Computer Gamer1st June 1986
Published in Computer Gamer #15
Forget about windows, icons, mice and pull-down menus. A new age of user friendliness in computer games is dawning. No longer is it the done thing to have little booklets giving you the storyline behind complex adventure games. If you want to stay ahead of your rivals, you must not include an audio cassette in the package with someone reading the story to any would-be player just in case the effort of reading the story proves to be too much. In practice, C64 owners are likely to have more trouble finding a cassette recorder as of course the Commodore tape deck is useless for this purpose.
Doomdark's Revenge is the sequel to the highly successful Lords Of Midnight. Originally, written for the Spectrum only, popular demand ensured its conversion. The game is not an adventure as such for there is no text input but still contains the traditional quest ideas together with elements of wargaming as you explore the 6,000 locations, making alliances and fighting battles as you try to defeat the enemy.
The plot is complicated to say the least (hence the audio cassette) but basically involves Morkin having gotten himself captured by Shareth Heartstealer, Empress of Icemark who is determined to avenge her father, Doomdark. You take the side of the Moonprince Luxor as you attempt to find and rescue Morkin although you can also try to achieve total victory by defeating Shareth's forces in battle. There are also several artefacts to be found which will add to your victory.
The game starts with you controlling three characters (so your friends can play at the same time if you want). All commands are entered as single keystrokes either directly or from a menu. Examples of direct commands would be moving or checking on various items whilst selecting the 'choose' key would give you a menu of the options available to you at that particular time. Time plays an important part in the game - characters can only do so much in a day. When you have finished making your moves, a quick key press informs the computer allowing the forces of evil to move at night.
The outstanding feature of this excellent game is its graphics. Each of the 6,000 (!) locations is illustrated from eight different compass points, giving 48,000 landscaped views! Amongst the features you will come across are temples, fountains, pits, towers, palaces and underground passages. As you approach a building, so the perspective changes and the hut or whatever looms larger.
Doomdark's Revenge is a massive game that will keep you hunched over a hot keyboard for a considerable length of time. My one reservation is that it takes a lot of getting into and considerable perseverance is required. The mixture of adventure and strategy works very well though and, when coupled with the superb graphics, makes this a game to be highly recommended.