Sunday, October 11, 2015

Black Lamp

Let's cut to the chase: you’re a clown. Yes, you are plucky Jack The Jester who happens to also be in love with the Princess, Griselda. Sadly, she will never look at you with the same love-struck passion (probably because of that silly costume you are wearing!). Fortunately, for you, the kingdom of Allegorid was attacked by dragons and they stole the magical lamps which protect everyone in the kingdom from evil. This also includes the most acclaimed lamp, a cherished and powerful Black Lamp. So monsters lurk everywhere and the task is a simple one: get the lamps, save the day and be rewarded with your dolly bird princess Griselda. Fail and death awaits you... great, uh?

Black Lamp is your typical flip screen platformer with ledges to hop on, ladders to climb, items to collect, monsters to kill and hundreds of rooms to visit as you undertake the honourable lamp quest. Interestingly, once our plucky jester ventures outside, it changes into a scrolling platformer as we walk the castle walls, woodlands, and streets. Various bonuses are offered for points and also special abilities like increased firepower and invincibility.

The monsters here all reign supreme and this is perhaps the game’s greatest most and annoying characteristic because their numbers are countless and their assault is relentless. Wherever you go, they appear like magic! It's a little odd as they don't require any opening because they walk through the wall so this means there is literally no safe place that can offer a quiet moment of refuge. This soon becomes a little tiresome which is a shame.

Throughout your adventure, the graphics are constantly awesome and their detail feels like a cartoon chronicle of England's medieval age. I have always thought that the monsters were the most alluring - they are so charming! My favourites are the Imps and Trolls which are bewitching to watch and I don’t think there is another retro game with such gorgeous and nicely animated baddies. However, it's this animation which is also a curse as it affects Jolly Jack - imagine you are walking right and need to turn left to kill oncoming monsters. Well, this action cannot immediately happen because of the walking animation, which first needs to finish, thus he cannot react quickly enough.

Sure, this game has its faults but I'm still putting it up there with many other ST legends. Why? Well, that's easy, because I love what is nothing short of a fun-filled hectic adventure which looks and sounds amazing. Sure, the aesthetics don't matter but it's good to have them especially whilst we suffer the onslaught of enemies!

Overall, Black Lamp is incredibly hard and probably too hard, but it's also addictive and very rewarding. I think everyone should play it and experience the kingdom of Allegorid that offers a unique challenge and one I hope you will accept. Black Lamp is one of my favourite Atari ST games so grab either the floppy or install to hard drive.

No comments:

Post a comment