A chase through time

Knight Force logo

OH DEAR, when everyone's releasing driving games left, right and centre, Titus goes for nostalgia and does a beat-'em-up. Always were a bit different, were the folks at Titus. Strange, even.

Strange is quite a good word for Knight Force, too, though it doesn't quite manage to convey the deep-seated bizarreness that pervades the whole affair.
The basic idea is that long, long ago - long before the dinosaurs appeared or Green last had a shave - there was a superior race of beings who knew the secret of time travel. These days, only BR knows the secret - when you want to travel, it always takes time...

As I was saying, before I was rudely interrupted, these zeebs could zip back and forth in time like a hot knife through butter, except they didn't need to be washed afterwards.

This kind of mellowed them out to such an extent that they only had one cat who had his head together enough to actually be any use, defence-wise. The Knight of Thunder was his name (he was always followed by The Morning of Rain) and he had one problem - an uptight square called Red Sabbath, possibly for copyright reasons.

This Red Sabbath character had kidnapped the Good King's daughter and had split his own persona into millions of individually wrapped bits, partly to avoid detection and partly because it broke the ice at the Necromancers' Guild Tupperware Party.

You, as the Knight of Thunder, must get the King's daughter back. She's now the Queen because the old man died of acute embarrassment.

So off you plod, forward through time, past Pre-History with a suicidal Cro-Magnon man and a killer terrydac... pterodak... ptery... flying thing. Through Fantasy Land, with headbutting dwarfs, ninja skeletons and another flying thing. Along to Versaille in 1789, with murderous street urchins, hangmen, sewers and yet another flying thing.

New York's docklands await, with the girl gang leader, an octopus, and, yes, a flying thing. And finally to the Future, with all manner of technojunk and, quite surprisingly, two flying things. Nearly fell off my chair at the shock of it.

You've got to destroy a bit of Red Sabbath at each stage. This is rather difficult. He keeps moving about and won't stay still and die like a good necromancer should.

The only mild consolation is that when fighting Red Sabbath the constant of flying things temporarily stops. But not for long.

Knight Force doesn't really hang together too well. The graphics would be OK on a C64, movement is far too intricate, the tune is way too odd, and trying to off Red Sabbath is like trying to go the wrong way through the crowd at the Shopper Show.
All in all, it's another Titus game - good idea, bad implementation.

Knight Force logo

Titus £24.99 joystick or keyboard

Red-Sabbath, the evil wizard, has come forth from the mountains in an attempt to terrorise the peaceful land of Belioth. That is not all he wants to do, though, because Belloth is the crossroads between five time zones. If Red-Sabbath can gain control of the land he can control the time zones.

To effect his dastardly plot, RS has kidnapped the princess Tanya and the keeper of the land, the Knight of Thunder (this means you!) must go to fetch her back. The problem is that the wizard has created five clones, one in each zone, who must be destroyed before the girl can be freed.

The action starts with your good self positioned in front of five stone pillars, each one representing a time zone. Choose which zone to enter and then not only must you defeat the wizard's clone, but also find seven amulets that are being carried by his minions in different zones.

Collecting an amulet in one zone is not always as helpful as it could be because for an amulet to work you need to be in the corresponding time zone: but collect one and you are immediately put back in front of the pillars so that you can choose the next zone.

So, with monsters - walking, crawling, bouncing and flying - and a sorcerer in each zone to defeat, other hazards like jumps and collapsing floors may seem less of a trouble. Then there is the time limit to consider. But by far the biggest problem is the nasties, which keep coming at you until you kill them off (although others take their place shortly afterwards) so it is as well to get to know the eight combat moves and which to use on which enemy.

Kill off the clones then walk away from the final battle with Red-Sabbath, and Princess Tanya and the land of Belloth will once more be safe.


The backgrounds (for the most part) are superb. The sprites are all well drawn and large. The animation is fine on most bits except the aggressive moves and the walking and jumping is not the best ever seen. The sound effects are curious - your character makes a distinct horse trotting sound as he clip-clops across the screen - and there are not too many others either.


