I used to be quite a fan of Lone Wolf, you know. Back in the days when D&D was law and the written works of Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone were taken as gospel. And then the first Lone Wolf computer game appeared, complete with a keyboard overlay for a rubber keyed Spectrum. It wasn't any good, though. What you got for your £5.99 was the same as what you got for your £1.99, except you didn't have to turn the pages.
The world has been crying out for one, (everso slight untruth) and it has appeared. A Lone Wolf game that not only successfully captures the spirit of the book, but also turns out to be quite a good game. Why else would we put it on our cover?
You are the Lone Wolf, last of the Kai Lords. The Kai Lords were a bit like Jedi Knights only they didn't carry Lightsabres and they didn't walk in mysterious ways saying things like, 'You don't need to see his identification' and 'Even though you have cut off my arm, destroyed the only family I ever knew and are now having some rather disgusting thoughts about my twin sister, I know there is good in you father'. The Kai were wiped out by the evil Zoltan (or something like that) and you have to avenge their deaths.
Your means of revenge? To climb to the top of a tower of evil and destroy the ruler of thine enemy. The journey is a long one, through a tower so evil and twisted, it's shaped like an upside town triangle. You begin at the apex, which funnily enough happens to be at the bottom, and work your way up, via ladders and lifts, only pausing when making a decision at a junction.
Adversaries come in the form of warriors who are mirror images of yourself (reasons being too long to explain here, why not read the book?) and bats. The bats are easily dispatched with just a swift twitch of your blade. The warriors are a little more stubborn. As you progress through the game, they get better and better at combat, near the end some are downright impossible. Or are they? Each has their own personality and requires a different strategy to dispose of.
Other problems caused are the traps and puzzles. Traps take the form of statues that spit fire across ladders just as you are climbing, and open electric circuits, that blaze sparks as you walk past. Puzzles are usually formed by the lifts that constantly move up and down. Sometimes a series of three, maybe more have to be navigated by some well timed jumps, which aren't easy to come by. I have to tell you. It takes a great deal of patience just to wait for the right moment.
Graphically, the game reminds me of nothing more than Psygnosis' Barbarian right down to the flip scrolling. The only real difference between the two being that the backdrops on LW are much more attractive and atmospheric. All the little touches are there, from the busty statuettes to the skulls on poles.
Sound is just a little on the basic side, but with a game this size, I can't say that surprises me. Spot FX do their purpose, though I was a little disappointed by the lack of a tune.
Yet another enjoyable arcade adventure romp through the land of make believe. Fun, and it's size almost guarantees lengthy periods of play. Now, where did I put my ton-fun?
Reviewer: Tony Dillon
Mystic adventure role playing games may not grab everyone by the short and curlies, indeed many players will draw a definite line of preference between RPG's and all action shoot 'em ups or beat 'em ups. However, methinks Lone Wolf: The Mirror Of Death, might just satisfy both factions of computer gamer.
Don't get me wrong though, this is definitely a grab your sword and smash some skuHs type of game. Its advantages lying in the fact that, unlike other platform beat 'em ups. there are no opportunities to pick up weapons or life icons during the game, instead you must choose four special Kai skills out of a total of eight before the quest begins and believe me, Wolfie will be in it deep and smelly if you don't choose the right combination. The sound, which includes spooky wind, the clanging of crossed swords, the vile screeching of Krows, (fiendish birds of prey), and the dull thud of a thump in the gnashers, also adds tremendous atmosphere. This combined with good graphics makes it very easy to get involved with what our hero is doing.
Lone Wolf is definitely the main man, (Andrea reckons he's a hunk); as strong as Arnie with as many moves as Vanilla Ice. He is the "last of the Kai masters of Sommerland", a mystic warrior, who must carry out a mission against an ancient enemy, the evil sorcerer, Gozrazh (Garth??), who has hidden one of the seven lorestones of Nyxator, in the tower of Kozan-Gor. As the last Kai warrior you have pledged to regain possession of these stones. The tower is guarded by a Mirror Of Death which was shattered into seven shards. Each of these sharas, now fashioned as swords, are wielded by unearthly creatures who protect the tower by taking on the form of an intruder's dark side, meaning ol' Lone Wolf ends up fighting evil shadows of himself.
The level of control provided for your character is quite impressive, with eight detailed attacking and defensive manoeuvres that all need practice. A good joystick is very useful here but it's still manageable with an average joystick or the keyboard.
The game play is deceptively easy at first so beware of your opponents on later levels, remember they are mirrors of yourself so they have the same Kai skills available, and can freeze you with a psi surge or become invisible during combat. For this reason your initial choice of Kai skills should change as you become a slashing highlander type swordsman, replacing offensive skills with defensive skills, to counteract those your opponents are using.
There are seven guardians to defeat, loads of disgustin' gargoyle spit to avoid, hundreds of krows trying to peck your bonce, and a variety of death wheels and other devices to avoid, so go to it laddie, and remember, the ancient ones are watching!
Price: £10.99 Tape, £14.99 Disk
Reviewer: Alan Dykes
Garth Sez: 'It's almost embarrassing these days to give Audiogenic yet another award for a piece of software. But maybe the embarrassment should lie with the big software houses for falling to put any real work into their Spectrum games.
Andrea Sez: 'This might not be my normal sit-down-and-shoot the buggers to bits type of game - the control system takes some time to master - but once familiarised, there are a wealth of movements that can be made.
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