The Sacred Armour of Antiriad

by Chris Stangroom, Dan Malone, Richard Joseph, Andrew McGuinness
Palace Software
Crash Issue 35, Dec 1986   page(s) 18

Producer: Palace Software
Retail Price: £8.95
Author: Dan Malone

The place is Earth, the time is far future. There has been a terrible nuclear war which has utterly destroyed all vestiges of mankind's civilisation on Earth.

Into this primitive, defenceless world comes a race of invading aliens who want to plunder the Earth for its mineral wealth. Only one hope exists. Tal must penetrate the Alien stronghold and destroy their powersource deep within a strongly fortified volcano.

To do this, Tal must locate the Sacred Armour of the Antiriad. This is in fact a pre war battle suit. This enables Tal to survive the intense radiation within the volcano and the attacks of the mutant guardians who defend it.

In this arcade adventure, there are two distinct styles of play. When Tal is running around on his own, he can run, leap, and throw rocks. Any damage he sustains saps him of his endurance, and can eventually lead to the loss of one of his five reincarnations. Getting about is a question of leaping from ledge to ledge, all the time working out the best way to get various objects needed whilst avoiding the meanies.

Once Tal arrives at the suit carrying the gravity displacers, the controls then become slightly different. Here he is not only protected from the ravages of the meanies and the radiation in the volcano, the suit also actually cures Tal of any injuries sustained. He then floats around in the suit, using the usual joystick directional moves. Once our hero has found the Pulsar Beam, he can deal with the meanies pretty quickly.

Some meanies follow set paths, whilst others materialise, float aimlessly in space, and then suddenly make a beeline for Tal, so it is best to deal with these quickly. On some screens, Tal encounters an enemy alert robot. Unless he deals with this quickly, it summons a couple of meanies to the spot.

But moving around in the suit carries other problems. Contact with meanies depletes the suit's energy. Fortunately there are a few recharge cells scattered around the place with which the suit can be recharged. Also, some parts of the volcano contain impenetrable barriers through which the suit cannot pass.

If Tal wants to get into the suit, he simply moves over it and then turns to face the front of the screen, he is then 'res-ed in' to the armour. To get out of the armour, he stands the armour on a convenient ledge and then just moves left or right. If the suit's energy is depleted, it drifts down to the nearest ledge.

The status area at the bottom of the screen shows the score, the energy level of the suit and Tal's stamina level as horizontal bars. A meter measures radiation, which generally increases as Tal ventures deeper into the volcano. A small panel reveals how many of the four components of the suit have been collected, and a scrolling message window carries warnings and the occasional helpful hint.

The final object of the game is to get right to the top of the volcano and penetrate the enemy stronghold and set off the implosion mine.


Control keys: redefinable: up, down, left, right, fire
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: excellent
Graphics: just about the best we've seen
Sound: good title tune and a lot of jolly spot effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: 69

Antiriad is an absolutely lovely game. The graphics are superbly done, very colourful and detailed. The screen is very well laid out and gives the game a good atmosphere. The control panel is drawn extremely well, and despite the single colour format gives a good idea of 3D - the scanners it contains are very informative and easy to read. The movement of characters is very fast and smooth, despite them being nearly half the play area high. Antiriad contains fast and furious action combined with a small bit of adventure instinct. I found it a pleasure to play, but at £9.95 it is quite costly.

PALACE have only released a few games on the Spectrum and, while most of them have been very good, Antiriad is the best yet. The game is excellently presented, the scenario (in comic-book form) sets the scene very well and the attract mode is also first-class. Perhaps the playing area is a little on the small side... The graphics are the best that I've seen this month. The characters are minutely detailed and fantastically animated, and the backgrounds are very pretty. The sound is also very good with a tune on the title screen and lots of worthy effects during the game. I strongly recommend Antiriad, it is fun to play and very original.

It seems this month that I have done nothing but review arcade adventures. Antiriad really stands out. As far as instructions are concerned, the comic book is really well worth reading, but for me, the game's high point is the astounding animation of the main figure who stomps, leaps and throws the place about amazingly well. Colour is used to good effect, and the whole thing fits together in a way which makes it fun to play and nice to look at.

