Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

Ludoids is a quadruplex adventure which means it comes in four parts. These parts are loaded separately but are linked by the codewords left, in the first part for example, by a graffitti-inspired agent who presumably has passed this way before you. In the first part you are disguised as a spacetrucker who must search a robot space-station, in the second you trans-mat down to the planet Glacia which is rather cold and has igloos and things, in the third you take a kind of Westworld holiday on the planet Vacatia, and in the fourth a submarine provides you with one or two problems.

As you might guess from the above Ludoids is a curious adventure. Each part has full screen pictures at a number of locations, many of which are rather evocative and pleasing. A few of these pictures have simple animation such as clouds rolling by, a burger sliding out of a food dispenser on a tray and beacons flashing. The character set has been tastefully redefined being both futuristic and readable. It's a shame the whole lot, pictures and text scrolls off, but on the whole the game is attractively presented. What is remarkable is the short length of each part. This may be partly due to the machine code introduction sequences which greet each mini-adventure, which are delightful in themselves, but surely cannot explain the brevity of the adventures which follow.

Your overall mission is to find the Ludoids and destroy their trans-mat jammers with the wrist detector given to you at the beginning. Many of the pictures, like that of a Sinclair C5 seen early on, are very impressive but the plot that links them together is flat-footed and it wouldn't take much from any adventurer to complete the whole four parts within one afternoon. It's not as if the codewords you need to carry on from one part to another create much of a challenge. At the beginning of part two the following gem comes up onto the screen:- 'If you found the key behind the desk you will have been able to find the code-word that you need'. The code-word for part three, hidden within part two, is somewhat obvious as it is highlighted by an arrow leading from the word HINT. Since this adventure clearly won't take much solving by anyone, I suppose you could say it's the gourmet equivalent of boil-in-the-bag for the adventurer who is too busy to play adventures.

One of the most interesting parts of the game, and certainly the most difficult, is the gun duel in the western world of Vacatia. To draw your gun and then fire it with a different key is very difficult in the split second allowed you by your opponent. Your first few efforts will no doubt see you biting the dust.

Ludoids is a curious piece of software as it comes in four parts, each of which is very short and very easy. There are a number of machine code routines to bring the adventure alive and there are many worthy pictures. It is hard to see what attraction the game would offer to hardened adventurers but it may offer some entertainment for the adventure dabbler or the young at heart.


Difficulty: easy
Graphics: rather good
Presentation: good
Input facility: a little beyond verb/noun
Response: fast
General Rating: Unusual.