Long ago there was a superior race of beings who held the secret of time travel. Helias, the King of Belloth, was the master of the gates to the past and future, and on his death his son Fair Storm became guardian - with a problem! Evil wizard Red Sabbath kidnapped his true love to trap Fair Storm and get his hands on the keys to the four time gates.
Red Sabbath has split himself into four clones, one for each time zone. Armed with a sword, Fair Storm must travel the four zones and kill each Red Sabbath to collect a magical amulet. The time zones are New York-Present Day, The Future, Pre-History and The Mystical - all full of dangerous adversaries: clear the time lines, defeat Red Sabbath and save the girl!
On first glance Knight Forte is graphically impressive, the sprites and backgrounds nicely drawn. But when the game starts moving forget it: even for a seasoned beat- 'em-up veteran the creatures are all too tough to kill, and the scrolling is as jerky as anything. As with Dr Doom's Revenge and Wild Streets reviewed last month, pretty graphics are only half the game, playability counts for a hell of a lot.
MARK ... 60%
'Knight Force is one of those games that looks fantastic, has great presentation but is a waste of time when it comes to playability. I thought I was in for a real treat when I loaded it up: the graphics looked out world. The actual game is a simple beat 'em up. The sprites are nicely detailed, as are the backgrounds, but it's the old problem of the two together in monochrome. Character movement is not as good as it could be, the animation very jerky. Getting past the first enemy is also a problem: no matter how hard I try I can't win. Sound effects are just the standard arcade explosion when a nasty little bird or something squelches into your head (yuk!). Knight Force is a big flop. I was expecting a brilliant game and got this: a classic case of nice graphics, shame about the game!'
NICK ... 67%
We at Your Sinclair realised some time ago that the majority of French programmers are one chip short of a large fries, so it comes as no surprise to find that Knight Force is completely weird. Here's the plot...
A princess has been captured (ho hum) by the sorcerer Red Sabbath. He's hoping that Fair Storm (you) will go after her so that he can steal the keys to the Gates of Time and Space from you. Luckily, however, there just happens to be a series of magic amulets lying around Time and Space that will enable you to destroy him.
To collect all the amulets you need to visit four time zones - Pre-history, New York Today, the Future and the Mystical. In each one you have to beat up a lot of people/things and kill a magic bird. According to the instructions, you can tackle the zones in any order by choosing one of four dolmens (prehistoric monuments - I looked it up) from the title screen. The appropriate level should then multiload in. Unfortunately though, whichever key I pressed I always got chucked into the same zone (Future). Rather boring and, as far as I can see, a major bug.
Once you've scratched your head a bit and decided to carry on regardless, you'll find that Fair Storm is a kind of knight, with a sword and everything. Ah-ha, you think, a beat-'em-up! Yes, but a very limited one. You can jump, duck, move left and right and do about five different things with your sword (all of them pretty much the same). Waiting to be beaten up are cavemen, a vicious-sounding woman, a robot and a load of skeletons. So I'm told, anyway. All I could have a crack at was the robot, and come peculiar-looking birds that fly around him. It was terrible. I lasted 30 seconds at the most, waving my sword around to very little effect. And if you do manage to kill the robot another one appears. Oh yeah, and if you accidentally press 'Space' you get sent back to the beginning.
I don't know quite what to think really. Let's assume, for the sake of the review, that I'm doing something wrong at the start and it is possible to get to all four zones (but I don't think it is). And let's also say for the sake of argument that I'm rubbish at playing games (there could be some truth in that) and that anyone else would be able to actually get somewhere.
The graphics, then, are pretty good (although the sprites tend to get engulfed by the background a bit) but the sound's crap. Even if the playability had been worked out properly, and everything functioned as it should, I can't really imagine anyone going wild about Knight Force. There's just not enough there, and what is there has all been done before.
The whole thing's completely bonkers.
Try not to let your spirits drop too much when you hear the plot of this one; brave knight must travel through dangerous lands in search of the four pieces of a mystic amulet which will allow him to defeat the evil sorceror who holds captive the king's beautiful daughter... yuuuch! The plot may be the most unoriginal in the world, but fortunately this isn't yet another arcade adventure. Instead it's yet another martial arts game...
Your task is to aid time-travelling superknight Fair Storm (who obviously needs all the help he can get, with a nancy boy name like that). Starting from the mystical dolmens of Splarg, he has to travel through time and space and hack into submission four loads of baddies; Cro-Magnon men in prehistory, gang thugs in modern-day New York, futuristic robots, er, in the future, and mystical weeblies in some magical dimension.
The backgrounds and characters look fabulous; the characters are big, gorgeously detailed and fairly smoothly animated. Unfortunately they do tend to merge into the monochrome backgrounds when they're not moving, as you can see from the screenshots. As for the rest of the display, you have the obligatory power meters for yourself and the baddies (all of whom must be put to the sword before you get to load the next level), and indicators for the number of amulet pieces collected and the time remaining.
Now, the testing point of any martial arts game is whether the fighting movements available are exciting and useful. In Knight Force, they ain't. Apart from the non-combative moves (walk, duck, jump) all you get is Downward Thrust (Left/right), Side Thrust (left/right) and Up Thrust. The side thrust is to take out flying objects such as robot springs, the up thrust skewers passing reptile-birds, and the down-thrust - well, I don't know. It didn't seem any use at all to me, but then nothing seemed to work against the killer robots in the futuristic level, so I never got past them. In any case, one poke of your mighty weapon seems to dispatch most of the flying baddies, so it isn't so much a combat game, more a pig-sticking exercise.
I'm sure there's a good game in here somewhere... perhaps it's tucked away in a dark corner of the box. But it just won't come out to play.
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
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