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Not Known
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Mike Gerrard
Chris Bourne

Now that the Editor has seen the error of his ways (well, one of them) and given us adventurers more room, there's space to catch up on reviewing one or two titles that slipped through the net in the past. Such a one is London Adventure, a text-only game courtesy of The Quill and featuring 'over 100 locations.'

The story is that you eccentric rich uncle has died leaving you a fortune, if only you can find it. All his will tells you is that it's hidden in a safe deposit box somewhere in London, and so your journey begins. In fact it begins in Greenwich Park, inside the Observatory, where a puzzles astronomer walks away from a telescope. I wonder how you can tell someone's an astronomer? Maybe he had a sign hanging round his neck. Anyway, a glimpse through this telescope of undoubtedly magical powers shows in the distance a deposit box with an 8-figure combination. I'm not quite sure how this ties in with my clue-sheet, which reveals the box to be ultimately found in the depths of a vault.

In fact apart from the setting of London and its landmarks, reality doesn't really get a goo look-in on this adventure. In one location you find 'an aluminium tube'. Closer examination reveals it to have a bulb at one end. Well if the object's a torch why don't they say it's a torch?

The vocabulary is rather frustrating as well. Boarding the Cutty Sark reveals a tableau of characters, including a sword in a scabbard. GET SWORD? "I can't, it's in the scabbard." DRAW SWORD works, but what's the difference between drawing and getting. Travelling around is also made more difficult than it need be due to the author's dislike of conventional compass directions. BOARD SHIP to get on the Cutty Sark seems fair enough, but to get off again you can't LEAVE, OFF, OUT or a simple N, S, E or W, you have to DISEMBARK, and as well as using up more memory than a simple compass direction it seems to me to add pointless irritations to the game as you search round for the right words just to get you in and out of places.

There are plenty of places to get in and out of, however, and it's enjoyable to move around the capital and visit Harrod's, the Zoo, and the Tower of London -- don't be dishonest, here, and don't be rude, either, as you the have the problem of getting the program back again.

All in all I was none too impressed by London Adventure, and there are much better and cheaper Quill'd games around. A shame, as it's the first production from six adventure enthusiasts, so let's hope the next one is an improvement.