This graphical adventure-style game takes you deep into the maze of rooms that make up Earthstone Castle, where you must battle with vampires, zombies, skeletons, gryphons and sphinx, among other legendary beasts. All this to rescue the Princess Paula from the Dragons Lord. There are 172 rooms laid out in a roughly radial manner, so that progressing backwards or forwards a number won't actually mean ending up in the room next door.
There are 20 duplicated monsters to encounter, some friendly, most not, and you will need to eat food regularly to keep up strength, although over-eating will give you indigestion and halve your strength! Of course, there are also all sorts of useful objects lying about to be picked up when they are needed - if you can work out when that is.
The screen is divided up into a main viewing area in which very simple 3D-style images appear of each room, plus a colour representation of any objects or monsters, and a status area, which gives an indication of the direction in which you are facing, the weapon you are using, the room number you are in and a key to the coloured bar codes beneath, which indicate the amount of strength you have, endurance, skill, and your proximity to both the princess and the Dragons Lord. A display panel above the view screen prompts you with messages like, 'Do you want to speak with the beast?' The view will also clear on pressing key H to show you your options, which are: pick up or drop an object; change a ready-to-hand weapon; eat some food; call up inventory; Look; free princess; and quit game.
The view area will also clear to give a verbal description of any battles taking place.
'Movement from room to room is done by pressing the cursor keys, which is quite a good idea, although if you press too long you may move through several rooms at once without realising. The computer doesn't say much throughout the game, making the adventure quite boring after a short while. '
'This isn't a proper adventure because the player has little control over the game and there really aren't any puzzles to solve other than the geographical one - where are you? Most moves are made as a result of an option menu. The hi-res graphics make a fine tracery of white detail to tie everything together in a vaguely Gothic-looking way, but it doesn't make up for the atmosphere lost by not having proper text descriptions, and the 3D effect of the rooms is extremely simplistic. Not my favourite type of game.'
: cursors, plus prompt keysKeyboard play
: reasonably responsiveUse of colour
: detailed creatures although slowish to appearSound
: poorSkill levels
: 172 roomsGeneral Rating:
Neither adventure nor arcade, this game falls between two stools and fails to captivate.
Lonely Beast - would like to contact similar for mutual friendship and exchange of beastly confidences. Box CM0457.