THE ODYSSEY of Hope from Martech is an interesting adventure game based on the ancient legend of Pandora. She was the first mortal woman, created by the gods of Olympus, and because of her insatiable curiosity she released into the world all kinds of diseases and misfortunes. Fortunately, Hope was released at the same time but that has been stolen by some unnamed evil and your mission in the adventure is to recover it.
The story is well-introduced with some amusing graphics. As with most mythical adventures, you need no knowledge of Greek mythology to complete the adventure successfully, although it can give some helpful clues.
The various locations are well laid out and reasonably complex, with the frequent hazard of being drowned or bitten by snakes.
There is a certain amount of independent action in the game - that is to say characters move round you a little - but it is not a game to be compared to such giants as Valhalla or The Hobbit.
I hoped Martech's'new Adventure would come up to a high standard because I had criticised their last offering on a false premise. I a claimed instructions were inaccurate when, in fact, I had read them incorrectly.
For Odyssey of Hope, Martech has turned from Commodore to Spectrum and they sent me the game with a letter expressing their hope that I did not find the print on the inlay too small. All too often the inlay on a standard cassette has almost microscopic printing to squeeze it all in - have you noticed?
Anyway - no grounds for complaint this time - the inlay was clear, precise and uncluttered. Additional instructions were supplied on one side of the tape itself - to be loaded only if required.
On to the game proper, and here we come to the nitty gritty. What's in the pudding, I wondered?
Odyssey of Hope sets the player the task of returning Hope to the top of Mount Olympus. Hope was man's only gift following the escape of everything nasty when Pandora's box was opened. The player starts in the Temple and progresses as he may!
The game has graphics at every location and I have never seen such fast displaying graphics before on the Spectrum.
There is an unusual text-screen format, whereby the visible objects are always displayed and updated just below the right-hand side of the picture. The prompting BEEP actually sounds some few seconds before the prompt appears.
The response time varies considerably, depending upon the command entered, and things therefore tend to become confused, with the eager player starting to type his next command before the computer is ready to receive it.
Taking an object gives by far the longest delay - an incredible eight-second wait. Admittedly, the way the screen displays the replies gives one the impression that the time is for less, but that was the actual time and hence the confusion!
The game has a score feature based on problems solved and these seem to be banded in lumps of 4%. Unfortunately there are many of those "You are dead" locations, at which, without any warning whatsoever, you find yourself kaput, with no way of anticipating the danger.
It's been said before - anyone, but anyone, con devise an Adventure so based. Luckily there is a save routine and I certainly had to use it to play the game enough to be able to write this review!
I wandered into a wooden hut which was apparently a workshop. Within were a number of items of possible use, so I collected the lot, then turned around to make my way back.
"The door won't open", came the reply. "Why on earth not?" I thought. No logic whatsoever - merely a ploy to put the player in a position where he has to try every possible trick to escape a trap which he had no way of anticipating.
So to while away the time, I ate the fish I found on the table and got fish bones. I tried picking the lock with them and eventually found I could cut the door using the bones - despite the fact that I had a perfectly good sword with me which helped not one bit!
As I said - illogical - so I make no apologies for telling you how!
On I plodded, coming to the conclusion that here was one of those games that could described as "competent", its saving grace being the spectacular speed of its graphics.
Odyssey of Hope is from Martech for 48k Spectrum.
MAKER: Martech Games
Having ransacked Tolkien, the Legends of Ancient Greece seem to be next in line for software exploitation. And why not! The Place was obviously made with adventures and simulations in mind.
In this scenario the gods of Mount Olympus are well cheesed off. Some rascal has stolen Hope from poor ol' Pandora's box and us mortals are in an advanced state of despair. The skies have blackened and lightning bolts stab from the sky. Zeus is clearly off his chump. Only you can venture out and recover Hope for all mankind.
Much effort has been spent on creating an authentic world here, and all to great effect. Indeed, followers of the period will have a definite advantage over us lesser mortals when it comes to solving the quest. All the locations are illustrated, but these appear instantly so playability has not been sacrificed. Written descriptions though are sparse. I'd have preferred more evocative text to be honest, but then that's all a matter of taste.
From my initial wanderings I'd say that the game is of a fair size and offers adequate headaches. If the subject matter appeals then this is well worth checking out.
MACHINE: Spectrum 48K
I was getting ratherr depressed by this stage, but the next offering, Odyssey of Hope, from Martech, cheered my up considerably.
