Sir Fred is a fairy tale about brave knights and damsels in distress. So to start in the way of all good fairy tales: Once upon a time there was a wise old king who ruled over a happy land. Except for one thing, the evil Hugh D'Unwyt, an evil dude who's stolen away the King's fair daughter. Since the kingdom is usually such a happy place, the bored Knights are all off on a quest for the fabled gold lame string vest. A hero is needed and the only knighted personage left in the kingdom brave (or stupid) enough to take up the quest is the aged and corpulent Sir Fred.
The princess is holed up in the Castle Feare, stronghold of D'Unwyt. When the Baron stole away the King's daughter he knew that trouble would be on its way, so his castle is extremely well guarded and near impregnable to a lonesome Knight. Undaunted by his daunting task, Sir Fred decides to try and battle his way to win the hand of his fair lady.
The way to rescue the princess and become a hero is to collect and shrewdly use certain objects. Unlike a majority of arcade adventures objects, are placed in a different place each time you play. Though mapping the game is still quite easy, placing the objects isn't. Though not random there are fifty six different permutations of the where the different items essential to your quest will appear.
Sir Fred himself is an action-packed spritette capable of many actions and looking remarkably similar to something out of a Mordillo cartoon. When you start, all Sir Fred can do is run and jump. His running style is quite a bit more realistic than Fred at full tilt down a flight of stairs, for instance, he's more than likely to end up flying head over heels down them.
Objects are picked up with the select key. Along the bottom of the screen are a number of boxes that can contain an object. A blue box highlights the window currently under your control. To use an object press the use key and the blue boxed item will come into use. On some of the weapons only a limited period of use is permitted, so a little countdown appears above the window and decrements every time the object gets used. If the counter gets to zero then the object is no longer in Sir Fred's inventory.
Different objects can add to Sir Fred's abilities. Pick a sword, and the knight is capable of being a swashbuckling swordsman if you add some neat control effort. One of the weaker weapons is the the stone that can be thrown - another good one is the bow and arrow.
What makes Sir Fred different to most of the Miner Willy's and Wally Week's of this world is his ability to interact with the background. There are pools that he can swim in, ropes to be climbed and cliffs to jumped off, all easily accomplished with up, down, left, right and fire. Action packed Fred, invulnerable he isn't. Running on a limited energy supply, Sir Fred has to try and avoid bumping into various nasties and making silly mistakes. All these silly activities are damaging to Fred's energy band, shown at the bottom of the screen. Only one energy band is supplied and if it reaches zero then the game's over. Nasties you'll encounter are of a fairly common sort: things like snakes, fish and rats, all moving along preset patterns.
The puzzles and tasks to be accomplished are of a fairly complex sort. Just like any arcade adventure nowadays Sir Fred's world is shown in flick screens, with lots of medieval-type backgrounds in this case. The more of the castle you visit, the better your end percentage. Near a hundred percent is needed to rescue the princess and what a daunting task that is.
Control keys: definable
Joystick: Kempston and Cursor
Keyboard play: very fast and responsive
Use of colour: some attribute clash but otherwise tasteful
Graphics: pretty backdrops that are very detailed plus a very action packed sprite
Sound: no tune but nice spot effects
Skill levels: one
"This is an excellent arcade adventure with lovely graphics. The main character is fab, and looks like he's been lifted straight from a Mordillo cartoon. The animation on him is incredible for such a tiny character as he swims, swings and runs through the castle and its lands. The game is a tricky one, and there are some pretty nifty puzzles to be solved before the Princess falls into your arms. This game really appealed to me, who cares about an ancient storyline when a game is as good fun as this?"
"Dear Oh Dear! How many times have we had the "rescue the beautiful princess from the wicked knight" story before? I must admit, though, that the inlay is very well set out, with a very poetic poem to set the scene. The game is similar to JSW, but has superior graphics. The man, Fred, jumps, swims, runs and walks in liquid animation, and is capable of making bigger jumps if he takes a run-up. If you run one way, and then change direction, little skid marks appear at his heels. There are better platform games on the market, but this one is nice enough. It may appeal more to younger girls with all this talk of fairytale knights and princesses..."
"This is an interesting departure from the Wally series. It is still an animated adventure with lots of objects to collect and many locations to use them in. The screens are well designed and very colourful, with the usual Mikro-Gen attention to detail. The character of Sir Fred is smoothly animated as he runs, swims and climbs. The only problem with playing this game is the controls. Though only six controls are needed there are great troubles with getting your jumps right and it takes lots of practise to use the ropes without falling off. I enjoyed playing this game and would recommend it to anybody who enjoys the Wally games and would like to try a slightly more advanced game."
|Use of Computer||83%|
|Value for Money||89%|
Mikro-Gen's Sir Fred has nothing to do with running an airline but a lighthearted adventure set in medieval times. It should provide a surfeit of laughs for oven the most surly of Speccy users.
