Crusader Computing
Dave Hawkins
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

You might remember Crusader as the people who some months ago put out that dinosaur adventure which came complete with a superb poster of all the prehistoric monsters that once roamed the earth. Well, as far as I know there are no posters with this one, but there's still the will to impress because the game is a good one. The instructions don't acknowledge use of PAW, but if you think of Wizard's Warrior as offering just about every advanced vocabulary technique of that utility, you can guess how effective its word-crunching is.

You are the sorcerer Randorlorn and your task is to protect the young Reid, the Wizard's Warrior of the title, till the child is fully grown. The only trouble is the young chap was kidnapped before you could prepare him for his face-to-face confrontation with the black wizard Sator.

Frightened by the implications of the kidnap, you hurry off to the Great White Council and they soon point you in the right direction. What you'll need is help in the form of four trusty warriors: Talas, the master thief; Glum, the dwarf king; Mortain, Prince of Ah Ah, I mean Vo'Oiver; and Fellon of Dynasty, or rather the Great Elven Lord.

You begin the quest in your lower, where just about every door seems to have been blown from its hinges as if by the Great Southern Storm (see THE SHOCK THAT SWEPT BRITAIN - WHY WERENT WE TOLD? in News Input). There you gather your four henchmen and then it's off to rescue the young rascal Reid, giving the ragged rocks a rest.

The first frame of your room in the tower, with immovable heavy chest and west door blown asunder, has an accompanying picture which is a plausible attempt at 3-D graphics. It's reasonably quickly drawn - always a good point in my book.

And here you first meet the game's marvellously complex vocabulary: to get the items in the chest you must TAKE ALL FROM CHEST, as TAKE ALL only works on things outside the container. The EXAMINE command, which can be abbreviated to X (TAKE and OPEN can be reduced to T and O respectively), is very powerful throughout and in this first frame X DOOR results in 'The door has seen better days'. (This contrasts with X STRAW in the stables, the response to which isn't quite so interesting: 'The straw looks like straw'.)

Moving off through the west portal and north to the store cupboard we see that SEARCH and EXAMINE have different results. X STORE gives 'The pile of rubbish is the result of several hundred years of untidiness. It's a wonder that you ever find anything in here' while SEARCH STORE takes the story a little further with 'Searching the rubbish you find a sturdy saddle'.

The saddle clearly goes with the horse but picking up the saddle may prove difficult; however, the solution here is mercifully straightforward, and relates to the differing weights of objects which the mechanisms of this adventure take into account.

A strong theme throughout Wizard's Warrior is the interaction of the main characters. Enlisting their help is not difficult and their friendship is furthered with the help of a set of speech formats, which include the likes of SAY TO TALAS "HELLO", ASK MORTAIN "WHAT ARE YOU CARRYING", and TALAS "TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF".

Using such constructions you can direct the four main characters to tasks which suit their characters better than your own, whether because of greater strength or thieving abilities or other factors. This feature is the one that gives the game a real sparkle and that sense of playing a really good adventure.

Wizard's Warrior is a super adventure with a very natty-looking screen. Above the body of the screen there's always a status line bearing your score, the number of moves so far and one or two words summarising the current location - it's very useful when invoking 'I' for inventory to have the location remain onscreen as a reminder. The vocabulary is very full, with sophisticated routines including convoluted grammatical constructions.

DIFFICULTY: not difficult
GRAPHICS: rather pleasing, 3-D style
PRESENTATION: very smart
INPUT FACILITY: sophisticated verb/noun


General Rating: Good.


Screenshot Text

Crusader's Wizard's Warrior begins with an ill wind blowing no good.

A useful status line above the picture gives score, move number and a brief location description.