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First, I'd like to admit that I didn't look forward to playing this game. The title didn't seem to offer anything inspirational, nor be anything to get excited about playing. Vague thoughts about a string of actions performed by a dotty spinster led me to be absolutely certain that this game would be a total waste of time.

Not only that, I knew that it would be boring and that I would enjoy the experience of playing it as much as having a tooth pulled out without anaesthetic.

Yes, I know — never judge a book by its cover. There is always a chance that you may be wrong and the book is a pure delight.

This was the case with Agatha's Folly. I enjoyed every minute of Part One, whilst the main problem in Part Two had me struggling for a while. Before I look more deeply at the plot and the game, let me give you some details.

The adventure has been converted to Amsltrad format using the PAW and is therefore available only on disk-based (CPC) systems. This means that CPC464 owners who haven't added a disk drive to their machines will be unable to play what is one of the most enjoyable adventures I've played this year.

The story line is quite simple. You have just bought your dream cottage. It could not be sold earlier until the previous owner was declared legally dead. She disappeared some years earlier and nobody knows what became of her.

The day before your furniture is to be delivered you decide to spend a night at the cottage. You set up a bed and then decide that you will explore the cottage and the grounds and see what you have inherited with your purchase.

This is the starting point for the game. You will not always necessarily start in the same location as there is a random element built into it to add to the fun. However, the game is always solvable no matter where it starts you off.

As you explore the cottage, you will begin to find hints about what happened to Agatha. It is up to you to discover what she way trying to do and what she actually succeeded in doing. Understanding some of the messages you might find is not that straightforward — some of it is in code. Personally, I quite enjoyed finding the key to the code and breaking it.

The fact that there was a cypher built into the game which I had to solve to gain essential information was a part of its appeal for me. I have to stress that the cypher isn't that difficult

— in fact it's just a straight substitution code

— and really won't take that long to solve. Make certain that you keep a copy of the cypher conversions as you'll need it again in Part Two.

One of the good things about Part One is the way the problems have been thought out and presented. They do not leave you scratching your head and wondering where you have to start. For example, when you see the attic door above your head and you aren't tall enough to open it and cannot jump up to it, what you have to do is fairly obvious — so long as you can find the right object to aid you.

Personally, I liked the problem with the hairgrip which I found in the kitchen. In GETting it my fingers (and anyone else's) clumsily knocked it down behind the back of the sink. Getting it out again required a little thought.

Various characters will visit the Folly at certain times in the day. If you get to the front door quickly enough, they will pass on gossip and maybe a little useful information. If you miss them, well, their knowledge isn't essential to completing the game. Some of the objects arc quite well hidden, so it's a good idea to examine everything. As I've indicated earlier, one or two of the problems require a little thought but are nowhere near insolvable.

I don't want to give to much about the game away, so just let me say that ultimately you will follow in Agatha's footsteps and you will then be give the code to Part Two.

Part Two is vastly different to Part One. Most of the objects that you will need to complete the game are in plain sight. There are only a few that need searching for. The object of Part Two becomes clear almost immediately. Repair the damage. But that is easier said than done (isn't it always?).

There are several minor problems in this part, but the main problem is how to bridge the fissure. In terms of obviousness of solution, it is absolutely superb. Quite difficult, but logical every step of the way. Again, I'm not going to spoil anyone's enjoyment by giving clues away.

Nor is that the only thing to do. If you find something to read, your key to the cypher might just be useful; as might learning to cure the plague or deciding whether Tad is a pain or a help...

Novice adventurers might find one or two problems in Part One difficult and most people will have to think about the bridge. All in all, a terrific effort and well worth adding to your collection.

Highly recommended.

Reviewed by Phill Ramsay, played on the Amstrad CPC


Written and designed by Linda Wright
Amstrad conversion by Philip Reynolds

★ YEAR: 19XX


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L'Amstrad CPC est une machine 8 bits à base d'un Z80 à 4MHz. Le premier de la gamme fut le CPC 464 en 1984, équipé d'un lecteur de cassettes intégré il se plaçait en concurrent  du Commodore C64 beaucoup plus compliqué à utiliser et plus cher. Ce fut un réel succès et sorti cette même années le CPC 664 équipé d'un lecteur de disquettes trois pouces intégré. Sa vie fut de courte durée puisqu'en 1985 il fut remplacé par le CPC 6128 qui était plus compact, plus soigné et surtout qui avait 128Ko de RAM au lieu de 64Ko.