Your quest, as Sir Fred, is to rescue the damsel in distress. Although you'll get to see her you won't know in which of the seven rooms she's held - until you've completed the whole adventure. What's more, each time you start a quest, the computer will select any one of fifty-eight game patterns. This gives you plenty of game play option - and plenty of objects to seek and use in your mission. Some can be used once, some over and over again - do you really want to?
A sirtain sirprise is Sir Fred's amazing gymnastic abilities - despite - all his armour! He runs, jumps, swings on ropes and swims realistically. His in-built inertia means he gets puffed, falls over and drowns pretty realistically as well! He's a crack swordsman and brill bow man. Makes yer sick, don't it - no wonder he always gets the girl...
There's not a lot you won't have seen before, but it won't always have been so well packaged. The graphics aren't cosmic (nor medieval, mind) - like the game it's good and solid. You could well while away a few knights with Sir Fred.
|Value For Money||7/10|
GIRD UP thy loins and take a trip into the misty past where maidens were modest, kings were crusty and knights were knackered.
Sir Fred takes place in a land where all the good knights are off on quests and the rest are quietly mouldering in castles bought with dragon's gold.
Luckily, when the evil Sir Hugh D'unnyt captures a princess, her father - a sickeningly good king - has to find a white knight who will go to the castle where she is held captive and rescue her. After wading through a bunch of wallies with silly names such as Sir Vival, Sir Prize and Sir Spender, he finds Sir Fred. While not being one of the most competent knights in the kingdom he is keen and that's what counts.
His first problems occur even before he gets to the castle moat. The show opens with Sir Fred standing in his suit of well-oiled armour. To the left is a chasm, and wriggling at the bottom is a snake which drains energy from unsuspecting knights.
You can jump over the pit, using one of the many ropes in the game, or take your chances down below by jumping over the snake, and leaping onto the vine which creeps up the far wall of the chasm.
Rope swinging is an important technique which must be mastered quickly if you are to survive. Most screens involve one or more ropes. Jumping up onto them is the easy bit but shifting your weight between one side of the rope and the other to get it swinging is a skill which will take some time to perfect. Unfortunately, until you have done so, many of the useful objects in the game will remain out of reach.
Once through the initial screen you will encounter the moat and the first stretch of water. Objects such as swords and stones are often placed in water and in order to retrieve them you have to swim.
If you have not come across the inertia effect on the first screen you will when you jump into the moat. Each character is affected by gravity, an attribute easily demonstrated by rushing forward and then stopping abruptly, at which point Fred will skid to a halt and maybe fall over. You should also beware of holding the forward movement key down too long. If you do you may make a dent in a castle wall or slip into a chasm.
In water you are affected by bouyancy. To dive you must hold your finger on the down key while pressing forward. Moving Sir Fred into crevasses under water is consequently pretty difficult.
The moat screen has two objectives. First you should collect an object by climbing the castle wall and swinging onto a cloud, all the while harrassed by lightning bolts. Any misjudgement and you will fall into the water below and the waiting jaws of a fish.
The entrance to the castle is discovered by diving to the left side of the screen and swimming through a tunnel. On the way you might be able to pick up a bundle of stones on the moat floor, useful in David and Goliath situations where the evil knight's henchmen try to get the better of you.
Once through the tunnel you will find yourself on a screen containing two lagoons. Climb out of the first and slip into the second, being careful not to lose power to a giant magenta octopus. Actually, he isn't an octopus as he only seems to have four legs.
If you are lucky Sir Fred's sword will be at the bottom of the lagoon but you can never be sure. There are 58 patterns in which objects are distributed and one of those is selected at the beginning of the game.
The sword is the most important defensive weapon in the game. As with all other objects it can be picked up using the select button, and brought out for action by positioning the select cursor over it and pressing use. All the objects are displayed at the bottom of the screen in icon form.
You can move the sword up and down using three stances, or positions. The left and right movement keys are used for attack and parrying. When you come across an opponent the first one to make a move has the initiative. There are seven levels of opponent skill - judged in attack/response reaction time - and the computer automatically selects those.
To kill an opponent you must hit him three times unless he is trapped against a wall or in a corner. The computer generated characters are pretty hot fighters - even at the seemingly lowest levels. If you sharpen up your sword play you will still find that there are few gaps in the seemingly flawless computer defence.
Other important weapons include the bow and arrows found on a cloud on the moat screen. I found it almost impossible to get at.
