ISSUE #11 - September 16, 1997

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     .\  \               | |             | o |          | | |
The  |___/ociety for the |_|romotion of  |_|_|dventure  \___|ames.

                            ISSUE # 11

             Edited by Magnus Olsson (zebulon SP@G
                        September 16, 1997.

         SPAG Website:
        Contest Website:

SPAG #11 is copyright (c) 1997 by G. Kevin Wilson and Magnus Olsson.
Authors of reviews retain the rights to their contributions.

All email addresses are spamblocked -- replace the name of our magazine
with the traditional 'at' sign. 


Magnus Olsson is the new editor of SPAG.  It's been real.  Be nice to
him.  Take it away, Magnus.

                                G. Kevin Wilson

Thanks, Whizzard. You've done a great job so far for re-vitalizing
text adventures. Let's hope I can contribute a little to the cause as

This issue was mostly prepared by Whizzard; I've just finished the
formatting and added a few comments of my own. Readers will not notice
any big differences in this issue. If you have any comments or
suggestions, please email them to me at zebulon SP@G

Oh, and it's time to start thinking about reviews for the next
issue. If you run out of new games to review, there's a whole bunch of
golden oldies that have been given a new lease of life - see the
"new games" section below.

Finally, let's give Whizzard a big hand for his work.

                               Magnus Olsson

SUBMISSION POLICY ----------------------------------------------------------

SPAG is a non-paying fanzine specializing in reviews of text adventure
games, a.k.a. Interactive Fiction. This includes the classic Infocom
games and similar games, but also some graphic adventures where the
primary player-game communication is text based.

Authors retain the rights to use their reviews in other contexts. We
accept submissions that have been previously published elsewhere,
although original reviews are preferred. At the moment, we are _not_
accepting any more reviews of Infocom games.

LETTERS --------------------------------------------------------------------


Great to see that people are still writing magazines with the IF
audience in mind!  Brings back memories of the New Zork Times and the
Status Line.  I just happened upon SPAG in the if-archive at,
and was really impressed with what you're doing.  Keep up the good

I have a question for you, a couple actually.  First, have you ever
reviewed a game called "Crisis in Dersenia", by Tech-12 Software?  I've
got it off of ftp, and I've prowled that site, and,
for someone who knows the solution to it.  I was wondering if you
happened to know someone who has solved it, or if you have reviewed it
yourself (I haven't had time to go through all the issues of SPAG, yet).

My second question is more technical.  Do you know which drawing program
was used by Magnetic Scrolls to produce to beautiful graphics in The
Pawn, and in Guild of Thieves?  I'm thinking of writing my own IF (one
to my credit already, using STAC - ST Adventure Creator), and I thought
it would be neat if I could work towards producing graphics of a similar

Anyhow, I just thought I'd drop you a line, to say that there are some
of us in Ottawa who love IF, and want to see more!!!

Geoff Gander 

{ "Crisis in Dersenia" has not been reviewed yet. Does anybody
   feel like reviewing it?  -- MO }

Thank you for your review of Awechasm which featured in issue 8 of
SPAG.  Notwithstanding the justified comments regarding the weakness
of the parser, I would like to suggest that the critique was (in my
albeit biased opinion!), rather harsh.

When I wrote the Awechasm, I was trying to create a game that would
appeal to a certain sense of humour - probably best described as
"British Saucy Seaside Postcard humour" (30's style cartoons with
saucy images and/or crude speech/thought bubbles) with occasional
drifts of very obvious toilet humour. The sense of humour that sees
Awechasm, reads Orgasm, and sniggers!

This style of humour is obviously not compatible with everyone,
including the reviewer, and (in more recent times,) myself. However,
over the years, I have received a great many letters from grateful
adventurers who appreciated both the sense of humour and the bizarre
tendencies displayed in Awechasm.  Amongst these: a staff army officer
posted in Split, Croatia during the troubled times - asking for any
more adventures I had written because his staff were constantly
occupied with Awechasm, and an elderly blind gentlemen (a speech
synthesiser communicates the text output from the adventure) who made
a second request for help with Awechasm after I initially put him off
by telling him that it might be too rude.

Snatch and Crunch (Awechasm part 1) was an ST only adventure -
authored in STAC. It wasn't necessarily a masterpiece, but I
thoroughly enjoyed creating it AND some people enjoyed playing
it. That is the important thing. It featured in magazine shareware
advertisements in the UK for a couple of years before it disappeared
into obscurity, much like Awechasm in fact!

Apart from a lot of more recent work on multi user adventures ( with
much improved parsers ;) ), The only other adventure I have ever
created is "Everyday". I was honoured to have this adventure featured
on the cover disk of "PC Today" magazine in the UK. Although it is a
clean adventure, it employs the same (dated) game engine as
Awechasm. If anyone is interested in playing (or reviewing) this
adventure, it can be obtained from the if-archive on

Keep up the good work,
Tony Stiles 

{ Let me just add that all reviews published in SPAG reflect the
   reviewer's opinions, nothing else, and that opinions on the
   same game can vary rather wildly. -- MO }

KEY TO SCORES AND REVIEWS----------------------------------------------------

Consider the following review header:

NAME: Cutthroats
AUTHOR: Infocom
EMAIL: ???
DATE: September 1984
PARSER: Infocom Standard
SUPPORTS: Infocom ports
URL: Not available.

When submitting reviews:  Try to fill in as much of this info as you can.
Also, scores are still desired along with the reviews, so send those along.
The scores will be used in the ratings section.  Authors may not rate or
review their own games.

More elaborate descriptions of the rating and scoring systems may be found
in the FAQ and in issue #9 of SPAG, which should be available at:

NEW GAMES--------------------------------------------------------------------

A bunch of new games have been released since the last issue. These

_Aarbron Ascendant_ by S. Osborne, C. McPherson and D. Strand,
_Lost Anaheim Hills_ by Adam Cadre,
_Mercy_ by Chris Klimas,
_Acorn Court_ by Todd S. Murchison, and
_The Garden_ by Trevor Jay

More information about these games, and other new releases, can be
found on the SPAG homepage at

Another important new development is Niclas Karlsson's _Magnetic_, a
portable interpreter that lets you play the classic Magnetic Scrolls
adventures (originally released for the C64 and the Amiga) on a
variety of platforms. More information can be found in the _Magnetic_


Editor's Pick of the Month:

Those of you who haven't already played Adam Cadre's delightful little
game "Jailbait on Interstate Zero", or "I-0" for short, should take a
look at It's a small
game, but full of amusing detail, and with quite a few alternative
ways of winning the game. It's perhaps a bit risque in places, but all
in good humour.


From: Graeme Cree <72630.304 SP@G CompuServe.COM>

NAME:          2112
AUTHOR:        Anonymous
EMAIL:         ?
DATE:          Some time after Rush released the song of the same name
PARSER:        Extremely poor

I should have been warned by Chris Forman's review of Zanfar in Spag #8,
in which he points out that one author's trick to draw attention
to a game is to give it a name that places it last in the alphabet, so
that a person will always see it when doing a dir command.  I
downloaded 2112 for similar reasons; it is the first one listed in the
games/pc library at  I kept seeing it every time I went
there, had never heard a word about it from anyone, and thought I
would check it out.  Silly me.

2112 is based on a song by the rock group Rush.  It takes place in the
typical Orwellian anti-utopian future.  Since criticizing big
government is not as fashionable now as in Orwell's day, this
government is run by Priests.  The game begins with you finding a
guitar by the riverside, and taking this ancient relic of a forgotten
time to the Priests, who confiscate it since music is outlawed.  To
retaliate and let off a little steam, you go on a minor killing spree,
shooting the Priests, blowing up their computer (a la Captain Kirk!),
and making your getaway before the government is overthrown by space
aliens who destroy the city (possibly blowing away a few cops along
the way, although this is not required).  As a rock song, this is the
sort of thing that could inspire parental protests at the record
company.  The I-F player however would be better advised to protest
the quality of the game.

The parser is almost worthless; two words only, and no synonyms.  The
puzzles are strictly "guess the word" and "struggle with the parser".
Actions are intended to be taken in a specific order.  Altering the
order can make the game very confusing.  One example: after you have
surrended the guitar, you are supposed to go to your home where you
will have a dream in which you see an old friend at the prison who
aids you in finding materials you need to win the game.  You will have
this regardless of whether or not you have already seen him and gotten
the aid.  People can talk to you (and even kill you) after they are
already dead, unless you have done everything in the right order.  In
some areas, you can still hear humming from the computer after you
have destroyed it; in others you can't.  There is a serious error at
the end.  Destroying the computer is also supposed to destroy the
electric fence, opening up a way of escape.  However if you arrive at
the fence on the turn that it is shorted out, the new passageway you
need will not be opened up at all, even though you can see the fence
shorting out.  Only if you are elsewhere on that turn will you be able
to get through the fence.  At least they can say that no playtesters
were harmed during the making of this game.

The atmosphere is heavily cliched, with lines like: "...policemen of
the state lurk in the shadows.  I hope you are conforming!"  I
personally think that the best treatments of the anti-utopian future
since Orwell were done by Patrick McGoohan in "The Prisoner" and Terry
Gilliam in "Brazil."  This one comes across as more laughable than
sinister, and presumably exists only so that we can shoot up the town
(the real point of the game) without feeling guilty about it.

There are some things to like about the game, however.  At key points
the game gives you a few bars of music from the PC speaker which help
to set the mood.  The game was not written with TADS, AGT, or one of
the other kits, but programmed from scratch, which is of course much
harder to do.  I confess that I'm not a Rush fan, and if I were I
might enjoy the game more.  At a couple of points in the game, stanzas
from the 2112 song are used in conversations by the characters, making
the game look like a little like a Musical (which is something I've
never seen in a text game before).

