THE CLASH OF THE TITANS
Quentin Heath treads warily through labyrinths of Greek mythology.
MOST ADVENTURE games are set in the far future or in a past which the author and programmer have created. Perseus and Andromeda from Digital Fantasia, however, is different as it takes its plot from a Greek myth.
At the start of the 48K Spectrum game the main goal is to get into the royal palace to see the king. A good knowledge of the original myth would help you through the quest and in some cases that knowledge is imperative. The information on the card insert with the game is enlightening about the background to the characters involved in the story but a good book on the subject would be useful.
If you do not have a book I can tell you that the king is the one person who can tell you what you must do. The way in which you must ask him for your mission is odd, to say the least. Using formats such as 'say to' or 'speak to' followed by the statement you want to use enclosed in quotation marks will not work. It becomes obvious that you have to do something basic and unregal and EXAMINE KING.
King Polydectes will not be very helpful even after you have been to all that trouble to find him. He will tell you to slay Medusa, who is the main protagonist, and rescue the Princess Andromeda whom you want as your bride.
Looking at the way an which you talk to the king, we can see two valuable points which will help in playing the adventure. First, characters seem to be treated as objects. For example, it is as if Polydectes is a statue, like the Delphic Oracle who, once disturbed, will make a suitably inspired but useless utterance.
The second point I want to raise is about the use of words in the adventure. Many games use words in the context of different situations but their meanings stay the same throughout the game. As you can see with the word EXAMINE, some of the words in Perseus and Andromeda have double meanings. EXAMINE can be used to mean 'look at the object in front of you' or, more suitably, it can mean 'interrogate the character, monster or object which is in front of you'.
The authors have used words in an eccentric manner. You will find the ploy irritating at times, especially when you are trying to figure how to get one of the treasures which form the first set of objectives in the game. My warning is to look for unusual ways of using commands in the game, as the authors seem to have flouted the rules of English.
In the original story Perseus had to find treasures or weapons with which he had to arm himself before he could think about chasing monsters. Among the weapons to be found are a discus with an engraving of Mount Olympus on it, a shield which has been highly-polished by Athene, winged sandals from Hermes and a golden helmet also from Hermes. All but one of them can be found in the temples which are attributed to the various gods and goddesses of Greece.
There are various methods by which treasures can be obtained and if you manage to find the poor old beggar who inhabits a dried-out watering hole and is eternally thirsty you may also find a way to get what you want from the gods.
If you give the old man what he wants he will return the favour by giving you a discus. Examine the prize carefully and find the verb which you will need to use when you climb to the principle of success in the Temple of Athene. When you have reached that temple all you have to do is say your prayer to the goddess and wait. You will then be in possession of Athene's gift, which should be used against one of the only women in Greek mythology who does not need a permanent wave.
The most difficult of the treasures to obtain is the Golden Helmet. You will find it in the cave by the pool of water. It will be hanging from the head of a statue which refuses steadfastly to give up its treasures. I tried everything logical to get the hat, from climbing, jumping, and scaling the wall to invoking all gods using the 'pray' method.
I needed about half an hour to solve the problem, without using the help sheet provided by the author, but in the end I intend to give only a hint and tell you that you will kick yourself when you finally work out the puzzle. To knock the helmet from the statue you will need one of the objects. Pretend you are playing on a coconut shy and knock off the helmet.
When you have the helmet you will, no doubt, have solved the first part of the adventure. You will have used none of the objects collected so far, except for the water-carrying sack, but as a final fling you could take to the air.
Return to the temple of the god who gave you the winged shoes. Put on the shoes and walk into the pedestal. I can tell you only that if you mount the pedestal you will not be able to fly. The best way to move around the sky is to use the command word 'FLY although others will do just as well. You will find that your flight path seems to he controlled by a greater power and the gods are obviously directing you to your next battleground.
The authors have crammed the main part of the story into the third part of the game. It is useful to know the general order in which you have to combat the monsters. First you must deprive the author's version of the Stygian witches of their all-seeing eye. After that you must defeat the Harpies and find Medusa's lair.
After defeating Medusa you must find Pegasus and ride him to defeat the Kraken and save Andromeda. The final part of the adventure is spoiled slightly because you can refer to the myth for a solution to a particular problem.
The adventure is faithful to the old Greek story but if you want to find extra hints you might like so see the film Clash of the Titans, or read the book. Those sources provide information on the plot and are also easier to read than the translation of the original.