Use of Computer: 90%
Graphics: 94%
Playability: 88%
Getting Started: 87%
Addictive Qualities: 87%
Value for Money: 86%
Overall: 89%

Summary: General Rating: A pretty addition to any arcade adventure fan's collection.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 64, May 1989   page(s) 31


Centuries after a terrible nuclear war, the last inhabitants of Earth are in danger of being wiped out by aliens. But hope is at hand: The Council Of Elders have discovered a scroll describing the almost magical powers of an anti-rad suit developed to withstand nuclear weapons. A hero, you, must find the armour and take on the alien fiends.

The main character's animation is a little crude, and the reappearance of enemies as soon as you go off screen is irritating, but the background graphics are good and the quest to first activate your snazzy suit is compelling. Despite having a slightly dated feel the new low price means it's an attractive buy.

Then: 89% Now: 74%

Overall: 74%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 13, Jan 1987   page(s) 78,79


Post-holocaust frolics as you search for the Sacred Armour of Antiriad, an Anti-Rad combat suit (Antiriad... Anti-Rad... geddit?) which is the only salvation for your primitive race in its battle against the alien invaders.

But be warned. If you own a 128K Spectrum, your people are doomed from the start... the game won't work on the expanded machine. Palace should be sentenced to its own dungeons for such incompatibility!

Anyroad up, while 128-ies have to settle for reading the accompanying comic, which contains this singularly uncomic history, it's up to the rest of you to charge around the sort of landscape that would drive a geiger counter crazy, leaping and bounding and avoiding all the pests that seem to blight every Eden.

Yes, at heart Antiriad is another dodge and collect arcade adventure, but what makes it such an animated diversion is its animation. I don't think I've ever seen a figure run, jump and hurl rocks quite so smoothly or quite so athletically as Tal. I mean, if he'd like to come round to my place for a rub down some time, the big barbarian hunk, I wouldn't say no... knowworrimean?

All in all, a lot of care has been taken with Antiriad's graphics, because the landscape is beautifully designed too, from the twisted trees of the jungle, with their swinging sloths, to the mystical high tech temple with Its urns and rough stone floors.

Luckily it won't prove too hard to find the armour in there. Once you've stepped into it, the view screen at the bottom of the picture springs into life, providing all sorts of useful information. Now you need to strip off again and search for the optional extras that all the best-dressed warriors demand. There are gravity displacer boots, to give you that extra lift, and pulser beams, particle negators and implosion mines to combat combat fatigue. There's probably even a set of fluffy dice somewhere.

Like I said, the graphics are Antiriad's greatest strength. Ironically they're also the source of its weakness. Control of Tal is not all it could be, probably because of his size. Responses can be unpredictable. This is compounded by the fact that pressing fire while he's running makes him jump, but if it's used when he's still, he throws a stone. It's therefore impossible to jump unless you have a reasonable run up, which causes problems on some of the shorter ledges.

My only other grumble is about the drip that falls from the temple roof. You'd better dodge it because if you let just one drop touch you, you're dead. Fail and you don't have time to move before the next fatal splash, and so, however many reincarnations you have left, they just drain away as you lie there, unable to escape.

Still, if you've got the patience to discover the exact positions needed to make the more crucial leaps, Antiriad is rich in rewards for arcade adventurers. Just watch out... all that radiation could have you glowing in the dark!

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Graphics: 9/10
Playability: 7/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Addictiveness: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 40, Apr 1989   page(s) 66,67


Another trip to Lowprice Lane with the king of the skinflints, Marcus Berkmann!

Reviewer: Marcus Berkmann

Phew! Fortunately I missed. Now this one is a bit more like it, a slick little number from Palace which first saw the light of day back in Jan '87 - the same ish, in fact, in which Camelot Warriors was first reviewed. Antiriad, though, has dated rather better than CW, as can be seen by the still considerable number of letters I get on the game in the Clinic. It's a beautifully programmed game which superficially resembles Camelot Warriors - platforms and hunky sprites - but is far more challenging and entertaining.

At heart, it is of course just another arcade adventure, but it's beautifully animated - our Hero Tal runs, jumps and hurls rock more smoothly thatn Phil Snout - and, gor lumme, it's actaully got a plot. The armour is the key - get into that and you'll find it much easier to find your way about. You'll also need to find all those natty little optional extras that all the best dressed warriors demand - gravity displacer boots, to give you that Cookeen lift, and pulsar beams, particle negators and implosion mines, which are even more fun than they sound. Good fun, and the sort of game that keeps you going right until the end.

