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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!

Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur
1989 Infocom
By Bob Bates

 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the fifty fourth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: September 21st, 1989).
 

 

Form 2-19
Rorschach
Scientific Stationary

THE LAB REPORT

RESEARCH PROJECT: Binary code addiction as a means of controlling the world.
HEAD SCIENTIST: Prof NORMAN NUTZ Phd, Bsc, KP.
RESEARCH EQUIPMENT: C64, Amiga A500, Cray-2.
LAB ASSISTANT: The Geek

Some people reckon small is beautiful but, to be honest, I'm not convinced. Thanks to that Rand character's tips special the Lab Report's been temporarily squeezed down to just two pages. Take comfort though, from the fact that hopefully (cross my fingers, chuck salt over my shoulder, touch wood, kick the Geek six times, and one extra for luck) it'll be back to its full quota next month. Until then, happy adventuring . . .
.

ARTHUR
Infocom, Amiga 24.99

 

ou are Arthur. Not Arthur Fowler, Arthur Scargill or even Arthur I'vegotakipperstuckupmyassortedsocks. No, as just plain 'Arthur' you're the rightful heir to the English throne, and the hero in Infocom's interpretation of the famous legend.

It has been many years since King Uther has died and so far no-one has been able to pull the famous sword from the stone to become his rightful heir. It has even got to the point where the people are willing to let a usurper, King Lot, take the throne.

As Arthur, you start the adventure at night in the churchyard where the sword in the stone is located. You know that King Lot has imposed a curfew and you'll be thrown in jail if caught, but you were compelled to try to remove the sword. Of course, being the rightful heir, you succeed in pulling it out (no oo-ers here please) whereupon Merlin materialises and, before disappearing again, tells you that you're not yet worthy to claim the throne and must first gain a hundred chivalry, experience, wisdom, and quest points.

But no sooner than Merlin disappears than King Lot's soldiers march into the church to remove the sword and stone. In the morning King Lot shows a copy of the sword to the gathered villagers, claiming it is the magic sword and that he must now be crowned High King. You must work quickly if you are to stop him -- his coronation is in three days time.

A visit to Merlin's cave results in him giving you the ability to transform yourself into an owl, badger, salamander, eel or turtle. You might've preferred a nice, shiny suit or armour and a good horse, but Merlin's Merlin and it wouldn't be wise to argue. You can change into an animal as often as you like, but never directly from one animal to another (you must become human again first), and never in public -- it would freak people out!

Exploring the surrounding countryside reveals a great many locations, ranging from the village tavern to bogs, woods, a lake (as a turtle or eel you can swim beneath the surface), and King Lot's castle. Plenty of characters, both friendly and hostile, can be spoken to and asked questions. The village idiot isn't too helpful -- though he says he can peak into the game's machine code when you are gone!

Most of the problems encountered revolve around transforming into different creatures -- for instance, to go down a hole in the ground you must be the badger, while as the owl you can fly high above the land. Surprisingly, as an eel you can even talk to a kraken in the lake. However, you are not allowed to carry objects when in animal form and this obviously causes more than a few problems. It can also be frustrating finding somewhere to change; there's never an empty phone box when you want one!

As in other recent Infocom releases, there's an in-built hints facility, accessed by looking into a magic crystal. The typically polished Infocom presentation also includes various display modes: graphics, map, inventory, score, and text.

With the great puzzles, some attractive graphics and a superb vocabulary and parser, plus the odd touch of humour, Arthur has all the ingredients to make a first-class adventure. A must for all Infocom fans.

 
Atmosphere 93%
Puzzle Factor 96%
Interaction 92%
Lastability 94%

Overall

94%
 


If you want 8-bit walkthroughs, visit
Jacob Gunness
' Classic Adventures Solution Archive or
Martin Brunner's C64 Adventure Game Solutions Site


Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (3 Mar 2010)
Only the first of above screenshots existed in the original review.

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