The Ancestral Trail
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The Ancestral Trail is a now out-of-print partwork magazine that was originally published by Marshall Cavendish in the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, parts of Europe and New Zealand between 1992 and 1994. There was also a computer game compiled in both DOS and Amiga formats.
The Ancestral Trail Partworks were then based on a manuscript initially written by Frank Graves, which split into two halves of 26 issues each. The first half partwork adaption was adapted by Fergus Fleming, takes place in the Ancestral World and describes Richard's struggle to restore good to the world. The second part was adapted by Ian Probert, takes place within the Cyber Dimension. It deals with Richard's attempts to fight evil while also attempting to return home. Each issue centered on an adventure against a particular adversary, and each issue ended on a cliffhanger. The Partworks were also published in several languages like in Germany (Im Reich der Urwesen) and Italy (La Storia Ancestrale)etc..
Setting and characters
Richard, on his way home, slips and falls, causing him to black out. When he wakes, he is in the Ancestral World, where he meets an old man named Golan. Golan explains to Richard that he is the prophesied "Chosen One" and that the Ancestral World is being destroyed by a being known as the "Evil One", and that he is close to winning the battle against the forces of good.
Golan is a Guardian and the Keeper of the Life Force, which is contained in the Tree of Life through seven Life Force Pods - each pod possesses a different Life Force. Six of the seven pods have been stolen, and consequently six Guardians have been captured. Only Golan's pod remains, but he is severely weakened. He sends Richard on a quest, which he must complete in twenty six days, to recover the missing Life Force pods and free the captured Guardians and their forces.
The basic expository beginnings of the story aren't featured in issue 1 of the series but in a special four-panel folder that was included with the first issue.
Richard (First appears in the Introductory Folder)
- Richard is the ordinary boy who is plucked from his normal life to save the Ancestral World. He has oddly coloured eyes. Golan explains the philosophical importance of this: Richard's green eye sees the good side of life; his grey eye sees the evil. Only Richard, therefore, can restore the balance between good and evil.
Orkan (First appears in the Introductory Folder)
- Orkan meets Richard almost as soon as he begins his journey, crossing paths as Orkan falls back from the forces of the Evil One. He is searching for survivors of the Final Battle when he joins Richard's quest. A half-pig, half-man creature he eventually becomes the Guardian of Common Beasts at the end of Richard's Ancestral World adventures.
Melek (First appears in Issue #1)
- Before the Evil One arrived, the aged dwarf Melek of Antona was a scribe in the Ancestral City. After the Forces of Evil corrupted his world and his people, Melek fled the Ancestral City with two books that become invaluable throughout Richard's journey. One of these, the Book of Prophecies, saves the group on more than one occasion. Melek becomes Keeper of Sacred Runes and the leader of his people after the Evil One's defeat.
Golan (First appears in the Introductory Folder)
- Golan is the ancient Leader of the Guardians and also the Guardian of Landsmen, and the only Guardian not to fall under the Evil One's influence. He summons Richard to his world and sends him on his special quest to rid the world of the Evil One. He equips Richard with a tunic that turns him invisible, and a powerful amulet, to help him on his quest. Golan remains with Richard in spirit throughout his journey through the Ancestral World and the Cyber Dimension.
The Evil One (First appears in Issue #52)
- An all-powerful evil being whose existence and motivations are never explained. He has designs on both the Ancestral World and Earth, and his plane of origin is the Cyber Dimension.
Robo (First appears in Issue #27)
- Robo first encounters Richard almost as soon as he appears in the Cyber Dimension, and follows him on his journey. Unbeknownst to Richard, Robo is actually programmed by the Evil One to eliminate Richard if he succeeds in finding all the Omni Pieces. Richard has to convince him to override his own programming to survive. Robo hates Teeza from as soon as they meet and treats him with contempt from then on onwards.
Teeza (First appears in Issue #43)
- Teeza is a marsupial/monkey-like creature called a Wigmat, who joins Richard's journey after Richard defeats a machine who eats his people. Teeza, like Robo, can also hold Omni Pieces and becomes invaluable to Richard when Robo is lost for a portion of the journey through the Cyber Dimension.
