Personal Compuer Games

Black Knight

Author: Chris Anderson
Publisher: Simulated Interdisc
Machine: Commodore 64

Published in Personal Computer Games #13

Black Knight

This month marks a new phase in the development of computer games: large scale animation. The detailed movement of the Black Knight has to be seen to be believed.

This character stands about a quarter of the screen in height and is made up of no less than nine different sprites. Each of the different movements he's capable of involves him moving through a number of 'frames' - the effect is stunning!

The actual game, I can't make up my mind about. Taking the role of the knight, you have to run a very challenging obstacle course across a series of 20 or more screens.

Black Knight

First, mounted on a brilliantly-animated horse, you gallop across a scrolling landscape. Gaping pits and chasms appear in your path which you must leap. At the same time, meteorites descend from the skies and must be avoided. You can speed up, slow down or jump.

In the next stage, you dismount and continue on foot. This time the terrain has become decidedly unstable, and you have only a few moments in each screen before the earth gives way under your feet. You also encounter a snake, whose head you must hack off with your sword (very satisfying), and a crocodile which you must use as a stepping stone.

Later hazards include a kind of lift from which you must leap at exactly the right second, a waterfall and a maze.

Black Knight

The last challenge is a sword fight with a hideous-looking goblin, dead hard to beat, even on the easy level.

The problem is your control of the character is limited to relatively few moments of decisive joystick movement. Timing is horribly crucial. One thing is for sure. This game takes computer graphics a long way.

Peter Connor

This was a great disappointment after the initial excitement of seeing the marvellously animated hero - after you're marvelled, what can you do?

Black Knight

Not a lot really. You canter along on your horse, shoving the joystick to jump and finding it not very responsive. It's not very responsive anywhere else either, and this left me feeling pretty frustrated throughout the game.

There just isn't enough to do to retain your interest.

While the animation of the Black Knight himself is impressive, the rest of the graphics are exceptionally dull. The game points the way to an exciting future, but it didn't thrill me in the here-and-now.

Bob Wade

I sat stunned as the animation rolled by in true Dragon's Lair style and managed a hoarse 'wow' in answer to the question "well, what do you think of it?"

Playing the game, though, has the same problems and only the occasional top of the joystick to keep you interested.

Despite this, I found it addictive. Undoubtedly, this is a real mould-breaker but one which will need to be improved upon.

Chris Anderson

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