Monday, 13 October 2008

Sultan's Maze [Amstrad CPC, 1984] review

I'm really not sure why it's named the Sultan's Maze when the game takes place at Hampton Court. And I don't recall there ever being a ghost, let alone one with a pixel outline that can literally kill you.

I'm also not sure what it is with Amsoft and maze games. Essentially, this game has a similar plot to Roland on the Ropes; navigate a maze whilst avoiding its guardian(s); collect treasure/gems for as high a score as possible. Once you have completed a maze, you are presented with a new, more challenging one.

This is no platformer though - instead, Amsoft take the ambitious step of rendering the whole maze in 3 dimensions. I say three dimensions, but it's very basic 'pseudo 3d' stuff - hedges are a series of lines and this is what you'll be staring at for most of the maze. However there is a nice castle and tree-lined path that must have taken a while to code which for some reason I quite liked.

Aesthetics aside, it's painfully slow stuff; methinks this could be due to the limitations of the BASIC code; but I don't think even improved loading times could save Sultan's. The killer for me is the fact it seems your character is a weakling and can only carry one or two jewels at a time. As time goes by, your strength reduces and you are able to carry less gems as a consequence.

It may be "3D", but it's pretty inane - add to that a strange key setup and you have a rather naff video game. It's a valiant effort nonetheless, and just about acceptable for 1984. Sure, it's a rip-off and nothing special, more of a showcase of some of the stuff the CPC was capable of but heck! It's better than nothing for a tape you got free with the system. :)

Which way now? To the pub!


Any recommended sequels?: Nope.

Get if: you had this game in the 80s/90s: see if you have a bit more patience than you did back then. Also get if you're an Amstrad collector/junkie.

Avoid if: you want a deeper, more complex game that doesn't eat into your precious pub time.

Game info

Sultan's Maze
[Amstrad CPC, 1984]. Not available for any other console, as far as I know.
Buy this game
  • Rarity rating: [10=extremely rare] 5 - Amsoft game that came packaged with the system. Find a system, you may find a copy.
  • Buy @ eBay - about a quid.
  • As with most Amstrad games, they are pretty difficult to find on the main street. Specialist retro game stores and really big video game outlets with a large retro section are your best bets.

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