It will take a while to complete, but you will have to be very determined to do so. Stick with it, though, and things begin to improve slightly, but unfortunately not much.


Only having one life is a real pain, especially if you are a little way into the game. The control method used is very awkward and generally, you are left feeling the game has too little substance and too many annoying features to keep you at it. A case of nice sprites and backgrounds, but weak and frustrating gameplay.

Knight Force logo

Am Tage seiner Verbannung schwor Red Sabbath, mächtiger Zauberer und Profi-Miesling, bittere Rache für die ihm angetane Schmach. Heute, 500 Jahre später, ist es endlich soweit - er hat die bezaubernde Prinzessin Tanya entführt!

Aber wie so viele Bösewichter hat auch er die Rechnung ohne den Wirt, sprich den Ritter Fair-Storm gemacht. Dieser macht sich mit seinem Schwert Stahlkiller auf, um den Zauberer und seine Schergen das Fürchten zu lehren.

In fünf verschiedenen Zeitepochen gilt es, jedesmal ein Amulett zu finden und einen Clone von Red Sabbath niederzumachen, bevor die Schöne wieder in des Helden Arme sinken darf.

Um das alles noch bis zum Mittagessen zu schaffen, bleiben dem wackeren Ritter nur vier Minuten pro Level! Dementsprechend sparsam sind diese denn auch ausgefallen, jeder besteht nur aus drei bis vier Bildern.

Die Hintergründe sind dafür detailreich und stimmungsvoll, auch die Sprites machen grafisch einen guten Eindruck - abgesehen von den ruckhaften Bewegungen. Doch der ganze Spaß wird durch die schlechte Programmierung zunichte gemacht: Fast alle Gegner sind durch Hinhocken und stures In-Richtung-Monster-Hauen zu besiegen! Die Kollisionsabfrage ist grauenhaft, oft treffen Feuerbälle das Ritter-Sprite, ohne Schaden anzurichten.

Dazu ist die Anleitung trotz ihres Unfangs ziemlich ungenau, das höllische Zeitlimit tut dann ein übriges, um dem Spieler das letzte bißchen Freude an Knight Force zu nehmen. Schade um die schöne Grafik! (Sönke Klettner)

Knight Force logo

Price: £24.95

On this planet, thousands of years ago, lived a nation of superior intelligence who had the secret of time travel; but only Helias, the master of the kingdom of Belloth, had the power to use it. Helias knew, however, that the secret could die with him so he set about teaching the Knight of Thunder the powerful force.

When Helias died, the Knight of Thunder was left with a taxing situation. Princess Tanya had been kidnapped by the sorcerer, Red Sabbath, who intended to trap the Knight of Thunder and learn the secret of time travel. The only way to destroy Red Sabbath was to visit the five time zones and construct the amulet of power. All absolute drivel, of course, and an excuse for a bit of horizontal bashing.

You take the role of the Knight of Thunder (well, what else did you expect?) and the idea is to travel to the various time zones and kill the enemy that holds the amulet. You must travel through pre-history, the streets of old Versailles to modern day New York, the future and the mystical zone to complete your quest and save Princess Tanya.

Graphics are exceptional all the way through. There are some really stunning backdrops and, of course, the different time zones mean lots of variety. The characters are very large and well defined, there is plenty of detail and some pretty nifty animation too! The only gripe I have is that everything is very dark which makes it difficult to appreciate the graphics and also adds a sombre, dull feel to the game.

Sound is nowhere near as good - although there are a fair selection of spot effects not many of them suit their purpose. Having said that the digitised effects (especially the laughter in the fantasy zone) are worth keeping an ear out for.

A sensible control system means that you can get straight into some serious bloodshed, unfortunately most enemies are susceptible to most offensive moves which removes any strategic element. Because of this and the very limited size of each time zone, Knight Force is very easy and you will probably have it finished within a few days.

If you are looking for a good beat-'em-up to get your teeth into then steer clear. Knight Force has nothing like the staying power to justify the price.