Beyond's latest saga is not a
game to be trifled with. Over
4,000 locations and a
claimed 30,000 graphics
screens - remind you of
anything? That's right - it
uses the landscaping
techniques pioneered by
Mike Singleton in Lords of Midnight. Only this time, it's
also a full blooded adventure
which understands complex
text commands and has all
manner of people and
creatures in it - both good
and bad - all doing their
Sorderon, not content with being an evil wizard, has discovered the secret of immortality, slain the rightful king of Elindor and now rules the land with fear and
B e y o n d |
M i d n i g h t
Sorderon's Shadow is a major new epic, complete with a cast of thousands and glorious landscaped sets. Peter Freebrey becomes the un-named one and prepares for adventure ...
Elindor is a large land and it'll take quite a bit of time to trek across from one side to another. If some evil doer puts the boot in and you die you'll have to repeat that journey again - unless of course you've saved your position onto tape.
Should you meet with death the computer appears to 'hang' and none of the keys work. It's actually waiting for you to load in a saved position, though it
torment. All those faithful to
the king have been slain or
transformed. All who are
known to him risk his
terrible vengeance - fear
stalks the day and death
follows by night (Calm down! Ed). Under his rule,
Elindor is dying. |
But there's hope. One of the Lords of Elindor has for years been calling across the cosmos for an 'unknown warrior' who'll rid the land of Sorderon's evil shadow. All pretty standard stuff and nothing to thrill you to death. Until you discover that the unknown warrior is you! Your job is to single- handedly rid Elindor of its tyrant. To do this, you must complete, in order, nine separate tasks which lead to his downfall. This might seem a bit steep but it does at least give you some chance of succeeding in an otherwise strange and deadly land.
The 14-page manual is a great help and will be essential to complete the game - as is a speech in the early stages that was omitted from our review copy! The manual sets out the tasks and describes the major characters and objects. There's also a complete map of Elindor which is crucial even though some of the windmills and igloos have
been replaced by huts.
P'raps the climate changed
or maybe the programmers
ran out of memory ... |
Keep a close watch on where you are and what's in front of you or you may well find yourself dead! Bogs and marshes are no place for the newcomer. You'll also come across many different creatures on your travels, mostly hostile. Pay careful attention to that part of the instructions dealing with 'the nine tasks of the un-named one', 'characters' and 'objects'. You'd be wise to remember the names of the goodies and baddies 'cos if you kill the wrong one ... you're done for!
Talking about 'the nine tasks' - these lead you through the adventure and without them you won't stand a snowball's chance in hell. As the hero you must complete these nine tasks, seven in the correct order and the other two at any time.
Cryptic verse and character speech will appear throughout play. These clues should aid you in your quest and the instruction booklet will provide you with further information when you're really stuck!
The range of gruesome creatures in Sorderon's Shadow is truly amazing and
doesn't actually tell you this
in the instructions. You did
save as you travelled didn't
Don't be too surprised when some of the creatures you meet don't want to go
|The text window shows what's going on and what you're carrying - in this case the Eternal Flame, Horseshoe of Zephyr and the Urn of Perception - in usual adventure style.||Watch the numbskull ... It's a clock! When it rises completely out of the flames, it's midnight and the Krillan hordes take to the street looking for action. Best to REST until daybreak.|
|Samus, the winged horse, has a definite craving for Krok leaves and you're well advised to find him some. Keep Samus happy and he'll show you the woodcutter's tool!||Core! This half-eaten apple shows your remaining strength. If it's white, you're on top of the world. Green means you're feeling a bit weedy and if it turns blue, you'd better watch it!|
|Innit pretty? The landscaping window shows you where you are - here, you're inside Tracker's hut. The window updates itself regularly and is capable of 30000 different views!||This window names the type of landscape you're in together with the region you're in. So here you are in a hut (wow, I'd never have spotted that) in the Highveld region.|
|These three are Tracker, Retriever and the Skeleton. The Tracker comes in very useful in the fifth task as he knows the whereabouts of the Orb of Caradach, a stone gifted with the knowledge of how to overthrow Sorderon.||Oh dear - the apple's gone a mouldy blue colour! You're pretty low on strength - if you don't watch it, you'll be attacked by a Dunecrawler and you won't be able to fight back.|
|You've got one line to enter your commands - they can be quite complex like this one and you've got a vocabulary of 750 words to go at! One neat trick is the ability to instantly recall any of your last three commands using a sentence store feature.||Enter Manic Treeblower (Manic who?) and the Thornman. Old prickly features has a prickly nature too so don't mess with him unless you're feeling strong!|
|You could always try asking! Sorry, but in Elindor you rarely get something for nothing and you're going to have to come up with a better deal than this.||Refusals appear here - so if you've bodged up a command or the program can't understand you, you can still see the command you tried ...|
|As I don't have the instructions for this game, I wasn't able to work out how to avoid dying frequently, and so wasn't able to get to the specific locations depicted in the screen shots in the magazine. As I had to delve into the code a bit to reconstruct the screens I wanted, I've appended here the little bit of info I gleaned. |
* The character set starts at 47868 (although CHARS still points to the one in ROM), but it's incomplete and some of the characters are jumbled around. The table below summarises the differences. Only A-Z and a-z are in the same relative locations.
* The little pictures of the various characters which appear in the game are held around memory locations 49664 to 52992 (roughly). The pictures range in size from 2x2 characters to 3x5 characters. I presume that there's an array somewhere which defines the location and dimensions of each picture, but I didn't know how to go about finding it.
* The Sorderon's Shadow map from the game is on World of ZX Spectrum.
|Character code||Spectrum character||Sorderon character|