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Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

If you are impressed by official endorsements then perhaps you might like to take a look at this latest Quilled game which is marketed by non-other than the originators of the adventure aid themselves - Gilsoft. It's not long after loading that you see why Gilsoft had a high regard for this particular attempt: the presentation is very distinctive with good use of all the Spectrum colours and using flash to distinguish those objects which may offer the most assistance. The location descriptions are long, detailed and full of atmosphere and interest and, at a time when adventures increasingly appear more awkward and demanding, this one merrily flows along.

Walking along a cliff-top path back to your holiday hotel you wonder at the length of a so-called shortcut from the beach. As you enter a hollow the hot summer breeze turns cool and as you clamber out things have changed around you so markedly, well, you must have chanced upon a time warp and an adventure quest (hence the title).

You are transported long ago to the time of wizards and magicians following a war between an uncaring Lord of the Lands and its people. The Magician the People turned to was no better than the Lord, casting a spell over the land imprisoning all light and darkness within a perfectly round stone. Splitting the stone into two, the Magician placed the Darkness into the larger fragment and the Light into the smaller. Finding where each lies and joining them would break the spell. Not only must you find these two parts of the stone but also the seven fragments of a magical medallion hidden in the mysterious land of Moylan, to be joined with the 3 fragments given you at the very start. Then you can enter the Wizard's Tower and free the land of Moylan from the Wizard's spell and so return to your own time.

There are two aspects of this game which are unusual, but pleasantly so. You meet the first very quickly from the start whereby you pick up the three fragments of the Moylan Medallion automatically on visiting the location and this sort of automatic action occurs in one or two other locations further into the adventure. This I feel is a good point as it saves typing time involved with the obvious and it gives the game a racy feel. The other surprise is the length of the descriptions resulting from the examine command whose power is enhanced throughout leading to all sorts of sudden and unexpected happenings. (As a let down from the continual stream of happenings EXAM DOG brings about a delightful non-event).

Heading south from the hollow you enter a woodland to the east side of which is a well and a message. Curiously, perhaps due to a shortcoming in The Quill itself, you cannot read the message and the program is left to direct your efforts towards examining the message. More curious still is on examination a sudden breeze blows the message away!

Offshoots lead to the ancient town of Moylan, and a location described thus, ' Every wall in this dingy room is covered by shelves. Bottles containing differently coloured liquids sit on the shelves and on the floor beside a stained work bench'. There are also some bars of gold just waiting to be picked up.

The Hollow is a very fast-paced adventure with the fast response time taking you rapidly to useful objects which flash invitingly. The examine command is powerful and leads deeper into the plot. The instructions and storyline are full, coherent and imaginative. One of the better Quilled games from the plethora of look-alikes.


Difficulty: quite easy
Graphics: none
Presentation: very good
Input facility: verb/noun
Response: instantaneous
General Rating: Good imaginative adventure.