CHARLES Sharp is not unknown to this column - one of my favourite adventures was his offbeat Wiz-Biz from Alternative Software. His latest is Werewolf Simulator from new software house Top Ten. You play the part of Tommy Astle, a hack reporter for the local paper, The Daily Record. There has been a series of bizarre murders involving a lot of blood and some very unusual circumstances. There has even been talk of supernatural causes, and Tommy is at first somewhat cynical of these strange rumours. As his investigations proceed, his cynicism changes to terror.
Are his headaches solely due to a migraine condition? Are the pills he has been prescribed what they say they are? Why does the state of the Moon seem to mean so much more to him recently? And just where is his friend Joe these days?
Doubt and indecision run hand in hand as you guide Tommy through his toughest investigation. Are you on the side of the angels or aiding and abetting the worst kind of psychotic split personality? Charles has yet to produce a run-of-the-mill adventure and Werewolf Simulator certainly is no exception. It is written using Incentive's Graphic Adventure Creator and has rudimentary, repetitive graphics that are easy on the eye and can be switched off once you have seen them all.
The parser is standard GAC, accepting and recognising simple sentences such as KNOCK ON DOOR and SEARCH UNDER BED. Note the use of SEARCH as well as EXAMINE - use of both may reveal different things.
The plot is novel and gives an interesting twist to the old stories about imports from Transylvania. The adventure takes some time to develop, as you must first master the town's strange layout. Mapping is not all that simple as many of your movements have completely illogical results. Whether this is to imply a deranged mind at work or just a perverse factor introduced by the writer, I do not know. The end product for me was considerable frustration, and although I liked the idea behind the adventure, I found this loss of directional sense disturbing.
At the budget price of £1.99 (cassette only), Werewolf Simulator will certainly stimulate sales for Top Ten but the frustration factor may limit its climb in the charts.