Living Guide to Spectrum Software

ADVENTURE GAMES

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Adventure games come in all shapes and sizes. They are text-oriented, although graphics are often added, sometimes for a pretty effect, sometimes as an integral part of the game with clues not in the text. There are also an increasing number of ‘graphic adventures’ which combine the adventure format with arcade style graphics. They are all linked by the common theme of a quest, a search for some object or aim through many locations.

ABYSS
Producer: CCS, 48K £5.00
In a hidden gorge through the Mountain of the Golden Lion, lies the forgotten ABYSS. But brave and foolhardy adventurers like you sometimes strive to cross it, their sole aim to destroy the many evil monsters that lurk in the shadows, waiting for the next meal to come strolling across the many bridges in the ABYSS. Scenario over, the game begins. The screen presents you with a yellow grid, each crossing point being a ‘lurking’ place. Movement is done by the cursors until you encounter a monster. These tend to offer you a range of problems, like the Ogre who can’t get his sums right — can you in 15 seconds? Or the arcade sequence where you must hit five falling spiders before they reach the cave floor. Added dangers are creaky bridges that may collapse under you. By no means a traditional D&D adventure, but certainly one for quick thinking swots with ‘O’ levels to pass! Good value for the price and not at all easy.

ARROW OF DEATH (pt 1)
Producer: Digital Fantasia, 48K £9.95
Author: Brian Howarth
The follow up to Golden Baton, and the worshipped rod’s famous glow has been stolen. It’s your task to rescue it with the aid of a magical arrow. Part 1 requires you to find the whereabouts of the parts which make up the arrow. You start in a palace with a dead messenger in front of you who wears an amulet around his arm bearing the shape of a barge. The King’s sorceror has been unable to vanquish the evil that has stolen the glow — how can you? One of the toughest assignments from the pen of Brian Howarth. Overall CRASH rating 68%.

ARROW OF DEATH (pt 2)
Producer: Digital Fantasia, 48K £9.95
Author: Brian Howarth
Having collected the various bits of the magical arrow you find yourself on the fringes of the Marsh of Desolation, seeking the one man who is able to create the arrow whole, Arnid, the royal fletcher. With the arrow, you will then be able to undertake the defeat of the evil Xerdon, the monster who has stolen the Golden Baton’s glow. Unfortunately, Xerdon’s minions have kidnapped Arnid. Problems all the way of course. Overall CRASH rating 69%.

BLACK CRYSTAL
Producer: Carnell, 48K £7.50
A mammoth undertaking and one of the earliest ‘big’ adventures. It features graphics filling most of the screen, showing a map of the various landscapes. Choose what character you want to be and then wade in to fight the monsters. Far too complex to do justice to in this space, but if you are to play it set aside hours for contemplation of the book (or novel one might say) which explains everything. Indeed, you are recommended to save the game at various stages and think over the day’s events before plunging in. Recommended.

BYTE
Producer: CCS, 48K £5.00 (1)
Author: O&S Ben-Ami
This is a text-with-some-graphics adventure, where the battle field is the depths of a 3D maze in which various computer components must be located to build your own computer. They may be lying about, they may be hidden and generally they are defended by all sorts of electronic monsters you must defeat to remain alive and progress. The seven skill levels are neatly categorised by the sophistication of the computer you want to build, each having its own strength characteristics. Battles with the monsters may take the form of mental bouts like spelling tests or maths questions, or they may be physical where, for instance, you may have to do semi-arcade battles with cross bows or swords. Graphically the text is pretty clear, but the inputting of commands is rather irritating and there’s too much reverse flashing going on which tires the eye. Medium fast response times. Overall CRASH rating 58%, average. BASIC.

