By Microtech Systems
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Crash #33


This is another game in the "here's another Quilled game in a cheap cover and, if you're good, we might tell you how much it costs... go on then, guess!" category. However, in this case the authors have got an excuse... they are unquestionably mad and make no attempt to cover up what's blatantly obvious from the outset. To put it succinctly, the guys at Microtech have lost their marbles. It is not like the other humorous games reviewed this month; there are no subtle lampoons here. More a blunt bludgeoning of the senses with an inexorable onslaught of loonyisms.

The madness begins with the cover which is made the wrong way leaving you struggling to open the cassette box from the right when it is to the left. The loading screen shows a mock pound note where "I promise to give the bearer on demand the sum of one's sanity" quite rightly has you wondering what you've let yourself in for!

So how does this adventure describe itself? "Sensible, down to earth, original, unexaggerated, truthful, unerring, undeviating, precise, undistorted, honest, unbiased, fastidious, never wrong, always right, rational, well grounded adventure". Oh, I see, a thesaurus style listing which can only be said to be in direct contradiction to the evidence, as having played some of this game. I can safely say it is the most insensible, pie in the sky, unoriginal, exaggerated, untruthful etc, etc game I have ever played.

Following a very chirpy rendition of The Entertainer (stopped by pressing the BREAK key) the adventure immediately confronts you with its first absurdity, an irreverently long list of things you can see. Just check out this loony list. 'You are in the closet. You can also see: a silver candlestick (highlighted), an electrical plug, a blue coat hanger. a two handed battlesword, an elephant 's vest complete with holes, a tattered old scroll, a stained map, a screwdriver, a 13 amp fuse, some 7/8 spring-loaded washers, a bag of sparks, a bubble from a spirit level, a long stand, a set of 'Go Slower' stripes, a puncture repair outfit'. Now you won't be too amused to find that out= games do not support the GET ALL command but not to worry, the game plays a little tune after picking up only four items - and that's your whack.

There is one drawback to trying to review Crimble and that is the danger of exposing you to the sort of crazy writing which is powerful enough to turn even a speed reader into a gibbering moron. Directions are never as stated so an exit from a location with NE, E, and S exits will as often as not be something like UP! What is more, dropping objects is sometimes the only way of picking them up and there are a number of 'Wrong Commands' especially formulated to keep you amused on your trip to insanity. The text itself isn't exactly on the straight and narrow. Take two of the milder examples (in the hope of leaving you sane for the rest of the column): 'Sat in amongst the Sour Williams you gaze at a garden gnome who is fishing in someone's Perno and Black. The smell of the freshly uncut grass is a somewhat pleasant sight'. And . . . 'Here you aren't in the outer garden shed where plant pots sing quietly to themselves whilst eating apples that smell a funny colour . . . You can also see a HW Smiths C15 tape with a pirate copy of Jetpac'. There are a few contemporary and political references in the mayhem but don't look to hard for any slant or pronounced bias, the message, if any, is lost in the twists and turns of the satire, anti-satire loony-go-round.

There are a few graphics scattered about in this adventure but they are more symbolic than accurate. However, this adventure does present a colourful face to the world and in any case the game is out for only one notoriety, to be the most crazed, mixed up adventure on the market and for my money it gets the prize.

Grimble is now available from Microtech at 88 Whitley Spring Crescent, Ossett, West Yorks.


Difficulty: leaves you feeling like you've been trepanned
Graphics: abstract but passable
Presentation: fair, colourful
Input facility: verb/noun

Derek Brewster

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