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Taskset Ltd
Andy Walker
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

Beyond the sun of Crenal lies the planet Megron. Its people were of genius 10; they practised both the art of sorcery and that of science. However their quest for knowledge became a dangerous obsession and they ventured into a realm of evil where they released the devastating power of Darkon. The people live in terror. Will they be the next to suffer the curse of Darkon? Only you and your faithful robotic friend, Komputa can free the people from this tyranny. But can you succeed where so many have failed?

Souls of Darkon is already in the shops on the Amstrad as I write, so whether or not you'll be able to buy the game in the high street is probably academic. The reasons for this game's acceptance by the shops is quite obvious as soon as you load up. Taskset have successfully met their task of taking the adventure and tidying it up. Gone are the messy lists of endlessly scrolling text and graphics. In their place we have here a neatly boxed-off picture set on the lower left hand side of the screen. Above this is the location description which does not budge an inch throughout quite an advantage over other adventures where you are constantly wondering where you are. Framed by the static picture and location description is a scrolling area carrying your input and the programs responses. The text has been clearly and atmospherically designed, in fact, what with the stylised, cartoon-like graphics, the whole program reveals a novel appearance.

One minor irritation is Task set's inability to get to grips with the Spectrum's input routine (the Amstrad version works just fine). Even when you are carefully typing the auto-repeat effect can catch you out with words like L O O O O K ending up on your scrolling list of past inputs (rather embarrassingly, the input recorded is the exact word you entered and not the word from the program's own word store).
Another gripe is an error which is common to many adventure instructions (Sorderon's Shadow did the very same thing last month). The error I refer to is the habit of listing a so-called example of the vocabulary going beyond the simple verb/noun couplings only to find that the program's input routine can't handle such a long sentence, for example, in this case, ATTACK THE WOODMAN WITH THE LUNAR AXE is too long to be akcepted& Ac rious side effect of allowing the location description to remain on screen is the need for a LOOK command which tells you what you can see, eg a bottle, a mushroom, along with the exits. The reason for this, presumably, is the restriction of space on the location description. It may have been better to have made the adventurer work for his/her information with a more intelligent LOOK/EXAMINE command.

Programming the DELETE key to act without the need of the CAPS SHIFT is a nice touch as is the list of words in the vocabulary which comes up onto the screen and stays there while you try and match up some of the words from it.

Souls of Darkon is a very well presented adventure and a welcome change at a time when just about every mainstream adventure is Quilled. The cartoon-style graphics are very effective and suit the game well.


Difficulty: easy to start, then the usual brick wall
Graphics: one colour - green-but attractive
Input facility: a little beyond verb/noun
Response: fast
General Rating: Some good features.