Escape From Singe's Castle

Publisher: Encore
Machine: Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #64

Escape From Singe's Castle

This sequel to Dragon's Lair earned a Sizzler back in Issue 22. The gameplay is an improvement over its predecessor's though completely different from the recent 16-bit version. Here, Dirk begins by canoeing down an underground river, avoiding rocks by choosing the correct route, shown by arrows. After four screens of river, Dirk must get through three screens of moving whirlpools - here he is completely under your control.

Both river and whirlpool sections must then be repeated before Dirk reaches Boulder Alley. In this 3D scrolling section, Dirk is chased down a tunnel Indiana Jones-style by a huge boulder. Smaller boulders roll from side to side, avoided by moving in and out of the screen, while holes in the floor must be jumped.

Subsequent levels include a throne room and doom dungeon full of hazards for Dirk to avoid - unfortunately, here you must use trial and error to find the solution - and a steaming pool containing mud monsters.

The graphics still look pretty good even now with lots of variety while sound is good with nine Rob Hubbard tunes. But what makes this so much better than Dragon's Lair is the vastly improved, less frustrating gameplay. Like the original, the game also uses an innovative multi-load whereby the next level is loaded in while you're playing the current one.

Though getting on a bit, with eight very different sections, Escape From Singe's Castle offers good variety for the budget price.