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Charles A. Sharp
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Mike Gerrard
Chris Bourne

This game didn't enter my good books from the start, as it's obviously written using GAC but nowhere does it get a credit. The story behind the adventure's pretty good, though.

It's the year 3142, you've got the intriguing name of Jake Stalin and a life sentence for the murder of a security guard. The fact that you were 13,000,000 miles away at the time has no bearing on the rough justice handed out by the multi-planetary companies that rule the universe. As executions no longer exist, you're put in charge of the planetoid Souzel, where the refuse from a dozen planets is collected for processing into raw materials for building purposes. There, you're meant to stay for the rest of your natural life - unless, of course, you can find a way out. Great scenario, shame about the game.

My suspicions were aroused when I saw some of the verbs given on the inlay: CORRUPT, EXCAVATE, IGNITE, PILOT, RESCUE, INVESTIGATE, CHAT, DETONATE, AID and SWIM. How many of those are in everyday adventure use? You're invited to write to the company for a full word list, but I'm dubious about any adventure-writer who would incorporate some of those into their program.

I was even more dubious when I discovered the illogical way the locations have been put together. You're not told what exits there are, so you have to try them all, and then you learn that to get from A to B you've got to go east, but to get from B to A, you go north. I don't mind this occasionally in a game to keep you on your toes, but not for every location, please! It makes the game tedious rather than challenging.

Although I've moaned about this game, you'll see I haven't given it devastatingly bad marks and that's because, as with many adventures, there are some good things in there as well. I just couldn't be bothered to carry on and enjoy the good things for all the irritations. You may feel differently, but I thought Life-Term was what I'd been sentenced to when I loaded this one up.