Chris Launius has posted a large number of photos of the original artwork for various Origin games on Facebook. I’d normally leave news like this for other sites but this is too good to pass up with the cover art for Ring Quest, the Times Of Lore map, Ultima 5, Ultima 1 and many others. One of the most interesting items is a hand-drawn box art mockup for Knights Of Legend which is very different to the final version. Head on over to Chris’s Facebook album to have a look at the rest.
If that isn’t enough, he’s also got an older archive with drawings from Martian Dreams, Quest For Clues books and some early drawings of the Ultima 5 cover. Chris apparently saved all of this stuff and much more when it was going to be thrown out after Origin were closed down. All of it going into landfill is unthinkable but this sort of thing is hardly an uncommon story. Good to know it’s all in safe hands now although I inevitably wish they were mine.
On those lines, I agreed to buy most of the remainder of Rhea Shelley’s hoard of Origin memorabilia a couple of nights back. There isn’t so much left now so it’s not quite the bank account crippling expense of last time but it’s enough that I’m certainly going to notice it. There isn’t much documentation but there are some cool Origin nik-naks which I had to have. Expect photos in due course but I’m not even close to going through everything I got the first time around yet. If anyone wants a Crusader poster by the way, I should soon have far more than I could ever need.
This is a press release from 1989 advertising the imminent release of Knights Of Legend. It pushes the complex combat aspects of the game which were certainly the major focus from what I recall:-
As an added bonus, here is another press release from the year before about Origin winning the inaugural best developer award at the 1988 computer game developers conference. This was the first year of what would later become the GDC with only 150 developers attending. By 2008 this number had swelled to over 18,000:-
This is the design board for a Knights Of Legend flyer which I assume was included with the game, although there isn’t anything comparable in my copy. The original plan with Knights of Legend was to release a long series of add-on packs which would have essentially been sequels using the same engine. This should have made it the first Origin game to have an expansion pack but no add-ons were ever released presumably due to disappointing sales of the game.
It’s a final couple of scans from Games Machine magazine today. The first is a review for Knights Of Legend on C64 from February 1990.
Anyone who read the early stages of this blog will know what I feel about Knights Of Legend. I did a review on Mobygames for which my one line summary was “Gaming Hell”. It’s a game that could have been designed to frustrate someone trying to blog their way through dozens of titles by stalling them for a year or two and it’s the only game that I had to resort to cheating (savestates not included).
The magazine review is more positive to say the least and it’s awarded the staggering score of 98%. It does warn that you will have to say goodbye to your social life but as far as I’m concerned you couldn’t hold down a job either and have the time needed to play this game. There was still plenty to like about it though if you are prepared to put the time in and have the patience required. Knights Of Legend would probably be my choice for a desert island game for all the reasons that I disliked it.
This is apparently my 500th post on here. 500 posts and I still haven’t played Lazarus or sorted out the site navigation/appearance for that matter. The latter is unlikely to happen any time soon but I don’t think I’ll make it to the end of the year without playing Lazarus.
I’ve added 3 new downloads in the Origin books section. I wasn’t happy with some of the cluebook scans on replacementdocs especially Martian Dreams which was horribly overcompressed during editing. I’ve redone that, Savage Empire and Underworld 2.