Clive Wilson's adventures were previously published by none other than Mastertronic. They were, in the main, either icon driven affairs or were different to your usual VERB, NOUN adventures. After a brief period of hibernation Clive has returned to the adventure writing fold, abandoned icons, and taken to the PAW (like a duck to water) rattling off three highly triff games in quick succession (all available from Zenobi Software). The first of his comeback games is The Darkest Road.
You play the part of an elf-type-adventurer who learns that his father and mother had bestowed upon him a rather special gift. This gift was called the Silent Song. As soon as you find out that you possess this strange gift, the black clouds of war begin to gather from the far northern reaches where the Black Wanderer (boo-hiss) worked his wicked magic. Funnily enough, this also coincides with a stranger appearing and telling you about the evil events going down at The Pinnacle - the Black Wanderer's seat of power. (Hiss-boo.) After just ten minutes with the mysterious stranger, you find out how to use the power of the Silent Song to battle, and hopefully defeat the deadly dark dude!
Exploring the land, searching for fun, fame, fortune (and a good punch-up) is a bit hazardous to begin with. There are plenty of good old fashioned problems to solve. Which means that the RAMSAVE and RAMLOAD options will come in handy as you'll have to face a few annoying sudden deaths.
The first part of the adventure fairly rattles past, and there's enough excitement to keep you on your toes. It's a fantasy game so you encounter all manner of strange objects and characters. One nice thing about the game is the way you're led from one set of problems to another in a logical kind of way, though you are, on occasions, expected to be pretty spot-on with your commands. That small gripe aside, you'll find all the info needed to solve most of the problems readily available. You just have to search for a bit.
The Darkest Road is well paced, has a wide range of problems and features and a rather nice line in location descriptions. One of the best aspects of the game is that any attempt at doing something the wrong way usually results in a helpful message. As a final swirl of icing on the cake, there's also a few well placed screen and sound effects.