Village Of Lost Souls was originally available for BBC micro by mail order only from Magus Software.
It has now been reworked and converted to run on Amstrad CPC computers, ond released by Robico Software.
This text adventure is set in the medieval world ot Albion, where magic still exists, but used only by those gitted with The Talent. You play Nathan, transported by Father-Magister Alain to the village ot Dinham, to investigate the resident Lord Talent who is believed to be attempting to open a portal to the thirteenth realm - the Realm ol Chaos. Wandering through the countryside, everywhere is deserted, save tor a pack o1 curs barking and snarling around you. But there are some shocks on the way. The burnt corpse of the miller in the chicken coop is just one ot a number ot grisly discoveries you make as you travel the village and fields.
But apart from wandering around and examining everything, I found it difficult to know quite what I was supposed to do next. Nothing obvious presented itself, demanding an answer or action. After a few hours play. I had only come across one real problem: the retrieval of a key too deep in a crack in a stone floor to reach.
Of course I knew I wanted It (you always want a key when you see one, don't you?) yet I had no purpose in mind for it at that stage. And there was a beehive that I believed I knew how to open - although I hadn't actually tried to open it, since l hadn't recognised a problem that required me to!
The adventure performs in a similar way to the early Level 9 text adventures, with slightly jerky text, each location description containing a list of possible exits and their respective destinations. For example: ' There are visible exits north to o farmhouse, south to the Rectory, northwest to a muddy road and southwest to a riverbank." One rather peculiar feature of the way in which this is Implemented, is that when you fake the route to. say, the Rectory, you find yourself just outside it. not actually In It. And once inside the Rectory, one of the exits will "out to a Rectory". Strange!
Whilst there are many locations and plenty of texf. some replies are very abrupt, and give the impression that they have been trimmed down to tit everything in. The vocabulary, or rather its omissions, leaves quite a but to be desired At a number of locations by a wall, for example, CLIMB WALL may get THAT ONLY FLUMMOXED ME. or I DON'T UNDERSTAND YOU. True. CLIMB is not in the verb list thai is .dispiayed by the HELP command - but why? The parser recognises ALL and EVERYTHING, and in conjunction with BUT. EXCEPT, and APART. Multiple statements are accepted, and there are features like OOPS, and BUFFSAVE (save position to memory) - but the latter is nol supported on BBC and Electron tope versions though On the whole, the adventure is competently put together, and held hope of opening up into quite a long, interesting, and difficult game. reminiscent of the early, and highly popular Level 9 titles. Indeed, the plot seems to be just as open as many of Level 9's. I must confess to leaving it at a point where I had scored zilch out of a possible 1200 points!
Computer & Video Games - Issue #80 (1988)