D 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.
CU Amiga, August 1989, p.55
Exxos, Amiga £24.95
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