Your Spectrum
Issue 9, November 1984 - Adventures
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Welcome to our regular adventure page. The cast of contributors includes Clive Gifford, author of Adventures For Your Spectrum, Gary Smart and Neil Mackintosh who are all avid adventure fanatics. The Green Goblin is our own Peter Shaw, author of Creating Adventures on Your ZX Spectrum.
Probably the most popular adventure ever created for any home computer is Melbourne House's The Hobbit. It's fitting therefore that our first foray will be into this computerised version of Tolkien's classic book.
Most of you will have read (or have found out by other devious means) the art of escaping the Goblin's Dungeon on the shoulders of Thorin. (By the way, Thorin's usefulness is over once he has performed this task - but stick with him in case you get thrown back in the dungeon.) The quickest way to the dragon's domain - and hence the treasure - is via the Elfking's Dungeon, so tarry by the Forest Gate until an elf comes along and throws you in the Red Dungeon. From there, wait until the Red Door is unlocked, go West and hang around until the butler throws the barrel through the trap door; when that occurs, jump on to the barrel and you'll be taken down the river towards Long Lake and the Bard.


Once you've reached the village in the middle of Long Lake island, you'll meet
I N T O   T H E
open for you to take the treasure from the dragon's halls and escape.


Head south, back the way you came, until you reach the fountain. It's rumoured that there is in fact a way back through the fountain itself - but after spending hours trying, the method still eludes me. The only alternative seems to be to go along the Forest Road. Those of you who have already tried this particular stretch will have realised the difficulty of negotiating it without finding something dropping on your head and stinging you to death. The solution is to wait twice in each location. Once through all that, getting home is pretty straightforward. The adventure is completed by the act of putting the treasure in the chest.
Having problems with an adventure? Can't get past the Green Door? Well, the YS Adventure Helpline will get you through. Just telephone when you're lost, stuck or just plain suicidal. In England and Wales the contact is Gary Smart (0264 59489). In Scotland, try Neil Mackintosh (041 332 2216).
the Bard with his bow and arrow. This is the only weapon that can kill the dragon and the Bard is the only person with the strength to use it, so tell the Bard to go North, then follow him. After a while he'll stop at a point where there is no exit in that direction. Tell him to go up, follow him, then continue north.
When you encounter the dragon, tell the Bard to shoot it. This leaves the way


Sherlock, the so-called sequel to The Hobbit, is with us at last. I say 'so-called' because in actual content there's little resemblance between the Middle Earth fantasy of The Hobbit and the Victorian setting of Sherlock.
Again, Sherlock is an adventure which has yet to be beaten. It's based (of course) around the famous series of books and follows the detail of the Sherlock Holmes mystery stories quite accurately.
The Melbourne House team, headed by Hobbit programmer Phillip Mitchell, has made good use of detail and the overall effect is most realistic. From taking a Hansom cab or train from Baker Street (Sherlock Holmes never walked unless he had to), to paying for everything in pounds, shillings and pence, one's taken realistically back to the Victorian streets and submerged in a really impressive adventure setting.
Presumably sheer size and realism have taken their toll of available memory, so the result is simpler than The Hobbit, though not by much. Sherlock also boasts Animtalk and Inglish. Animtalk is a development that allows the player to converse and instruct the other characters in the adventure - including the amiable Watson, the baffled Inspector Lestrade and a host of 'nasties' (from the humblest housebreaker to ... no, that would be telling).
Inglish is a more significant development. It allows you to talk to the characters and control Holmes in a language that's far closer to plain English than has previously been achieved with
Spectrum adventures. A sentence like 'pick up the note and take the lamp out of the house', or 'open the window quietly with the large stick' will be happily accepted and acted upon by the computer.
Is Sherlock as good as The Hobbit? I'd say yes and possibly (though further playing would reinforce this) even a little better.

Sherlock - an elementary program from Melbourne House - looks set to top The Hobbit!


It wasn't that long since computer adventures were solely text affairs. Now there are hundreds that boast total graphics or a hybrid text/graphics name tag.
Now standards are set to rise again with the release of Beyond's Lords of Midnight - an adventure featuring a new system of graphic design called 'landscaping'. It may not be what you had in mind for gardening, but with landscaping, Lords of Midnight is able to provide some 32,000 different panoramic views. Astounding!
The adventure itself has strong Tolkien
overtones. You control four characters, including Luxor the Moon Prince, to defeat the extremely evil Doomdark the Witchking. The game is very complex, but always fascinating.
Apart from the landscaping system, the other feature which sets it apart from the rest is the way you control the characters and see the world through their eyes. Each of them must be guided using commands which, unlike the majority of adventures, are given to you - there's no need to search for them in the game. Each character has his own distinctive personality which colours the way each character thinks and helps to determine the options open to you as controller.
Mike Singleton, master adventurer and renowned 'Play By Mailer' has produced a program that, with luck, will start an industry trend towards more complex plots, multi-character interaction and superior graphics. Lords of Midnight is a must for all serious adventurers ... you'll find it a taxing and exciting change from the usual crop.

Lords of Midnight uses a graphic designing technique called 'landscaping', which allows some 32,000 different screens!
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