It's definitely a lot better, thank goodness. I actually
began to get quite involved in this program, in which
hero Kevin tries to discover something of his past and
bring an evil doctor to justice in the process.
real improvements in the game are: first, quicker drawing
of graphics and improved detail and quality of the pictures;
second, a far better game-structure, with a well-designed
map and more logical puzzles; third, clearer objectives
in a plot unmuddled by petty thugs, arrests, and a rather
silly reliance on super-powers. These were all things
that I felt made the original Redhawk game a
mess, and in this follow-up they're all much improved.
fact, if only the programming team can clear up the
one major flaw (see below) in this system, they might
actually be on to something quite good. Just to remind
you -- or inform you, if you haven't seen Redhawk
-- the screen is divided into two, with the upper
half boasting three panels which carry three pictures
as in a strip cartoon.
pictures show you the current location and characters
-- and as you enter commands in the text window below
they flip along from right to left, bringing in new
pictures from the right as if you were reading a comic
book. Because of the constraints of a 6502 processor,
the effect is still rather clumsy but it's now been
speeded up to the point where it does actually enhance
the game rather than make it look simply amateurish.
touches include the fact that if you type something
like 'SAY KWAH' then the character Kevin (whom you control)
sprouts a speech bubble, in true comic-strip form, in
which the word appears. If your message can't fit in
all at once, it scrolls through the bubble.
far as the plot is concerned, Kevin -- as in the previous
game -- can change into his super alter ego by simply
saying 'KWAH'. Rather better use of this is made in
this program than in the original. For example, there's
one point where young Kev is bound and gagged and therefore
can't say anything except MMMGGGGPHHH... or words to
that effect. If the original game had had puzzles of
that quality in it, I wouldn't have slated it so badly.
there remains a bug in the lettuce. The parser is frankly
awful. As always in these games, where you try to fit
graphics, onscreen clocks and other innovations into
the program all at once, something has to give. And
in Kwah!! it's the part of the program that understands
what you're typing in. You can only move in four directions,
the vocabulary is very small, and the system is full
of inconsistencies. For example, you type 'PULL LEVER'
in a room where there isn't a lever. The program responds:
'Do what with the lever?'. If you persevere it will
eventually, after wasting your time, admit that there
'isn't one here.'
apart from the small vocab, is the way the parser leads
you into thinking it can understand more than it can.
You find 'A small gap' in a door. You type 'LOOK THROUGH
GAP' . . . 'Look through what gap?' the program replies.
'LOOK THROUGH THE SMALL GAP' you enter. ''Small' confuses
Kevin' replies the infuriating parser.
so on. Perhaps the system is really stretching the C64
to its limits, or perhaps the programmers haven't got
into their stride yet. Which of these two theories is
true will decide whether this system has an interesting
future or whether Kwah!! will be remembered as
the best it ever had to offer. As it is, I reckon it's
only just worth the asking price, but if you get it
for a present I think you'll find it worth having a