C&VG


Dream Zone

Author: Keith Campbell
Publisher: Baudville
Machine: Amiga 500

 
Published in Computer & Video Games #88

Dream Zone

Your dreams have been troubled of late, and you have not been getting a lot of sleep. The rest of the family have been troubled too, being woken by your screams, and by your restless pacing around the house at night. So you go along to see a shrink, Professor Fraud, who sticks probes all over you, and feeds you a dose of medicine. He tells you to go home and sleep, and the beast that lurks within your mind will be exorcised.

As soon as you nod off you find yourself on a path suspended in space, winding through stars and planets from your bedroom door at one end, to a locked gate at the other. Beyond the gate lies a strange city, where bureaucracy rules supreme. The first thing to strike you is the imposing Department Of Information building, whose sole purpose seems to be to authorise access to the Rigor Mortis Bar.

Despite its welcoming slogan - 'Come in and get stiff' - there's no way past Bonzo the bouncer unless you have an ID card. As luck would have it, a dodgy character lurking in a dark alley, has a jacket lined with ID cards. "Wanna buy one?" he asks. Of course you do, but there is one slight snag - you need from 69b - 12c from the DOI before he can sell you one.

Dream Zone

The clerk on duty at the DOI reception helpfully informs you that these forms are available in room N3L-D. Once you get the hang of operating the lift, and finding your way around the 120-room building, it is with relief that you enter N3L-D. Your hopes are short-lived - you are referred to officer S3R-D in room N4R-E, only to be told he's not there, and to ask in room N2L-D. Here, you are informed that he's in room S3-D, and so on and so on.

Just as you think you are winning, these piggy-faced office bureaucrats become unco-operative, to the point that you are forced to shoot one in order to get hold of one of the essential forms. His dying words tell you urgently that you must get form 22Z-131 from S4L-B and take it to room S2R-A for a receipt, or you'll never get out of the building.

Returning back up this form trail is far more confusing than the outward journey, and despite keeping a list of rooms and forms I had to think very carefully at each move.

Dream Zone

And at long last, I found myself inside the Rigor Mortis Bar, where a very shapely barmaid with spray-on jeans was offering free drinks.

After supping your fill trail leads to an amusement park complete with big-top, freak show, and airship rides, whilst another main route takes the dreamer to an underwater cave and oriental palace.

Not all the problems in Dream Zone are easily solved, and some are not easily found, either. So despite referring to the map provided which contains clue-like suggestions on what to do in many locations, and despite opening the sealed 'hints for wimps' envelope, I was unable to reach one whole area of the city.

Dream Zone

Dream Zone is a graphics adventure, with catchy theme music whose moods suit the occasions. Whilst all commands can be entered as text from the keyboard, many can alternatively be issued by using the mouse and icons. All movement is available from icon. However, the keyboard must be used occasionally to supplement icon commands, and the mouse is needed to 'find' objects in the picture, so a mixture of both is always necessary.

Not all locations are shown on the map, and one feature noticeably missing from the gameplay is a list of exits from each location.

SAVE, LOAD, QUIT, NEW GAME and a few other functions are accessed via the menu bar, and up to ten saved positions are provided for on the game disk itself, which must be used for this function. This eliminates tiresome disk changing.

The graphics are brilliant, although at the outset, the player might be forgiven for thinking otherwise! Starting off in your bedroom, the picture is a digitised black and white photo. Progressing to the bathroom, the toilet and bog roll can also be seen in monochromatic photographic detail! However, once your dream starts, the misty photo of your room becomes sharply defined and filled with colour. There is a colour picture for every location that follows. The pictures are attractive, full of interest, and yield an occasional clue.

Every now and then, just when adventures seem to have settled down into a bit of a rut, along comes something completely new and off-beat, like a breath of fresh air. Dream Zone, written by American teenagers Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin, is one of those games, and there hasn't been anything like it since Tass Times. Amusing and satirical, it will have you trapped in its fantasy world for hours at a time! More, please, Baudville!

Keith Campbell

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