CAMELOT
Producer: CCS, 48K £5.00
Author: C Chapman & G Brooks
You are Arthur Pendragon, banished from Camelot by the wicked Black Knight, but an unknown ally has loaned you 50 bags of gold pieces. You must travel around and collect seven items that are hidden in various countries. Three baazars exist where you may buy items to help you, and there are other items hidden that may help you overcome problems. The object is to collect the seven items and re-enter Camelot to be crowned King. This is a graphics adventure where you move Arthur and his band of warriors around a map by using keys N, S, E, W. At each step the scene cuts to a graphic representing castles, towns and different types of landscape. In each there is some problem to overcome, like a band of brigands whom you may fight or flee. Battle strength and helpful objects already collected help determine the outcome. Should you win there is a search option for more useful items. The graphics are bright and clear, response times are fairly good and this unconventional adventure might well make an attractive change from the usual.

CASTLE BLACKSTAR
Producer: SCR Adventures, 48K £8.95 (3)
Author: Sheppard, Cummins & Richardson
A text-only adventure, and first of a planned series of Artemis Quests. The Goddess Artemis, glimpsed in a dream, bids you enter Castle Blackstar to recover her power orb from the vast underground caverns. To achieve maximum points all treasures found must be cleansed of their evil, all puzzles solved and the orb returned. Location descriptions are detailed and atmospheric and response times are machine code fast with a touch of humour. The development of cause and effect is pretty advanced with situations like the turning of a winch in one room, causing the raising of a chandelier in another far away. Perhaps the only drawback is the rather steep price in comparison to many other similar adventures, so a low rating on value for money, but overall a CRASH rating of 75%.

CASTLE COLDITZ
Producer: K-Tel, 48K £6.95 (3)
On the same cassette comes Battle of the Toothpaste Tubes, an arcade game of reasonable quality, and just as well as the adventure based on escaping from the famous World War II German prison camp is pathetic. Location descriptions are sparse and uninteresting, the logic of where you can go and what you may find is daft. A total waste of time and money. CRASH rating — below 20%.

CIRCUS
Producer: Digital Fantasia, 48K £9.95
Author: Brian Howarth
Digital Fantasia specialise in marketing adventure games, a unique feature of which is that you may have the graphics switched on or off. Things move faster with them off, especially as the Hi-res drawings do take a bit of time to appear. On the other hand, there are often clues in the graphics which aren’t apparent in the text. Circus is number 6 in the series, and starts off when your car runs out of petrol in the middle of nowhere. You search for help on foot and come across a noisy circus, apparently in full swing, miles from anywhere. As you enter the jolly place, all the sound and lights die. The big top is a graveyard of evil spirits. It’s nice to stumble across a generator, as wandering around the darkness inside the tent can prove fatal. But nothing is so simple — the generator won’t work without a cable plugged in to feed the lights. Clowns leave messages, tightrope walking requires a safety net, can you be a human cannonball? An addictive game which requires a good memory and plenty of ingenuity. Overall CRASH rating 75%, machine code.

CLASSIC ADVENTURE
Producer: Melbourne House, 48K £6.95
Author: John Jones-Steele
Also known as Adventure 1 by Abersoft, who originally marketed this adventure through CP Software under the title of Colossal Caves, Classic Adventure was originally written in the 70s in Fortran and took up over 200K of memory. As the name suggests, this is the epitome of traditional D&D adventures. You must find a treasure of untold riches by penetrating a deadly complex of caverns. When the game starts you are standing by a brick building which must be entered, and where you will find a number of objects to help you in your quest. Then the entry to the caverns must be discovered. On your travels you will meet giant snakes, trolls, dragons and other weird creatures. Although requiring some careful thought, most of the puzzles presented are easily overcome. A fast moving and enjoyable adventure.

COLOSSAL ADVENTURE
Producer: Level 9 Computing, 48K £9.90
Discover the fifteen hidden treasures, rescue two groups of captured elves and then try to find the cave exit through a massive complex of passages, tunnels and rooms. During this major quest you will have to kill many wandering dwarves with your axe, get a knife thrown at you, stumble across the elves’ crown jewels and make sure that the batteries of your light don’t run out. Coins from one of the treasures may be used in a vending machine for more batteries, otherwise it’s the pits! Watch out for those pits in the dark! Like other Level 9 adventures, this one is all text and very large. Locations are magically described and the keyboard responses are good. You are only allowed to carry four objects at a time, so much time and battery life is wasted transporting useful items from place to place, dropping them and then going back for them when they are needed. Recommended.

