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Martech Games Ltd
1987
Adventure: Graphic
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
SpeedLock 4

56
Phil South
Chris Bourne

Slaine the King, Slaine the Warrior, Slaine the Drunken Merrimaker... Yes, that is the character of Slaine, in the deep, dark past of this land of ours.

Slaine is a very unusual game, a sort of freeform hybrid somewhere in the marshy ground between arcade game and graphic adventure. The system used to create this effect is called Reflex, an original concept involving the real time selection of text with a free floating cursor. The cursor in this case is a gory, severed hand, which points to your selection in the 'thoughts' window, snatching at the thoughts before they float out of Slaine's warped mind. It makes it a bit tricky to get used to, but then again once you've done it a few times it comes a little easier. Like most things in life, You might say, and I'd agree but I'd slap your wrists first.

The story takes place in the land of Lyonesse, and tells how it's in the evil grip of the Drunes, an elite corps of wizards. The last of the Drunes has died, but his magick will live on unless he can be named, the Drunes' names being secret of course, and naming them takes away their power. But as a bit of romantic interest, the last Drune had a daughter, Reya, who was the only person alive who could name him. To seal his secret before he died, he imprisoned Reya in his home, Small Sky Tower, close to the northern village of Tautega. Slaine gets to hear about all this from villagers along his route, and decides to seek out the tower and release the fair maiden. (Cor, wallop!) But what of the Drune's magick, and will Slaine figure out that the job's only half finished when Reya is free? That's up to you.

Trying to relate this game to any other is a little difficult, 'cos it isn't like anything else I've ever seen. But what I can tell you is that it's graphically and textually true to the original comic book, and the spirit of the game is truly warped. What more could you ask? The puzzles are ones which would challenge even the reasoning skills of our own troll supremo, Sir Mike of Gerrard, and the plot is as twisted a path as I've ever wandered down. The game took the programmers, Creative Reality, six months to write, according to my information, and in my opinion that was six months well spent.

With more windows than a small chain of double glazing contractors, Slaine slashes his way through an arcade adventure par excellence!

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