Series 4

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Cull
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Series 4

Post by Cull » Tue Oct 28, 2003 7:48 pm

Hi all - I've been mulling this review about in my head for a while, and thought I'd show it off to all you fellow Knightmare fans. :)

Season 4 wasn't the best of seasons, but it had its bits. Good dungeoneers, bad dungeoneers, dungeoneers you can't decide over being bad or unfairly killed off... the season had it. Although there did seem to be a dramatic increase in dungeoneer game time (meaning fewer dungeoneers overall), partially IMHO brought on by many of the new features the season brought in.

First of all, the Eye Shield. Now I can't say I've been a huge fan of the Eye Shield itself, mainly because it seemed to reduce the amount of stuff a dungeoneer had to do. I suppose in this season it did its job of reducing the need to "guide" a dungeoneer to an exit (but then again it could take just as long to show the ES sequence), and it was necessary to show transition between the prefilmed areas of the dungeon (i.e. to get from the forest to the castle, rather than awkwardly jump from one room to another. However, in some cases it did feel that time that could be spent giving the dungeoneer another room or challenge was taken away by showing another piece of prefilmed footage. Plus there was the couple of minutes or so needed to explain about the ES on each quest, which extended quest time.

Another problem I have was in the quest themselves... they were extremely repetitive. Every team followed a very similar sequence of rooms each time round. Sure, they were jumbled up a little in places, but gone was the big, random choice of rooms that had been around in the previous seasons. This did make things a little boring, and in some cases made it a little obvious as to what would happen next, and what would happen to the dungeoneer.

Now, for some good points. :) I do give a thumbs-up to some of the teams in this season - I'm not sure whether it was through the dungeon being easier or not, but 4 teams reaching Level 3 (one of which winning, although IMHO the final dungeoneer deserved to win) is a pretty good feat. The deaths were also rather good; true, we did see 3 lose on the Block & Tackle, but at least they died in different ways (and who didn't laugh at Team 4's "Sidestep to your left!"? ;D ). Corridor of Blades started its killing spree, Mogdred got to off a dungeoneer in person, and I must say that crunching sound when Ariadne gets her victim sends a shiver up my spine every time I hear it! And at least the deaths made use of the Life Force clock - something that would soon be nigh on forgotten about.

So to conclude, I guess I could say that season 4 saw the start of many things that would change Knightmare, be it for better or worse. I wouldn't call it anywhere near Knightmare's finest hour, but it had enough to keep you watching and enjoying the season.


Any other thoughts and/or opinions?

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Re: A personal review of Season 4

Post by Emii » Tue Oct 28, 2003 7:53 pm

Welcome to the forum, as a first - and congrats on your first thread! Now to go back and read it properly...:)
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Re: A personal review of Season 4

Post by Emii » Tue Oct 28, 2003 8:00 pm

To tell you the truth, I completely agree with all of those points! I also get the idea that a lot of people saw series four as a Knightmare revamp of the system, what with assistants popping up, a kind of new approach to the game and a new aid in the quests (ES). This is one of the reasons why this series was probably a big confusion factor for fans and they aren't sure whether they like it or not.
"The alarm, Master! The opposition's tracked them! Oh good grief...look - Lord Fear's frozen Christopher!"

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Re: A personal review of Season 4

Post by Lord_Bob » Tue Oct 28, 2003 8:02 pm

I read your review and I have to say I whole-heartedly agree with you. A well structured and entertaining review. Welcome to the forums and enjoy your stay  ;D

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KaM
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Re: A personal review of Season 4

Post by KaM » Tue Oct 28, 2003 10:59 pm

8) Hiya! Wow: grand entrance, and what I love to see - another KM essay writer! Fantabulous.

Well, yep - I'm following in line: agree with everything you suggest there. Great review. I do think S4, in relativity, is weak; but it's Knightmare, and being so, the quality of the game showed in that, even when not at its elite best, it still had what it took to hold a scrutinising audience.

It was quite a shock, given the heavily orientated, and colourful dungeon based previous series, especially S3, which had gone so wonderfully well, and one might think, why change so radically? Then, afterwards, you see S5, and begin to see reasons why experiments were taken, and then later series, you see why the inclusion and devlopment of denser team quest synopses, albeit repetitive with Malice/Hordriss requiring a favour, and on completion of that, well on the way to success.

Hmm.. I just think for S4, the novelty of the Eye Shield was over-exposed, most notably as it produced what almost looked like continuity errors: dungeoneers wandering in a random direction, and then pre-recorded footage magnetising them to the exit. With S5, for instance, the whole concept of Dimension is taken more, with more acute both inside and outside footage; swirling staircases and yet stretches of woodland path. Saying that, I did enjoy the surreal graphics of the S4 'blue clue rooms' and the Dunkley Wood sketches.

