Tony Hetherington explores the incredible world of Knight Tyme.
Knight Tyme is the latest in Mastertronic's Added Dimension (M.A.D.) range of games, and it is the sequel to Spellbound which was featured in depth in the February transmission of Computer Gamer magazine.
It is also one of the first games to be especially written for the 128K Spectrum. A 48K version will be available in a cut down version.
The story begins just after the end of Spellbound where our hero, the Magic Knight, has just saved Gimbal the Wizard. Instead of receiving his just reward, he is cast forward in time where he arrives as a stowaway on the USS Pisces on a peaceful trading mission in the 25th century.
To complete the game, you must guide our hapless hero to a Tyme machine before the 'Paradox Police' track him down and neutralise him.
Knight Tyme uses the unique Windimation control system pioneered in Spellbound which features the combination of animated graphics controlled by commands selected from window menus.
The actual command options displayed depends on your location and the objects that you are carrying and wearing.
For example, if you are in the control room 'steer the ship' appears as an option in the main menu screen. Throughout the game, these options are controlled either by joystick or a user-defined keyboard.
Onboard the USS Pisces you will meet a variety of characters and objects as puzzling as the problems you will have to solve.
Your mission seems simple - you are on a fully crewed and equipped ship and all you have to do is travel to sector two and find a tyme machine. However, as you start the game, sector two seems light years away. You find yourself on a strange ship where everyone ignores you. Eventually, you remember to remove your invisibility cloak and you make some progress!
The ships' transporter, Derby IV provides some help and you're supplied with a blank ID card which when supplied with a picture will help you control, what is nicely described as 'the non-electronic' element of the crew.
Soon you will be able to steer the ship around the planets in your new-found galaxy but until you discover a way to mend the ship's transporter you will be stuck until you run out of 'McTablet' food and die.
At the moment the transporter splits your atoms only to re-assemble them in mid-space in the shape of a buttery which is described as a pretty way to die.
This is typical of the humour that is consistent throughout the game. Some of the characters on the ship include Thule who is a fool, Murphy who likes potatoes and Borrin who is even more dull when he is asleep.
Planets that you can visit include such exotic places as Serendip, Aridia and Pern as well as Revenue which is the home of the central taxation office.
Throughout the game you will find objects of many sizes, shapes and uses. Some will be vital to your survival, if only you could discover how to use them, others will be pointless and some complete red herrings.
A particular favourite of mine is the one described as the 'three credit plastinote, which can be further examined by reading. It is in fact a note crediting the three people involved with the game. David Jones for the game design and programming, David Whittaker for the graphics and the now compulsory Rob Hubbard for the music.
The most annoying object is without doubt the pot of glue which, when examined further, is described as very sticky stuff. Unfortunately, when you pick it up it sticks to your hand restricting the number of objects you can carry to only four. Yes, I know it's obvious, but why do I still pick it up?!
Knight Tyme is the third of Mastertronic M.A.D. range of games to be featured in Computer Gamer.
Knight Tyme continues the incredible quality that has become a trademark of this range and is a worthy follow-up to the exceptional Spellbound.
Incredible though it may seem, the M.A.D. games are still only £2.99, even in the expanded 128K version. Congratulations to David Jones and Mastertronic, and I for one can't wait for the third in this series, Stormbringer.