Mediandroid
Not Known
1988
Adventure: Text
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

44
Chris Bourne

This is the sequel to The Fantasy (Issue 43, 49%) and like its predecessor, is text-only. In The Fantasy the hero began his search for his missing father, who you'll remember was being held captive (quite why, we weren't told) by a large creature called the Anamagon, living in the Anamagon's temple. (Well, where else would he live? - Ed.) The hero began his quest in the present-day world but soon found (and subsequently travelled through) a time corridor to a weird world. This strange land was conquered to allow entry into the Anamagon's Kingdom.

The sequel starts in the heart of a thick, leafy forest. The adventurer initially carries only an amulet and some wine - not much to show for after all the trouble he's already been through. This seems to be a dangerous place; when only a couple of moves can result in falling into a mantrap, chewing up your foot quite badly. However, subsequent visits to the same location bring up exactly the same message as the first time. As the injury is both unavoidable and has no effect whatsoever on your progress, it all seems quite pointless.

Indeed, most of the locations in the forest are empty and the only course for progress is to travel east, where a bag can be found. When examined, it reveals its contents: an emerald, a pen and a precious stone holder. Irritatingly, these items must be picked up individually, as the simple, verb/ noun parser doesn't recognise the word ALL. Even more annoying is that if the bag is re-examined, the three items are automatically dropped again and the program stupidly assumes you've just found them again!

There are loads of bugs and worse still, as in the prequel, the lengthy descriptions are absolutely littered with both spelling mistakes and missing words. OK, so one or two typing errors are present in most adventures, but here mistakes appear in virtually every location - even the instructions to the game manage to misspell 'weird' (as wierd). (So whot, we all mike mistokes - Od.)

However, the main problem with The Anamagon's Temple is not technical; it's the lack of any atmosphere created by clichéd descriptions and shallowness of interaction. Most surprising is the non-recognition of the virtually universal LOOK command, SEARCH is also not catered for. Therefore, if there are any objects in a particular location (which there usually aren't), they are automatically found without having to search for them (boring). Even the EXAMINE command gives a fixed and usually superficial description. HELP brings up one of a handful of fixed messages (not much help, really).

So what we have here is an essentially linear set of problems, where the difficulty in solving them is in finding the correct word. For instance, when trying to cut open a fish, neither cm- FISH (!) nor USE KNIFE (!) works - only entering the rather strange-sounding OPEN FISH (!?!) does the trick. This sort of word-finding problem was commonplace in the earliest adventures and frustrating enough then!

The Anamagon's Temple resembles a very early, amateur adventure, with its standard character set on a perpetually yellow background. Littered with bugs, it fails to improve on its equally poor prequel. As such, it isn't recommended. Even at the small price there are far more entertaining budget adventures available.

The Anamagon's Temple can be bought directly from Mediandroid, c/o 285 Melchett Road, Birmingham Factory Centre, King's Norton, BIRMINGHAM B30 3HN.

CRITICISM

39%