to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a
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average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter!
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text of the present article comes from the preview published
in the sixteenth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64
(street date: July 10th, 1986) and the review published
in the eighteenth issue (street date: September 11th,
is something of a preview, since the Wiz was sent
a tape that turned out so be for the Spectrum.
However I braved those infuriating rubber keys
just to bring you a quick low-down on this latest
Adventuresoft (ie Adventure International) product.
course Adventure International have long gone down the
tubes, but Brian Howarth and his merry men are still
churning out the goods, now distributed by US Gold.
Rebel Planet is based on one of the books from
the Fighting Fantasy series by Ian Livingston/Steve
loaded, the screen takes on that familiar Brian Howarth/Gremlins
format of graphics on top, text beneath, with a pleasingly
redesigned character set and clear display. The pics
on the Spectrum version are really very attractive indeed
and there seems every reason to expect as good, if not
better on the Commodore.
plot and the gameplay are quite extensive and involved,
unlike some previous Adventure International titles
that just gave you a few locations and some tricky puzzles
to solve. The alien Arcadian Empire is overrunning the
Galaxy and is controlling its armies using a 'queen
computer' which must be located and destroyed. You are
disguised as a merchant trader and, in your good ship
Caydia, you tour the universe picking up clues and objects
that will help you in your mission.
the game you visit three planets according to a pre-planned
flight plan. In order to avoid being left behind by
your ship when it takes off again, you have to keep
an eye on your progress and, if necessary, delay the
takeoff (which you can only do once). On the planets
you must interact with other characters, some of whom
are your allies and can give you valuable information.
Your ultimate goal is to work out a nine-digit code
that will give you access, to the 'queen computer building'
and then destroy the machine itself.
parser on Rebel Planet seems to be one up on
previous Adventure International titles. It claims to
have about 400 words, and although that isn't much by
todays standards, it's still perfectly adequate to stave
off feelings of frustration when you're entering commands.
It understands some reasonably complex commands, including
PUT (object) IN (other object) and accepts THEN and
AND. What it doesn't do is help you much over vocab
problems -- 'QWERTY THE TREWQ' gets you the response
'Sorry, not possible' when 'I don't understand (word)'
would of course be preferable.
other niggle is that there isn't a RAM SAVE option --
fast becoming standard in adventures (and about time
too). Saving to cassette or disk is really too arduous,
especially if you're picking up and dropping lots of
objects and wish to do regular SAVES to fall back on.
It's time that programmers of full-price adventures,
included this feature automatically -- it should be
a standard option, not a luxury.
Planet will undoubtedly be a popular program. The
Wiz reckons it's something of an improvement on earlier
AI productions, some of which I was rather rude about.
However, I'm afraid that there's still rather too much
marketing and rather too little programming going into
these products. I feel a bit mean saying that, but the
flashy packaging and mega-sales approach leaves one
expecting (and hoping for) something special. This one's
an improvement, but that's about all I can say . . .
Wiz first gave you a glimpse of this game a couple
of months ago and promptly got a slapped wrist
from Adventuresoft, who didn't like being associated
with the now defunct Adventure International.
They especially disliked the references to Brian
Howarth when he had nothing to do with the game.
Even Wizards make mistakes. Anyway, they have
invited me to pay them a visit soon to see how
their games are designed, so stay tuned . . .
on to the game. The first thing I noticed about the
Commodore version (having had a Spectrum copy for the
review) was the increase in graphic quality and the
speed of response. The former aspect is to be expected,
but the previous version had taken some time to respond
to commands, whereas interaction was almost instantaneous
on this one (as indeed it should be).
those of you who missed out on the plot last month,
you play the role of an agent for the Earth based organisation
SAROS (Search And Research Of Space), which is trying
to break free of the grip of the expanding Arcadian
Empire. You are on a mission to the planet Arcadian
itself, disguised as a merchant. Once there, you must
destroy the central computer controlling the minds of
the enemy troops. First you must travel to two other
worlds to mislead the Arcadians. Then, on arrival at
the homeworld, seek out allied spies who have information
on how to access the computer with a series of number
codes. Simple eh? Still, it's better than average.
mentioned in the preview, the game is based on a book
by Robin Waterfield which forms part of Ian Livingstone's
and Steve Jackson's Fighting Fantasy series. Whether
reading the book will help you with the game, I don't
know; I doubt it would be much use after previous experience.
The game is neatly packed in a double cassette case
with a decently sized instruction leaflet.
like this never seem to have a reasonable vocabulary
or parser. When the computer gave me a yes or no prompt
and I typed in 'N', it said 'You cannot go that way.'
It understood 'laser' and 'sword' for laser sword, but
only understood 'ampoule' for analgesic ampoule. Some
of the responses were a bit non-sensical as well.
well. It takes some time and a very precise course of
action to stock up with supplies and tools before you
land on the first planet. After that you have to keep
track of your personal status (energy tablets may be
carried to sustain this) and the scheduled take off
time for your vessel. If you're really stuck you can
retard take off time, but this feature may only be used
once, so be careful.
Planet is a fairly standard effort and though I
mentioned the parser before, at least now has AND, THEN
and IN usage (which does prove useful). The graphics
are pleasantly drawn as well, so those who don't have
the necessary imagination to view their surroundings
in adventure games should not be disappointed. Those
who are more interested in the flexibility of the plot
and interactive capability of the game may be.
are some good points. Using a time limit works well;
it adds a bit of pace to the setting from which the
adventure benefits greatly. The location descriptions
are always visible on the screen, which cuts out the
necessity to retype 'look' every time you want to inspect
the surroundings, and the screen display itself is very
neat. There's very little atmosphere though; the game
relies too heavily on its graphics for my liking. All
this comes down to taste. Yer pays yer Zorkmids and
takes yer choice. I can think of plenty of other games
I'd rather spend my hard earned Zorkmids on.
you want a walkthrough, visit
Jacob Gunness' Classic
Adventures Solution Archive or
C64 Adventure Game Solutions Site
Kiminas (28 Nov 2004)
While trying to grab the screenshots from this game,
I wrote a walkthrough. Visit the above sites to get
it. In the course I also discovered that the screenshots
in the review were not from the C64 version -- or were
from an early unfinished copy (the screenshots in the
preview were of course from the Spectrum version).
"Games of the Week!"