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Exxos
Price: £24.95

D Kult ungeons and Dragons has always been defined as the definitive role playing game. It had to be expected that D&D would soon make its appearance on the home computer – and it did. The first computer RPGs were nothing more than text adventures. Then multi-player elements and character selection came to light. Now RPGs contain more bytes than any other computer game. Kult is no exception. It combines elements of role play with innovative arcade adventure-style gameplay. Sadly the software house feel they have to hide it all behind a mass of mind-numbing pseudo sci-fi scene setting in the instruction manual.

To cut a very tedious story exceedingly short, you play Raven, an estranged psi-mortal who has set off to a temple to rescue his buddies. The only way of doing that is by solving a series of tasks throughout the temple to attain the rank of Divo, then face the high Priestess. The tasks mainly involve taking something to somewhere, twisting a few levers, and collecting a skull. Sounds easy? First find the locations and avoid any traps, as well as aggressive guards.

Whoever designed the temple should be given a special award for managing to get so many colours in at once, without making it pukey. The movement around the temple could not be easier. A mouse-controlled cursor changes shape in accordance to the area of the screen it is in, helping you to decide your next action and making sure that you do not miss anything. The temple is circular with a series of rooms running from the epicentre. Each one forms a layer of the puzzle by setting a problem for you to overcome.

For example, one room contains a man with a rope around his neck. He can give you something useful but warns you not to approach – to ignore him is fatal. When another character (or more) is encountered an enlarged picture is pulled onto the screen, complete with speech bubbles. Be careful here, a slip of the tongue can prove fatal. It is also inadvisable to get into too many fights as it tends to alert the temple guards or any of the other of the rest of the characters, especially the Master of the Ordeals (the guy who sets your tasks). Existing Divos are also to be found wandering about, not that offensive, but then I do not recommend an attack either (try it and find out!).

Your PSI powers contribute greatly to the overall fun of the game. If you are losing a fight switch on the PSI extreme violence power and you instantly wipe the mat with the opposition. Other powers range from a magic light, though sticky fingers (which allows you to climb up walls), up to brain warp which mind numbs a person of your choice. All have one thing in common, they drain your energy fast. So do not overuse them.

Superb graphics and excellent sampled stereo sound help enhance Kult no end. What it does lack though is the particular atmosphere that needs to be generated by an RPG to give it that special something. On the positive Kult is a great, long lasting game, if just short of classic.
Mark Patterson

CU Amiga, August 1989, p.55

SOUND
GRAPHICS
PLAYABILITY
LASTABILITY
87%
89%
81%
80%
80%


Kult logo  Zzap! Sizzler

Exxos, Amiga £24.95

Kult A global catastrophe, known as the ‘Burn’, has created a race of Tuners – people with psi powers who are utterly hated by Normals. To avoid annihilation the Tuners have set up a psi network to control the Normals.
Raven and his busty young girlfriend, Sci Fi, are young Tuners who one day stumble across a massacre of Normals. The alien Zorq, who’s worshipped as a god, had returned to the Temple of the Flying Saucer(!) and instructed his followers to kill everyone nearby, except young men who are to be bought into the temple. His followers are called Protozorqs and the two young tuners are soon in bloody battle with a Protozorq unit. Raven ultimately defeats it, but Sci Fi is captured...

Your quest to find Sci Fi, and kill Zorq, begins with the Ordeals of Deilos. There are five skulls to be found and presented to the Changer in an hour of real-time. The skulls are concealed in five Ordeals – interlinked rooms containing puzzles of varying toughness. To help you a priest gives you one helpful object to start off with, and after that skulls can be used to get other helpful objects. There’s also a way of breaking out of the Ordeal rooms to sneak into the Second Level, where the priestesses pray and bathe. Clearly, if you’re to rescue Sci Fi there’s much more to be done than simply following the Ordeal rules.

Thankfully gameplay matches the imagination of the scenario. You interact with the landscape via a cursor which changes shape according to what it touches. Crossed arrows indicate an exit, arrows in a circle suggest there’s something to be examined. And a brain icon comes with nodes representing various actions such as ‘grab object’, ‘attack’ or ‘kiss’ – the options vary depending on the circumstance. You also have special psi powers such as Solar Eyes (see in the dark), Sticky Fingers (Spiderman mode) and Know Mind (read someone’s mind). There are a lot more powers and options, all easy to understand and use – but few of the puzzles are simple. Fortunately there’s a sort of psychic ‘help’ psi power, with clues delivered distinctly garbled – ‘Pay Shunts’ means patience.

Zzap, Issue 53, September 1989, p.p.72-73

Robin Hogg Wow, what a weird plot and if that wasn’t surreal enough the wonderfully detailed graphics add even more to the superb atmosphere as do the creaking sound effects and simulated speech (and no, it isn’t Welsh!). Some of the characters encountered are truly bizarre – ever tried making love to a spider woman? The puzzles themselves are very cryptic indeed but there is much more to the game with underground caverns to explore and your girlfriend to rescue while you avoid being chopped up on the sacrificial altar! The icon system is extremely easy to use and an extra tactical element is introduced in using the useful psi powers.
A brilliantly implemented science-fiction adventure with wide-ranging appeal.

Stuart Wynne While Purple Saturn Day was one of my favourite Amiga games, I found Captain Blood a touch irksome and was wary of another adventure-orientated Exxos release. I needn’t have worried. The slick presentation mirrors gameplay, which is original and innovative. The Ordeals I’ve solved so far were logical but far from obvious, giving a real feeling of satisfaction once completed. Kult is a highly enjoyable and unique game which deserves to achieve much more than ‘cult’ success.

Phil King This is the weirdest game I’ve seen since Captain Blood, also by Exxos. They sure come up with some strange ideas – selecting options by pointing your brain is certainly original! The presentation is incredibly stylish with many humorous animated sequences and good sound effects to create a surreal atmosphere. The characters encountered talk hilarious gibberish (although it’s easier to comprehend than Randy’s accent!) and some of the females sound remarkably like a shrieking Hattie Jacques! This injection of humour lightens the otherwise serious business of solving the cryptic puzzles. These are challenging although never frustrating as you can always leave the present puzzle and try another. Although definitely not one for arcade freaks, Kult is highly original, thought-provoking entertainment.

PRESENTATION 90%
First class, with lots of weird background detail, but there is only one save allowed per disk.
GRAPHICS 91%
Atmospheric and stylish with some good animated sequence.
SOUND 85%
Weird and atmospheric intro tune, with great in-game FX.
HOOKABILITY 88%
High, you can attempt the ordeals in whichever order you like.
LASTABILITY 89%
Not quite in the Infocom league, but still very respectable.
OVERALL
90%
A first-class game which will appeal to non-adventurers as much as Millennium 2.2.