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Crusader Computing
Dave Hawkins
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Mike Gerrard
Chris Bourne

Crusader's first release was Prehistoric Adventure, which I thought was okay but nothing to get wildly excited about. Wizard Warrior is much better presented, and from the Layout and parser I'd say it was PAW'd, but the utility isn't credited on my pre-production copy and notes. The better presentation is marred by some careless programming, though, which spoiled the adventure for me before I'd gone past the first dozen or so locations. I Like to think I'm going to be presented with a challenge from the game, not from the parser.

The story sounded interesting enough, being yet another tale of funny names. You play the role of Randorlorn, a sorcerer and it was your duty to protect the child Reld from harm, this babe being the Wizard Warrior of the title. When Reld grew up he was to face... yes, an arch black wizard, Sator, in a fight to the death and so restore peace and good and all that stuff to the kingdom. Now you must recruit four great warriors and set off in search of Reid.

In your room at the start you see the remains of your shattered door lying about the floor and "you study the western exit that it once blocked off with remorse" (that well-known building material.) You see a staff and a chest, which naturally you open. LOOK IN CHEST: "In the chest you can see an unlit torch and a large travelling cloak." GET CLOAK: "There isn't one of those here." Oh dear, it's going to be one of those games, is it? Guess what the parser wants. TAKE TORCH FROM CHEST "The unlit torch is too heavy for you to lift." What, here I am carrying a large wooden staff and I can't lift a torch? Let it at least say "Your hands are full." You can only carry a few objects, which is a nuisance as you have to drop things and go back for them from time to time.

Early on you have to saddle a horse, but you can't SADDLE HORSE you must PUT SADDLE ON HORSE. When the time comes to remove the saddle you can't GET SADDLE or GET SADDLE FROM HORSE, you must REMOVE SADDLE FROM HORSE, at which point I got the curious response: "You remove the saddle from the horse's back. The sturdy saddle is too heavy for you to lift." Oh yes, well how did I get it off the horse's back, then, a mysterious invisible fork-lift truck? I gave up this game at the first major problem, when I knew I had to trade something with a shopkeeper, but could I find the right input to do this? In the end I looked at the cheat-sheet, which merely said that the shopkeeper liked secondhand goods, which at least reduced the objects I could offer him to two. But all commands failed: SELL SADDLE TO SHOPKEEPER, OFFER SADDLE, GIVE SADDLE, TRADE SADDLE, SELL SADDLE, SAY TO SHOPKEEPER "BUY SADDLE", SHOW SADDLE... when I'd clocked up 250 moves and no further progress (and this on my second playing of the game and reaching this point) I admit to pulling the plug on it before I went up the wall and my dear old Speccy's keys finally wore out. Could have been good, could Wizards Warrior... but wasn't.