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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!
The Neverending Story
1985 Ocean
By Ian Weatherburn
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the eighth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (December 1985).
 

THE NEVERENDING STORY
Ocean, 9.95 cass
 

his 100K blockbuster is based on the film of the same name and loads in three parts from cassette. It's an excellent example of the new breed of graphics adventures, where someone's really taken care over the design of the pictures so that they properly complement the game and aren't just there for decoration.


The plot, just in case you're among the millions who missed this cinematic epic, concerns a planet called Fantasia which is under 'attack' from an all-consuming 'Nothing'. Just what this Nothing is, isn't very clear, although it's obviously something to be reckoned with. The hero of the game is a boy called Atreyu, who alone can find the saviour so desperately needed. Although the White Wizard didn't manage to complete the game before sitting down to review this masterpiece, he is willing to hazard a guess that the saviour in question is none other than yours truly, but only time and playing the game will tell!

The screen display is really quite impressive. At the top you have a narrow graphics window with an attractive landscape background that is periodically overlaid with small cameo portraits of objects you are carrying, people you meet, or locations you visit. The pictures are very pleasant, and when combined with a well-designed character-set, give the program's display a very professional appearance. If only other companies spent as much time over the appearance of their games -- many a good program has been seriously marred by poor screen design. There is a price to pay for all this glitter, however, and that's a poor parser. The program only understands about 40 words, and of these most are direction commands and the usual GET/DROP/LOOK variants. One important omission is of an 'Examine' command -- particularly sorely missed since on many occasions you will be confronted with an object, or even an individual, about whom you know very little. The cassette cover blurb says, for example, of your potential companions that you will have to judge for yourself whether or not they will help or hinder you in your quest -- but this isn't easy when you can't look at them! Is Artax, for example, a horse, a bird, or another human being? Such questions have to be answered by referring to the program notes -- a practice that the White Wizard frowns on, since program notes have a habit of disappearing with the passage of time.

Time appears to play a part in the game -- if you sit back and do nothing, the program prompts with 'You wait . . .' Hobbit-style, but the other characters don't seem to take advantage of this, and remain static, which is a pity. In fact the characters, although obviously significant, don't seem very interactive -- which is just as well because there isn't enough of a vocab to communicate with them anyway.

Whatever the shortcomings of the parser, however, the Wiz reckons this is a very attractive program. There's a considerable atmosphere to the game, which is supported (and not detracted from) by the graphics. I think the game would be particularly welcomed by younger players, but don't let that put you off if you're of more advanced years and have a chance of loading it up.

 
Atmosphere 72%
Interaction 47%
Lasting Interest 71%

Value for Money

62%

Overall

65%
 


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 (5 Oct 2003)

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