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Mr Creosote:
Company: Level 9 Computing
Year: 1988
Genre: Adventure
Theme: Based on Other Media / Myths and Mythology / Text-based
Language: English
Licence: Commercial
Views: 18912
Review by Mr Creosote (2009-06-27)

Sir Lancelot, the Brave - rescuing Prince Herbert from being married against his will and rescuing Sir Galahad from having sex with a castle full of virgins between sixteen and nineteen and a half... sorry, wrong story. Lancelot bases itself on Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory, making it a slightly more serious take on the subject matter. Not that you'd guess from looking at the very Pythonic box cover.

The game covers most of Lancelot's story, starting with his first meeting with King Arthur, his love affair with Guinevere and finally the search for the Holy Grail. In between, some basic missions along the lines of rescuing knights or beautiful maidens are thrown in which are probably all part of Malory's writing, but my own knowledge of this subject has been pretty much defined through Monty Python and Prince Valiant, so I wouldn't know.

What puts the game apart is two things. Story-wise, it's its verbosity. They really tried their best to make the game appear 'literary' - even to the extent that the story is told in past tense, as if the game were just a re-telling of legendary events.

Gameplay-wise, the game allows pretty much total freedom. At least the game pretends to grant the player free choice where to go and what to do next - and that illusion works very well. This might actually put off some less adventurous players, but to balance this out, the actual puzzles aren't that complicated. Also, the travelling is made a lot easier by allowing the player to re-visit known locations with the command 'go to' - so no complicated and confusing sessions of 'n-e-s-w' anymore.

One interesting idea is that the game measures the player's success by 'moral' standards. Depending on how you acted in certain situations, you might be worthy or unworthy of the Grail in the end. Very appropriate for a chivalry themed game.

Lancelot is a great example of how far text adventures had come in terms of gameplay quality when, ironically, they were quickly fading away from public eye. The new generation of gamers didn't want to type anymore (just like every casual computer user, not only on games, is afraid of using command lines these days). Which, quite frankly, is a fairly stupid reason to dismiss a whole genre - and miss gems like this one.

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