Still, the negatives far outweighed the positives.  Rush fans might
want to play the game anyway, but others are advised to give it a


From: Graeme Cree <72630.304 SP@G CompuServe.COM>

NAME:          Betty Carlson's Big Date
AUTHOR:        Betty Carlson
EMAIL:         ?
DATE:          ?
PARSER:        AGT Standard (originally a LADS adventure)
SUPPORTS:      All AGT Ports

Betty Carlson's Big Date is in essence Zork 1 transferred to a
suburban setting.  The player goes on a scavenger hunt for items which
much all be brought to a specific location in order to win.

The player is Betty Carlson, the author of the game, who is preparing
to go on a date.  Unfortunately, her three kids have gone on a rampage
and have scattered the clothing she needs to wear all over the house.
Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to gather up your
clothes and deposit them in your trophy, bedroom.  One item
needs a little repair work before it is usable.

At least Ms. Carlson has come up with a reasonable explanation of why
the, clothes are scattered in the first place.  In Zork
1 I could never understand how all those valuables could still be
lying around when the Thief and the Troll got there long before you

If only she had turned it into a full-blown Zork parody, and cast her
kids in the role of the Thief.  It would have been very funny to drop
an item, make a move, and then hear something like "My, I wonder who
left this fine necklace lying here," or something like that coming
from the next room.  As it happens though, neither the kids nor any
other characters appear in the game.

The problem with the game is that it just isn't very interesting.
Grab a few items, wrestle with the parser a little, and that's it.
There is little story, and very few item descriptions.  Trying to
examine something will usually respond with nothing more than "You see
nothing special about the ."  Even the clothes are nondescript.
You can't even wear any of them, they are simply treasures to be
brought to the designated area.

Part of the problem may be that this was originally a LADS game.  I've
seen several LADS conversions, but never an original, so I don't know
what the capabilities of the language are.  The conversions I've seen
have usually been not much more advanced than this one.  The game may
very well be a good one taking the LADS limitations into account.
There are no serious bugs, and everything seems to work the way it is
supposed to.  The main technical problem seems to be a couple of
poorly chosen item adjectives, such as the "a glue" and the "some
earrings" (shades of Detective's "wooden wood").  It's also
unfortunate that you can take the long ladder into your Chevette.

Bottom line: there's nothing terribly wrong with the game, but not
enough in the way of either story or puzzles to grab the player's


From: Graeme Cree <72630.304 SP@G CompuServe.COM>

NAME: Deena of Kolini
AUTHOR: E. L. (Ev) Cheney
DATE: c. 1986
PARSER: GAGS standard

People who don't like the AGT parser should be made to play a few GAGS
games some time.  AGT looks like Virtual Reality by comparision.

GAGS was the predecessor to AGT, and AGT is backwardly compatible
enough to be able to use most GAGS source code.  The big difference
between the two is that GAGS does not allow any of the meta-commands
that AGT does.  As a result the parser is almost completely limited to
Open/Close, Push/Pull, Turn, Touch, and a couple of others.  All
puzzles must be solved with these, and are pretty much restricted to
killing monsters and opening locks.

Deena of Kolini, by E.L. (Ev) Cheney looks like it wants to be more
detailed, but it is held in bondage to the limitations of the GAGS
system (considering the content of the game, this may be poetic

In the game, you play Deena, a warrior-maiden POW captured when your
people were attacked by the lecherous Gendi.  Tossed in a dark, damp,
dank dungeon, your mission is to escape both your cell, and what was
called "a fate worse than death" in Plundered Hearts.  Along the way
you must find and rescue a handsome but wounded Prince, not for
romantic reasons, but because you need him to illuminate rooms that
your torch cannot (don't ask me about this, I haven't got a clue
either).  Actually, according to the source code, the Prince is not
only luminous but edible (!), which made me very thankful that GAGS
doesn't permit any customized descriptions for this.

It appears as though the author tried hard to flesh out the game as
much as possible within the system.  In the early days of GAGS and
AGT, many authors did not bother to write item descriptions for many
things, resulting in repetitious "You see nothing special about the
" messages whenever you tried to examine something (Even Zork 1
was guilty in this area).  In this game, Ms. Cheney not only provided
item descriptions for everything, but also accompanying graphics.  The
whip, the manacles, the red-hot poker, (no, I am NOT making this up)
are all rendered in fairly good quality ASCII line drawings.  My
favourite one was the scrap of parchment, which should show you how
boring I am.  The author did not just throw this game together, she
obviously worked hard.  However, the technology of the day just wasn't
enough to give more than a rudimentary result.

One avoidable problem is in the game's spelling and grammar.  The
spelling errors can be very distracting at times, and there are
several places where sentences have single words gouged out of the
middle (i.e.: "The rawhide whip looks as if it could the skin off a
dragon" [sic]).

My biggest design complaint about the game is the decision to conclude
the game with an escape through a maze.  Actually there are two mazes
side by side.  One goes nowhere, but the author was kind enough to
include an item that will at least point you towards the right one.

I've always regarded mazes as being the I-F equivalent of
rock-climbing. If that phrase sounds familiar, you've probably played
Chris Forman's excellent Mystery Science Theater game where he makes
the same comment about Detective's seemingly endless hallways.

The reference is to the 1951 movie "Lost Continent", starring Cesar
Romero and Hugh "Ward Cleaver" Beaumont.  This was an early MST3K
episode which featured a 12 minute sequence in the middle that showed
nothing but the main characters rapelling up a rockface (not even on
location).  Basically, "rock-climbing" means "padding" (although in
this game "padding" may also be poetic justice).

[SIDE NOTE: For those who were wondering about the "Deep Hurting!!"
reference immediately after the rock-climbing one in Chris's game,
this is a reference to another MST3K movie (Hercules Against the Moon
Men) that was supposed to top "rock-climbing" with a 15 minute
Sandstorm scene, that was gloatingly guaranteed to cause "Deep

The maze was a legitimate puzzle (even a clever one) when it first
appeared in Colossal Cave because no one had ever seen it before.
Since then it has been primarily used like "rock-climbing"; to
artificially pad the length of a game that would otherwise be a little
short.  There is no longer any puzzle; since everybody knows HOW to
get through them.  All that is left is the tedium of actually doing

There are a few games which really add something new to the idea (For
example, Arthur: The Quest for Excalibur's Badger Maze presents us
with a genuinely new puzzle; how do you map a maze when you can't drop
objects behind you?), but these are the exception rather than the

Nothing against the maze in general.  I loved the Babel Fish puzzle in
Hitchhiker's Guide, but I wouldn't want half the games in circulation
to have the same identical puzzle in them.  (It could be worse though.
Suppose everybody tried to imitate the Baseball Diamond maze in Zork
2!?  Yuck!)

Not to single Ms. Cheney out for criticism, but it's so annoying to
pick up an ostensibly new game only to find the same old boring
time-consuming puzzle poke its head up time after time after time.
You know the old much-lampooned bumper sticker that said "I Brake for
Animals"?  I'm going to get one that says "I Scream for Mazes."

Well [climbing off the soapbox], back to the game at hand.  It also
features some of the more common (but avoidable) quirks of the
GAGS/AGT system, such as having to use one specific weapon to kill
each creature, but not others.  For example, the dagger will kill one
(non-magical) person, but the sword will not.  Where's the sense in

One non-avoidable problem is that in GAGS/AGT, creatures must be
classified as either friendly or hostile, and all hostile ones will
block your path and try to kill you.  As a result, the lecherous old
man who fondles you in the stairwell but does not attack you, must be
classified as friendly, and therefore if you attack him, you get the
standard message that asks why you would want to attack such a
harmless and inoffensive creature, and that it looks hurt and

There are a few rooms of Instant-Fate-Worse-Than-Death, but there are
sufficient clues for them to be avoided.

Ms. Cheney obviously put a lot of effort into her game, but the
technology of 10 years ago just wasn't up to the task, even with the
recent desire for games with female lead characters.  She could have
improved the final result with a little more proofreading and
playtesting, but even so GAGS just doesn't have the proper...verbs for
her little excursion into S&M to fly.


From: Christopher Forman 

NAME: Frozen
AUTHOR: Jeremy Farnham
EMAIL: None given
DATE: June 1996
PARSER: Inform
SUPPORTS: ZIP Interpreters

You're working late one night in the university computer lab when you
notice that everyone around you has suddenly stopped what they were
doing.  Closer investigation reveals that your fellow students and
professors have all been immobilized by some mysterious force.
Perhaps that odd machine in the gradate students' lab could offer an

My first impression of this game was that it was strongly influenced
by "The Lurking Horror" -- the setting and early descriptions were
very reminiscent of Infocom's tribute to Lovecraft.  "Frozen" is
obviously a first attempt with Inform, containing numerous, albeit
rather insignificant, bugs (such as being able to find objects by
searching for them a second time), missing line-feeds in obvious
places, a score that's always 0 out of 0 (is that good or bad?) and
other nuances that give the impression of an unpracticed I-F

These will hopefully be fixed as the author makes progress with the
development system, because I see a lot of promise from his first
work.  "Frozen" sports three, count 'em, THREE different conclusions
to the story, a prominent plus in my book ("The Path to Fortune" also
features a trinity of endings).  Occasional bits of writing are easily
on par with "Lurking Horror" and the game has a genuinely mysterious
feel throughout.

