Finally Chris's team (team 12) couldn't complete the dungeon as they had ran out of time.

Cliff's team (team 2) "hey cliff, don't fall over the Cliff" (sorry just makes me laugh) did they use the dance spell too quickly. I guess they could have used the spell then disspell. However its fair to say that the advisors have to guide Cliff out of the room, and therefore perhaps they didn't hear what McGrew was saying.

Wow this was only meant to be about the 4 teams that died at level 1, but I have now mentioned every team but 1. Might as well mention it then.

Team 3: Simon, Claire, Debra and Mark from Horsham
Quest for the Crown : Duration 20 mins

That star thing they had was difficult to use, but nevertheless it was obvious that Simon (or was it his advisor) couldn't tell his left from his right, and they only escaped the bomb room. They did get to level 2, but I think this team wouldn't have won.

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Re:Did Knightmare become easier?

Post by ross » Mon Apr 11, 2005 8:36 pm

Overall then out the 12 teams here they are in order that they went on the show:

Team 1 A poor team

Team 2 Maybe could have dispelled, maybe they used the spell too early. Perhaps they were unlucky, as guiding the dungoner out the room has to be done, and McGrew wasn't exactly shouting anything (he did say "I'll do anything" as they were about to leave the room,) but to me it wasn't obvious what they had to do.

Team 3: Although the star was difficult to use, they were quite a poor team. They did get to level 2, but an earlier escape from the bomb room (which I think they did escape) meant that trouble was waiting for them in later levels.

Team 4: Leos team were very good. Leo is probably one of the best dungoneers the show has had. Unlucky not to win, and I think if they had been on in later years they probably would have won. One wrong answer meant they took the wrong path.

Team 5: Another poor team.

Team 6: Ross's team panicked when the sword chased them. Nevertheless got to level 3.

Team 7: Unlucky, as it wasn't obvious which clue to take.

Team 8: Very very very poor. When Motley is in a pool with a snake in the room, it would be best to tell him that. I wonder what information they would have got had they informed Motley of this fact.

Team 9: Again in my opinion unlucky. Another wrong answer (which I would have gone for) was their undoing. Not one of the "best" teams, but certainly an entertaining quest.

Team 10: Another team who were in my opinion unlucky.

Team 11: Martin along with Leo stood out from the rest. Infact probably one of the best dungoneers thoughout the whole of the 8 series of Knightmare. Told his team to "hurry up" on more than one occasion.

Team 12: In level 2 when the series had to end.

Thats a long summary. So here is a summary of the summary.

5 teams died because they got answers wrong. 3 were quite poor. 1 had their quest cut short because it was the end of the series. 1 got the timing of a dance spell wrong or didn't disspell, 1 died whilst a star (although I think they were also quite poor,) and the other team died whilst being chased by a sword (although I would say they were forced into an error.)

Whatever the wall monsters in series 3 were replaced by the door monsters in series 4, "true or false, false or true, open up, and let us through," "oh dear, oh dear, I hear, I hear" gets BORING because every team had to do this. And yes an answer of either true or false is a lot easier as you have a 50% chance of getting it right even if you don't know the answer. Although any teams that won in later series probably deserved to win anyway (erm yes apart from the team that took the short cut.) (Dickens team from series 4 and Ben's from series 5 were quite good.) Giles team in series 4 were well into level 3, when Merlin claimed it was Christmas. The furstrating part of this is that we will never know now.

Oh my message is too long thats why its two messages (hey thats the first time I've ever being told that.) Actually I've had to copy and paste it into microsoft Word and its over two pages long on size 10 font.

Theres a long answer to your question.

Although in later years floor puzzles were introduced which a lot of teams died on (especially in series 5.)
Last edited by ross on Mon Apr 11, 2005 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re:Did Knightmare become easier?

Post by Quitch » Mon Apr 11, 2005 8:43 pm

Problem was, as was mentioned in the article, the deadly floor puzzles meant in later series that a lot of the dungeon was just filler until you reached the levels deadly floor puzzle room. Survive that and you'd won the level.

I can still remember the first time someone reached level 3. I was in awe :) I also have a vague memory of some hughe horror lurking in the background... a spider? I'm pretty sure that's the first time a team won.