Yes, I do agree that Giles' team were worthy winners, and couldn't see anything stopping them, what with the spell to overcome opposition, and the CoB behind them. Just think that S5 was the big improvement, and S4 filled in the transition a little bit, and becomes noticeable because of the ever-augmenting brilliance of S1-3. But of course, Knightmare by its own nature, repetitive or not, is addictive, and each team would approach things differently... such as.. side-stepping to the left!?  ::)

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Morghanna
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Re: Series 4

Post by Morghanna » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:57 am

The brilliant series 3 was always gonna be a tough act to follow, but when S4 was first broadcast i remember being astonished at the changes.

The new theme music arrangement. It was good, but i still prefer the more dramatic original.
The new look ante-room. Again, it was good, altho i really liked the old screen-in-the-chest set.
An assistant for Treguard. I never really took to Pickle, altho he had the occasional good comment. This is not a criticism of David Learner, who acted the part very well. I just don't feel that an assistant added anything. (Apart from Treguard getting to use a new catchphrase: "The sprite is right!". Perhaps to compensate for the absence of, "Ooooh naaaasty!")
The real, outdoor locations. It says so much about the brilliance of David Rowe's artwork that the real life footage of castles and forests simply didn't have anywhere near as much atmosphere as his artificial rooms. Also, i felt that something was lost from the original idea of a 3-level dungeon, each level being progressively more claustrophobic and sinister.
The eye-shield. I just didn't see any point to it. Admittedly the dwarf tunnels in S3 had little point, but they were usually quickfire and they looked good. The eye-shield sequences didn't really add anything to the play and they seemed to drift along so slowly that they broke the game up. Additionally, each quest needed a scene to introduce it, which caused more delay.
Those door-monsters. They were slow to activate and far too dreary.
The pace of the episodes. 8 quests in 16 episodes compared with 13 quests in S2 and 12 in S3.
This can be partially attributed to the far lower difficulty of level 1. In S4 100% of teams made it to level 2 and 50% of them reached level 3, far more than S1, 2 or 3. But due to the slower pace, teams were also taking noticeably longer to get thru each level.
There was also a certain repetitiveness between quests, which reminded me a little of S1.

But this isn't just a whinge about S4. There were some great things about it as well. :)

The teams. Even tho there were less of them, they were were a good selection. Two were excellent, several were very good and the teams that were slightly less successful were very entertaining!
Returning characters. The return of several popular characters ensured that the series still had a familiar feel. Merlin & Mogdred, Hordriss, Motley & Melly were all good.
The new tree-troll Oakley, which replaced the wall-monsters, was very good.
New cast. As with S3, there were considerable changes to the cast which meant that several terrific characters had gone, but again the producers chose some great replacements.
I.M.O. Michael Cule was the star of the series as the likeable Brother Mace. He was also sound as the gormless guard Fatilla.
Samantha Perkins was brilliant as the boisterous sword-mistress Gundrada and wonderfully sinister as the dark sorceress Malice.
Erin Geraghty was good (no pun intended) as the crone Mistress Goody (a mellow successor to Mildread & Mrs. Grimwold) but sadly had very little screen time.
The new status bar. It looked really cool.
The corridor of blades. 8-o A great new feature, which was to become a regular. Team 2 were the first to face it and quickly got sliced. (cue the advisor's hilarious response: "Are we dead?" ::))

Oh yes, and we finally had a winning team again. :)

With the benefit of hindsight S4 was the period of transition from the original format of S1,2,3 to the newer style of S5,6,7. Even more dramatic changes would arrive in S5, but more about them elsewhere....
"I think it's about time you got wise to the ways of real magic. The kind that is borne on the dark side." >:D

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JamesA
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Re: Series 4

Post by JamesA » Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:50 pm

Morghanna wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:57 am
I.M.O. Michael Cule was the star of the series as the likeable Brother Mace. He was also sound as the gormless guard Fatilla.

Morghanna - in case you haven't checked it out yet, here's a selection of interview questions from when I met up with Michael to film him for my 25th Anniversary Documentary. There are some parts there where Michael looks back at his time playing Brother Mace and Fatilla.
James Aukett
Creator of the Knightmare: 25th Anniversary Documentary

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Morghanna
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Re: Series 4

Post by Morghanna » Thu Jul 02, 2020 11:54 am

James, thank-you for the link. That's a really interesting interview. I like the fact that Michael Cule is a fan of rpg himself.
I would like to add that your documentary is fantastic. I watched it again recently. It was nice to see so many contributors interviewed and it was a great selection of people from across the different series. :)
"I think it's about time you got wise to the ways of real magic. The kind that is borne on the dark side." >:D

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JamesA
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Re: Series 4

Post by JamesA » Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:55 pm

Thanks for the compliments regarding the documentary, Morghanna. Glad you enjoyed it. :D
James Aukett
Creator of the Knightmare: 25th Anniversary Documentary

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