Micro MUD attempts to emulate the gameplay of
the original, but the data is stored on disk rather
than accessed via modem. This limits the game -- but
to what extent?
MUD is purported to contain nearly every detail
of Essex University's MUD. The player is pitted against
100 others, 10 of whom may play at the same time. Vocabulary
consists of approximately 500 words and there are 400
locations to explore. Anticipation mounted as the two
disks slowly loaded . . .
object of Micro MUD is to become a Wizard --
achieved by scoring 102400 points. There are three ways
to score: find treasures and drop them in the swamp,
kill other players or perform minor tasks. There are
two states of death: Dead Dead and Dead. If you are
killed in a fight you will be the former and have to
restart a game from scratch. However, if you undertake
a particularly dangerous task without the proper equipment,
the latter is your fate and you have to start again,
keeping your characteristics but losing your inventory.
delight was instilled by my being allowed to alter screen
colours, text window size, default commands and enter
my individual persona. However, the smile soon faded
as the first screen of text scrolled upward before I
could read it and the game proceeded to play with itself.
The booklet provided mentions a 'real-time' element
but gives no hint as to the speed of other characters'
actions. I found it difficult to go anywhere or do anything
without being attacked by Gobo, Nigel the Necromancer
and Uncle Tom Cobbly et al. It took great presence of
mind to persist.
soon as my next attempt began, I did what no Harlequin
should do -- I look to my heels, hoping to get to a
location not so infested with inhabitants intent on
my destruction. Moving west and south revealed a stick
(wow) and brought me to a cemetery and eventually the
grave-digger's cottage. After exploring for a while
and discovering how inadequate the parser was -- it
does not understand 'EXAMINE' or 'LOOK AT' -- I was
informed that the game was about to reset for some reason.
Deciding that I had had insufficient time to evolve
a decent game-character, saving, my position seemed
pointless. I watched as it reset and sent me back to
the start -- although I did get to keep my hard earned
strength, dexterity, stamina and score. On my third
attempt I managed to get to the mountains before Jon
the Necromancer magically summoned me to his presence
and proceeded to deplete my stamina and strength with
his sword -- I was unarmed. Game four began . . .
discovered a woodcutter's hut containing nothing but
space on the wall for a moose head. Not finding this
particularly helpful I left for the grave diggers' cottage
again. This time I found something interesting: the
book case in the study had been pushed aside to reveal
a passage. Sticking my head inside confirmed that I
would need a light of some kind to explore it safely.
Remembering the stick, I dashed back to it's location,
picked it up and took it to the fire roaring in the
grate. The instructions clearly state that an item may
be put inside an object, logically therefore, shoving
the stick into the fire should get it to burn, thus
providing light for the dark passage. Another of the
game's limits made it's presence felt as the wooden
stick refused lo light or even be put in the fire. Just
as I was contemplating moving on I was summoned again
. . . this time by a Necromanceress who took great delight
in trying to end my adventure with the sharp end of
her sword. I, as yet still unarmed, eventually fled.
'Eventually' because the time between my input of 'FLEE
EAST' and the action being carried out was around 30
seconds, during which time I watched the evil female
kick the stuffing out of me. This game was quickly becoming
next discovery was a tethered goat. I untied it and
entered 'GET GOAT' to which I got the reply 'I TAKEN'.
My inventory still showed nothing except that the game
has a distinct lack of attention to detail.
text descriptions are sparse, consisting mainly of possible
exits. The object descriptions are minimal and character
action and interaction is frustrating. One can spend
minutes watching the screen scroll pages of text concerning
who has just left the location, who has just arrived,
who shouts what and who hits who.
MUD is tedious, boring, frustrating, non-atmospheric
and bestowed with an inadequate parser -- an adventure
to be avoided.