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M.J. Gearing
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

You are the apprentice of Zaranol, the Master Wizard, who stumbles upon one of the old Master's spell books while he is away at an annual general meeting. Calling Lan, your friend and helper, you decide to try one of the spells. Unfortunately all does not go well. During the spell a demon appears and none of your spells of banishment work.

Eventually it speaks, 'I curse you weakling,' and with those few words it is gone. Mortified, you look to Lan for reassurance. Lan chuckles and says first you must find the demon's name and the nature of the curse. Then in order to banish the demon you must use the great staff of Zaranol and the tooth of a dragon. Finally, and most difficult of all, find the Master's secret room because only there can you create the spell needed. Promising to help if called, Lan disappears.

The challenge of this game does not lie in the small number of locations (45) but in the complexity of interpreting the trail of the various dues available. It is well worth setting off with I for Inventory as you will find the object that gets you out of your first predicament does not lie in or about the table, chair or old chest. As is suggested in the blurb it will pay to call Lan to help when your own attempts come to nought. If you are doing well you should soon be greeted with the 'Arthame... with this safely in your hand, draw a circle where 'er you stand!' And you would be wise to do exactly as instructed. Hence, 'the room shudders, your vision wavers...' and it's by way of magic and not by stealth as such that you escape the confines of the first location. This method of advance is repeated often throughout the adventure, magic used with craft imparted by the books, scrolls, robes and staffs providing your means of progress and thereby reducing the parts played by lengthy, involved reasoning which is typical of, say, an Artic adventure. Indeed it is difficult to recall any great number of real problems posed throughout the entire adventure; progress is mostly assured by simple exploration and examination of everything about you.

The Staff of Zaranol is easily mapped, has magical problems that are quite easy and creates a good atmosphere as you move around the Master's Castle. The dictionary of recommended verbs and special verbs provided at the very beginning are very useful and this along with the game's fundamental simplicity will introduce a beginner to the delights of adventuring and perhaps show, once again, just what a great program The Quill has turned out to be.


Difficulty: quite easy
Graphics: none
Presentation: location descriptions in capitals and a little difficult to read
Input facility: as all Quill games
General Rating: One of C.C.S.'s better games.