Players Software
1986
Adventure: Text
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

50
John Gilbert
Chris Bourne

The standard of budget priced text and graphic adventures is generally not that hot but here's one fantasy game that is worth playing.

The plot itself isn't terrifically original - you're on a quest to meet the owner of the talons in the title. That's necessary before you find the object of the whole effort, the Staff of Sarfrin (which sounds just like a kind of sugar substitute).

There are few traps but many decisions to be made. Should you kill the guards who are beating up an old woman in the poor quarter of the city, or can her death be turned to your advantage? Your attitude to murder is important to your success. For instance, you can't even seem to begin your quest until you kill three guards.

When you're out of the city of Carloon the going gets tough. A red dragon will demand your blood. The tracker will try his best to kill. And the sand sharks are always there waiting for you to put a foot wrong.

In fact sand is there in abundance in the game's desert maze which seems to stretch out forever in all directions. One disappointment is that many of the desert scenes use the same picture which takes 30 seconds to draw each time. Irritating if you get stuck for a long time.

Claws of Despair is an above average adventure game at a price anyone can afford. The text is imaginatively written and the full-screen graphics, although slow in execution, set the scene admirably.

Label: Players
Author: Peter Iveson
Price: £2.99
Joystick: none
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: John Gilbert

****

The slow graphics and standard format are a problem but the thinking is all pretty imaginative stuff.

4/5