The Sacred Armour Of Antiriad (Palace) (Commodore 64/128)
Reviewed By - In Zzap #20The Sacred Armour Of Antiriad | JR | RE | GP | Verdict
And there ended civilisation as we know it. Over the following months, a nuclear winter raged and the few survivors of the Armageddon cowered deep beneath the earth in their small, dark, stinking shelters. Eventually, starvation forced them to the surface.
When they emerged, they found an endless wasteland of rubble, completely devoid of life. If they were to survive, they would have to make for the countryside... and so the few began their long, fraught trek from the cities to the barren countryside. Many of the group fell by the wayside, but eventually a small number found a valley where vegetation grew under the shadow of an old volcano.
Centuries passed. Generations arose, grew old and died, and genetic changes resulted in a hardier, stronger race. They lived a simple, peaceful life in which technology was considered the root of all evil as it evoked painful memories of the Great Catastrophe of ancient man and the ensuing struggles for survival.
The peace continued, until one fateful day when the skies boiled and grew dark with strange flying machines. From these ominous craft, many strangely garbed creatures came forth bearing sophisticated weapons.
A group of villagers were sent to greet the creatures in peace. But they were mercilessly sythed down under a hail of laser fire. The alien troops marched forward and razed the village to the ground, herding all the able-bodied humans as they did so. Some humans fought back, but any resistance was brought to a swift end by a trigger-happy clawed finger.
Once all apparent resistance had been brought to a close, the captives were set to work mining Earth's valuable minerals and the aliens made their base in the vaults deep beneath the volcano which overshadowed the remains of the village.
However, unbeknown to the alien oppressors, newborn males were taken from the mines and reared in secret camps. Over the years they were taught ancient battle arts and one man, Tal, proved himself to be the bravest and most fearsome warrior of all.
The camp elders met and it was unanimously decided that it was Tal who should be sent on the mission to save his race.
Tal was brought in front of the elders and given an ancient blueprint. Upon its crumbling pages were inscribed details of the sacred armour of Antiriad, the legendary combat suit which rendered its wearer invincible. Tal was told to enter the evil forest below the volcano and search for the suit. Once found, he must assemble its vital parts before entering the alien's lair to destroy them. He was despatched immediately and his search began. The survival of his race was in his hands...
The Sacred Armour Of Antiriad is a flick screen arcade adventure which puts you into the loincloth of Tat just as he enters the evil forest. He can run left or right (by moving the joystick in the relevant direction) and jump by pushing up. The forest is crawling with mutant creatures, deformed by radiation, as well as alien guards. These can be avoided, or disposed of with a well aimed rock (or two), thrown by pressing the fire button.
Contact with a mutated creature or alien proves harmful to Tat and results in the loss of energy. If his energy is entirely depleted, then one of five lives is lost.
When Tal finds the suit he can 'enter' it; doing so makes the suit display area (shown at the bottom of the screen) burst into life as it reactivates. When activated, the suit displays the amount of energy Tat has left, along with the suit's energy level (in the form of a bar chart), your score, the radiation level outside the suit (which increases as you delve deeper into the alien stronghold), and the components which you have managed to collect.
To get the suit fully operational you must first collect four different articles: an implosion mine (used to destroy the alien stronghold), gravity displacers (anti-gravity boots which allow you to move the suit), a particle negator (a shield which protects Tat from the very high radiation levels in the alien stronghold), and a pulsar beam (a laser used to dispose of any troublesome aliens).
Before the suit can be moved (and used), a gravity displacer must be fitted. This handy device can be found near to the location of the suit and picked up by pulling down on the joystick when Tal is standing over it. Unfortunately, the other three articles are situated in less accessible places.
Once Tal has fitted the gravity displacer into the suit he can move anywhere on the screen, as long as the landscape allows him to do so. Contact with any alien creature results in a loss of energy, and if the energy reaches zero, the suit ceases to function.
Recharge cells are dotted around the map and can be picked up and used to replenish lost energy, but they are few and far between and should be used sparingly.
A transporter unit is thoughtfully provided, so Tal can transport back to the suit if it is left in an inaccessible place.
Other problems come in the form of fire-breathing dragons which roast away the suit's energy, alien gun emplacements which constantly fire laser bolts across the screen, and invincible flying creatures which drop long metallic objects onto anything below. If you manage to avoid or destroy all these creatures and make your way to the very nerve centre of the alien's complex, you can plant and prime the implosion mine to destroy the alien complex, thus freeing your race from all alien oppression.
The Sacred Armour Of Antiriad is simply superb - there's no other word for it. Dan Malone's mini-comic is brilliant and the storyline is extremely well thought out. I wish Palace would produce a larger version of the comic with an expanded storyline, that would be great! The graphics are truly amazing with the Commodore's colours being used to their full to create the best backdrops I've ever seen. Just look at the statues and trees, for example - incredible! Tal himself is another classic, beautifully animated and extremely well drawn. The only disappointing thing about the graphics are some of the single colour sprites which look rather bland. Nevertheless, they're well animated.
The sound is great too, with a very atmospheric, film-like soundtrack on the title screen and some good spot effects during the game. The game itself is a collect-'em-up requiring quick reflexes and dexterity, rather than the old grey matter, to solve any problems. There are quite a few locations, and a map is just about essential if you are to complete the game. If you're after a really slick and polished arcade adventure, then look no further than this - it's about the best around.
On playing Antiriad for the first time, I instantly fell in love with the graphics. Here they seem more of an art form than simple set decoration for a game, and very atmospheric they are too. Palace really impress me with their style, which is distinctive but not repetitive in the least.
Antiriad seems to be the Cauldron concept of puzzles taken a few steps further to produce an excellent game - great fun to play and satisfying to solve. Simply brilliant!
Antiriad is initially great fun to play, there's no doubt about that. It's a very professional program (which is to be expected coming from Palace) with excellent presentation, and the graphics and sound are of a very high quality indeed (the stonework is beautiful and I just love the expressions of the faces on the trees). But I'm not so sure about its lasting appeal.
Antiriad is a lot easier to play than Cauldron or Cauldron II, but I felt it lacked that certain 'something' to make me want to keep playing. Still, if platforms and mapping are your 'thing', you will definitely find Antiriad worth your while.
Unusual, but effective instructions. Excellent title screen and in-game layout.
Incredible use of colour to create stunning backdrops. Superb multicolour sprites, but not enough of them.
A memorable tune sets the atmosphere and the spot effects keep it going throughout the game.
Instantly playable and addictive.
Completing the game is a hefty task, but an enjoyable one nevertheless.
Value For Money 93%
Slick programs at this price are few and far between.
Another classy arcade adventure from Palace.