Anco Software Ltd
Steven Screech
1987
Adventure: Graphic
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 128K
None

87
Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

The Kingdom of Krell is one of the very first programs to be written only for the 128K machines. No 48K game with added twiddles this. It's all new in 128K only. It looks great on the box. It looks pretty good on screen. It seems pretty comprehensive from the instructions. But my God, is it tedious.

I haven't waited quite so long for a program to process an instruction since the days of programs in Basic put out by companies called Wombat Soft.

Move North you say, by selecting the arrow option and pressing Return. You wait, have a cup of tea and a biscuit, visit Benidorm and still be able to watch Minder on the telly before the computer updates the screen information.

The Kingdom of Krell attempts to create a gigantic adventure which is totally controlled by icons. It attempts to incorporate all the ultra-slick features mandatory in any text adventure worth £10 or more like characters you can talk to and battle sections based on Dungeons & Dragons-style points systems. The problem is that in creating an icon system to incorporate all such features the programmers have ended up with something pretty unwieldly and, more important, inflexible.

There are spells to be found, objects to be collected, weapons to be selected and battles to be begun, often with people who've done no more than wish you a good day. Still times are tough.

The plot is pretty open-ended. You are eighteen and, according to the blurb 'stand on the edge of the wilderness surrounded by the elders, friends and family. Beyond stretches a bleak, mystical forbidden landscape. Everyone is enjoying themselves.'

Why is everyone having such a good time, what with the mystical forbidden landscape right on their doorstep and all?

Is it anywhere near Basildon?

Anyway off you go into the landscape... like the standard adventure hero.

There are some plus points to the game I should stress. The graphics are pretty good, both the scene locations and the icon-based information. The location descriptions are reasonable, if not great and being 128K only there are a lot of locations.

Quite a lot happens in the early locations so your interest is maintained for a fair while before the time the computer takes to process your instructions becomes just too much.

There are also some fundamentally good ideas in this game but somehow it just doesn't quite hang together.

Myriad brownie points for Anco for trying to put out a 128K-only program that isn't just a 48K program with slight twiddles, but The Kingdom of Krell doesn't quite make it.

Label: Anco
Author: S Screech
Price: £9.95
Memory: 128K Only
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

***

Ambitious attempt to create an enormous icon-driven adventure in 128K flounders being slow and cumbersome.

3/5