COLOSSAL CAVES
Producer: C P Software, 48K £7.95
Author: Abersoft
Also known as Adventure 1 by Abersoft, this is a traditional style adventure where you must find the treasure left behind by a Wizard, and in which you will meet dragons, trolls, snakes and other dark denizens. When the program has finished loading the adventure begins instantly without instructions. These are available on command. The game is strictly text only and uses repeat locations when travelling along, say, a valley. Finding the cave in the first place is already an adventure in itself, and the whole game may take days, even weeks to complete satisfactorily. One of the classic computer adventure games. Recommended.

DENIS THROUGH THE DRINKING GLASS
Producer: Applications, 48K £5.50 (3)
If mythical dragons have become the bane of your life, try pitting your wits against a real monster in this compelling, witty and difficult game. You must guide Denis Thatcher through life, avoiding the icy blast of Maggie as she prepares another Prime Ministerial speech at Number 10. Denis just wants to get out to his favourite pub, the Gravediggers Arms, but Maggie’s in the way and Denis has a severe drinking problem — if he doesn’t get a slug of gin within 10 moves, he’s as good as dead. Location descriptions are all rendered in rhyme and tend to offer a jaundiced view of political life. Early attempts at escape may well end up with you photographed on the front doorstep of Number 10 nude — did you forget to get dressed! Finding the gin is a tough assignment and the HELP facility only tends to be helpfully rude. A prompt of ‘BALLS!’ turns out to refer to the golf balls which you have forgotten, and ‘Get Knotted’ suggests that sheets may make a rope. You’re not likely to get bored, but there’s always a volume of Kropotkin’s Memoirs to while away a few seconds between dying for a lack of gin. Very fast responses with this Quill-written game, and highly recommended. Overall CRASH rating 83%, machine code.

DEVILS OF THE DEEP
Producer: Richard Shepherd, 48K £6.50
A 3D graphic adventure where you move your undersea diver along the sea bed avoiding electric eels and crabs, collect useful items like harpoon guns and harpoons, knives and compasses, and try to collect the treasure hidden somewhere. There are 100 screens to be traversed. The idea is a good one but the graphics are uninspiring and very, very slow. Long load and minutes to wait if you are killed before another game may be played. Below average.

DODGE CITY
Producer: Phoenix, 48K £9.99
Author: Fraser Orr
For adventurers, the problem with this game is that to load the adventure you must first win through 12 levels of an arcade game where baddies chase your pony express rider. Completing the 12 levels results in a running code for the adventure as well as some vital clues. Your task is to prove your innocence of the murder of the deputy sheriff who has been found dead in your hotel room with you holding the gun that did it. It is an option menu graphic adventure with each situation offering two or three choices of action. Overall CRASH rating of 57%, machine code.

DUNGEONS OF DOOM
Producer: Temptation, 48K £5.95
This is meant to contain two games — either you enter and progress down through the dungeons, or you start at the bottom and try to get out. I thought that it was generally the case with any adventure. It’s meant to be a graphic adventure, but the graphics are restricted to black on green squares representing the room you are in and the ones near to it. Monsters appear in text only and seem dispiritingly easy to kill off. Slow responses and few thrills make this a beginners-only introduction game.

ESPIONAGE ISLAND
Producer: Artic, 48K £5.95
Artic have produced five text only adventures to date, lettered A to E. This is ‘D’. Despite, or because of, the lack of pictures, all their adventures are dripping with verbal atmosphere. They contain endless locations, options, puzzles to solve and are never afraid of the most obscure or most obvious of solutions. Always excellent value. In this game you are on a reconnaissance flight to spy on an enemy island when you are hit by fire. The adventure begins in the plane as it plunges earthwards. There are many tangles with the parachute before you reach the ground — just grabbing it and opening the fuselage door results in a nasty red mess on the ground! From there on you must make your way to the heart of the enemy stronghold, secure information, and return to your aircraft carrier in disguise, avoiding being shot by your own side. Biggles lives again! Clear writing and fast responses combined with a variable element in replay, make this a very worthwhile buy. Save game feature.

