The Pawns Of War, written and published by YS reader Les Floyd, will set you back £1 more than the usual price fixed for such offerings, but then Les is donating £1 from every sale the Wishing Well Appeal in aid of the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, a very worthy cause. He also says that the first two orders received that have YS written in the bottom left corner of the envelope will have their money returned and get the game for free. This chap's nothing if not enterprising!
Can he write a good adventure, though? Well, with a little help from his PAWs Les hasn't made too bad a stab at it. The story is set on the German-Austrian border in 1954, but the Germans are still the potential baddies as they're suspected of building nuclear missiles in a mountain hideout. You're on your way to investigate when sniper fire causes you to crash your jeep into the mountainside, so there's nothing for it but to continue on foot, try to destroy the base and make the prearranged helicopter rendezvous.
The game's only small, about 40 locations, with 12 of them having reasonable graphics to them. This is not a game that's going to tax the experts for very long, but newcomers should get more out of it. The problems are all fairly logical, and I progressed through it quite well, with a heavy use of the RAMSAVE feature. For this you type RS, although it isn't documented - but the author says better documentation will be ready by the time this review appears. The RAMSAVE is needed for the many instant deaths that are lurking, but I'm glad to see you're warned about most of them in advance.
There's a nice try at descriptive text, which is atmospheric without filling the screen to overflowing, like, "You are standing on a wide dry road beside the open mouth of a dark forbidding cave. The rock above looks down onto you, the sun's light turning the sandstone to the colour of blood." What a shame this hard work is spoiled by a great number of spelling errors, such as "a lenth [sic] of rope", and "hastilly" for "hastily." He does get his rope in a twist elsewhere too, as one bugette occurs when you've climbed down it. I thought I'd try GET ROPE, as some careless programmes allow you to do that despite it being tied to something a few hundred feet above your head, but here the response to GET ROPE was a mysterious "ENTER GAME POSITION." Hmm. I'll have to think how that one got there. A few other errors should have been spotted, like the bird's nest which you can see when you reach the top of a tree, but if you try to GET NEST you discover "There isn't one of those here." At one point you must JUMP ONTO BANK to get from one location to the next, but JUMP TO BANK doesn't work.
A shame about the sloppiness - more care next time, Mr Programmer. Not a bad little effort, but nothing to get wildly excited about.