Knights of the Sky
April 2, 2019 at 11:49 pm #2385
I remember playing this game back in the 90s and thinking it was the coolest thing I’ve ever played. It’s basically Prince of Persia with a shotgun, isn’t it, haha. Especially that move where you shoot backwards, damn, I don’t think there’s a cooler move than that in any other game.
I wonder if I’m able to beat this game finally this month. I’ve tried a few times before, but always got stuck somewhere along the way. It’s not even that difficult, but a lot of the enemies require twitchy reactions and I just never managed to make it all the way until the end.
I’ve written down the level code to where came last time round though, so I’ll pick it up from there this time!
PixParticipantPodcasterApril 7, 2019 at 5:46 pm #2419
Thought I’d better give my first impressions since I’m about to go back to Blackthorne for the 2nd time. My absolute first impression was surprise at only seeing 2 disks in the box when I opened it. I was wondering if some had gone missing but apparently not. It must be a sign of the SNES roots that it doesn’t have a couple of floppies worth of animated intro tacked on like your typical PC/Amiga games of the era.
I got as far as level 5 on my first go. I struggled a little with the controls at first. There is nothing inherently wrong with them but being so bunched up on the keyboard it’s all too easy to shoot the wrong way or use an item by mistake. I was getting to grips with it by the end.
So far, everything is very derivative of Flashback – Prince of Persia with a shotgun is spot on. The only truly original aspect (apart from the cool backshot) is covering during combat. Since I love Flashback and have played so few other similar games, it hasn’t bothered me at all though. By the time Blackthorne came out, Flashback had gone full 3D with Fade To Black and I’d much rather be playing this.
The pixel graphics look great, the sound effects do the job nicely and the difficulty has been ramping well. It’s a bit slower paced than Flashback and maybe a bit more puzzly.
I can see why I would have missed this game at the time. It’s not exactly showy compared to all the FMV epics that were around back then but it’s probably aged far better because of it. Looking forward to getting a bit further.April 8, 2019 at 6:00 pm #2421
Yeah, in the end I never used the F key at all. Space for fire, D only for running. That prevented me from firing in the wrong direction haha.
I also made sure my cursor was always on an empty spot, so accidentally pressing E would not result in using up an item. It’s important to be careful with the items, because many levels require very specific items in order to progress.
dr_stParticipantApril 9, 2019 at 1:51 pm #2423
Well, F is what you are supposed to use. ESDF is ESDF for a reason – once you get used to it, it’s very convenient to have all the action buttons close by.
It’s the same control scheme used for Lost Vikings, which I played first, and I too started off by using Spacebar, until I figured out that it is actually holding me back, and switched over to F. By the time I got to Blackthorne, it was ESDF all the way. 🙂
Which is why I hate that the updated Blizzard release makes you use both.
PixParticipantPodcasterApril 9, 2019 at 3:58 pm #2425
I’ve more or less got used to ESDF but I still find myself using an item by accident every now and then. The main difficulty I’m having currently is falling from vast heights. It’s kind of annoying when you can hang off a ledge at the bottom of a screen and it doesn’t show you whats down below. It’s not entirely unfair about it as you usually get to see the lower screen beforehand but I don’t always remember what’s there. It’s surprising that a game of this era was flick-screen at all. It makes it technically less advanced than Lost Vikings so it must have been a deliberate design decision.
The challenge definitely ramped up from level 9. I struggled with the blue machine gun guys for ages until I figured out the rolling to either side of them technique.April 10, 2019 at 6:07 pm #2428
Yeah, I had the accidental item thing too. That’s why I tried to made sure the cursor was always on an empty inventory slot.
I think the main trick to this game is to take it slow. There aren’t really any timers or anything, apart from buttons with closing doors attached, so you can just carefully go from screen to screen, inspect everything, try things out.
If you approach this game as an action game, it probably doesn’t work very well. But doing it more like a puzzle game, it’s much more manageable.
sorceressParticipantApril 10, 2019 at 6:35 pm #2429
The game reminds me of Prince of Persia too: platforms and locked doors, fancy character animation, climbing, leaping over gaps… just with a shotgun in hand instead of a sword.
I hadn’t played this one before, and I was expecting more action to be honest like Turrican II, haha. Blackthorne is quite slow paced in comparison, and working out how to open the locked doors and progress without getting stuck makes it feel more like a puzzle game than anything.
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