FAUST’S FOLLY
Producer: Abbex, 16K £5.95
Faust’s Folly is buried somewhere in this congenial game with fast response times and some graphic additions. Once you have sorted out the vocab and found the entrance to the underground complex, it’s a matter of the correct implements being picked up. The computer tells you that it isn’t very intelligent (whatever Sinclair may tell you) and it may not know which way is which without a compass to help. In almost any location you can go in eight directions, so don’t get lost. Very good for 16K.

GHOST TOWN
Producer: Virgin Games, 48K £5.95
Author: John Pickford
Ghost Town is a pretty accurate copy of Phipps Associates’ ‘Greedy Gulch’, but it’s nowhere near as much fun. There’s the same old empty town with a sequential map showing the locations of the various establishments where useful items and information may be found to help you locate the gold mine in the desert. Once in the desert there don’t seem to be any graphics worth speaking of. At least the text is nicely written and the response times are very good. But if I had to choose it would be ‘Greedy Gulch’. Overall CRASH rating 43%. BASIC.

GOLDEN APPLE
Producer: Artic, 48K £6.95
Author: Simon Wadsworth
Adventure ‘E’ is the latest from Artic and its title card explains this text only adventure very well — a large mansion, a ship and a mountainous island in the distance. Looks easy until you start. The object is to find 13 secret objects, find a safe place to store them in and do this through tons of locations. Finding a key can be hard enough, but the key you need near the start of this game is hidden in a very obvious place — so obvious you would never think of looking there until you sneezed after sniffing the — no I mustn’t give any secrets away. Absorbing!

GOLDEN BATON
Producer: Digital Fantasia, 48K £9.95
Author: Brian Howarth
The object of the title of this excellent adventure has been stolen from the palace where it is normally kept. As it is a priceless artefact which has been worshipped by your race for years, you are sent out to find it. The game begins in a dense, spooky wood and you are standing next to a tattered cloak and a pile of rotting leaves. During the quest you will encounter a wolf, a carnivorous crab, a lizard man and the Gorgon among many other eerie nasties. The ingenuity with which Brian Howarth spins both plot and logic keeps you on the edge of your seat. The graphics are somewhat simple, but the strength of these games lies in their text. Three sequels follow on from The Golden Baton: Arrow of Death (parts 1 and 2) and The Wizard of Akyrz. CRASH rating 68%.

GREEDY GULCH
Producer: Phipps Associates, 48K £4.95
The town of the title is a ghost town set in the Wild West, deserted now the gold workings have run out. But there is a mine out in the neighbouring desert which still has a fortune tucked away. The problem is to find the right map; get something to carry water in and fill it, find a gun for protection and then get to the mine and back. Whilst not a massively demanding adventure, it’s certainly an absorbing one. The graphics show you the map of Greedy Gulch itself, or parts of it, with some location graphics in the desert. There are several mysterious appearances by someone you only see out of the corner of your eye. Some problems are simpler to overcome than you might suppose — confronted by a crevass and carrying a plank which wouldn’t bridge it, jumping across solved the problem! Good value.

GROUCHO
Producer: Automata, 48K £10.00 (1)
Author: Piman
The full title of this ditty is, ‘My Name Is Uncle Groucho You Win A Fat Cigar’, but that’s much too long to ever repeat again! Like their famous Pimania, the object is to wade through a drug-induced landscape of weirdness and insanity, which is supposed to represent America, in the company of Groucho Marx and his companion the Piman, discover the secret identity of a famous Hollywood star which is hidden in the game, and then win the fabulous prize of a trip to Hollywood to meet the star in question, flying out on Concorde and coming back on the QE2. A rags to riches story for someone. Entries before 1 June. Naturally, you’ve got to be solid bonkers to get it right, and a pimaniac to boot. Good fun despite the slow response times. Excellent graphics and sound. Overall CRASH rating 67%. BASIC.