The Ancestral World - issues 1-26
|Title||Subtitle||UK Publication Date||Issue||ISBN|
|The Moss Beast||In The Grip of the Slime River Ghoul||30 December 1992||#1||ISBN 0-7485-4080-6|
|Richard and Orkan meet the scribe Melek, before an encounter with the first monster the Ancestral World throws at Richard - Sumar the Moss Beast!|
|Tolosh of the Garoon||Mortal Danger in Enchanted Waters||13 January 1993||#2||ISBN 0-7485-4036-9|
|A precious pod lies at the bottom of Lake Garoon. Will Richard and his companions survive their attempts to retrieve it?|
|Baal the Giant Spider||Caught in a Sticky Web of Evil||27 January 1993||#3||ISBN 0-7485-4037-7|
|The daring trio and their new ally come face to face with a monstrous spider. But there is even more danger ahead in Baal's sticky domain.|
|Mirra the Magician||Battle of Wits in the City of Stone||10 February 1993||#4||ISBN 0-7485-4038-5|
|A Guardian has been turned to stone by the cunning Mirra. Can the trio outwit the evil magician to release the Guardian and escape from the City of Stone in one piece?|
|Boltor, Bird of Thunder||Air Attack over Desert Wastes||24 February 1993||#5||ISBN 0-7485-4039-3|
|The hapless trio are saved by a giant bird as they spiral through the air to certain death. But can their saviour save himself from a vicious air attack by Boltor and his forces?|
|Cozards and Killer Bees||Death Squads in the Dying Woods||10 March 1993||#6||ISBN 0-7485-4040-7|
|The Evil One's stormtroopers are on a search-and-destroy mission in Green Man Wood. Will our heroes manage to evade the Cozards' deadly tactics or will they have to stay put?|
|Zock, Cannibal Chief||Trapped in the Caves of Flesh-Eating Dwarfs||24 March 1993||#7||ISBN 0-7485-4041-5|
|Our friends fall into the hands of greedy cannibal dwarfs and are being held deep in the caves of Kanbala. Are they destined for the pot?|
|Enlil's Dungeon||Dicing with Death in the Bubbling Cauldron||7 April 1993||#8||ISBN 0-7485-4042-3|
|The three companions trick their way past vicious guards and into the heart of a bubbling volcano. Will they find it so easy to retrieve the pod and escape from the evil bat's fiery domain?|
|Living Death Traps||Caught in the Jaws of Killer Plants||21 April 1993||#9||ISBN 0-7485-4043-1|
|Melek has a near escape when he attempts a daring rescue - then things hot up fast in the Dead Wood.|
|Zibella's Fortress||Sorcery and Witchcraft in the Watery Depths||5 May 1993||#10||ISBN 0-7485-4043-1|
|More than one surprise lies in store for the trio when they find themselves in the magical crystal fortress of an evil sorceress.|
|Klaw, Servant of Evil||Battling the Army of Bonemen||19 May 1993||#11||ISBN 0-7485-4195-0|
|Melek braves the Pit of Perils and saves the live of a dying Guardian. Then the trio are confronted by her captor and his hideous bone army.|
|Scorpions of the Desert||Deadly Guards of the Sandy Fortress||2 June 1993||#12||ISBN 0-7485-4196-9|
|Fresh from the battle with Klaw's fearsome army of bonemen, our heroes face an even more terrifying foe - the squads of giant scorpions who guard Sand City. How will the trio face against creatures who have a deadly sting in their tail?|
|Dragora's Inner Sanctum||Fight to the Death in Cobra's Keep||16 June 1993||#13||ISBN 0-7485-4197-7|
|A triple-headed monster guards a precious pod, deep in Cobra's Keep. How will our heroes overcome this deadly serpent of evil?|
|Hulkan, the Mole Monster||Under Attack from the Mud Warriors||30 June 1993||#14||ISBN 0-7485-4198-5|
|After their near escape from Sand City our heroes are concerned by an evil mole monster and his eerie army of mud warriors. How will the trio cope with the unstoppable onslaught?|
|Narkum, the Fly King||At the Mercy of the Fiendish Spy Master||7 July 1993||#15||ISBN 0-7485-4199-3|
