The spirit of that evil monk, Rasputin, is back. Not content with terrorising Russians and Catherine the Great, not entirely happy with being the subject of a Bony M song, Rasputin now appears in a computer game. Drawing power from the Jewel of the Seven Planets and protected by eight spells which have been cast in his name, Rasputin is threatening to cross the barriers of time and do all sorts of unpleasant and nameless nasty things. It's up to you to intervene.
The playing area is a multi-roomed castle hovering in space/time, a nether world inhabited by evil creatures which sap your life force on contact. Some, like the guards which patrol doorways, seem relatively unconcerned by your arrival in their little section of the universe, while other nasties home in on the figure of your crusading knight and do their best to wipe him out.
The quest begins in a hallway from which the other locations which make up the Seven Planets may be accessed. Your Crusader is equipped with a magic shield and a magic sword, both efficacious when it comes to dealing with the denizens of doom but their power is limited. Each time you use the magic weapons their power diminishes a little and the candle on the status screen used to indicate the power remaining in your weapons grows a little shorter. Contact with the nasties reduces your limited life force, as displayed by a horizontal bar on the status screen. When you run out of energy the game ends, and it's back to the courtyard of your dark side (where the game begins according to the instructions).
The action is shown in a 3D viewscreen which takes up three quarters of the display area, and the graphic style resembles that used in Alien 8 and Fairlight. The Crusader's movements are also similarly controlled: he can spin round on the spot, walk and jump. First you select one of the eight directions available, turn your hero and then walk forwards. The M key raises the shield to stave off attack, while M and P together brings the sword into play. A little care is needed, as the P key on its own causes your hero to leap in the direction he's facing make sure you don't jump at the enemy instead of poking it with a sword!
Since the courtyard of your darkside is a pretty strange place, it's not surprising that the scenery is strange. Most of the screens are made up from stone blocks suspended in infinity. Falling off a walkway due to carelessness sends you tumbling down to land on a cloud. Your hero is returned to the start of the room he fell from, but loses some energy in making the trip.
Travelling between screens is achieved by jumping onto one of the teleport blocks which causes another room to flick into view. The overall aim of the game is to collect the eight spell runes which have been inscribed on blocks of stone scattered in the playing area. Spells play a very important part in the game on entering a room the spell it contains can be released by leaping on all the special blocks. Once this has been done a monster materialises kill the monster and you gain the spell.
Most of the spells are regenerative, topping up your energy or weapon status, but Eyes of Heaven spells are very important indeed. Each of the eight runic spells you have to collect is protected by an evil eye control- led by Rasputin's spirit. When you collect an Eye of Heaven spell one of the four Spell Harmony Indicators in the status panel indicates the colour of the room in which your Eye of Heaven Spell is active. On entering a room of the appropriate colour, the eye it contains is deactivated and you can collect the rune it defends.
Once all eight runes have been collected your Crusader will be able to collect the Jewel of the Seven Planets and put an end to Rasputin's evil plans for ever. Rah Rah Rasputin.