HOBBIT
Producer: Melbourne House, 48K £14.95
To date the great adventure, based on the famous Tolkien novel of the same name, which is included for the price. This game has a largish vocabulary and allows sentence with link words. Artificial intelligence of a kind enlivens the action as the characters continue their lives regardless of what you do. It’s possible to inter-relate with them to some degree, depending on their feelings towards you. Some even get killed without you knowing about it until you stumble across their bodies! I’ve forgotten what the quest is, but it’s hardly important — playing the game is. Very long and totally absorbing. A classic.

HUMMER HOUSE OF HORROR
Producer: Lasersound, 48K £7.00
Clouds obscure the moon and you are alone in the dreadful house — or are you? No you are not alone, there’s the mad Chinese cook in the greasy kitchen for a start off, plus imps, ghouls and things that go bump in the night. Every room is seething with something or someone who wants you to pass something on to someone or something. Simple 3D graphics try to enliven the rather ponderous pace. Average fun.

INCA CURSE
Producer: Artic, 48K £6.95
This is adventure ‘B’, well up to Artic’s usual standard of text only games. You are in the South American jungle, near an, as yet, undisturbed Inca Temple. Inside there is a lot of treasure which you must find and bring safely out. Being an Indiana Jones may be of some help, but pitting your brains against the evils therein is more important. Recommended.

INVINCIBLE ISLAND
Producer: Richard Shepherd, 48K £5.50
Author: P Cooke
Invincible Island is the home of the primitive Xaro tribe. Legend has it (as they often will) that the Xaro guard unimaginable treasures. Your only help is the last message of world famous explorer Dr Chumley who said, ‘First find the seven parchments of Xaro’. He was never heard from again. Now it’s your turn. Programs from this company always seem to take an age to load. When it has you are presented with a nice clear text and neat location graphics. Reasonably fast responses.

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THE ISLAND
Producer: Virgin Games, 48K £5.95
Author: Martyn Davies
Apparently you live in a clutch of South Sea Islands, one of which contains gold. Find the map, find the correct island and get rich quick. A mostly text adventure with arcade sequences to add to the fun — that’s the idea — the reality is something else. It’s had one good review we’ve seen, but goodness knows why! This isn’t a real adventure at all in the proper sense. You’re led by the nose along the correct guessing path until you end up with an impossible arcade sequence which demands you sail your ship through a rock-infested sea. Deviation from the author’s intended path results in terminating the game. Excellent response times to nowhere. Sorry, it’s rubbish. Overall CRASH rating below 20%. M/C.

KNIGHT’S QUEST
Producer: Phipps Associates, 48K £5.95
Which Micro’s reviewers got very angry about this game, because it is written in BASIC. Lots of adventure games are written in BASIC and are very good, if a little slow at times. The plot of Knight’s Quest is a little thin and unoriginal however, a forerunner of their much better games. Some locations are simply illustrated with small graphics and there are the usual assortment of spells, weapons and monsters. Not all bad by any means.

LORDS OF TIME
Producer: Level 9 Computing, 48K £9.90 (3)
A band of evil Time Lords are plotting to alter the history of the world. You must travel back in time and collect nine crucial objects, each marked with the symbol of the hourglass, which, when they are put into a cauldron will be used to defeat the Time Lords. The game starts in your own living room and through a run down grandfather clock. The cogs inside are the key for travelling through to the many time zones — back to confront angry cave people — forward, where you may get lost among the stars. Once the nine objects have been located in whatever time zone they may be in, the cauldron must be found. The text creates a remarkable atmosphere with life-like descriptions. Includes a useful booklet of instructions and objectives. A brilliant adventure and highly recommended for a few weeks hard work.

