Way back in the dawn of time... or at least when I first started writing the YS adventure pages, I gave a fairly glowing review to a home-grown adventure by Harvey Lodder, The Quest For The Gold Eggcup. And lo, it has come to pass that the game has been tarted up by those hard-boiled adventurers at Smart Egg Software and released cheaply by Mastertronic for the delectation of the adventure public.
Eggcup is a very funny tale, and it thoroughly deserves being given the professional treatment on Smart Egg's eggsellent adventure-writing system - you know, the one it used for the mega-selling Rigel's Revenge.
The optional instructions at the start, tell you that the whole story begins in typical British weather: a warm, wet, sunny day. Having been killed by a pink panther driving a pink C5 (older readers will remember what those were), next thing you know you're in a temple being confronted by an old man wearing a turban. "Hello," he says, "I'm God." He promises to reincarnate you if you fulfil the task of bringing back the Golden Eggcup, otherwise He'll probably turn you into an egg yourself and have you for supper, poached "Play on," the game tells you, "Or you could really be in hot water." Ouch, that's worse than one of my jokes.
I played on, beginning the game in the temple with an empty inventory, though funnily enough I was told I'd taken three turns when I typed SCORE as my second input. But I found very few faults in the game, and lots to laugh at as it's very wittily written. In one location you find some beans, and when you examine them you're told: "The beans are magical but you do not know this." Pardon? The way down from heaven is via a beanstalk, at the foot of which you find a sign wedged between two of the toes. The sign tells you the opening hours of God's Temple (Wednesday half-day closing, Sunday closed all day.) At a nearby railway station if you examine the ticket office you're informed that it's "closed due to lack of program memory." The game also seems to contain the only free ferry service I've ever seen in an adventure! just ring the bell and a ferry-boat turns up to take you across a river.
Eggcup isn't just a game full of jokes, though it certainly won't be the hardest adventure you'll ever play. Good for beginners, at least. More experienced adventurers will probably solve it in a matter of days, but should still enjoy, as I did, the various diversions that the game contains, and the many in-jokes like the dead Sherlock you find in the railway carriage (you can even pick him up and put him in your pocket!) Whether you take to the game depends on what you demand from an adventure - a deadly challenge or entertainment value? The graphics are interestingly done, the pictures being built out of blocks, some of which appear in consecutive locations and give an impression of you moving around in locations with a bit of solidity and consistency about them.
Apparently each screen takes up just 80 bytes, with a further 2 1/2K for storing the data. Economic and effective. In fact that's what you can say for the adventure as well, and I'm sure people will be buying it in their droves.