Commodore User


Author: Daniel Gilbert
Publisher: The Edge
Machine: Commodore 64/128

Published in Commodore User #32


Having spent an intensive week last January tackling The Edge's 'Wizardry'. I approached their latest offering, Fairlight (another 3D aardvark) with a fair mixture of curiosity, enthusiasm and trepidation - would my eyes stand the strain?

The game is a direct conversion from the Spectrum, where the game enjoyed considerable success and attracted much praise for its stunning graphics and complex gameplay. At first glance you would be forgiven for thinking you were still playing it on the Speccy, as it uses a measly two colours and has that 'character graphics' look about it. The somewhat elaborate instructions tell you the plot: you are an unsuspecting hero tricked into searching for the Book of Light in the King's castle to free a wizard trapped there and save the world (Ho hum not again - yawn). This scenario is reminiscent of any average arcade adventure. The game, however, is somewhat different.

The adventurer, Isvar, your cloaked hero, starts in one of the castle courtyards and must try to find the Book of Light as his first priority. You can simply wander round the place exploring for quite some time before you actually start doing anything important, as the castle is quite large and you are not given much to go on.


Playing the game, several intricate aspects appear; in movement - walking upstairs is properly animated, step by step or in large bounds if you choose to jump up them; in structure - the castle is properly architectured so that, for instance, a small corridor is put in under a walkway just to maintain structural continuity (when properly mapped, this helps in finding secret door locations).

Isvar may carry up to five objects at a time, although weight and bulk may limit this: five keys may be carried simultaneously, but only one barrel or two stools. The selection and re-location of objects is a major component of the game, as some more important articles are placed in less convenient positions - in one room a crown has been put on top of a tall arch "How did that get there?!") and an elaborate stacking arrangement of stools, plants and egg-times (don't ask!) must be constructed and climbed before the offending item can be grabbed.

As you progress round the castle, you will have to fight your way out of one or two tight spots with your "trusty ol' short sword". Against guards and trolls, this is fairly painless, but you are ill-advised to tackle wraiths this way, as these nasties usually guard something pretty special and require abnormal methods of eradication ("wraithbusters")!


There are a couple of interesting little quirks in combat: 1. when guards are killed they turn into small, portable blobs which may then be carried elsewhere, safely out of your way, as otherwise they reappear whenever you re-enter the room. 2. when Trolls (one up from guards) are killed, an object must be placed at the exact spot of their demise, to prevent a similar reappearance.

Unless these tactics are employed, continual re-killing of creatures becomes quite tiring - and deadly - as you have only a finite strength.

Mysterious objects occur from time to time, often in suitably inaccessible places. "Egg-timers", used for freezing enemies, are particularly valuable, as are potions, bread, decanters and chicken, which all replenish your strength in the traditional adventure manner. As for the Book of Light, well... that'd be telling.


The first thing you notice when you start playing is the meticulous detail involved. The graphics are incredible - unbelievably accurate in minute detail, if limited in colour. Heads carved on walls, suits of armour, furniture, scrolls, books, all designed to add realism to the game, and are beautifully drawn. There's not a glych in sight.

Unfortunately, the next thing you're likely to notice is the slightly awkward controls. The keyboard would have benefitted from user-definement and, as a great deal of keyboard action is required in taking and using objects, joystick use in cooperation with keyboard is impractical unless two players join forces.

The sound is little more than average: "a jaunty little tune to keep your spirits up" (Well, maybe not!) with an option of footsteps or silence if you prefer.


My last moan about the game (sorry, but someone has to say it!) is the speed, or lack of it. This isn't really The Edge's fault - as the game already had to cope with large quantities of excellent graphics, many moving elements and 'intelligent' monsters, it had to lose out somewhere - and that was in speed of operation.

The game is fine until there are four or more moving things on screen - then it's swimming-through-treacle time.

For all its faults, Fairlight is still extremely playable. The adventurer is so absorbed in the action that the problems pass virtually unnoticed. I think you'll be busy trying to crack this one for some time yet - provided you don't cheat by asking your Spectrum-owning friends for the answers!

Daniel Gilbert

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