MAD MARTHA
Producer: Mikrogen, 48K £5.95
To prove how much fun a BASIC written adventure can be try this little domestic ditty. As hen-pecked husband, Henry, steal your wife’s money, creep out of the house without waking baby or tripping over the wailing moggy, and have a night out on the town at the casino and other similarly Unsavoury Places. The problem is that your wife, dear Martha, is an escapee from Friday the 13th Part Six 4D, a homicidal maniac with an axe! Good vocabulary and an invariable program that resembles a word maze. Getting things in absolutely the correct order is the name of the game here. But if you are too clever there are very tricky little arcade sequences included. To purists these may be upsetting, but they do liven up the adventure. If you have tried Mad Martha and enjoyed it then try...

MAD MARTHA II
Producer: Mikrogen, 48K £8.95
Much the same mix as before, except this time Henry, Martha and son are on holiday in Spain. Martha has a half-cousin, a waiter called (wait for it) Manuel. Martha sets out on a bus tour with her son, leaving Manuel to keep an eye on Henry, who has a secret rendezvous with a Spanish penpal. Henry leaves their hotel with Manuel hot on his trail. Features a bull fight with Henry as the star attraction. Not to be missed!

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MAGIC MOUNTAIN
Producer: Phipps Associates, 48K £4.95
Seek out the Scroll of Wisdom in this text adventure with location graphics. There is the usual assortment of items and monsters, baffling puzzles and sudden deaths through inexperience. Reasonable graphics and medium fast response times. An average effort.

MINES OF SATURN
Producer: Mikrogen, 16K £5.95
Includes part two — Return to Earth. You’re making a routine orbit of Saturn when a radiation storm forces you to crash land on one of the moons. Luckily you come down near an abandoned mining base. Now you must set off in search of Di-Lithium crystals to refuel your standard ship. ‘Return to Earth’ gets you back in space and landing on an abandoned and damaged space station, looking for a means of communicating with Earth. Both adventures are very standard, with not many locations and irritating random elements over which you have no control. The games lack atmosphere and will not accept abbreviations making you type everything out. Tedious.

MINES OF MORIA
Producer: Severn, 16K £4.95
The Mines of Moria are the ancient home of Durin’s folk from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Long deserted, the mines contain old hoards of jewels and gold, guarded by the ancient and evil terrors of earlier ages. You’re inside — the problem is getting out alive. Monsters include Trolls, Orca, Balrogs or Wargs. Doors can be opened by force, spells or bribery of the door wards. Spells can be bargained for from wizards, and traders sell you wound ointment. Control is by the cursor keys, you can go up and down or use a warp which transports to other locations on a random floor. Watch out for the two-part load. The game itself is a mix. The screen shows you a plan of the floor with a list which lets you know the level you are on and room number occupied, weaponry and armorial status, number of wounds, strength, gold collected, jewels collected and spells available. A line at the bottom informs you of what’s going on and asks whether or not to fight on meeting monsters. Rooms visited are plotted on the map, showing monsters encountered. It becomes difficult to manoeuvre after a while. A reasonable game.

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MOUNTAINS OF KET
Producer: Incentive, 48K £5.50 (2)
This is part one of the ‘Ket Trilogy’. Each part is a separate adventure in itself. Two weeks ago you were framed for murder and sentenced to death unless you undertook a dangerous mission — locate the secret entrance which lies at the base of the Mountains of Ket and which will let you reach the far side of the mountains. Many have tried and none returned. The computer takes the part of Edgar, an assassin bug which has been implanted in your neck to ensure your loyalty. The game starts on the edge of a village, some way from the mountains, where you may be able to collect some of the implements which will help ensure your survival, weapons, a horse and some food. Not much money has been provided you, so the first adventuring tasks are discovering ways of getting the stolid villagers to part with the things you need. This is a text-only game in which any battles are described blow-by-blow, with your choice to break off if it isn’t going well. Instant response times, excellent descriptions and a sense of humour make this a very entertaining adventure with an overall CRASH rating of 73%, machine code.

