What a life! Imagine spending all summer quaffing ginger beer and bathing in clear blue seas. After lunch there's time to visit some scary dungeons, search for treasure and outwit a few baddies. And then it's home for an absolutely massive spread of cream and scones! Well, now you can do more than just imagine it, folks - you can actually become it (so to speak), with Enigma Variation's Five On A Treasure Island. Hurrah!
Everybody should know who the Famous Five are but just in case you've had a deprived childhood let's recap. Basically, they're 4 children (and a dog called Timmy!) known throughout the world for their brave exploits and cunning plans. Treasure Island's their first adventure, in which Julian, Anne and Dick are packed off to their relations (while their parents skive oft to Scotland), and team up with their scowling tomboy cousin, George.
EEK! AN ADVENTURE GAME!
Now, for most of us, a good holiday is one where we do absolutely nothing except sleep, drink and eat. But the Famous Five aren't like other people, because they can't go anywhere without finding themselves in the thick of a mysterious adventure!
What the game involves is you getting mixed up in strange doings on Kirrin island. Basically, you have to find a treasure map and, erm, follow the instructions- piece of cake. Except it isn't. Especially if you've got about as much idea about adventures as I've got about the breeding habits of the cabbage aphid (ie, not an awful lot, matey!). It was a bit lucky then that Mike Gerrard just happened to have written a Beginners Guide To Adventures for us this month (see p60), which I ploughed through with enormouse zest (although it probably did absolutely zilch for my gameplaying!)
Anyway, you start the game as Julian but you can swop characters as and when. This means you can send all of them off on separate missions and then get them to meet up later. All have distinct characteristics which make them suitable for different tasks (but don't worry if you haven't read the books - just Examine someone and you'll get the lowdown on them. Actually, it's a good idea to use Examine on everyone, to find out if they can tell you anything or do something for you - like make a scrummy chocolate cake!).
Most adventure games are quite dull in the graphics department but here they've perked things up a bit by including some pretty pictures. (Not that it makes an enormous difference but it's nice all the same!) The screen is split into 2 parts - the larger top part tells you where you are, which direction you can follow etc, and the bottom bit is where you type in your commands.
WHO AM I?
As I said, I'd never played an adventure game before so I was expecting something really dull. And unless you're a seasoned player, then, of course, Treasure Island is going to take you ages to get through. But I had a great time! I didn't move from the Speccy for hours! (Except to go to the loo, hem hem.)
The main reason why it works so well for a beginner is that it's easy to grasp and there are lots of helpful touches (plus it's fun!). If you get confused about who you are just type in WHO and you'll find out. And if you're not clear about what you're allowed to do, type in V and you're given a list of verbs.
Five On A Treasure Island makes you want to find out what's round the next corner. It could be an ingot, a locked dungeon or even an ice-cream van. Gee, these kids really know how to have fun - and I'm jolly well off for another go!
Really nice adventure game. Easy to understand, plenty of action, and good for beginners.
(Well, 4 actually. But you're not allowed to be the dog!)JulianJolly decent chap, ahoy! Julian is the oldest, the cleverest, the most sensible and the strongest of the Famous Five. He's always incredibly polite and your mother would love him.DickDick's a bit of a greedy-guts so you've got to watch him with the sandwiches! But despite his massive food intake, he's a bit of a skinny runt - and so comes in very handy when you need someone to crawl through small holes!GeorgeGeorge is absolutely fearless! There's no place or no one she's scared of. (And she's also the best swimmer.) She can be a bit of a pain at first but once you've made friends with her you've got a pal for life. Yep, she's a darned good egg, is George. (Though why anyone should hate being a girl is beyond me!)AnneAnne is the youngest, the weakest and the least brave. And she's also incredibly bad at keeping secrets. But that doesn't mean she's crap! In fact, Anne's a bit of a sweetie. Nobody could ever be horrible to her (unless they were completely heartless beasts).
Golly! The summer hols are just beginning. And already all the excitement is making me a bit peckish.
Hurrah! It's been a long and dusty journey, but a least we're at Killin Station. And what a lovely station it is too, eh, Spec-chums? (Make sure you take not of the direction.) Now where's Aunt Fanny?
Uncle Quentin's study. So no touching.
And here's the place where you get to spend the whole of the summer hols. What fun!