Last spring, Sir-tech signed a U.S. distribution agreement with Telstar Entertainment Software, a British video and PC game company, and the first two games have been truly lousy. It's hard to see how, with so many excellent products flooding the market, Virus: The Game and now Excalibur 2555 AD could get out the door.
Excalibur 2555 AD is a Tomb Raider wannabe that falls short of that lofty goal in every respect. Graphics, animation, navigation, gameplay, sound, storyline, and characters all are less than lame.
You play Beth, a pixelated Lara Croft-like character with a huge, ludicrously unwieldy sword. Her uncle Merlin has sent her into the future to recover Excalibur, King Arthur's sword. Some time-traveling nasties have nabbed it and plan to misuse its awesome power. Since everyone lives underground in the year 2555, you and Beth must navigate endless corridors and caverns on this quest. Along the way, you'll battle the usual retinue of evil beings plus do favors for a few common folk to earn keys, mix spells, or learn secrets. Eventually, in level 11 you find the sword, then it will take two more levels to find the time machine and return to ancient times.
Gameplay is monotonous. You learn of each level's quest when someone tells you exactly what you're supposed to do, then you wander through each maze-like collection of passages to collect the appropriate items. As you wander, you'll wonder how something that looks and sounds this bad could reach retail shelves. The graphics are muddy and unimaginative, the music is 1970s synthesizer quality, and the characters' voices sound like they have socks in their mouths. And since Excalibur saves games only after completing a level, if you should die before the end of a level, you must start over and endure the grinding tedium once again.
Maneuvering Beth is frustrating. Her fighting is limited to only four moves, and, unlike Lara Croft, she can't jump, swim, or sidestep, and there's too much lag time between keyboard and joystick commands and Beth's actions. When you encounter enemy creatures like scorpions, zombies, or skeletons, it's best to simply run around them. Fighting controls and animations are horrendous.
Everything about this PlayStation port looks thrown-together and unprofessional. Give Excalibur 2555 a wide pass.