Titus
Not Known
1990
Arcade: Solo beat-em-up
£9.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

54,55
Chris Jenkins
Chris Bourne

Try not to let your spirits drop too much when you hear the plot of this one; brave knight must travel through dangerous lands in search of the four pieces of a mystic amulet which will allow him to defeat the evil sorceror who holds captive the king's beautiful daughter... yuuuch! The plot may be the most unoriginal in the world, but fortunately this isn't yet another arcade adventure. Instead it's yet another martial arts game...

Your task is to aid time-travelling superknight Fair Storm (who obviously needs all the help he can get, with a nancy boy name like that). Starting from the mystical dolmens of Splarg, he has to travel through time and space and hack into submission four loads of baddies; Cro-Magnon men in prehistory, gang thugs in modern-day New York, futuristic robots, er, in the future, and mystical weeblies in some magical dimension.

The backgrounds and characters look fabulous; the characters are big, gorgeously detailed and fairly smoothly animated. Unfortunately they do tend to merge into the monochrome backgrounds when they're not moving, as you can see from the screenshots. As for the rest of the display, you have the obligatory power meters for yourself and the baddies (all of whom must be put to the sword before you get to load the next level), and indicators for the number of amulet pieces collected and the time remaining.

Now, the testing point of any martial arts game is whether the fighting movements available are exciting and useful. In Knight Force, they ain't. Apart from the non-combative moves (walk, duck, jump) all you get is Downward Thrust (Left/right), Side Thrust (left/right) and Up Thrust. The side thrust is to take out flying objects such as robot springs, the up thrust skewers passing reptile-birds, and the down-thrust - well, I don't know. It didn't seem any use at all to me, but then nothing seemed to work against the killer robots in the futuristic level, so I never got past them. In any case, one poke of your mighty weapon seems to dispatch most of the flying baddies, so it isn't so much a combat game, more a pig-sticking exercise.

I'm sure there's a good game in here somewhere... perhaps it's tucked away in a dark corner of the box. But it just won't come out to play.

Label: Titus
Price: £8.95
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Adventure plot, martial arts action, not much cop.

73%
69%
56%
55%
59%

Screenshot Text

Prepare to combat the dreaded "Z" shapes from beyond time. Keep your sword up or you'll end up like the lad atop the pole.