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P.J.R. Harkin
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Richard Price
Chris Bourne

The Quill boom goes on and there are no less than four adventures written on it this month. The first, Malice in Wonderland, comes from Sentient Software who now market former Lumpsoft products including a Doctor Who adventure, The Key to Time, reviewed a while back.

The game sticks to TV and casts you loosely as Steed, from The Avengers. That series was renowned for its odd plots and Sentient has obliged by linking a detective-cum-spy story with bits of Alice.

Your aim is to uncover the murderer of a high ranking diplomat at the embassy of an unpronounceable Central European country. Since you do not speak the obscure tongue you are armed with a phrase book which can be used to interrogate the usual suspects - butler, chauffeur, mad chef and so on.

The embassy is curiously like the Queen of Heart's palace, with rose garden, maze, gardener and even a large rabbit burrow - which I still cannot get into, snarl, snarl. There are mirrors which seem to alter space and time and bizarre sporting objects - womballs - reminiscent of the queen's croquet balls.

The program uses the Quill's resources well and is friendly and responsive. There is a good dose of tongue-in-cheek humour too - type 'Wait' and you will be treated not only to a series of observations on the nature of time but also adverts for Lumpsoft.

That quirky approach lifts Malice in Wonderland well above run-of-the-mill Quilled games. You do not need to follow a single line of play either and can go off at chaotic tangents if you like. Good design, great quality, grand fun.

The other three Quilled games are part of a series from Sentient Software. Those are 'back to back' tapes and feature Spectrum and CBM64 versions on either side of the cassette.

They are all pure text games.

Publisher: Sentient Software
Memory: 48K
Price: £5.95