King's Keep

by Ian Wright
Firebird Software Ltd
Crash Issue 36, Jan 1987   page(s) 189

Producer: Firebird Silver Range
Retail Price: £1.99
Author: Ian Wright

Harold is a very nasty King. He rules his kingdom by bullying the inhabitants and locking up their cabbage patch dolls if they're naughty. However, King Harold has a son who is a little more broadminded than his dad. Harold's son objects strongly to the way that his dad rules the country. But King Harold knows that his son has sympathies with the locals and won't let him out of the castle in case he tries to start a rebellion. So Harold's son will remain a prisoner for ever and ever unless you can help him to escape from his father's evil clutches.

Harold Junior really wants to escape from his father's tyrannical rule, but first be has to find a way out of the castle. Old Kingy has been very sty and has blocked up some doors and made moving around the castle very difficult. Luckily Harold junior is a smart lad, and by using everyday objects which he comes across on his travels, he can attempt an escape.

When the imprisoned prince enters a new room in the castle, the location scrolls across the bottom of the screen. In the same way conversations can be carried out with the various characters who live in the castle. These characters often give Harold's son hints and tips regarding which objects are useful to collect. There are options to give objects, examine them fully and use them. The conversation with the characters can be carried out by selecting the TALK option.

Harold Junior moves around the castle on foot, but he does have quite springy legs which is just as well really, because some rooms can only be entered and exited by way of platforms and large jumps.


Control keys; jump Q; left O; right P, pick up 1; inventory 2; list commands 5
Joystick: Kempston
Keyboard play: strange at first, but quite straight-forward really
Use of colour: reasonable
Graphics: dull
Sound:unusual spot effects
Skill levels: one

Kings Keep is yet another trite arcade adventure. To be fair this has some nice features like the messages under the playing window but all in all I couldn't really play this for more than ten minutes without losing what's left of my sanity. The graphics are pretty much run-of-the-mill for this type of game, lots of colour but not much detail. The sound is also a bit limp, no tunes and very few effects. As always the instructions given were a little lacking in content so it could take a while for you to learn the ins and outs of the game.

A suprise!! FIREBIRD have come out with another budget arcade adventure. I'm sorry to say this, but, I really have got to hate this type of game. There seems to be very little programming thought involved in this type of game nowadays. The characters are fairly large but aren't detailed enough to look like real things. Colour is well used and clashes are almost nonexistent. Kings Keep is very easy to get into; but basically the game is another boring adventure that doesn't excite any of my feelings, and the result is a very dead end game. Only for the dedicated arcade aventurer, with a small budget.

This is the sort of thing that gives budget a bad name. Back in the days when full price meant a program and budget meant a few hours doodling with a game designer this would have been acceptable, but these days it belongs in the waste bin. There is nothing original in this game at all. Just think what you could do with two quid instead, Hire a video, buy a paperback, just about anything, just don't buy this.

Use of Computer: 42%
Graphics: 50%
Playability: 58%
Getting Started: 50%
Addictive Qualities: 31%
Value for Money: 45%
Overall: 42%

Summary: General Rating: Budget tat.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB