Mediandroid's first release Delta 7, a few months back, was only 99p - so you might expect The Fantasy to offer a little more for £1.99. Well, for reasons lost to time I didn't review Delta 7, but perhaps they were good reasons; The Fantasy is one of the worst pieces of software I've received for some time.
Its principal failing is a distinct lack of grammar and proofreading. A traditional text adventure stands or falls on the words it chooses and how it puts them together, and if the words are jumbled and misspelled the adventure falls to earth with a bump.
And The Fantasy just doesn't read right. Omissions of one or two words in just about every location description, frequent typing errors and a puzzling absence of apostrophes add up to an indigestible suet pudding of a game. Even if the author claims illiteracy like so many programmers, surely he could team up with a literate, or take on a literate for the proofreading stage.
Leaving a note for your mum you start the adventure and leave the house in search of your dad. To the west is the milkman and a bottle of milk. For some unknown reason GET BOTTLE always ends up with you dropping a mirror and it smashing into a hundred pieces. I say 'always' because you can attempt picking up the bottle and consequently drop the mirror as many times as you want.
If you GET MILK you do pick up the milk bottle but even then GET BOTTLE will bring up that mysterious mirror!
Moving swiftly east, you meet an old lady who hurries off - but not before dropping a rather useful knife. And the next location has you cast as the victim of a kidnap, presumably the fate of your father before you. A van pulls up to the kerb and a man brandishing a rifle throws you into the back of the vehicle and speeds off.
The following location is a smelly, damp, spider-infested hut. You are tied and gagged, and the screen goes black in sympathy with your predicament.
There's something very curious about this scene: you can pick up and examine the piece of wood even though your hands are bound tightly. Stranger still is the ease with which you can repeatedly open the door, again while supposedly restrained. Just to round things off a look at the inventory in this darkness reveals an illegible list - the author hasn't compensated for the change in screen colour.
The Fantasy isn't such a bad adventure storywise, but it'd take a person with a curious sense of humour to find out. Only buy this one if you find poor quality adventures a novelty.
Mediandroid (Sales) is at 285 Melchett Road, Birmingham Factory Centre, Kings Norton, Birmingham B30 3NN. Incidentally, Mediandroid is run by Simon Jones of the Wiz, featured in this month's FANZINE FILE (page 48).
DIFFICULTY: reading the text isn't easy
INPUT FACILITY: verb/noun