Adventure ProbeCPC Attack!
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The story line behind the game is quite straightforward When one person neglects to pay their taxes the revenue department sends letters When a whole district forgets to pay its taxes then the revenue department sends the Taxman: the unfortunate thing about this arrangement is that the taxman in question is you.

This mission which you have to undertake involves persuading six residents to pay their taxes - and at times this can be likened to obtaining blood from the proverbial stone.

If I mention that one of the creatures in question is a Dwarf, you may understand |ust how difficult it might be to collect the taxes Dwarves are notoriously tight-fisted when they re being generous. How do you persuade one to part with his beloved gold?

The residents whom you have to wrangle money from are Odsok (incorrectly spelled odnok on the inlay) the Wizard: Halfpint the Giant: Topper, a warrior; Jeffrey Bowman a tailing author; Lofty the Dwarf, and Phoebe the Dragon.

They sound a nice bunch to do business with, don't they? I particularly didn't look forward to making the acquaintance of the Giant. I've always had a problem with Giants I suppose it stems from the fact that they make me fee! something like a Dwarf, and that, in turn, is a somewhat nauseating feeling.

Anyway. I loaded the game and found myself in the district of Tripe on tne Wold: charming name, don't you think? A quick look around and I soon found myself outside Topper's hut. However, I could not induce him to come outside I questioned a friendly lion who informed me that Topper was under a curse and can't leave his home or answer the door until his sword is returned to him.

And guess who put the curse on him and pinched his sword? That's right Halfpint the Giant.

I took a deep breath and wondered if there was any way around this - like for example, nominating Grimwold to sort the Giant out for me. After all , if there was any dying to be done, I'd much rather it was done by Grimwoid than myself.

As always when danger threatens there was no sign of a Dwarf. ..

So, resolute and full of resolve I pressed on Soon. I found my way to a raised bridge near an out-of-use toll-box. Getting the bridge down wasn't that much of a problem, and soon after I was in what I later discovered to be Phoebe the Dragon's lair.

Unfortunately, the stairs leading up to the Dragon's chamber were all mixed up and out of order. Nearby are rooms which will shuffle the stairs about and your task is to rearrange the stairs so that they are in ascending order and can thus be climbed.

If this seems line a straightforward problem, let me assure you it's quite devious You have to work out what effect each rom has on the stairs, and then plan the solution out accordingly. This was the first of several very challenging problems set by Steve Clay, and sets the standard for the whole adventure.

Having solved that problem, the Dragon didn't give me any trouble about paying up. for which I was immensely grateful.

Once outside again, I found a chest which had no lock, just a gargoyle which told me a rhyme This gives you the clue as to what to say to open it. I thought it was a simple but nice touch

I eventually found myself under a tower, and proceeded to try to get the Wizard, Odsok, to part with some cash.

Here begins a sequence which is quite difficult. There are three items to be discovered and worn, and each will take you to a different area witn an associated problem or two to solve. Again, these problems are a little on the devious side (one involves moving tiles around a grid. After a few minutes playing around with this one I decided that I'd take the easy way out and cheat).

In a second area. I found that I had to sign on the dotted line and this was such an awful play on words that the groans started to be heard.

In another area, I found a coffin with a skeleton inside which merrily jumped out and regaled me with a chorus of "Dem bones dem bones....". The groan factor here was so high I came very close to turning the machine off I don't mind plays on words but this was dreadful.

Eventually, I found myself in a cage which had a combination lock and by applying a formula found elsewhere was soon able to get out and collect Odsok's taxes.

Next was Jeffrey Bowman He gave me a manuscript to read, and I soon understood why he was a failing author. Unfortunately he can't spell at all So. by giving him something to aid him in that area. I eventually persuaded him to pay me, too, I was quite pleased this was becoming easy!

Next was Halfpint the Giant. I reached his dwelling at the top of a beanstalk (where have I heard that before?) and was promptly caught and imprisoned in the cellar However we in the Tax Office are made of stem stuff and I soon escaped and managed to liberate some of the Giant's coin without his being aware of it. Then just in case he noticed. I did the brave thing, in time-honoured tradition and ran away.

This left me with just Lofty tne Dwarf to contend with, When I caught up with him, he didn't seem at all inclined to son out his financial circumstances, but instead proposed a game of hide and seek.

Now, I don't know if you've ever tried playing hid and seek with a Dwarf in his home mine, but believe me, it isn't all plain sailing. One of the nastier problems is how to deal with a man-eating plant, and how to walk on a floor covered with spikes.

Once you've managed to negotiate the mine and solved all the problems set you'll catch up with Lofty and he'll be honest enough to concede that “fair's fair”, and will pay you his taxes.

And that's it!

Having said that I must concede that this is a very cleverly thought-out game, with lots of very devious puzzles. Some of these puzzles are quite cerebral so you must be prepared to think things through - or contact the helpline if you get totally stuck.

I did find, at one point that when I got stuck in darkness I couldn't do a ramload but this could be intentional so I'll give the game the benefit of the doubt I found no obvious (or any other kind, for that matter) bugs so from that point of view I can't fault the game. Unfortunately, there are some instances of (minor) grammatical errors which tended to irritate me.

That very minor niggle apart I quite enjoyed playing the game The standard of the problems is quite high although they aren't impossible to solve, and this in itself is a difficult balance to achieve. Difficult to achieve or not Steve has managed it with some deft touches, too.

I played the 6128 PAWed version of the game which runs under CPM on disc. I have been asked to point out that there is a tape version available for 464 owners but I have not played it and assume it to be similar in content to the 6128 version. If you've a few weeks to while away and would like to play an adventure which opens up an extra dimension in the problems which it sets, then perhaps you should give 'The Taxman Cometh' a try. Novices may well get stuck, but intermediate and advanced adventurers will, I think, find the game more than worth playing.

  • Amstrad versions available from WoW Software - Price £2 on tape (464 & 6128 GACed) £4 on disc (PAWed) Special offer - all PAWed versions of Taxman Cometh. Tax Returns & Final Demand on one disc £6. any two £5.
  • Spectrum version available from Zenobi Software - Price: £2.49 (tape/+D disc), £3.49 (+3 disc). "Tax Bills" compilation of Taxman Cometh. Tax Returns & Final Demand £4.99 on tape or disc. Please add 25p p&p.
  • Amiga & PC under emulation versions available from Zenobi Software - Price: £2.99 including free emulator. Please add 25p p&p.

Please see next review for details of true Amiga game.

Reviewed by Phill Ramsay on an Amstrad CPC


AUTHOR: Steve Clay

★ YEAR: 1991



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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.