Being insanely difficult was what made Knightmare so great... I was sad, even as a child, when I saw that level 1 had become a cakewalk, and level 2 was a pale shadow of its former self. Only level 3 seemed to stay as hard as ever.

The one thing that did improve with time were the clue tables. In the first series it was a complete guess, and if you took the wrong item you were stuffed :)
Last edited by Quitch on Mon Apr 11, 2005 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re:Did Knightmare become easier?

Post by Fidjit » Tue Apr 12, 2005 9:19 am

My opinion on Series III:

Team I: Stepped in quicksand... Didn't last ten minutes!

Team II: McGrew was a little late in saying he'll do anything if they'd dispelled!

Team III: That charm was very difficult to use, but never held out hope on them anyway...

Team IV: A winner-to-be, this team had evrything to combat the dungeon... Matthew was quick with spells but they fell off the same ledge as team III did? Curious?

Team V: Quite poor, surely they can see there was no ledge there!

Team VI: Just like team IV a winner-to-be, but just stepped a little too far near the edge

Team VII: Bit slow to start with, but Grimwold made it quick at the end :)

Team VIII: Very poor no point going on!

Team IX: Walked forward as Scott recovered from his jump

Team X: This team was good but one out of two with Merlin spelt the end of their quest

Team XI: Like Leo and Ross

Team XII: Slow but confident, but lost due to EOS
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Re:Did Knightmare become easier?

Post by Crazedhefer » Tue Apr 12, 2005 12:00 pm

Several things made the later series easier than the earlier ones:

1). In the early parts of the quest (level 1 in particular) mercy was shown to teams who made errors, for example letting a team from series 5 (not sure which one) survive despite not taking the token (arrow) to show to Gwendoline. In earlier series, this would have been punished.

2). 'Filler' rooms. In seasons 1-3, survival in almost every chamber was considered an achievement. In seasons 4-8 there were a lot of rooms where it was practically impossible to die, which meant that they were only there to advance the quest. This took away a lot of momentum by eliminating the sense of being constantly on edge that the early series carried.

3). The introduction of scrolls and spyglasses obviously changed things. The idea that scrolls would give cryptic hints as to which clue items to take was great, but spyglasses were too easy to obtain. Teams should have been made to earn them.

4). Finally, one gets the feeling that quests weren't original enough. The biggest problem was that every quest seemed to follow a familiar pattern- get some clue objects, trade one of the objects with a character for a password, negotiate a floor puzzle, find a way to progress to the next level. What happened to "Any knowledge of previous quests will be of little use"?

Despite this, I don't think that Knightmare ever became too easy. It was still a prestigeous and rewarding honour to beat the dungeon with that one win per series average maintained. And lest we forget that in series five, only two people reached level three and three for series six, so they must have been doing something right.

Jeez, that was long! Those are my thoughts anyway.
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Re:Did Knightmare become easier?

Post by Quitch » Tue Apr 12, 2005 12:56 pm

I think that had a lot to do with no matter how easy you make it, some people still don't know left from right :)

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Re:Did Knightmare become easier?

Post by Willowherb » Wed Apr 13, 2005 12:31 am

I think there may well have been a change in how they saw their potential audience throughout the entire run of Knightmare, ie. they were shooting for a younger age-group at the end than at the beginning. This idea seems to show in the lighter, more comic atmosphere KM had latterly, with serious characters like Lord Fear becoming humorous (although I don't actually mind that in the case of Mark Knight - there was a really good rapport with Cliff Barry, who played Lissard). But he wasn't the only one - Sylvester Hands was definitely a semi-threatening character when he was first introduced and then gradually just became comical. Also, Treguard in the first 2 or 3 series was on the side of the Dungeon and they certainly weren't providing any helpers for the teams, whereas later there was Pickle, then Majida. Perhaps after a win-free season (series 3) someone on the production team thought that extra assistance was a good idea. Not all of these changes were a bad thing, but it's certainly hard to compare series 1 or 2 with series 8 - and of course, the changes didn't actually create any more winners in the end anyway. So it probably looked easier (and sometimes less interesting) for us, but was no easier for the teams involved.

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