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Melbourne House
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Quentin Heath
Chris Bourne


Tolkein's tale has captured the imagination. Quentin Heath attempts to get to the ring but finds he wastes too much time.

SALES of The Hobbit, and adventure game for the 48K Spectrum. have been going very well, according to Melbourne House, the company which produces it.

It is one of the most complex games for the Sinclair machines I have seen and that is one of the reasons why it is selling so well. The plot follows closely that of Tolkien's book and there are added dangers to make it more interesting.

There are many objects in the game which cannot be used until certain situations have been passed or conditions met. They tend to take up a fair amount of time on this adventure. Much time can be wasted by checking objects which prove to be useless. For instance, many people who see the chest in the hobbit hole at the beginning of the game usually are tempted to look inside.

The player may suspect that the chest contains weapons or armour but there is nothing inside, That may cause further consternation and a furious search. All that has happened to most victims of the game I know, including several people in the Sinclair User office. Usually a chest is for putting things into and at the beginning of the game there is nothing to store in the chest. The one thing to remember is that the most ordinary and unmysterious objects usually prove the most useful.

At all costs you must be practical, as examining objects which seem mysterious may lead you into the dark.

The Inglish language specially developed by the makers, which all the games characters speak fluently, is causing problems for some people. Most of the time Gandalf and Thorin wander around saying 'Hurry up', 'What's this', or 'No' at the slightest provocation. You should not give up, though - experiment by talking to Thorin, Gandalf and Elrond. The information one of them will give you is certainly not misguided.

If you have managed to obtain more information from any of the characters, I would be interested to hear. In the early stages of the game it is best to follow one direction when going forward and that is explained in the Hints and Tips column. If in doubt, follow that direction and it will usually get you out of trouble.

There are some very odd moves which you can make during the course of the game. For instance, if you have a sword you could kill Elrond when you visit Rivendell. That is very easy to do but your blood lust could prevent you learning Elronds secret. That may not seem very important at the time but it could make a difference to the outcome.

A sword is a basic piece of for any adventurer and can be of use against most foes, as well as Elrond. Your sword is provided for you in the early part of the adventure and it is a good idea to pass the trolls to get it. The secret of the sword is difficult to unlock but you must remember that problems are not half so bad in the daylight.

There are two other problems which adventurers in The Hobbit are meeting. The first is the maze in the misty mountains. If anyone has managed to get out alive I would like to know. The second problem is that the program sometimes crashes when you have battled your way through the Elven Kings Halls, got into one of the barrels in the cellar and plunged into the underground river.

One correspondent has had that happen several times. The makers of the game believe that it is the fault of the particular tape copies.

Not Rated

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Hints and tips - read only if desperate.

Go east when all else fails or north when past the mystic Elves.

A stone troll is the key to the door when day dawns.

Beware of pitfalls in Beorn's house.

Turn west at the wooded gate to the north.

When pale eves are about to sting, retrace your steps.