Perhaps a bit too mysterious, in fact.  My primary gripe about
"Frozen" is the complete lack of resolution to the game's bizarre
circumstances.  Aside from the curious last-minute addition to the
machine in the lab, no attempt at an explanation is even made.  Why
exactly did the students freeze up?  Why wasn't I affected?  How did
my experiences act to reverse it?  What exactly was that sphere on the
machine, and why was it added?  Whose body was that, burned at the
stake?  Two of the endings seem to suggest that everything was a
dream, but all three of them are quite vague.

Don't read this the wrong way -- unanswered questions fit in well with
this type of story, and I like having to make educated guesses to put
things together (and I'm a huge fan of "The X-Files", where the
writers frequently and intentionally leave the loose ends for viewers
to tie up), but I was hoping the author would give me a little more
background to work with in this particular case.  Perhaps the dust
spirit could have offered a few clues, or perhaps there could have
been more information about the graduate project.

At any rate, I enjoyed "Frozen".  Its size (the object code is only
about 64K) would have made it a perfect short work for the
Competition, but perhaps Jeremy Farnham is working on something else
even as we speak...


From: Cthulhu 

NAME: Gateway
AUTHOR: Legend Entertainment
EMAIL: ???
DATE: 1992
PARSER: ALMOST but not quite Infocom
AVAILABILITY: The Lost Adventures. Or download it from their web page.

I have seen the future of IF, and it is Gateway. It seems that just
yesterday that Legend Entertainment released this masterful game; just
yesterday that it went off the market before I had a chance to play
it. Well Legend Entertainment has decided to bring it back. Free.  As
demoware for their Lost Adventures Collection. I went to their web
page and downloaded the three lengthy files.

Five hours later I had the privilege to see the future of interactive
fiction. It's Gateway. Forget everything you've ever heard about text
games being obsolete. Time has not killed the text adventure; it has
not fallen victim to progress. Rather, time has finally allowed text
games to reach their potential. Gateway is an Infocom game for the
nineties, built with state-of-the art graphics and classic text. And
that's not all. If you prefer you can remove the graphical elements
and play the game eighties-style.

Yes, it has a compass rose like all other hybrid games. And yes
Virginia, it has a window for graphics and a window for text. And yes,
it combines an Infocom-quality parser with stunning animations,
incredible graphics, compelling sound, and literate text. The words
and pictures complement each other perfectly rather than
conflicting. Add to this mix the beautifully-rendered cut scenes,
self-contained puzzles, tons-o space travel, an epic storyline and a
galaxy-affecting plot.

Oh yes, let's talk about the galaxy-affecting plot. But let's not talk
about it too much, since I don't want to ruin anything for you. It's
an excellent story. Years ago the universe had been peopled by a
mysterious race called The Heechee. Mankind had discovered one of
their artifacts and learned how to use it. Turns out that it was a
space station containing starships that could cross the universe in an
eyeblink. We know of destination codes to punch into the starship, but
not how to read them. Each code can lead to riches beyond your wildest
dreams... or it can lead to instant death. You are a prospector who
arrives on Gateway in search of wealth, a young person eager to use
the mysterious alien starships to chase dreams across the light
years. Soon you will rise through the ranks, becomming wealthier and
more powerful until you have an encounter with the Heechee's ancient

The rich setting is one of the most well-developed in the history of
adventure gaming. Gateway sticks in my mind for this reason. The
milleau is revealed to you through the introduction, through
conversations, via a handheld computer and through what amounts to an
answering machine connected to the Internet(!). Most of this
information is unnecessary and purely for background; it shows the
lengths that the designers took to make this one of the best games
ever written. I daresay that, even before making it to the middle
game, you will have experienced a world richer even than in most
Infocom games.

Your starship will take off towards the various worlds that you have
codes for. Don't worry, the designers have mercifully decided NOT to
have any of them lead to an arbitrary death! Remember the time-travel
scenes in Trinity and Jigsaw? Well Gateway's space-travel scenes are
just as good. They begin and end with beautifully-rendered cut scenes
put to dramatic music. These scenes are short and to the point, and
you can skip them if you want to. Then the ship touches down, and you
will get to explore the planet in search of Heechee artifacts. Of
course, you'll untangle a lot of mystery and learn a lot about the
world first.

You wouldn't believe how well done these worlds are. Imagine a planet
where molecular acid takes the place of water, and the spear- carrying
humanoid which bathes in this acid. Try to imagine one with
carnivorous anemones which clear in terror when a giant spider
approaches.  Try also one where jellyfish-like creatures inside a pond
beam dreams to placate a primitive proto-human. I hope I haven't said
too much! Every puzzle you encounter on these worlds, on Gateway, and
throughout the game, are logical and self-contained. There are very
few restore puzzles, and there are VERY few chances to put the game
into an unsolvable state -- most of which are in the opening game.

Does it have disappointments? Yes, but what game doesn't?  The parser
is not quite up to Infocom standards, althought it comes very close;
you can't refer to POWER KNOB as POWER, for example. Most of these
disappointments come in the final world you will explore (you can
actually explore them in nearly any order, but I say final because its
code is listed last). The graphics in this world are almost EGA-like
and certainly not up to the quality in the rest of the game. There's
also an old man who doesn't react much when you shoot his pet
dinosaur(!).  And BTW, what does this game have against innocent old
men? Not only do you have to deprive one of his beloved companion, you
also have to dupe another one out of his key!

But all will be forgiven when you approach the endgame. You will
experience Heaven and Hell, and live through the dark designs of an
Assassin. Prepare to meet a Heechee artificial intelligence.
Basically, get ready for surprise after surprise. I said "WHAT THE
HELL?!" at least three times. Get ready for mental communication with
a long-dead Heechee. You will escape from Heaven and the fires of
Hell. And once you get back, there's a VERY shocking surprise waiting
in store for you that I won't dream of giving away. Move on to the
spectacular and apocalyptic ending sequence which will stay in my mind

Is the book this good? I don't know because I gave up on it some time
ago. But after playing Gateway, I went to the library and picked it
off the shelf. And they say that computer games are causing
illiteracy! Oh yeah, and I'm absolutely sure that I've seen at least
three of the illustrations previously-- in Omni magazine. Whoever
illustrated this game is a professional artist and a very good one as

{ Fred Pohl's novel _Gateway_ and its sequels are very good indeed.
  Highly recommended. -- MO }


From: Crispin Boylan 

NAME: Humbug
AUTHOR: Graham Cluley
E-MAIL: ???
DATE: Aug 1991
PARSER: Above Average
AVAILABILITY: Public Domain, GMD (v.4.8)
URL: (v 5)

This game has been around for years, and is one of the more popular
interactive fiction titles in Britain, and was, until recently, a
shareware title which had to be registered (with the registered
version you got a solution to the maze which was otherwise unsolvable,
and you could also save and load games to disk).  Times they are a
changin' however, and now the game has been released into the public
domain due to the author not having enough time to sell or support the
game anymore.  Cluley has actually produced this game without the aid
of any of the text adventure creation languages, a huge feat for a
game this size!

Anyway that's the history out of the way, now to get to the meat of
this review, the game itself.  It all opens with you, Sidney
Widdershins, arriving at your senile old grandads estate for a short
stay during the Christmas Holidays.  You planned to explore the old
windmill in the grounds of Attervist Manor, but as you arrive you
realise that something is amiss, especially when Grandad does not
appear to be around!  Closer inspection of the house reveals grandad
sleeping in his armchair, seemingly unwakeable, he has a rather
interesting document in his possession, a legal document asking for
grandad to hand over the manor to his new neighbour, Jasper Slake, who
will take proper care of the manor.  It seems during that the old fool
is broke, and has let the manor fall into a state of disrepair, and
his mutterings to Jasper of secret treasure hidden in the grounds of
the manor, and the 'wild woman of the hills' have done nothing to
prove his mental stability!  Grandad and Slake are bitter enemies,
only recently, the letter explains, did Grandad plant a scale model of
the Champs Elysee in Slakes garden!  So, on discovering this news it
is still unclear as to your mission, do you have to find the treasure?
or maybe stop Slake? This is one of the best points of the game, you
are constantly fed with small snippets of the plot, which is
consistent, and of good quality. 20

There is one major feature of this game which makes it stick out from
the rest, it is completely weird and surreal, you only have to look at
the NPCs to see this, Kevin, a clockwork shark, built by Grandad as
his contribution to the war effort; Sven, the viking, whose ship has
been caught in the manors lake as it froze; and Horace the groundsman,
who travels round the maze collecting any 'litter' in the form of
objects, that you may have deposited, he also only talks to
vegetables!  Some of the NPCs are better than others, but all are
likeable, apart from the villain, Jasper, of course.  The NPCs, on the
whole are not too talkative, but then again they really don't need to

This game has a maximum score of 2000 points, so you can expect quite
a few puzzles in this little gem, most of which are quite logical, but
there are some very hard puzzles which you really have to think about.
The game also has a bit of organisation needed, you must do the
puzzles in a certain order or you won't be able to complete others,
this is a bit annoying, but it is quite obvious, and easy to get
around.  To get the final few points you have to do a bit of verb
searching, for example typing 'PRAY', earns the response 'A voice from
below shouts, "I don't know how you've got the nerve!" ' and earns you
10 points, but does little else, my top score is 1920, so I still have
to get those last few! 20

There are over 200 objects and 100 locations in this game, so it's
pretty big, and the locations are varied, and when I say that I mean
Varied with a capital V, there are such bizzare locations as a alien
bar, a trip back in time, a fairies den, a junk yard, a bus stop, and
all of this takes place in the manors cellars!! The parser's
vocabulary is pretty extensive, but does it doesn't stretch to
multiple commands in the same sentence, still I like it.

