★ AMSTRAD CPC ★ GAMESLIST ★ RICK HANSON, SPECIAL AGENT (c) ROBICO SOFTWARE ★

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Robico isn't exactly at the forefront of the Amstrad adventure market - in fact the Piig can't remember seeing anything for the CPC from this Welsh outfit until now. Rick Hanson is the first part of a text-only trilogy which a year or so ago (according to Robico) wowed BBC owners across the nation. Will it give us Arnold owners similar treatment?

To start with, it's not often that you see a text-only game nowadays. The Pilg was never really much of a one for graphics, but in recent months some of the pics accompanying, for example, The Pawn - or Dracula from CRL - have been so good that the Cowled Crusader has relented somewhat. Yup, there's no doubt about it, graphics can add something to the enjoyment of a game if they're good enough. However, most of the time they're not good enough, and some of the time - as here - they're absent altogether. If you've grown used to piccies with your prose, are you going to miss them in Rick Hanson?

The game gives a good impression before it's loaded by coming in a long black box, complete with a small Adventurer's Note Book (blank pages for scribbles bound in black card) and a leaflet with a comprehensive list of clues and instructions. The Pilg is all for clues in packages (as with the Magnetic Scrolls games). You don't have to read them if you don't want to - though in this case it's rather difficult to look up a solution without inadvertently seeing the answers to other problems. Robico suggests that you get a friend to look up the answer for you, but a little better design of the section would have made this unnecessary.

The game starts you off in a disused railway station from which you must escape, having first received some instructions from a tape-recorder that, judging by its performance, must have been designed by Mr Bang before he teamed up with Mr Olufsen.

There are some good features to the program, including ram-load and -save, back-one-move, and the ability to use IT, string together commands, and even enter interrogatives like WHERE and WHO. The parser does not, however, prove very helpful if it's having difficulty with your entries - simply replying "That only flummoxed me" or "Strange" or... well, you get the picture. Fellow pilgs well know that I like to be told why my inputs aren't being acted on so that I can ascertain whether I'm faced with a vocabulary or a logic problem.

Once you get into the game there are a number of puzzles to be solved before you can achieve your objective - to destroy General Garantz before he nukes the world. Those of us used to Quill-based text games will be impressed by the large number of locations in the game and the lengthy text-descriptions. However, after a while you can't help feeling that the programmer saved more space by simply repeating phrases in various groups of locations than by compressing data.

Despite the few nice touches in the programming and one or two nifty code-cracking puzzles, Rick Hanson doesn't ring any bells for originality and the Pilg finally abandoned the keyboard without suffering intense withdrawal symptoms. Robico is obviously used to receiving plaudits from BBC owners. However, it is 1987, chaps, and this style of game, despite the effort that must have gone into both the packaging and the program itself, just won't wash nowadays at full price in the Amstrad market. Save your pennies, pilgs, for something better.

AA

 

RICK HANSON, SPECIAL AGENT
(c) ROBICO SOFTWARE

AUTHOR(S): ???

★ PRICE: £9.95 cass

★ YEAR: 1987
★ LANGUAGE:
★ GENRE: AVENTURE TEXT , QUILL , UNRELEASED , MISSING

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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.