A lot of you weren’t around when 1983 movies made the rounds. During that particular summer, we were treated to a swashbuckling space saga called Krull, featuring Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony and very early performances by Liam Neeson and Robbie Coltrane. Though the movie didn’t fare as well as, well, Star Wars: A New Hope, it has since become a cult favorite.
Not only that, but it became the subject for a couple of video games that actually weren’t half bad as far as movie-licensed fare for the time goes. Let’s take a look back now at the two games that were based on the film, each with different gameplay styles, but nailing the pure nature of what it was all about.
Atari wasn’t exactly well known for its movie-based ports. After all, raiders of the Lost Ark stunk something fierce; and let’s not even get started on what E.T. the Extra Terrestrial did. But then we have Krull, a solid action game that’s comprised of four different sequences, all based from the film.
The first takes place during the wedding between Colwyn nd his beloved Lyssa, as they suddenly come under siege by the Slayers, the Beast’s minions. The player will fight off against these soldiers to build up score, but eventually becomes overwhelmed as Lyssa is taken away.
We then see Colwyn riding atop a Fire Mare across the countryside, in the hopes of finding pieces of the Glaive buried within the ground. This is essentially a timing game, but as you get them all, you eventually attain the weapon in order to challenge the Beast.
Moving on, there’s the next sequence, in which you have to visit the Widow of the Web. It appears to be a different character, like in the film, but the segment requires you to get information from the Widow, and then have to ride atop the Fire Mare again to reach the location. But you have to time your ride perfectly, or the Beast’s fortress will disappear. Then you’ll lose a life and have to visit the Widow again.
Finally, once you do reach the Black Fortress (this should be fairly easy on the second try if you don’t get it on the first), you’ll have to take down the energy barrier that surrounds Lyssa with the Glaive and deflecting incoming shots from the Beast. But you want to make sure the Glaive doesn’t get stuck in him, or you’ll run out, and have to go back to the Widow level again.
That sounds tiring, but this is really a test of skill before you manage to get through the barrier and get one shot to finish off the Beast with Lyssa transformed into a fireball. Okay, that part is weird, since she doesn’t do that in the movie...but it makes for a cool segment. Then you “win” and start over again.
Okay, so Krull is a simple game in nature. But it’s really well done considering the theme; and well worth picking up if you’re a collector- especially if you can find the original box.
Yes, there was actually a Krull arcade game- and it was quite cool considering other games on the market. It was produced by Gottlieb D & Co. in conjunction with Columbia Pictures, and it took a two-joystick approach, similar to that of Smash TV. One joystick moves your character, Colwyn; while the other controls the direction of fire for your Glaives, once you pick them up.
The starting stage has you wandering across a mountainside, picking up pieces of the Glaive. You’ll need to watch out for boulders, though- if you get run over, you lose a life.
Once you acquire them all, you move on to another stage, where you’ll have to shoot Slayers with the Glaives while picking up members of your army, who are scattered throughout the stage. This is a great way to get acquainted with the gameplay.
Next up, you’ll need to lead your army to a hexagon, or, in this case, the Beast’s base. Once you acquire them, it automatically comes to you so it can snag them, while you continue shooting at Slayers. You’ll then face off against a large version of the base, where you’ll have to break down the walls once they turn black. That can be difficult, considering how it changes around. And with each wave, surprise, more Slayers show up.
Finally, you’ll come face-to-face with the Beast, who will come at you with fireball projectiles. However, you don’t have to defeat him- you just have to avoid him and his strikes, and you can touch Lyssa to win. It’s actually a bit odd watching him wander off unharmed, but, hey, it’s fun.
The stages then reset from there, albeit with a higher difficulty.
No, it’s not the most in-depth arcade game, but it’s a lot of fun if you can find an old unit to try out.2comments
And while you’re looking for a blast from the past, you can pick up Krull with VHS-style packaging on Blu-Ray. Check out the sweet cover below, along with the film’s trailer. Here’s to you, Krull!
Are you a fan of Krull? Let me know on Twitter at @TheDCD!