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Digital Fantasia
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

Other Links

Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

By far the most useful information is on the first page where you see the Spectrum Version has some special features (don't say the BBC looses out again)). Pressing ENTER gives you a pictorial view of your current location and pressing again puts back the text. The story line tells of a day at the seaside spent stuffing yourself with junk food whereupon you are in need of a long snooze in the cool and quiet of the waxworks. You endeavour to escape the nightmare that ensues.

The screen is split into two areas. The upper hall displays what you see graphically, or in words with the name of the location and a fist of the items there. The lower has prompts, input and brief comments. You're in the leisure lounge of the waxworks and moving north gives you the washroom. Examining the toilet door and reading the bottom half of the screen you are informed of an object. If you're used to playing the adventures I've been playing (lots!) you may be caught out since the identity of the object is inserted, almost hidden, amongst the list of items in the top half of the screen.

This can be a little disorientating at first but what is more, had you been in graphics mode - and who could blame you as the graphics are superb -you would not notice the identity of the object at all. Not necessarily a bad thing, I point it out only because it strikes me as non-standard.

Set within the washroom floor is a grid but after unlocking it you can't simply go down and it is quite a struggle to find the right words. The vocabulary is not far removed from Verb/Noun (take off gloves must be entered remove gloves) but combines the surefootedness of this style with some noteworthy flexibility. Commas are used as in 'QUICKLY GET THE LAMP, SWORD, CLOAK AND STAFF' and the word THEN or a full stop is used as in 'GO NORTH THEN CLIMB THE TREE. EXAMINE HOLE THEN GO DOWN.' Single word entries include help, score, quit, save, inventory, run, jump, shout and the increasingly popular wait.

The eccentricity of the language often adds to the game but one solution is only invoked with the curious command 'GO AIRLOCK'. The examine command must be used with care. Examining the jacket reveals nothing - until it is picked up. One innovative feature is found on searching the pile of junk in the workshop which is well worth examining twice.

The waxworks of your dreams can become tricky to map and the solutions to some of the problems, perhaps in keeping with this theme, are a little unreal. Rising from the treehouse takes you into the main hall but no matter how you descend leads you back into the leisure room. Indeed, in many places the game sends you back to this main area.

In the grand hall, up from the leisure room, north gives you the Everest and west the Undersea World display. If you answer the display bedecked with Jacques Cousteau and his scuba gear correctly the aqualung decides to appear in the hall of mirrors. It's worth noting that when answering these questions you must type 'SAY ANSWER' and not just the answer. There are two mazes in the game - one being easily enough for my tastes-in the hall of mirrors and the other in the sewer (both six location mazes) which is painstakingly mapped out for the sake of a rat-trap.

Waxworks has excellent graphics and a good vocabulary and has all the makings of a good adventure. The absence of long location descriptions is more than compensated by the detailed pictures.