This game is very funny, you can't help but laugh at some of the jokes
that examining some objects brings up, and the whole thing is just so
surreal!  The atmosphere is very good and you can just imagine being
there, the writing is on the whole very detailed and descriptive.  As
a player with a bit of experience (I haven't completed all the Infocom
games, but I've played through a few) I found this game hard (I
desparately needed the on-line hints), but very rewarding, just wait
until you see the ending, its brilliantly funny, and you'll never
guess it!!!!  This is a great game, download it now, the public domain
version is at Graham Cluleys own web page (address above), and is
version 5, there is a version at but it is only a shareware
version (4.8), without the map solution or save ability.


From: Graeme Cree <72630.304 SP@G CompuServe.COM>

NAME: The Lady in Green
AUTHOR: D.F. Stone
PARSER: AGT standard

The Lady in Green is another from the Electrabot/Detective school of
gaming, although it has more in the way of puzzles and story than
either of those two.  Like them, gameplay consists primarily of
following a more or less straightforward path through the game area
until you reach the end, at which point you win.  Detective had no
puzzles along the way and Electrabot only required you to match random
weapons with the monsters that they killed.  The Lady in Green goes
beyond this with some genuine puzzles, but they are still very easy
and buggy.  A couple even solve themselves (literally).

The story begins with you as a tired, bored businessman, returning
home from a trip to your wife, kids, and unmowed lawn.  At your hotel,
you are captivated by a mysterious portrait of a sad-looking woman in
a green dress that seems to be reaching out towards you.  In true
Twilight Zone fashion, you end up traveling through the portrait 200
years into the past into the (empty) bedroom of the lady in green.

At this point, it appeared that the story would be either a
time-travelling love-at-first-sight story, or some kind of
reincarnation affair.  It turns out to be neither.  When you find the
Lady in Green, it turns out that she just wants you to find her
13-year old son who didn't return home last night.  You search for
him, and find that he has been press-ganged into the British Navy as a
galley slave (!).  You must rescue him and return him home.

The game is divided into several sections.  A minor puzzle is usually
required to get from one section to the next, and it is impossible to
return to an earlier section until the end of the game.  It is
possible to get the game into an unwinnable state if you fail to
obtain a necessary item in one section before leaving it.  The game is
so short and easy though that this is not a major inconvenience.
Furthermore, the game comes with both an ASCII walkthrough file and
the AGT source code, so the chances of getting stuck are zero.

The puzzles are extremely easy, and as I said, there are some that
solve themselves.  In two instances, I merely entered the appropriate
area while carrying the necessary item, and was automatically told
that I had done the right thing with it.

The game is still rather buggy.  For example, the horse is needed
twice during the game, however you are only allowed to ride it in two
certain areas.  Elsewhere you are simply told that you can't ride it
at all.  Unfortunately, the horse CAN be picked up and carried around (!).
Since the horse is a part of the room description in the stables,
you can still see it there when it really isn't.  Of course, this
could be fixed by changing one line in the source code.  You can also
be blocked from entering an area by a dog that really isn't there when
you examine it.  At one point there is a barrel that cannot be taken
by saying TAKE BARREL.  You need to solve a puzzle to get it.  Or you
could just say TAKE ALL, which will take everything including the
barrel, obviating the puzzle.

The characters are cyberphantoms; you're never sure whether they're
really there or not, and not only the dog and the horse.  When you are
returning with the Lady in Green's son, you get the same descriptions
you got on the way out.  There is no creature (AGT's programming term
for all entities other than yourself) accompanying you.  You once or
twice get a message that indicates that he is with you, but usually
have no indication of it at all, and can neither see nor interact with
him.  The Lady in Green is similarly spectral (which may be
appropriate).  One turn after you enter the room with her, she gives
you your mission and leaves with no chance for interaction (Know what
I mean?  Say no more.  Nudge, nudge.)  The game is over the next time
you find her again.

One interesting thing about the game is the ending, which gives you
the option of staying in the past with the Lady in Green, or returning
to your old life.  Providing genuinely different endings is a rarely
seen touch (Plundered Hearts being the only other example I can think
of).  However, in Plundered Hearts, one of the endings is described as
being clearly superior to the others, where here, you are told that
they are both valid, even though if you choose to stay, you are
abandoning your wife and children in the present simply to run off and
live in what the game calls a more exciting time.  It's plain to see
that D.F. Stone isn't female if he calls this a valid choice.  I would
have liked it much better if your character had been a bachelor
returning home to a life of dirty laundry and ravioli eaten straight
out of the can, who had no real ties to the present.

This game won an honourable mention in the 6th AGT Game Writing

{ As far as I know, _all_ entrants in the AGT Game Writing Contest
  (that didn't win prizes) got honourable mentions. -- MO }


From: Graeme Cree <72630.304 SP@G CompuServe.COM>

NAME:          Love's Fiery Imbroglio
AUTHOR:        Natasha Mirage
EMAIL:         ? 
DATE:          1988
PARSER:        Multiple Choice
SUPPORTS:      PC and all AGT Ports

Natasha Mirage definitely has the best nom de plume in Interactive
Fiction, but judging her game, Love's Fiery Imbroglio, by normal
standards is not entirely fair.  Although it is a "text game", it is
not interactive fiction as we know it at all.  It is a computerized
version of a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book, and as a result, things
that would be considered to be bad form in a true I-F game (such as
choices that kill you or end the game without warning), may be
entirely appropriate here.

If you've played a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book, you already know
what this game is.  You get about a screen full story at which point
you are prompted to choose an action from a multiple choice list in
order to get to the next screen.  The story is primarily linear, with
a few side diversions, and has some choices which can end the game
completely, though you never actually die.

For example, early in the game when you are called for the date and
asked if 6:00 is okay, you can say that it is, say that it is too
early, or say that it is too late.  If you say that it is too early,
then the caller will get distracted, forget about you until it is too
late, and then spend the rest of his life in a monastary to atone for
his behavior, thus ending the game.  However, these are not nearly as
irritating as the "Rooms of Instant Death" in games like Detective and
Electrabot however because a) they are not entirely without warning;
common sense and textual clues may help you avoid many of them, and b)
the game has keys letting you back up any number of screens, meaning
that you don't need to restart the game or save first to get back to
where you were.  Just as in a real book, you can simply turn back to
the page where you were (and unlike a real book, you don't have to
remember what page number it was!)

The puzzles, such as they are, are primarily diplomatic ones.  For
example, at the restaurant, your gourmet date mentions being puzzled
by the secret ingredient of his favourite dish.  Suggesting that it
may be salt, will hurt his feelings by implying that he couldn't
identify something so simple.

As for the plot...well, the title tells you all you need to know.  It
is probably the only romance novel game apart from Plundered
Hearts. You are a lonely female, sitting around your apartment, trying
not to think about your accumulating laundry pile when a friend of a
friend calls and asks you for a date.  The game consists of getting
ready for the big evening, and handling yourself well during dinner
(no bad puns, please!)  A lot of the (supposedly) usual Romance novel
elements are in there; i.e. date has a secret pain which you must find
out about and help deal with.  Yes, the Schlock Factor does ride quite

However, the writing is where this game really shines.  The repartee
between author and player is quite entertaining.  The game's
atmosphere seems to repeatedly switch between "real" reality, Romance
Novel reality, and fantasy in a very entertaining way.  The tone
manages to remain bouncy (ah ah ah, no jokes!  I'm not having things
getting silly!) and lighthearted at the appropriate times without
slipping into pure comedy.

Overall, this is a very polished and enjoyable product.  The simple
multiple-choice interface makes the parser completely trouble-free.
The writing (the core of any product like this) is first class.
Though I've never felt moved to read a Romance novel (and still
don't), I found the writing and interactivity, coupled with the
games's very reasonable length, to be adequate compensation for any
schlockiness, and considered the game to be well worth the time spent
playing it.

It's also not a bad introductory game.  I've always felt that intro
games should be much more heavily weighted towards story than puzzles
(as anyone who has played my own Lost in Space game can attest).
Furthermore, these days a good introductory game should not do things
merely better than graphics, but do things that graphic games cannot
do at all.  For example, imagine the climax of Leather Goddesses of
Phobos (okay, you can make a joke about that).  That isn't an
introductory game, but you get the idea.  That scene would be flatly
impossible to reproduce in a graphics game.  The same goes for this
game.  A person can't play it and say "that was good, but I wish it
had been graphical rather than textual."  (Superfluous) graphics could
conceivably be added to this game, but could not possibly substitute
for the text.

The game was written with a system called Pinntale, which seems to be
specially designed for Choose-Your-Own-Adventure games, however I
don't know of any other games written with it.  I uploaded this one to
GMD myself about a year ago, and GMD has no others, nor does the
person that I got it from.

Recently the game was ported to AGT by Mike Ryan, where its title was
changed to "Love's Fiery Rapture" (to which I object, as "Imbroglio"
is a much cooler word and doesn't mean the same thing as rapture).
The source code for this version does exist at GMD.  The AGT version
is inferior to the original in that it does not let you customize the
character names, and does not seem to permit backwards page flipping
(although both of these things could be implemented using AGT).  It's
primary value is as a programming model for others wishing to create
this same type of adventure.

On the face of it, Love's Fiery Imbroglio is a game written
specifically for women.  In fact, you have to claim to be a woman at
the beginning or the game will tell you that you don't really want to
play it, and that it's all about knitting anyway.  But really it's
done well enough to be of interest to people of all sexes.


From: Magnus Olsson (zebulon SP@G

NAME: The Meteor, the Stone and a Long Glass of Sherbet - 
      The Interactive Memoirs of a Diplomat.
AUTHOR: Graham Nelson (writing as Angela M. Horns)
EMAIL: graham SP@G
DATE: September 28, 1996
PARSER: Inform Standard
SUPPORTS: Infocom ports

It seems as if any new game by Graham Nelson is destined to be an
instant classic. This one is no exception; I had barely played past
the title screen when I realized that this was something quite out of
the ordinary. The title, to begin with: impossibly long for a computer
game, with its slightly bizarre combination of subjects; and the
slow-paced, introduction, with its Victorian atmosphere and hints of
diplomatic intrigue made it impossible to stop playing.

Unfortunately, the game doesn't quite live up to these promises of
originality: once one has found the crucial action to upset the
orderly progression of events and enter the game proper, the pace of
the narrative slackens, and the plot turns into a traditional

For traditional it is, following the oldest tradition there is in IF:
like "Balances" by the same author, "Sherbet" is an Infocom pastiche,
set in a copy of the "Zork" universe (though all names have been
changed, probably for copyright reasons). Unlike the minimalist,
sketchy "Balances", this game is very rich in detail, with some
detailed background history and other commentary provided in the

But any complaints about the lack of originality are compensated by
the sheer joy of playing the game, and of exploring its rich world
(which is not at all a copy of "Zork", if my previous comments have
made that impression, but rather some sort of parallel universe where
things are hauntingly familiar). The writing is excellent and the
atmosphere exceptionally vivid - the cedar cave, in particular, has
etched itself into my memory as if I'd really been there. Above all,
when playing Sherbet I felt the same sense of wonder as I remember
from my first contact with "Zork"; a sense of wonder that's often
missing from newer games, however sophisticated they may be.

The puzzles are good; nothing extraordinary, perhaps, but not trivial
either. Unfortunately, there are some "guess the verb" situations, and
one or two cases where the room descriptions are a bit confusing.

But these flaws are all very minor and do not detract from the general
impression. A very worthy winner, and a game that surely will bear to
be re-played over the years.


From: jbarlow SP@G (Joe Barlow)

NAME: Perdition's Flames
AUTHOR: Michael Roberts
DATE: 1993

{ This review was previously published in _Intelligent Gamer_, which
  explains the slightly different format. It is included here with the
  author's permission. -- MO }

A couple of things about this review: please remember that it was
written in 1994, before I knew anything about TADS [the Text Adventure
Development System], which was used to create the game.  I touted a
couple of the features in PF as being very unique, such as the ability
to dump a transcript of the game to a text file.  Of course, that's a
standard feature of all TADS games, but I didn't know it at the time.
Also, at the time I reviewed it, the game was still commercial.
Obviously, the comments about the game's copy-protection and all of
the game's "included goodies" don't apply to the freeware version.  I
am leaving them in the review, however, because the final rating the
game received was due in part to its extensive Infocom-like packaging.
Even without it, though, this game is well worth a look, especially
for FREE!

   "I'm too young to die...."        
It has been said that man's greatest journey is the one he makes at
death, and with good reason.  People have always been fascinated by
what lies beyond our "mortal" world, and the book and film market have
been quick to capitalize on this interest.  Even the computer gaming
industry has explored the concept, much to the delight and surprise of
many gamers.  More than one recent game has allowed players to explore
the afterlife, including Sierra's King's Quest 6: Heir Today Gone
Tomorrow, which offered would-be adventurers the chance to see the
Realm of the Dead, complete with eerie background music and
frightening graphics.  Now, California-based software publisher High
Energy has taken a look at the afterlife (with tongue firmly
in-cheek,) and death will never be the same again.  Let's face it: any
game which opens with the message "*** You have died ***" can't be all
bad!  Quite the contrary, in fact: Perdition's Flames is a marvelous
adventure game, and the best way I've yet found to explore Hell
without leaving the comfort of my own home.

As the game begins, the player's soul is drifting down a river on a
yacht, along with several other newly deceased people.  The player is
free to wander around the ship, have a few drinks at the bar, chat
with the crew, or just enjoy the scenery.  This opening sequence is a
fantastic way of familiarizing yourself with the "feel" of the game.
Wander around and enjoy the atmosphere.  Get used to being dead.
You'll find out that it's not terribly different from the life you're
used to.  (Hmmmm. I wonder if that's significant.)

After a short while, the ship will arrive at a dock leading to the
Hell mainland.  Once you leave the ship, you'll find yourself in the
merry land of Hell, which is quite a bit different than most of us
have been led to believe.  If the player wishes, he or she may attend
a welcoming seminar, during which various other new arrivals will ask
some hilarious "newbie" questions, and receive answers from the Hell
Welcoming Committee.

From the seminar, the player learns that Hell has decided to update
its image.  Gone is the "Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter" sign that
used to hang atop the main gate.  Gone is the eternity of damnation
and suffering that every church preacher in the history of the world
has shouted and sweated about in his sermons.  Now, Hell is just like
any other nice place to live, with shopping malls, suburbs, and a
Department of Motor Vehicles.  (Somehow, we all knew that Hell would
have one of these, didn't we?)

What if a soul is uncomfortable in Hell?  No problem!  People are able
to freely go back and forth between Heaven and Hell, staying as long
as they like in either place.  Transportation to and from Heaven is
accomplished via an enormous elevator in the middle of town, provided
one has a ticket.
   Just think of it as Sim-Hell...

Perdition's Flames (PF) features incredibly detailed descriptions of
rooms and objects.  Its text-only interface recalls the greatness of
Infocom (a software publisher from the late 1970s-late 1980s who wrote
many text- only adventure games), without resorting to some of the
shortcomings that were typical of even this mighty software giant.
For starters, PF is "100% Certified Maze-Free!"  For folks like me who
still occasionally wake up screaming in the middle of the night
because of Zork III's Royal Puzzle, this is a heaven-sent (no pun
intended) gift.  True questers will also be relieved to learn that
it's quite impossible to get yourself in a position from which it's no
longer possible to win.  This was my only real gripe with Infocom's
games: all too often, if you didn't do something trivial way back at
the beginning of the game, you were unable to solve a puzzle much
later in your quest.  (The cheese sandwich puzzle from Hitchhiker's
Guide comes to mind.)
   Hell on Wheels
Moving around Hell is easy: the player simply types in which way he or
she wants to go: "Go north," for example.  More complicated sentences
are also allowed: the player may type something along the lines of "Go
north.  Open the door then take the shiny gold coin."  Players can
keep track of the items they are carrying with the standard
"inventory" command.  One of the more unique features PF has that many
other games do not is the ability to dump a transcript of the game in
progress to a text file.  Infocom's classics allowed transcripts to be
dumped to a printer, so the tradeoff is a fair one.  Even some of
Infocom's more obscure commands like VERBOSE (turn on long descrip-
tions) are present (and welcome) in PF.  All in all, this game is
something I wouldn't be surprised to find on a hypothetical Lost
Treasures of Infocom Volume 3.

   Is it hot in here, or is it just me?

What makes PF stand out above the countless other text games currently
on the market is its wonderful sense of humor.  The game makes some
truly awful puns, pokes fun at everyone's notion of what Hell is
"supposed" to be, and generally keeps you looking forward to coming
back to Hell every time you have to leave the computer.  If the player
should find a pitchfork in a barn, for example, the game mocks: "Now
if you only had horns and a tail, you'd own this place!"  During your
welcoming seminar, the player discovers that it is unwise to try and
sue anyone in Hell because the Hell Judicial System is based on the
one in the United States, and it will take an eternity (literally) for
cases to come to trial.  And hearing the woman in front of you answer
questions in the Celestial Security Office will make you laugh out
loud, in the style of Douglas Adams' Bureaucracy.

PF was written using TADS (Text Adventure Development System), a
programming tool also published by High Energy.  TADS allows users to
write games that are of Infocom quality, and, if PF is any indication,
they ain't just whistling "Dixie" with this claim.

   "I may be going to Hell in a bucket, baby...
    but at least I'm enjoying the ride." - Grateful Dead

PF's elaborate packaging is another way in which the folks at High
Energy software have summoned the ghosts of Infocom.  PF comes with a
handsome map, a detailed, well-written manual, a hint book, a
reference card, and "The Official Tourist Guide to Hell," an
illustrated, side-splitting pamphlet that contains the game's
copy-protection, in addition to many amusing items of interest.

Let's talk about the quality of the game's prose.  Although
comparisons with Infocom are unavoidable when reviewing text
adventures, the prose of PF is elegant, often funny and immensely
enjoyable, equaling (and in some cases, even surpassing) many of
Infocom's works.  (It easily beats out the Zork trilogy, for instance,
and is on par with Deadline or even A Mind Forever Voyaging in terms
of the quality, if not intensity, of its writing.)

I loved the non-linear nature of the game.  Although by neccessity
certain puzzles have to be solved before other puzzles can be reached,
the game is tremendously flexible.  You truly feel like you are
PLAYING the game, rather than being sent to Location A to get Object B
to take to Location C to exchange it for Object D, etc. (Indeed, this
free-style type of play is neccessary, since the game's goal is not
revealed to you until quite late in the adventure.)

