First, the good news. There are one or two useful features
here -- a BACK ONE MOVE facility (BOM) which enables
you to resurrect yourself when killed, for example.
We've also got QSAVE and QLOAD for fast restoring when
in difficulty (or dead). There's even an 'extended text
version' on one side of the tape, which doesn't have
graphics and gives the text-only fan a bit more beef.
the fact remains that these games are still behind
every other release on the market in programming and
design terms. I don't expect spelling mistakes in games
costing £9.99 -- even if there's only one (there may
be others -- I haven't finished the game at the time
of writing). I don't expect a system so inflexible that
it can't make grammatical sense, as in: 'Of particular
interest is: a man's body, two dead Dark Elves.' It
doesn't take much effort to check for plural objects
and change the 'is' to 'are'.
also expect a little more in the way of vocabulary and
flexibility in the parser. For example, take the location
where you get the above message about the bodies --
if you enter: 'Examine man's body', you're told that
'There's nothing of interest or significance about it'
-- silly, as the program's just said that it's of 'particular
interest'! You get the same message if you type 'Examine
body'. The problem is that the parser expects 'Examine
man'. Ah well . . .
are numerous other small points which annoy the player
(or at least the Wiz), like double printing of location
descriptions after actions, or having to enter things
GO EAGLE to climb onto an eagle's back.
reader (see Mailbag) reckons that these games remind
him of the old Scott Adams games. I have to admit that
they show very little advance in design or content over,
for example, The Hulk -- or even some of the
earlier titles like Adventureland. Come on boys,
we're in the Infocom age, not the Stone Age . . . There
are better games like this being released using the
Quill -- and they don't cost £9.99!