Overall: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 57, Dec 1986   page(s) 28,29

Label: Palace
Author: Chris Stangroom, Dan Malone
Price: £8.99
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

Sacred Armour of Antiriad is brilliant. It has all the elements necessary to make it a classic in the true sense of the word.

The graphics are stunning. The movement is super-smooth. The plot is semi-believable, and it's so easy to play.

Included in the package - as a bonus - is a rather splendid comic strip magazine telling the rather complicated storyline in an exciting way.

To cut a long story very short, a passive and peaceful society established on earth by the year 2086 has its idyllic existence shattered by an invasion of an alien attack force.

The populace are sent to work in the aliens' mines. Some rebelled, but one stood out as the most hardy and courageous. Named Tal, he was instructed by the elders to explore the land in search of the legendary item which humans worked so hard to perfect.

It turns out that the mystery object is... a teas-maid? No in fact it's a suit of armour, rendering the wearer impervious to just about any form of attack. As Tal your first objective is to find the armour, and then somehow overthrow the alien regime.

Antiriad is, on the surface, the same as many other games on the market. Dynamite Dan II springs to mind. You run left and right, jump on to platforms, generally behaving like a large number of other arcade-game heroes. In short, the gameplay is not what you'd describe as innovative.

But as soon as you start playing, the graphics will simply cause you to sit still and gaze at the screen. There is no time to lose, however, as the alien beings are only too quick other generally unpleasant things.

When you begin to move, things really become amazing. The character is pleasingly large, without being ridiculous. He's a little like the graphics seen in Gargoyle's Tir Na Nog, though maybe not quite as detailed. The animation though is superb. He runs around waving hair and all, and the way he jumps is particularly neatly done.

You quickly discover that you aren't going to get hold of the armour very easily, and you need a means of defending yourself - sharpish.

Picking on the most time-honoured tradition, rock-slinging is the best form of attack. (Fact: this dates back to times when the very first people roamed the earth, and is still in evidence today, at football grounds across the country.

Collect a few rocks and run around in a perfectly innocent manner, waiting for an alien to swagger up and attempt to alienate you. Then Tal can let fly with a truly impressive 'lob', causing a rock to be sent in whatever direction he pushes the joystick.

Once you've managed to get hold of the armour, the next problem is to seek out the various items which will make you even more magnificent - anti-grav boots, particle negator, pulser beam and implosion mine are the vital elements.

The implosion mine is more important that all of the others. This is the item which you need to destroy the alien's base.

You can play the game either a straight shoot-up by bunging rocks at the local blobs, or go all the way and start looking for the armour in earnest (or even in the jungle).

Despite being simple to grasp gameplay-wise, Antiriad offers considerable scope for exploration. It's a must for all mapping freaks. Graphics are tremendous, attribute problems though still noticeable are minimal and the whole feel is just right.

In short, it's very nearly faultless.

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Overall: 5/5

Summary: Antiriad is brilliant. It's a tried and tested gameplay, but it's the best platforms 'n' ladders since Dynamite Dan II.

Award: Sinclair User Classic

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 86, May 1989   page(s) 56

Label: Mastertronic
Author: Palace
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tony Dillon

For those of you with shorter memories than mine, Sacred Armour of Antiriad was the first ever game to feature interactive-comic-o-vision. What that means is that you get a free 16-page comic book with the game, telling the story of the sacred armour tells you that you have to clean the earth of the evil mutant scum by destroying a huge radioactive plant. To do this, you have to find the armour itself, along with a power pack, some jet boots to get it off the ground, a laser for defence and the super bomb to wipe out the tower.

This is a big adventure with more of the emphasis on arcade. The graphics are large and very detailed, the animation is ultra smooth and the game itself is very, very playable. You probably have got this already, but if by some strange quirk of fate, you don't, then get it. As Major Tom in CU would say, it's brill kids.

Overall: 93%

Summary: Big graphics, lots of detail, great gameplay.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Computer Issue 12, Dec 1986   page(s) 45

Arcade Adventure

Rather like Christmas, games from Palace arrive once a year. At least that was the case until now. With Antiriad, the third release from the London-based software company, it seems the tide is changing and that we should look forward to more frequent releases.

