The newspapers proclaim 'Bomb scare at Harridges' and fear pervades the air as fleets of ambulances stand by. The janitor of Harridges, driven mad by years of low pay and humiliation over his lowly status, has finally gone stark raving bonkers. As a final, desperate act of hopelessness he has planted bombs in locations throughout the enormous department store. Toting a loaded shotgun he shuffles between floors reflecting on his predicament. The store will be reduced to rubble in the eleventh hour.
You play the bomb disposal expert. Unarmed, you enter the store and must overcome the problems with the many lifts and defuse the bombs. All the while you have to keep an eye out for the demented janitor. The bombs are set to detonate at predetermined intervals: you have plenty of time to find them but calculating exactly how to defuse the devices will prove difficult and time-consuming. If you are caught on the same floor as an exploding device then say your prayers if a bomb goes off on some other floor then all might appear fine, it's just that the structure of the whole building deteriorates with each blast. Care must be taken not to cause a bomb to explode by accident as they are fiendishly concealed about the store by someone very familiar with the layout of each department.
As if all this as not enough to contend with, there is a time limit of 660 minutes (in reality 660 turns) in which the bombs have to be defused, and the game is interrupted at regular intervals by our frustrated and clever janitor posing the kind of questions which are some indication of his undoubtedly high IQ. The realisation that the game gets more difficult is rather demoralising, should you find yourself struggling; after 450 minutes the game decides to give you an even rougher ride the worse you are doing!
Eleventh Hour has some very good pictures dispersed throughout the game, giving the atmosphere something concrete around which to coalesce. The redesigned character set is another plus and The Patch adds sound even if many of The Patch's utterances are grafted onto the plot train sounds where there are no trains, and the most musical dripping tap I've ever heard! The RAM SAVE is, as ever, useful and the EXAMINE command is used to good effect.
Eleventh Hour can be purchased by mail order from Venturesoft at 23 Aragon Close, Kings Hedges, Cambridge CB4 2SU.
Graphics: very good
Input facility: verb/noun
Response: fast Quill response
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