Finally, I enjoyed the difficult *BUT STILL LOGICAL* nature of many of
the puzzles.  While many Infocom games had brain-twisting challenges,
the solutions were occasionally not very logical at all (I'm thinking
particularly of the two Douglas Adams games here).  There are two
great head-scratchers that particularly stand out in Perdition's
Flames: the Haunted House/Ring puzzle and the Lion-Headed Statue
puzzle.  These are two of the best puzzles I have ever seen in ANY
interactive-fiction game, in both implementation and originality.
Both of these obstacles were *very* difficult to solve, but in the end
the solutions made sense, and I felt a sense of accomplishment after
conquering them.

System requirements for the game are tough to reveal: the review copy
INTELLIGENT GAMER Gamer received from Michael Roberts (the author of
the game) didn't list them, but they seem to be just about as minimal
as you could expect.  The program uses a swap file to run on machines
with small amounts of memory, and a hard drive is recommended.  The
program ran equally well on my 286/12 and my 486/50.

RATING: 9.5 out of 10.  Perdition's Flames is an incredibly
entertaining game with an original premise, and would be a bargain at
twice the price.  Fans of text adventure games will not want to miss
this one.  If, however, you don't think you'll be able to see past its
lack of graphics, you should probably look elsewhere.


From: Magnus Olsson (zebulon SP@G

NAME: Sir Ramic Hobbs and the Oriental Walk
AUTHOR: Gil Williamson
DATE: October, 1996
SUPPORTS: MS-DOS (runtime included), AGiliTy

[ Note: There appears to be some confusion about the title of this
game: is it the "Oriental Walk", as the title screen says, or the
"Oriental Wok", as it's called in some of the docs? "Walk" probably,
since there _is_ an "Oriental Walk" in the game, but no wok even in
the kitchen :-). I suppose the "wok" is intended as a pun... ]

One topic that has been the subject of much heated discussion on is that of player characterization. How can you
cast the player as a set character, perhaps totally unlike the
player's ordinary character, and make him or her feel and act like
this character? The prevalent view seems to be that most players hate
when the game tells them what they feel and think, and that few things
are as irritating as being told that your, perfectly reasonable,
action is out of character.

It is interesting to see that one of the less sophisticated games of
the competition not only tries to do this, but succeeds at it. And,
perhaps surprisingly, it does so by casting you in a far from
flattering role: that of Sir Ramic Hobbs, an antihero in every sense
of the word - or, to be frank, a bumbling, drunken buffoon.

Or perhaps this is just why it manages to pull it off. For "Wok" is a
farce, and you are the butt of the jokes. Not just you, Sir Ramic, but
you, the player. Much of the humour lies in the player being misled,
and the game pretending to misunderstand the player's confusion as Sir
Ramic's stupidity. In some cases (such as the sudden darkness), the
game leads the player completely up the garden path, thereby forcing
him to act in character.

As the reader may have guessed, "Wok" is a game that talks back to
you. It even makes an attempt to explain who is doing the talking by
giving a name to the "narrator": Prang, a disembodied wizard who takes
orders from the player and guides him along. As a moderately
experienced IF player, I found this slightly annoying at first, and
then I forgot all about it. However, the documentation says that the
game is aimed at beginners, who maybe will find this a help.

Despite the fact that the game talks back to you, commenting on your
every action, and making fun of many of the mistakes you're making, it
is all very good natured (as opposed to a certain other competition
game, that apparently made some people feel quite insulted). I never
had the feeling that the author was making fun of me, but rather that
we were sharing a joke. And Sir Ramic may be a buffoon, but he's quite
a lovable buffoon.

This is all very skillfully done. Apart from the writing, however, the
game is quite unsophisticated. To start with, it has a rather
primitive look-and-feel. To avoid fanning the ongoning religious wars,
I won't speculate whether this is due to the game being written in
AGT; it does have, however, the feel of a "typical, mid 80's, AGT
game" - garish colours, rather minimalistic room descriptions, a
simple parser, rather underdeveloped atmosphere, NPC's that are just
animated obstacles.

To be fair, however, these aren't very serious flaws. The parser, for
example, is quite adequate (there is one glaring "guess the word"
problem, but a better parser couldn't have remedied a lack of
synonyms), one of the NPC's (the dog) is at least a bit more
developed, and this is not the kind of game one plays for the joy of
exploring a detailed fantasy world.

The puzzles are fairly standard, but there are some interesting twists
(and the series of transformations at the end is quite clever and
entertaining). The obligatory maze adds nothing to the game and could
have been advantageously removed. The eponymous puzzle, the "oriental
walk", is clever, but far too tedious - and this is aggravated by the
fact that saving is disallowed while solving the puzzle. Disabling
saving is probably a way to prevent solutions by trial-and-error, but
an unfortunate consequence of this is that a single mistake means
having to start the puzzle all over again, with all the directions

The online hints can be somewhat infuriating, since there is only one
hint per room, but fortunately a walkthrough is provided.
Unfortunately, the walkthrough is of no help in the "walk" - you'll
just have to sweat it through (the endgame is worth it!).

In conclusion, "Wok" is a game that lives by its wit and humour, which
are more than enough to outweigh its shortcomings in other areas. In
fact, I found it one of the funniest games I've played.


From: "C.E. Forman" 

NAME: Time -- All things come to an end
AUTHOR: Andy Phillips
EMAIL: pmyladp SP@G
DATE: October 1996 (Release 4)
PARSER: Inform
SUPPORTS: Version 8 ZIP Interpreters

[This review contains minor spoilers for the beginning of the game.]

It would seem to me that 1995-1996 was the Year of the Time-Travel
Game.  Over the past 12 months, we've witnessed the appearance of "A
Night at the Museum Forever", "Jigsaw", and "Lost New York", heard
rumors of Jon Drukman's not-yet-released "Forward into the Past", and
are now faced with "Time: All Things Come to an End."

Yes, "Time" is another time-travel game (!), and a more believable one
than "Museum", but not quite up to the levels of realism attained by
Graham Nelson and Neil deMause.  It is well-programmed, and for the
most part well-written (though there are a surprising number of run-on
sentences, considering the author is from the U.K.).

I personally found the introduction rather hard to swallow.  As the
game began, a brilliant scientist (me) was in danger of having his
temporal translocator research project shut down due to lack of
progress.  Within 20 turns, however, I'd figured out how to power the
machine, taking advantage of an overhead lightning storm.  Considering
that the storm is described as "typical English weather", the notion
of it taking YEARS to get around to considering lightning as a power
source seems positively ludicrous!  ("Great Scott!" as Dr. Emmitt
Brown himself might put it.)

To be fair, though, once you get the machine working and are whisked
into a cyberpunk-like dystopian future (perhaps the direct
consequences of your meddling with the timestream?), suspension of
disbelief kicks in, and "Time" becomes an enjoyable and surprisingly
playable work of I-F.

This came as quite a surprise to me, because the game itself is very
linear.  It's a single-path story with little room for
experimentation, puzzles requiring a great deal of note-taking and
foresight, and plenty of opportunities to become irrevocably stuck.
Normally I dislike stop-and-start gameplay.  For some reason, though,
this didn't make me hate it, even after a dozen or so setbacks.  I
can't quite explain why: The writing is good but not spectacular; The
settings aren't all that inspired; Most of the individual puzzles are
no more clever than the average game.

Yet for some reason it was very, very fun for me to play, and
discussions with other players led to the same conclusion.  There's
something about the *way* the puzzles are presented -- never
gratuitous, but as part of the story, giving the sense of plot
unfolding before the player; layered, interwoven with one another;
with virtually all reasonable actions accounted for -- that makes one
want to keep trying, even after dying countless horrible deaths.  Just
when you think you've finally gotten somewhere, "Time" tells you that
you don't.  But you're close, you just know it.  Maybe one more try...

Unfortunately, if you're weary of games that make you use information
gained from past lives, there's nothing I can do to disguise the fact
that "Time" is one of those games.  But I found it to be so enjoyable
that this so- called "design flaw" didn't even matter.  I recommend
that even crusaders for "realistic" I-F give this one a try.  You
might be pleasantly surprised.

Just save often.


From: Audrey DeLisle 
NAME: Treasure
AUTHOR: James L. Dean
EMAIL: ?         
PARSER: none really

{ I can't find this game in the IF-archive. If anybody knows a URL
  for it, please let me know. -- MO }
HISTORY: This game was written in 1980 and revised in 1987.  It is
based on an article in BYTE 7/79 by Roger Chaffee.  The game has
been compiled to play, but the BASIC file is in the zip.  The BASIC
file explains the algorithm used and has instructions to change the
treasures and guardians.
PARSER: The reason I say there is not really a parser is that the
commands are limited to one letter:
C = carry (get); L = leave (drop); P = points (score); R = repeat;
I = Inventory; Q = Quit and the directions are N,S,E,W,U,D in the
simple game, adding F (Forward), B (backward) in the expanded game.
If you try to type something else, a help screen appears.
This would be a good game for a child who can read a little or to be
played with an adult to read the brief room descriptions and let the
child input commands.  The object is to find and return all the 15
treasures and pass through every room (100) in the fewest number of
moves, but there is no comparison.  You are asked for a game number,
so perhaps you can get the same game again.  This allows the game to
be played over and over with different locations and it might generate
a comparison for future games.  Those who abhor treasure hunts or
expect to 'save' and 'restore' should avoid it.
Each treasure is guarded by a monster and the weapons must be found to
vanquish each.  The guardians do nothing.  You are safe.  You cannot
die.  Well, if you do, the game will resurrect you with no loss.  You
do nothing.  If you have the correct weapon, C will work.
There are two hazards: a pirate will steal your treasure if you don't
return it to the Entrance soon enough and an ill wind will blow you to
a random location.  Neither is a serious problem.  The treasure will
be found somewhere and you can get oriented quickly.
It is not possible to write a solution since each game is different.
You can choose variations--limit to 3d, accept another dimension, etc.
In the simplest version, the directions are N,S,E,W,U,D and there are
few surprises.  This is the one I played.  I think the more advanced
versions might be more fun, but might take longer.  I finished the one
game I played in about four hours.  I decided a chart of directions
was more useful than a typical map.  I scored 100 points.


