Sir Lancelot
by Stephen Cargill, Arnie, Ian Piumarta
Melbourne House
Crash Issue 11, December 1984   (1984-11-15)   page(s) 44

Here's the first game from Melbourne House's new 'Studio B' based in England. Your task in this manic platform-ish game is to investigate 24 rooms in the castle and to collect all the things of use to you as you go. This is obviously the kind of useless existence that King Arthur's knights of the Round Table enjoyed, seeking, collecting and getting killed off.

Although principally a platform style game, Sir Lancelot has many variations on the different screens, ladders, stairs, towers, hidey-holes and all sorts of things. Because of the combination and placing of collectible objects and hazards, strategy becomes an important element in the game. Even when all the objects have been collected, you cannot clear a screen until you reach the flashing exit which appears when the last object is taken. There is a large playing area, with score lines and animated 'lives' remaining running along beneath.

Control keys: alternate keys on second row for left and right and SHIFT to SPACE for jump
Joystick: cursor type, but hardly needs one
Keyboard play: very responsive, nice simple keys
Use of colour: excellent
Graphics: excellent
Sound: very good
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 4
Screens: 24
Special features:

'After watching someone else play this game I was determined to do better than that person - that just goes to show the competitiveness of this game. Sir Lancelot is a well animated knight that has some amazing powers of jumping and running around the screen. Collecting the jewels can be an easy task or a difficult task depending on the screen layout and on the moving hazards, but as a general rule it gets progressively more difficult and more thought needs to be put in to each screen and reactions need to get sharper. Colours have been used very well to give various shades, all very pleasing to the eye and very clear. Graphics are of a nice size and are also very detailed. One thing I especially like are your spare lives hanging about at the bottom of the screen waiting to be used, pacing impatiently from side to side in boredom. I found Sir Lancelot incredibly addictive, and just the sheer fact of wanting to see the next screen made me play the game even more. I can well recommend this game to anyone.'

'This is the best 16K game I have seen in a long time. It has all the graphics and playability of Manic Miner and four more screens as well! The knight you play moves around well and very fast, as do the other characters. You have to time jumps and work out a routine through each screen. I have one main criticism, and that is that you are given a very short time to finish the screen, but apart from that I enjoyed playing Sir Lancelot very much.'

'Sir Lancelot is rather a surprise from Melbourne House who seem to have been more interested in 'state of the art' games in a way, for this isn't really that at all. What it is is a very fast, cleverly tortuous Manic Miner style game with neat, smooth, detailed graphics and some interesting variations on the theme of avoiding nasties. There's plenty here to play with 24 screens, each more a test than the last, and like MM, once you get good with the rhythm of a screen, you can show off to your friends. Very addictive very playable, very good.'

Use of Computer90%
Getting Started93%
Addictive Qualities89%
Value For Money90%
Summary: General Rating: An addictive playable game, good to excellent value.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Spectrum Issue 11, February 1985   page(s) 59

Ross: This is a simplified Manic Miner-type game that packs an incredible 24 screens into a 16K Spectrum. The idea behind the game is fairly unoriginal - collect the flashing objects on each screen to make an exit appear that's used to get on to the next level - but the actual implementation is quite cute. Your little Lancelot figure runs around at a fairly hectic pace, and all the spare Lancelots march in unison to and fro across the bottom of the screen. (Ring any bells yet?)

The aim of the game is to progress through all the rooms of the castle in search of the Holy Grail. A menagerie of animals patrol the various key points, although memory does rather restrict their number. Lancelot jumps gaps, moves left or right (even when falling) and has no problem surviving even the longest of falls.

The graphics appear to move in four-pixel stages, which means that it's slightly less precise than 1 would have liked - but the obstacles and objects have been carefully placed to pose maximum problems. 3/5 HIT

Dave: Lancelot is one of the best platform games I've seen for Miner Willy starved 16K owners. Melbourne House has done well to fit it all in, but the sprites leave a lot to be desired. 3/5 HIT

Roger: Hunting the Holy Grail is good, if simplistic, sport. But it's difficult to cope with a fevered imagination like mine in just 16K! 3/5 HIT

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 34, January 1985   page(s) 44


IF YOU OWN a 16K Spectrum and have felt left out since Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy were produced for the 48K machine then Sir Lancelot, from Melbourne House, may take away some of the heartache.

Although the author does not equate the game with the best-selling Willy series there are some obvious parallels. As the fabled knight in shining armour you must investigate 24 rooms through which have been strewn treasures, including keys, crowns and gold, and seven difFerent types of monster. They move mechanically up and down or across the screen and your task is to develop a strategy to defeat them and retrieve the treasure.

The solutions to the treasure quests on each screen are made harder when the objects seem to be out of reach. However, each screen contains an answer and it just takes practice to get to the next one.