|Seeking refuge from flying Grapfrits in the Black Forest, our brave trio come under attack again - from another flying army! Will Richard's increasing abilities help him to evade the airborne attack and find the key to the spy master's power?|
|Cragmar, Man of Stone||A Fatal Mistake on Plunderer's Plateau||21 July 1993||#16||ISBN 0-7485-4200-0|
|On Plunderer's Peak the heroes pit their wits against a giant Man of Stone. Will they overcome him and rescue Zard, the fleet-footed Guardian?|
|Gator, Reptile Warrior||Battle for Power in the Shadowy Swamps||4 August 1993||#17||ISBN 0-7485-4201-9|
|On the trail of a Pod in the Shadow Swamps, the trio get covered in huge blood-sucking leeches, then come face-to-face with a vicious reptile warrior.|
|Kronis, the Winged Lion||Fight for Freedom in the Whispering Maze||18 August 1993||#18||ISBN 0-7485-4202-7|
|Trapped in a maze of streets on Stone Fish Island, the heroes find a Guardian tethered by Kronis' magic. How will the trio evade the evil winged lion and release the Guardian?|
|Nemis, Master of the Deep||In the Merman's Underwater Prison||1 September 1993||#19||ISBN 0-7485-4203-5|
|Seeking safety aboard a deserted ship, the trio find a ghostly welcome. Then they are pulled to the sea floor where the Merman King has a nasty surprise in store for them.|
|Spector, Keeper of the Ice Kingdom||Trapped in the Wastes of Frigoria||15 September 1993||#20||ISBN 0-7485-4204-3|
|After a hazardous journey over icy terrain, the travellers are captured by a hideous one-eyed monster. To escape, they must find a way to avoid his all-seeing eye!|
|Stridor, Lord of the Snowy Mountains||Facing up to the White Death||29 September 1993||#21||ISBN 0-7485-4205-1|
|The trio are battered by freezing winds and blizzards as they fight their way across the Snowy Mountains. Not only must they survive these harsh extremes, but also avoid a confrontation with the lord of this dangerous domain.|
|Zyton and the Curse of Loktar||Sinister Steps in the Chambers of Fear||13 October 1993||#22||ISBN 0-7485-4206-X|
|In their search for the hidden Pod, the trio are faced with a fearsome triple-headed monster and unwittingly invoke the Curse of Loktar. Can they avoid the terrible consequences and escape with their precious prize?|
|Dagmar, Demon of Fire||Flames of Fury over Yellow Stone Peaks||27 October 1993||#23||ISBN 0-7485-4207-8|
|On their way to Yellow Stone Peaks, the trio are attacked by a fire-breathing monster. Will they survive the encounter, or will their efforts go up in smoke so near the final goal?|
|Syrus, Spirit of the Sky||Devilish Dealings with a Devious Genie||10 November 1993||#24||ISBN 0-7485-4208-6|
|The hapless trio are cut down to size by a monstrous genie. They must find a way to break his evil spell and escape his mountain lair. Time is fast running out for the powers of good.|
|Fenrar, the Desert Stalker||Danger and Deceit at Dead River Sands||24 November 1993||#25||ISBN 0-7485-4209-4|
|After a long hot trek, the trio find a refreshing welcome in the cool blue waters at Wizard's Well. The last Pod is near at hand, but danger and deception also await at this oasis.|
|The Evil One||Fight to the Finish in the Final Battle||8 December 1993||#26||ISBN 0-7485-4210-8|
|Richard's long and arduous search for the precious pods is over, but the battle for the Ancestral City must still be won. Will the Life Force Pods be returned to the Tree of Life and the Guardians reinstated?|
Issue synopses are from the blurbs of the actual issues.
The Cyber Dimension - issues 27-52
Richard is pulled into the world of the Evil One before he can return home to Earth, and must survive the futuristic hell that is known as the Cyber Dimension - a metallic world where machines rule and carbon-based organisms cannot survive. The Cyber Dimension is populated by evil robots and machines who obey the Evil One. There are also peaceful, silicon-based organisms called Wigmats, who are persecuted by the evil machines.
