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IMS Software
D. Whitelock
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Dave Nicholls, Peter Shaw
Chris Bourne

It's rather sad that certain adventure games on the market find it necessary to hide their origins. I refer, of course, to those written using Gilsoft's Quill utility. I assume the reasoning is that the buying public are prejudiced into thinking they're in some way inferior. True, there are some awful adventures, but most are quite good and often very competitively priced. Just because someone is the best machine-codist in the world doesn't mean they have the ability to write good adventures - Quill simply gave people with adventure ideas an easy way to try them out without the hassle of machine crashes; in fact, software houses have been using utilities like it for years! In Ghoulies, the code has been changed and graphics added, but the basic adventure was obviously written using Quill. Come on IMS Software, it's a good adventure, so why not show your appreciation by giving Gilsoft a mention!

Enough gripes about the software industry and back to Ghoulies. Your task is to find some magic treasure produced and hidden by an alchemist. Father Gilbert, before he died in the torture chamber of the Spanish Inquisition. It's now many years after his death and you've arrived on the ferry to start searching.

Ghoulies has all the features you'd expect from a Quilled adventure - two word commands, instant responses, and save and load facilities - but there are extras. The screen is the standard Quill format, but there's a small graphics section at the top illustrating the current location. Also, when you enter a building, the first letter of the location's description is enlarged (like an old fashioned scroll) to match the special typeface used throughout the game.

The first thing that'll strike you when you begin playing Ghoulies is the way in which the graphics, typeface and descriptions together produce a superb Gothic atmosphere. Another surprise is that there's so much going on - fat men with cheeses wander about, and ghouls steal corpses from gibbers, to name but a few. Ghoulies has so much atmosphere, it's difficult to get around to solving any of the problems (that's my excuse anyway!)

It's a shame IMS Software haven't admitted using Quill, but, all in all, Ghoulies deserves 10 out of 10 - but don't play it in the dark!

Not Rated

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Although it's a Quill-ed adventure (on the quiet!), Ghoulies still rivals most of its adventurous competitors.