first thing he's done is turn the usual state of adventuring
on its head. Instead of doing battle with Trolls and
Goblins, you ARE one -- in this case you are Gonj, one
of the 'Green People' who were, long ago, friends of
the human race, but must now hide away for fear of discovery
blurb claims about 90 locations for his game, which
loads in two parts. On the first side of the cassette
there's an introduction, together with some music and
a picture of Gonj's dwelling place. My immediate impression
was mainly shaped by the number of spelling mistakes
-- I hope this wasn't a production copy, Tony, because
you will have to fix them before it goes on sale! Spelling
is one of those little things that one often overlooks
in a game, but any commercial software house will tell
you how important it is.
fact, spelling is just one facet of that 'inner logic'
that any good adventure must have. Despite the interest
of the story, this inner logic must be present for a
game to be really enjoyable. Unfortunately, in the version
of Tony's game that I saw, it was often absent. For
example, once you've boned up on the history of the
'Green People', you find yourself sitting in your hole,
where you can see a 'large wooden chest'. If you try
to open it, you find it's 'rusty'. Hmmm -- wooden chests
don't rust (though their hinges might, I suppose). Little
niggles like this, coupled with the frequent spelling
mistakes tend to weaken the atmosphere of even the best-planned
times, Troll Bound falls over slightly. The text-formatting
is sometimes slightly askew and there was even one rather
major bug -- a torch that I needed couldn't be 'got',
thereby causing much annoyance and frustration since
it was clearly there for the taking. My only other major
gripe is that the vocabulary doesn't appear to include
either EXAMINE or LOOK.
a number of games, Tony's doesn't tell you which word
it's having difficulty with and simply replies: 'You
try, but cannot do that', or words to that effect. This
is a pity, because (as I've often said) it's a great
help to know exactly which words you're misusing. Troll
Bound does, however, adopt the enjoyable practice
of varying its responses, so we get 'I await you. Oh
great green one' and 'What next, oh smelly one?' as
prompts for input.
Bound has some very original locations and the game
is reasonably priced at £2.99. However, before you order
a copy, I suggest you ask Tony whether or not he's corrected
all the spelling mistakes! If those (and the torch bug
I mentioned) are fixed, then this looks like another
of those 'amateur' games that, if not up to the standard
of some of today's commercial releases, can at least
offer some enjoyment to the dedicated adventurer.
not that the structure of the game has been much changed,
but the presentation and the pictures. And it's on disk
as well now for the extremely reasonable price of £5.95.
This must make it the cheapest disk offering around,
and I reckon it's now even better value than previously.
What's more, the disk version has some nice added features,
including an optional fast loader and the ability to
load the title screen and music separately, or not at
all if you want to get down to the game quicker.
shan't repeat the Troglodytic details of the plot, but
Tony has added several new graphics that really are
attractive ... AND he's tidied up his spellynge. Look,
I know the Wiz appears to have a bit of a bee in his
bonnet about spelling and presentation in games, but
really it is important. If I opened an Agatha Christie
book and read 'The boddy laie on the sowfa beside the
tayble', I would simply put it back on the shelf. The
same goes for adventures, which after all have an abundance
of text as their only distinguishing mark . . . So it's
nice to see it properly presented.
for the new version Tony, and I hope that others get
the same enjoyment out of it as I did. Order your copy
from Mr Treadwell at the address in the Helpline column.