He teams up with the seemingly friendly robot Robo and, later in the story, the cute Wigmat Teeza, and must collect seven Omni Pieces - little glowing metal shapes which, when brought together at just the right place, open doors to other dimensions. He can use the Omni Pieces to return home to Earth - but the Evil One can also use the Omni Pieces to open a gateway to Earth, leaving it ripe for his conquest.
|Title||Subtitle||UK Publication Date||Issue||ISBN|
|Tengam, Gravity Defier||Clash of Metal with a Cyber Warrior||22 December 1993||#27||ISBN 0-7485-4211-6|
|Trapped in a terrifying time-warp, Richard faces an unforeseen danger. Are his skills and bravery enough to defeat the ruthless new foe?|
|Zenon, Laser Lancer||In the Clutches of the Creature of Light||5 January 1994||#28||ISBN 0-7485-4212-4|
|Richard and Robo encounter a foe that is composed of pure light. Can they evade the creature's deadly spears and find a way to overcome its awesome powers?|
|Flector, Hi-Speed Solar Cruiser||Battle of Wits with an Airborne Assassin||19 January 1994||#29||ISBN 0-7485-4213-2|
|Richard's adventures continue as he meets an invincible adversary that is able to absorb any power. With Robo at his side, Richard also encounters the sinister Pekods.|
|Mortex, Molten Trail Blazer||White Hot Terror in the Tunnels of Doom||2 February 1994||#30||ISBN 0-7485-4214-0|
|Richard is held captive underground by the sinister Pekods. Can he survive his sternest test and defeat the terrifying being of fire?|
|Holotron, Dynamic Deceiver||Battle of Wits with a Shape Shifter||16 February 1994||#31||ISBN 0-7485-4215-9|
|Richard loses Robo and enters a land where nothing is real. Can he find a way to escape the clutched of the incredible shape shifter?|
|Husasan, Silicon Samurai||Dual of Doom with an Android Warrior||2 March 1994||#32||ISBN 0-7485-4216-7|
|Richard battles a robotic swordsman and enters a mysterious library, containing evil from another dimension.|
|Terraforma, Environmorpher||Trapped in the Lair of the Land Changer||16 March 1994||#33||ISBN 0-7485-4217-5|
|Richard steps into a land of fire and ice to encounter an evil being with the power to transform any environment.|
|Toxis, Poison Predator||Caught in the Grip of the Slime Creature||30 March 1994||#34||ISBN 0-7485-4218-3|
|With Robo at his side, Richard is forced to seek a special potion which will free an awesome creature of the deep.|
|Identico, Deadly Replicator||Lost in the Factory of Dreams||13 April 1994||#35||ISBN 0-7485-4500-X|
|Fantasy turns to fear as Richard and Robo enter a world that exists inside a bubble. To continue their quest they must face the evil Identico and his Replitype hordes.|
|Scordef, Sinister Supervirus||Hypontized by an Evil Computer Virus||27 April 1994||#36||ISBN 0-7485-4501-8|
|At the heart of the Cyber Dimension, Richard must repel the challenge of a deadly living computer virus.|
|Cronid, Micro Creature||Horror of the Cyber Insects||11 May 1994||#37||ISBN 0-7485-4502-6|
|Richard and Robo are trapped in a microscopic world inhabited by the Petronites and their evil master.|
|Mescon, Menacing Multi-Form||Caged by the Galactic Zoo Keeper||25 May 1994||#38||ISBN 0-7485-4503-4|
|Richard and Robo meet a nightmarish creature that is made from the body parts of specimens in a galactic zoo. Can they escape it's evil clutches?|
|Proton, Power Android||Tank Battle on the Cyber Plains||8 June 1994||#39||ISBN 0-7485-4504-2|
|Richard gets behind the controls of a cyber tank and enters a battleground. Can he defeat a gigantic robot to locate the next Omni Piece?|
|Kentar, Cyber Demon||Fight to the Finish in the Cyber Skies||22 June 1994||#40||ISBN 0-7485-4505-0|
|Richard and Robo are lost in a city of clouds. Then they are swallowed by a gigantic robot sea serpent. Is this the end of their adventures?|
|Continuuma, Empress of Time||Kidnapped by the Controller of Time||6 July 1994||#41||ISBN 0-7485-4506-9|
|Richard is lost in history as he comes under attack from an evil time controller. Can he get back to the present and vanquish his foe?|
|Tyrannix, Robo-Dinosaur||Peril in the Jungles of the Robot King||20 July 1994||#42||ISBN 0-7485-4507-7|
