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Review by
Steve Cooke
(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!
Velnor's Lair
1984 Atlantis Software/Neptune Computing
Programmed by John Airey
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the fifth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (September 1985).
 


The White Wizard is confused, bemused and generally disgruntled . . . Over the last few months new adventures on the Commodore 64 have become few and far between. This month in itself has seen a record all-time low in adventure software releases. Of the two adventures I received for viewing (can you believe that dear reader -- TWO!), one, a supposedly humourous adventure called
Napoleon's Sandwiches I didn't find so funny as it would not even load. I tried all my best spells and the thing still refused to even make a murmur. Not surprising really, because when I gave up on magic and tried science (I played it through my gramophone), I discovered the tape to be a blank. It's enough to drive me to empty the entire stock of my wine cellar in one fell swoop (ah! The Pipistrel '56)!

Anyway, for now you can observe my opinions on the remaining adventure, Velnor's Lair and until the adventure drought is over, something special in the way of help. Can it really be that software houses think of 64 owners as unintelligent alien blasters only?

The other problem I am experiencing is a total lack of reader's scripture being sent in. Three I've received. THREE! What is happening? Are avid adventurers becoming a rapidly dying breed (are the software houses correct?) or is nobody getting stuck with anything, anywhere, anymore? Next month things will hopefully improve dramatically. In fact, I know they will as hope to relay my experiences with Level 9's Red Moon which arrived a touch too late to include this issue. Hmmph!
.

 

VELNOR'S LAIR
Atlantis Gold, 2.99 cass
 

irst my experiences with the only new(ish) release I could lay my wizened hands on . . .

Velnor's Lair is actually in its second reincarnation, having been written aeons ago for the Spectrum by the well

known adventurer Derek Brewster (a mere mortal who undertakes to instruct Spectrum owners in the joys of adventuring in CRASH magazine). By all accounts, it should have seen the light of the 64 some time ago, but some problems in releasing it seem to have occurred along the line. As a result, the programming techniques of this text-only game are slightly dated.

While my old and trusty C2N whirred on into the night (it takes an age in an age to load), I browsed through the instructions. Hmmm, sounds like my evil doppleganger, the Black Wizard, is afoot and certainly about to cause a stir.

The slimy creature's gone into hiding in the Goblin Labyrinth of Mount Elk and has stumbled upon the Tomb of Grako. This is written in many of my ancient books as letting its discoverer become a true demon upon earth, wielding huge powers.

With this problem afoot, there's not any time even to raise an army to reach him before he realises the powers under his foul nose, so it's up to a single, brave adventurer to penetrate his domain and destroy him.

After seeing this challenge, how could I refuse? Even the prospect of encountering the evil creatures in his employment and the traps I know he can conjure, my heart was strong as I entered what seemed to be a promising adventure.

Upon starting you are asked whether you would like to take the role of a Wizard, Warrior or Priest. Each character has different powers allowing him a greater advantage in certain situations than the others. The Warrior can take a lot more punishment and fight with much more success (hrmmmph!), the Priest has three sorts of special divine powers (bah!) and the Wizard, by far the best, has three sorts of powerful spells under his control (aha)! The Wizard's and Priest's powers can only be used sparingly, every time a power is used a certain amount is knocked off a spell powers total and when this reaches zero, you're in trouble.

The adventure itself is of a typical classic Labyrinth/Dungeons and Dragons style, all the action taking place within caves and caverns. Most of the locations are east/west or north/south passages with caverns coming off each one in the form of antechambers or cross passages, thus making cartography that much more simple.

The Black Wizard is renowned for his devious underhandedness but I'd never thought he'd sink so low as to use limited vocabulary to try to thwart my attempts. The actual words that the adventure uses are mostly standard, and this one understands all the basic commands -- it just takes a little time to find the words it actually uses. For example, it doesn't understand LOOK but it does EXAMINE. MOVE and LIFT don't seem to exist but some more obscure ones do, like BURN for example. The one thing that did get right up my cloak was the fact that I picked up a tinderbox at the very beginning of the adventure. Any references to it from thereon were given the reply PARDON? This does tend to annoy slightly, but these language quibbles aside the vocabulary isn't too bad once you can think at its level.

The problems involved in the game itself are quite old, familiar and don't require too much thought, being rather obvious once you've seen the problem and its answer, although perhaps an Elf or Hobbit might find much satisfaction and enjoyment in solving them.

For the small price I suppose it could be called reasonable value for money, although the set of Quilled offerings at the same price make this doubtful. One that I could recommend for the budding Wizard, rather than a seasoned and very wise one such as myself.

 
Atmosphere 60%
Interaction 31%
Lasting Interest 61%

Value for Money

57%

Overall

52%
 


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 (26 November 2002)
There was no screenshot in the original review.

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