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Mirrorsoft Ltd
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Richard Price
Chris Bourne

Still in the worlds of wizardry we come finally to Ashkeron.

The wizard has purloined poor Princess Zeraphina's dowry of five great treasures. Without them her marriage will be ill-starred and will bring ruin to the bucolic paradise of Ashkeron. You are Stephen the Blacksmith and have vowed to enter the sorcerer's lair to recover the sparklers.

You might be forgiven for thinking this was an Avalon style graphics game - 'walk-thru graphics' on the cover could suggest this. In fact the game is a text adventure with graphics which blend into the next location picture when you move. That happens with a machine-gun roaring which adds nothing to the game.

Text input is standard verb-noun and you can choose between a game where the objects always begin in the same place or a randomised version. The game is in real time so events will progress whether you do or not.

The castle is quite large and complex though often you can do nothing with the rooms - in the clock tower you cannot examine either the tower or the clock. Other characters can be spoken to and the castle staff can occasionally be helpful. The Examine function can be odd - I picked up a candle, tried to examine it and was told it was not there!

The trouble with games which expect you to find treasure is that there is no other incentive to carry on, especially if careful exploration only results in information about things the programmers consider important.

This is not my type of game. It is not enormous - only 125 locations - and it doesn't have the detail which provides a compelling atmosphere. Nevertheless, it is well-made and attractively presented. The prospect of a £25 prize each month for the highest score may induce you into Ashkeron. Not me - I'm going to get back to Fag End and Boggiton.

Publisher: Mirrorsoft
Memory: 48K
Price: £5.95