Arcade: Adventure
ZX Spectrum 48K

Will Brooker
Chris Bourne

91% Issue 21

Nightshade just scraped into the Smash bracket, and the autumn 1985 release is now generally considered to have marked the beginning of the end for the former masters of Spectrum software at Ultimate.

The gameplay's similar to Atic Atac's: wandering around the playing area (in this case a medieval town) destroying materialising nasties and collecting 'super antibodies' to kill off the four major villains. But the real star of Nightshade is the Filmation 2 technique, which scrolls the highly-detailed buildings about and lets you effectively see through the walls in a cut-away view whenever you pass behind them.

It's become a cliche that 'the trouble with Ultimate's games is that they have great graphics but no game bolted on', but in this case it's undeniably true. Though the pseudomedieval atmosphere is strong and the characters are well-animated, Nightshade is extremely boring. It eventually boils down to searching in vain for the major villains, just for the dubious thrill of getting killed by them instead of by lesser monsters for a change.