Computer Gamer

Grand Larceny
By Melbourne House
Commodore 64

Published in Computer Gamer #2

Grand Larceny

Grand Larceny is the second in Melbourne House's animated adventure series following on the heels of Zim Sala Bim. Here you play a spy trying to recover a set of plans which have been stolen from your government. The thieves have been located in the Grand Hotel and all you have to do is recover the plans and make good your escape.

Every location is illustrated and movement between them is achieved, not by typing in the normal N, S, E or W but by using the keyboard or joystick to move your character across the screen. This is a gimmick which I personally thinks adds nothing to the game but which might appeal to younger children.

The game is marred by several major flaws. When I first played it, I got shot and killed halfway through but the action continued as though nothing had happened. The twenty-four hour clock (you have to achieve your object within a certain time limit) goes up to 99.59! The parser (the part of the program that understands your commands) is also poor. The instructions say that "Take" is a recognised verb but all attempts to take an object are met with the response "I can't". This same answer is given to all wrong answers, even though you know that something would actually happen. For example, "Use Jemmy" on a locked door is an action that *should* produce a response. It is frustrating to be told that you "can't" do it.

Melbourne House are a strange company. When they are good (games like The Hobbit and Sherlock) they are very, very good but when they are bad, they are horrid.