1987
Adventure: Text
£3.50
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

92,93
Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

I had a quick read of the letter accompanying this one, and if I got the facts right, HAWK is an acronym standing for Home Adventure Writing Korporation. The three-man team (the third is an Andrew Sherlock Heads who is chief tester) are only sixteen years of age - pretty good going when you consider this Quilled, lllustratored and Patched game isn't too bad at all - certainly one of the most professional mail order games received this month.

The inlay is of a professional standard, the storyline is most readable and the program skips along nicely. There's also a crafty bit of marketeering going on here (must be those business awareness lessons they have in schools in front of the news cameras) whereby the first 25 people to complete this trip to the almost forgotten Atlantis get a free crack at their next release. I would, however, take issue with one piece of business bureaucracy that should be left in the textbooks - allowing 28 days for delivery went out with the slide-rule in every office except those in the public sector (and estate agents of course, how do they get away with it?). Boys, unless you're training for a life in the Civil Service, I would send out games by return of post.

As you might glean from the intro, this is a cut above your usual mail order game; take the option of Side A and its black print on white background for masochists and the Side B option of restful yellow on black - yummy! The character set is clearly redesigned, which is a blessing after all the unreadable scrolls I've struggled through in recent months.

The story behind this one reads well, so let's have a look at it... Reports from the earth monitoring satellite, Intelsat, have pinpointed a source of radiation somewhere in the mid-Atlantic. Co-ordinates obtained from radio-thermal scans suggest a man-made source - yet there is no land within a thousand miles of the area! It is your good self who first propounds the theory of the lost city of Atlantis. and you become interested in the myths of Neptune and the Power Trident as told by that Greek raconteur. Plato.

The Trident gained its energy by concentrating a power from the green rays of the planet Neptune, giving the Sea God the ability to control the elements. Neptune descended to the depths for eternity, but left his trident in the hands of the Atlanteans. This great civilisation designed a vast security complex to house the treasure, and it has remained there ever since. Clearly, if you could grasp the trident and bring it back to England, the reality of Atlantis would be proven and your wealth assured. A light aircraft takes you to the scene of the radiation, and flying through dense grey clouds, you at last see the lost city, far below and basked in apparent sunshine.

You begin with an imaginative representation of a beach, which is smartly boxed in - showing a rather clean-cut and attractive screen image with the yellow on black option. Now, being a bit of a berk, or perhaps in the endeavour to explore all pathways, I went about the business of climbing into my Douglas light aircraft, inserting the key, pressing the button and shooting off for home. Unfortunately, I hadn't attempted the adventure and did not have the trident - but at least me telling you this saves you the bother of climbing into the cockpit straight away.

Having decided to at least have a quick look round Atlantis, I got on with the adventure, heading off east into the coastal forest with its low bushes and exotic berries. Examining the berries revealed them to be medicinal fruit, but picking them up wasn't acknowledged with the age-old OK, instead you have to resort to checking your inventory. So now you have a small key and a machete (from the start) and the exotic fruits. I don't think I'm giving anything away when I say that the machete is used to hack away the undergrowth around the ancient Atlantean temple, but getting over the precipitous edge of the lava pit there might prove a little more tricky. The path to the city of Atlantis lies another way.

The city of Atlantis is a highly advanced one - its marvellous structures and buildings are enclosed in a huge glass dome which is used to regulate temperature and climate. The urban area is divided up into blocks or sectors. Notable examples are the Cultural and Civilian sectors (neither title sounding appropriate when 'A robot dog comes up to you, lifts one of its legs and proceeds to oil all over your feet!'). Galleries and Museums are to be found in the Cultural Sector, while homes, gardens and parks lie within the Civilian Sector. The Atlanteans themselves are a kind and gentle race, who refrain from any sort of violence. Even so, crime does exist, hence all citizens wear identity tags which bear the symbol of the trident. These tags are inspected by robots who soon have you looking in from outside the perimeter fence should you be found without one. Avoiding anti-social mechanical dogs and robots, you will still find the city's drunks bumping into you, but you can wreak revenge by stealing some loose change from the people of the street on Forgotten Corner. B Forgotten City is a superb adventure for a game only available mail order from (HAWK ADVENTURING, 29 Hollowgate, Barnburgh, South Yorks DN5 7BH). The location descriptions aren't particularly long and evocative, and the vocabulary can be strict on occasions, but it has many strong points - not least of which is its ability to skip along merrily while keeping the adventurer thoroughly engaged. A sophisticated job lads, but really, I would consider putting back the deadline for your competition; I think February 1 is a bit early - for this review if nothing else!

CRITICISM

COMMENTS
Difficulty: straightforward
Graphics: imaginative and colourful
Presentation: good options
Input facility: verb/noun
Response: fast Quill response
General Rating: Good.

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