Originally a highly-rated game for the Spectrum, Fairlight has now been converted to the C64 and Amstrad. It is an arcade adventure featuring some highly detailed graphics and a plot that, unlike most of its rivals, evokes considerable atmosphere.
The land has fallen into a state of terrible ruin over the centuries. Only Castle Avars still stands, although no-one in living memory could remember gaining entrance to it. All this was far from the mind of our hero Isvar though as he entered Ogris's Wood. Things soon change as you meet Ogri and get taken inside the castle. There, it is explained to you, you must discover the Book of Light which will enable magic to return to the land... and, more importantly, allow you to escape.
The game creates the atmosphere of the castle very well with rooms full of furniture and walls adorned with coats of arms and torches. You quickly discover that the laws of physics have been built into Fairlight. If you push a chair, it moves faster and further than if you push a table and, although you have five pockets to carry things in, this may not be the case if you decide to pick up heavy or bulky things. There are nice touches that add considerably to the game's playability.
Controlling your character takes some getting used to for apart from moving; there are pick up, drop, use, fight and jump commands to be mastered. Fight is needed as there are several guards and trolls who are intent on stopping you as well as some vicious monks. The first part of your quest involves finding a crown that is hidden on top of a door somewhere so you must wander round picking up suitable objects which can then be dropped in the appropriate place so that you can climb up your improvised staircase and get the crown. You are warned that a lot of items have uses and are not what they may seem to be at first. It is also important to keep a look out for food as this will help to restore your flagging energy.
Fairlight is definitely a superior arcade adventure and one that will keep you puzzling for a long time. One final bit of good news is that a sequel - Fairlight II - is already being planned and having had my appetite whetted with this excellent game, I can't wait.