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Zenobi Software
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

Other Links

Mike Gerrard
Chris Bourne

By now you should know what to expect from a Zenobi Behind Closed Doors game, as this is the third in the series and has the sub-title Revenge Of The Ants. In case you don't know, these are author John Wilson's renowned one-location games, that one location being... well, the smallest room in the house. Or, as we're dealing with Balrogs, the little room in the hut at the bottom of the garden, where all Balrogs must visit at some time or another. If you think a one-location game must be small, then you've not allowed for all the things you can do in that one location... apart from the obvious, and you can do that and much, much more. In fact, this is probably the first adventure game where you HAVE to input a four-letter word in order to succeed, though it's a fairly mild four-letter word. Well, the results aren't mild but the word is.

So where do the ants come into this? They've come into it before the game even begins, as, due to events which cannot be repeated here, they sought their revenge on the Balrog by sticking superglue on the loo seat. The result is that Balrog's bum is stuck to the potty - that's how the game begins, and your job is to escape. To make matters worse, there's something nasty in the sewer system - after 101 moves you'll find some razor-sharp teeth coming up from below and sinking themselves into your pink fleshy bits. Cheeky! To find out what it is, just read the Goblins' Gazzette, the mis-spelt newspaper which you always take with you on these visits to the bottom of the garden.

As usual, you can read the Gazzette - and see if there's any way it can help you get out of your sticky predicament. After all, you don't have too much with you in there, just the paper and a felt-tip (by which I mean a Pen, of course). Typing WORN, one of the first commands that anyone sensible types into an adventure game, you discover that the Balrog is clad in a red-flannel nightshirt (tucked up to the waist) and a pair of Doc Marten boots. The nightshirt does have a key in its pocket - but try to get it and it falls to the floor to be carried away by a mouse.

Other than this, there's a hammer on the shelf on the back of the door (just out of reach, naturally) and a voice from outside asks if you know if there's a spanner on the floor. A spanner? Just what you need to undo the bolts fixing the toilet to the floor, but then the voice disappears and you're still stuck to the seat. I did manage to get the hammer, though I'm not quite sure how. I typed HIT PIPES, was asked "With what?", I said with GAZZETTE and mysteriously I'd managed to knock the hammer to the floor and score 40 out of 225.

There are the usual hilarious responses, which may or may not have anything to do with the game. Try HELP for a laugh, and GET ALL as well. There are loads of random messages adding to the chuckle count, like the on-going battle between the spider and the fly. At one point the spider swings out, says "Stitch this!" and gives a Glasgow Kiss to the fly. If you don't know what a Glasgow Kiss is, think yourself lucky.

Not one for those who don't like lavatory humour, which means most of the YS readership should enjoy it thoroughly - in fact, most of you have probably already bought it, so I'm wasting my breath telling you to go out and get it. There's a bonus game on the B side, A Stroll In The Bleak Forest, an Ultimate-style 3D arcade adventure, for those who like that kind of thing. Watch out for the spiders that herd you into comers. I wonder if Zenobi will make Behind Closed Doors IV a 3D graphics game? Hmm... perhaps safer to stick to text-only.