Cart: Labyrinth The Computer Game Cab: C64 Coin: Lucasfilm Games
If there’s one film from my youth that’s aged perhaps better than any other, it’s Jim Henson’s Labyrinth.
Every single charming production design feature, every deft touch of humour, every stunningly dramatic shot and every captivating special effect that amazed me as a child still holds true to this very day. Whilst not one of Henson’s major commercial successes, Labyrinth remains arguably his most bold and original creative vision.
And whilst Labyrinth: The Computer Game hasn’t aged at all well in comparison, it is perhaps the greatest movie tie-in ever made.
Opening as a typical, period text-adventure, you make your way from your apartment to the local cinema to watch a film. Seeing as text-adventures were par-for-the-course in 1986, I was quite happy to continue in this vein, but the famed English writer and author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Douglas Adams, had other ideas.
An integral cog in the game’s early development phase, Adams envisaged an experience that began as a text-adventure before evolving into something much more. Given the resounding success of his inventive approach, it makes you wonder why more creative polymaths aren’t involved in the design of contemporary games.
As you settle down in your seat to ‘watch’ the movie, the screen suddenly fills with a stunningly detailed image of David Bowie, playing Jareth, the King of the Goblins, who promptly sucks you into his world as the game transforms into a lengthy and challenging third-person, graphic-adventure.
Eschewing, almost as a sign of respect, a direct translation of the near-perfect film and mixing genres to an extent that perhaps no other game had ever done before, it set the tone beautifully for an adventure that was a every bit as gripping and absorbing as its source material.
The very definition of ‘Great Intro’.
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