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Domark Ltd
1984
Adventure: Graphic
£14.95
Multiple languages (see individual downloads)
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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128
Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

Eureka! is a game that follows in the footsteps of some local authorities, large American States and daily newspapers in bringing the lottery into the lives of the many so that they may have a crack at that all-too- elusive prize. The unlikelihood of winning the prize is made up in part by its sheer size. In this case Domark have judged £25,000 to be an ample sum to tempt enough punters to pay the game's way.

If no one wins the prize by 31st December 1985, Domark will share out the prize equally. One can't help thinking up an analogy with British Telecom Shares. And here lies the rub: I can't really judge the issue because it all depends upon the view you take on a game where the intellectual unravelling of a string of riddles and puzzles may gain you a considerable sum of money, much like a Financial Editor of a newspaper can only draw your attention to shares that may prove a sound investment - whether they are a sound investment depends on how the market fares.

The game comes in a large box containing five adventures on the one tape and a thin, but lavish, booklet. Of the five adventures, the first four can be played in any order, the fifth only on giving the cored answer to a series of questions on the previous four Each of the adventures contains dues to the mystery code. The answers to the nddels in the accompanying booklet lie within the programs, and you decipher the code into a UK telephone number using chapter six in the booklet. You ring the number and if you can correctly answer the question by the closing date you win the prize. A hotline will tell you whether the prize has gone already.

The Temporal Talisman, an ancient artefact found on the Moon by the Apollo XVII mission, shattered into many pieces when subjected do the intense beams of the SHIVA Fusion Project lasers. A Dr. Majid has convinced NASA that he knows where the missing pieces are to be found. Each piece was catapulted onto Time and has been traced thus:- one in Prehistoric Europe, Roman Italy, Arthurian Britain, Wartime Germany and the Modem Caribbean. An experimental device, The Chonetran, will send you back in time to retrieve the pieces.

A short arcade game precedes each adventure and must be attempted as it helps to increase your vigour in the adventure if you score over 25, 000 points (a magic number for this game)! Every 500 points beyond this gives you one extra vigour point up to a maximum of 100 points. An automatic vigour level of 50 can be taken over to the adventure but only on finishing the arcade game. The object of the arcade game is to collect the flashing objects and dropping them by pressing the fire button. Ea time this is done a flashing exit sign appears on the screen. Theoretically you can choose to leave or stay on to score more points but in practice, due to the sluggish response, pressing the fire button just a fraction too long sees you stay for another round whether you wanted to or not. Considering how mind-stupefyingly boring this game is this can make you see red. You begin to think that you really have to work for the £25, 000 - no playing around here.

On to the adventure itself. Since I could load Arthurian Britain straight away I started with this followed by Roman Italy. I say 'could load because if you should find any difficulty, like myself, in loading any part you could well be in trouble. All five games are contained on the one cassette and the search, rewind and fast forward when trying to locate the start of a section may result in a damaged tape. Domark may worry at the possibility of many tapes being returned.

There is no save facility underlining the fact that this product sees itself as little more than a competition with none of the usual courtesies afforded adventurers. This omission is compounded by the irritation involved in having to start at the beginning when killed whereupon a 35 second wait is necessary before recommencing. The Roman Italy section is made difficult by the use of Latin throughout but in another part one problem is a giveaway to Star Trek fans (can you believe it - I'm still watching the repeats of the repeats of the... ) A hollow log, flint, diamonds, sulphur, saltpetre and coal are indelibly linked in the minds of the space adventure's fans.

Eureka! offers a prize of £25,000 to the person tenacious and skilled enough to solve this puzzle. The game does feature graphics but these vary considerably in quality from the quite good, through passable to downright expedient, eg. using mirror images to complete the picture. If you never see any part of the vast sum on offer I think it unlikely you would return to the game for its own sake.

CRITICISM

COMMENTS
Difficulty: very difficult
Graphics: on every location but are rather poor
Presentation: background changes colour abruptly and exits and objects are not usually given
Input facility: good
Response
General Rating: Should be good value but has several annoying features like lack of SAVE facility.

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