FARAWAY islands, perilous quests, hidden treasures and ancient temples are the raw material of many classic adventure games. Crystal Computing's The Island is no exception. The program drops you from your aircraft on to a long sandy Pacific beach with the promise of an ultimate test of logic and deduction.
The island is set within the Ring of Fire, a chain of volcanoes bordering the ocean. Many explorers are said to have perished attempting to unravel the island's secrets and you are unlikely to be any luckier than the others.
The adventure is of the text-only type and is designed to run on 48K Spectrum. The initial instruction page tells you that the game will take the standard two-word commands and warns you to beware of red herrings, one of which you might unwisely pick up at the first location. It will explode with awful consequences shortly after. Movement is in the traditional N, S, E, W format but you may find it extremely difficult to get anywhere remotely interesting, as you will probably die or at least become irritated with the whole process after a relatively short time. Compared to similar adventures, The Island is dull stuff with nothing out of the ordinary to recommend it.
MACHINE: Spectrum 48K
The Island is a text-only adventure that could well end up driving you mad with frustration. Perhaps that's a desirable feature, but if frustration is all you get, then surely there's something wrong.
This program does have its good points, however. The responses are very quick, so at least you don't have to wait for ages between each instruction.
On the other hand, there isn't an awful lot to wait for. If you're used to adventures that give you lots of detail and allow you to examine objects and search rooms then The Island will come as a severe disappointment.
The vocabulary is limited, and there isn't much for you to do except wander about collecting whatever you find, and only occasionally using your initiative.
What puzzles there are seem either illogical or disappointingly easy to solve. If you really get stuck, I suggest you try breaking the rules.
Working out what is and what isn't possible isn't all that easy since the program won't tell you which words it doesn't understand.
The aim of the game is to, wait for it, find treasure. Most of your time is spent wandering through caves, which tend to lead you back to where you started. There are other islands to explore, but the environment is hostile and premature death isn't easy to avoid.
There's a real-time clock built into the program which will tell you, among other things, how many days you've been playing. Personally I couldn't stick it for more than a couple of hours.
The Island - 48K Spectrum, £7.50 - is an adventure game in which the aim is to escape from a Pacific island with the treasure. The program is infuriating, for it is not an adventure which can be worked through steadily, and in which death is the inevitable consequence of bad decision-making.
Moving in certain directions will kill you instantly, without warning. One object explodes unexpectedly, another causes death if you go the wrong way with it. You survive by chance and not by skill.
It seems unlikely that any Spectrum owner will find it fun for more than a few minutes to play this repetitive, text-only adventure, which is filled with instances of the programmer's inane humour. It appears to be aimed solely at players who never read reviews. Do not be tempted to buy it. Crystal Computing, 2 Ashton Way, East Herrington, Sunderland SR3 3RX.
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