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(c) 2000 James Burrows

  Review by
Phil King (Prof Norman Nutz) and Stuart Wynne


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!

Dead End
1988 Interactive Technology
By Martin Westwood

Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the fifty eighth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: January 18th, 1990).


Form 2-19
Scientific Stationary


RESEARCH PROJECT: Binary code addiction as a means of controlling the world.
RESEARCH EQUIPMENT: C64, Amiga A500, Cray-2.

Ed's asked me to do something he considers quite difficult (no, not find a good bit in Star Trek V): explain to you what an adventure is. Hah! I've been playing them since I was flaming whip-high to a Balrog, if I can't tell the diff between a hobbit and a dwarf nobody can. But wait a mo, maybe Mr Wynne isn't as silly as he looks; I mean, there's a lot more to state-of-the-art adventures than those around when I was a lad. The modern hero can no longer rescue the princess by simply typing N, Dig or Kill Dragon. Today's games are far more sophisticated, utilising icons, animated graphics and double clicking. Cynics might say conventional adventures are almost dead, but I prefer to welcome a dramatic new era of much better presented games.

The success of the 16-bit machines has much to do with this: the bigger machines are capable of so much more than merely hosting games with great parsers and digitized graphics. Now you can nave all the puzzles of a trad adventure plus animated graphics and sampled sounds. And why strain the player's typing fingers when a simple point 'n' click with the mouse performs the same task?

I appreciate that those who are 'really into' text adventures may begrudge the changes, but look around you: When was the last time you were spoilt for choice at your local adventure store? If you don't modernise your thinking and come to terms with the fact that text adventures are a dying item you'll get left behind and have to rely on home-grown for your entertainment.

I don't mean to belittle the efforts of the home-grown market 'cause some good games come from this sector, but big money companies are abandoning text-only adventures. It's rumoured Magnetic Scrolls are concentrating on business software and plan to release just one adventure a year, Level Nine have quit adventures altogether for the animated RPG/arcade style of game, even Infocom are going more and more towards RPGs.

These changes began on 8-bit with games like Shadowfire, an icon-driven adventure which have not been brilliant but hinted at what the future held for adventurers. Other games that paved the way for today's adventures come from the likes of Sierra On-Line (King's Quest series) and Lucasfilm (Maniac Mansion). These sound-enhanced, icon-driven, animated graphics adventures have to yet more sophisticated games such as reviewed this issue.

So what is an adventure? It's up to the individual really, but here are a few pointers to help you ensure you stay an adventurer and don't accidently become an arcade addict: the game requires mapping, you use text (or icon equivalent) for controlling your hero most of the time, you have an inventory to which you can add or subtract items, there's a save game facility, no high-score table and you need to sit and think about the game to make progress. Stick with these criteria and you may hold your head high and brag to the world that you're an adventurer. Due to games like Drakkhen you may have a lot of company!

Interactive Technology, C64 £TBA


reak out your trilby and knee-length raincoat and make sure you read this review out loud in the voice of Humphrey Bogart. If you don't it won't be the same . . . so curl that lip!

Inshpired by Raymond Shandler's book, 'Farewell My Lovely' (and de flik of de shame name), Dead End's a 'tec shtory dat tries ta emulate de shtyle an' atmoshphere evoked by Philip Marlowe'sh cashes.

After hangin' around in my offish all day, just for shome ponshy broad to deliver a cheque for shervices rendered, I wuz in a mood to shuit du weather: shtinkin'. I wuz just about to head home to catch up on shome shuteye when dis Alverson guy comes in. He gives me de verbals about shome buddy o' hiz -- Milesh Dunbar -- dat wuz found face down in da Pacific an' he shuspects foul play. I wuz too tired an' angry to listen, but da wad o' notesh he shtuffs in my hand purshuades me to take de case.

You can stop doing Humph now . . . but only if you really want to. The only clue you're given to find Miles Dunbar's killers is a photograph handed to you by Alverson. Looking at it carefully should give you your next move.

When you get to the Dunbar residence the Butler invites you in (as long as you remember your name) to meet Marcia Dunbar, Miles's wife. Sitting down (you're given the choice of on the sofa or coffee table (?)) you may now interrogate Marcia. The first thing you notice (if you don't you shouldn't be playing this game) is that Marcia is an alcoholic; drinking whisky constantly. Miles's office is next door and a quick PI peep through his particulars provides more clues.

Dead End is created using Incentive's GAC (Graphic Adventure Creator) and is the best utilisation of the program I've come across. Screen layout is neat, resembling an Infocom game, and the parser is extensive and friendly, although a little slow.

There are one or two oddities: you can't read the notepad in Miles's office, even though it is described as such, and no input other than destinations are accepted whilst in your car. But these are minuscule complaints and don't seriously detract from the game.

Sleuthing adventures are difficult to produce due to the amount of interaction required between characters tp create any feeling of interrogation and investigation. Most smaller games fail miserably, but Dead End makes a very good effort, even though it's still quite limited: you can never ask everything of characters that you want to.

A text-only adventure, Dead End comes in three parts and is a credit to Interactive Technology.

Atmosphere 75%
Puzzle Factor 77%
Interaction 81%
Lastability 73%



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 (4 Mar 2010)
There were no screenshots in the original review.

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