Yes it's that Peter Torrence again, he of Subsunk and Seabase Delta fame, following up his first GAC foray with this one here, a trip into your average computer whizzkid's Imagination.
You start your trip into fantasy in a most prospic pose - that of you sitting at your computer console, with only the loading of a disc between you and all the horrors that lie in the average adventure. Two immediate irritations soon make themselves felt even this early on: the blinding white background is a sure-fire cert for headaches, while the curious GAC input format, which has your input split asunder (eg D followed by ISC on a new lint) doesn't half look untidy. Further, as I mentioned last month concerning GAC games, there is a tendency to be left with the end of the last description capping the new one - a most unsightly state of affairs. All of this follows the most irritating loading routine imaginable (short squeals, rather like the rhythmic strangling of a chicken), presumably designed to foil those poor souls who can't even afford a £1.99 game, and a loading screen by Fish (I knew Marillion's days were numbered!).
Only a little further on, another irritant proudly introduces itself. Due to the large area of the screen devoted to GAC graphics, LOOK is often needed to flick back up a location description lost by input scrolling it up and off. Unfortunately the universal 'L' is not accepted and LO is mistaken for LOAD. This is a small gripe, but it gets bigger the more often LOOK is called into service! Similarly' I' is insufficient to call up an inventory of your possessions.
Small exceptions out of the way, this really is quite a good trip round pretty familiar themes. The four titles of the games from which to choose say it all: 2002 - a very odd day in space, The Lords of Half Past Nine (a good two and a half hours early!), Panic Miner 9000 90 Niner, and Raid Over Margate. We are told that these games are linked in subtle and amusing ways, and so it turns out, with each game inextricably linked to the other and with items and problems zipping about all over the place.
Imagination is the game's title, but this adventure shows precious little of that commodity when it comes to presentation. This is mostly due to the constraints imposed by any programming utility, in this case marked by a lack of much-needed colour within the text. The Graphic Adventure Creator necessarily limits the size of the text area (due to the large amount of screen devoted to the picture). When no picture accompanies a location, the previous picture scrolls off in an untidy fashion. The text which does occur is not particularly descriptive, but it is sufficient to get some good jokes in (eg the M time machine box which is decidedly smaller inside than it looks from the outside), and there's enough of a plot to keep even the most casual adventurer entertained. In writing style though, perhaps too many sentences begin with 'You are on/in'. Peter Torrence has made his name in budget adventure, and this one will do his reputation no harm.
Difficulty: needs some thought
Graphics: sufficient for a budget game
Input Facility: verb/noun
Response: reasonably fast
This is nice! And it's the latest adventure from Peter Torrence, who wrote such notable offerings as Subsunk and Seabase Delta.
It's really four different adventures in one. The plot is loosely based around you finding a dusty old unmarked disc in your local computer shop, and as no one knows from where it came you take it home to find out what is on it.
It starts getting complicated when you boot up the disc and examine the screen, where you find a small menu of game titles: 1) 2002 A Very Odd Day in Space 2) The Lords Of Half Past Nine 3) Panic Miner 9000 and 4) Raid Over Margate. Interesting!
Choosing one of these titles actually throws you into the very game you selected and you find yourself in one of four mini text/graphic adventures.
The Lords of Half Past Nine, is an obvious parody of Mike Singleton's classic, and opens with you standing on frozen wastes, and 'an icy shiver runs up from your feet, sees your head and comes running down again' type humour.
And so it goes, with a fair few locations for each adventure, with a few tricky puzzles thrown in.
The graphics are Level 9ish - which is to say not terrific - and the text description fairly sparse but I must say I found myself enjoying the whole thing enormously.
Author: Peter Torrance
Reviewer: Gary Rook
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