The Test of Time. Number 1: Master of the Lamps (Commodore 64)

by PaulEMoz in , , ,

Here's another new feature I thought I'd introduce... slightly different to Unsung Classics, in that I'm going to re-evaluate games I played years ago and loved then, and see whether they still stand up today.

The first game I'm trying out is Master of the Lamps. The reason? This is the game that made me want a Commodore 64.

I was going to have my parents buy a mate's Spectrum for me for Christmas. He was selling it to get money to put toward a Commodore 64, which I knew was out of my parents' price range. And then, one day, I was walking past the house of a classmate, and one of my mates was in there. They wouldn't let me in, but taunted me by blasting the music from Master of the Lamps at full volume from the bedroom window. Compared to the 48K Spectrum, well... actually, there was no comparison. I was blown away. I was equally blown away when my dad asked me "Wouldn't you prefer a Commodore 64?". And so, that Christmas, a major part of my gaming life was born.

Touch one of the glowing diamonds and it's instant electro-death. Not nice.

I did play Master of the Lamps often, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The music, of course, was great, but the game, although short and somewhat limited, was always entertaining for me. The question for me was, how would it far almost 25 years later?

Not very well, was the answer. I know it wasn't a great game then, but the things I liked then just aren't as impressive or appealing now. What was already a limited game just isn't all that interesting at all today. And to cap it all, the music that made such an impression then doesn't really sound that good now. I really enjoyed the tunes when I used to play the game, but then, that was before I heard Rob Hubbard's stuff. The music pales compares to most of his efforts, and doesn't sound that good at all, now.

Hit the coloured gongs and a genie appears. I'm not showing you - that would spoil the magic!

So, my first Test of Time has been a disappointment, with one of my nostalgic favourites shown up as a limited, short-lived affair. The magic carpet sections, which account for half of the game, are so easy to complete early on that they might as well not be there. The only challenge comes from selecting one of the later levels... they're really difficult and quite good fun, the kind of challenge that has you writhing your arms and joystick around as you try and coax your character around a difficult corner. Some small amount of fun can be had there, but otherwise Master of the Lamps is a bit of a dated dud.

Test of Time: FAILED.