In June I reviewed Marlin's first Spectrum release, The Jade Stone, which was an excellent adventure: good enough for me to choose it as one of my 'Best Indies' offers soon after. Now here comes Linda Wright's latest, and it's every bit as good as Jade Stone - and very different, too. No one-hit wonders here.
This is a single-part PAW'd adventure, but with two versions coming on the tape. One is a text-only 48K version, the other has full (but optional) graphics for those with 128K machines. The larger version also has longer location and message texts, more EXAMINE commands, HELP messages and a PAUSE command. In addition, some of the objects that are just lying around in the 48K game are a bit harder to find, though basically the two versions play the same.
The game's a very light-hearted adventure, that reminded me a Little of Shymer, but in this one you're not dealing with nursery rhymes that have gone wrong - instead it's the weather that been messed up by a certain Jack Frost. And whose job is it to put it right? Right! Yours, the lazy blighter lying round reading Speccy mags.
Before you answer the strange voice that's calling out your name in the middle of the night, you'd better explore your house fully. Don't take too long about it, however, as the clock at the top-left of the screen ticks away whether you enter an input or not, and you've only got 'til dawn to set things right. With the PAW's pause feature, though, you only need to start to enter an input in order to put the timer on hold -I tend to hit the space bar to stop the counter counting.
You'll have to be thorough in your explorations, as objects are hidden all over the place and if you're getting stuck then re-read every location description fully to make sure you haven't missed a bench, a desk or a cabinet that's cunningly concealed. Getting the key to Cloud 99 itself isn't too tricky, and then you can ascend the ladder to this strange place in the sky and hope to start putting things right. Watch out for Jack Frost, who pops up unexpectedly and starts pinching your carefully-found objects. Can you stop him? Yes you can. And I loved the answer to the problem of the cockerel, which isn't exactly a doddle. And if it's puns you like, then wherein Weather City can you get some cash? Just go to the Cloud Bank!
I found very little I could fault in this game... and you know how hard I try! The PAW's been well used, the problems range from the simple to the head-scratchers, it's refreshingly different and should appeal to adventurers old and new. You might think with only 44 locations it could be a bit limited, but that only goes to show that you don't need 200+ locations to make for a good game. Linda Wright's adventures are definitely proving alright by me.