|★ AMSTRAD CPC ★ GAMESLIST ★ THE DARK GLADIATOR (c) THE ADVENTURE WORKSHOP ★|
The title sounds quite intriguing but before playing the game I tried no! to allow it to influence my expectations, since more often than not doing so invariably means I end up disappointed. Fortunately, the game is as interesting as the title.
A violent triple suicide in a remote area has attracted your attention it made the national news and stunned the local community The initial interest outside the area died down very quickly, no one seeming to give the matter a second thought.
Except you: you get the feeling that something sinister is going on You know that you have to act. which is why you find yourself outside a small hotel in the area where the suicides occurred Your intention is to do some investigating and just possibly, to understand what it was that was behind the suicides....
My first action was to get out of my car and enter the hotel examining everything as I went I was pleasantly surprised, and greatly encouraged to find 8 few items in the first few locations which I knew would be of great use later on in the game so I pressed on
There was no one a! the reception desk when I entered so I thought that a little checking of the hotel might be in order However, when I tried to go East a frosty-sounding young woman suddenly appeared behind the reception desk, and obviously thought that I was up to no good People have such suspicious minds these days don't they7 She was most unco-operative insisting that I was not a guest ft wasn't until I d regularized my standing within the hotel that she thawed out a little, and became quite... well.... formal towards me.
I examined my room, and eventually tried to get into the other rooms in the passage They were all locked. Really, this implied a certain lack of trust in my fellow guests which I found deplorable, in that it meant I had to find a way to unlock the doors
And find one, I did. Guarded by the receptionist, when I persuaded her to move and leave me alone in reception. I tried getting the key - but the key was stuck to the wall and wouldn't budge no matter how hard I tugged on it This is one of the more difficult of the problems within the game, but if you think it through, you shouldn't have too much difficulty, although you'll have to do a little travelling to overcome the problem.
However, having done all that I could for the moment at the hotel. I decided to go and have a look around the village I found an antique shop and had barely got inside rt when with a screech of tyres and grinding of gears some young thug stole my car and left me stranded within the village. If there s a moral to be learned from this, then it's don't leave your car unlocked!
There were several shops to visit, a Jewellers, a Tobacconists, a Garden Centre and each of the people in these shops had something to tell me about the recent tragic events which, when put together and sorted through, confirmed my assumption that something evil was abroad.
Returning to the hotel. I made some more searches and found a couple more ob|ects which I had missed the firs; time around I managed too to get into those rooms which had previously been locked against me.
Climbing down a fire-escape. I found myself reaching a dead end. However, there were more to this location than met the eye and a little later. I met the Eternal Warrior. Now, he has been battling Evil since the dawn of time, and if you stop to think about it that must make him pretty tired. Anyway it seems that the people who committed suicide had. accidentally or otherwise, treed an ancient Evil from the magical wards which held it at bay. The Eternal Warrior attempted to overcome tne Evil, but it nearly destroyed him. and he had to withdraw from the fight. Now, you, it would appear (doesn't that surprise you?), have to take on and defeat this Evil, known as the Dark Gladiator, and to save the world. Of course, nothing simpler.
I returned to the hotel and then proceeded to a mound which eventually allowed me underground to a cavern where I learned all manner of forbidden secrets Of course, the underground section is in darkness so you need some kind of a light source. Perhaps my best hint here would be to be inventive No. they re secrets which I cannot impart to you, or you'll be able to complete the game without having to go to all the trouble of solving the earlier problems - and I wouldn't want to do that to you...
After this excursion, you should be ready to make your way to the farm where the suicides occurred, and to find and to take on the Dark Gladiator in battle arcane Let me tell you. having played through the battle sequence several times, it s a lot of fun, especially if you've thought to make use of the ramsave facility first.
It plays totally randomly, with the Gladiator having at least an equal chance of defeating you -unless you take measures to tilt the balance slightly in your favour.
Another feature of this section of the game (a! the farm) was that in many instances, there are two ways of solving some of the problems which have been set. There is the tried and trusted method of using objects which you have collected on your travels, and there is the use of magic spells to overcome your difficulties. This, I found, made a refreshing change from most games, as if you've missed finding the object earlier, you still have a chance if you know the right spell.
Should you manage to overcome the gladiator, then the game is still not over, as you are then entrusted with the mission of returning the Gladiator to his holding and to making sure that the wards are re-set so that he cannot escape again.
The game plays quite smoothly ; I found only one (minor) bug which will have been squashed and removed by now, and in any case did not prevent completion of the game. There were one or two typing errors, but again they will have been removed long before this review gets printed. The game has been converted to Amstrad format using the PAW, so it runs under CPM and, of course, is disc only.
As to the level/difficulty of the game. I didn't have that much of a problem solving it. The problems set are not too difficult, and I appreciated playing a game where I didn t have to rack my brain. That's not to say that the whole thing is totally straightforward, it isn't. Some of the problems are a little on the devious side. They are more thought-provoking than difficult which is the type of problem which I appreciate.
Intermediate and advanced adventurers might find that this game does not present too much of a challenge in adventuring terms, but novices will enjoy it It seems to me to be one of those rare games which is well put together and suitable for the less experienced adventurer to try, and to have a fighting chance of completing.
Reviewed by Phill Ramsay on an Amstrad CPC
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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.