Amstrad Action


Published in Amstrad Action #35

Pilgrim Preview

With this game, the battle for Britain's Number One spot takes a crucial - but let's hope not irrevocable! - turn. I hereby nominate Magnetic Scrolls for the privileged position at the forefront of my Trophy Shelf, displacing Level 9. They are the first company ever to do so, and they now rank alongside their American counterparts Infocom.

The truth is that Level 9 have been hanging in there by their bootstraps for some time now, and I have felt they were successful in doing so only because of the strength of their older games. None of their recent titles has really succeeded in getting my adrenaline going. Don't get me wrong - both Gnome Ranger and Knight Orc are top league games, but they remain slightly old-fashioned and contrived in their storylines.

Until recently, much the same objections could be made about Magnetic Scrolls. The Pawn is simply a collection of beautiful pictures with one or two excellent puzzles and a lot of nonsense. Guild of Thieves was a tremendous improvement and a much more enjoyable game than their last release, Jinxter, which never lived up to its promise as a story, however good its graphics and programming.


But Corruption is without doubt in a different league. To start with, it uses characters much more effectively than any previous game. Second, it's a no nonsense plot set in the real world. Third, the graphics are superb because they concentrate on the people in the story and actually make them look like people with personalities.

Finally, there's a more subtle point to make. Many adventures have powerful parsers, but they are simply grafted onto feeble plots - so you can have a multi-command input facility but can solve the game using "verb-noun" inputs. Alternatively, you might be able to interact with characters, but the game only requires you to make them move about and get/drop objects. In Corruption, the programming, the plot and the pictures all work together to produce a solid, challenging experience.

The plot is simple. You have been made a partner in a firm of stockbrokers in the City. You are right chuffed. By lunchtime you are in the hands of the police. Shortly afterwards thou art sentenced for serious crimes against humanity, to wit, insider dealing.

For those who have the good fortune to know nothing about the murky world of high finance, insider dealing means buying and selling shares in a company about which you have privileged information.

It should be emphasised, however, that although the context of the game is Big City Business, you don't need to be a businessman to enjoy it. Your task is simply to avoid the police, find out what's going on and bring the real culprits to justice.

The game starts at 9 o'clock in the morning: every move lasts a minute in gameworld time, and the police are due at midday. Thrilling stuff.

We'll bring you a full review of the CPC version just as soon as it appears. Look forward to it...

The Pilgrim