When I use the phrase classic to refer to computer games, I'm usually just being polite. Especially when it comes to adventure games, which seem to have grown very little since their introduction in the early 80s. Chronicles of the Sword from Psygnosis takes a classic approach to a classic storyand manages to accomplish very little in the process.
Using the Arthurian mythos as a backdrop, Chronicles of the Sword does a lackluster job of utilizing the rich characters and legends of Camelot. One would think that the designers, using a story with so many interesting facets and tangential characters at their disposal, could at least have found one aspect to use as the basis for their game. Instead, they have simply appropriated the names into their generic fairy tale.
As Sir Gawain, you have been commissioned by Arthur and Merlin to stop the evil Morgana. Unfortunately, your role involves little more than playing errand boy to other characters, and you're stuck with the menial task of collecting the numerous artifacts and objects they have requested. Unfortunately, most of these objects are almost impossible to find, not because of any mind-bending puzzles, but because they are literally hard to find. At times, Chronicles of the Sword seems like a high-resolution version of an old Highlights hidden picture search as you comb the screen with your mouse, searching for objects which are hidden under scenery or are obscured by shadows. The few actual puzzles that do exist require such obtuse logic that they can seem more puzzling after they're solved.
The cumbersome interface makes this already frustrating endeavor even more distressing. There is never any indication why certain puzzles must be completed with certain objects, nor any explanation why seemingly appropriate objects won't work. At one point, I had at least three different types of cups in my inventory. I was trying to retrieve a draft of ale from a barrel but none of the containers managed to capture the elusive brew. But I was never told that they wouldn't work; the game confusingly interprets any incorrect combination as a look command. Consequently, I was treated to repeated descriptions of the barrel as I tried every item in my expansive inventory.
Chronicles of the Sword does have some nice elements, most notably the richly detailed background art and the excellent musical score. But the positive features only manage to distract you from the fact that the game is confusing, frustrating andworst of allexcruciatingly dull.