Crash1st July 1987
Published in Crash #42
While the Magic Knight is using a time machine without a valid guarantee which he acquired in Knight Tyme, his bad alter ego - the Off White Knight, or Stormbringer - splits from him. And to return to normality the Magic Knight must merge again with his other half...
In this flick-screen adventure-style game the Magic Knight moves through 56 locations in a world peopled by the hindering or helpful characters of Aramis, Robin, Reggie, Rachel, Barker, Organon and Grunter. Their characteristics and abilities - magic and strength levels, happiness and skills - can be called up to help the Magic Knight on his way.
Old MK can also keep himself going by taking a drink or acquiring beneficial objects. He's a multitalented knight - he can pick up, drop, take, give, read, smell, drink and throw the objects he finds on his travels, and carry up to five at a time.
These include an advert, gadget X, a bottle of liquid, silver and golden eggs, and disguises. Each object can be examined, with an onscreen display giving an item's weight, readability, wearability or blowability - but the Magic Knight loses them once he's used them.
He can also cast spells to melt granite, or to allow him to travel quickly to other characters. And to get past hostile creatures he can don a disguise - from wizard to chambermaid - and command another character to sleep, go away, or be happy.
But be warned - not all these commands are obeyed, and sometimes this fighting man doesn't have the spell-power or wisdom to achieve what he wants.
And should our do-gooding hero run out of strength, or be hit by too many lightning bolts hurled down by Stormbringer (Concealed in a cloud above), it's good night, good Knight.
This is Magic Knight's fourth adventure; he first appeared in Finders Keepers (Crash Issue 13) and went on to earn CRASH Smashes for Spellbound (Issue 24) and Knight Tyme (the first ever 128 Smash - Issue 29).
Control keys: Definable, or preset: A for up/Jump, N/M left/right, SPACE to fire
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2, Cursor
Use of colour: As bright and jolly as ever
Graphics: Great visual imagination in the characters, and special treat for 128 owners - 'disguise' function allows you to alter the Magic Knight graphics
Sound: Good spot FX, great background tune by David Whittaker on 128
Skill levels: One
Screens: 56 locations (48K), 64 locations (128K)
What a great game this is! Nearly all the features of the previous "Spellbound" games are here, including window vision. The graphics are up to David Jones's usual high standard, with Magic Knight sproinging round the screen in search of fame, fortune, the odd damsel or two and the Off White Knight. It's quite hard to get into, but it becomes easier after you've done a bit of exploring.
Naturally enough, Stormbringer is in the same vein as Spellbound and Knight Tyme. The graphics are up to the same high standard, but with little animation. The game itself is fiendishly difficult to get into, especially if (like me) you're new to the whole Magic Knight series. It has arcade elements in the sense that sometimes you have to react quickly (like when the cloud starts zapping you). The main theme of Stormbringer, though, is that of an arcade adventure. The problems require you to move between screens collecting objects and interacting with other characters; it's highly recommended to play Stormbringer with friends to help you solve the problems! It'd be worth buying even as a full-price game - my only reservation is that Stormbringer is a bit too similar to Spellbound and Knight Tyme.
Stormbringer, like the other games in the Magic Knight series, has well-defined graphics; the backgrounds are the best I've seen on the Spectrum for quite some time. But the old colour clash problem is still with the backgrounds changing to white as you go past them. There are some neat touches - like clouds throwing lightning out as you walk beneath them. Unfortunately, there's no tune on the title screen and just the old beeps and blips while going through the menus. This game will only appeal to the arcade-adventure freaks who like David Jones's style of programming; for them It'll be well worth the money.