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Zenobi Software
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Mike Gerrard
Chris Bourne

"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.