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  Preview and
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!

Legend of the Apache Gold
1987 Incentive Software
By Peter Torrance

Winter Wonderland
1987 Incentive Software
By Peter Torrance

 
Most text of the present article comes from the preview published in the twenty second issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: January 22nd, 1987) and the review published in the twenty third issue (street date: February 12th, 1987).
 

Do you have a version of Apache Gold
that includes its loading screen?

 


This month the White Wizard casts an eye on multi-user interactive games -- the first in a two-part series. What have MUD, Shades, and Valley got to offer you? What's Level 9 up to on the MUG front? Not to mention a brief mention of two games from Incentive -- are they worth 7.95? And a game from hitherto unknown Tunstallsoft -- is it worth 5.50? Ol' Whitey casts his wand over the waters and comes up with the juice . . . (What! Sack that wizard -- Ed)
.

 

APACHE GOLD / WINTER WONDERLAND
Incentive, 7.95 cassette
 

hese two games were written using the Graphic Adventure Creator and form part of the Medallion adventure range from Incentive -- a new collection of games that offers, so Incentive think, the 'best of GAC'.


The Wiz has only seen these games on another format, so I don't want to give them a full review at this stage. However, both releases have good graphics, reasonable puzzles and original plots.

Apache Gold, as its name suggests, puts you down in a wagon in the wild west and has you parlaying with Old Timers and Injuns in an attempt to locate a bit of the old precious metal. Winter Wonderland is rather more offbeat, being set in some 'Shangri-La' civilisation located somewhere in the Tibetan mountains.

Being GAC products, these games show both the promise and the limitation of the system. The promise is that anyone with a good idea and a reasonable hand for drawing can produce a commercial quality graphics adventure. The limitation is that the aforesaid commercial quality weights in toward the bottom end of the scale -- OK parser (but no more than OK), limited room for text on screen, and memory constraints.

And of course all GAC games have the same 'feel' -- even more so, I think, than those created with the Quill. This has the effect of making poor game ideas look better and good game ideas look rather less original than they might otherwise.

However, the big question here has to be value for money. For an extra fiver or so you can get a Commodore version of Zork on disk. That really puts the price of these games into perspective. And with punters turning out their own games with GAC and selling them for around 2.50 a throw, plus companies like Firebird and Americana churning out budget releases like SubSunk, why do we have to pay 7.95 each for these two items? Good questions. Answers, please.

 

APACHE GOLD AND
WINTER WONDERLAND

Incentive, 7.95 each, cassette only
 

s previewed by the Wiz, these two little fantasies have been awarded the accolade of Medallion Adventures by Incentive -- which means that Ian Andrew reckons they are the pick of the bunch, selected from the games sent in by the users of the Graphic Adventure Creator to the Incentive dungeon.


Well, I didn't see the rest of the bunch so I can't be certain about the overall quality. Certainly both these games match up well to the adventures sent in to the Wiz by readers, but then they cost rather a lot more. I would reckon that the going rate for a home-brew game nowadays is about 2.50. Add to that a premium of say, 1 for professional packaging, and that gives you 3.50. Then add another pound for the backing of a major software house, which should offer some sort of peace of mind when buying (and also means that if the game doesn't load you can get your money back) and you get 4.50. For the sake of capitalist enterprise, let's make that 4.95.

4.95 is a good way off 7.95 in my book. And I'm afraid that I really can't recommend these games as value for money. Not that they're bad, understand. I've already given you mist of the details, but suffice it to say that in Apache Gold you trot around in your carriage, escape from injuns, and suffer the indignities of the injun spirit world. It's a nice, tight little game that would go down very well at 4.95. But not at . . . OK, I've made my point.

I didn't find Winter Wonderland quite so enjoyable. In this game you crash-land in Tibet and must make your way past hungry wolves and thin ice to a Shangri-La type environment complete with hotel and tropical gardens. I thought the puzzles were slightly better than those in Apache, but the pics weren't quite so hot and the storyline didn't come off so well.


[this screenshot was not in the original review]

Both games have all the attributes of GAC -- multi-command input using commas and 'then', and IT for the last noun entered. But the fact is that the games themselves don't really require much more than two word inputs. As adventures written by non-professionals, I reckon that they do justice to GAC, are amusing and well thought out, and are worth less than the asking price. Come on, Incentive -- what about leading the field with a potent little budget adventure label.

 
WINTER WONDERLAND     APACHE GOLD  
Atmosphere 60%   Atmosphere 62%
Interaction 60%   Interaction 60%
Lasting Interest 58%   Lasting Interest 57%

Value for Money

52%   Value for Money 52%

Overall

59%   Overall 59%
 


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 (5 Feb 2005)

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