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About the Story
You find yourself lost in the middle of nowhere. In the middle of a mystery. Who are you? Where will you go? What will you do? London. Luxembourg. Across oceans and continents. You struggle for answers. For your identity. And the faceless betrayer who left you to perish. Deception abounds. As do twisted traps and devious characters. But a wise, legendary bird named "Condor" helps in the worst of times. This brilliantly wrought mystery echoes with intricate challenges and unexpected reversals. Yet skillfully, it speaks to you in direct, simple prose. And its greatly expanded vocabulary allows you to talk to the computer in plain English. And that means hours of true enjoyment for both novice and advanced
Loosely inspired by The Bourne Identity, this is an early (possibly the earliest) example of the now-cliché device of amnesia as a way to plausibly throw the player character into an unknown environment. After your return to civilization from the desert island where you begin, the goal turns from mere survival to a search (whilst dodging assassins) for the protagonist's missing past, revealed piecemeal through the special command "REMEMBER". Once you've remembered everything, the game ends abruptly. Rather short and reasonably easy, largely due to the simplicity of the world model. The cartoonish illustrations contain vital information not mentioned in the text.
-- Carl Muckenhoupt
"As you may be aware, everyone who hasn't 'made it' and settled into the placid waters of The Civil Service must become a small business. This generally entails either clothing, feeding or entertaining those who work in the public sector and the buzz word for success is USP: the unique selling point which will give your business the edge over the competition. (Of course this country really needs small businesses to create wealth, like manufacturing or new technology - but no-one's told the bank managers who give respectability a bad name). Anyhow, I digress. The point is where on earth is the unique selling point in this product? There isn't one.
Having said all that above, this program really is good and commercial and knocks spots off the opposition. 'Good' because it sports many classy features like a superb tutorial which provides a marvellous introduction to playing adventures and includes an adventure simulation taking you through the step by step thinking behind the moves, GET ALL and DROP ALL, a strong EXAMINE command, QUICK SAVE and QUICKLOAD which allows saving within RAM, and a HELP ME CONDOR command which can be used three times when all else fails (Condor is the bird which featured in that superb BBC program set in South America). Unlike the idiotic, condescending quips of so many disappointing rivals this game's HELP function is truly superb. When you ask for help, help is exactly what you get. How this game has ticked all the boxes and managed to get every last sophisticated feature into 48K will leave the opposition scratching their heads for some time to come. 'Commercial' because it has a superb picture at each location, very well-designed and drawn. Rivals will be particularly impressed by the subtle use of colour and shading to give the graphics a very distinctive flavour. Whoever designed the graphics certainly deserves a pat on the back."
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During the stay in Luxemburg the atmosphere though portrayed in hues of magenta, blue and green is really quite tense, and the more wary will save often to ensure death is not the final frontier. As the plot thickens, and you piece more clues together in order to regain your memory, it becomes apparent that they didn't knock the game together in a couple of days, but really made an effort to make an interesting and engaging adventure.
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Mindshadow is a relatively new release from Activision which follows the tried and tested format of the good, old-fashioned illustrated text Adventure. It comes on a double-sided disk for the 8-bit Ataris, but I believe it is also available for the ST. I played the 8-bit version, but I have no doubt that the ST version is similar.
The concept of the illustrated Adventure should not be new to long time readers of this column, as I've covered many illustrated Adventures in the past. The basic format was pioneered by Sierra On-Line, but has since been refined by the big name companies like Datasoft, Sirius, Penguin and Broderbund. Improvements have generally been in the areas of graphics, vocabulary and the all important parser. The complexity of the puzzles has never really expanded beyond that of the early games and has certainly not reached the sophistication of some of Infocom's best puzzles. This doesn't mean to say that the games are easy. Some are. Some aren't.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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I got ahold of this game as part of the Interplay's 10th Anniversary Anthology. The box art and the accompanying CD audio track with the installer made this game immediately captivating.
It's a rather simple game compared to most IF pieces, but the engine that draws pictures with each room gives the game a unique look. Maybe it's because I'm such a huge retro fan that makes me enjoy the pixellated CGA look.
One thing to know is that the name of the game is to recover your identity, and you need to know there is a command to think about names and places, in order to jog your memory. Between the simplicity of the world model and the use of Condor to help you when you are stuck, this game shouldn't take too long to complete. If you've read The Bourne Identity, you'll see the obvious similarities here.
This game is routinely ranked higher and remembered more prominently than its sibling The Tracer Sanction--so much so that at press time, Tracer isn't even listed in IFDB. That is a shame. Mindshadow's story is weak and it overall offers little challenge or depth. The Condor gimmick is fun but apart from being competently executed, Mindshadow isn't particularly noteworthy even as an artifact of its time.
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Games with unique hint systems by delano
I'm looking for games that offer hints in any way, except for printing them in sequence on the screen. For example: characters that offer hints; objects that, when examined or used in a certain way, suggest actions to the player; etc.