Fairlight, ZX Spectrum

Bo Jangeborg‘s Fairlight is a legendary isometric adventure game, published by The Edge in 1985.

You play the adventurer Isvar – exploring a large castle, looking for The Book of Light in order to escape.

Although Fairlight came after Knight Lore, it was praised for its open-ended gameplay, game world, and object manipulation. Well: object stacking… Most of the puzzles in Fairlight are ‘solved’ by stacking certain items in certain ways, which allows Isvar to reach higher places.

Like Knight Lore, Fairlight also features a lot of slowdown when a number of objects are moving on-screen at the same time. When an object disappears from the screen (for example: a bubble, that ‘pops’ when you touch it), the game suddenly speeds up massively, which is both comical and annoying at the same time.

Combat when encountering enemies is in real-time, but not very interesting. Winning is more a case of facing an enemy and holding down fire until they disappear, than anything requiring skill. You do have to be selective about who you take on, though, because you have a limited number of life points. Once they’re depleted, it’s game over.

Fairlight is a well-remembered Spectrum classic. It might be frustrating to play in places, but it definitely contributed to the whole idea of gaming worlds and object manipulation within them. There are some clever ideas in here (like attracting guards towards you to give them the ‘run-around’, in order to steal their key from them without having to kill them; or pushing stools under low tables to push objects from under them), and there’s no doubt this was a ground-breaking game for the time. The sequel, Fairlight II, was even more ground-breaking.

Note: an enhanced 128K version of Fairlight was later released by The Edge, which had a tune continuously playing. These grabs are from the original 48K version.

More: Fairlight on Wikipedia

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