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Graphtext 128
1987
Adventure: Text
English
Not Applicable
Undetermined

74
Mike Gerrard
Chris Bourne

First release from a new company of four hopeful adventure-authors, including Jimmy Page. I always wondered what happened to him. Whoever did the graphics can be proud of their loading screen, and the pix throughout the game are of a decent standard too. The game itself needs tidying up a bit, but it's still worth a look.

You play Chief Detective John Shaw, and along with Detective Phillip Keen you've just been assigned to check out the murder of Lord Anthony Forbes, ex Arts Minister, at his country home Redbourne Manor. The dastardly deed was done on the night of 6 June, and as the game begins its 7 am on the 7 and you're standing in the hall of Redbourne Manor about to investigate. Phil Keen's a Dire Straits fan, as you'll discover if you ask him to sing. None of this nonsense of sitting down and singing about gold; Phil ties a hankie round his head and is straight into Private Investigations.

Then you're into your own investigation. You have 14 hours to solve the case (I'm not sure why) and pressing 'T' will let you know how the time's going. There's a good wide use of other commands, such as ASK, SAY or TELL for talking to other characters, who you can also QUESTION or INTERROGATE. There's a RAMSAVE, with G used for GET/TAKE.

Lord Forbes didn't do too badly for himself, as there's a helicopter outside in the hangar - a Jetranger 206 for anyone who knows about these things. There's a Porsche in the driveway too, which rather puts your scratched Rover to shame. When you examine it though, you discover it belongs to some character called Phelps-Drayton. Who is he? And how can you tell who a car belongs to?

In the lounge is the body, lying face-down on the blood-stained carpet, and PC Fieldhouse hands you a note and a set of keys that were found on the body. Also present is Oliver Phelps-Drayton, which clears up the mystery of the Porsche in the driveway. The note is rather strange: "Dear Anthony, I'll be extra muros ante merinium - June 7. STAOC TREBLA." Who Albert Coats is, and why he signs his name backwards and writes in Latin, goodness knows, which counts me out. Elsewhere there's a diary with the word ZARAB scribbled in the back, and you might also discover that one of Forbes's golf clubs is missing. Was he clubbed to death? Or did someone just putt him to sleep?

The game's let down by poor presentation and spelling mistakes. Among the howlers I spotted were: equiptment. exhibet, ammount, momment and aranged. The EXAMINE command is also used strangely, as it acts as REDESCRIBE if the object you're attempting to look at can't in fact be examined.

Despite its faults, I thought investigations was a worthy attempt to do something different, and to show what can be achieved if you've got 128K and a versatile utility like PAW. Good value at £3.99 for a two-part game... but in future make your text as good as your graphics, Graphtext!

5/10