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Knight Rider

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Released: 1985

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Ocean

Developer: Ocean

Submitted by: Ian Marks

If ever there was a TV programme made to be turned into a game, it was Knight Rider. The adventures of one man, his bouffant hair and his musical theatre loving car would have been perfect for a good Spy Hunter clone. Sadly if ever there was a more disappointing game than Knight Rider released on the Spectrum then I don’t know of it.

In the game you are chasing some criminals that are obviously ‘operating above the law’. You do this by initially driving all the way across America… it takes about ten minutes to get there, although it is such a crap and boring game section it feels like you actually have driven across America.

Whilst driving you can shoot down enemies with your guns. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember KITT ever having any guns. If there was a woman to be rescued from a bunch of hillbillies who wanted to spoil her crippled husbands stunt show, Michael and KITT never used weaponry. No they got their victory by jumping over other cars, surprising hoodlums by the car driving itself, and punching people whilst keeping their hair-do intact.

In Ocean’s game you shot things, and there were a lot of things to shoot. It gave you the impression that it had started life as a different game, and was then rebadged. In fact playing it today it plays like a poor imitation of Imagine’s Zzoom. Wherever it’s source was, it didn’t play well.

Once you got to your location, there was an on-foot section. This was slightly better, and involved you following your cars instructions to look through rooms. It looks a bit like (and I stress a bit like) the early Metal Gear Solid games, but plays nothing like them.

That is really all there was to it. It was a very poor game, and probably Ocean knew this, they still charged £8.95 for it though. I remember seeing the advert for the game in Crash. It looked so cool, a huge picture of KITT and a tiny screenshot where it was difficult to check what the game looked like… I’m sure it was intentional.

I think the Commodore 64 version may have been better. It certainly couldn’t have been worse. At the time I felt like hiring Michael Knight to ‘Turbo Boost’ his car through Ocean’s offices, and get my £8.95 back.