This 2019 Commodore 64 homebrew conversion of the classic Knight Lore is arguably even better than the brilliant ZX Spectrum original. Spectrum owners will not want to hear that, but – being objective – this port does make the game more enjoyable to play. I also managed to get further into the game than I ever managed on the Spectrum, although I did use quick saves (but no cheats).
The aim of Knight Lore is to collect, and dump into a cauldron, 14 ‘charms’ collected throughout a sprawling dungeon of rooms, all the while trying not to get killed by various hazards. Oh, and you only have 40 days in which to do it.
You play as Sabreman, who has a unique problem – a severe case of lycanthropy – and who changes from a normal man into a werewolf every time the moon comes out. A small indicator at the bottom of the screen shows the sun and moon slowly cycling, and when the sun goes down it’s time to change – no matter what you are doing. And changing into a werewolf can happen at the most inopportune of moments. One sun/moon cycle equals one day elapsing, and the number of days passed is shown at the bottom of the screen.
A pre-game configuration screen allows you to tweak the game before playing. You can change the music and sound (the game features new music from Saul Cross), the default room colours, how many charms are needed to complete the game, whether it shows the remaining number of items on-screen or not, rotation sensitivity, maximum game speed, plus you can toggle a number of cheats on and off (such as whether werewolf transformations happen or not, partial invincibility, super jump, how many days you have to complete the quest, plus infinite lives).
The game runs really well, although it does slow down when there’s a lot going on on-screen (just like the original), as well as running too fast when you’re in an empty room. Overall, though, this conversion is extremely well-programmed and the controls are nice and responsive. There’s little to fault, to be honest. Other than Knight Lore can be a frustrating game to play at times, because that’s just the way it was designed. It’s tough at times, although not quite as difficult as Alien 8.
Knight Lore on the Commodore 64 is another excellent modern conversion that should be in any self-respecting C64 fan’s collection. It’s available to download for free from CSDb.