Another Gold Medallion release from Incentive, and better value-for-money than the earlier Winter Wonderland and Apache Gold, which were decent-enough adventures but pricey at £7.95. Karyssia costs the same but this time it's a three-part GAC adventure in Swords And Sorcery vein, involving money, weapons, spells and speech. Dark deeds are afoot, or possibly twelve inches.
Before you can get going, there are no less than six pages of cassette inlay to read, giving you the storyline and lists of weapons and the spells available in the three levels of magic: the lower plane, higher plane and exclusive plane. There's a lot going on in this game! GAC? I never knew there was so much in it.
But who is this Karyssia anyway? Daughter of King Merenon I of the Isle of Senduarin. Her ascent to the throne coincides with the expiry of the diamond mines on which Senduarin's wealth is based, and her attempts to save the economy make her a popular figure. Little do her adoring public know, but... Oh you don't want to know all this, do you?
The aim is to kill Karyssia, which means finding the Royal Castle from your starting point, "The Sword and Buckler". This first location shows the style of graphics that's been adopted, and very stylish it is too. A 3-D Batman/Sweevo type of perspective has been chosen for indoor scenes, and it's so effective you wonder why no-one thought of it before for an adventure game. Watch the doors in the graphics too, as not all exits are given in the text and it's up to you to find them.
I like the style of the first real problem you have. Up a tree you find an acorn. At the top of a cliff is some soft earth, just ripe for acorn planting. Half-way down the cliff is a nest. Elsewhere is a rope, and then lo and behold you find a GROWTH spell. What could be simpler? Plant the acorn, cast GROWTH at it, tie the rope to the tree and get to the nest. Wrong! As you hurriedly make your way back to the cliff top via the only route, your spell is confiscated and you can't get past. Or can you? I won't say any more but it's a bit of neat double bluffery from the programmers, D & R Shacklady. Or is it triple-bluffery... hmmm, I've only just considered that.
At first I thought I was going to hate this game, as my wanderings took me to one of my pet hates: sudden death routines. Standing on a main road you're told: "To the west you can see Westmarket Street." Tum-ti-tum-ti-tum, let's go west. Oh dear, we seem to have been attacked by a 15 foot ogre who just happens to be hanging round Westmarket Street. Press a key for another game. Then elsewhere something shines in the water of a lake. EXAMINE WATER. Oh dear, you are bitten by a deadly poisonous glistening crab. How silly of me, I should have known. Press a key for another game. I very nearly didn't!
I'm glad I persevered though, as apart from a few careless screen layouts this is one of the best GAC games I've yet seen. The speech function is often limited to saying 'Hello' just to get a response from the characters, but I liked the way the authors seem to have successfully packed lots of features into the program. Highly recommended.