Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 124 / DECEMBER 1990 / PAGE G-25



Put on your armor and sharpen your sword! The black knight has stolen the king's crown, and it's up to you to get it back. It won't be easy. To solve this intricate puzzle, you must find your way through six castles, 16 rooms, and more than 50 maze screens.

Pick up keys to unlock castles, but watch out! The black knight is waiting for you inside one of them. You must defeat him in order to retrieve the crown, but you're not safe until you slay the dragons.

Getting Started

Crown Quest is written entirely in machine language, so you'll need to use MLX, the machine language entry program, to type it in. See "Typing Aids" elsewhere in this section. When MLX prompts you, respond with the values given below.

Starting address: 0801
Ending address:   2058

When you've finished typing Crown Quest, be sure to save a copy of the program before exiting MLX.

Although Crown Quest is written in machine language, it loads and runs like a BASIC program. When you're ready to play, plug a joystick into port 2. Load the program and type RUN. Crown Quest requires disk access, so don't remove the disk from the drive until you've finished playing.

Playing the Game

In Crown Quest, you're a knight of the white castle. Your mission is to find and return the king's crown as quickly as you can. When you run Crown Quest, the program will search for a file on the disk named CQ.TIMES. If the file isn't there, it will be written automatically. This file is a record of the best playing times of people who have won the game. Once this file has loaded, the title and the best times are displayed.

Use the joystick to select one of four versions of the game. Each version uses the same Crown Quest kingdom, but the objects are located in different places. Game 1 is easiest; game 4, the most difficult.

Play begins with your knight standing in front of the white castle, where you must return the crown to win the game. Control the knight with the joystick and begin exploring. The kingdom is connected by a series of rooms with mazes between them. Some of the mazes may be simple, but they can be up to 12 screens large and have many rooms connected to them.

Somewhere in the kingdom is a toll bridge. Once you've crossed it, you enter the realm of the black knight, which consists of two challenging mazes, one room, and the black castle.

There are nine different objects to collect and use as you play Crown Quest. These objects appear in the lower left corner of the screen. You press the fire button to pick up an object, but you may carry only one item at a time. You may not drop objects when you're inside a maze. The object you're currently carrying is displayed in the text window at the bottom of the screen. Should you attempt to pick up an object while you're already carrying one, the two will be swapped.

You may find piles of gold worth either 5 or 10 points. Your gold points are displayed at the bottom of the screen. You'll need 50 gold points before you can pay to cross the black knight's toll bridge.

Other objects you may find are castle keys, a sword, a magnet, and the crown. You cannot enter a castle until the gate is open. If the gate is closed, you'll need to find a key that's the same color as the castle. The one exception is the white castle. Since it is already open, you won't need a key to enter it.

When exploring mazes, you may come across dragons flying toward you above the maze. If the dragon hits you, you'll see a flash of bright light. You can sustain only two or three hits in one maze before you're struck down, penalized two minutes, and sent back to the white castle. If you find the sword, you can defend yourself against the dragon.

The Black Knight's Lair

When you cross the toll bridge, 50 gold points will be taken, and you'll enter a corridor that leads to the black knight's kingdom. Once inside the black castle, you'll come face to face with the black knight himself. He stands twice as tall as you, guarding the entrance to a deep, dark, invisible maze—his hiding place for the crown. If you attempt to pass him without a sword, you'll be struck by his mighty fist and sent back to the white castle. Your only hope is to carry your sword, get a long running start, and try to strike him down.

Once past the black knight, you enter the most challenging maze of all. You're surrounded in darkness, but suddenly lightning illuminates the path for an instant. You must find your way through the maze using only the lightning as your guide. When you finally reach the crown, you'll see that the black knight has hidden it inside the maze wall. One of the other objects in the game can help you take possession of the crown. I won't tell you exactly how to get it out of the wall, but you'll need one of the objects mentioned earlier.

Winning the Game

When you have the crown, take it back to the white castle. The king will congratulate you, and your winning time will be displayed. Press the fire button, and the best-times screen will appear. If your time is better than the current best time for the game you played, you may type in your name. Press Return, and the best-times file will be updated on your disk. If your time did not make the list, the title screen will appear. Press the button to play again.

The first few times you play Crown Quest, it may take you more than 20 minutes to get through game 1. Once you've become familiar with a certain game, it becomes much easier to get a decent time. Game 4 should take you about an hour to solve.

To pause the game, press f1. The screen's border will flash different colors to let you know play is suspended. To continue the game, press f1 again. To restart the game completely, press f3.

Without question, the most difficult task in Crown Quest is trying to find your way through a maze with a dragon on your tail. The best way to solve this problem is to find the sword first and then to kill the dragon. However, in the more difficult games, you might have to pass through two or three mazes before you locate the sword. When a dragon is in your path, avoid it by backing into the previous maze for a second and then return. This will confuse the dragon and give you more time to escape. Remember that you can survive a couple of dragon hits.

Another challenging aspect of Crown Quest is that you can carry only one object at a time. You may find yourself retracing your steps many times during a game. When you cross the toll bridge, you must go back for necessary objects to recover the crown. The best strategy is to remember where you left certain items so you can recover them quickly.

Keep in mind that there are many hidden rooms branching off from the mazes that could contain valuable objects. You may have to explore every passageway in the kingdom before you locate them all. It's not easy to be victorious in your quest for the crown, but when you are, you'll agree it was well worth the adventure.