The Axe of Kolt

by Larry Horsfield

Episode 1 of The Adventures of Alaric Blackmoon
Fantasy
1990

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
Long and enjoyable old-school game, May 17, 2015

The "Axe of Kolt" is a legendary axe that you must recover and give to King Kelson, who has been captured by the evil Xixons ; a standard fantasy setting, played straight and nicely. This ADRIFT version is a remastering of the original ZX Spectrum game which came out in the early 90s; it is not exactly the same game, with some puzzles having been reworked or streamlined, and I think also adapted to modern sensitivities i.e. nicer to the player (which is good!). The game is Polite (or maybe a bit Tough), and you can die quite a few times (though never unfairly), but nothing that can't be solved by undoing a couple of times; the deaths themselves are rather 'pulpy' and I find them enjoyable.

The story itself is nothing special, but the setting is detailed and expansive; there are lots of characters, events, and locations, none of which feel forced or out of place. The world has diverse locations (each of the four acts has its own identity, so to speak), and everything is very thouroughly implemented (disclaimer: I was a beta tester for this game), which makes the whole thing alive. The puzzles themselves are fairly well balanced, though not too easy; most of them are well-clued, although there is inevitably a couple of 'read-the-author's-mind' moments, and there are no 'guess-the-verb' problems and other frustrations like that thanks to the great implementation. It's a long game: each of the four acts will probably take half a dozen hours, and there are a lot of puzzles; the game is also pretty linear, which means you might get stuck sometimes.

Overall, "The Axe of Kolt" is a long, classical text adventure with a nice setting, very good implementation and fair puzzles; it's an old school game that avoids a lot of the old-school pitfalls, and thus suited to modern sensitivities.