Knight ‘n’ Grail (2009)

While I kind of get the idea why some people still make games for dead platforms (either because it’s a nice challenge or an aesthetic ideal), I think it’s unfortunate since when once in a while a good game actually comes out, those playing it are mostly enthusiasts for the platform and the few others who stumbled upon the game and are willing to fiddle around with emulators. Not many, I gather.

Point in case Knight ‘n’ Grail, which is a metrovania platformer for the C64 which is thankfully not only available in disk format, but also as a digital download (and at the low price of ca. 3€ it’s pretty much a steal). The game isn’t perfect, the boss enemies are too easy, you either get music or sound, but not both at the same time and sometimes the controls can be a bit wonky (not to the extend that they stop you from playing, but there’s definitely room for improvement).

All that said, the game sports beautiful sprite graphics of the kind you rarely see these days, the gameplay follows proven paths (map, double jump, different weapons and armors) and has some clever tactical touches. Your chosen elemental armor either stops damage from enemy attacks (wind, fire, ice, etc.) or from touching the enemy itself, but not always both when the element of the attack and of the enemy are different. Size-wise, it’s medium. Depending on how good you are you can clear the entire castle in under 3 hours, but those are really fun hours.

All in all, if you like metrovanias and dig a beautiful looking old-school game, I would definitely recommend it.

PS.: if you’re like me and never touched a C64 emulator before, I would recommend playing the game with the CCS64 (Vice hang up on me). When you start the game and can’t get anything to work apart from using SPACE to see the map, go to input and enter: Control Port 2 = Joystick; Node = Key-Set 2. Then you can use Right-CTRL, SPACE and the NUM-Block. Furthermore, if you want to use a game pad, use JoyToKey.