|★ AMSTRAD CPC ★ GAMESLIST ★ TIME SEARCH (c) DUCKWORTH ★|
The name of Duckworth should ring a few bells for most adventurers. They publish a comprehensive series of adventure books, including 'Exploring Adventures On the Amstrad CPC464' and "The Adventurer's Notebook'. Recently, however, they've been branching out into games software and have released a numberof titles, each of which uses the techniques propounded by Peter Gerrard in the Exploring Adventures series.
There are now three new titles on the market. Colossal Cave (yet another version of the old favourite, to join those by Melbourne House/Abersoft and Level 9), Time Search by John Ryan, and Castle Dracula by Ray Davies. The White Wizard had every intention of giving you the low-down on Colossal Cave this month but his copy was stolen by a mutant troll, so instead I'll tickle your fancies with details of Time Search and Castle Dracula.
Well,I'll TRY to tickle your fancies, but somehow I don't think you're going to end up shrieking with delight. Let's face it, neither of these two text-only games is exactly state-of-the-art. Time Search gives you the chance of owning your own time-machine, but you have to find it first. The game starts off by warning you that if during play you need to restart a game you will have to reload some of the program data first. It suggests that when the message 'Loading Data' flashes onto the screen you should set the tape counter on your cassette unit to zero so that you will have no difficulty locating the correct position.
Unfortunately this means that you have to watch the screen like a hawk while the program loads, because the message 'Loading Data' flashes onto the screen for approximately 0.25 seconds. Now the White Wizard is the most patient of souls, but this sort of user unfriendliness didn't exactly endear me to the prospect of playing the game itself.
My fears were justified — I'm afraid I found I myself rather shocked by the quality of what followed. There was a time when all text-adventures were two-word input only, and had pretty limited vocabularies. Only problem is, that time is long past and those of you used to games like Castle of Terror and Sherlock are going to find Duckworth's offering very primitive.
The program, for example, understands 'Get', but not 'Take', and scans only the first three words of each word. Sometimes this can lead to some very obscure results — 'ShineTorch' is interpreted as .. .well, perhaps I'd better not say as this is a polite publication, but suffice it to say that when I tried to 'Shine Torch' I received a very severe ticking off.
Apart from the small vocabulary and minimal location descriptions, I was also rather disappointed to see that the player's inputs scrolled the rest of the display (including the location description) off the screen. A number of games nowadays use windows for input and output to prevent this happening and I was sorry to see that I was expected to type 'Look' every time I wanted to recall a location description (not that there was much to recall).
Some of the puzzles in Time Search are genuinely original, but then most games have at least some touch of originality so I'm not inclined to award many extra marks for this redeeming feature. There were some nice touches of humour — I found a map in the second location, but when I tried to read it I was told 'Fill this in as you go along I' — no short cuts there! I do feel, however, that a game of this calibre belongs in the history books or in the £2.50 price bracket, and certainly not on the shelves today for £7.95.
Duckworth, £7.95 cass
L'alinéa 8 de l'article L122-5 du Code de la propriété intellectuelle explique que « Lorsque l'œuvre a été divulguée, l'auteur ne peut interdire la reproduction d'une œuvre et sa représentation effectuées à des fins de conservation ou destinées à préserver les conditions de sa consultation à des fins de recherche ou détudes privées par des particuliers, dans les locaux de l'établissement et sur des terminaux dédiés par des bibliothèques accessibles au public, par des musées ou par des services d'archives, sous réserve que ceux-ci ne recherchent aucun avantage économique ou commercial ». Pas de problème donc pour nous!
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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.