#99 Fairlight

Posted: 12th December 2019 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , ,

829th played so far

Genre: Adventure
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 1985
Developer: The Edge
Publisher: The Edge

This genre of isometric adventures, which we’ve seen before in games like Knight Lore and Crystal Castles, had its moment in the eighties but has almost completely died out since – I think the still upcoming Monster Max is the most recent one we have on the list, and even that is from the Gameboy era. Even nostalgia doesn’t seem to apply to it – with all the remakes we’re seeing, I’ve not seen one that harkens back to this genre.

Fairlight is another one of these, focused even more on the adventure side rather than action, and I wonder whether this one will connect – I know it would have 25 years ago, but time has moved on.

Our Thoughts

As I said, Fairlight qualifies as an isometric adventure, but in the broader sense of adventure. The main game has you go around the castle, collecting items and using them in different places while trying to stay alive. Several enemies roam the area, but while there are moments where you can attack them, combat is limited enough that you can’t spare the limited health you’ve got an dealing with enemies. Throughout, you’re better off avoiding them and learning their AI to make sure they end up in the right place as you run around the screens.

Beyond that, there are a lot of rooms with different items and the goal is to combine them somehow to make your way through. It’s not made clear what to do – the objectives are vague enough that I couldn’t get further with it, even with a guide, and I saw most of the movement by watching videos. Even then didn’t really tell me why, but somehow there is a combination that works here.

The graphics are abstract enough that it doesn’t help much here either. It sort of makes sense when enemies and such are, but the areas are only really distinguished by colours and I couldn’t see much rhyme or reason to it. It’s put together for the game, rather than in any way that makes sense. Again, there’s no real plot here and I just never figured out what I was doing.

Final Thoughts

Fairlight is let down on multiple sides. Its style is outdated – these isometric adventures feel dated on their own and immediately mark it as older – besides, the diagonal controls never quite make sense. Then there is the way the story and goals aren’t communicated. Some more work could probably give you some idea, but here I just felt I was wandering around aimlessly. The number of enemies, that take too much puzzling to avoid but have no real way of dealing with them, didn’t help here, as it felt they discouraged exploration. It just didn’t feel like it wanted me to play and get through the game at all. That’d make sense for the arcade – eating quarters as it can – but not for a home game.

  1. […] I have been trying to play some more of these isometric action adventure games again. I touched Fairlight a month and a half ago and I’m going for Head Over Heels today, which has the same aesthetic […]