• Graphics
  • Sound
  • Playability
  • Lastability
FormatSinclair Spectrum
DeveloperClimacus and McNeil

Main review

The goddess Aphrodite has been kidnapped and dragged, presumably kicking and screaming, to the Demon Castle and that just isn’t on, so a brave knight has vowed to rescue her. But the landscape around Demon Castle isn’t exactly a tourist hotspot and saving the beautiful goddess from her villainous captors will take bravery, stamina and a good supply of arrows with which to smite the foul creatures of the night.

The knights, castles and damsels plotline would usually hint at a platformer or RPG but Knightmare ZX is a fixed speed vertically scrolling shoot ’em up and, although the name will ring bells to readers who grew up watching Treguard of Dunshelm and his teenage dungeoneers each week, it’s actually a conversion of a similarly-titled MSX blaster produced by Konami that actually predates the Children’s ITV show and the original Japanese name Majou Densetsu translates to Demon Castle Legend in English.


The brave knight makes his way through each perilous stage towards where Aphrodite has been imprisoned at a fixed speed, but the player can move him around the play area and fire weapons upwards towards incoming demons. The knight has a bow and arrow with him but there are some power-ups which beef up firing and shielding him from the demons and their bullets, which is good because there are quite a few of both to be dealt with!

The background scrolling on this Spectrum conversion simulates the character-at-a-time movement of the MSX original and the use of colour has been limited to the backgrounds, so with the more smoothly updating enemies and their bullets using the same colours as the landscape the player is standing on there will be some visibility issues during play, particularly on the stages which use darker background colour combinations.

But whilst this conversion might not be perfect (at least in part because some of the power-up items in Konami’s original appear to have gone missing at some point during the process of pushing the game into the Spectrum) and that attribute cell to attribute cell scrolling can be somewhat uncomfortable on the eyes to begin with, most players will find that the issues will soon be forgotten in the heat of battle and Knightmare ZX proves itself to be a pretty solid, playable and reasonably challenging blaster for the Spectrum wrapped up in some nice graphics and decent AY sound.