Amstrad Computer User1st September 1986
Published in Amstrad Computer User #22
Twang, whoosh, aaaaggh! Clunk, honk, crash, tinkle tinkle. Hark, is that the sound of a knight being catapulted through time? If, like me, you missed Spellbound, a previous Mastertronic game, you'll be wondering who Gimbal the Wizard is. why he suffered from a self inflicted White Out Spell and how releasing him from it caused a character called Magic Knight to be catapulted through time. If you have played Spellbound you probably understand every word of this and are currently jumping up and down with glee in W.H. Smiths.
Let's get this straight so that there's no misunderstanding. A medieval knight with magical powers is catapulted through time into the future. He lands, with a bump and a crash on the starship USS Pisces. There he is met by a cute little droid by the name of Klink who says: "Hi! I've been expecting you. Here take this." And gives him a data cube that provides all the relevant information for the 25th Century, thereby preventing him from becoming culture shocked.
The game uses a system called Windimation, which sounds rather unpleasant but actually means window animation. This is a menu system where pressing the fire button on the joystick brings up a multicoloured list of options. You select the required command using up and down on the joystick or the relevant keys on the keyboard. The options that you have, allow you to pick up and drop objects, manipulate them in various ways and do various other things in the game.
When not selecting from the menus, the joystick moves Magic Knight left and right and allows him to jump. Exploring the ship, MK starts in the transporter room, be careful with this as it doesn't seem to work.
These characters are friendly, although sometimes uncooperative. You may give them objects and take them away, but sometimes they won't be willing to accept them or part with them. You may also command your friends, with varying degrees of success, to sleep, wake or help. MK has a number of spells which can be used at different times to fortify his own strength or fortify other characters.
This helps keep them awake and MK alive, as running out of strength is a fatal event. The first problem is how to get all the crew members to accept your commands. By careful examination of all the objects you can find around the ship, plus the objects that you can snatch away from the crew and by getting all the available help you can, you should be able to sort it out.
It is useful to know that you can wear some objects and read others. Other objects have more direct uses and some seem to be complete red herrings. Once solved, the next problem is to move the ship and get off it to find the Tyme Guardians who can help MK return to his own time.
Initially I was unimpressed with Knight Tyme, as it seemed slow and full of unnecessary menus. Now I know that the menus are for concealing the puzzles in.
Watch out for the unexpected additional option, the easily overlooked extra item in the list which looks unexciting or not useful. This is where you find the answers to a witty and absorbing adventure game.
As a hybrid of the old text adventure game, there's a lot of the feel of a text adventure in it. However Knight Tyme has very good graphics, smoothly animated in places. There are some very amusing bits which I won't spoil for you because I recommend you buy it, At Mastertronics' price the game is excellent value for money.
Spellbound was one of the games which proved that budget and crud are not necessarly synonymous. The follow up is every bit as good, it has its own humour and the new setting breathes life into what could easily have become a tired plot. You don't have to have played Spellbound but it helps.
Some of the logic is so clever it is funny - of course no one can hear you talk when you don the gas mask. The glue is sticky, so you can't put it down. The music is very good but starts to drone after a while, the Mode 1 graphics precise yet cute. A very enjoyable game.
The more cosmopolitan among you will have heard of a computer called the Spectrum 128, and Knight Tyme hails from that somewhat deserted machine.
If you think that it's slightly fishy that a knight in shining armour should be hurtling through deep space then you'll be intrigued by the perverse logic that permeates this wonderful whimsy. And if you enjoy a puzzle, appreciate a little humour and can spot all the references hidden in this well written, menu driven, smooth-as-silk game (the Tower fish has a noble history) then get this one. It will be money well spent. But why is there a pot plant in the air lock?