Knight Lore is an isometric action-adventure developed by Tim and Chris Stamper and published by Ultimate Play The Game.
Knight Lore is an isometric action-adventure developed by Tim and Chris Stamper and published by Ultimate Play The Game. The title was released in November 1984 for ZX Spectrum, and one year later for MSX, BBC Micro and Amstrad CPC. The MSX and ZX Spectrum versions are almost identical.
The British company, founded by the Stamper brothers, was considered one of the world's most influential gaming companies in the '80s. Knight Lore was one of their first releases, but in reality, it is the third installment in the Sabreman series.
The protagonist of this adventure is Sabreman, a victim of a Sabre Wulf. The character must go into Melkhior the Wizard's castle to find ingredients for a mage so he can develop a potion to save him from the curse that turns him into a werewolf at night. The main problem is that the place is full of dangerous traps, monsters, and to make it worse, Sabreman has a limit of 40 days to achieve its goal.
Knight Lore introduced several innovations in terms of gameplay. Firstly, it has a clock that, while it runs, the days pass and alternate between day and night. On the other hand, as time changes, so does the gameplay. As mentioned above, during the night, the character turns into a werewolf. When he is a monster, he has advantages such as jumping higher but is attacked by enemies who would ignore him in his human form.
The hero begins his quest with 5 lives. During the journey, he can lose them by being attacked by one of the many monsters that inhabit the castle, step on the traps located in most of the rooms, or even lose automatically in case the 40 days pass without successfully finding the ingredients of the potion. This last task is not easy, and there are several ways to achieve it. Some components are protected by enemies. There are also cases where the player must jump over platforms with traps. On other occasions, the player must solve puzzles where he must use items or deal with boulders that move, others that can be moved by him or enemies, and even some that can crush the protagonist.
But the real revolution was the graphics. The isometric perspective of the map allows the player to move through 124 pseudo-3D levels where they can even, as mentioned above, interact with objects. The graphic engine of this game was called Filmation, which represented a turning point of everything known so far and became the trademark of Ultimate Play The Game.
The new perspective was so innovative that Ultimate decided to postpone the release of Knight Lore by one year, despite it was already finished. Otherwise, people would have never purchased their other title Sabre Wulf, which was still with the old top-down 2D view.
The colors used in this title, considering the limitations of the ZX Spectrum, are fantastic. Each level is designed with only one color. Accompanied by an intense black that floods the screen, it stands out with a fluoride hue that today is resignified and attracts the new-age player with a monochromatic retro charm that has aged really well.
The reviews of the game were almost perfect. It won the title of Game of the Year in 1984 and was a resounding success in sales.
More than 20 years later, in May 2009, two fans took it upon themselves to remake the classic platformer for MSX2 computers. With Manuel Pazos in the programming and Daniel Celemín as responsible for the graphic part, the game, despite keeping the gameplay, received significant changes, especially in terms of graphics.
Although the intense black has disappeared, the castle scenarios share a shadow that devours the entire map and only hides from some lights scattered throughout the levels. New color palettes, animation of the torches, improve music, and more. It is still a game for 8-bit computers, but the graphics can easily compete with Amiga or Atari ST games.
The remake also introduced a map, where you can see the whole building and corroborate which parts of it were already explored.
Knight Lore is a cult game that only got better with time. Separated by those who prefer the remake to the original and vice versa, it goes without saying that you have to play it. The only question you have to ask yourself is: which of the two versions do you want to try first?
Review by: Gustavo
Published: 21 April 2020 2:43 pm
2009 Remake of Knight Lore MSX - packed for Windows 1.1 - Language: English - Size: 3.25 Mb
Original MSX version (1986) packed for Windows 1.1 - Language: English - Size: 3.23 Mb
Original MSX version (1986) packed for Mac 1.1 - Language: English - Size: 4.79 Mb
2009 Remake of Knight Lore MSX - packed for Mac 1.1 - Language: English - Size: 4.81 Mb