This is a combined text and graphic adventure game where you have to drive a car to compete in the great Island Treasure Hunt. The graphics appear to be very good, apart from the flashing border which tends to rather distract your attention from the instructions which appear on the screen.
Unfortunately, we all found that using certain entries caused the computer the crash and lock out the keyboard! That's more or less all we can say about the game, because after four hours of playing Micro Drivin' we couldn't even manage to get the car to move off the starting line. We thought we'd better have a good read of the listing, but even that failed to solve the problem!
By the way, don't be fooled by the title, this program is not Microdrive compatible.
TREASURE HUNT MYSTERY
MICRO: Spectrum 48K
SUPPLIER: Softel, 5 Durwood Drive, Glenrothes, Fife
When you're tired of slogging it on foot around tunnel, cave and forest maybe you'd like to relax with a pleasant drive around an island resort?
You could even get involved in the annual treasure hunt, which like the popular real time (and real car) game involves following a series of clues to a series of objects until you've found all seven when you win the game.
Unlike adventures, you do not know what you are looking for in advance and you may not know it even when you've found it. However, despite its contemporary setting, it is a traditional collect the mysterious objects kind of adventure, and not much different from many except in the kinds of objects available. For example you start with some pounds, some dollars, a striped tie and a piece of wire. Not normal dungeon aids.
All the locations are illustrated with Hobbit-like graphics, which threaten to become standard on this kind of game. They are almost as good as The Hobbit's and are drawn much more quickly, but are generally of full objects, such as walls and gates. I cannot see the attraction of such graphics in a game, but many people like them.
However, some of the graphics are good, especially the views of the road and dashboard as you drive around. While not as convincing as a real-time simulation, the driving part of the game is quite satisfactory. And would be more so if you were allowed to do everything that a driver could do. But you cannot reverse and sometimes, cannot even get out of the car.
Somehow the error messages in this game are more irritating than most. This might be because elementary instructions such as OPEN GATE or CLIMB GATE just meet obstinate refusal but it's also because the tone of the messages veers from sarcasm to downright insult.
The most irritating part of the game is its input routine. I think the design for typing in instructions is a major programming error. Instead of the normal Spectrum INPUT prompt a custom made flashing prompt occurs. It refuses to go away and fails to collect about a third of the input typed at normal two finger speed. Anyone who types their instructions quickly will find themselves cursing again and again as commands are misunderstood by this excruciating procedure.
On the whole this is a competent game let down by one or two annoying mistakes. It strikes me as a game designed by a programmer rather than a games player. The user has not seriously been thought about, which is a shame because if you can get over the irritation it looks like an absorbing adventure.
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