From: Tony Baechler 

NAME: Tryst of Fate
AUTHOR: G. M. Zagurski
AVAILABILITY: freeware gmd
EMAIL: gmzagur SP@G
DATE: April 1997
PARSER: Inform
VERSION: 104 970331

For the most part, I really enjoyed this game.  I thought that the
writing was quite well done and at some points I was really drawn into
the story.  It would have rated higher but it had no online help, no
hints, no walkthrough, and all I would get with help is the author's
email address.  Also, there were some rough edges, one being that I
had to type single words when mentioning the word to open the door and
talking to the horse.  But, when answering the riddles, I had to use
the say command.  It would have been better if the author would have
stayed consistent.

But, I would not have guessed that the author spent so long creating
the game based on the fine writing and the fact that the game worked
as I would expect.  It did feel a little odd in an old west setting
since I would not expect a text adventure game to have anything to do
with horses and ghost towns and mines.  But, even so, it was still
presented very well and I liked it.  Also, a definite plus was that it
was not that difficult, but there are many things that I would not
have been able to guess because of the inconsistencies mentioned

I thought that the idea of gum ball transformation was neat and I kept
hoping to find some more gum to take me to other places.  An amazing
amount of things could have been put into the game if one actually
would have enough time and willingness to program them.  The only real
major disappointment I had was at the very end.  It did not abruptly
come to a stop but more text (and more of an end game in general)
would have been nice.  It is like I had come all that way and done so
much and all I got was a gold watch and a thanks for helping out.  I
was also hoping to find more information about the woman that George
seemed to like so much that helped to open doors, among other things.
Too bad there were no new gum balls in his factory and I had to make
my own.  I could see a little bit of Zork, a small part of Trinity and
some Colossal Cave in this game.


From: Cthulhu 

NAME: Wormhole: The Beginning
AUTHOR: Philip Dearmore
EMAIL: morbeus SP@G
DATE: 1995
AVAILABILITY: Free but "discontinued"

Wormhole: The Beginning is the "introductory" game from
Neotext. According to its web page, it has been "discontinued." Well,
what can I say? It's a game that succeeds very well despite its
massive flaws. It's annoying and frustrating, hobbled by cliches and a
completely substandard parser. On the other hand the plot is so
compelling, so interesting, that I simply couldn't stop playing this

It's the middle of the night. Your friend George Edfry, who lives in
Virginia, wakes you up with a phone call. The description of the phone
call, BTW, has got to be THE funniest moments in any game outside of
the Space Quest series. So you go to his house.

Morning. The game begins. You've left your keys in the ignition of
your Honda after locking your door and exiting the car. Excuse me, but
how the heck is that possible? Never mind, since that's the setup for
one of the game's most interesting puzzle. There are also George's car
and, for a sinister bit of foreshadowing, an unexplained Lincoln
parked outside of his house. You can interact with neither of these
cars in any way whatsoever. The author put in a brilliant surprise
when I looked under the welcome mat, and.. I won't even dream of
telling you! You soon get to a puzzle where, to progress any further,
you have to deal with a hostile guard dog in exactly the same way that
you dealt with the poodle in Wishbringer.

Well, that was the opening game. Soon you will be discovering the
fiendishly clever plot and brilliant surprises. It soon becomes
obvious that one of George's experiments have gone horribly
wrong. Food stains on carpets are replaced by blood as you
progress. You will discover a rift into another dimension. And,
eventually, you will find George himself in a state that came as a
complete surprise to me.

Fun, eh? Yep. but this game has serious flaws. There's a chimney that
you can enter, shades of Curses, but you can't do anything in it!
There's a flashlight in the game that works the same whether it's
turned on or not. In short, the coding is awful. Nowhere is this more
evident than in a room with a pool of mercury in it. Try ENTER THE
of them give a "you can't do that" message. You cannot put anything in
the pool. You cannot put anything on the pool. You cannot look in it
or under it. You can't drink it. And, even though it's specifically
called a "reflection pool", it's utterly impossible to shine the
flashlight on it. Towards the end the game has your character say a
line (about moon-stones, for those who know) when he could not
possibly know what he's talking about. And the final puzzle, that of
finding the last moonstone, has got to be the most stupid and
illogical one I've ever played because it requires George to be a
moron almost beyond comprehension.

I'm looking forward to playing Neosoft's second game, Urban
Cleanup. Wormhole has promise. Perhaps Urban Cleanup will realize it.

READER'S SCOREBOARD----------------------------------------------------------

{ First, an apology: these ratings aren't quite up-to-date. If you've
  rated a game, and can't see your rating reflected in the scores
  below, don't panic: I'll go through the backlog for the next
  issue. }

        A   - Runs on Amigas.
        AP  - Runs on Apple IIs.
        GS  - Runs on Apple IIGS.
        AR  - Runs on Acorn Archimedes.
        C   - Commercial, no fixed price.
        C30 - Commercial, with a fixed price of $30.
        F   - Freeware.
        GMD - Available on
        I   - Runs on IBM compatibles.
        M   - Runs on Macs.
        S20 - Shareware, registration costs $20.
        64  - Runs on Commodore 64s.
        ST  - Runs on Atari STs.
        TAD - Written with TADS.  This means it can run on:
                AmigaDOS, NeXT and PC, Atari ST/TT/Falcon, DECstation
                (MIPS) Unix Patchlevel 1 and 2, IBM, IBM RT, Linux, Apple
                Macintosh, SGI Iris/Indigo running Irix, Sun 4 (Sparc)
                running SunOS or Solaris 2, Sun 3, OS/2, and even a 386+
                protected mode version.
        AGT - Available for IBM, Mac, Amiga, and Atari ST.  This does not
                include games made with the Master's edition.
        ADVSYS - Available for PC and Macintosh only, or so my sources tell
                 me.  (Source code available as well.  So it can be ported
                 to other computers.)
        HUG - Written with Hugo.  Runs on MS-DOS, Linux, and Amigas.
        INF - Infocom or Inform game.  These games will run on:
                Atari ST, Amiga, Apple Macintosh, IBM, Unix, VMS, Apple II,
                Apple IIGS, C64, TSR-80, and Acorn Archimedes.  There may be
                other computers on which it runs as well.

