Isvar grows up to face bigger problems, in the 128K version of a Spectrum classic. No other game I know quite so convincingly creates a world within a microchip... and if you think that your usually flippant reviewer sounds serious it's because this really is an all time fave!
Isvar's back and 'is rambles round the environs of Castle Avars now 'ave a more musical note. One of the few failings in 48K, induced by a shortage of memory, has been corrected as a few tasteful tunes are added to his peregrinations.
Music is the most obvious addition to this expanded first episode of the epic. The plot remains identical though, so you wander round the wonderfully well-realised castle in your quest for the Book of Light, mislaid by some clumsy wizard, thusly (as they say in the sagas) sinking the land into everlasting gloom. Something akin to an English summer?
If you're hard pressed to find the mystic tome, and so save a mammoth library fine, the other additions are even more elusive. The Edge swears on a mystical runic sword that there are new monsters and at least one extra secret passage which could well get you out of a sticky situation, but I couldn't find them.
Sure there's a skeleton rattling around at the start, but he's only there to advertise Fairlight II, and I was never menaced by this skinny specimen once I'd entered the adventure proper. By way of recompense there's a grisly death mask when Isvar bytes the dust or whatever it is that microscopic heroes do.
But why grumble? This is still a classic and I for one will be playing the expanded version from now on. Then again, I got my copy for free, and I doubt even I would fork out again for all that hey-nonny-no nonsense, however hum-able.
As is so often the case my advice is, a) if you don't already own this or you've worn the original out, go for the revised version but option b) is for all the rest of you... save your pennies for Fairlight II which is being designed with the bigger Spectrum in mind.