IMS Software
David Brown [2]
1984
Adventure: Text
£7.50
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Undetermined

67,68
Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

Waydor, a graphic adventure written first on the Oric, has a lot going for it. It has full-screen, well-designed graphics at every location. The plot and logic of this adventure is strong but the lack of supporting documentation, and the theme this normally creates, gives rise to the situation where you would like to recommend the game but you cannot quite remember its name. It's not so much that the story and theme are forgettable, more they just didn't exist in the first place. Compare this with Sherlock with all its rich mental imagery.

The object of your adventure is to find eight treasures and to return them to their proper place. This place transpires to be a small wooden hut since it houses a notice, 'Put Treasures Here'. Your endeavour to find the treasures is fairly easy apart from (as always) one or two occasions when the game falls off the end of the map.

You set off in very inhospitable countryside beside a castle surrounded by a moat. The way things are in adventures the drawbridge to the castle is up and you won't get it down until much later. Moving east is the most profitable early on where, in quick succession, you can fruitfully enter the now famous wooden hut, workshop and blacksmith's forge. However, it isn't much further before almost every turn brings you to a 'Clearing in the Forest'. This wouldn't be so bad, but this just happens to be the slowest graphic and you soon start to dread turning a new corner should you see those trees. I'm surprised the author didn't consider this an irritation at the design stage - after all, no-one plays an adventure more than the author himself.

This adventure sports very fast graphics and a good response time and so the adventure flows at a steady, fast pace. Apart from its friendliness and no-nonsense character what greatly aids this ease of use is the dear text layout. A standard format at every location begins with a concise, but always interesting, description followed by clearly marked Visible Items and Obvious Exits. The items are most fully described in ways that lead you logically to possible solutions to the problems that confound your journey. Where this adventure really shows others the way is in its use of full size, very fast graphics. On entering a new locality the picture appears almost instantaneously, remarkable when you consider their size and quality. When the picture is complete you are told to press the SPACE key.

Perhaps it may have been better to press the ENTER key here as it is difficult to think of the SPACE key in this way, i.e., as a control button. Further, perhaps the flashing sign on each picture reminding you to press the key is superfluous and soon becomes nothing more than a distraction. One last word on the graphics; impeccably, some of the later pictures depicting the castle are the best.

Getting beyond technical considerations the charm of the game lies in its atmospheric plot, informative descriptions and comment, and the powerful implementation of a command that adds immensely to any adventure - EXAMINE. Without a powerful EXAMINE, locations and the objects within them become unreal and hazy but this adventure really shows how a strong EXAMINE can enrich a game.

Almost every item in the adventure lends itself open to scrutiny. See how an abandoned graveyard comes to life with this command. EXAMINE GRAVES brings forth, 'They're mostly overgrown with weeds and there's only one tombstone left standing.' EXAMINE TOMBSTONE?, why not indeed. You get 'There's an inscription on it - Unwise he who moves my bones, wise be he who moves my stones'. Naturally you move the tombstone whereupon you hear a noise. LOOKing at the location again shows you a new Visible Item - an open tombstone with a secret passage. Note how an examine command has led you on deeper into the narrative. This is adventuring at its best - a million miles from the now hopefully archaic string of puzzles that marked the early adventures.

In even the best adventures there's room for improvement; in this case no I or L abbreviations for INVENTORY or LOOK. Also, when mazes, which can prove over-difficult for a beginner, are forced into adventures, well, to actually call this perennial irritation a maze! Frankly I have never been in 'a maze' but I have no doubts as to the confusing nature of New Town roads or to the success attributable to the torturous paths and well-hidden exits in large department stores!

Waydor is an excellent adventure. It has super large, quick graphics, an atmospheric plot and friendly vocabulary. Highly recommended, even more so for a beginner.

Difficulty: Quite easy
Graphics: On every location, good
Presentation: Good
Input Facility: verb/noun
Response: Fast
Special Features: None

CRITICISM

General Rating: Very good.

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