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Knight Lore (1984)            

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Details (Sinclair ZX Spectrum) Supported platforms Artwork and Media
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Ultimate Play the Game
Arcade Adventure
Tim Stamper, Chris Stamper
Kempston, Interface 2, Cursor
Audio cassette
UK (£9.95)
Knight Lore map, Official game poster
Re-released on Ricochet budget label for £1.99

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Acorn BBC  9
Amstrad CPC  9.2
Sinclair ZX Spectrum  9.4

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Issue 35
Added: 3 Jan 2010
A MORE sedate affair than Underwurlde, Knight Lore brings us a stage closer to true arcade adventure. Ultimate has devised a technique it calls 'filmation' to depict 3D graphics in quite extraordinary style. Sabreman has been cursed and must change at night into a werewolf. In order to lift the curse, he must find the correct ingredients to counter the spell and dump them in the wizard's cauldron. The wizard lives in a labyrinth of caves and chambers full of traps and strange guardians.

Each chamber presents a specific problem. Some are easy to negotiate, others difficult. A certain amount of imaginative thought may be required, and the judicious use of objects found in the network is recommended.

But it is the graphics which truly astound. The first time you discover that you can push objects around, climb up and down, and all without flicker or any loss of speed, you will be amazed. When you move behind an object, you pass out of view. Piles of blocks may hide terrible traps - you will only find out by leaping onto them and testing them.

As an added bonus, the position in which you start changes from game to game, so there are always new problems to face and new routes to discover. Although it is relatively easy to explore the maze, it is much more difficult to work out which objects you need or discover the ingredients for the curative potion.

In order to produce such advanced effects, Ultimate has had to use only one colour for each screen. Careful shading is used to create the detail which might otherwise be done in colour. The overall effect is of a crepuscular world of claustrophobic menace. Does that chest hide an important secret? Is the span of rock to the high arch safe or will it drop me onto the poisoned spikes? How can I climb a wall three times my own height? What is the old boot for? Those questions have been asked by adventurers for years. Now the arcade wizards can taste that kind of magic for themselves.

Chris Bourne

KNIGHT LORE Ultimate Memory: 48K Price: £9.95 Joystick: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair Gilbert Factor: 9

Added: 27 Dec 2008
Ultimate / £9.95

Roger: Beginning life as some sort of gothic Noddy, the quest through Melkhior's castle is frequently interrupted by one's temporary transformation into a werewulf, which is what, ultimately ... (groan) ... this superior escapade is all about. In a mere on-screen 40 days and 40 nights, your canine metamorphosis will become tragically permanent and the game will be up in all possible senses. Better get moving, eh?
Splendid isometrically-projected 3D cartoon participants and hazardous, but cleverly defined, rooms demonstrate how this program leaves most of the rest in a technical Dark Age. Despite my getting somewhat chunderesque about these programming chaps who even blow their noses in machine code remaining unimaginatively fascinated by Sword'n'Sorcery plots, this remains one slice of mysticism that isn't stale.
I'll personally front up with a bottle of fizzy 'falling-over' pop for the first infinite lives POKE - so that I can actually survive for more than my current appalling 8% of the total cataclysmic content. 5/5

Dave: Ultimate shows no sign of stagnating and producing duff games - in fact, the games get better and better. Knight Lore is original, playable and has superb graphics. Show it to your Atari/ Commodore-owning friends and turn 'em green! 5/5

Ross: What can you say about Ultimate when it comes up with software as good as this! The graphics are second to none and the other characters in the game seem to have a life of their own. 4/5

Added: 14 Dec 2008
Producer: Ultimate
Memory required: 48K
Retail price: £9.95
Language: machine code
Author: The ACG team

Daytime Human explorer...
It must be Christmas! You can tell by the fact that Ultimate has released two games simultaneously. Underwurlde is the follow up to Sabre Wulf and Knight Lore is the follow up to Underwurlde. Ultimate have been clever enough to ensure that both new releases are very different from each other in playing style and game design. Whereas Atic Atac, Sabre Wulf and Underwurlde all played with 3D Knight Lore uses a very solid 3D perspective in which the 3D plays an important part spatially.

