Pentagram, MSX

Pentagram was released for the MSX in 1986, and it’s not really an Ultimate game, in truth, because it wasn’t written by the original Ultimate team; it’s a US Gold game. It’s not a bad game, though, even though it doesn’t have the flair or humour of an authentic Ultimate game.

The basic aim of the game is to restore four eroded monoliths by collecting buckets from wells and dropping water on them. When you find a well you have to stand next to it and shoot it numerous times before a bucket materialises, then you are able to pick it up. When you’ve restored the four monoliths a pentagram will appear in one of the rooms and five magic runestones must then be collected and brought to the pentagram.

Pentagram‘s movement system is different to the previous Ultimate Filmation games. Down is now jump, and fire shoots a bolt of magic. The magic bolt is required to shoot spawning enemies that appear in many of the rooms. Some enemies will kill you outright (zombies and witches), while others (ghosts and lice) will swarm you to try to hamper your movement.

The MSX version of Pentagram isn’t quite as colourful as the original Spectrum version, but it does seem to run a bit faster. It still suffers from slowdown, though, when there are multiple moving objects on-screen at the same time.

While Pentagram isn’t a bad game, it’s not an Ultimate classic either. Crash magazine reviewers gave it a high score (93%), without even understanding how to play it properly. Which shows just how misguided (possibly even corrupt) the magazine had become at that stage. Pentagram is certainly no ‘Crash Smash’.

More: Pentagram on Wikipedia

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