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Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Tony Dillon
Chris Bourne

A Level 9 adventure is always a delight to play, so it was with glee that I loaded the first part of Knight Orc.

I say the first part because KO is big. Not just big, but very big.

Held on three cassettes no less, each containing a full 128K load on one side and a 48K cut-down version of the same program on the other.

Like most adventures of this sort you have to finish one part before you can start the next.

Right! Spot IQ test! Who can guess what creature you play in the game? That's right, you play the Orc. You start by being woken up in a tent, but you can't for the life of you remember how you got there, or how another one of your teeth has gone missing. When fully awake you find you are tied to a horse and have been selected as Orc champion in a joust. Unfortunately, this is unavoidable and you inevitably lose to the human champion. You are then taken for dead and are thrown away 'with all the other rubbish'. And, the rest, as they say, is history.

Knight Orc is no ordinary adventure. Oh no, this is a multi-user adventure, in the genre of Mud, only the other players are simulated. One nice touch is the little bits that are added on the end of descriptions which tell you what the other players are doing such as 'Somewhere, a male voice cries out "Has anyone got any spare treasure".' A lot of the time what they say actually bears some reference to where you are.

What other wonderful things can I tell you about? The location descriptions are exquisite and more than make up for the absence of graphics. For the most part, they are very long, sometimes taking more than a screen and are very informative telling you graphically what you can see and where exactly you are. The humour worked into the text is like something out of a Douglas Adams novel, quick-fire and very enjoyable. Never droll. For instance, when you enter the pub in Part 1, the description is of a typical country inn, but it's also a clever parody of all the long descriptions in such books as Lord of the Rings or Hobbit. Also, the changes that have been made from human culture to the culture of the little folk is surprisingly laughable, with such mentions as 'Hobbit and Westron Music' in the inn and so on.

But the high spot of the game is the interactive characters. With such original names as Genghis and the Phantom of the Opera. All have their own character and their own goal to complete. And, the one thing they all have in common is that they all hate Orcs. Every time they meet you, they either give you a dirty look, steal from you or fight you, all stating such comments as 'Ugh, a vile Orc' or 'I'm stealing from a vile Orc', and for some reason, once they see you, they all want to follow you. Odd, but you can follow them. Yes Follow is just one of the multitude of extra commands alloted, which include the now almost standard Ram Save and Ram Load, plus commands like Find object, which will take you to the location of the object you want, if it exists, and then there's Go To Location, which takes you to wherever you want to go via the quickest route.

All these add up to make it one of the best adventures I have played. Technically The Pawn may be superior, but in plot, enjoyment and atmosphere Knight Orc wins hands down.

Label: Rainbird
Author: Austin Bros, John Jones Steele
Price: £14.95 (£19.95 disc)
Memory: 48K/128K (enhanced)
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tony Dillon


Text-only adventure with informative descriptions, multitude of characters, large vocabulary and it's very, very funny.

Text-only adventure with informative descriptions, multitude of characters, large vocabulary and it's very, very funny.