Tag Archives: Swedish

Fairlight II, ZX Spectrum

Or, to give the game its full title: Fairlight II: A Trail of Darkness. First released in 1986 – one year after the original Fairlight – and again published by The Edge. It was definitely much more substantial than the first game.

Again you play Isvar, and again: he’s trying to recover the Book of Light. Only this time it’s inside a different castle – this one called The Dark Tower.

Fairlight II is considerably bigger than the first game (as you’d expect), but the gameplay still essentially boils down to finding the right objects to stack on top of each other to climb up to out-of-reach places. That’s okay though. The slowdown is ever-present (no surprises), and the combat is the same, but there are a few surprises in this second game that you don’t get in the first (like travelling over the sea to a new location; more varied enemies, and even a magic carpet!), which makes it better in my opinion.

Fairlight II is a good evolution of, not just the series, but the genre. In many respects it carried the baton created by Ultimate in the isometric adventure stakes.

Fairlight II was programmed by Bo Jangeborg, with graphics by Niclas Osterlin. Again: there were 48K and 128K versions, the latter version having music and other enhancements. These grabs are from the 128K version.

More: Fairlight II on Wikipedia

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

Midtown Madness 3, XBox

Microsoft‘s Midtown Madness games have always been fun to play, but this third instalment in the series (from 2003) is arguably the best, with the most detail.

At its core is an ‘underground’ job system, which nets you points and cash for making successful deliveries against rivals. Of course Midtown Madness 3 has regular races in both single and multiplayer. It also has a ‘cruising’ mode that just allows you to ride around for fun.

What the game is is basically a chance to drive around in some great old classics, and also new cars – from big, bouncy American cadillacs, to dinky European micro cars. The game is low on realism, but high on laughs. Single or multi-player, Midtown Madness 3 is a riot. You can’t run pedestrians down though!

More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midtown_Madness_3