There have been surprisingly few adventure compilation tapes, probably because adventure sales arent as great as those for arcade games. This particular one is endorsed by fellow adventure hack Tony Bridge, who says on the packaging "they are excellent examples of the adventure-writer's art". I'm afraid I disagree.
The first of the four games on the tape (hence the title) is Out Of The Shadows from Mizar. I wouldn't really call this an adventure. It's a dungeons and dragons style thing, controlled by typing short commands, but not really a text game. Instead, your little stickman judders round a graphically awful scrolling map. Other little stick creatures will attac you, causing one of those dreadful "Imp hits right leg. You lose 3 Hit Points" type routines.
There are no problems to solve, you just move around attacking things, opening crates and the like, and amassing various treasures. It loos very primitive, although the game is large. If you like this combat and endless searching idea for a game (which obviously some people do judging by the very enthusiastic reception another magazine gave it when it first appeared), this may appeal. Personally, I think it's boring rubbish.
The other three games are Quilled. The Mural is probably the best of the lot. Your quest is for an obscene mural, which you have been instructed to paint over. Its another of those Pythonesque funny adventures made popular by Fergus McNeil in Bored Of The Rings, with lots of silly things happening, and even a direct copy from Fergus in a routine with a penguin. The game is short and seems fairly simple, the vocabulary could be better, there aren't enough responses, besides which I don't find this sort of humour funny in computer games, but if you do, you may like this.
The Mural is more in the style of Fergus McNeil than his own work on the tape, Galaxias. This is a rather run of the mill sci-fi adventure in which you move around a hi-tech spaceport, then travel to various futuristic planets, searching for a crystal. It's not a spoof; rather too serious and dull in fact.
It features some reasonable graphics but a horrible typeface which is difficult to read. You seem to spend most of your time wandering around the large number of locations - there's little interaction or problem-solving. The inlay rather cheekily calls this a "brand new game", although it was in fact written before his recent successes. His style has definitely improved.
In Microman you are reduced to a tiny size, and have to deal with all sorts of problems as a result. A good idea, which is reasonably executed, but let down by a far too restrictive vocabulary.
One good thing about the tape is the three true adventures do use The Quill very well, with attractive screen presentation, particularly in Microman with its split-screen graphics.
None of the games really impressed me; three were average, the other I thought was appalling. At what works out at around two pounds each, you might think this is worth buying; personally I'd spent it on one really good game wihch will keep you entertained for at least as long. Thus the potential is still there for a really good adventure compilation; this wasn't it. Disappointing.