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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!

Scapeghost
1989 Level 9 Computing
By Pete Austin, Sandra Sharkey & Peter Gerrard

 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the fifty sixth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: November 16th, 1989).
 

SCAPEGHOST
Level 9, C64 14.95 cassette/disk


f all the funerals in all the world, I had to walk into mine! It's a spooky feeling, watching your own funeral, with people looking straight through you as if you weren't there. Well, maybe I'm not in the flesh, but my spirit lives on.

How did I come to be in such a strange situation? Well, it all started when I, Detective Alan Chance, was sent on an undercover mission to infiltrate a drugs gang. Everything was going as smooth as a baby's bottom when someone alerted the gangsters. They killed me and took my partner Sarah as a hostage -- for some reason they preferred her company to mine! Anyway, my colleagues on the force now think that I was to blame -- I've got three nights as a ghost to bring the gangsters to justice, clearing my name in the process.

When the mourners have left, I watch the workman fill in my grave. He seems to see me for a split second and goes almost as pale as me. Darkness has already fallen when he and the night watchman leave the cemetery. I'm on my own now, or so I think until the spirit of Joe Danby greets me. This friendly ex-publican gives me a guided tour of the graveyard and its inhabitants before I start my quest.

Apart from Joe and myself there are seven other ghosts, including a blind old lady, a perennially arguing couple and an old army Colonel who is continually moaning about the drunken, graffiti-spraying vandals in the churchyard. Undoubtedly, I will be requiring help from all my graveyard colleagues.

You see, being a ghost isn't all it's cracked up to be. At first, I can't lift even very small objects; I must build up strength by picking up progressively weightier objects, starting with a tiny plume of thistledown. To move heavy items I must recruit the help of the other ghosts, but most are either not able or willing to help me. Only by helping them or showing them my improved strength can I count on their aid. One thing I do know: I won't be able to catch the gangsters on my own.

Level 9's last adventure is undoubtedly one of their finest. The novel idea of playing a ghost works surprisingly well and affects the whole nature of the adventure, creating unique problems. For instance, you can carry only one (fairly light) object at a time, and in the presence of strong light you soon start to fade!

Graphics are few and far between on the disk version (although good when they do appear -- better to have a few good pictures than many bad unes) and missing altogether on the cassette game.

Far more important is the text, which isn't exactly spooky, instead being very humorous in the style of Gnome Ranger/Ingrid's Back. There are plenty of bad puns about death here (you haven't a ghost of a chance, we don't serve spirits etc) -- in fact the only one that appears to be missing is the 'stiffy' joke!

As usual with Level 9, the location (and especially character) descriptions are detailed and atmospheric, and virtually all of the items mentioned in it can be EXAMINEd. As in the Ingrid games, most of the problems are character based, and interaction with the other ghosts is essentially very good. The other characters are independent, moving around at will, and behave realistically, not necessarily doing what you tell them to.

With such novel plot, wonderfully devious but logical puzzles, a superbly humorous atmosphere and the usual Level 9 parser and vocabulary sophistication, Scapeghost is a classic not to be missed. Ironically, it's also a wonderful adventure epitaph for Level 9!

 
Atmosphere 97%
Puzzle Factor 98%
Interaction 97%
Lastability 96%

Overall

97%
 


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

The tape text-only version (above screenshot) contains a lot more text in descriptions etc, since there is no need to reserve memory for graphics.

Scapeghost Complete Artwork Gallery!

Total Pictures Count: [25]

Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (3 Mar 2010)
Only the screenshot of the attacking ghost existed in the original C64 review
.

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