The first problem is to find an exit. However, this
is not enough -- a password is also required to guarantee
passage to the next house, and indeed the second part
of the adventure.
the start, a brown and yellow picture is presented,
supposedly depicting a corridor. However, my first perceptions
were proved incorrect by the text beneath this graphic
illustration which read. 'You are at the southern end
of the hall. To your south and east there are doors".
It was at this point that my heart sank and I buried
my head in my hands . . .
little while later I attempted to face the screen again
and decided to give this new adventure from Incentive
the old once over, it surely couldn't gel any worse.
went south and was told (in yellow) that I was in the
cloakroom. SEARCH CLOAKROOM says I: 'You can't' is the
response, try LEAVE CLOAKROOM: 'You can't' it says again.
HELP says I: 'You can't' says it! Remaining totally
calm I input 'N' to escape this less than friendly location.
Exploring the house revealed many more juicy descriptions
such as: 'You are on a flight of stairs', 'You are in
a Hall' and 'You are on the landing facing east'. The
atmosphere created by this prose is nil.
particular location almost caused me to destroy my Commodore
with a quick zap from my blaster: the empty panel-walled
bedroom. I tried EXAMINEing the walls, SEARCHing the
bedroom, OPENing the walls, OPENing the panels and even
KICKing them, to no avail. Of course, the answer seems
obvious now: PUSH the panels, but to fully appreciate
the frustration of having to deal with a pathetic parser
you had to be there. Oh, by the way -- PUSHing the panels
is a task which can be repeated over and over again,
regardless of whether the secret door has opened or
persevered and gained access to part two, which was
no better and no worse. I don't understand games of
this type which, for example, displays 'You are in a
secret room known as a priest hole. There are footprints
in the dust.' when the parser doesn't understand footprint
(or even prints). The excuse that it creates atmosphere
just doesn't wash, it only adds to the frustration.
This adventure comes in three parts: The House, The
Eighth Sea and The Secret, all of which are basic to
say the least. For me, the secret of life is certainly
not plodding my way through a dreary game trying to
guess which verbs and nouns the author has managed in
include in the database.
is better. The story tells of Ramus, an evil Wizard
who is intent on destroying you and your ancient tribe
of warriors. He must be stopped of course, but the only
clue is written in the Scriptures of Barenola, which
state that Ramus' weakness lies in the stars. Judarez,
the wise man of the tribe, has studied these scriptures
and knows exactly how to destroy the wizard. However,
he is now old and frail and certainly not up to the
fight. This is where the player comes in.
mission is to find the twelve signs of the Zodiac and
return with them to the encampment so that Judarez may
utilise them and rid the tribe of this evil threat.
The quest begins with the player on the open road. Again,
sparse descriptions are used, but at least the parser
database is better. 'HELP' is recognised (even if the
reply is of no great assistance) and the EXAMINE command
is well catered for. The annoying 'sudden death' syndrome
is present, and frequent saving is recommended to avoid
such abrupt endings as sinking in the swamp due to a
lack of wellies being worn.
number of the problems require a little brainstorming:
A scorpion lurks on the desert plain but there is no
warning of it being there. However, once the player
has died a few times from the creature's sting it may
dawn on him to carry an antidote when entering these
sandy wastes. While on the subject of obscurity, those
who can get rid of the Giant without any help should
put a feather in their cap.
pictures which appear to accompany every location are
not very good and, I feel a corny phrase coming on,
the memory used on the graphics could have been better
spent enhancing the text. Accepting the fact that Zodiac
was written using the GAC, and comparing it to
The Secret of Life, what we have here is an acceptable
little adventure which should keep a player quietly
amused for some time.
a package, this latest offering from Incentive seems
to represent reasonable value for money. Unfortunately,
the actual games themselves are decidedly uninspiring.
A price of £7.95 may appear fair to pay for four adventures,
but I feel that the depth and content is so disappointing
that this is not the case.