Sunday, October 11, 2015

Black Lamp


Let's cut to the chase: you’re a clown. Yes, you are plucky Jack The Jester who happens to also be in love with the Princess, Griselda. Sadly, she will never look at you with the same love-struck passion (probably because of that silly costume you are wearing!). Fortunately, for you, the kingdom of Allegorid was attacked by dragons and they stole the magical lamps which protect everyone in the kingdom from evil. This also includes the most acclaimed lamp, a cherished and powerful Black Lamp. So monsters lurk everywhere and the task is a simple one: get the lamps, save the day and be rewarded with your dolly bird princess Griselda. Fail and death awaits you... great, uh?

Black Lamp is your typical flip screen platformer with ledges to hop on, ladders to climb, items to collect, monsters to kill and hundreds of rooms to visit as you undertake the honourable lamp quest. Interestingly, once our plucky jester ventures outside, it changes into a scrolling platformer as we walk the castle walls and streets. Various bonuses are offered for points and also special abilities like increased firepower and invincibility. You will be thankful for any help after only a few moments of gameplay. Trust me!

The monsters here all reign supreme and this is perhaps the game’s greatest most and annoying characteristic because their numbers are countless and their assault is relentless. Wherever you go, they appear like magic! It's a little odd as they don't require any opening because they walk through the wall so this means there is literally no safe place that can offer a quiet moment of refuge. This soon becomes a little tiresome which is a shame.

Throughout your adventure, the graphics are constantly awesome and their detail feels like a cartoon chronicle of England's medieval age. I have always thought that the monsters were the most alluring - they are incredibly charming! My favourites are the Imps and Trolls which are bewitching to watch and I don’t think there is another retro game with such gorgeous and nicely animated baddies. However, it's this animation which is also a curse as it affects Jolly Jack - imagine you are walking right and need to turn left to kill oncoming monsters. Well, this action cannot immediately happen because of the walking animation, which first needs to finish. So it can be a little frustrating!

Black Lamp is an adventure and a hectic one at that with beautiful visuals, gorgeous music and an addictive gameplay style which keeps you coming back for more. It's not perfect but I've always enjoyed this game and I'm sure you will also. The kingdom of Allegorid offers you an excellent challenge one which I hope you will accept!

LINKS

 - 8BitChip have a hard drive installable game with floppy disks available via Old Games Finder.
 - The Bird Sanctuary features the Atari ST version of Black Lamp and other 'bird' games.
 - Oi! Hands off because this is all MINE :-)