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  Review by
Nik Wild
(The Harlequin)

 

 
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!

Nord and Bert
Couldn't Make Head Or Tail of It
1987 Infocom
By Jeff O'Neill

 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the thirty third issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: December 10th, 1987).
 
 
 

NORD AND BERT
COULDN'T MAKE HEAD OR TAIL OF IT

Infocom, disk only 24.95

 

he author of Ballyhoo strikes again. Jeff O'Neill's latest for Infocom is a somewhat different style of adventure from the norm to say the least. Nord And Bert Could Not Make Head Or Tail Of It (which shall hereinafter be referred to as Nord!) is a collection of eight short stories, the first seven of which may be tackled in any order but must be completed before entry into the last scenario is permitted.


All eight stories take place in the mixed up town of Punster where you are to solve puzzles involving spoonerisms, homonyms and other general verbal trickery. For example, in the Shopping Bizarre scenario the player comes across a freezer containing the number 22 frozen onto the number 7, one soon realises that this is of course the formula for Pythagoras's theorem, and inputting the word PIE transforms the numbers into a fruit pie! The exact reason for doing this remains a mystery to me and is one I shall probably not bother to solve.

The kind of puzzles found in Nord are neither clever nor very Infocom. Some are so simple that one wonders if it was worth wasting the memory on them.

In the Play Jacks scenario you find and take an object called a Jack of all Traits, this, as the name suggests, is a gizmo which can perform many functions. One such function is to clear the stark whiteness of a particular location simply by having the player type in the name Jack Frost. There is very little challenge here, there is no feeling of pride at having cracked the problem and certainly no incentive instilled to carry on to the next location or scenario and see what mental challenges there are there. Most of the puzzles are either very easy or incredibly obscure, and all are silly. They left me with a feeling of 'why?'.

Mapping is made obsolete by the presence at the top of the screen of all the locations accessible from the current one; you simply type in the name to get there. There is an extensive help system available which may be accessed at any time during play and contains clues on every problem you will come across. Handy perhaps, but once boredom crept (which didn't lake long), I found myself using these clues all the time just to get through the game as quickly and with as little effort as possible.

I could quite happily winge on about Mousse, Box Boy and Worst Brat, but there seems little point. Suffice to say that the usual professional implementation, the parser, the size of the game and the general user-friendliness that Infocom include in their adventures are all present, but where is the adventure? Nord is not funny, not clever, not inspirational and very easy to switch off. What are they playing at? Examine the Plundered Hearts review amidst these pages to regain any faith lost in Infocom.

 
Atmosphere 53%
Interaction 62%
Challenge 53%

Overall

57%
 


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 (4 Feb 2006)
There were no screenshots in the original review.

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