 Name                  Avg Sc  Chr  Puz  # Sc  Rlvt Ish       Notes:
 ====                  ======  ===  ===  ====  ========       ======
Adventure               7.7    1.1  0.7    2     8      F_INF_TAD_ETC_GMD
Adventure 350           6.5    0.0  1.5    1     x      
Adv. of Eliz. Highe     3.1    0.8  0.3    1     5      F_AGT
All Quiet...Library     4.5    0.7  0.7    3     7      F_INF_GMD
Amnesia                 7.7    1.3  1.4    1     9      C_AP_I_64
Another...No Beer       2.4    0.2  0.8    2     4      S10_IBM_GMD
Arthur: Excalibur       8.6    1.8  1.7    1     4      C_INF
Awe-Chasm               2.4    0.3  0.6    1     8      S?_IBM_ST
Balances                6.4    1.0  1.3    2     6      F_INF_GMD
Ballyhoo                7.0    1.8  1.5    3     4      C_INF
Beyond Tesseract        3.7    0.1  0.6    1     6      F_I_GMD
Beyond Zork             8.1    1.5  2.0    3     5      C_INF
Border Zone             6.7    1.4  1.4    4     4      C_INF
Broken String           3.1    0.5  0.6    1     x      F_TADS_GMD
Bureaucracy             8.3    1.8  1.6    3     5      C_INF
Busted                  5.2    1.0  1.1    1            F_INF_GMD
Castaway                1.1    0.0  0.4    1     5      F_IBM_GMD
Change in the Weather   6.1    0.8  1.1    2     7      F_INF_GMD
Christminster           8.6    1.8  1.7    3            F_INF_GMD
Corruption              6.7    1.4  1.4    1     x      C_I
Cosmoserve              8.7    1.3  1.4    2     5      F_AGT_GMD
Crypt v2.0              5.0    1.0  1.5    1     3      S12_IBM_GMD
Curses                  8.3    1.3  1.7    7     2      F_INF_GMD
Cutthroats              6.4    1.4  1.2    5     1      C_INF
Deadline                7.0    1.3  1.4    4     x      C_INF
Deep Space Drifter      5.5         1.4    1     3      S15_TAD_GMD
Demon's Tomb            7.4    1.2  1.1    2     9      C_I
Detective               1.1    0.0  0.0    4     4-5    F_AGT_GMD
Detective-MST3K         6.0    0.6  0.1    3     7-8    F_INF_GMD
Ditch Day Drifter       7.1    1.2  1.6    1     2      F_TAD_GMD
Dungeon Adventure       6.8    1.3  1.6    1     4      F_SEE REVIEW Issue #4
Dungeon of Dunjin       6.2    0.5  1.5    2     3      S20_IBM_MAC_GMD
Electrabot              0.7    0.0  0.0    1     5      F_AGT_GMD
Enchanter               7.1    0.9  1.4    5     2      C_INF
Enhanced                N/A                0     2      S10_TAD_GMD
Eric the Unready        7.4    1.5  1.4    1     x      C_I
Fable, A                2.0    0.2  0.1    1     6      F_AGT_GMD
Fish                    7.1    1.2  1.5    1     x      C_I
Forbidden Castle        4.8    0.6  0.5    1     x      C_AP
Gateway                 7.5    1.6  1.5    1     x      C_I
Great Archaelog. Race   6.5    1.0  1.5    1     3      S20_TAD_GMD
Guardians of Infinity   8.5    N/A  1.3    1     9      C_I
Guild of Thieves        6.8    1.1  1.2    1     x      C_I
Gumshoe                 6.3    1.3  1.1    2     9      F_INF_GMD
Hitchhiker's Guide      8.0    1.6  1.6    5     5      C_INF
Hollywood Hijinx        5.7    1.0  1.5    4     x      C_INF
Horror30.Zip            3.6    0.0  0.9    1     3      S20_IBM_GMD
Horror of Rylvania      7.7                1     1      C20_TAD_GMD (Demo)
Humbug                  7.4                1     x      S10_GMD (Uncertain)
Infidel                 7.0         1.4    7     1-2    C_INF
Inhumane                3.6    0.2  0.7    1     9      F_INF_GMD
Jacaranda Jim           7.0                1     x      S10_GMD (Uncertain)
Jeweled Arena, The      8.0    1.5  1.5    1     x      ?
Jigsaw                  8.7    1.6  1.6    3     8,9    F_INF_GMD
Jinxter                 6.7    1.1  1.3    1     x      C_I
John's Fire Witch       7.2    1.1  1.6    5     4      S6_TADS_GMD
Journey                 6.9    1.3  0.8    1     5      C_INF
Jouney Into Xanth       5.0    1.3  1.2    1     8      F_AGT_GMD
Klaustrophobia          7.3    1.2  1.4    4     1      S15_AGT_GMD
Leather Goddesses       7.8    1.4  1.7    5     4      C_INF
The Legend Lives!       8.2    0.8  1.5    1     5      F_TADS_GMD
Lethe Flow Phoenix      7.5    1.7  1.5    1     9      F_TADS_GMD
The Light: Shelby's Ad. 8.0    1.6  0.5    1     9      S?_TADS_GMD
Lurking Horror, The     7.1    1.4  1.3    5     1,3    C_INF
MacWeslyan(PC Univ.)    5.6    0.7  1.0    1     x      F_TADS_GMD
Magic.Zip               4.5    0.5  0.5    1     3      S20_IBM_GMD
Magic Toyshop, The      3.6    0.5  1.0    1            F_INF_GMD
Mind Electric, The      5.1    0.5  0.8    2     7-8    F_INF_GMD
Mind Forever Voyaging   8.5    1.4  0.6    4     5      C_INF
Moonmist                5.9    1.4  1.3    5     1      C_INF
Mop & Murder            4.9    0.5  1.0    1     4-5    F_AGT_GMD
Multidimen. Thief       5.6    0.4  1.0    3     2,9    S15_AGT_GMD
Mystery House           4.1    0.3  0.7    1     x      F_AP_GMD
Night at Museum Forever 4.1    0.0  1.0    3     7-8    F_TAD_GMD
Nord and Bert           4.8    0.5  1.0    2     4      C_INF
Odieus': Flingshot      3.3    0.4  0.7    2     5      F_INF_GMD
One Hand Clapping       7.1    1.1  1.3    2     5      F_ADVSYS_GMD
One That Got Away, The  6.4    1.2  0.9    2     7-8    F_TAD_GMD
Oo-Topos                5.7    0.2  1.0    1     x      C_AP_I_64
Path to Fortune         6.8    1.4  0.8    1     9      S_INF_GMD
Pawn, The               6.5    1.0  1.2    1     x      C_I_AP_64
Perseus & Andromeda     3.4    0.3  1.0    1     x      ?
Planetfall              7.5    1.7  1.6    6     4      C_INF
Plundered Hearts        7.8    1.4  1.3    2     4      C_INF
Quarterstaff            6.1    1.3  0.6    1     9      C_M
Sanity Claus            9.0                1     1      S10_AGT_GMD
Save Princeton          5.8    1.2  1.3    2     8      S10_TAD_GMD
Seastalker              5.5    1.1  1.0    4     4      C_INF
Shades of Grey          8.0    1.3  1.4    4     1-2    F_AGT_GMD
Sherlock                8.2    1.5  1.6    2     4      C_INF
Shogun                  7.1    1.5  0.5    1     4      C_INF
Sir Ramic Hobbs         5.0    1.0  1.5    1     6      F_AGT_GMD
Sorceror                7.3    0.6  1.6    5     2      C_INF
South American Trek     0.9    0.2  0.5    1     5      ?_IBM_GMD
Space Aliens...Cardigan 1.8    0.5  0.4    4     3      S60_AGT_GMD
Spellbreaker            8.2    1.2  1.8    4     2      C_INF
SpellCasting 101        7.0    1.0  1.2    1     x      C_I
SpellCasting 201        7.8    1.5  1.6    1     x      C_I
SpellCasting 301        7.5    1.4  1.5    1     x      C_I
SpiritWrak              6.6    1.0  0.6    1     9      F_INF_GMD
Spur                    7.2    1.4  1.2    1     9      F_HUG_GMD
Starcross               7.0    1.1  1.3    5     1      C_INF
Stationfall             7.6    1.6  1.6    5     5      C_INF
Suspect                 6.2    1.3  1.2    2     4      C_INF
Suspended               7.5    1.3  1.2    4     8      C_INF
Theatre                 6.8    0.9  1.2    3     6      F_INF_GMD
TimeQuest               8.6    1.5  1.8    1     x      C_I
TimeSquared             4.3    1.1  1.1    1     x      F_AGT_GMD
Toonesia                6.3    1.1  1.2    2     7      F_TAD_GMD
Tossed into Space       3.9    0.2  0.6    1     4      F_AGT_GMD
Treasure.Zip            N/A                0     3      S20_IBM_GMD
Trinity                 8.8    1.4  1.7    8     1-2    C_INF
Tube Trouble            3.3    0.5  0.4    1            F_INF_GMD
Uncle Zebulon's Will    7.6    0.9  1.3    3     7      F_TAD_GMD
Undertow                5.2    1.0  0.8    1            F_TAD_GMD
Undo                    1.9    0.1  0.4    2     7      F_TAD_GMD
Unnkulian One-Half      7.0    1.3  1.7    4     1      F_TAD_GMD
Unnkulian Unventure 1   7.1    1.2  1.6    5     1-2    S10_TAD_GMD
Unnkulian Unventure 2   7.2    1.4  1.5    4     1      S10_TAD_GMD
Unnkulian Zero          9.0                1     1      C25_TAD_GMD (Demo)
Waystation              5.7    0.7  0.9    2     9      F_TAD_GMD
Windhall Chron. 1 - See Path to Fortune.
Wishbringer             7.6    1.3  1.3    4     5-6    C_INF
Witness, The            7.2    1.7  1.2    5     1,3,9  C_INF
Wonderland              7.5    1.3  1.4    1     x      C_I
World                   6.5    0.6  1.3    2     4      F_SEE REVIEW Issue #4
Zanfar                  2.6    0.2  0.4    1     8      F_AGT_GMD
Zork 0                  7.1    1.3  2.0    2     x      C_INF
Zork 1                  6.0    0.7  1.5    9     1-2    C_INF
Zork 2                  6.4    0.8  1.5    7     1-2    C_INF
Zork 3                  6.1    0.6  1.4    5     1-2    C_INF


The Top Five:

I've decided that we finally have enough competitive entries on the
scoreboard to have a Top Five instead of a Top Three. A game is not
eligible for the Top Five unless it has received at least three
ratings from different readers. This is to ensure a more democratic
and accurate depiction of the best games.

 1. Trinity             8.8     8 votes
 2. Jigsaw              8.7     3 votes
 3. Christminster       8.6     3 votes
 4. Mind Fvr Voyaging   8.5     4 votes
 5. Curses              8.3     7 votes
    Bureaucracy         8.3     3 votes


                        Feeling a little paranoid?

                                You will be.

                           S  C  I  M  I  T  A  R

      A new adventure from the author of "The Light: Shelby's Addendum"

                   You'll never trust your mother again

                                Coming in '96 
                            Illusory Mental Images
                           "We know where you live!"


Start of a transcript of:

Your Own Private I-F Museum
Each breath you take echoes hollowly off the vaulted marble walls of your
museum of classic I-F paraphernalia.  A crystal chandelier overhead casts
refracted glares on the aisles of countless polished display cases.

Your I-F collection is beautiful to behold, but woefully incomplete.  Whatever
will you do?  Where can you possibly find out-of-print I-F games these days?

You are carrying the classified section of today's paper.

One ad catches your eye immediately:

                         YE OLDE INFOCOMME SHOPPE
                   C.E. Forman, proprietor.  Est. 1996
             Classic I-F paraphernalia bought, sold, traded.
   Infocom, Rainbird, Level 9, Broderbund, Sierra, I-F books and more!
Appraisal, searches, waiting lists.  Platform-specific copies w/ purchase.
  This month's specials: Buy 3, get 1 free!  Buy 5, get free shipping!
                 Take the "Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe" link at

CLOSING REMARKS--------------------------------------------------------------

It's been swell folks, but nothing lasts forever.  Good night, Mrs.
Callabash, wherever you are!  -- GKW

While Whizzard is saying goodbye (as an editor - I hope we'll see more
contributions from him here in the future), let me add that I'm
looking forward to editing the next 11 issues! Keep the reviews
coming!  -- MO


           Thank you for helping to keep text adventures alive!

Click here for a printable, plain text version of this issue.