Dollarsoft
1984
Adventure: Text
£6.50
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

68
Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

'You must move from one location to another trying to find three keys and ultimately the scroll. When these objects have been found take them to the hut. (How exotic!). When moving about, you may come across various items which may be of help to you later on, and you may pick these up if you wish to . . . may instruct with various phrases such as NORTH, SOUTH, TAKE STONE.'

I hope Dollar Soft forgive me for one moment but this no-nonsense northern description of adventuring I found genuinely amusing. It's also good to know that the company is continually improving its product - I have version 2.0 - and no doubt Dollar Soft will glean some useful information for the next amendment, once all the reviews are out. The cassette inlay gives the impression of a company new to adventuring hoping to attract a fresh audience. Well, if this is the case Black Tower isn't such a bad game and shows some features which, like the cover, bring a smile to the countenance of a jaded reviewer.

The screen is divided into roughly two halves. The upper shows a simple graphic representation of the scene while the bottom half scrolls information about the location, visible exits and what you can see. I say scrolls but this is to demean what is a theatrical romp across the screen. The print enters stage right, prints across at a steady, moderate reading speed, then flits left as if in a ballet dance. Once this bolero has ended a return to the norm is abrupt. You see Josh, a stilted, wooden character first met in Suicide Island. But no, I will not banter endlessly as if lamenting a wet weekend in Whitley Bay. No, this game has more going for it than Suicide Island.

Black Tower has an average response time of 27 seconds due to its curious, novel, printing display. It shows some advances on its predecessor. Suicide Island, by allowing L for LOOK and both TAKE and GET for picking up objects. The game is a little rough at the edges and doubtless version 2.1 will be nearing completion by the time you read this.

Difficulty: Average
Graphics: Yes, but poor
Presentation: Good
Input Facility: Allows simple sentences
Response: Probably the slowest ever written
Special Features: Character Interaction, but low level

CRITICISM

General Rating: Too slow.

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