Castle Thade was originally published by the Spectrum Adventure Exchange Club over a year ago, and as I didn't have space to review it then I thought it only fair to have a look at this new improved version. I'm glad 1 did too, as it's definitely a very enjoyable, value-for-money adventure - or rather two adventures, as there's one part on each side of the tape - though you can play part two without having to complete part one. It gets an extra mark for value as each copy comes accompanied by the latest issue of the SAEC's Spectrum Adventurer tape-mag, which normally sells at £2, plus five 25p discount vouchers for use in the exchange section of the club.
In this tale of derring-do, it seems that the people of Kral have been living in fear of the Lord of Darkness, whose postal address is Castle Thade. The goodies from the Council have despatched many an adventurer in the past in an attempt to defeat the evil Lord, and now it's your turn. The Council's decision is of course in no way connected with the fact that you haven't paid your rates for the last three years.
One of the virtues of this text-only game is the text, which is very well-written and conjures up its own vivid graphics. Take this, for example: "The raging river from the south plummets into a deep chasm, forming a huge waterfall. Hundreds of feet below on the floor of the chasm the water churns into white froth, sending a fine mist-like spray into the air. Nearby stands a small bush with leaves as tough as leather."
A command like Level 9's 'That's just scenery' has been built-in whereby if you try to examine something in a location description that isn't relevant you're told 'See text for details.' And you'll need to read every location carefully, as well as paying attention at all times in case you miss the various hints. If you do miss them however, type HELP for a list of solutions to problems using the infamous backwards-writing.
Plenty of extra little responses have been built-in should you try doing things that aren't going to get you anywhere, and all-in-all, it's well worth sticking your hand in your pocket for.