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Review by
Steve Cooke
(The White Wizard)

 

 
Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Nine Princes in Amber
1985 Telarium Corp.
By Andrea Bird
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the twelfth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: March 13th, 1986).
 
NINE PRINCES IN AMBER
Telarium, 19.95 disk only
 

he Wiz has to admit that he has never read the book upon which this game is based, but after playing the game, all I can say is that if I spot it on the shelves I'll snap it up. Author Roger Zelazny has followed Hitch-Hiker Douglas Adams into the 'interactive fiction' market, and scored an undoubted hit.


The plot of the game reminds me somewhat of an old CCS title called The Prince. This was a multi-player game in which the adventurers had to make and break alliances in their attempts to locate a series of symbolic 'tokens', possession of which would secure them the throne.

Nine Princes in Amber sets four women and their nine brothers off on a quest for power. You take the part of Corwyn, one of the princes, and must attain your goal by allying with other members of your family. Since alliances can be broken, re-forged and betrayed at any moment during the game, you have to keep your wits about you.

In fact, the game is dominated by these processes of interaction between characters. More than half of the 140-odd verbs in the game are to do with communication, so you have DISAGREE, NOD, LAUGH, EXPLAIN, SNARL, PLACATE and many, many more to use when it comes to confrontations. The characters are so central to the game that objects take on rather less significance, though you have to learn to use words well if you are to survive.

Nine Princes in Amber has all those other touches that have distinguished recent American disk-based games, such as Activision's Mindshadow and Borrowed Time. The graphics are excellent (though not quite as good as those in the Activision range) and there is music as well, both on loading and during the game.

However, it does take some getting used to, this game. Most adventurers will not be used to the large range of interaction required between characters. To help you though, there is a list of all the available verbs and, even better, there is a short demonstration game on the disk as well, which is a considerable help in getting you to grips with the way the program works.

Nine Princes in Amber is a very different game. If you're tired of wandering round collecting treasure or fighting dragons, try this instead. You will find your fellow men and women a darn slight trickier to deal with than Balrogs, I warrant you. You start off in a hospital bed with both legs in plaster and a burly doctor coming towards you with a hypodermic. You need to resort to violence here before you can get anywhere -- and believe me it isn't easy!

My only criticism about this game is the slow disk accessing. In one case, after entering the simple command WAIT, the disk whirred for nearly 30 seconds before giving me the message: 'You wait patiently . . . ' Well, maybe I do, but I wish I didn't have to.

Minor quibbles like that aside, this is an excellent game. The parser isn't that brilliant, but once you get used to it you will find that the gameplay is very complex and quite absorbing -- and the location descriptions aren't bad either. Different, but refreshingly so.

 
Atmosphere 78%
Interaction 83%
Lasting Interest 85%

Value for Money

76%

Overall

83%
 


If you want a walkthrough, visit
Jacob Gunness
' Classic Adventures Solution Archive or
Martin Brunner's C64 Adventure Game Solutions Site

Can anybody rip the SID tune out of this one?

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (26 Apr 2004)

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