Ocean Software Ltd
1986
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

116,117
Chris Bourne

It's here at last! Knight Rider has finally been released by OCEAN. Michael, his co-ordinator Deven and the super car Kitt are once again on the trail of baddies. At their Atlanta HQ the duo receive a message from Deven, informing them that a bunch of terrorists are up to no good - Deven also hints that the terrorists may have designs on world domination...

Michael and Kitt set off on a perilous mission to try and stop those darn terrorists from starting World War Three. The only trouble is, nobody actually knows where all this terrorist activity is taking place, so Kitt and Michael have to drive like mad things all over America at insane speeds, collecting clues before the time limit on the mission runs out.

At the beginning of the game you are presented with a map of the United States and a menu of cities which can be visited. Kitt passes on a message from Deven suggesting a city in which there is terrorist activity. Now it's up to you and Kitt to zoom down to that partitular city as fast as possible to see what's going on. Kitt is a pretty unusual car and unstoppable. Once on the road, enemy helicopters rise up from the horizon trying to inflict serious damage. A meter on Kitt's dashboard clocks up the damage and when the level gets too high you have to get Kitt repaired at the next town which is rather time consuming.

Mike can drive with Kitt firing the lasers, or Kitt can drive (more slowly) and let Mike do the shooting. A digital speedometer reveals the rate of travel, and another milometer ticks down as the destination city gets closer. Lasers, of course, overheat and too much shooting leaves the car defenceless while the lasers cool.

On arrival in a city the view automatically changes. Mike enters a building patrolled by guards. The action is viewed from above, and as Mike never carries a gun, he must avoid the enemy by sheer skill and some speedy footwork as he picks a route to the other side of the maze. Contact with a guard sends Mike back to the beginning of the current location - very time consuming. New orders scroll across the bottom of the screen once a maze has been negotiated and it's off to the next city, on the trail of those power-crazed terrorists.

The opening menu allows you to select a plot to the game, or the scenario can be allocated at random. A time limit, monitored by a clock on Kitt's instrument panel, is set and the mission fails if the time expires before all the locations have been visited and maze problems solved. Then it's back to Atlanta, and time to start yet another mission to save the world.

CRITICISM

'Well, I wonder how many people will be disappointed with Knight Rider after waiting over a year. I didn't really expect that much from this game, as American-all-action-TV-series games are normally pretty dire. This one was a shock! The graphics are appalling on the driving screen - the road jerks from side to side badly and the characters are poorly defined, but the graphics are quite nice on the other screens. The bird's eye view works, and the characters are animated well. The sound is fairly good with a nice tune on the title screen and a few good spot effects. Overall though, there's not much game when it comes to actually playing it.'

'I felt that Knight Rider was very shallow in content Graphically, the game starts off very promisingly with a superb loading screen but my hopes were soon dashed when I jumped into Kitt and found that driving through the States was like driving over the sea on a sandy road! I found the game extremely easy to play, and soon felt I had played all there was. The four plots are very easy to solve and most people would only spend a few days playing the game through. No doubt the Knight Rider name will ensure this game gets to Number One in a few charts very soon! I still wouldn't buy it...'

'If you're more into enjoying the games that you buy, Knight Rider is one game that should be avoided. Really, after the amount of time spent developing this I'd have thought OCEAN could have done a lot better. Gameplay is very simplistic, and quickly gets tedious - there's no real impetus to keep playing once you've gone through a few driving and maze sequences and some of the graphics are just not up to scratch. Don't buy it.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: W up, S down, N left, M right, Q fire, P pause, CAPS SHIFT and SYM SHIFT quit and restart
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: a bit plain, but no clashes
Graphics: dodgy on the driving screen, okay on the mazes and map
Sound: neat tune, adequate spot effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: map screen, scrolling road and maze section
General Rating: After the interminably long wait, a major disappointment - simplistic gameplay and nothing special on offer.

56%
60%
44%
58%
39%
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39%

Screenshot Text

Zooming along the yellow brick road to the next city with Kitt looking after the lasers and Mike in the driving seat pulling 240 mph. Blow the choppers out of the sky...