The knight (caballero) with Tados the Skeleton in El Rescate del Talisman.

El Rescate del Talisman - Overview

By Keith McDonald

El Rescate del Talisman was a Spanish adaptation of Knightmare and Le Chevalier du Labyrinthe. It was produced by Televisión Española and ran for three series between 1991 and 1994.


The first episode was broadcast on 29 May 1991 on Spanish network TVE2. The show ran for 78 episodes across three series, ending in 1994.

Introduction

The challenge of El Rescate del Talismán was similar to Knightmare. Teams of four challenged the dungeon to recover a talisman from an opponent, El Señor de la Maldad (Lord of Evil). They would be summoned to an antechamber by the Magician (or Druid), who would dress them all in robes in preparation for the quest.

The knight is equipped and ready to begin in El Rescate del Talisman.

One team member became the knight (or 'caballero') and was blindfolded by a winged helmet (Series 1) or horned helmet (Series 2/3). They would also receive a knapsack to carry clue objects (though not food). In the second series they also carried the Eye Shield.

A causeway of numbers in the third series of El Rescate del Talisman.

The team had to complete a series of challenges, such as navigating tough pathways, meeting characters and answering questions. If a player failed a task, they would be eliminated and become a captive of the Lord of Evil. They could be replaced by a team member until all four perished, with the last player being guided only by the Magician.

Gameplay

There was no set introduction to the quest in the Spanish version. Players could begin in any location, unlike the British or French versions which usually began with an element of choice or chance.

A wall monster in the first series of El Rescate del Talisman.

Like the French version, teams had to reach Merlin's Chamber (known here as the Throne Room) and earn steps across the pit by answering questions about their quest. The knight who reached the other side would sit on the throne to be sent to the final encounter. In the second series, teams might face a final causeway before this encounter.

The Señor de la Maldad was based in a purpose-built set. The knight removed the helmet upon arrival. As the Lord approached, the knight could defeat him by touching him and stating a command they had learnt.

A showdown with the Lord of Evil (El Senor de la Maldad) in the first series of El Rescate del Talisman.

The knight then released captured teammates by drawing a sword from the stone, while the magician used the reclaimed talisman to summon their prizes. The prizes were SEGA consoles in the first year and computers in later years.

The first two series, like the French version, were all single-episode quests, which lasted 7-8 chambers. However, the third series introduced rolling gameplay for the first time among the European variants, creating longer quests.

Differences with Knightmare

The dungeon

There were two purpose-built locations: the main antechamber where the advisors were based, and the Lord of Evil's chamber where the final encounter took place.

The knight negotiates a tricky pathway under pressure from the jester in the second series of El Rescate del Talisman.

Initially, the dungeon is entirely made up of David Rowe's handpainted scenes. Like the French version, several were modified to increase the difficulty, with added elements and narrow pathways.

The second series was a 50/50 split of handpainted scenes with real-world locations from Knightmare. With the addition of the Eye Shield, viewers saw occasional transition footage between areas.

A forest glen in the third series of El Rescate del Talisman.

The third series was mostly outdoor and real-world locations, several of which came from the forest and Greenwood scenes in Knightmare. New dragon flights also allowed for more castle sequences.

The Spanish dungeon

Characters

El Rescate del Talisman had an ambitious cast, which grew during the lifespan of the show.

The show was hosted by a 'magician' or 'druid'. This changed every series to give a different dynamic. The opponent was the Lord of Evil - initially a spectre in black robes but later a red devil shown with a green accomplice.

A meddler in the room of cards from the first series of El Rescate del Talisman.

Some of the characters had parallels with Knightmare, with troublemaking jesters, female warriors, crones, wall monsters, a monk, tree-troll and talking raven.

Others were more original, with a king in place of Merlin, the White Lady as the equivalent to Morgane la Fée from the French version, and the underworld spectre of Tados. The third series added hobbits, elves and fawns, creating a Tolkien-like environment.

A pair of elves, Lindal and Ghendan (Amparo Bravo and Andrea Masulli) in the third series of El Rescate del Talisman.

About the characters

Themes

El Rescate del Talismán had the same theme music as Le Chevalier du Labyrinthe. It was composed by Patrick Oliver and performed by Jean-Marc Chastel. New lyrics were added by blues artist Ignacio Egaña of the Spanish group Barrabás.

From the second series, the later Knightmare title sequence with Ed Welch's theme was used to open the show. The former opening sequence and Oliver instrumental became the end credits.

Like the French adaptation, the show had full background music depending on the nature of the scene, reminiscent of a computer game. For the Spanish version, this was composed by Fernando Beti.

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