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Zenobi Software
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Mike Gerrard
Chris Bourne

The Rochdale Balrog strikes again, as the name Zenobi Software hides YS's very own 'El Supremo' John Wilson, who's released another everyday tale of a seeker of gold courtesy of his trusty Quill.

There you are, as Bulbo, sitting down and about to enjoy some cocoa and cakes when... oh no... it's that wretched knock at the door which can only mean one thing - trouble! Why can't people leave us adventurers in peace once in a while? Do they think we like always having to go out and save the world and find treasures?

Grand Alf disagrees, though. You did so well on your last adventure, he tells Bulbo, that here's another one for you! Rats. He goes on at the press of a key to tell you that you have to go out and defeat Stratos, who sounds to me more like the owner of the Rochdale Kebab Take-Away than an evil tyrant. So Grand Alf gives you a crystal dagger, tells you to get on with it and beggars off down to the local lake for a spot of fishing. Typical.

Your quest begins at the local market place, where you can choose up to four companions for your trip - but who to choose from the likes of an elf, giant, wizard, thief, swordsman and so on? And should you make room for the moth-eaten donkey you might find if you venture to the lower-class district of the town - that's if you can find it, as not all exits are marked.

Bulbo shows the usual influence from Fergus McNeill, which is no bad thing in itself, and stretches the facilities of The Quill somewhat to include commands like PARTY to tell you who you've got with you at any time, RAM SAVE, ASK THE GIANT TO HELP and even, we're assured, LOWER THE DONKEY DOWN THE WELL. The mind boggles at such desperation, but that's usually what I feel when confronted by a Wilson adventure, and this one's no exception.

Not for the faint-hearted, but definitely one for those with a Boggit-like sense of humour. Of course I had to ask John Wilson why he decided to call his software label Zenobi. 'Because it's the name of my cat," he said. All contributions to the cat food fund no doubt gratefully received.