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8th Day Software
Mike White
1986
Adventure: Text
£6.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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84
Brenda Gore
Chris Bourne

H.R.H. has been causing a big fuss in the papers - the Sun mainly. No dungeons and dragons, goblins and trolls to be found here.

H.R.H. from 8th Day has touched a nerve in some less liberally minded folk, mixing as it does, the Royal Family and the dole queue in a classic bureaucratic foul up over DHSS benefits.

Sitting in your London bedsit, you rip open your DHSS letter and discover a £250,000 Giro cheque intended for the Queen. This comes as something of a surprise. Presumably the Queen will be even more surprised, especially if she received your Giro in place of her own.

You start the game standing in a Post Office queue, Princess Di standing behind you. Prince William, wearing an enormous pair of rubber ears, is also in the Post Office. A clerk stands behind the counter, though you have no way of knowing this from the description.

Any attempt to give the Queen's Giro to the clerk, or to leave the Post Office with it still in your possession, will trigger Prince William into action. He'll grab the cheque and bite you in the leg. You begin to feel he doesn't like you.

The rest of the game concerns your attempts to retrieve the missing Giro, cash it and give the money to the Queen. Which is easier said than done.

You leave the Post Office, your leg presumably still throbbing, and are confronted by a busy main road. Fortunately, there is a pedestrian crossing. Failure to press the button could be fatal - London traffic doesn't like stopping at the best of times.

On the other side of the pedestrian crossing there is a telephone box. Surprise, surprise... the telephone is ringing. Being naturally curious, you answer the telephone. An unidentified voice on the other end gives you an urgent message for Prince Andrew. The logic may seem a little strained here, but stranger things appear in The Sun.

The Prince is to be found in a local nightspot, just past the Dancing Kebab. He appears slightly distraught, but is pleased to receive your message and offers you some champagne. And so it goes on.

Other members of the royal family will be found dotted around the adventure. The Queen Mother and corgies, are at Clarence House. Prince Charles and the Queen are to be found in Buckingham Palace. Mrs Thatcher, Princess Margaret, Princess Michael, the Archbishop of Canterbury and assorted other characters also pop up in unexpected places.

The corgies play a larger role in the game than you might first suspect. Carrying a Corgi at one point will provide a much-needed proof of identity.

The adventure only accepts one line of text as an input though, so you may have to abbreviate some words in order to get your message across. Also, us Tell in place of Say or Speak.

In its style and content H.R.H. owes much to the earlier Dennis Through the Drinking Glass or Melbourne House's effort, Hampstead. The trouble is it is neither as inventive as Denis. Nor is it as technically well executed as Hampstead.

If the plot of H.R.H. sounds trite and a bit daft, don't worry - it is trite and a bit daft. The biggest problem is not the subject matter, nor questions of taste. It is a distinct lack of humour. Maybe it's me but H.R.H. just isn't funny.

A satirical adventure of this sort relies heavily on the effectiveness of the internal jokes for its success. The Boggit is an example of a sustained and funny adventure which pokes fun at its august predecessor. TV series' like Spitting Image and Not The Nine O'Clock News have shown that you can be cruelly funny and get away with it, but the jokes have to be good enough.

I admit to a droll smile when Prince William bit me on the leg, but it was a case of too little, too late. I simply lost any interest in what happened next. The puzzles in the game don't require any leaps of inspiration, just a plodding routine of 'try it and see'.

Here was an opportunity for some biting satire on unemployment and the royal family.

And it's an opportunity that's been largely missed.

Label: 8th Day
Price: £6.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Brenda Gore

**

An opportunity to create an inventive satire, missed. It's just not funny enough.

2/5

Screenshot Text

The opening of the game. Getting the Giro back won't be easy. Go out to the high street.

Occasional graphics of some horrible sights.