Ian Wright
1986
Arcade: Adventure
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Firebird BleepLoad

50,51
Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

King Harold, my father, is heartless. Being cruel he terrorises his people into submission. Being completely nice. I'm incarcerated by my father in his keep.

This is obviously a budget game.

King's Keep could have been just another inferior Spellbound rip off. It has lots of rooms, objects to pick up, little menus that come down giving options and you jump around a lot. First impressions - very average graphics of the usual graphic adventure objects - were not favourable.

But then I tried to play it.

I haven't found a game quite as difficult to play as King's Keep in many, many moons.

The whole point of the game turns out to be not so much collect the objects and find out what to do with them as 'how on earth do I manage to jump, change direction in mid-air and successful land on a suspended platform without overshooting'.

The first screen nearly had me weeping - my hands ached from gripping the joystick, I couldn't see how you could get out but, in the tradition of such things there was just one way - it involves simultaneously jumping and then a fraction later completely changing direction...

King's Keep will test your jump technique to the limit but it's also a menu-driven 'use the objects' game.

If you make it past the first two screens you'll start to find objects and meet curious people. Using the Talk option on the menu will make the character reveal some sort of information - an object they'd like or whatever. Some key areas are marked F for forbidden and crossing their threshold means instant death - unless you have the right object in your possession. All the backgrounds are plain - bricks or craggy bits mostly, objects are simple looking though there are some nice plants here and there... No prizes for graphics though.

If you regard King's Keep as the ultimate jumping challenge you'll love it.

One of the best budget titles from Firebird for a long time but definitely not for novices!

Label: Firebird
Author: Ian Wright
Price: £1.99
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

*****

Visually unexciting but fiendishly difficult mixture of Manic Miner and Spellbound. Really devious - a real challenge.

5/5