And so the saga of the Magic Knight continues, with David Jones' follow-up to Finders Keepers and Spellbound.
Knight Tyme picks up where Spellbound left off. Having released the wizard Gimbal from a nasty predicament at the end of Spellbound, Magic Knight is free to potter back to 13th Century England and the comforts of home. However, MK is understandably exhausted after his ordeals and his mental concentration is flagging somewhat. In an off moment he miscasts the spell to take him home, and lo and behold, he finds himself transported not to Mediaeval England as he had expected, but onto the deck of an intergalactic star cruiser in the 25th Century.
The culture shock alone should have been enough to finish off poor old Magic Knight once and for all. He's a resilient fellow, mind, and he has the good fortune to be presented with a Datacube once he arrives on the space ship which helps him to acclimatise to the newfound surroundings. Datacube or no Datacube, Magic Knight is singularly unimpressed with life on a sophisticated starcruiser and longs for the comforts of home - the odd bout of bubonic plague, rusty armour in the winter and being hungry all the time. He's understandably anxious to find his way off the Starship USS Pisces.
This is not a simple task. He must find all the pieces of a time machine so he can assemble it and travel to his own time. The Paradox Police are waiting thirty days into MK's future, so there's a time limit in the game - if our tin suited hero doesn't locate the Tyme Guardians and get back into the past quickly enough, he'll end up in clink. Five Eyed Jack, king of the Space Pirates must also be avoided according to the inlay - he's a really nasty piece of work. A close watch must also be kept on Magic Knight's energy and happiness levels, for if they fall too low, he expires.
The first roblem to be solved involves getting the human crew members to acknowledge your existence. Officially, Magic Knight is a stow-away, so in order to ingratiate himself with the crew of the USS Pisces he must somehow obtain an identification card - they're only prepared to hear the voice of officialdom. The droid members of the crew and Derby 4 - the Transputer - aren't quite as snobby as the human contingent. If you ask them nicely they may even help you get the ID card... This isn't much use on its own, as it is blank. MK must find a camera and some film and by being creepy to the robots on board, he has to arrange to have his photo taken, and then add the snapshot to the ID card which then confers an 'authentic' identification to the wearer. Once this is done Magic Knight can start giving orders to the crew members and begin bossing them about - very satisfying after their early rudeness. When the pilot has been provided with the appropriate equipment, Magic Knight can order him to drive round the galaxy - and a neat space-flight sequence pops onto the Bridge viewscreen during flight.
The player interfaces with the game via an improved version of the user friendly window/menu system that was christened Windowmation in Spellbound. Using either the joystick or keyboard, commands are given by selecting options from a series of nested menus that window onto the screen. A wide range of activities is catered for, including examining objects and characters in the game, giving orders, reading things, calling up status reports and so on. New options appear on the main menu as the game progresses and problems are solved.
The crew of the USS Pisces is an untidy mob - objects litter the decks. Some of these are helpful when it comes to solving the problems buried in the game, while others can be used to barter with the crew of the starcruiser. Magic Knight must somehow locate the mythical Tyme Guardians if he can and, if indeed they even exist, they'll supply him with his ticket home.
Sixteen separate characters can be found in the game, and there are nearly fifty locations for the USS Pisces to visit. Not all the planets are explorable, but the habitable ones are accessible via the transporter - once it has been fixed. Magic Kni9ht must also get the co-ordinates right on the transporter or else his little tin molecules will be artistically splattered across the cosmos. Most of the parts of the time machine can be found on the planets, and some starbases contain communication centres which provide useful information.
Apart from the problem-solving aspect of the game, there's a fair old strategic element. It's vital to keep Magic Knight's strength up, but the player also needs to monitor the status of the other characters in the game and keep an eye on the condition of the Starship itself.
Don't forget - if Magic Knight never escapes from the confines of the USS Pisces, there won't ever be another Magic Knight game...
Control keys: A up/jump, Z down, N left, M right, SPACE fire
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: pretty, and tidily done
Graphics: cute little characters, nice backgrounds
Sound: continuous jolly tune
Skill levels: one
Screens: 50 (25 in the 48K version)
'I still play Finders Keepers at home so I was very pleased to play this one. This has to be the most outstanding piece of cheap software I've seen since I started reviewing for CRASH, two years ago. Perhaps all 128K software will be like this.. .but I very much doubt it. I can't really see myself getting bored with this one for a long time as it is very compelling. The graphics are excellent, all the characters are detailed and well animated and the backgrounds are very colourful. My only gripe is that there is a bit of colour clash. The sound is also excellent: a tune plays throughout the game and there are some spot effects. I strongly recommend this game to all 128 owners - and the 48K version will be a snip as well. You couldn't hope to find a better piece of budget software.'
'Hooray! The follow up to one of my favourite games of '85 arrives, and a very good game it is too. The Windowmation is still an excellent piece of programming and adds to the game just as, if not more than the original system. The graphics are very good. and the sound is superb. For £2.95, it's brilliant value for money. I think Mastertronic had better get lots and lots of copies of this run, 'cause methinks its gonna be a hit.'
