FANTASY LABYRINTH FULL OF COMPLEXITY
THE WARLOCK of Firetop Mountain for the 48K Spectrum is the computer version of the popular Penguin Books fantasy adventure of the same name. You can buy the two together in a smartly-presented pack or choose the book or the cassette separately.
The cassette offers a fast and unusual game in which you must imagine you are lost in a vast labyrinth created by the evil warlock to protect himself and his treasures. The labyrinth is haunted by a variety of unspeakable monsters, against which you have only a bow and your sword to defend yourself, and scattered around it are the 15 magic keys you need to open the treasure chest, should you ever manage to locate it. Even then, your troubles are not over, as you will have to find the exit somewhere in the maze to depart with the treasure.
The unusual feature is the way in which the screen scrolls in four directions, presenting you with a change of scene each time.
The computer generates the maze randomly and the number of keys needed to move about, open doors, draw the sword and fire arrows adds to the complexity.
Mastering the controls and improving the speed with which you move around the maze make for an addictive pastime and there is the lure of the magic keys, which increase your score dramatically whenever you pick one up.
The lack of incident in the game, with the monsters and keys appearing only rarely, might make it seem monotonous after a time.
It is also a pity that whenever you lose a battle with one of the monsters, which as all too easily done, the game is finished and you have to start again. Some way of recovering from an encounter or of replenishing one's strength along the journey might have added interest to the adventure.
The Warlock of Firetop Mountain is produced by Penguin Books, 536 King's Road, London SW10 0UH. It costs £5.50 on its own or £6.95 in the software pack containing the book and cassette.