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About the Story
The Pawn is an adventure game set in the magical world of Kerovnia during a period of tremendous social upheaval.
"Getting quite a way into the adventure there are some areas which suggest some largess on the part of the instructions. I have already mentioned the occasional relapse by the program when it chooses to ignore the second part of a complex sentence. The examine command (where, like most words, EXAMINE must be spelled out fully, along with long words such as floorboards) can be helpful, as in EXAMINE GRAVEL, 'The gravel is small pieces of black stone', can miss entirely as with 'What black stones?', or give a reply which may or may not be comical, 'The arms are quite long for the time of year.' It's worth noting here that EXAMINE and LOOK IN are subtly different commands, bringing about fundamental changes in your fortunes should you learn how to use them properly. On another occasion you are told how you cannot see a tree when you are in a forest while, despite the instructions boasting many weird and wonderful adjective recognitions, the program does not comprehend LOOSE in the command EXAMINE LOOSE FLOORBOARD. Let's stay with this one to lead me into one or two misgivings I have with the plot. EXAMINE FLOORBOARD replies 'large and very solid' yet levering the board with the hoe achieves nothing but doing something a lot simpler gets the result. However, more worrying in terms of a credible plot is the pouch which doesn't seem to exist until you have fetched the guru his water, an act totally unconcerned with the appearance of the pouch. Such inconsistencies pull the plot into an ever tightening feel of linearity."
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The parser is quite good but has its niggles. Especially in reference to English and some objects. The most noticable bug is the "white" one: you have in your inventory "you are carriny a white" which turns out to be a white light. Kinda dodgy and should have been picked up in bug testing.
The puzzles are very crafty and logical. Hands up those of you who got stuck trying to move the boulder!
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Here is a text adventure of the highest order. Now don't switch off because I mentioned that awful word "text". Magnetic Scrolls adventures are well-presented with good graphics to accompany the words. And it is the words that raise their games above the others in the field. The quality of humour is not strained. I mean you don't get the forced humour of some other games I could think of. And there is plenty of drama and excitement thrown in.
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I first heard of The Pawn about two years ago when our illustrious Editor told me about a great new Adventure for the ST that had unbelievable graphics (I think he was just trying to get me to buy an ST!). Computer & Video Games previewed The Pawn in April 1986. The article was chock full of superlatives and the accompanying review gave it full marks. I could hardly wait for the 8-bit version to be released.
As The Pawn became available for more and more machines, the computer press gave it rave reviews and glowing comments. Imagine my disappointment when I did eventually buy the game and found it to be a bit of a dog! What had happened? How had the computer community been so thoroughly conned?
When I re-read all the reviews, I realised that some reviewers had been hoodwinked by personal demonstrations from the staff of Magnetic Scrolls. They had obviously been shown how 'clever' the program was without being shown all its shortcomings – not to mention its bugs! Of all the reviews I read, only one of the reviewers had actually completed the game! The others had wandered about the countryside and hadn't even solved any puzzles! This is disgraceful. The end result was (in my opinion) the greatest marketing swindle in Adventure history.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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This game can be summarized pretty easily by a couple of early facts:
-you are wearing a shirt with a marijuana leaf;
-if you go to the southern edge of the world, there is a sign saying that this is the 'boundary of the adventure';
-one of the first people you meet won't stop laughing at how dumb you look.
I didn't really enjoy this game; it's about the size of Zork, with some pictures. It's pretty hard, and the parser claims to be advanced, but actually has major problems.
I don't really recommend this game at all.
The Pawn's most distinguishing feature, at the time of its release, was (as far as I remember it) the use of graphics for some of the locations. While a few non-animated graphics can hardly impress players nowadays, the images, vaguely reminiscent of "ligne claire" comics, offer a different view on the locations and add to the atmosphere of the game without distracting from the text.
The text itself is well written, with some irony and a small dose of British (black) humor. It tells a rather traditional fantasy story, which still manages to surprise once or twice and kept me entertained till the end. The parser is powerful and has a big vocabulary. I stumbled over a few oddities, but this might also be caused by English not being my maternal language.
The puzzles are interesting and well interweaved with the story. At least for a beginner like me some were quite difficult and I had to consult a walkthrough a few times. I did not encounter a single bug.
All in all a polished and entertaining experience.
|The Prawn, by Martin Hopkins (Mert)|
Average member rating: (1 rating)
Originally published by Talent Computer Systems for the Sinclair QL computer, this game is a spoof adventure based on The Pawn written by Magnetic Scrolls. The game remains available through RWAP Adventures> ...
|Rite of the Druid, by Paul Weller|
Average member rating: (2 ratings)
STORY You are part of a small tribe, preparing to take part in a ritual that will allow you to become a full druid. You are transported to a strange land where you must find the rune of power and return to complete the rite. INSTRUCTIONS...
|Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It, by Jeff O'Neill|
Average member rating: (57 ratings)
You are standing at the edge of a barren field. A steady wind, having secreted away the topsoil, is now drifting sandy dirt across the plain. A scant sign of life here is a freshly-burrowed molehill on the ground. > MAKE A MOUNTAIN OUT...
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