Sunday, October 11, 2015

Black Lamp

Fancy a medieval adventure?

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!!

Since when was that fortunate? Well, they stole all the magical lamps which helped to protect everyone in the kingdom from evil. This also includes the most acclaimed lamp, a cherished and powerful Black Lamp so let's get going and rescue our dolly bird princess Griselda. Fail and death awaits you... great, uh?

How about a medieval nightmare!

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, this 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 all reign supreme and this is perhaps the game’s greatest and most annoying characteristic? Not only are their numbers countless but their assaults are countless and relentless!! Wherever you go, they appear like magic and it's a little odd because they don't need to open doors and can walk through walls. So this means there is literally no safe place that can offer a quiet moment of refuge which is brilliantly insane but can also be OTT.

A beautiful looker?

Throughout your adventure, the graphics are constantly awesome and feels like a cartoon chronicle of England's medieval age. The monsters are the most alluring you could hope for - so charming! My favourites are the Imps and Trolls which are bewitching to watch with beautiful animation. It's hard to imagine better than this.

The audio is perfect. Not only is there an incredible theme tune but all in-game sound effects are zappy and exciting. Do I need to mention the in-game music? Like, wow!! Greensleeves, the olde English folk song. Wow!!

The CryptO'pinion?

Black Lamp is a brilliant game but it's not perfect. What is? My beef is with Jolly Jack's controls that can be slow to react due to his (superbly) animated movements. Imagine that you are walking right, and need to turn left to kill oncoming monsters. Well, this action cannot immediately happen because his walking animation needs to finish first.

Having said that, Black Lamp is up there with many other ST legends. It's a classic and nothing short of a fun-filled, hectic adventure which also looks and sounds amazing. Sure, the aesthetics don't matter, but it's good to have them isn't it? I think everyone should play this platformer and experience just what the kingdom of Allegorid offers - it's challenging, addictive and very rewarding. You won't regret booting up Black Lamp whatsoever, I guarantee it.

One of my favourite Atari ST games.
Available on both floppy and hard drive.

1 comment:

  1. I've noticed if you play for about 15-20 minutes, the game will give you back ALL your lives!! I'm not sure what triggers this bug, but it's happened to me many times while
    I play this great game!