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Stephen J. Crow
Arcade: Adventure
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Gwyn Hughes
Chris Bourne

Ultimate has a lot to answer for. By being so good, its programs spawned a whole new genre... Imitate - Plagiarise the Game. Firelord isn't a 3D clone, thank Knight Lore, but goes back further to the savage days of Sabre Wulf.

For those without long memories, that means that it's a multi-screen maze game. Very 'multi', with 500 plus screens, a host of meanies and lots to pick up in your perambulations. And the one thing that makes this deja-play tolerable is that it's written by Steve Crow, who seems to have a knack when it comes to imitating the Ashby crew.

Plot-wise, Firelord sets Sir Galaheart on a mission to seek out the sacred Firestone (though why he should want a holy car tyre I have no idea) and return it to the dragon. This means he'd better get a move on and though he's already got his drag on, he needs a weapon, which he'll find lying around the medieval highways and by-ways.

Life in the Middle Ages was nasty, brutish and short (rather like the Ed) but at least it was pretty too, and as you wander the country lanes, or stroll into town, you'll benefit from some attractive scenery.

But the hottest thing about Firelord is its trading element. You can walk into some houses and sit down for a bit of bartering with the occupant. Of course they may not want to sell their magic supplies or information for the hall eaten ham sarnie that you're offering, but you can always try a tittle light fingered theft ...

Life in medieval Britain obviously progressed at a more gentle pace, and though I quite enjoyed this, my feelings are that it's pleasant rather than powerhouse. It has an olde worlde charm that could soon wear off, unless you're really into the game type. In that case, it's got some novel twists, but personally I'd have preferred something rather more original from Hewson.