an Adventure Twin Pack
from Talent Computer Systems
One of the temptations of the ST for existing
Atari owners will be the availability of new software which will not
become available on the 8-bit machines. A vast range of programs
currently available for the QL and Macintosh will become available
in the months ahead and one of the first conversions from the QL
comes from Talent Computer Systems.
Of all the different types of entertainment
software, the one form that is likely to be most successful on the
ST is the adventure and already Infocom have their entire range
available. For an existing Atari adventurer this will not be
sufficient to make the commitment but the availability of two brand
new adventures on one disk at almost half the price of lnfocom games
must be tempting! The two adventures are in different styles with
WEST as an introductory adventure featuring a great deal of
'real-time' action and The Lost Kingdom of Zkul as the 'classic'
adventure based more on the dungeons and dragons style with fantasy,
fighting, treasures and difficult puzzles and mazes.
WEST is set in 1885 with you on the track of a
notorious gang of robbers. They have hidden the proceeds of a bank
raid in town and you must recover this loot whilst outwitting - and
outgunning - the robbers and seeking ways to escape from town. The
adventure follows the familiar format with reasonably lengthy
location descriptions and plenty of action. Locations are described
in full when you first visit them but are described briefly when you
next visit unless you LOOK around. One of the first things you will
notice is the sudden appearance of mean looking robbers and other protagonists
who will kill you if you do not act quickly enough. This does not
mean thinking of the right thing to do but literally reacting
quickly for the events continue as you think and you are likely to
get killed before typing the next command. Unfortunately this aspect
can become rather frustrating as it is quite easy to die just after
being re-incarnated due to some random event. You have three lives
and are re-incarnated each time at the starting location minus any
items you were carrying which remain with your 'other body'. As you
progress through the game a second time you see the results of all
your earlier actions until you come to 'a familiar looking body'!
Here you can pick up all items you previously had before proceeding
further. Some events seem slightly illogical like your horse who
acts like a homesick homing pigeon by wandering off and then always
finding you a few moves later wherever you may be, but in general
there are plenty of puzzles to solve in time honoured tradition.
Talent say that this is the easier adventure but it should prove
entertaining to all.
The Lost Kingdom of Zkul is much more in the
classic vein with time to think and solve puzzles, traps for the
unwary and over two hundred locations to explore. Set in another
time and place you set forth to find the treasures hidden long ago
by dwarves in the Doomed City. As usual many have failed before you
with the guidance of your friend Eldomir you seek the Lost Kingdom
and its treasures. Eldomir does not seem to be of much help as he
sits in a hut in the forest acting as a base for you to return
treasures to, so you are really on your own. As well as exploring
you must look after your health by drinking and eating at the
appropriate times and healing yourself following fights. You must
find a way to communicate with the various dwarves that appear and
magically disappear and avoid the usual perils of death. You have
three lives which are given to you with increasing impatience by
some 'benign being' before being condemned to re-boot the game.
Points are scored for finding and returning treasures, visiting
difficult locations and for finishing the game. Points are deducted
for getting killed, saving the game or using bad language! To become
a Grandmaster requires that you complete the game with one life and
I am unable to comment on complexity as compared
with Infocom, as the review versions were specially scaled down
demonstration copies but from the feel of the initials moves and
encounters I am sure expert adventurers will not be disappointed.
Novices will find this package very pleasing for it comes with a
twenty page introduction which includes many helpful ideas for these
and other adventures. Quite welcome this as many people buy
adventures on recommendation from more expert players only to find
themselves stuck from the start.
Common to both games is a novel game save feature
which allows you to compose up to a screen of notes to jog your
memory later on. Very useful if you have limited time to play or
become involved in other adventures between sessions. Both games
work on the monochrome or colour monitors using 80 columns on both
and the only difference is a title picture which is loaded on the
colour monitor but which has no effect on the games. It seems to be
there simply as an excuse to use the colour!
Two adventures for £24.95 can't be bad when
compared to some prices on the 8-bit systems and these represent one
small reason for committing yourself to an ST!