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(c) 2000 James Burrows

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!
Emerald Isle
1985 Level 9 Computing
By Shaun D. Abbott
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the first issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (May 1985).
Level 9, 6.95 cass

evel 9 need no introduction, unless you've been languishing in the Goblin's Dungeon for the last few years. Their latest game, Emerald Isle, marks something of a departure from their previous releases however in that it costs only 6.95 -- 3.00 cheaper than the others.

The lower price is because the game has been designed to be slightly more modest in scope than the company's other blockbusters. Still, you can't complain -- it has over 200 pictures on the 64 version, which sounds to me like good value for money. It's certainly not as tricky as, say, Snowball, but don't let that put you off -- this game is no doddle by any means.

Emerald Isle lies in the Bermuda Triangle, which means essentially that it's one of those places that are difficult to get to and impossible to leave. You start the game hanging ignominiously from a tree top, dangling by your parachute chords . . . and before you can say 'Knife' you've ended up as a tasty meal for a jungle predator.

In fact, saying 'Knife' won't do you much good because you haven't got one, but there you go. Once you've sorted that one out, and made it down to terra firma (which isn't very firm at all) you've then got to find your way out of a charming little maze of mangrove trees. Yes, just as in Return to Eden, Level 9 are showing sadistic tendencies by dropping you into the soup right at the beginning of the game.

Your objective on Emerald Island is no less than supreme domination, since the only way you'll be able to leave is if you become king (or queen). The reward for failure, needless to say, is rapid decease. The program uses split screen graphics which can be toggled on and off using the commands 'words' and 'pictures'.

To be honest, the White Wizard doesn't think Level 9 are too hot on the graphics. The pictures are OK, but no more than that. Worse, there's the famous Commodore split-screen glitch flickering away in the centre of the screen -- surely something that should have been ironed out before releasing the game, but I suppose you can't have everything.

Emerald Isle -- good game, pity about the graphics.

And there is a lot here, make no mistake. If you can get over the occasional inconsistency, like entering 'Examine wall' and being told that you can't see a leather wallet, then you're in for a great time.

The island may be hidden in the Bermuda Triangle, but that doesn't stop it from having its own train network to whisk you from location to location (on payment of the appropriate fare). Giant spiders, preoccupied monarchs and speeding trains are all there to greet you, and should you have a fatal argument with anybody you are simply resurrected elsewhere with all your possessions intact.

Emerald Isle is a lot less daunting than other Level 9 games and I'm afraid that for a number of seasoned Level 9 fans the program will be something of a disappointment, though of course one must remember it costs rather less. The White Wizard has to admit that a couple of misprints in the text combined with the slightly flickery display and imprecise word checking mean that this game really isn't up to the standards of it's predecessors.

Level 9, of course, would probably say that it isn't meant to be up to the same standards, but I can't help thinking that I'd rather pay a bit more for a game like Lords of Time than a bit less for one like Emerald Isle. Nevertheless, for more inexperienced adventurers it may be just the ticket, and remember that a slightly inferior game from Level 9 can still beat the pants off most of the competition.

Atmosphere 65%
Interaction 55%
Lasting Interest 78%

Value for Money


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 (8 April 2001)

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