Amstrad Action1st January 1987
Published in Amstrad Action #16
Firelord is the latest game from Stephen Crow, whose past games include Starquake and Wizard's Lair (Amstrad conversion by Keith Prosser). It's another arcade adventure that follows the pattern of Crow's previous games: large, pretty and full of fast action.
The game takes place in the land of Torot, which extends over 500 screens. It's peopled by ghostly characters who wander the streets. The human inhabitants hide in their houses, which you can enter to trade with them.
You control a knight who looks and walks like Sabreman from Knight Lore. Don't worry, though, because that's the only similarity between the two games.
Your task is to find four charms. With them you can persuade the evil queen to part with the Firestone, which she has used to curse the land. The charms are in the possession of four characters, so first you have to find out where they are and then how to get hold of them. To start with you'll have plenty on your hands just staying alive.
Torot has four types of scenery: town, village, quarry and forest. In all sections you'll find plenty of danger. Nearly every screen has ghosts that materialise and drain your energy if they touch you. You can shoot them if you've found an enchanted crystal. Watch the bar gauges for both energy and shooting power: if they rim out you lose a life or shooting ability.
There are more sinister dangers that can take several shots to destroy; a particularly nasty thing steals your crystal and leaves you defenceless. And there are sta-tic obstacles: flames which kill on contact and ice flames, which can be defrosted to clear the way. There are ways to destroy or get around all the obstacles - you just have to work out how.
As you explore you find houses with open doors that you can enter. The screen changes to a trading screen, where you can remain as long as you have trading power. This is indicated by another gauge; if it runs out you get thrown out. While inside a house you can trade an object you're carrying for something the occupier has, such as information, directions, supplies or magic objects.
Trading is extremely important in staying alive and getting around the game. With the right objects, you can even teleport. You can cheat some characters out of their possessions but you'll have to be very fast. A successful trader can make the game a lot easier: a bad trader has little hope of victory.
The graphics are detailed and fast-moving but not particularly colourful, while the sound consists mostly of little explosions. The strategy and adventure elements have been nicely mixed with the shooting and exploration to provide a tough challenge, but one which is easy to get into. This can only enhance Steve Crow and Hewson's growing reputation.
First Day Target Score
Green Screen View
All is visible.
P. Over 500 detailed locations.
P. Rapid action with shooting and exploring.
P. Trading introduces good element of strategy and adventure.
P. A tough challenge but easy to get started with.
P. Nice features like stealing objects and ice flames.
N. Use of colour isn't that good.