'Knight Tyme is the first 'proper' game on the 128 and I must say that I was very impressed. I thought the 128K version would just have more locations, but David Jones has certainly made full use of the of the 128K's features. The game is a very good follow up to the mini-Spectrum games, and combines some old ideas with some new ones. The thing that did impress me was the very olde wurlde music: this suits the game perfectly and doesn't ask to be turned down as on some games. I still love the way the Knight bounces around and can pester the little innocent creatures that roam around, by asking them to push off or go to sleep. The game again uses the beautiful windowing techniques that were employed in Spellbound. I would say that this game will well satisfy any 128K owner who's moaning about the 128K software machine, and at the price, 'you can't go wrong, John'.'
|Use of Computer||90%|
|Value for Money||98%|
What to do with 128K - Part 2. Last time we looked at how to create a 128 game with some sticky tape to tag on a few extra screens and of course a toilet roll tube to create some three channel music. This time a slightly more ambitious project - writing a 128 game from scratch!
And it's been left to Mastertronic to give us the first truly original title for expanded Spectrum. Knight Tyme is the third part of the Magic Knight series - and let's not call it a trilogy in the hope that theres more to come!
It may be Spellbound-like in mechnics but the plot is very different. Magic Knight has finally freed Gimbal, the Wizard, but in doing so has been catapulted through time. He beams down on the bridge of the USS Pisces. Sensing something fishy he consults Klink, one of the ship's two robots.
It transpires that the Paradox Police don't take too kindly to day trippers - let alone tourists from across thousands of years - and thirty days into the future they're waiting for our hero. His only hope is to locate the legendary Tyme Guardians to obtain a Tyme Machine (with some parsley and sage for the stuffing). So begins an epic struggle of one man against a hostile universe (epic music, etc).
This calls for a quick trip round the neighbouring planets, but before he can do that Magic Knight has to stir the crew into action and without proper authority that isn't easy. In fact, apart from the automatons, everybody ignores him. A few clues to gain friends and influence people are contained in the captions, but even then you'll need all your wits to use the objects scattered around the Pisces before you can persuade its pilot to take off.
Once in space those 128 kilobytes come into their own - the only previous manifestation of the new machine has been the very pleasant, though ultimately repetitive tune (don't worry - it's switchable!)
Choose your planet from the menu and choose your journey speed, remembering that though it's a race against the Tyme Guardians, speed eats fuel, then watch from the bridge as space scrolls by.
When you reach your destination you can communicate with the landing party. They may want to talk about trading matters and seem very friendly - but be careful about accepting repairs from strangers. After all, you wouldn't take you car into any old garage, would you?
Knight Tyme is paced with clever puzzles, aeons of space to explore and, what's more, it's all finished with a double coat of wit. If it appears on the 48K Speccy it's sure to lose much of the detail and perhaps some of the scale. So accept nothing less than the full blown version. It'll keep you playing all (k)night!
|Value For Money||9/10|
The nights are getting shorter; the Knights are getting shorter (Magic); and the Knight Tyme has got shorter. Yes, all those experiencing dejà-vu from this re-vu, the third part of the Magic Knight saga is here for those possessed of smaller memories.
The easiest course is to refer you all back to last months look t the 128 version (back issues available at dirt cheap prices), so I'll just sit around and twiddle my thumbs while you skip through it.
(Rum-te-tum...) Magic Knight stranded in the future on board the Pisces, has to get back to his own time before the forces of law catch up... (La, la, la...) Windimation technique of pull-down menus for commands... magic... take and drop... communicate and special commands... (Just time to make a cup of tea...) Animated central character and a whole host of others once you've got command of the ship and can steer it from planet to planet (Slurrrp!).
Haven't you finished yet. What an incredibly slow reader. Well, I can't wait around all day so see if you can get your literacy skills round this one... IT'S ACE! Big letters, little words. Got that? Good. Then I'll continue...
Obviously sacrifices have had to be made to cram even the most half-cut noble into the half size Speccy. There are fewer screens and the cast has to work harder as David Jones has pared down his original concept. You'll also miss out on that super music that there was originally room for.
So am I saying give this 48K version a miss? No. But I am saying, get jealous of all those who can run the full version. But buy this all the same. Play it. You'll love it. And finally when your standard, unspecial K machine melts down or whatever happens to old Spectrums, and you join the big boys (and girls... of which I'm one!) then it'll only cost you £2.99 to find out what you were missing and your total outlay of under £6 will still be better value than many more expensive programs.
|Value For Money||9/10|
MACHINE: Spectrum 128
The story continues. First there was Finder's Keepers. Then the excellent Spellbound. Now Magic Knight is back for his third adventure in Knight Tyme.
Tremendous interest surrounds this game. Not just because it's the latest of good old Knight's eccentric adventures but because it's one of the first games to be specifically written for the 128K Spectrum.
We were given a preview copy of the game which still required a little work before it's finished.
But even so our recommendation is very simple: Buy it. It's brilliant and at £2.99 you would be a fool to miss out. And 48K Spectrum owners have nothing to worry about as a shortened version of this epic will be released.
Spellbound ends when Gimbal the Wizard has been released from a self-inflicted White Out Spell and Magic Knight has been catapulted through time. He ends up on the starship USS Pisces somewhere in the 25th Century. The aim is to get Magic Knight back to his own time by finding the Guardians of Tyme.
You start off by exploring the ship but nothing much happens until you twig that you have to have an ID card. But how to get it? One of the computers can be made to produce a blank card and then you have to find a film, camera and someone or something to take your photograph. Get the idea? And don't forget the glue pot at this point. It's very useful.
That's only the start. There's a whole universe out there and it's going to take a long, long time before Magic Knight gets to go home.
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