Knight Lore is a 1984 action-adventure game developed and published by Ultimate Play the Game, and written by company founders Chris and Tim Stamper. The game known for its use of isometric graphics, which it further popularized in video games. In Knight Lore, the player character Sabreman has forty days to collect objects throughout a castle and brew a cure to his werewolf curse. Each castle room is depicted in monochrome on its own screen and consists of blocks to climb, obstacles to avoid, and puzzles to solve.
Ultimate released Knight Lore third in the Sabreman series despite having completed it first. The Stamper brothers withheld its release for a year to position the company advantageously in anticipation of the game's effect on the market. Knight Lore's novel image masking technique, Filmation, let images appear to pass atop and behind each other without their contents colliding. This created the illusion of depth priority, which the computer did not natively support. By delaying Knight Lore's release, Ultimate protected sales of their then-upcoming Sabre Wulf and created another Filmation game before other developers could copy the style. Ultimate released the original Sabreman trilogy in quick succession in 1984 for the ZX Spectrum. Knight Lore came last, in November. Ports followed for the BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC, MSX, and Family Computer Disk System. In 2008 it was unofficially ported to Atari 8-bit computers based on the BBC Micro version and in 2019 for the C64/C128/Plus4, being a Z80 to 6502 conversion of the Spectrum version. The game was later included in compilations including Rare's 2015 Xbox One retrospective compilation, Rare Replay.
Knight Lore is regarded as a seminal work in British gaming history and has been included in multiple lists of top Spectrum games. Critics considered its technical solutions and isometric 3D style a harbinger of future game design. They praised the game's controls and atmosphere of mystery, but noted its difficult gameplay and criticised its sound and occasional graphical slowdown. Knight Lore was the best-selling game of January 1985 and was named the 1984 game of the year by the Golden Joystick Awards and Popular Computing Weekly readers. Though it was not the first isometric 3D video game, Knight Lore popularised the format. When the isometric, flip-screen style fell out of fashion, Knight Lore's influence persisted in computer role-playing games. Retrospective reviewers remember the game as the first to offer an exploratory 'world' rather than a flat surface, but consider its controls outdated and frustrating in the thirty years since its release.
The player, as Sabreman, has been bitten by the Sabre Wulf and now transforms into a werewolf at nightfall. He has 40 days to collect items throughout Melkhior the Wizard's castle and brew a cure for his curse. An onscreen timer shows the progression of day into night, when Sabreman metamorphoses into a werewolf, returning to human form at sunrise. Some of the castle's monsters only attack Sabreman when he is a werewolf. The game ends if the player completes the potion or does not finish the task in forty days. The game's only directions are given through a poem included with the game's cassette tape.
The castle consists of a series of 128 rooms, each displayed on a single, non-scrolling screen. Sabreman must navigate the 3D maze of stone blocks in each room, usually to retrieve a collectible object, whilst avoiding spikes and enemies, which kill him on contact. The player starts with five lives, and loses one for each death; running out of lives ends the game. Stone blocks serve as platforms for the player to jump between; some fall under the player's weight, some move of their own accord, and some can be pushed by enemies or Sabreman. Sabreman jumps higher when in werewolf form, which helps in specific puzzles. The player often needs to move blocks to reach distant objects, which are then used as platforms to reach areas in other puzzles. To complete the game, the player must return 14 sequential objects from throughout the castle to the wizard's cauldron room. At the end of the game, the player receives a final score based on the remaining time and amount of the quest completed.
The NES version of Knight Lore features changes from the original version. While the game features the same general gameplay flow of finding items and bringing them back to a central location, some changes to the gameplay were made. The game is now broken up into nine different stages consisting of eleven rooms each. This change also increases the number of items to find from eight to eleven and now there are eighty days instead of forty to complete the game. The ability to move objects in order to reach items that was present in the original game has been removed with this version of the game featuring more straight forward platforming challenges instead.
Find digital download of this game on
This version of Knight Lore was designed for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which was an eight-bit video game console manufactured
by Nintendo in the years 1983 - 2003. In that time, it was the best-selling video game console for which more than 700 licensed games and a number of non-licensed
games were created. Worldwide, approximately 62 million units of this console were sold at approximately price $ 100 per unit. More information about the
NES console can be found here.
Recommended Game Controllers:
You can control this game easily by using the keyboard of your PC (see the table next to the game). However, for maximum gaming enjoyment, we strongly recommend using a USB gamepad that you simply plug into the USB port of your computer. If you do not have a gamepad, you can buy one of these NES controllers:
Available online emulators:
6 different online emulators are available for Knight Lore. These emulators differ not only in the technology they use to emulate old games, but also in support of various game controllers, multiplayer mode, mobile phone touchscreen, emulation speed, absence or presence of embedded ads and in many other parameters. For
maximum gaming enjoyment, it's important to choose the right emulator, because on each PC and in different Internet browsers, the individual emulators behave differently. The basic
features of each emulator available for this game Knight Lore are summarized in the following table:
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