Your Spectrum
Issue 11, February 1985 - Adventures
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Clive Gifford dialled the YS Adventure Helpline and came up trumps with Neil Mackintosh, Gary Smart and Peter Marment. Reviewing credits go to ace hacker, Dave Nicholls.
Set to help YS readers with their adventuring problems, the helpline seems to be a resounding success. Samaritans, Neil Mackintosh and Gary Smart, have both been flooded with calls from near suicidal adventurers. So much so that Peter Marment has joined their ranks. Here are some of the biggest problems, along with Neil's and Gary's solutions ...
Most of the readers' calls were concerned with the old favourites like The Hobbit and Colossal Adventure. But there were a few newcomers, such as Snowball - with its nightingales and waldroids proving the major barriers to sanity. (By the way, if you're having trouble getting up the uni-slime ramp, go and nab the cat, drop it on the ramp and watch it clear the way for you by slurping up all the slime. Yuch!)
There were also some calls from adventurers stumped in Planet of Death, Knight's Quest and Velnor's Lair. If any of you are trapped in the same locations, here's some tips. To pass the force field in Planet of Death, you must fire the laser twice into the field and then dance. In Knight's Quest, if you want to make your way through the 'almost impenetrable' forest, go (when you reach the edge of the lake) 'S', 'S', 'S', 'S', 'E', 'E', 'CLIMB TREE', 'S' and 'S'. Finally, to get through the Cave of Spores in Velnor's Lair, put the silk handkerchief around your face and progress as normal.
Other specific problems came from Andrew Tennant and Andrew Nixon. Mr Nixon seemed to have trouble with the shadow guarding the hole in Golden Apple. You'll kick yourself, Andy! Just turn off the lamp and the shadow disappears. Mr Nixon's problem is solved in a much more obvious way. If you're trapped in Digital Fantasia's time machine ... try typing 'LEAVE MACHINE' - that's all there is to it!
It's probably worth mentioning a few techniques for problem-solving at this stage. If a command doesn't seem to work, check your surroundings for any signs of change and have a look at your inventory - mysterious things can happen in adventures, few of which are actually announced on-screen! Also, if an obvious command doesn't seem to work, try using one like it - not all adventures have the vocabulary you yourself have. Finally, as we've seen from Messrs Nixon and Tennant, the answers to most of the problems are staring you right in the face ... you've just got to engage brain and start revving!
To conclude, here's a few cryptic clues

[The screenshots were printed under the wrong headings in the magazine.]
for all you buffs: Colossal Adventure - to get out of the flooding maze, it's initially easily done; Snowball - box clever to pass the waldroid; Lords of Time - to escape the blast, remember to 'leave' on time; and, of course, The Hobbit - waiting at the magic door has a familiar ring to it.

England and Wales: Gary Smart (nnnn) nnnnn and Peter Marment (nnnn) nnnnn. Scotland: Neil Mackintosh nnn-nnn nnnn.

Ram Jam Corporation / £9.99

Most adventures tell you somewhere near the beginning of the game itself exactly what you're expected to do - Valkyrie 17, of course, has to be the exception!
The box the game comes in reveals that you've discovered some answerphone messages (found on side two of the tape) that tell you that Valkyrie 17 is active again (?). Further discovery comes from wading through the dossier of plans, memos, etc, that accompany the tape; you find out that Valkyrie 17 is actually an experimental Nazi laser weapon from the Second World War.
OK, you're now ready to start the game and only your experience and cunning as a secret agent will get you through. As soon as you start playing, though, any thoughts of seriousness go straight out of the window - the game is very funny, especially its responses to most 'stupid' commands. Technically, the game's not particularly out of the ordinary, with simple verb/noun entry of most commands.
Valkyrie 17 has been written so as to give the player as much freedom as possible; so once you've overcome some initial problems you can go almost anywhere you like! This, to my mind, is the real charm of the game. All but one or two of the problems to be overcome are completely logical; on one occasion, the solution to one of them was too obvious for me to work out and I'm indebted to Trevor Toms of the Ram Jam Corporation for putting me out of my misery.
To finish up, Valkyrie 17 is a very well thought out program, with very nice graphics and a wonderful sense of humour.
The price of £9.99 is on a par with other adventures and I think it easily justifies the cost. Highly recommended.

Gargoyle Games / £9.95

Gargoyle Games' first release was the very well received Ad Astra, a 3D 'shoot 'em up' space game. But Tir Na Nog could hardly be more different. It's an adventure that combines the 'what you see is what's there' graphic style of Valhalla with simple no-text keyboard controls. (That comparison is rather unfair though because the graphics in Tir Na Nog reflect all the advances in programming techniques that have occurred since Valhalla appeared!)
The hero of the game Cuchulainn (Cucuc for short) is represented by a fully-animated graphic almost one third of the screen high. He scours the Land of Youth (Tir Na Nog) for the four pieces of the seal of Calum in an effort to re-unite them to defeat the great enemy.
Cucuc's only mode of transport is to walk. You control the hero using simple 'walk left' and 'walk right' keys. Two more keys are used to pick up and drop the many objects and weapons littered around the paths.
Weapons are very important items for Cucuc as he's not alone in Tir Na Nog - there's also a violent race of monkeys called Sidhe; they can be defeated by 'thrusting' at them with some kind of weapon. If Cucuc loses a fight, he doesn't die (in fact he's dead already!) but all his possessions are dropped and he goes back to the starting position - so it's useful to save the game straight away when you start, if you don't want all the bits and pieces littered all over the shop!
Tir Na Nog is a mammoth undertaking which will take a very long time to complete and, as such, offers excellent value for money for 'mad mappers'. Add to that the superb graphics and you have a game which deserves to go down as a classic!
VALKYRIE 17 screen
It's laughter all the way in this James Bond spoof package - as long as you know what you're meant to do, that is!
TIR NA NOG screen
Here we see Cucuc about to make a monkey of hImself! Great graphics go a long way to make this game a classic.
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