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About the Story
Released on Philips VG5000 Citadel is a text adventure game consisting of one part puzzles, one part role playing adventure and one part treasure hunt. David Bourg David has ported it to the Sanyo PHC-25. It has also been ported to the TRS-80 MC-10 and translated into English.
In the first installment of Loriciels' Citadelle series (which I ported from source code ported to the Sanyo PHC-25 from an Amstrad CPC port, which was taken from an Oric Atmos original, or so I believe) you will come up against a range of monsters, such as Bugbears and Orcs. The games is interesting in the way it combines the format of two-word parser with RPG combat. Not only must you figure out the puzzles--you must manage your dwindling strength in the face of the denizens of the (limited but coherent) world you are exploring. As mentioned, this is only the first part of a three part series. The next part is called "The Swordfish of Kranz" (if my French skills haven't failed me). I suspect the three part format is actually a legacy of the RAM limitations of the original platform that the game was developed on. I suspect that breaking the game into three parts allowed for a more comprehensive story to be "fit" into a machine with less than 16K. It's a creative solution.
Despite these limitations the author has managed to fit in quite a number of puzzles. Some of them are a bit tricky, but if you pay extremely close attention to every detail of the descriptions none of the solutions is completely beyond some possibility of recognition. All the rooms should be EXAMINED and SEARCHED and occasionally LOOKED at in detail.
The combat system allows for a number strategies in facing and, hopefully, defeating your opponents. (Spoiler - click to show)In the version I ported the monster's have a a random number of hit points, armour class and strength assigned at the beginning of each combat, so retreating might not be a good idea. Retreating takes you back to the previous room you were in. When you re-enter the room all the conditions for the monster will be reset. This might be a good thing if the monster is really strong and youíre getting pasted. Going and coming back in might make for a weaker monster. However, it might be worse! Choosing Defence rather than attack reduces your chances of being hit, but also reduces your chances of hitting the monster. Spells are powerful but fickle. The monsters are deployed in a fixed locations. (Spoiler - click to show)However, if they donít "disappear" at the end of combat random monsters will be spawned at random in one of the rooms. If you have the sword and the armour, the monsters are pretty easy to defeat.
In terms of criticisms my only major one is that the "treasure hunt" component of the game seems a little underdeveloped. Also, there is little provided in the way of background to give the situation or characters (Oran?) much depth. I suspect, again, that this is likely a result of RAM limitations and was probably offset in the original by a helpful manual with background story. This game has a reputation as being a favourite of early French 8-bit basic adventurers. I can understand why.
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