Shrewsbury Key is a second budget adventure from Players - and unfortunately this one does show its budget origins a little too clearly.
Adventure games are renowned for having weird and wonderful plots that mix ideas taken form diverse sources, science fiction, fantasy etc. But Shrewsbury Key has one of the strangest plots I've ever come across.
You live in York and have somehow discovered that there is a wonderful jewelled key hidden somewhere in the city of Shrewsbury. Travel there - by British Rail - and find the key. Why? Greed, I suppose - no other reason seems to be given. Me, I like a little more explanation to my plots.
Unfortunately, far too much memory has been devoted to providing the game with some of the most simplistic graphics it has been my misfortune to see. They're terrible. It would have been far better for all concerned had the author just forgotten about the pictures and used the memory space they take up to improve the text adventure.
You begin outside York British Rail station trying to get on the 12.30 train to Shrewsbury. If you go in the only direction you can at the start of the game, you find yourself in the station lobby. Search everything - don't be afraid of getting your fingers dirty. They say money is filthy.
While the obvious next step, after having found the filthy lucre, is to buy a ticket, I suspect that you will need the money for something else later in the game. So why don't you try and sneak on to the platform through the fence?
Don't worry about not finding the right train or the right platform - York, it would seem, only has one of each.
Once you're on the train, sit down quick. If you are still on your feet when the train starts, you fall over, break you neck. and have to restart the game.
Don't be too afraid of the drunken yobbos who get on the train at Leeds: they won't hurt you. They are just a convenient plot mechanism the author can use to have you thrown off the train in Huddersfield. Strange place, Huddersfield. Interesting graffiti in the toilets, but they drive like maniacs.
Anyway, that was about where I gave up on this less than scenic tour of northern England. I admit I've had better train journeys, I wonder. Could British Rail sue?
Author: Mark Gibson
Reviewer: Gary Rook
Cheap and not cheerful. Very disappointing - a rainy day adventure at best. Enough to put you off Shrewsbury for life.