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Zenobi Software
Not Known
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Paul Rigby
Chris Bourne

Witch Hunt - this was the first River adventure I actually completed. Ah, fond memories. Up in the Highlands you and your wife live a secluded life in a cottage. One fine morning you decide to walk off into the mist and get yourself trapped in a witch's cottage, probably never to be seen again.

Call it nostalgia, but Witch Hunt is one of my favourites. Following the usual River design policy, the game is simply described with no fancy features to catch the eye - just solid gameplay. It's one to look out for. Cracking stuff!

The Cup tells of an Irishman who has won the cup at the Cricklewood Liar's Club after his story involving wild adventures, lions... you know the sort of thing. That night, you hear a scream. Up you get to find the Irishman dying, his back covered in bloody claw marks. He tells you to get out while you can before the lion gets you too.

So, off you pop to see if you can retrieve the missing cup. The Cup has an original plot with a fair amount of puzzles that shouldn't be too difficult to conquer Different plot, average sort of game.

Mrs Gloria Florence Bannister now there's a name. Poor lass has suffered a burglary of her jade necklace, a present from her hubbie. You play Phil Mallow, Private Investigator, on the case (and on the Bourbon). The game, The Jade Stone with a 20's theme, is a jolly romp full of intriguing puzzles that, like any good detective story, form parts of the big jigsaw. The story moves at a steady pace and, even with the occasional bout of monotonous location description (which does tend to frustrate after a while), the whole game is pretty enjoyable.

Onto The Challenge. The old chief has died so a new one must take his place. Normally the son of the dead chief takes his place but, as he is a Bad Lot, many have spoken against this. So, you find yourself in the running. The one way to decide who takes over is to take The Challenge!

The game includes a couple of interesting puzzles which easily engaged my attention. Then, there's the increasing tension of the challenge itself. While not the best adventure in the world, the solid design and the insertion of a few surprises to keep the story fresh makes the whole game a success.

Next? The Lifeboat This adventure is odd, weird but very attractive, in a funny sort of way. Supposedly a true story, The Lifeboat is set on the 10th August 1927 when the clipper Alana hit a submerged reef off the northeast coast of Australia.

The ship was lost and of the 82 on board only five people survived. The game follows the fate of one of those people (ie, you). During play you enter a strange world mixing fantasy with swab weirdness. The Lifeboat is eminently playable because it drags you welling curiosity by the throat and hangs on till the end. Excellent! Davy Jones Locker, the sixth adventure on this tape, is a sequel to The Lifeboat, and it's another good one.

The compilation shows River's wide range of tastes and styles. Offering variety with consistently high quality, it's certainly worth buying.