Tir Na Nog (Gargoyle) Review | Personal Computer Games - Everygamegoing

Personal Compuer Games

Tir Na Nog
By Gargoyle Games
Spectrum 48K

Published in Personal Computer Games #14

Tir Na Nog

Any game with a hero called Cuchulainn has got to be different, and Tir Na Nog is certainly that. It's a 'vast interactive adventure, set in the magical landscapes of Celtic mythology' and the only games I can think of that even faintly resemble it are The Lords of Midnight and Valhalla.

Where Tir Na Nog is superior to both of these is in the animation. Cuchulainn is the most smoothly animated figure I've ever seen on a micro. He looks a bit like an old-time hippy as he bounces along, bare-chested with his long hair waving behind him.

But what's he up to? Well, Tir Na Nog is the Celtic Other World, into which Cuchu descends after his own demise in order to find and reassemble the fragments of the Seal of Calum. This is partly because the Seal is needed to prevent great evil etc, etc, and partly because Cuchu wants to make up for the slight mistake he made when he killed his son.

Cuchu has to travel through a huge and impressively created landscape, which scrolls past him at different speeds in the middle-distance and the background. The player watches Cuchu through a camera which can be pointed in any of four directions. Although the hero can only move left or right on screen, changing the view enables him to move in other directions.

Emerging from the Altar Room at the Entrance to Tir Na Nog, Cuchu is faced by three doors. Often, before he can even get his mitts on a handle, he is confronted by a Sidhe. These are malevolent creatures which pop up all over the place. They too are beautifully animated and are somewhat daunting in appearance - hairy, ape-like things. Although they can be killed, the wisest course seems to be to run away from them.

Cuchu's main goal involves him in many subsidiary quests, such as getting information out of stubborn creatures. Scattered throughout the land are various objects, certain combinations of which will do the trick in certain situations. Only trial and error will reveal to the player which ones are successful.

The immediate difficulty in playing Tir Na Nog is the size and complexity of the game. Mapping is essential or you could end up wandering for hours through the Plain of Lies, with only the odd Sidhe for company.

Tir Na Nog's originality and complexity are sure to make it popular with players who like a lengthy intellectual challenge. If you just like a quick zap, stay away.

Steve Cooke

Quite a game, this. I found the animation pretty mind-blowing, and reckon that there's material here to keep me playing for many a long, dark winter's night.

I found it difficult to get my bearings to start with - the different 'camera angles' are rather confusing when you first play. This was a particular disadvantage when I was being chased by a Sidhe and came to a road-junction - all too often I got 'killed' while trying to turn in a different direction.

It's certainly not a simple game to get the most out of. Perhaps it's almost too complex - making a map is essential, of course, but the instructions also mention something about visiting my local library to gather important information. I'm not sure how many days of the week would see me willing to put that sort of effort into a game, but perhaps others will feel differently.

Despite these reservations, this is definitely a game I shall keep coming back to.

Bob Wade

Definitely the best animation yet on the Spectrum and the complexity and playability have not been sacrificed to achieve it.

The way you lumber about on your travels is tremendous and the adventure element is there in full as you explore in search of objects and your goal.

Gargoyle have also managed to capture the atmosphere that the plot and setting of the game demand, but I wish I knew the language.

This is perhaps the first *true* adventure movie which will doubtless spawn many similar games.

Peter Connor