Martech's game looks different from the start. The instructions are printed on the pages of a book that turn as you read them. The adventure itself has scrolling text with attractive graphics at the top of the page that draw instantly and are among the best adventure graphics I've seen on the Sinclair machine.
You have to travel around the classical world of ancient Greece hunting for Hope, which has been stolen, and restore it to Mount Olympus.
Compared to Five Treasures of Ryzar, Odyssey of Hope seemed like game of the year. In fact, it's a rather average adventure that is perked up with some surprising additions. First, the sound effects.
Standing in the temple, you hear a hissing sound between inputs. Hang about too long and you get bitten by a snake. After that, in another location, you can be sure I didn't stick around to find out what the buzzing sound was. Being stung to death by savage bees isn't my idea of a Greek holiday.
The responses are a bit slow in Martech's game, but otherwise I found it an attractive if rather unexciting game. One thing that annoyed me was the response to my entry 'Use loom'. 'What!', the program replied, 'That's women's work!'. The assumption that only men, boys and wizards play adventures is not only incorrect, but also, I think, a little insulting to half the population.
MICRO: Spectrum 48K
SUPPLIER: Martech/Software Communications
Pandora - the first woman! She was fashioned from clay at the direction of Zeus, and all the Gods gave her a gift. (Pan-Dora: all gifts).
Thus, Apollo bequeathed to her the talent to sing; Zeus gave her a box, which he cautioned her never to open - what a sauce! And what a temptation. Of course, she succumbed and "let loose all the ills that now beset man; disease and sorrow, hate and jealousy, theft, lies and many more." Hope alone was left. Now, some has stolen Hope, and all the ills have taken over the world. You, as the adventurer, have been chosen to undertake an Odyssey, to find and restore Hope to its guardian on Mount Olympus, home of the Gods.
This is the opening preamble, contained on one side of the tape. Odyssey of Hope is "a Classical Graphic Adventure", an allusion to the Greek mythology contained therein.
The introduction is rather nifty, consisting of the turning pages of a book, on which are written the aforementioned introduction (no instructions, however, are forthcoming), and apart from the slowly turning pages, there is also a little graphic of various Ills, floating up into the air, from where they hope to destroy the world. Although the program contained in my preview copy sometimes got rather confused and overwrote the previous graphics, the idea is nevertheless unusual and a pleasant change. Loading the main program should be a simple matter of turning over the tape, but again, my review copy had trouble with this, and I found myself having to NEW the instructions and LOADing the second part separately. I'm sure all this will be sorted out on the release copies.
On to the adventure: the player is first of all asked if a previously saved game is to be loaded - the only input is the full word (YES or NO), no abbreviations are accepted. It's not a big deal to type two or three letters instead of one, but the seasoned adventurer experiences a brief shudder up his back! Is this indicative of the friendliness of the program as a whole? I'm afraid it is.
INVENTORY is definitely not accepted, but I is: NORTH elicits the response "Incorrect input, try again," and N is the Correct Input. Similarly, SEARCH will do you no good, but try EXAMINE. The program is written in Basic, so responses are little slower than we have become used to, which means that the player spends an inordinate time waiting for the program to wake up - really annoying if the wrong key is pressed (and beware hitting Q - for Quit - you can't get back into the game!). The graphics, however, are held in memory, and thus are commendably quick to appear on-screen, although the other side of this coin is that they are not great works of art, being rather blocky and simplified representations of the scene. The pictures do, though, include a constant display of objects at the scene, and an inventory if it has been asked for.
How many locations there are, I haven't the faintest - no Help sheet was supplied with the review copy, and I haven't got very far into the adventure. This is partly due to a closed door in one location, the secret of opening which I haven't yet found, and partly due to the program's habit of killing you off every so often.
The graphics are, however, often accompanied by sound effects, which is pretty unusual: the python hisses, deadly bees buzz and so on. Actually, I may be churlish in saying this, but they got on my wick in very short order; once the infernal noise starts, one has to sit through it until the bitter end!
All in all, a reasonable knockabout. The graphics and sound don't add a bean to the atmosphere, of which there is none, despite the occasional appearance of nefarious monsters. The puzzles seem of the standard type (i.e., Here is a Closed Door/Dangerous Snake - how do you Open it/Kill it?), and a beginner would find it interesting. A more experienced adventurer would, I believe, yearn for something more unusual and friendly.
All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB