so, as 'Kendo' Fish would say. Remember old Richard
Chamberlain (housewives faint all over the country)
in the epic TV drama where he sailed a ship to Japan
and got involved with the war between two leaders lo
rule the country? Well, this game is based on the same
book (by James Clavell) as the TV series.
John Blackthorne (Richard Chamberlain), you are the
Pilot-Major of a Dutch trading ship, the Erasmus. In
the year 1600 the Pacific Ocean is dominated by Spain
and Portugal. Their knowledge of the Asian seaways is
top secret information, but you have a stolen Portuguese
rutter which has helped make you the first Englishman
to successfully sail through the Straits of Magellan
into the Pacific. But the journey has cost many lives
already. The surviving crew are starving and Captain
Spillbergen is dying. Worse still, after sailing for
weeks without sight of land, the ship is caught in a
terrible storm. The first task is to steer the Erasmus
safely through dangerous reefs and tidal waves to try
and reach Japan.
ship is rocked by a violent storm
if you thought life on the ocean waves was hazardous,
as a European in Japan your life is permanently hanging
by the thinnest of threads. You see, these Japs are
strange folk with an odd sense of honour. Like if a
chap loses a game of ping-pong he's likely to impale
himself! And their only punishment is death, usually
by an extremely painful method like being boiled alive.
They have weird customs as well -- a samurai told me
off for having barbaric manners and then urinated over
me! Then he ordered me to take a bath -- in public!
if you win their respect (bowing to every samurai is
a good idea), they let you wear a silk kimono. But even
then, without warning, you can he chucked into the slammer
for an indefinite period without any clothes. Somehow,
you must try simply to survive as you become involved
in the tussle of two great lords (Ishido and Toranaga)
to rule Japan -- the emperor has died, leaving a seven-year-old
heir. Your one asset is your ship -- much better than
the Spanish and Portuguese ones -- which could enable
one of the lords to vanquish the other. But your main
enemies are the Catholic priests -- don't forget, this
is the time of the Spanish Inquisition and worst luck
you're a Protestant!
crew are starving, but worse still they smell!
but beautifully-drawn pictures add to the engrossing
atmosphere created by the detailed text -- much of it
(including some strong language) taken straight from
James Clavell's great novel. The story is a wonderful
yarn about the clash of two totally different cultures.
And the interaction between the English hero and his
strange new world suits the adventure genre well. If
Japanese objects and customs seem totally alien to the
adventure player, this is exactly how they would seem
to John Blackthorne.
parser is very flexible, comprehending many variations
of syntax. However, understanding samurai honour is
impossible and progress is made mostly through trial
and error. If you do get stuck, the game has a useful
(but far too tempting) inbuilt hints facility. As this
is 'interactive fiction', the problems are essentially
linear. Various sections must be completed in order,
just like the chapters of the book. Shogun is
more of an adapted novel than a true adventure. But
if atmosphere is what you really want, this is your