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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!
The Colour of Magic
1986 Piranha/Delta 4
By Judith Child, Fergus McNeill & Colin Buckett
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the twenty first issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: December 10th, 1986).
 

 

THE COLOUR OF MAGIC
Piranha (Delta 4) , 8.95 cassette
 

t's a strange world. Discworld that is. It's sort of flattish and disc shaped. Then there are the elephants -- four of them, who support Discworld. Of course, the whole arrangement is carried on the back of a giant turtle called Great A'Tuin through the vastness of space and time.


It's a strange world, as I said.

Strange worlds are invariably inhabited by strange people. Meet Rincewind. Rincewind is nearly a wizard. Unfortunately, he has a spell permanently stuck inside his brain as a result of a training accident. He can't even pronounce it, so the spell isn't exactly useful. He's permanently down on his luck. But as life would have it, things are to change for Rincewind. The change comes in the form of the world's first tourist, Twoflower.

Twoflower is the kind of guy who drags minor disasters around with him as if some kind of repertoire is required. The recipients of these disasters are usually unsuspecting innocents, like Rincewind. He also has a chest full of luggage -- with legs on. Well, hundreds of little feet actually. Still, it makes a change from the usual castors. Twoflower hires Rincewind to be his guide. Twoflower is also quite well off . . .

You play Rincewind. You receive a brief from the ruler of the city of Ankh-Morpork to look after this 'politically important' person and the adventure proper begins. It's a Quilled game in several parts that has you hopelessly wrapped up in circumstances which are either out of control to start with or become so in a disturbingly short space of time. It has graphics on the top third of the screen display, but these add little to the adventure. In fact the visuals are the weakest part of the game. Trendy they may be but their unsuitability for this game stands out like a sore thumb.


[this screenshot was not in the original review]

Authors McNeill, Child and Buckett do their usual best to overcome both the limitations of the vocabulary and the parser. Rarely does the player have to resort to guessing the syntax, though perhaps some of the response messages could have been a little more helpful. Limited character interaction is possible with the 'Talk to . . . ' command. Otherwise the game plays in a very similar fashion to its predecessors, The Boggit and Robin of Sherlock. In other words, single command input (preferably two-word) is called for.

The various explorations, despite being intrinsically hazardous anyway, are further complicated by the best feature of the game, Death. Death has actually bumped into our heroes anyway due to a cock up in his timetable. As a result, he's extremely upset and you know it's only a matter of time before he returns to settle things once and for all. In fact, the game lives up to the reputation of Terry Pratchett's novel very well. Those who aren't familiar with the novel will probably find themselves rushing out to buy it after playing the game. Funny as it is, you will want more.


[this screenshot was not in the original review]

More importantly, it's a good adventure in spite of (and not just because of) the gimmickery. It takes fantasy adventuring into the hitherto little explored regions of Discworld and I think most people will enjoy the trip. The price is right. Though as a parting thought, my criticism of Delta 4 is similar to that of St Brides last issue. They should really leave The Quill behind along with its limitations and go for a more sophisticated system. Adventures written on that aging utility cannot expect to survive full pricing for much longer.

 
Atmosphere 70%
Interaction 60%
Lasting Interest 75%

Value for Money

73%

Overall

74%
 


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

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (29 Jan 2005)

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