Our brave hero, Sabreman, is back again, pith helmet still firmly in place, but now roving the torturous rooms and passageways of Knight Lore castle to seek the old dying wizard, who is the only person who can free him from the deadly curse (appearing in a pith helmet all day perhaps)? The old wizard, whose name is Melkhior, is like many another game wizard - he sets traps and tests to ensure that all who reach him are worthy.

Knight Lore is played over forty days and forty nights. At the base of the screen a moon and sun symbol indicate the time. By day Sabreman is himself, but at night he changes into a werewulf. In either condition he is vulnerable to sudden death. The rooms are populated with all manner of spiky death and large stone blocks. In some respects Knight Lore resembles a 3D platform game, where the trick in each room is to discover the route and the methods by which you can reach the various charms which must be collected without being impaled on a spike, crushed by a failing ball chain or zapped by a poltergeist. Sometimes the ghosties are useful in helping you to move about, but panic sets in as the days run out, for after the fortieth day, Sabreman, if he fails in his quest, will forever become a werewulf.

Scoring is by time taken, percentage of quest completed and charms collected with an overall rating offered. As in Underwurlde there is no Hall of Fame, largely due to the size of the program.


...turns night prowling Werewulf
Sabreman is back, but this time he's back in glorious 3D. Knight Lore is similar in appearance to Avalon, but the graphics are bolder. With that said Knight Lore resembles nothing I've played before. It is fun, addictive, but to sum up in one word it's Brilliant! From what I can gather from the rhyming instructions you've got to put together a potion to stop yourself from turning into a werewulf - and one of the excellent touches in the game is the transformation from man to beast and back again. After a while I think I preferred the werewulf. The people at Ultimate obviously have devious minds because you only have to look at some of the rooms to see how wicked they are. On the whole I found Knight Lore slightly more pleasing than Underwurlde for two reasons; it's slightly easier and it's not as frustrating. Once again Ultimate have come up with the goods, Knight Lore is sheer perfection, get this for Christmas - you definitely won't regret it.

It's nice to see Ultimate depart from the Sabreman theme in Knight Lore. This game is totally different and original from anything they've done before - in my opinion it's the best game they have yet produced. Graphics are in 3D and use the new technique of masking, so that the moving characters do not flicker at all when they pass in front of other objects, and only one colour is used per screen which avoids any attribute problems. This does not mean that the game is lacking in colour however, since each screen has its own colour. Some of the graphics are distinctly original, quite different to anything produced on the Spectrum before. The graphics are so detailed, imaginative, large and well drawn, it is impossible to complain about them. There is just such a lot to see and to explore, it's incredible and a joy to play. This game is full of mystery in the sense of why do you turn into a werewulf at night!? What do any of the objects do, is a question I keep asking myself - just fun co
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Knight Lore was released third in the Sabreman series despite being the first completed. Ultimate anticipated Knight Lore to change the market and chose to withhold its release to protect the sales of its upcoming Sabre Wulf and to preempt Knight Lore clones by releasing a second Filmation game.
Popular Computing Weekly readers named Knight Lore their 1984 arcade game and overall game of the year.
Knight Lore was also named C&VG's game of the year at their 1985 Golden Joystick Awards event, and Ultimate was named both developer and programmer of the year.
By 1986, many video game publishers had produced Knight Lore-style isometric games; examples include Sweevo's World, Movie, Quazatron, Get Dexter, Glider Rider, and Molecule Man. Many of these titles suffered the same slowdown issues as Knight Lore due to too much on-screen activity.


Knight LoreWindows


This title was first added on 28th June 2008
This title was most recently updated on 26th March 2017

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