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Terminal Software
Docimodus
1983
Adventure: Graphic
£6.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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92,93
Chris Bourne

Adventure games are really coming on apace as regard originality of presentation. Vampire Village bears a very vague similarity to Phipps Associates' Greedy Gulch in as much as a town, or village in this case, is the setting, and you see a visual map of it. But there any resemblance ends. For here the entire village is laid out like an ordnance survey map, every building is shown, its doorway and shape, there's the river beyond, the fields of crops beyond that, the red coloured cliffs and on top, the castle belonging to the vampire in question.

The story so far is a sad and familiar fable, there's this village sitting on the banks of the River Ripple plagued by a Vampire who dwells in the castle above the Red Cliffs. You are the mayor of Vlasdorf and your task is to recruit volunteers, equip them and direct their attempts to rid Vlasdorf of its unwelcome predator. Usual vampire rules apply, i.e. stakes through the heart, no flying by day, garlic keeps him at bay. He's invisible at night except for his eyes. The game is played with a full screen map of Vlasdorf and the surrounding area.

When you start a volunteer crops up immediately and you must decide how much of your £999 budget to give him for equipment. The volunteer appears as a tiny dot in the village, wandering around. He is directed by way of the cursor keys. As soon as 9.00am arrives, all the village doors open and the shops are ready for business. If you guide your volunteer into a shop the display changes to text, informing you where you are and what's for sale at what price.

Food is essential if you want your man to remain alive, and don't forget the garlic! Other essential equipment includes a means of crossing the river, for if you let your man wander into it, he drowns (and you lose the money you gave him)! If he's not equipped sufficiently before night falls and the shops close he may well die.

During the game essential commands can be inputted by using the abbreviations Buy, Eat, Get. Hide, Ignore, Kill. Look, Sleep, Wake, Player status lets you know what your man is carrying, how he feels, and his defences (holy water is pretty good for defences).

CRITICISM

This is a real time graphic adventure. It has instant appeal but because it is very slow you get the feeling nothing much is going on, It 's well worth trying out all the command words as the program does respond with information that would otherwise remain hidden. To be honest I thought the game held more promise when I started than I did after half an hour of playing it.'

There is a feeling of being drawn into this village. The very pace is misleading at times. It seems quite slow, being in real time, but your volunteer is quite hard to manipulate when he's in among the shops and houses. The trouble with him is that he has a mind of his own. Once you've got him in somewhere, he tells you what's there, but leaves you with no time for thought, and he's off in a flash. If there's something you would like to buy or examine, you have very little time to make up your mind as to its worth. Perhaps my biggest complaint it that there seems to be little sense of danger in the game. The vampire takes so long to get anywhere and doesn't do much when he does arrive, that there is no pressure on the player.'

'In Vampire Village the layout gives you the odd sense of sitting in a helicopter hovering above a seemingly real life drama, manipulating its inhabitants. It does have a mesmerising quality which I like. The graphics are attractive although there is no animation involved beyond the moving dot of your volunteer, the eyes of the vampire and the opening and shutting of doors. A touch I particularly liked was the sound of your volunteer knocking at every door he reaches.'

COMMENTS
Keyboard play: responses seemingly slow at times
Use of colour: good, but night sequences could have been 'darker '
Graphics: clear text, well presented, good map
Sound: minimal but well used
Uves: depends on how you spend your money

General Rating: above average, unusual type of adventure.

70%
58%
73%
80%
50%
51%
63.5%

Screenshot Text

Early morning in VAMPIRE VILLAGE and the shops are opening.