Sir Lancelot is a 48K game crammed into a 16K machine and as such the author should be congratulated.

John Gilbert

Memory: 16/48K
Price: £5.95
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor

Gilbert Factor7/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Big K Issue 10, January 1985   page(s) 17


MAKER: Melbourne House
FORMAT: cassette
PRICE: £5.95

A minor miracle from Stephen Cargill who's managed to squeeze 24 very different screens, complete with seven monsters and moving staircases, into 16K, making this is one of the best games available for the junior Spectrum while not being disgraced in the 48K's league.

Sir Lancelot has to collect all the treasures on each screen, dodging the monsters, before he can get to the exit and on to the next, in his quest for the Holy Grail, with only four lives in hand. Sir L's animation is very well done and with only three actions - left, right and jump - he's pretty easy to control on the keyboard; though, as ever, even more so with a stick, the monsters are much wittier than most and include dog birds, Pac-Man, a cooking pot and bouncing balls. Timing is of the essence to avoid them, because you can't do anything to them. One nice feature is the red carpet on which the ghosts of slain Lancelots ascend to heaven. Whoops, what a giveaway!

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Personal Computer Games Issue 14, January 1985   page(s) 84,85

MACHINE: Spectrum 16/48K
CONTROL: Keys, Kemp, Sinc, Pro
FROM: Melbourne House, £5.95

Let's not beat about the bush: Sir Lancelot is as close to Manic Miner as you can get without copyright problems.

There are 24 screens for your character to run through, collect objects and, to finish the sheet, drop into a box. While doing this he must avoid various nasties including cooking pots on legs, Pacmen and birds.

Complete all 24 and Sir Lancelot collects the Holy Grail. The screens are traditional platform-fare, though staircases ('up' only) transport the little knight from level to level and he can fall any distance.

So what's special about Sir Lancelot - well, Melbourne House have managed to pack everything into 16K... now that's pretty amazing. Sir Lancelot himself is a far better graphics character than Willy, detailed and very endearing.

The sound is also very reasonable with a nice little bleep when an object is picked up. The game is packaged very well and there is a superbly drawn title screen with music at the start.

Sir Lancelot is not an immediately easy game to play. On the first screen it can take some time to figure out the best route to the objects to be collected. The Pacman at the top moves pretty quickly and will gobble you up many a time before you get the knack of evading him.

Other screens introduce military opponents: they look a bit like Lance but they're definitely not good guys. They patrol the bottom of the screen and make it tricky to get up to the objects.

Sir Lancelot is very impressive, given that it's only in 16K. For those owners with only that much memory it's a great buy. The many more with 48K will want to think twice about buying something that's good, but not as good as Jet Set Willy.

An impressive and enjoyable arcade-adventure, especially when you consider it's been squeezed into 16K.

Although there didn't seem to be anything stunningly original about the game it had some nice touches and was difficult enough to keep me at it for quite some time.


As a 16K game it's not bad at all; fitting in 24 rooms is quite a feat of programming, but has unfortunately necessitated a drop in the standards of graphics that Spectrum owners now take for granted. The characters move very quickly, but are flickery and not particularly detailed. If you've got 48K, don't bother with this but for unexpanded machines it's certainly he best game around.


It was inevitable that eventually someone had to squeeze Jet Set Willy into 16K. Sir Lancelot is a fairly good implementation with a reasonable 24 rooms and some fairly tricky obstacles. There's nothing too difficult though as you've got to play against the clock and so, unlike JSW, you don't have time to think about a strategy.


Lasting Interest7/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair Programs Issue 26, December 1984   page(s) 17

PRICE: £5.95

In the excitement of software launches for Christmas it is easy to overlook the fact that, these days, 16K Spectrum owners are suffering just as much as ZX-81 owners from scarcity of new software. Melbourne House have taken this into account with their new launch, Sir Lancelot, which will run on the 16K Spectrum.

It is a complicated arcade-style adventure in which the aim is for your character, Sir Lancelot, to avoid the moving nasties on the screen and, by moving left and right and jumping, collect the objects. To confuse matters even more, there is a time limit of 999 time units, and these slip away extremely quickly.

The game calls for strategy and timing. Each screen will take some time to complete as, with the time limit ticking away rapidly, it is not necessary only to be able to collect the objects, but to be able to collect them as quickly as possible.

There are many screens, of which the first two are likely to keep you occupied for some time.

The graphics are smooth and flicker-free, the game is fast moving and a number of fun details, such as the extra-life Sir Lancelot's which march up and down the screen, make this an excellent game, which will probably be enjoyed by 48K and 16K owners.

Sir Lancelot is produced for the 16K Spectrum by Melbourne House, Church Yard, Tring, Hertfordshire.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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