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About the Story
"A full-scale adventure through caves, water, tunnels, mountains, etc. to find and restore the Magic Klein Bottle.
Electron User Magazine, via 8bs.com
Overall a definite must for the experienced adventurer, though the beginner would probably do better with the first of the Epic adventures, CASTLE FRANKENSTEIN. The save-game facility and response to keyboard input are both very fast. A lot of mapping is required and although the solutions to the problems are reasonably easy, finding what you need to solve the problem with can be a headache.
An extremely good adventure and excellent value for money. Recommended.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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Epic Adventures, a small company operating out of a terrace house in Kibworth Beauchamp, Leicestershire, were nevertheless one of the biggest and best known producers of text adventure games for the Acorn Electron. The Kingdom of Klein was their third release.
Perhaps surprisingly, The Kingdom of Klein shows a stronger influence of Crowther and Woods' 'Adventure' than either of the author's previous two games. It's a cave crawl, the aim being to restore the Klein Bottle to its rightful place on a pedestal in the King's palace. Along the way you'll also have to find the five Platonic solids. It's a big game, boasting 230 locations, and this, along with a superior parser, was a big selling point for Epic's catalogue. In reality, it's one of the game's biggest flaws, and all of Melvyn Wright's games suffer from the same problem. Most of those 230 rooms are there simply to represent distance and scale. To give an example, at one point in the game you find yourself on an open plain. To cross it, you must go west 11 times! Later in the game you find yourself in a ravine which requires you to go east 18 times before you arrive at where you need to be. A mountain takes 10 moves to climb up and down, and so on. This might be acceptable once, but the game requires you to constantly retrace your steps and traverse the same terrain. Needless to say, most of these intermediary locations are empty and have nearly identical descriptions.
The puzzles are very much in the spirit of 'Adventure', but completely original. Wands and magic spells feature heavily and some of the solutions are rather under-clued, though the hint sheet provided makes up for this. For the purposes of this review I played with the help of Dorothy Millard's CASA walkthrough, but when I reached the point where I had given up in the 1980s, I was actually surprised at how close my teenage self had got to the end. There's a fairly generous inventory limit, but it can still be a problem given the size of the map. For a cassette-based game written in 1984, the parser is remarkably robust, and I had no problems making the game understand what I wanted to do. The parser in Epic's later The Lost Crystal is even more impressive.
Returning to The Kingdom of Klein after 35 years, the game, though bug-free and solidly programmed, is definitely showing its age. I'd be hard pressed to recommend it to a modern IF player, but for those interested in IF history it's an interesting artefact, clearly influenced by 'Adventure' but not in any way derivative of it. Three stars.
Holy Mother of Mary this game is tedious. You may have thought watching gravy congeal was tedious but that would be a positive adrenalin rush compared to this voyage through endless terse decriptions of cliff steps and open plains. If Stock, Aitken and Waterman had produced text adventures in the eighties, they would have made them like Epic Software.
The cynic in me feels that they inserted the same endless desriptions so that they could proudly proclaim "A game with 230 locations!" The number of locations was, of course, a big selling point back in the days of Band Aid and Wham; I myself am a big fan of old style IF on an enormous scale when it is done in an interesting and necessary way, but when it is done like this it merely magnifies the sterility of the game. Over two thirds of the locations are along the lines of "You are on an endless plain" or "You are on some cliff steps." This may be a realistic depiction of a mundane world but I don't play IF for that reason and I suspect that nobody else does neither; it is meant to be a medium of entertainment and this isn't even a very small of entertainment.
Kingdom Of Klein has a very limited two word parser, like all Epic's other releases and also lacks the EXAMINE verb, so for any puzzles that there are you just end up WAVING, THROWING or READING every item in your inventory at every locked door or magic pool until you find the correct (and often illogical) solution and thrn move on the next interminable sequence of flat plain or beach.
If you want to try a sizeable old style puzzle fest that is worthy of your precious time, try Warp, Not Just An Ordinary Ballerina, Curses!, Mirror Of Khoronz etc. but avoid Epic software games.