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The game is set in the Isles of the Western Sea, where the Lord of the Isles has forged the Dark Sceptre to defeat the invading Northlanders, but they seized the Sceptre and absorbed its power, becoming the Lords of the Shadow. The isles are now gripped by evil and ruled by the Sceptre, and the forces of the Isles must find and destroy the Dark Sceptre itself.

Dark Sceptre is essentially a small-scale real-time strategy game. There are seven teams of warriors roaming the Isles, each indicated by a colour. Umbrarg's Warriors are the Shadow Lords, and are red, while white marks your own team. The five sets of fighters in between should begin the game neutrally, and both you and the Shadow Lords can try to beat or befriend these warriors, as you see fit.

Each team is made up of men of various qualities, from Thanes to Thralls. The Thane is the team commander, without whom the entire company will be more readily defeated. A Thrall is a simple underling, a pawn in comparison to other more complex characters like Mystics, Heralds, Savages and Assassins. Each has its own style of headwear, such as crowns, turbans and helmets.

You have indirect control over your forces, able to tell them to scan an area for hostile warriors, keep an eye out for them, or carry out various orders. You can follow, protect, threaten or ambush warriors, use spells such as Charm and Petrify (turn to stone), or give or use objects.


Dark Sceptre Amstrad CPC Fighting.
Dark Sceptre ZX Spectrum Thanes were crowns
Dark Sceptre ZX Spectrum Another member of your team
Dark Sceptre ZX Spectrum Loading screen

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Critic Reviews

Your Sinclair ZX Spectrum Jan, 1988 9 out of 10 90
The Games Machine (UK) ZX Spectrum Dec, 1987 90 out of 100 90
Crash! ZX Spectrum Dec, 1987 88 out of 100 88
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) ZX Spectrum Jan, 1988 856 out of 1000 86
Computer and Video Games (CVG) ZX Spectrum Feb, 1988 8 out of 10 80
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Amstrad CPC Jun, 1988 740 out of 1000 74
Amstrad Action Amstrad CPC Jun, 1988 47 out of 100 47


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Contributed to by Glenn Benson (22)