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Pete Cooke
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

Richard Shepherd have always had a good reputation for high class packaging of software but more recently have created interest in the program on the tape as well. After playing and thoroughly enjoying Urban Upstart I eagerly loaded up The Inferno.

The program closely follows the plan of Dante's Inferno which depicts the thirteenth centure concept of Hell. In you quest there are nine circles through which you must pass to reach to centre and escape. The style and formal mimics that first seen in The Hobbit but the graphics are very simple, although to be fair every location has a graphic. The graphic depiction of a scene scrolls up on pressing a key - in this case the ENTER key - to reveal all the text at the bottom. The word ENTER appears in the bottom right hand corner and the border changes colour when the program is ready. Were this the only distraction when playing the game there would be little cause for complaint but this constant need to press enter is coupled with the most infuriating input routine ever devised.

Every so often a key depression repeats a letter and if you are not meticulous you can spend a lot of time deleting back to correct these mistakes. As it turns out this game is quite enjoyable and long delays are rare as it has a fast response time but an awful input routine is a major setback for any adventure to overcome. Sometimes the action becomes too fast to read without the foresight to switch off the graphics, for example, when getting Cerbus to limp aside to let you down to the next level.

After only a few scenes you become aware of the independent characters featured in the game though they wander backwards and forwards like zombies. Virgil, like Thorin in The Hobbit, has a limited patois and generally comes out with such gems as THIS IS A DANGEROUS PLACE or WE MUST HURRY.

To tell a character to do something you must begin the command with the character 's name; you can also ask Virgil for his inventory by entering VIRGIL LIST. Vocabulary moves quite some way from simple verb/noun but you might be surprised at TAKE with no GET option. However T is a very useful abbreviation for TAKE.

The Inferno is an adventure let down by an infuriating input routing. On the plus side the game features graphics at every location, an interesting and enjoyable storyline and the puzzles, lightened with a useful HELP command are not too difficult.


Difficulty: Easy-average
Graphics: In all locations. Scroll off. Can be turned off. Average
Presentation: Black text on white. Average
Input facility: Poor. Accepts full sentences
Response: Normally fast, some graphics a little slow
Special features: Independent characters
Overall: Good