Pete Cooke
1983
Adventure: Text
£6.50
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

38
Chris Bourne

Scarthorpe is the sort of town where even the dogs carry flick knives, where there's only one road in, and it's a one way street.. . So says the introduction to this adventure game set in today's urban sprawl of unemployment. The object here isn't to get into a place, but how on earth to get out of it. No one in their right mind would want to stay in Scarthorpe, that's for sure.

The screen is split into a third horizontal section at the top which carries the graphics, and a lower two-thirds which carries the text.

This is all nicely presented with descriptions in black and commands in red. The locations are varied, the game starting off in a bedroom of what appears to be an 'alright ' house, (although there is a store room with rubbish on the floor) and includes a number of streets like Grime Street and Cut Throat Alley, charming areas like the local football ground and the rubbish tips beside it, the local Nick and an appalling antiseptic hospital. The latter acts as a sort of Limbo between hell and hell!

As our reviewers found, half the charm of that's quite the right word) of this game lies in its modern, urban setting.

CRITICISM

'The title screen sets the scene nastily enough, with its tumble down, graffiti-strewn walls, and background of smoky industrial mess. It is rather a good adventure game, and does make a change having police in Cut Throat Alley to having evil wizards in dungeons. The graphical representations of the locations are quite good and the game as a whole is well thought out. For example - when you start out, don't assume you are clothed, and don't drink the lager which has some obvious effects. The program also accepts, or at least understands, some very 'modern' language. I entered a few unprintable phrases of familiar frustration and amid siren wails, I was arrested and flung into prison on a charge of obscenity! I enjoyed playing it.'

'The only time to escape from Scarthorpe is in the middle of the night when it's all quiet - well, fairly quiet apart from the flick of knives. Everything's against you of course, including the police. The graphics are good in detail, although slowish to build up, and the response times aren't bad either. The vocabulary seems large and the computer does have a sense of humour (it would have to, living in Scarthorpe)!'

'The police station cell seems to be a regularly visited location in this game, and I must admit, that to date I haven't managed to get past the wretched desk sergeant, but perhaps he's only doing his job. Hospital is another favourite place. Either you get drunk or attacked by the Irritable football fan, but whatever, Scarthorpe's overworked ambulance service is ready to whisk you off. Swearing is severely dealt with by a police car which swerves round the corner and arrests you (even inside the police station - which I thought was a bit steep), but I can't help feeling that if you're ;rapped in nowheresv!lle, there's not much pleasure left in life apart from a good swear! I think this is the best game so far from Shepherd, despite the usual lengthy loading time.'

COMMENTS
Keyboard play: medium responsive, there's quite a lot of BASIC in the program, protected by an autodestruct.
Use of colour: mixed opinions - poor and good
Graphics: varied, quite detailed, generally good
Sound: poor to average

General Rating: Above average.

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Screenshot Text

Rat traps and football hooligams in SCART-ORPE.