WHO’D HAVE THOUGHT IT? Here we are in blazing June (well it will be once this depression moves out into the North Sea) and the quality of games reviewed this month is very high. Could it be that the final shake out has begun — poor games just don’t seem to surface anymore (much to my relief). If you are sitting in some attic beavering away on some distinctly average programming project then my advice is to forget it. To make an impact these days you must offer something new and preferably, radically new. On the face of it Runestone from Games Workshop, written by Alan Davis, is another Lords of Midnight. However, playing Runestone reveals many more facets to this game and many features that take it some way beyond Midnight. Similarly, on the face of it, Gremlins serves up the traditional Adventure International fare. However, some ingredients have been refined and spiced up. International’s latest has semi-animated Gremlins against a backdrop of pictures which must be the best graphics on the Spectrum. Further, actions are reflected in the pictures with drawers opening and closing, objects removed from pictures, swimming pools draining, and Gremlins blended, cooked and decapitated. Witch’s Cauldron introduces your character to the location picture and, what’s more, the character moves against the backdrop. Hence the cat must crawl along the window ledge until it is adjacent to the window where it can then enter the room.
What this all adds up to is a further homing in onto the areas which afford the greatest entertainment. Although I have in the past backed the view that text only adventures are superior per se, I must admit that when graphics are of a very high calibre and their use is original, stimulating and, most important of all, actually add something to the adventure, then in these cases I do, like so many others, thoroughly enjoy the extra dimension and interest of artistic compositions.