3. BETRAYAL (16%, issue 11)

Even Microprose’ 90 page instruction manual can’t adequately explain Betrayal, so a 500 word feature on the game 24 years later probably isn’t going to be able to either. Sean Masterson probably got nearest by calling it a sort of medieval Supremacy – yet he hesitated to do so, because to compare it to such a great game is an enormous injustice.

betrayalcf11

£20, this game cost. Nice one, Microprose.

Anyway, let’s give this a bash. You play a wannabe King, we think. And to gain control of the land you have to fight off three others with the same ambitions. As your men invade and take charge of villages, you’ll find each settlement makes money from crops, crafts and so forth. That money makes your cause stronger – and you can increase it more by raising taxes and the like.

There are all kinds of touches here which are, in theory, really great: you can spy on your opponents, and they can do it to you. You can even organise assasinations. And the introduction of some arcade combat for the fight sequences is an interesting diversion from the pointing and clicking.

It sounds like it should be good, doesn’t it? On paper, it seems like a really cool idea. But the piss-poor instructions, unexplained icons and messy presentation mean you won’t ever begin to explore this mess of a game. Plus, the controls are dreadful: you can spend minutes trying to get the computer to acknowledge a single click, by which time you’ve probably pressed it three or four times and spent too much money by accident. And the money shot? Sometimes this £20 game crashes, and you can’t ever tell when that might be. Investing time in Betrayal is therefore a risk. Although you should take that as the C64 taking matters into its own hands and stopping you from wasting your precious life. CF

CF SAID: “”Steer clear or you’ll feel…well, take a guess.”

WE SAY: A potentially brilliant game spoiled by every single aspect of the execution. 


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