"If he could only have found the final Pod." If only, indeed. Then man might still rule instead of the Aliens. And so the adventure begins ... or is it all a dream? If none of this makes sense then don't worry, just play the adventure - and it still won't! No, it might do, but even if it doesn't then all you need to know as you set off on this sci-fi tale is that you've got to locate and destroy the various Alien Pods that are lying around the latest Quill'd landscape from John 'Fuddo' Wilson. A sci-fi tale from the Rochdale Balrog?? Yes, the man's gone straight.
After a mysterious intro the game really begins when our hero Martin sets off in his car along ... oh no ... a dark moorland road. The fool! On top of that there's a bright red glow in the sky, then another. Then the engine cuts out, the car rolls to a halt and Martin's sitting there without even a glow from the dashboard. Being sensible should help you locate a few things, but quite early on in this game I began to feel that maybe the vocabulary wasn't quite as wide as it might be. A handle in the car releases the bonnet, and if you go round to the front you can open the bonnet and get a whiff of warm oil. But could I examine the engine? Could I heckers!
Elsewhere I landed in a ditch through trying to grab a stanchion and jump across a gap in a bridge. There by my side was a broken stanchion, an actual game object, yet I couldn't get it, examine it or seemingly do anything else with it. Frustrating. I think Zenobi ought to invest in a copy of PAW, too, as The Quill system is starting to creak a bit. You get used to typing commands like GET ALL and expecting them to work.
Picking on a game's faults is inevitable, and I should point out that there are also lots of good features too I like the random messages that add a bit of atmosphere to the text, like the distant sound of a train in the night. And it's a good above-average adventure, with problems increasing in trickiness as you try to locate and destroy all the Pods.
On the 'B' side of the tape is a more typical Wilson romp called Behind Closed Doors in which 'oh dear, what can the matter be? The poor old Balrog is locked in the lavatory!'
A one-location game in which you have to escape from the smallest room in the house,- with just a stub of pencil and The Goblins Gazette to help you. Trickier than you might at first think, the mini-adventurer's packed with laughs as you try to EXAMINE everything in sight.
I know which side of the tape I prefer, and for his next game I'd like to see the Balrog back to what he does best - by which I mean writing funny adventures, of course.