|a game by||Level 9 Computing, Ltd.|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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The legend of Lancelot, greatest of King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table, is the basis for this illustrated text adventure produced by the Level 7 group. The disk contains three linked episodes, each illustrated with several attractive drawings. The computerist participates in adventures derived from Malory's "Le Mode d'Arthur," that covers the period from Lancelot's arrival in Camelot to the quest for the Holy Grail.
Lancelots potentially entertaining story is undercut by its dull format. The interface, very similar to the Magnetic Scrolls system in The Pawn, Jinxster and other titles, requires the player to laboriously type every command. The pictures break up the monotony of screens full of type.
So Lancelot boils down to the same old word-guessing contest familiar to players of Scott Adams, Infocom and other lines of alltext adventures. In such games, the primary source of frustration is knowing what the character should do, but not being able to think of the word the program's parser will accept. The writing in Lancelot emphasizes key words to minimize the difficulty of word selection, but icons, menus and similar devices eliminate the need for any such search in the first place.
The text crawls up the screen from the bottom, a few lines at a time. A prompt tells the player to hit a key whenever there is too much copy to roll onto the screen in one batch.
The illustrations are mounted on a pull-down menu. The player puts the wizard-shaped cursor on the edge of the drawing, holds the left mouse button and drags it into view. The illustrations, though acceptable, are a little sparse. A few additional pictures would have made Lancelot more fun to play. It dims Lancelot's arrival in Came-lot to still have a road cutting through the countryside on the display.
The writing attempts to echo the prose of Sir Thomas Malory, but mostly succeeds in being tedious. The repetition of the character's name at the start of virtually every sentence is especially tiresome. The wordiness also increases the player's reading time, which, in turn, slackens the pace of events and dilutes the impact of the disk's three stories.
There are obviously still many computerists who enjoy this genre of interactive fiction, no longer the dominant form. However, most electronic adventurers have clearly expressed a preference for quests which connect the player directly to the action through the mouse or joystick without the barrier of the keyboard. Those who don't mind lots of typing will find Lancelot an entertaining journey through the age of chivalry. Those who don't like to type should direct their quest for adventurous software toward a different goal.