The Lost Gnomes, by Eric Bean Adventures is another in the long line of text-only adventures written with the aid of Gilsoft's Quill.
You take the part of the wily gnome Eric Bean (makes a change from Brawny Barbarian) master adventurer and potential hero. Returning home to the valley of the gnomes, you find the place strangely deserted apart from the curious Snort. But this companion is no animated character - he can neither move or talk. Where have all the gnomes gone? Have they returned gnome or are things much more sinister? I've a sneeking suspicion that those goblins in Murgar Mountains are not totally innocent. Your first task is to find the elusive ferret who may hold the key to the quest. This in itself is not easy as the valley above ground consists of over 30 locations and the ferret is hidden within a maze. A tricky problem when you are equipped with only a torch.
The normal abbreviations for directions are accepted and the response is instantaneous. Talking about speed, the save facility is the fastest I've seen, taking only a few seconds. This was very convenient as I regularly ended up on the sharp end of a goblin knife. Entry is restricted to verb/noun, not necessarily bad in itself but unfortunately the vocabulary also proved rather limited.
Neither of the verbs EXAMINE or SEARCH are accepted, which is a shame since they help to create atmosphere. DI would have liked to have checked out the waterfall, cave drawings or the shell-like rock but sadly that was not to be. I think it's fair to say that these verbs make or break adventures because without them the game becomes no more than a problem solving exercise.
The Lost Gnomes is not a bad adventure, but it's nothing special. I look forward to seeing further Eric Bean Adventures with much improved vocabulary.