The Staff of Karnath

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The Staff of Karnath
The Staff of Karnath
Cover art
Developer(s) Ultimate Play The Game
  • NA Ultimate Play The Game[1]
  • EU Ultimate Play The Game[1]
Designer(s) Dave Thomas
Platform(s) Commodore 64
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single player

The Staff of Karnath is a video game for the Commodore 64 developed and released by Ultimate Play The Game in 1984. It was the first of a series to feature the aristocrat adventurer Sir Arthur Pendragon. The game was created by brothers Dave and Robert (Bob) Thomas.[2] It was followed by Entombed in 1985.


Typically for an Ultimate release, players are given a tantalizing and cryptic introduction :

"Many millions of years ago before man and his descendants, there lived a very different kind of creature. These creatures were known as Sarnathians, originating from a long dead planet and coming to Earth when their planet was on the verge of destruction.
They were an evil race, feasting on the torture and destruction of other creatures opposed to their rule. Their aim was the domination of the Universe through the use of a powerful orb of light, the very embodiment of evil, which was created from an unknown material when their planet was destroyed. Over the thousands of years of their terrifying rule, the Orb became too powerful even for them and eventually caused a tear in the inter-dimensional fabric of the Realm of Reality and ... sent every living creature on the Earth into the alternate dimension of Unreality.
Centuries later, the time of the Orb's most powerful state draws near and on Walpurgis Night (May Eve) at 12.00 midnight, this time will come. It is 6 o'clock on the very same day and your task, as Sir Arthur Pendragon, ace adventurer and researcher into ancient legends and sorcery, is to find the sixteen pieces of the pentagram, open the obelisk and destroy the Staff of Karnath before 12 o'clock.
Your quest of The Staff of Karnath begins..."


The game is set in a castle presented in a scrolling, oblique view. The aim of the game is to collect all pieces of a pentacle before midnight, in order to unlock the obelisk where the Staff Of Karnath has been hidden. The pieces of the pentacle are guarded by various magical creatures, some of which can be defeated by casting spells, others requiring accurate timing and movement. Once a piece is obtained no more pieces can be collected until the pentacle is taken to a specific chamber within the castle.

The spells in the game were: Forthrin, Throbin, Knossos, Omphalos, Menhir, Aeolus, Baracata, Ibrahim, Stolv, Yerobas.


The Staff of Karnath was well received by the home computer game press critics, Personal Computer Games giving it a solid 9 in the February 1985 issue,[3] with Commodore User saying it was highly playable.[4] It was declared as the 7th best C64 game in the first issue of Zzap!64 magazine in May 1985.[5]


  1. ^ a b c The Staff of Karnath at GameFAQs
  2. ^ a b "The Ultimate Adventure of Sir Arthur Pendragon", Retro Gamer (Imagine Publishing) (56), October 2008: 48–54 
  3. ^ "The Staff of Karnath", Personal Computer Games (15), February 1985: 52 
  4. ^ "The Staff of Karnath", Commodore User (EMAP) (18), May 1985: 50–51 
  5. ^ "It's the Zzap!64 top 64!", Zzap!64 (Newsfield Publications) (1), May 1985: 89 

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