|In the midst of a blazing inferno, Richard comes under attack from pre-historic robots. Can he escape a raging forest fire and rescue Robo before it is too late?|
|Galaxia, Anti-Matter Alien||Marooned in the Domain of Terror||3 August 1994||#43||ISBN 0-7485-4508-5|
|Abandoned in the Cyber Dimension, Richard meets a new friend and has to fight an evil creature powered by anti-matter. Can he survive this latest exciting adventure?|
|Quasar, Faceless Fiend||Sieged by a Savage Super Being||17 August 1994||#44||ISBN 0-7485-4509-3|
|Richard finds himself trapped in a world of fractals and meets its ruler, a creature who has no form. Can he and Teeza find a way out of this strange world?|
|Cortix, Mind Master||Duel of Minds in Computer City||31 August 1994||#45||ISBN 0-7485-4510-7|
|The adventures continue as Richard and Teeza meet the guardian of a computerized city. After battling the deadly Mutators, Richard is forced to fight a mind battle.|
|Hydron, Mercury Monster||Return to the Perilous Sea of Mercury||14 September 1994||#46||ISBN 0-7485-4511-5|
|Richard returns to the scene of a previous adventure and once more battles the awesome Hermisites. At the bottom of the Sea of Mercury a prize awaits for him.|
|Mandelbiot, Fearsome Fractal||Fatal Fury of the Deadly Digital Demon||28 September 1994||#47||ISBN 0-7485-4512-3|
|A terrible fractal disease threatens to turn Richard and his two companions into slaves. Can Richard outwit the dreadful Mandelbiot and find the antidote before it is too late?|
|Pixar, Particle Blaster||Evil Revenge in the City of the Lost||12 October 1994||#48||ISBN 0-7485-4513-1|
|Richard continues his search for the last Omni Piece. But first he must defeat Pixar, possessor of one of the most fearsome weapons Richard has ever encountered.|
|Malachit, Evil Incinerator||Plasma Attack of the Cyber Warrior||26 October 1994||#49||ISBN 0-7485-4514-X|
|Richard and Robo are captured by the Dark Robots and taken to a cyber arena. There, Richard is forced to fight for his very existence.|
|Robo, Robotic Betrayer||Friend Becomes Foe in Battle to the End||9 November 1994||#50||ISBN 0-7485-4515-8|
|Richard finds the final Omni Piece and celebrates the end of his quest. However, before he can return home he must face the wrath of one of his closest allies.|
|Vileeon, Cyber Judge||Trapped in the Court of the Cyber Citadel||23 November 1994||#51||ISBN 0-7485-4516-6|
|Richard and Robo are put on trial in a cyber court. The evil judge sentences them both to death and this time there is no escape. Is this really the end for Richard and his friend?|
|The Evil One||Final Battle with the King of Cyber World||7 December 1994||#52||ISBN 0-7485-4517-4|
|The battle between light and darkness reaches its conclusion. Can Richard overcome his fiercest opponent and finally return home?|
Issue synopses are from the blurbs of the actual issues.
Each issue contained numerous things to do when finished reading the main text - this included interpreting prophecies, spotting hidden sprites, playing card games, board games, and creating one's own map of the Ancestral World part by part each fortnight.
The monsters from the Ancestral World were based on real legends. Cards featuring information and stories on various monsters were given away with the first half. The monster cards were replaced in the second half by 'Techscan cards', which told the reader about various scientific principles and theories.
Various tasks were included in the issues including spotting hidden artwork, such as the characters of Shoomi and Shoobi, two friendly creatures who quietly followed Richard on his quest and who could be seen around two times in every issue. Fragments of the Evil One's mask and random other 'canon' paraphernalia were also hidden in the background art.
"The Power of Evil" was a competition running from Issues #1 through #26 where a letter block would appear in each issue. Once each letter was collected, an anagram needed to be solved. The competition prize was an Atari 1040 ST computer for the first half of the magazine's run, and a Sega Mega Drive in the second half.