Reviews Archive

Retro Weekends Episode 66: Fairlight

Retro Weekends plays and reviews Fairlight for the Zx Spectrum. All gameplay footage taken from real hardware.


What we thought

"I enjoyed watching Rich play this game and enjoyed participating as a bystander pointing things out, but when playing it myself I really struggled with the keyboard controls and cannot understand what they were thinking when they set them up. I'd imagine I would enjoy playing this with a joystick far better regardless of having to have to lean over to use the specific keyboard actions. The graphics looked fine to me, of course given the Spectrum's limitations you pretty much have to have monochrome when making an isometric view game but they looked nice and detailed. Honestly the only real problem I had with the game was with getting to grip with the controls."


"This is a very ambitious and inventive game for the era that's full of quite a few ideas. The most ambitious element possibly is the item manipulation, the way that you can pick up and move items around the environment had been seen before in some games but nowhere near to this level. The game also gives you quite a lot of moves and options for the time, you can choose when to use the health potions for example, and you can get rid of the respawning enemies by disposing of their bodies, so to speak, so there's a lot of little planning and resource management elements going on here that help to make your life a bit easier. Where it comes to worldbuilding the game is definitely ahead of the other isometric games of the era as this feels more like a cohesive world, you get a proper castle set out with rooms and corridors and such and its more engrossing for that reason. On the bad side some of the puzzles in the game are too cryptic, requiring trial and error, though to be fair given the date of release this isn't really something you can criticise the game for, these kinds of puzzles are par for the course where it comes to action-adventure games at this stage in their development frankly. More unforgiveable is the lack of sound effects in the game, its completely silent and I do feel that's a little unacceptable, a much later release did add in-game music but that's not the version we're reviewing here. A very impressive and influential game that's held back just slightly by a few flaws"

Atari ST
Atari VCS
Commodore 64
Master System
Mega Drive
Neo Geo
PC Engine
ZX Spectrum