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  Review by
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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!

Plundered Hearts
1987 Infocom
By Amy Briggs

 
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).
 
 
 

PLUNDERED HEARTS
Infocom, disk 24.95

 

ouch my ring . . . no not that one, the red one . . . and journey back with me to the 17th Century, a cold, cruel yet romantic era when the mastery of the sea was in the hands of the Pirate. To the days of raping, pillaging and scurvy, when the very sight of the Skull and Crossbones gripped the bravest of seamen's hearts with terror. These were the days when the mere whisper of the name The Falcon, scourge of the seven seas, would send the most gallant of crews and their ships scuttling back to port in abject fear. It is into this period of history that this latest adventure from Infocom takes you, to fight and survive as best you can . . . in the guise of a woman.


The fact that in Plundered Hearts the player is a female is by no means the disadvantage it might seem (given the era in which it is set); the idea works very well, as it requires the heroine to use her brain rather than brawn. It also adds more danger and intrigue to the story, taking into account how women were looked upon and treated in sixteen hundred and whatever, especially by those with less than honourable intent.

The packaging contains the usual Infocom extras which relate to the story; this one has a 50 guinea note and a letter from Jean Lafond explaining why the adventure opens on the schooner Lafond Deux bound for the West Indies. It appears that your father is very ill and needs you by his side to aid his recovery. Of course you do not hesitate in setting off immediately. Unfortunately, before the ship can reach its destination, it's attacked by pirates captained by none other than the dreaded Falcon, and you are kidnapped and taken aboard his vessel.

However it turns out that Captain Nick Jamison (The Falcon) is not the evil man rumour would have one believe. Indeed, it transpires that this tall, lean, handsome buccaneer (with azure eyes!), has actually saved you from the apparently nefarious plans of Lafond. It seems the letter was a ploy to get you within the slimy grasp of this mad Frenchman who, The Falcon reveals, has captured your father and is holding him prisoner within his mansion on the island of Sinistra. Nick hands you a missive, signed by your father, which confirms this story and even begs your help in rescuing both him and his lover Lucy. The task becomes clear, you must reach Sinistra, save your father and Lucy and thwart the devilish plans of Lafond.

Nick leaves the ship supposedly safely anchored off the shores of Sinistra and sets off to deal with Lafond. However if your place in the plot was to let him do all the work it wouldn't be much of an adventure. Your first task is to save the ship from the dastardly sabotage efforts of one of The Falcon's crew, who is a spy in the employ of Lafond, a particularly nasty piece of work -- even by piratical standards -- using the name of Crulley. He has raised the anchor in an effort to have the tide dash the ship against a reef, and lit a fire in the ammunition hold just to make sure. A cool head and logical thought is required to get past the pirates on deck (who are not gentlemen by any stretch of imagination and would do disgusting pirate-type things to you should they see you) and save the ship. Once accomplished, the way to shore is a barrel of laughs.

Plundered Hearts is a wonderful adventure, bursting at the seams with atmosphere, interesting puzzles and tense situations. I sometimes found it hard to remember that I wasn't playing in real-time and was typing furiously to try my ideas out before coming a cropper. Full of those little 17th Century quirks such as squeezing laudanum into the evil Count's drink, swinging on chandeliers, finding secret passages and buckling your swash at every one wearing a patch, Plundered Hearts is a masterpiece of ambience and action.

There are a couple of irritations in the game, for example typing SEARCH CABIN creates the response: 'You can't search a quarters' and inputting LOOK THROUGH THE CURTAINS awards the player with the reply 'You can only tell the drapes is closed . . .' (period inflection maybe?). And the reticule that you carry around with you does seem to he very large indeed, able to carry slabs of pork, clothes, powder horns and large keys with no trouble at all. However these idiosyncrasies do not detract from the excellent gameplay, and, since I think I have mentioned the problem with the slow disk accessing before, the drawbacks of Plundered Hearts are miniscule indeed.

Author Amy Briggs recreated this period in our history by reading romance novels and researching 17th Century costumes and ships. Hence the believability of the game, its accuracy and its attention to detail. This is Amy's first adventure for Infocom, let us hope there are many more to follow.

 
Atmosphere 94%
Interaction 91%
Challenge 81%

Overall

90%
 


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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