Series 4, Quest 5. Vicki descends into the edge of a chasm at the start of Level 2.

Series 4: Overview

By Keith McDonald

What's new for Series 4 of Knightmare? A summary of the main differences.


Start of Series

Treguard has a new assistant in the antechamber.

An elf, Pickle, is sat by the fireplace. Treguard asks him to attend to the magic mirror.

We see a preview of the dungeoneers before they are transported into the antechamber. They receive the usual quest items and guidance before they depart.

Start with Team 1

Treguard monitors the game from his chair in Knightmare Series 4.

Similarities and Differences

The dungeon has a very different look and feel to the previous years. Series 4 saw the introduction of outdoor locations and pre-shot video transitions between areas.

Knightmare was moving away from a randomised sequence of rooms and puzzles and closer towards fixed locations. This meant more obvious repetition, especially in the dialogue.

About Knightmare's locations

Rationale, from Tim Child

"The Knightmare adventures demanded movement, danger, atmosphere and a complex variety of scenes in which to stage the game.

"The Greater Game was becoming ever more hungry - ever more demanding of scenic complexity - and [Robert] Harris and [David] Rowe were at the limit of what could be achieved either with computer or paintbrush...

The dungeoneer arrives at Dungarth (Series 4, Level 1).

"So, if Virtual Reality wouldn't do the trick, how about plain reality? Britain was rich in real castles with real crumbling dungeons.

"Harris's relighting techniques could be used with any images, real or painted, so why not acquire a huge dungeon database by looting history?"

(A History of Knightmare: How Knightmare evolved)

Series 4, Quest 2. Alistair and team tackle the Transporter Pad puzzle in Level 3.

Dungeon

A new opening 'Place of Choice' gave teams the choice between two of the four classic quest objects.

Like the previous series, each team faced a sort of 'sub-quest'. Early in Level 1, they were invited to assist a character by retrieving or delivering an object. They were rewarded for this in Level 3.

This 'sub-quest' enabled the introduction of another quest item - the Eye Shield. When a dungeoneer held up the Eye Shield, video footage showed the transition between locations.

View the Series 4 dungeon

Characters

Team knowledge was tested differently in Series 4. Weeping Doors asked true/false questions to guarantee at least some testing on each level, but the difficulty level was lower than earlier years.

Series 4. Brother Mace, played by Michael Cule, receives a bottle of 'brandy'.

New characters included a sorceress called Malice, who replaced Morghanna as a second opponent. Though not a separate friend/foe personality in the same way as Merlin and Mogdred, she too could be a help or a hindrance.

Gundrada, the outspoken 'Sword Mistress', was a near permanent fixture in Level 2, while the roaming Brother Mace proved a source of educated wit.

View the Series 4 characters

Start of Episode

Series 4 (1990). Treguard and Pickle discuss the 'Book of Quests' at the start of an episode.

There was no longer a recap of the previous episode. Instead, Pickle reviews a Book of Quests, which focuses solely on the current team in progress.

A new status bar to show progress was generated using the Commodore Amiga 2000. This appeared in-quest when a team picked up clue objects or received magic.

End of Episode

The bell still tolls to signal 'time out' or 'temporal disruption'. It often sent Pickle into disarray. Pickle would then ask about the watchers.

They'll just wander off and get up to all kinds of mischief. But they'll be back, and do you know why? Because like all young humans, they're incurably curious.

Treguard

The closing titles for Series 4 included a montage of dungeoneer footage, unused rooms, and Gundrada fumbling her sword.

A swinging axe circles a narrow pathway. Challenge is thought to be known as the Sword of Damocles.

The titles for Episode 1 show an axe swinging in a circular motion across a narrow pathway. This room did not feature in Series 4, but it was used in the French adaptation, Le Chevalier du Labyrinthe.

During this series, Hordriss and Gundrada both made appearances on Children's ITV with presenters Jeanne Downs and Scally the Dog.

Children's ITV in 1990

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Eye Shield Room

The room containing the Eye Shield in Series 4 (1990).

This green-lit room in Level 1 of Series 4 was the opportunity for each dungeoneer to collect the new Eye Shield.

Fortress of Doom

The Fortress of Doom, as shown in Series 4 (1990).

This heavily-guarded fortress contained the Level 1 wellway in the fourth series of Knightmare.

Merlin, the Wizard

Merlin the magician

The magician of legend. Merlin was eccentric and excitable, and his magic was essential to most of the winning quests in the early years of Knightmare.

See Also