In its early promotional material for the ZX Spectrum, Sinclair often went to almost painful lengths to avoid using the word 'games'. Released 35 years ago this month, the microcomputer was designed by Sir Clive Sinclair with serious applications in mind, and an optimistic role as a central hub for the nation's households. Constantly reiterating its expandability, these initial adverts were all about tech, emphasising the Spectrum's 'massive' RAM of 16 or - crikey! - 48k, as well as its high resolution and accessories, including a printer and the doomed ZX Microdrive. As it turned out, the manufacturer was swimming against the tide. Programming? Hmm, might try and type in a few POKEs I suppose. Educational? Game of chess or Scrabble aside, not likely. No, what the majority of kids wanted from the Spectrum was games. And games, much to the chagrin of Clive Sinclair, were what they got - in their hundreds.
Despite being the third release in Ultimate's near-legendary Sabreman series, it's since beenconfirmed that Knight Lore was completed before Sabre Wulf. A revelation which, if anything, makes the isometric 3D engine even more impressive.
Along with this perspective change, Ultimate delivered its usual, overtly ambiguous instructions and allowed players to pretty much get on with things. "Things," in this instance, involve traipsing between single-screen rooms in the hunt for items to be dunked inside a wizard's bubbling cauldron. Doing this will reverse a bothersome affliction which regularly turns our pitch-helmeted hero into a Werewolf (via a bizarre freak-out animation), before it becomes permanent. But time is ticking away...
Each room of the castle maze is a set-piece affair, generally containing monsters or fiendish traps (too fiendish in some cases - like the infamous hidden spikes). In order to beat each room, tactics, timing and cunning must be employed in equal measure, and it sometimes pays to approach a problem with one specific side of your split personality. Certain monsters, for example, will home in on the Werewulf, but largely leave Sabreman be. For this reason, it's also vital to keep an eye on the daylight meter at the bottom of the screen, lest a manoeuvre be ruined by an ill-timed lycanthropic transformation.