THE ORACLE’S CAVE
Producer: DORIC, 48K £7.95 (1)
Author: Chris Darrell
Using the classic D&D format, this is an animated graphics adventure. You must seek the entrance to the caves in which you are trapped, collecting 40 units of treasure on your way. You must also collect treasure guarded by four special monsters, The Mummy, The Centaur, The Fiery Dragon or The Black Knight. With each game the layout of the caves is randomly generated to make each play different from the last. Commands are entered in response to a menu of limited options which allow you to move, rest, explore, use (a carried article) or, if in the presence of a monster, fight or run. If you elect to move the menu is replaced by another offering left/right/up/down. When ‘you’ move there is an animation sequence which is very well done, especially the descent of stairs. The fights are fun, but you must watch your combat strength and that of your opponent very carefully. Another point is to use the explore facility all the while. The game grows on you as you begin to realise its potential. Reasonable response times, good graphics and good value for money. Overall CRASH rating 70%. BASIC.

PHARAOH’S TOMB
Producer: Phipps Associates: 48K £4.95
Make yourself rich by plundering a luxurious Pharaoh’s tomb. Phipps have put together a well planned and sometimes amusing adventure game here, with text and location graphics, which are simply but attractive. Responses are very fast and the atmosphere draws you in again and again. Good value for money and well worth playing.

PIMANIA
Producer: Automata, 48K £10.00
There’s not much to be said about Pimania, the game that launched overnight the insignificant Pi Man to fame and fortune. The game is wacky, daft, weird and infuriating by turns and to date the famous prize worth £6,000 (plus index linking) has not been won. Although it runs on standard adventure game lines it takes lateral thinking into the realms of higher (or perhaps camp) art. Slow responses but that hardly matters, Pimania is a disease which overcomes most things!

PLANET OF DEATH
Producer: Artic, 16K £6.95
Adventure ‘A’ finds you stranded on an alien planet and you must find your space ship. That’s a pretty straightforward quest for once, but the route is far from straightforward. Atmospheric and chilling to play, you get drawn in by the words. Plenty of hazards to overcome. Good value.

QUEST
Producer: Hewson, 48K £5.95
Find a map hidden in a world inhabited by gruesome monsters guarding their territory and various pieces of treasure. To undertake the quest in question you can choose to be a wizard, a cleric, rogue, fighter or simpleton, each with his own characteristics and abilities. A split text/graphic game, it has a reasonably wide range of vocabulary. Generally a very good game and a traditional format adventure with plenty of scope. The only serious drawback is that you can’t play another game. Once finished the program quits permanently.

SAS Assault

SAS ASSAULT
Producer: Mikrogen, 48K £6.95
In this text and some graphics adventure you are leading an SAS team who must recover the Russian Ambassador from kidnappers before the Russians take the matter as an act of war. The Russian is being held in a farmhouse and part one is the assault. Part two, on the reverse side of the tape, carries the action forward with your ratings dependent upon how well you did in part one. It all moves along at a fair pace, with text descriptions and prompts as to the weapons you carry and how many bursts you can fire. When a situation develops you are given lettered choices like ‘Go back’ or ‘Fire’ or ‘Wait’. In between there are line drawings and some maps but most of the action is reported by the computer along the ‘You hit one and killed him,’ lines. Pretty fast responses, a lively story and generally not bad value. Overall CRASH rating 56% M/C.

SHIP OF DOOM
Producer: Artic, 48K £6.95
Adventure ‘C’ takes you into space and on a reconnaissance trip your ship is drawn by a Graviton beam onto an alien cruiser. Fred, your pet android, informs you that the cruiser is in search of humanoid planets to capture slaves whose brains will be replaced by microchips. The quest is to find the computer room and press the button to switch it off. You want to be wary in an Artic adventure, however, of switching off too many computers should you come across them. In ‘Planet of Death’ there is a computer which you may be tempted to disconnect. Doing so will dump you into a Sinclair Research logo!

