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Zenobi Software
1988
Adventure: Text
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

82
Mike Gerrard
Chris Bourne

How could I not review this one, when four YS readers have had a hand in it? Or two hands in the case of John Wilson, designer, writer, programmer and all-round show-off. Then there's Sean Doran, who did the loading screen and is adding screen pix on side two (not yet ready for this pre-release version), Graham Collier who wrote the loader and Tam Coulter who did the play-testing. They didn't tell me who stuck the stamp on the Jiffy bag, but never mind, that's everyone else mentioned. Also, I couldn't resist the computer mag send-ups that are included, like one of your tasks being to find a picture of our beloved editor wearing nothing but a smile. There's also a very handsome character on the right of the loading screen - no names mentioned - while one of the mags in the story, Crush, you can swop for a bag of sand, which seems about right to me.

So what's all this to do with Bulbo and Gullem, the stars of some of El Supremo's earlier adventurous outings? Well, it seems that Bulbo has been Boggling, that sport much-loved by Shyre folk, and as a result he's lost his wealth... and even Gullem's ring. He retired, so much so that some people even thought that he'd snuffed it. But not his nephew, Fuddo, who sets out to find his uncle in the company of his pal, Slam. The mad mag folk fit neatly in among the dragons, dwarves and orcs Fuddo also encounters.

The game is Quill'd, and we already know JW is adept at handling that utility. He even gets a laugh out of some of its limitations. If you try to empty the backpack with which Fuddo starts the game, you're reminded that to do that would entail dropping the objects all over the floor, and as the program doesn't incorporate a GET ALL command you'd only have to pick them all up again, so why bother, eh? To find out what's in the backpack, just type BACKPACK, which seems reasonable. Anything you pick up is automatically put into the backpack (if it'll fit), which saves a lot of GET SWORD, PUT SWORD IN BACKPACK, GET DONKEY, PUT . . . well, that kind of thing.

The game starts in and around the icy wastelands, with a few chilly blasts blowing around the place, and one of these proves useful early on... provided you're quick about it. Head off down the road one way and you come to Chateau Wrathful... now where could this be? And why is that alien mothership stopping me from getting through the front door?

A few faults in the parser (though maybe they've been tidied up by now), but after a while the BACKPACK command stopped working. Also, when you find a tunnel that you need Slam's help to get through, he won't co-operate if you SAY ENTER TUNNEL, you have to SAY GO TUNNEL, and also GO TUNNEL yourself rather than ENTER TUNNEL. But TALK commands are never easy to implement, and the difficulty of getting the right words when it's such an important part of the adventure meant, that for me, this wasn't one of El Supremo's supremest. But it's still a good enough romp from the Rochdale Balrog, and it'll be snapped up by his many fans, I know. SNAP! (There goes one of them now.)

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