Cable Software
Shaun Watts
1984
Adventure: Text
£4.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

70
Derek Brewster
Chris Bourne

You are Blade The Warrior renown for your prowess with weapons and your quest is to find and destroy the Black Witch who rules the land of Sayell far to the north. You follow the trail of Mazar the Wizard who carries with him magic strong enough to defeat the witch. The game is riddled with magic and an early sign tells you to seek gold to buy spells.

Cable tell us that the game is written entirely in machine code. The layout of the screen and the characteristic Have a Nice Day! when you quit the game leave me in no doubt as to the pedigree of this game.

At the first location you at once sense the rich atmosphere that pervades the whole game. In your haste to escape a large band of ores you have lost all your possessions. Hence this game has provided a good reason for your lack of worldly goods that marks the start of all adventures.

The first problem is logical and it s solution sets you off nicely. The door is locked between you and the ores and reassuringly you see the word LOCKED blocked with inverse print to help it stand proud within the description. Similarly later, AN UNLIT TORCH is blocked red and A LIT TORCH, yellow. When you've collected a few items the inventory looks super with all the different colours. These attractive features help the game break away from the confines placed upon it by the mother Quill. A few paces east and then south brings you to a trail of blood and on through a dense thicket to a savaged body. You examine the body and it looks like a fresh kill. The word KILL is blocked out in red for emphasis should its connotations momentarily escape you.

The game really impresses after a very little time for its brave departure from the conventions of the Quilled adventure. EXAMINE is not much used in this type of adventure yet here it is dynamic and helps create atmosphere. But further, the game condenses around an immensely enjoyable plot; suspense builds and subsides as in a novel. Here a trail of blood leads to a body. Later a money sack lies looted - after all, how long does loose money usually last? Smoke meets your senses before you reach the hut in the forest. Wolves are heard howling before you meet them. A troglodyte stares at you and you would be wise to heed the warning. These evocative descriptions are the very soul of a text only adventure.

What is amiss is minor. The logic behind finding a torch, for example, just lying around on a leafy path strikes a flat note with me. Its funny how people and creatures are always dropping useful things in this way. It might be better, in the interests of a more believable plot, to find the torch on a dead creature or hanging up in his dwelling place. Just finding it in the middle of nowhere makes it look as if it's been planted - by the programmer. Also, that annoying adventure syndrome, the instant death, is evident when you pick up the black axe which then reveals itself, without prior warning, to be an enchanted evil weapon that turns upon the hapless victim.

Blade The Warrior is a very interesting text only adventure with an enjoyable plot. Well worth taking a look at.

Difficulty: Average-Difficult
Graphics: None
Presentation: Good
Response: Instantaneous
Special Features: None

CRITICISM

General Rating: Good.

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