TEN LITTLE INDIANS
Producer: Digital Fantasia, 48K £9.95
Author: Brian Howarth
The object of the game is to collect all ten little Indians, which are figurines amounting to a fantastic fortune. It starts unconventionally enough inside a train carriage with no apparent way out, especially as you can see the countryside whizzing past the windows. After a certain number of goes the train crashes! Getting the train to stop takes some experimenting, but when it does, it pulls up at the station of Lower Massington, which turns out to be another problem, in as much as the game really gets going in Upper Massington, in the manor house which belonged to the late Major Johnston-Smythe! Here the fabulous gold figurine is hidden, but so are ten identical ones made from worthless metals which will guide you to the fortune itself. Be warned, many other fortune hunters have had a go and never been heard from again. Usual on/off text/graphics facility of Digital Fantasia games, and a convoluted plot worthy of Agatha Christie in this highly recommended adventure.

TIME MACHINE
Producer: Digital Fantasia, 48K £9.95
Author: Brian Howarth
In an adventure that could have been written by H.G. Wells, you take the part of a local news reporter for the Tulkingham & Dunsby Gazette — hardly a thrilling job until strange goings-on are reported around the old house on the moors which belongs to an eccentric scientist by the name of Potter. The game starts in a dense foggy moor as you search for the old house itself. It is easy to die in a bog before finally finding the house where the real adventure gets underway. You may eventually get to several destinations in time and space to locate prisms and rescue the time machine’s owner. Objects collected In one dimension may well be needed in another, so it all takes a lot of working out. Bad language results in the admonishment to wash your mouth out! Excellent, atmospheric descriptions and a graphics on/off facility. Overall CRASH rating 65%.

URBAN UPSTART
Producer: Richard Shepherd, 48K £6.50 (3)
Scarthorpe is the sort of town where even the dogs carry flick-knives, where there’s only one road in, and it’s a one way street... This text and graphics adventure is set in today’s urban sprawl with unemployment opportunities, uncaring septic hospitals and sceptic police stations where arrest for obscenity is common. Football hooligans haunt the dirty streets and rats aren’t all you’ll find in Cut Throat Alley. The responses are reasonable, not super fast, and the graphics which add little to the content of the adventure but a lot to the pervading atmosphere, are rather slow to build up. General rating, above average, overall CRASH rating 64%.

Illustration
Illustration

VAMPIRE VILLAGE
Producer: Terminal, 48K £6.95 (1)
This graphics adventure is so graphics-oriented there is hardly any text to contend with. The village of Vlasdorf lives under the shadow of the vampire’s castle, and as Mayor of the village you must find volunteers, provide them with money to buy equipment and food, and get them to help you destroy the vampire menace. Usual vampire rules apply — stakes through the heart, no flying by day, garlic keeps him at bay. The screen displays a map of Vlasdorf and the surrounding countryside with hosts of black shapes for buildings. You control your volunteer by the cursor keys — he’s a small black dot — and you can send him to shops to buy things (like garlic), the boat house for a boat to cross the river (they drown if they fall in), the church for holy water, and so on. The village operates in real time moving from day to night with the usual rapidity of all good horror films! An unusual game with many other features and reasonable value for money. Overall CRASH rating 64%. M/C.

VELNOR’S LAIR
Producer: Quicksilva, 48K £6.95
Author: Derek Brewster
No adventure anthology would be complete without this one. Text only, but fluid, copious text with fast response times and a sense of humour that takes some of the sting from the gruesome tale of terror which lurks within the complex of Velnor’s Lair. There’s a clever use of repeat locations which makes you think you aren’t getting anywhere, when in fact you must keep entering the same command for five or six steps. The denizens of this adventure are a monstrous lot, and the goblins are tricky indeed. Chose your character carefully, wizard, warrior or priest, and watch out for illusions, which abound. Highly recommended.