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1985
Adventure: Text
£5.50
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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96
Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

Jewels of Babylon follows in the footsteps of Message from Andromeda and Forest at World's End and if you were to buy this latest offering there would be few surprises, for all intents and purposes this is the same program but with a pirate/ desert island backdrop. In effect it's the same cake with a different flavoured icing. It's almost inconceivable that a programmer could continue to churn out the same old game without attempting any improvements to refine the product, but this is the case we have here. All the old criticisms concerning the first two games still hold strong.

Impressive, high quality graphics appear very quickly and only appear automatically on your first visit to a location, which is a nice touch, but when you count up, there really aren't that many graphics. The input routine has opted for neatness as opposed to efficiency; there is no cursor and no beep on entry although to be fair input remains mostly error-free. Descriptions are short and unimaginative giving the whole a weak impact and there is no score. This game uses some awful system of text scrolling whereby the top part scrolls up and off when you input at the bottom.

The game boasts 100 locations. I went through 50 without solving a single problem, unless you count making the natives' supper a solution to a problem. Like its predecessor, Forest at World's End, it often falls back on cliche and is about as interesting as a jumblesale paperback book.

Three thousand years ago, before the Christian era, a fabulous treasure was crafted by the master craftsmen in the old city of Babylon. Such was the beauty of this collection, many men died to obtain possession of it. At the end of the nineteenth century the jewels were in English hands. In a great gesture of friendship, Queen Victoria intended to give them as a wedding present to an Indian Princess. On route from West Africa the ship carrying the jewels was attacked by pirates who took them, leaving the crew for dead. You are the sole survivor of the attack. After recovering from your wounds, you vow to reclaim the jewels. After much marching you locate the pirates' base on a remote island. Your objective is to search the island, find the jewels and return them to the ship.

The vocabulary often goes beyond verb/noun but despite the instructions suggesting adjectives, adverbs and prepositions are needed to avoid ambiguity, there are many cases where this is demonstrably not so and all the extra input required does is to make the language that bit more unfriendly. Take, for example, your first task - to get into the boat from from the ship to enable you to go ashore. CLIMB LADDER and ENTER BOAT are not accepted, but CLIMB DOWN LADDER and CLIMB INTO BOAT are. I admit there is a thin dividing line between greater sophistication and unfriendliness, but the program could provide more prompts to coax you along the right path. When you see a smooth, vertical slab of rock on your travels, you can't move or push it, but surely you should be able to examine it?

If, for you, an adventure is not complete unless it has a maze then here you can get all dizzy amongst no less than three. Amazing.

Jewels of Babylon shows all the traits of a game knocked off an assembly line. Some of its shortcomings are common to many while the conspicuous absence of any real problems is more typical of this series from Interceptor. If variety is the spice of life then this game is one big amorphous lump of monosodium glutamate.

CRITICISM

COMMENTS
Difficulty: quite difficult
Graphics: very few but are fast and well designed
Presentation: has awful habit of scrolling description off as soon as new input is introduced. No use is made of colour
Input facility: often pedantic requiring more than verb/noun for no good reason
General Rating: Could prove a challenge.

6/10
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6/10

Screenshot Text

Excellent graphics in THE JEWELS OF BABYLON, but the program doesn't really live up to the pictures.