Once you are through the moat and into the castle the action speeds up and the tests get tougher. Dodge arrows loosed by medieval archers and avoid the guards who stand at the entrances to new rooms, or bar your passage across the screen.
The game is reminiscent of the Wally epics, though the graphics are not as big, bright or colourful. That, however, is more than made up for by the lack of attribute flicker and realism of movement.
There are some inconsistencies in realism - for instance, you can never drown or lose power in water unless while being attacked. just as well, really, as it would be almost impossible to play with the number of lagoons even within the castle.
You will be hearing a lot from the Spanish authors - Carlos Granados, Fernando Rada, Camilo Cela, and Paco Menendez - in the coming months. They used to work for Quicksilva, for whom they produced Fred, an arcade adventure with a Raiders of the Lost Ark feel. Sir Fred was grabbed by Mikro-Gen, who has already signed the lads to produce more games. They certainly made the right decision.
Joystick: Cursor, Kempston
In a peaceful time, in a tranquil land,
A good king ruled with the honest hand.
Sword to defend all his subjects' born rights
With the aid of his daughter and brave loyal knights,
But over the ramparts of dread Castle Feare,
Lived a villainous Knight with a wicked idea,
He captured the Princess and made her his slave,
Sir Hugh D'unnyt, black Knight, unscrupulous Knave.
The King cried "Who'll champion the Princess so tender?"
And sent for Sir Vival, Sir Prize, Sir Spender.
But things were so quiet they'd gone off on a quest,
In search of the fabled gold-lame string vest.
In all of the realm but one
Knight could be found,
Who was not over ninety or overly round.
He was not much to look at, in truth, he was rusty,
But none could deny he was valiant and trusty,
With fire in his heart and his hinges well oiled,
(The same lubricant in which traitors were boiled)
He set off, unknowing what trials lay ahead,
Our chivalrous hero, the gallant Sir Fred.
So begins the latest game from the Wally people. But this time the game isn't home grown. Sir Fred is the creation of three Spanish programmers based in Madrid.
And like many red-blooded Latins before him, Sir Fred is searching for a Princess! Fred has to search the many rooms of Castle Feare - solving puzzles as he goes - in order to rescue the fair Princess. Each time you start the game the computer selects one of 58 game patterns - so the game is never quite the same each time you play.
Sir Fred is a cute character. A bit of a bumbler in fact. Not your average chivalrous knight in shining armour. He wanders about the castle looking as if he'd rather be down the old Goat and Nightgown quaffing a few real ales with his mates. But he's got a job to do...
Sir Fred's movements are as near lifelike as possible. He has inertia, which means that if he runs too fast he may fall down stairs or run into a wall. His power will reduce each time this happens.
There are seven skill levels, which the computer automatically selects. Sir Fred has to hurt his opponent three times to kill him, unless his opponent is trapped in a corner and cannot move backwards. In this case only one hit is needed.
Sir Fred can also use the bow and arrows or stones which he has collected.
The select key moves either moves a yellow or red box over each item. When you have chosen your object you can operate the "use" key to use that item.
Some objects may be used only once, some nine times and others may only be used in certain places. Certain objects can be used as many times as you wish.
Sir Fred will please Mikro-Gen fans - and maybe gain them some new ones with this atmospheric and amusing game.
With Rambos mowing down everything in sight and Supermen juggling skyscrapers, this offering represents a return to Elizabethan values. The gallant Sir Fred has to rescue a princess from a castle. Glossing over the sexism endemic in computer games - when has a princess ever done any rescuing? - this is another from the ever popular arcade adventure genre.
All the rooms you can eat, with nasty things trying to drain your strength, lots of objects to pick up, and then work out what to do with.
It's a tricky game to master, one for the real aficionados to drool over. If you thought Jet Set Willy was a piece of cake, then this could be right down your dungeon.
Despite only the usual controls of up, down, left right, select and use, a lot of extra moves have been crammed in by combinations of the keys. Climbing, running, swimming, there is apparently no end to his talents.
The graphics are up to Wally standards, despite the fact that it was written by a Spanish company, rather than the Wally programmers. Another of Sir Fred's many talents is swinging on ropes. However, this is where the game rather falls down - or at least I did.
You are meant to swing on the rope by pressing alternately left and right; I must have been defeated by keybounce or something, but all that kept happening is the intrepid knight would end up going spurs over helm.
Just to cater to the mobs of computer games players conditioned to handing out mindless violence to all who get in their way, you get scoundrels and footpads to put to the sword. This rather goes against the grain of normal arcade adventures where the philosophy is to avoid things rather than kill them.
Odious overtones apart, this game takes the arcade adventure to new heights.
|Value For Money||4/5|
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