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  Review by
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(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!

Herakles -- The Early Trials
1987 Tunstallsoft
By Johnathan Kemp

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

 

HERAKLES -
THE EARLY TRIALS

Tunstallsoft, 5.95 diskette only
 

mmmmm . . . Interrrresssting . . . What can we say about this one? Not easy. First, I've never heard of Tunstallsoft -- but they've sent me a disk to review, and it stands out from most of the other home-brew items I get sent because it is reasonably well packaged and contains clear instructions.


Second, unlike any other home-brew game, it really uses the disk to give you lengthy text descriptions.

Third, the descriptions are pretty good, and the atmosphere of the game is much enhanced as a result. There are also some pictures, some of which are very attractive.

The game is the first of a two-part series, and as Herakles you must complete a number of tasks drawn from Greek mythology, including grabbing wild boars, cleaning stables and killing hydras. There's obviously been a good deal of research carried out here, with both place-names and individuals carefully created with a view to their legendary counterparts.

Unfortunately, for some reason I wasn't really grabbed by this game. The parser is pretty primitive -- it only accepts two word inputs, examines the first four letters only and is slightly quirky in other respects. For example, while you can enter certain words (WAIT, for example) in some locations, in other locations they are not understood. Furthermore, the parser does not specify which word it doesn't understand -- a small point, but as readers know, it's one that helps maintain interest when trying to solve difficult puzzles.

I suppose it may have been this that dampened my ardour somewhat -- in what is for the most part a text-only game, I like to have pretty comprehensive interaction and input facilities. But in this case I think I ought to make an exception and set my personal feelings apart, for the following reasons . . .

First, the text descriptions, which are highly detailed and very nicely written. Some of them run to almost an entire screenful and are most atmospheric. Obviously, they are too long to reside in memory and to call them up you enter the special command T. This loads in a text file relevant to that location and to others in the neighbourhood; you can then get the full description of your whereabouts. The default descriptions are very short -- usually only a few words on the top line of the screen.

Second, the gameplay. There's quite a lot involved, with far more puzzles to solve than the average home-brew game. Some of them are quite original, and I've yet to discover any that are seriously lacking in logic.

Third, the graphics, which although few and far between are attractive full-screen hi-res efforts.

And lastly, the price -- 5.95 can't be all that bad, when Tunstallsoft have obviously put in so much effort. Apparently the game is part-Quilled, which explains the limitations of the parser, but extra bits have obviously been tacked on to expand the presentation. Despite my own reservations, I can't help feeling that this is a good deal that should not be passed over by disk drive owners, and certainly not by anyone with an interest in Ancient Greece.

Tunstallsoft can be contacted at 17 Victoria Park Road, Tunstall, Stoke on Trend ST6 6DX

 
Atmosphere 68%
Interaction 58%
Lasting Interest 70%

Value for Money

72%

Overall

70%
 


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)
There were no screenshots in the original review.

The special commands used in the game are:

C = List of items carried
H = Health status
L = Brief description of current location
P = Picture (displays last high res graphic)
T = Detailed description of current location
Load = load presaved position
Save
= save current position
Score = current score

Download
Herakles - The Early Trials.zip (91k)
Password list, as submitted by the Author (21k)

Note: Filename to load is "HERAKLES". Use 'normal' loading if using CCS64 in order to view the loading sequence as intented.

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