Yet another adventure that's been talked about and advertised for a long long time before its eventual appearance, but here it is at last. Now you have the chance to play the roles of both The Human Torch and The Thing. As with last month's Terrors Of Trantoss, you can change control from one character to the other, this time using the SWITCH command.
The single cassette comes in the currently fashionable double-size box, along with a large sheet of information about the different abilities of the assorted heroes and villains. This time you're up against the Ringmaster and his cohorts, the Circus of Crime, including the great Gambonnos and Princess Python, who, according to the notes, "performs with a 25-foot boa conistrictor". Bet that's a hard act to follow!
You get your own act together in the Chief Examiner's office, where your mission is recounted to you if you say a magic word associated with Scott Adams, author of the Questprobe series. A bit unfair on newcomers who can't possibly be expected to know such 'in' information, but the word is listed in the complete vocabulary that you're also provided with - and you're definitely going to need it. It's your task to free Alicia Masters from Dr Doom, monarch of Latveria and possessor of a nuclear-powered, micro-computer enhanced suit of iron armour, I bet he has trouble getting that dry cleaned.
Thing is going to have cleaning problems too, as he begins the game knee deep in a tarpit, and typing I for Inventory shows that all he has is the tar that's covering him. Slowly, move by move he sinks, though you can prolong his survival a little if you tell him to hold his breath once he goes completely under. So what can you do as Human Torch to get him out? A good question, and if I had the answer I'd tell you. After a few hours play I still haven't cracked this first problem, and I've resisted the temptation to ring the software house and ask. A nearby shack provides Torch with a candle, but igniting the tar in the pit (which doesn't always burn) only produces a well- sizzled Thingburger.
Wandering off to a field reveals Dr Doom's castle, protected by Blob, while the Circus of Crime is gathered together in a tent in a fairground. There's a cannon you can climb inside, for what good that does you, and it's when you're battling against Ringmaster's constant attempts to throw you out of the tent that you discover Thing has tarried too long in the tar and the game's over.
Despite the frustration of this first problem. the game's still sufficiently interesting to keep you trying, as you wonder if the solution lies in battling with Blob, inside the circus tent, or in the hot little hands of the Human Torch himself.
The graphics are displayed on the top half of the screen, and very nice they are too. The text scrolls beneath in AI's typical jerky style and rather confused layout. My only quibble is with the price - a little on the pricey side compared with other adventures in the £6.95/7.95 range.
Victor von Doom was born in a gypsy camp outside Haasenstadt, later renamed Doomstadt, though whether the citizens had any say in this is doubtful. He's one of the most brilliant scientists on earth, and has developed the first practical time machine, capable of hurling up to a ton of matter forward, backwards or sideways through time. His experiments in bionics produced such meek-sounding creatures as the Dreadknight and Darkoth the Death Demon.Doom's special suit of nuclear-powered mico-controlled iron armour enables him to lift a small car and withstand temperatures from -410' to +1,400,000' Farenheit. If you want to hurt Doom you have to drop him from a high building or hit him with a vehicle travelling at over 60 mph, and even then injury is uncertain. Trying to run him down in a C5 is definitely not recommended.HUMAN TORCHWith blond hair and blue eyes, and measuring 5'10" and 170lbs, Johnny Storm, alias the Human Torch, would seem to be a pretty attractive specimen of manhood. Ladies beware, though, as Johnny can be a bit too hot to handle when the heat is on - on his case this means being enveloped in reddish flames at approximately 780' Farenheit. He can also sculpt flames from any part of his body, and these projectiles burn for about three minutes at 2800'.Compared to Thing, Torch is a weakling, only able to lift a weight of 180 lbs, but he can also travel at speeds of up to 140 mph. He can release all his body's stored-up energy in a nova-burst of 1,000,000' Farenheit, giving a total devastation area of about 900 feet, though this does tend to put a strain on Torch's batteries - he needs at least 12 hours to recharge himself after such exertion.THINGWeighting in at a trim 00 lbs, Thing is unmarried, which is hardly surprising as a body covered in orange, flexible rocky textured hide can't be a terrific turn-on for the ladies. Anyway, there seems to be a distinct lack of female Things around. (Which reminds me - where is T'zer? Ed). The fact that Thing has no ears, no hair, no neck and only four fingers and toes doesn't add to his charms, nor does the way in which his skin is prone to drying out and chipping. Not been watching the Oil of Ulay ads, eh?His real name is Benjamin J. Grimm, of New York City, and on the plus side Thing is strong enough to lift 85 tons when in peak condition, and can hold his breath for up to nine minutes underwater. He can withstand temperatures from -85 to +800' Farenheit for up to an hour, as well as being able to fend off bazooka shells - it comes as a surprise to discover that he can't fend off the common cold - the mind boggles as to what would happen if he sneezed.