If Antiriad reaches the number one spot, Palace will have achieved the same feat a certain well-known Liverpool pop group achieved in 1985 - three number ones in succession. In full, the name of the game is The Sacred Armour Of Antiriad and, with graphics by Dan Malone and some lively music, the game seems set to be an essential part of any collection.

As with both previous releases, Antiriad is a true arcade adventure, set in a restricted area of play, in this case a volcano. When the game is first loaded it is the striking detail of the graphics which makes it stand out so much. The man you control, a Tarzan-type character, runs through the volcano with his hair blowing in the wind until he can find the antiriad suit which will protect him from radiation.

Even when that is located it proves less than useful until you have found the boots which allow you to fly. Once airborne, the game has a new feeling and the size of the maze becomes apparent.

If Palace continues to release games of this quality, it will soon become a very important member of the software industry and as it seems to lack the over-exposure of certain companies, that can only be a good thing.

Graphics: 5/5
Sound: 4/5
Playability: 4/5
Value For Money: 4/5
Overall: 5/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ZX Computing Issue 32, Dec 1986   page(s) 46,47


Palace Software

Far off in the future the earth is transformed into an irradiated wasteland by nuclear war. Over the centuries a new race of primitive hunters emerged. They preferred a peaceful life but it did not last for long. Alien invaders conquered earth and put the tribe into slavery. The ruling aliens created a stronghold deep inside an extinct volcano. Powerless to fight the invaders' advanced weapons the tribesmen seem doomed but the elders recall the legend of "a sacred armour" that could enable a man to withstand the radiation levels of the volcano and destroy the aliens' citadel. Tal, the strongest warrior is selected by the elders to attempt this last ditch effort to save the people from slavery.

This scenario is brought to life by the inclusion of a 16 page comic book drawn by the game's designer Dan Malone. It makes a nice change from wading through grandiose prose that usually accompanies similar games and means that you have a clear idea of what you, as Tal, are out to accomplish.

The comic book also creates an atmosphere before you enter the game itself. This atmosphere is enhanced by the graphics which are among the most attractive and detailed to be seen on the Spectrum to date. Tal himself is a large figure, convincingly athletic and certainly not lacking in the jump department. His first objective is to locate the Anti-Rad suit and he can pick up an endless supply of rocks to help him knock out the nasties who stand in his way. The throwing action takes a bit of getting used to - that's because it's lifelike. Rocks are hurled not in a straight line but in an are which makes pin point accuracy essential.

Among the early contenders to whittle down your lives are hanging sloths who are deadly if they grab you, flying insects with "delayed intelligence" (ie they will give you a few seconds before they home in on you) and acid rain droplets which are instantly lethal.

Once you have located the suit you can activate it simply by standing in front of it. Activating the suit brings the display panel at the foot of the screen flickering into action. The panel includes indicators for armour energy levels and Tal's stamina, geiger counter, tactical message read out, and component indicator. This last indicator shows you are four components short of using the suit to accomplish the mission.

So you have to leave the security of the suit in order to find the 'grav boots'. This natty line in turbo charged footwear will enable you to get into the suit and get airborne. Although you can hover quite effectively in the suit in order to pick up essential objects such as a particle negator pulsar beam and the implosion mine to blow up the alien HQ, you need to get out of the suit again from time to time. This results in plenty of hazardous nipping in and out of the sacred armour. One problem to avoid is parking your suit on a level to which you can't return. To alleviate this problem there is a transporter concealed in the forest, which will return you to the suit wherever you have left it.

As you progress through the game the obstacles of course become more difficult. A particularly tricky sequence involves running the gauntlet through a series of fire-breathing dragon statues. The flames look very convincing and of course take a toll on your energy. The radiation rises to deadly levels the nearer you get to your objective and its a real race against time to plant the bomb before you succumb to the gamma rays. One moment of hesitancy, one false move and it's game over.

Antiriad is extremely pleasureable to play and the difficulty level has been pitched just about right. Palace's previous games Cauldron and Cauldron 2 certainly gave no quarter as far as difficulty is concerned and it may be that the appeals of stumped Cauldron players have persuaded Palace to make Antiriad just a shade easier. Most games players will however find that Antiriad is hard (but fair).

Overall Antiriad is an excellent package that has been presented with an expert eye for detail. The post holocaust scenario is hardly new to computer games but with Antiriad effective twists and touches have been added to make it stand above the crowd.

Award: ZX Computing ZX Monster Hit

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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